Intelligent Design

Guillermoe: Champion of Abductive Reasoning at the Heart of the Design Inference

Spread the love

Guillermoe has very quickly become one of our most ardent critics on these pages. That is why it was so interesting to watch him walk right into a trap that HeKS cunningly set for him. Here it is:

THE TRAP

Guillermoe:

We know what designed Stonehenge: HUMANS!!

HeKS:

How do you know this?

Guillermoe:

PAST EXPERIENCE. We know humans build things because we have observed that they do.

HeKS:

How do you know it was humans rather than aliens?

Guillermoe:

Because our past experience proves that humans exist and does not prove that aliens exist, so it’s much much more likely that humans built Stonehenge. That allows us to say A LOT of things about the designers of Stonehenge. What can we say about the intelligent designer of life on Earth?

Guillermoe obviously did not see the trap. Not only did he walk right into it, but the trap was so craftily set that he did not realize he was in it once he was there. Let’s see how.

Step 1: Guillermo admits there cannot be the slightest doubt that the circle of upright stones in Wiltshire, England known as Stonehenge was designed. He insists that we can know it was designed only because we can “know” that humans designed it.

Step 2: HeKS sets the trap by asking how we “know” it was designed by humans instead of, say, aliens, and Guillermoe walks right into the trap and makes himself at home. Guillermoe appeals to universal experience to make an inference based on abductive reasoning. To see how this is so, let us take a moment to explore the nature of abductive reasoning.

ABDUCTIVE REASONING

Abductive reasoning takes the form of inferring a cause X as an explanation for an effect Y when X is the most plausible explanation for Y. So, for example, if my lawn is wet this morning I might infer that it rained last night as the best explanation for the lawn being wet.

Abductive reasoning is different from deductive reasoning. In deductive reasoning if the premises are true the conclusion follows necessarily as a matter of logic. But even if the premise of the abductive inference is true (rain the previous night makes my lawn wet in the morning), the conclusion might nevertheless be false. It is possible, for example, that someone drove a water tanker and sprayed my lawn with water. Thus, an abductive inference is not logically compelled like a deductive conclusion. That is why it is called “inference to the BEST explanation,” not “inference to the only explanation”. Note that when a particular cause X is the only known cause of a particular effect Y, the abductive inference is much stronger.

GUILLERMO MAKES AN ABDUCTIVE INFERENCE

HeKS asked Guillermoe how he knows that humans rather than aliens built Stonehenge, and Guillermoe made the following abductive argument:

1. Stonehenge is a monument.

2. With respect to all monuments whose provenance is actually known for certain, the sole known cause of the monuments has been “built by humans.”

3. Therefore, it is much more likely (inference to best explanation) that humans built Stonehenge.

Guillermoe’s argument took the form “X is the generally most plausible cause of effect Y. We see a specific instance of Y; therefore the best explanation of this instance of Y is X.” In other words, we infer that X is the best current explanation of this Y.

Guillermoe moved off of his original overstated conclusion. He went from we “know” who built Stonehenge (obviously we know no such thing) to its “much more likely that humans built Stonehenge” (a perfectly sound abductive inference).

Notice how without knowing it Guillermoe has given away the store from a materialist perspective. He has tacitly acknowledged that with respect to a particular instance of apparent design, we cannot make an infallible deductive conclusion concerning the provenance of the design. The best we can do is make an abductive inference to best explanation. In doing so Guillermoe has validated the mode of reasoning at the heart of the ID program.

In exactly the same way, the ID proponent observes some aspect of living things that even the most ardent atheist will admit appears to be designed for a purpose, the digital code in DNA for example. He then notes that X (intelligent agency) is a possible cause of this effect Y (digital code). He goes one step further and notes that “intelligent agency” is the only known cause of the effect “digital code” where the provenance of the digital code has been actually observed. Therefore, we infer that the best explanation for this particular instance of digital code is “intelligent agency.”

Guillermoe is well and truly stuck. With respect to the DNA code effect, for example, in order to wiggle out of the trap set by his own reasoning he has three options:

1. Deny that the DNA code is a digital code. This is absurd.
2. Deny that the only known cause of digital code where the provenance is actually known is intelligent agency. An obvious falsehood
3. Beg the question by saying we “know” chance/necessity can account for the DNA code. Of course, we “know” no such thing. It is routinely assumed; it has never been demonstrated.

67 Replies to “Guillermoe: Champion of Abductive Reasoning at the Heart of the Design Inference

  1. 1
    ppolish says:

    “Guillermoe has validated the mode of reasoning at the heart of the ID program.”

    As a student of ID, should that make me feel a bit worried?

  2. 2
    HeKS says:

    @ppolish

    “Guillermoe has validated the mode of reasoning at the heart of the ID program.”

    As a student of ID, should that make me feel a bit worried?

    If he had done it intentionally, then the answer would probably be yes. 🙂

    As it stands, he was dragged there kicking and screaming.

  3. 3
    Mapou says:

    Poor Guillermoe. Crushed under tons of megaliths.

  4. 4
    Guillermoe says:

    Man, an ID blogspot writting about ME?

    How low can you fall?

    Quote this the next time:

    “He insists that we can know it was designed only because we can “know” that humans designed it.”

    No, idiot. I know humans built it because I HAVE SEEN OTHER BUILDINGS BUILT BY HUMANS (FOR CERTAIN).

    Now, you are confusing “abductive reasoning” with “plausible explanation”.

    I know humans designed Stonehenge because I have SO MUCH KNOWLEDGE about what humans built ans SO MUCH EVIDENCE about the existence of humans that it turns it really really really in the most plausible explanation to Stonehenge.

    Can you show how this is equivalent in ID? Have you seen the designer design, as I have seen humans built? Have you direct evidence of the existence of the designer as I have of direct evidence of the existence og humans?

    This is an ID blog? Why are we talking about Stonehenge? I know what Stonehenge is, but yet no one here has explained how ID works?

    What happens when ID happens?

    Perhapos Mapou, ppolish or HeKS could explain this.

    “Abductive reasoning takes the form of inferring a cause X as an explanation for an effect Y when X is the most plausible explanation for Y.”

    And what is X in this case exactly? What is an intelligent cause exactly? How did an intelligent cause produce life on Earth?

    Are you really that stupid of taking seriously that phrase when you have no clue of what the cause you talk about is?

    By the way, my biggest claim against ID is that there is no natural feature for which you can give a useful explanation from ID (I mean, an explanation of how it came to be). Why don’t you address this in future posts?

  5. 5
    jerry says:

    Guillermoe sounds like AVS in tone.

    His only argument is that we do not know who the designer was so we can not invoke intelligent design.

  6. 6
    Moose Dr says:

    Guillermoe, “By the way, my biggest claim against ID is that there is no natural feature for which you can give a useful explanation from ID.”

    Canard! All of biology, all of astronomy screams of natural feature for which ID is the best useful explanation. In addition, history records, and many of us have experienced, events of providence that seem well beyond the explanation of chance.

  7. 7
    HeKS says:

    @Guillermoe #4

    Man, an ID blogspot writting about ME?

    Yes. Congratulations. You have become an object lesson.

  8. 8
    ppolish says:

    Guillermoe is hung up on HOW. But HOW is unknowable. Design is real, but the HOW is unknowable.

    Overwhelming evidence of ID, but HOW is unknowable. Not Of This World. NOTW. Requires a leap of faith. Some will never take the leap. Guillermoe is not a leaper.

  9. 9
    Mapou says:

    Guillermoe:

    Quote this the next time:

    “He insists that we can know it was designed only because we can “know” that humans designed it.”

    No, idiot. I know humans built it because I HAVE SEEN OTHER BUILDINGS BUILT BY HUMANS (FOR CERTAIN).

    I say, ban Guillermoe. He’s boring.

  10. 10
    Silver Asiatic says:

    He is boring but we do get this at least …

    I know humans built it because I HAVE SEEN OTHER BUILDINGS BUILT BY HUMANS (FOR CERTAIN).

    LOL – I know for certain that Dave committed the murder because I HAVE SEEN OTHER GUYS WHO LOOK KIND OF LIKE DAVE WHO MURDERED PEOPLE (FOR CERTAIN).

  11. 11
    Guillermoe says:

    Moose Dr:

    “Canard! All of biology, all of astronomy screams of natural feature for which ID is the best useful explanation. In addition, history records, and many of us have experienced, events of providence that seem well beyond the explanation of chance.”

    Choose one example and prove it. Choose one biological feature you like and and tell me what ID explains of it.

    THE REST:

    Why don’t you answer that question, too. Intelectual challenges are entertaining, once you get your brain to work.

    By, the way Mapou, BAN? I ask you to explain ID and your answer is “Ban him”? Questions are dangerous?

  12. 12
    Querius says:

    Guillermoe wrote

    Why don’t you answer that question, too. Intelectual challenges are entertaining, once you get your brain to work.

    Wow! Notice how quickly G has collapsed into ad hominem abuse.

    Oh, and intellectual is spelled with two ls. 😉

    -Q

  13. 13
    HeKS says:

    @G’moe #11

    I’m going to ask the same thing here I asked in another thread (it hasn’t been answered there yet):

    I’m curious… being, among other things, a computer programmer (primarily of User Interfaces), is there some meaningful description that can be offered of how I program that does not consist primarily of the thought processes I use to plan out the logic of the interface functionality or the details of how the medium in which my design plan is instantiated happens to carry out my instructions?

  14. 14
    Guillermoe says:

    Querious:

    “Wow! Notice how quickly G has collapsed into ad hominem abuse.”

    When I comment an article they wrote about me? Are you kidding?

  15. 15
    groovamos says:

    guillermoe: Man, an ID blogspot writting about ME?

    I can tell you it has happened to me too and I’m a long time ID supporter financially and otherwise, so take it as a compliment to have contributed something didactically useful.

    …. What is an intelligent cause exactly? How did an intelligent cause produce life on Earth?

    If you are a materialist, certainly you are familiar with the self-styled “Brights” (e.g. Richard Dawkins) who have no problem defining intelligence. And in fact think of themselves as the ultimate manifestation of intelligent cause, since they obviously have a cause, and obviously are the most intelligent subjects of some kind of planetary vision they promote.

    OK so lets assume the opposite of a “Bright” is stupid. So I assume that since you (apparently) argue against design that is intelligent, you are for design that is stupid. And maybe even look for examples to support your position. And so the realization of your (I assume) position is that any design in nature, perceived by any person of any age, young or old, must be that the natural order somehow behind this perceived design is therefore stupid. So that is that, any child expressing wonderment at harmony and brilliance in nature must be corrected, and really quickly clued in: that nature is stupid. As told by the “Brights”.

  16. 16
    Querius says:

    Guillermoe retorted

    When I comment an article they wrote about me? Are you kidding?

    Since you’re asking me, I’d say no. It’s better when one remains cordial in a discussion.

    Oh, and I think there should be an “on” after “comment.” 😉

    -Q

  17. 17
    HeKS says:

    I agree with Querius.

    G’moe, you may not like that Barry drew attention to your faulty reasoning in the OP, but he was not rude or condemnatory. On the other hand, your tone has been routinely off-putting and you write with a degree of arrogance and self-assuredness that far exceeds your grasp of the relevant issues.

    If you don’t want to be made an object lesson, consider the criticisms of people who obviously have more familiarity with the subject matter and adjust your arguments to address the actual position of your opponents rather than blithely powering on with your misunderstandings, strawman arguments and irrelevancies.

    If you take that approach you will likely find that people are far more willing to have real discussions with you and answer questions they think are asked in good faith as opposed to ones that seem to be rooted in a determined ignorance. As I said in the other thread, when I ended the discussion with you I did so because you appeared to me to be trolling rather than having a serious discussion … and that’s not at all an interpretation that I’m typically inclined to make. And, to be honest, I’m not yet convinced that I was wrong.

  18. 18
    Vishnu says:

    Barry OP: #2. Deny that the only known cause of digital code where the provenance is actually known is intelligent agency. An obvious falsehood

    Option 4: he can bather on and on like RDFish/AIGuy about how the ID community cannot or has not defined what “intelligent” means, which is false.

  19. 19
    HeKS says:

    Guillermoe,

    In comment #4 your said that intelligent design by humans is…

    the most plausible [i.e. the best] explanation to Stonehenge.

    In light of this, can you please provide me with a definitive and true account of who the (probably human) individuals were who built it, what purpose it was built for, and what methods were employed in building it?

    Please note, I don’t want any speculative answers here. I want the true and definitive account of exactly what happened, how it happened, and why it happened.

    Can you give me these answers?

  20. 20
    Vishnu says:

    Guillermoe: Choose one example and prove it.

    It’s not about “proof”. It about inference to the best explanation.

    Choose one biological feature you like and and tell me what ID explains of it.

    A coded information system, for one. One of these makes up the DNA/Ribosome replicator. Coded information is one of the things SETI (the “Search for Extra Terrestrial Intelligence“) is looking for. Why? Because as far as we know, it is a hallmark of intelligence. I.e, intelligent design.

    From SETI’s website:

    How do you know if you’ve detected an intelligent, extraterrestrial signal?

    The main feature distinguishing signals produced by a transmitter from those produced by natural processes is their spectral width, i.e. how much room on the radio dial do they take up? Any signal less than about 300 Hz wide must be, as far as we know, artificially produced. Such narrow-band signals are what all SETI experiments look for. Other tell-tale characteristics include a signal that is completely polarized or the existence of coded information on the signal.

    http://www.seti.org/faq

    When you look at a DNA/Ribosome replicator you’re looking at coded information “right in the face.”

  21. 21
    Mark Frank says:

    The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy on abduction:

    the exact form as well as the normative status of abduction are still matters of controversy.

    In other words abductive reasoning is unclear and not necessarily valid. It is a good description of how we often reason in practice but that does not mean that it is valid reasoning. In particular some notorious fallacies can be described as abductive reasoning. The legal profession are famously prone to this (Barry?) e.g the Prosecutor’s Fallacy.

    One of the problems with abductive reasoning is defining what makes an explanation a good (or in Barry’s words “plausible”) explanation. The best way to get to grips with it is a Bayesian analysis. It is tempting to equate “plausible” with “Prob(O|E) is close to 1” where O is the observation and E is the explanation. This would mean that an omnipotent designer was the best explanation for all observations. This omits the other half of the Bayesian analysis which is Prob(E).

    Humans are an excellent explanation of Stonehenge because both P(O|E) and P(E) are high. P(O|E) is based on observation of current human behaviour. P(E) is based on our knowledge of history.

    Aliens are a much poorer explanation because P(E) is low – we have no independent evidence there were aliens on earth at that time – and P(O|E) is undefined because we know nothing about the abilities or motives of the proposed aliens.

    ID is like the aliens but worse. We have no idea what E is – just a rather vague allusion to “intelligence”. If we are talking about life then this intelligence must have been functioning 4 billion years ago which makes P(E) extremely low and P(O|E) totally undefined.

  22. 22
    kairosfocus says:

    MF: Pardon, but there are people who debate the wider legitimacy of inductive reasoning and even first principles of reason. Where science as an institution, management, common sense thought and much more rely implicitly on induction including abductive reasoning. If you wish to overturn everything that is significantly objected to you throw out baby, bathwater and bath-pan alike. Rather, I suggest to you that abductive reasoning is a legitimate framework for inductive reasoning, which supports conclusions and on a case by case basis can be strong indeed, though there will always be cases where the support is too weak to rely on. In the case of the core design inference on FSCO/I we have now trillions and growing cases, observed. On direct inspection uniformly FSCO/I results from intelligently directed contingency, design. E.g. your post was designed, it is not lucky noise on the Internet. The needle in haystack cosmos scale restricted blind search resources analysis shows why that is plausible, as a tiny blind sample of a very large pop of possibilities will with high confidence reflect the bulk, not deeply isolated rare zones. Which by virtue of needing well matched properly arranged and coupled parts, FSCO/I will be. All this, you know or long since should have known. Please, think afresh. KF

  23. 23
    Upright BiPed says:

    MF at 21,

    The alternative Mark is to do as you do; simply (deliberately choose to) ignore the physical evidence that the encoding of information at the origin of life required physical conditions that would not appear on earth again until the recording of language and mathematics – and prefer instead to hold a belief in a mysterious material process that no one has the slightest clue ever existed because it left no traces of its existence. Your P(O|E) and P(E) are empty. Feel free to delude yourself that you are taking an informed and rational position.

  24. 24
    kairosfocus says:

    PS: Do you seriously intend for us to accept of your intelligence, that it is “a rather vague allusion” — as opposed to a trait that is often manifested in phenomena such as the FSCO/I in your comment? That seems rather self referential and undermining.

    PPS: As for the demand for independent, separate knowledge of responsible intelligences, first you know or should know that the remote past of origins is unobservable and we seek to reconstruct a reasonable model on its traces in the present through applying causes known to have capability of such effects on observation. So, you are either saying let us abandon origins science studies or you are being selectively hyperskeptical. As, you are obviously committed to the a priori evolutionary materialist narrative, per long track record, it is the latter. Instead, I put it to you that so long as we cannot rule out the reasonable possibility of potential designers at relevant times and places which happen to be beyond our observation, it is question begging to demand what you know is tantamount to such ruling out. Further, given the strength of FSCO/I as a reliable sign of design and the needle in haystack blind search challenge to get such high contingency and functional specificity by blind chance and mechanical necessity, the presence of FSCO/I in traces from that past is actually credible empirical evidence for the very existence of designers that you do not wish to darken the door of your ideology. Let’s not forget, the cell has digital — discrete-state — codes, algorithms (step by step finite execution sequences that attain discernible target states or results) and executing machinery in it.

  25. 25
    Joe says:

    G’moe:

    By the way, my biggest claim against ID is that there is no natural feature for which you can give a useful explanation from ID (I mean, an explanation of how it came to be).

    ID is NOT about the how. How it came to be is separate from whether or not it was intelligently designed. Determining whether or not it was designed comes first. Only after we have determined it was intelligently designed do we care about the designer and/or the processes used.

    That is how science operates and it is very telling the G’moe is ignorant of that.

  26. 26
    Joe says:

    Mark Frank- what type of reasoning does evolutionism use? It isn’t inductive and it isn’t abductive, so what is it?

    As for independent evidence, what is that? Does Mark think that we actually have to observe the designer? We don’t know if humans from thousands of years ago could design and build Stonehenge. We cannot test that claim. Yet, just because there were human remains around the site, which could have been there well after the fact, we say humans didit.

    But I digress-

    The evidence for ID from biology is independent from the evidence of design from cosmology.

  27. 27
    Joe says:

    G’moe:

    I know humans designed Stonehenge because I have SO MUCH KNOWLEDGE about what humans built ans SO MUCH EVIDENCE about the existence of humans that it turns it really really really in the most plausible explanation to Stonehenge.

    A detective investigating a death comes to the inference it was a murder. The detective goes to his boss and says- “This is a murder and I know who did it- it was a human!” Do you think the boss would be impressed?

    Does G’moe grasp the simple fact that it took many, many years of investigation and research of Stonehenge just to come up the vague notion of “humans didit”?

    Have you seen the designer design, as I have seen humans built?

    I, and many other humans, have made lightning. By G’moe’s “logic” all lightning is man-made.

    As I have said before, G’moe is not interested in science as it requires absolute proof. That would mean that G’moe cannot be an evolutionist because evolutionism doesn’t have anything. Perhaps that is why G’moe is so angry.

  28. 28
    Vishnu says:

    Mark Frank: In other words abductive reasoning is unclear and not necessarily valid.

    And yet you employ it every day or your life. You must, or else you would die.

  29. 29
    Barry Arrington says:

    Joe’s question @ 26 is apt. Mark, how would you characterize the mode of reasoning when scientists attempt to reconstruct events in the distant past and attempt to determine whether the blind watchmaker evolutionary models is correct: 1. Deductive; 2. Inductive; 3. Abductive; 4. Other? Please explain your answer. It seems to me that abductive mode is inescapable when the inquiry is into non-replicable distant events.

  30. 30
    Mark Frank says:

    #28 Vishnu

    And yet you employ it every day or your life. You must, or else you would die.

    That is probably true (depending on how you define “abductive”). As I said it is a good description of how we often reason in practice and it is a useful heuristic. But that does not mean it always valid.

  31. 31

    Joe asks:

    Mark Frank- what type of reasoning does evolutionism use? It isn’t inductive and it isn’t abductive, so what is it?

    To paraphrase Doyle, once you eliminate the ideologically unacceptable, whatever remains, no matter how absurd, must be the truth.

  32. 32
    Mark Frank says:

    #29 Barry

    I am not saying abductive reasoning is always invalid. I am just saying it is loosely defined and not necessarily valid. The way to find out if a specific example is valid is to break it down in an a Bayesian fashion.

    When reconstructing an evolutionary past I would say that scientists are doing two things which correspond to my Bayesian analysis:

    They are proposing explanations that

    1) might well have happened – the prior probability is acceptable

    2) would have a good chance of producing what we observe – the likelihood is acceptable

    Whether you want to call that abductive reasoning is up to you.
    2)

  33. 33
    Box says:

    Evolutionism by deductive inference:

    1. Science accepts only natural causes.
    2. Blind watchmaker evolution is the only naturalistic explanation.
    ———
    3. Blind watchmaker evolution is scientifically true.

  34. 34
    Vishnu says:

    Mark Frank: That is probably true (depending on how you define “abductive”).

    Well, of course, anything can be true or false depending how you define terms. But you can start here from these:

    From Wikipedia “Abductive Reasoning”:

    Abductive reasoning (abduction) allows inferring a as an explanation of b. Because of this inference, abduction allows the precondition a to be abduced from the consequence b. Deductive reasoning and abductive reasoning thus differ in the direction in which a rule like “a entails b” is used for inference. As such, abduction is formally equivalent to the logical fallacy of affirming the consequent (or Post hoc ergo propter hoc) because of multiple possible explanations for b. For example, in a billiard game, after glancing and seeing the eight ball moving towards us, we may abduce that the cue ball struck the eight ball. The strike of the cue ball would account for the movement of the eight ball. It serves as a hypothesis that explains our observation. Given the many possible explanations for the movement of the eight ball, our abduction does not leave us certain that the cue ball in fact struck the eight ball, but our abduction, still useful, can serve to orient us in our surroundings. Despite many possible explanations for any physical process that we observe, we tend to abduce a single explanation (or a few explanations) for this process in the expectation that we can better orient ourselves in our surroundings and disregard some possibilities.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Abductive_reasoning

    From the Wikipedia “Scientific Method”:

    Abductive reasoning (also called abduction,[1] abductive inference[2] or retroduction[3]) is a form of logical inference that goes from an observation to a hypothesis that accounts for the observation, ideally seeking to find the simplest and most likely explanation. In abductive reasoning, unlike in deductive reasoning, the premises do not guarantee the conclusion. One can understand abductive reasoning as “inference to the best explanation”.[4] The fields of law,[5] computer science, and artificial intelligence research[6] renewed interest in the subject of abduction. Diagnostic expert systems frequently employ abduction…

    1. Abduction (or retroduction). Guessing, inference to explanatory hypotheses for selection of those best worth trying. From abduction, Peirce distinguishes induction as inferring, on the basis of tests, the proportion of truth in the hypothesis. Every inquiry, whether into ideas, brute facts, or norms and laws, arises from surprising observations in one or more of those realms (and for example at any stage of an inquiry already underway). All explanatory content of theories comes from abduction, which guesses a new or outside idea so as to account in a simple, economical way for a surprising or complicative phenomenon. Oftenest, even a well-prepared mind guesses wrong. But the modicum of success of our guesses far exceeds that of sheer luck and seems born of attunement to nature by instincts developed or inherent, especially insofar as best guesses are optimally plausible and simple in the sense, said Peirce, of the “facile and natural”, as by Galileo’s natural light of reason and as distinct from “logical simplicity”. Abduction is the most fertile but least secure mode of inference. Its general rationale is inductive: it succeeds often enough and, without it, there is no hope of sufficiently expediting inquiry (often multi-generational) toward new truths.[91] Coordinative method leads from abducing a plausible hypothesis to judging it for its testability[92] and for how its trial would economize inquiry itself.[93] Peirce calls his pragmatism “the logic of abduction”.[94] His pragmatic maxim is: “Consider what effects that might conceivably have practical bearings you conceive the objects of your conception to have. Then, your conception of those effects is the whole of your conception of the object”.[88] His pragmatism is a method of reducing conceptual confusions fruitfully by equating the meaning of any conception with the conceivable practical implications of its object’s conceived effects – a method of experimentational mental reflection hospitable to forming hypotheses and conducive to testing them. It favors efficiency. The hypothesis, being insecure, needs to have practical implications leading at least to mental tests and, in science, lending themselves to scientific tests. A simple but unlikely guess, if uncostly to test for falsity, may belong first in line for testing. A guess is intrinsically worth testing if it has instinctive plausibility or reasoned objective probability, while subjective likelihood, though reasoned, can be misleadingly seductive. Guesses can be chosen for trial strategically, for their caution (for which Peirce gave as example the game of Twenty Questions), breadth, and incomplexity.[95] One can hope to discover only that which time would reveal through a learner’s sufficient experience anyway, so the point is to expedite it; the economy of research is what demands the leap, so to speak, of abduction and governs its art.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scientific_method

    Without abduction, science wouldn’t even get off the ground because it is integral in the formation of hypothesis.

  35. 35

    Definition Deficit Disorder. When reasoning you’re happy to employ anywhere else leads you to a conclusion in one area you dislike, question the definition of the reasoning.

  36. 36
    Mark Frank says:

    #34 Vishnu

    It amuses me that the ID community disparage Wikipedia so much when it refers to ID and then quote from it extensively when its suits them. Actually I think Wikipedia is pretty good but it is an encyclopedia not an in-depth analysis. If you look at the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy article you will find a much more rigorous discussion of the different definitions of abduction and their weaknesses.

    However, I don’t want to make a big deal of the looseness of the definition. I fully accept that it describes a related modes of inference that are widely used in science and elsewhere, are often the only practical approach, and frequently lead to correct inferences. The important point is abduction is not necessarily valid (note the Wikipedia article says that abduction is formally equivalent to the logical fallacy of affirming the consequent) and the best way to explore whether a specific instance is valid is to do a Bayesian analysis.

  37. 37
    Joe says:

    Mark Frank- we quote wikipedia because as far as we can tell it is a materialist’s holy authority.

  38. 38
    Mung says:

    Guillermoe:

    What is an intelligent cause exactly?

    LOL! Good one!

  39. 39
    Mung says:

    Mark Frank:

    I am not saying abductive reasoning is always invalid. I am just saying it is loosely defined and not necessarily valid. The way to find out if a specific example is valid is to break it down in an a Bayesian fashion.

    To borrow a question from Barry, is Bayesian analysis 1. Deductive; 2. Inductive; 3. Abductive; 4. Other?

  40. 40
    Mark Frank says:

    #39 Mung

    Other – it is the justification of all stochastic inference – so it can be applied to both inductive and abductive inference.

  41. 41
    Mung says:

    Mark, I didn’t ask about it’s applications I asked about it’s basis. Upon what basis is Bayesian analysis the justification of all stochastic inference?

    In what way is Bayesian analysis neither dedective, inductive, nor abductive? More importantly, how is it so in such a manner as to establish it as the justification of all stochastic inference?

  42. 42
    Mark Frank says:

    #41 Mung

    This is a hell of a question to answer in a single comment. Can I assume you know what Bayesian inference is? The key point about it is that assesses the probability of the explanation given the observation – which is what you really want to know. Abductive inference is a vaguer term but in many instances it simply does not attempt to assess the probability of the explanation. It does straight from “this is the best explanation” to “therefore we have good reason to believe it is the explanation” without the intermediate step of assessing the probability. By comparing specific instances of abductive inference to Bayesian inference it is possible to identify to what extent it does answer the key question “how probably is the explanation?” and therefore to what extent it is justified.

    I am less certain about the relationship between Bayesian inference and induction (but that was not the main point of the OP). Eliot Sober, for example, has argues that Bayesian inference provides a basis for inductive inferences and I am somewhat convinced.

  43. 43
    HeKS says:

    @Mark Frank #36

    It amuses me that the ID community disparage Wikipedia so much when it refers to ID and then quote from it extensively when its suits them.

    I’m not sure why it amuses you. It’s not like there’s anything hypocritical in it. The fact that Wikipedia articles on politically and ideologically charged topics tend to be inundated with ideologues doesn’t mean it can’t be reasonably accurate on less controversial issues.

    However, I don’t want to make a big deal of the looseness of the definition. I fully accept that it describes a related modes of inference that are widely used in science and elsewhere, are often the only practical approach, and frequently lead to correct inferences. The important point is abduction is not necessarily valid

    But surely you recognize that ID readily acknowledges this, right? For example, in the comment thread that this OP was taken from, in my discussion with Guillermoe, I made the following statements:

    ID is conservative in making a design inference. It makes a design inference when it finds the observable hallmarks of intelligent agency and where no naturalistic mechanisms are known to be capable of producing the effect in question. Furthermore, the design inference is always made tentatively, so that it is based on the best scientific knowledge we have in the present but is subject to revision if naturalistic mechanisms are found in the future.

    Abductive arguments are always held tentatively because they cannot be as certain as deductive arguments, but they are a perfectly valid form of argumentation and their conclusions are legitimate as long as the premises remain true, because they are a statement about the current state of our knowledge and the evidence rather than deductive statements about reality.

    a design inference, … being the result of an abductive argument, is always held tentatively

  44. 44
    Vishnu says:

    Gawd, the imbicles

  45. 45
    Mung says:

    Mark @ 42.

    Well, thanks for trying 🙂 I appreciate your comment.

    I’m no expert or authority on Bayesian analysis. I’m a simple guy, like Bill O, but not as rich.

    But there are some things I do know.

    Take this article on Wikipedia:

    Informally, two kinds of logical reasoning can be distinguished in addition to formal deduction: induction and abduction.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Logical_reasoning

    So when someone comes along and claims to have a found a form of logical reasoning that falls outside these three, it arouses my curiosity. Even more so when I am told that this other way of logical reasoning provides the justification for some of these ways of logical reasoning.

    Mung:

    To borrow a question from Barry, is Bayesian analysis 1. Deductive; 2. Inductive; 3. Abductive; 4. Other?

    4. Other would seem to be equivalent to illogical reasoning.

    Mark Frank:

    Other – it is the justification of all stochastic inference – so it can be applied to both inductive and abductive inference.

    When you say “Other,” you don’t mean that it falls outside the remit of logical reasoning do you?

    Let me lay out my thinking as precisely as I can.

    Bayesian analysis/inference is a form of logical reasoning.

    The forms of logical reasoning are deduction, induction and abduction.

    Therefore, Bayesian analysis/inference is either deductive, inductive, or abductive.

    That’s how my mind works. Simple. Logical.

    What’s wrong with my argument, and how can you say “other” and still keep a straight face?

    c.f.:

    http://www.fibonicci.com/logical-reasoning/

  46. 46
    tjguy says:

    Box @13 says:

    Evolutionism by deductive inference:

    1. Science accepts only natural causes.
    2. Blind watchmaker evolution is the only naturalistic explanation.
    ———
    3. Blind watchmaker evolution is scientifically true.

    Box, you hit it right on!!

    It really doesn’t matter what the evidence points to, how incredible the design is, or whether it even defies common sense. There is no way to change these guys’ minds because they have redefined science to exclude God. Newton believed it was altogether reasonable to invoke the Creator as an explanation for the solar system. But nowadays, he would not qualify for any teaching job in any secular university.

    It’s simply a worldview issue.

    If it weren’t for their worldview or philosophy of science, not one of them, in their right mind, would ever dream of saying that interdependent codes, software, and machines do NOT point to intelligence! Not one of them!

    BUT, since they only grant the existence of natural processes, that is the only answer their worldview affords them. No matter how irrational it may look to us, they feel justified in their faith in these natural processes because they think there is no God. Logic then tells them it has to all come from dumb blind random purposeless natural processes.

    Their worldview is up to whatever evidence we throw against them. Because, in their minds, there is only one possible cause for anything and everything we see.

    And, the fact that they cannot explain how natural processes could have created it all does not bother them because they have strong faith that in the future, “science” will vindicate them and they will figure it all out.

    Their worldview enables Guillermo to attribute design to natural processes that have NOT been demonstrated to do what they claim they do.

    The same worldview also enables Mark F. to question the clear logic of abductive reasoning which he admittedly uses every day and even evolutionists use liberally when they try and interpret the past. So when he questions it, he cuts off the branch he is sitting on. He wants us to believe that evolutionists can use it, but IDers/creationists can not.

    It enables these guys to claim to use reason even though their worldview cannot account for the existence of reason itself.

    Box is right! No evidence can persuade them because they will just say “Well whadya know. Who woulda thunk evolution could do something like this? But here it is so now we know.”

    The paradigm is untouchable.

  47. 47
    Vishnu says:

    Mark Frank:

    #34 Vishnu

    It amuses me that the ID community disparage Wikipedia

    I’ve never done that.

    … so much when it refers to ID and then quote from it extensively when its suits them.

    You argue like a squirrelly little girl.

    Actually I think Wikipedia is pretty good

    Then what are you complaining to me about?

    … but it is an encyclopedia not an in-depth analysis.

    In my estimation, given your reasoning powers, it’s as good as you deserve.

    If you look at the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy article you will find a much more rigorous discussion of the different definitions of abduction and their weaknesses.

    Nevertheless, the essence remains the same: without “guessing” or pragmatic analysis, no scientific hypothesis would ever get off the ground. It couldn’t. For obvious reasons: human inquiry transcends the scientific method, and all hypothesis generation depends on abduction reasoning.

    Duh.

    However, I don’t want to make a big deal of the looseness of the definition.

    You’ve already demonstrated yourself to be a mediocre intellgence at best.

    I’ve lost interest.

  48. 48
    Mark Frank says:

    #47 Vishnu

    You argue like a squirrelly little girl.
    ….
    In my estimation, given your reasoning powers, it’s as good as you deserve.
    ….
    You’ve already demonstrated yourself to be a mediocre intellgence at best.

    I have been subjected to a number of insults over the years while commenting on UD but this is one of the more extreme cases. I am wonder if Barry might comment?

  49. 49
    Guillermoe says:

    groovamos:

    “If you are a materialist..”

    I am not a materialist. I am a reading-comprehensionist. ID claims it can explain “certain features of the universe and life”.

    I just want to konw the explanation.

    “So I assume that since you (apparently) argue against design that is intelligent, you are for design that is stupid”

    No, I don’t. You see what you do? Instead of answering the question, you put words in my mouth and then explain why the words YOU put in my mouth are wrong.

    The questions remain unanswered:

    What is an intelligent cause exactly? How did an intelligent cause produce life on Earth?

  50. 50
    Guillermoe says:

    HeKS

    “G’moe, you may not like that Barry drew attention to your faulty reasoning in the OP”

    What I don’t like is faulty reasoning to claim someone else’s reasoning is faulty.

    Since the point here is abductive reasoning, let’s try it a little bit.

    Fact: I see a white horse.

    Question: Why is the horse white?

    Possible answer: because horses are always white.

    Analysis:
    1) If horses are always white, an animal that’s not white can’t be a horse.
    2) If an animal that’s not white can’t be a horse, to be horse an animal has to be white.
    3) If to be a horse an animal has to be white, horses are always white.

    Anyone see the fault? How do we correct this?

    Replace “horses” with “complex life” and “white” with “designed” and guess what we’ll get.

  51. 51
    Guillermoe says:

    HeKS:

    “can you please provide me with a definitive and true account of who the (probably human) individuals were who built it, what purpose it was built for, and what methods were employed in building it?”

    I already answered this:

    Even if I can’t identify the indivuduals that built Stonhenge, just by knowing they were humans I can tell a lot about them. We all know what humans are exactly. I can tell you their shape, how their physiology works, some of their habits, etc.

    I didn’t ask for the id of the intelligent cause, but for any information we have about it (apart from “it’s intelligent”, which in the context of ID means “it’s was capable of producing life”).

    “If you don’t want to be made an object lesson, consider the criticisms of people who obviously have more familiarity with the subject matter and adjust your arguments to address the actual position of your opponents rather than blithely powering on with your misunderstandings, strawman arguments and irrelevancies.”

    Intersting. If I am just asking question, I would say that misunderstandings come from your lack of answers you claim you have.

  52. 52
    Guillermoe says:

    Vishnu

    “When you look at a DNA/Ribosome replicator you’re looking at coded information “right in the face.””

    And what’s the explanation ID gives for DNA/ribosome replicators?

    Saying that a DNA/ribosome replicator is code information is describing it (something that is obtained from genetics and molecular biology), not explaining it.

    You didn’t provide an explanation for DNA/ribosome replicators and all you say about them is knowledge that DOES NOT come from the field of ID.

    Why don’t you try again?

  53. 53
    Guillermoe says:

    Joe:

    “How it came to be is separate from whether or not it was intelligently designed.”

    No, it’s not. In fact, to determine something is designed you need one of three things:

    1) knowledge of designed and not-designed objects to compare them (in the case of life, we should have designed and undesigned life, and we don’t)
    2) knowledge of the process of design
    3) knowledge of the designer

    Since 1 is impossible to obtain, that leaves you with 2 and 3 or simply ignoring the chance that you are incurring in a phallacy, as explained by MF in 21 and me in 50.

    “ID is NOT about the how.”

    Then it doesn’t explain anything. Take two examples of features in living organisms and try to say something about them that is not the exact same phrase (like “it was designed”) and it is not knowledge produce by a field of science that is not ID. If you can’t do that, then ID doesn’t explain certain features of life, as it claims.

  54. 54
    Guillermoe says:

    Joe:

    “A detective investigating a death comes to the inference it was a murder. The detective goes to his boss and says- “This is a murder and I know who did it- it was a human!” Do you think the boss would be impressed?”

    Much more than if the detective says “I know the cause of death in this case: it’s something that kills!”.

    By saying “A human” I am saying much more that you saying “Something intelligent”. Specially when, by intelligent you mean “capable of producing what I am observing”.

    “I, and many other humans, have made lightning. By G’moe’s “logic” all lightning is man-made.”

    Wrong, again. By your logic, it is so, because you invent explanations and consider them valid just for their supposed logical adequacy.

    Since I prefer to rely on evidence, first I should have evidence that a human-made spark is totally comparable to lightning.

    It is funny that you have just said this when arguments for ID include “DNA is a code” (note that “code” in “genetic code” has a different meaning than “code” alone), “living organisms are machines”, etc.

    One argument against this is “that we do it, doesn’t mean it always have to be obtained as we do it”. And now you are saying I might be wrong for not taking that into account? Ironic, uh?

  55. 55
    Guillermoe says:

    Box:

    “Evolutionism by deductive inference:

    1. Science accepts only natural causes.
    2. Blind watchmaker evolution is the only naturalistic explanation.
    ———
    3. Blind watchmaker evolution is scientifically true.”

    Are you aware that an article in this blog a few days ago stated that science “DOES NOT PROVE THINGS TRUE”, that science provides “the most plausible explanation”

    Now, rewrite:

    1. Science accepts only natural causes.
    2. Evolution is the only naturalistic explanation.
    ———
    3. Evolution is scientifically the most plausible explanation.

    Doesn’t seem wrong now, uh?

  56. 56
    Joe says:

    G’moe- it is obvious that you don’t know what you are talking about. All we need to determine intelligent design is knowledge of cause and effect relationships.

    We do not need to know who the designer was- that always comes after we have determined design. The same goes for the process. Obviously you are totally ignorant of science. And seeing that you think that IC has been shown to arise without a designer, you are also ignorant of reality.

    By saying “A human” I am saying much more that you saying “Something intelligent”.

    That is your opinion and only an opinion.

    Specially when, by intelligent you mean “capable of producing what I am observing”.

    Again by saying it was intelligent eliminates entire classes of causes. But then again you seem to like being ignorant.

  57. 57
    Joe says:

    G’moe:

    Since I prefer to rely on evidence, first I should have evidence that a human-made spark is totally comparable to lightning.

    You don’t know what evidence is. And we can make much more than a spark. We can make lightning.

    It is funny that you have just said this when arguments for ID include “DNA is a code” (note that “code” in “genetic code” has a different meaning than “code” alone), “living organisms are machines”, etc.

    LoL! The genetic code does not have a different meaning than “code”. THe word “genetic” just specifies the type pf code. And your position cannot explain that code. No evidence…

  58. 58
    Joe says:

    For G’moe to ignore, again:

    Reality dictates that in the absence of direct observation or designer input the ONLY possible way to make any scientific determination about the designer(s) or specific process(es) used, is by studying the design and all relevant evidence. That is how it works with archaeology, forensic science and SETI. And only an ignoramus on an agenda would try to make ID approach it differently, and here is G’moe.

  59. 59
    Joe says:

    Take two examples of features in living organisms and try to say something about them that is not the exact same phrase (like “it was evolved”) and it is not knowledge produce by a field of science that is not evolutionism. If you can’t do that, then evolutionism doesn’t explain certain features of life, as it claims.

  60. 60
    Upright BiPed says:

    Guillermo,
     
    Are you familiar with the general axiom that information requires a material medium in order to be exchanged?
     
    In other words, written language requires something like an arrangement of ink and paper to serve as a medium, an ant’s pheromone requires an arrangement of a particular chemical compound to serve as a medium, spoken language and animal vocalization require an arrangement of variations in air pressure to serve as a medium, a computer program requires an arrangement of electromagnetic impulses to serve as a medium, when an animal uses vision its optical faculties transcribe light waves to neural impulses that are used as a medium sent to its visual cortex, etc., etc., etc.
     
    You might even turn the thing around as say that in order to exchange information, either the matter or energy within the cosmos must be used as a medium, or else, there is no other means to exchange it.
     
    Are you familiar with this concept?

  61. 61
    HeKS says:

    @G’moe #50

    Since the point here is abductive reasoning, let’s try it a little bit.

    Fact: I see a white horse.

    Question: Why is the horse white?

    Possible answer: because horses are always white.

    Analysis:
    1) If horses are always white, an animal that’s not white can’t be a horse.
    2) If an animal that’s not white can’t be a horse, to be horse an animal has to be white.
    3) If to be a horse an animal has to be white, horses are always white.

    Anyone see the fault? How do we correct this?

    Replace “horses” with “complex life” and “white” with “designed” and guess what we’ll get.

    Does anyone see the fault? The? G’moe, it’s hard to even count the faults, as usual. What you’ve tried to do here is completely nonsensical.

    First of all, I thought we were going to discuss an abductive argument that makes a tentative inference to a best explanation, not a circular argument that makes a deductive conclusion that is immune to future evidence.

    Nothing that you just wrote has any relation to either the form of abductive arguments in general or to the form of an abductive inference to design in particular.

    You try to suggest that if we take your bizarre attempt at a parody argument and “Replace ‘horses’ with ‘complex life’ and ‘white’ with ‘designed'” we will somehow have something akin to the design inference. This is completely ridiculous. Apart from your failure to accurate reflect the nature and form of an abductive argument, “white” is an adjective here, not a cause. Whiteness cannot stand in a creative causal relationship to anything, but intelligent design can and does stand in creative causal relation to things all the time. A statement like, “The horse began to exist because it was white” is nonsensical. Conversely, a statement like, “Complex life began to exist because it was designed” makes perfect sense.

    This is the problem with you Guillermoe … like I said in comment 17, you write with a degree of arrogance and self-assuredness that far exceeds your grasp of the relevant issues. In your own little fantasy world you think you’re laying bare our absurdities, but in the real world you’re just continuing to demonstrate with reckless abandon that you have no understanding of these issues or how to make a proper argument, and no ability to accurately analyze the arguments of your opponents.

  62. 62
    HeKS says:

    @G’moe #51

    Congratulations Guillermoe. This one might earn you a new OP.

    In comment #4 you said that intelligent design by humans is…

    the most plausible [i.e. the best] explanation to Stonehenge.

    You also said this:

    my biggest claim against ID is that there is no natural feature for which you can give a useful explanation from ID (I mean, an explanation of how it came to be)

    This issue popped up again in your comment #11:

    Choose one biological feature you like and and tell me what ID explains of it.

    You have made this, in one form another, numerous times in numerous threads.

    In light of the fact that you said human intelligent design is the best explanation for Stonehenge, in comment #19 I asked if you could please provide me with a definitive account of who the (probably human) individuals were who built it, what purpose it was built for, and what methods were employed in building it.

    You could not provide an answer for any of these three criteria. Beyond thinking that the designers of Stonehenge were most likely humans, you could not give any definitive account of their identity, or why they designed Stonehenge, or how they built Stonehenge.

    Instead, you merely asserted:

    just by knowing they were humans I can tell a lot about them. We all know what humans are exactly. I can tell you their shape, how their physiology works, some of their habits, etc.

    Of course, you’ve already admitted that you don’t know that Stonehenge was designed by humans rather than, say, aliens. All you can say is that you think design by humans is, by far, the most plausible (i.e. best) explanation for Stonehenge.

    Furthermore, whatever else you may think you know about humans, such as their shape, physiology and habits, those details cannot provide you with a clear account of the specific identity of the designers, or why they designed Stonehenge, or a useful explanation of how they built it. Nor are those features of humanity capable of being derived from the structure and existence of Stonehenge itself. And since you don’t know that humans designed Stonehenge, you cannot say with certainty that the designers of Stonehenge have the shape, physiology and habits that you associate with humans.

    In fact, in recognizing that Stonehenge is the product of design, all you can say with certainty about the designers of Stonehenge is what is logically entailed by its very existence, namely, that the designers were intelligent and capable of somehow causing very large stones to conform to a specific pattern. This is so because the design inference can only provide us with insight into the minimum set of characteristics that the designer must possess rather than the maximum set of characteristics the designer might possess.

    So, to wrap this up, what we have here is you admitting that an abductive inference to human intelligent design is the best explanation for the existence of Stonehenge in spite of the fact that this inference to design cannot give any definitive answers as to the identity of the designers, the purpose for which it was conceived, or a useful explanation of how it was built (i.e. “how it came to be”).

    In admitting this you have finally said something that makes sense. Though you needed to be dragged to this point, you can benefit from this if you realize that the reason it is correct to say that intelligent design is the best explanation for Stonehenge in spite of the fact that it cannot give us definitive answers about the identity of its designers, its purpose or the methods by which it was built, is because intelligent design is a reference to agent causation, and agent causation is a different kind of explanation than mechanistic causation.

    If I look at my computer monitor and say that it is a product of intelligent design I’m making an appeal to agent causation as the best causal explanation for the existence of the monitor. I’m saying that the best causal explanation for how the monitor came to have its current configuration of parts allowing it to display images is that some intelligent agent used some method to get the parts to take that configuration so that it would achieve the desired function of displaying images. I don’t need to know exactly what method that intelligent agent used to get the parts to take that configuration (e.g. placed the components purely by hand, used tools, programmed a machine to place the parts, etc.) in order to infer that agent causation is the best explanation for the existence of the functioning monitor. The mere fact that the monitor consists of a complex arrangement of well-matched parts that are configured in such a way as to achieve a particular function is sufficient for me to conclude that intelligent design is the best explanation for its existence entirely independent of any knowledge of the precise methods used to build it.

    So, your repeated statements that Intelligent Design does not count as the best explanation for living things because it does not give us a definitive answer as to exactly what methods the designer used to cause the components to take the necessary configuration for life and function is simply a non-sequitur. To say that is to argue that Intelligent Design doesn’t count as the best explanation with respect to one category of explanation because it is not the type of explanation that falls into a different category of explanation. That is obviously completely wrong-headed.

    Once a design inference has been made, the question of how the designer happened to move this bit here and that bit there might be the subject of some curiosity, but it is not the most important issue (when agents with free will are involved there are often numerous ways to achieve the placement of parts and it may be impossible to get know the actual method used after the fact). Rather, the most important issue becomes how the individual parts relate to each other in order to achieve their intended function. Again, this is just like what happens when someone reverse-engineers some piece of technology. Their primary interest is not exactly what methods were used to place the components in the technology, but how the placement and state of the components relate to each other in order to allow the technology to achieve its intended function.

    Moving to a different issue…

    “If you don’t want to be made an object lesson, consider the criticisms of people who obviously have more familiarity with the subject matter and adjust your arguments to address the actual position of your opponents rather than blithely powering on with your misunderstandings, strawman arguments and irrelevancies.”

    Intersting. If I am just asking question, I would say that misunderstandings come from your lack of answers you claim you have.

    I answer your questions, Guillermoe. The problem is that you either ignore the answers, come back with different errors in place of the ones I’ve corrected, or don’t answer the questions I ask in order to either get a sense of what you’re really looking for or get you to realize, in answering it, that your question itself is misguided.

    An example of such a question was the one I asked you in comment #13, but its probably moot now, since I think the same point was better made with the present line of questioning.

  63. 63
    Vishnu says:

    Guillermoe

    Vishnu: “When you look at a DNA/Ribosome replicator you’re looking at coded information “right in the face.””

    Guillermoe: And what’s the explanation ID gives for DNA/ribosome replicators?

    You obviously missed my point. You asked a question, “Choose one biological feature you like and and tell me what ID explains of it.” SETI is looking for coded information because it is a hallmark of intelligence. Coded information is right there in DNA/ribosome replicator. What ID “explains of it” is that it is abductively the most reasonable view at this point to hold, that an intelligent source is the source of the DNA/ribosome system.

    If it is rational to think that the most plausible source of coded information from outer space is the product of intelligence as SETI abductively assumes, why is not proper to abductively conclude (tentatively, of course, given our current understanding of physics and chemistry) that the coded information in the DNA/ribosome replicator is the product of intelligence?

    Have you written a letter to SETI telling them why they are wrong in making such an assumption about coded information as being a plausible indicator of an intelligence source? If not, why not?

    Saying that a DNA/ribosome replicator is code information is describing it (something that is obtained from genetics and molecular biology), not explaining it.

    And by describing I associate it in all known instances where the origin of coded information is known, it always is the product of intelligence. That is a partial explanation.

    Why don’t you try again?

    I have said what I wanted to say. If you think there is something wrong with my reasoning, feel free to explain why.

  64. 64
    Mung says:

    Mark Frank, is Bayesian analysis/inference a form of logical reasoning or not?

    If it is not a form of logical reasoning is it a form of illogical reasoning?

    If it is a form of logical reasoning how does it fail to fall under the three categories of logical reasoning Barry set forth?

    Mung:

    To borrow a question from Barry, is Bayesian analysis 1. Deductive; 2. Inductive; 3. Abductive; 4. Other?

    Mark Frank:

    Other – it is the justification of all stochastic inference – so it can be applied to both inductive and abductive inference.

    You are either asserting that Bayesian analysis is illogical or that it is not illogical. So which is it?

  65. 65
    idismyth says:

    When side A resorts to defending their views by arguing the details and semantics of what type of reasoning is being used by side B, side A is on thin ice. Abductive? Deductive? LSD influenced? Does it really matter? If you can’t convince the lay person using simple English, you might as well give up.

  66. 66
    HeKS says:

    @idismyth #65

    Yes, it really does matter. There’s a reason why there’s a distinction between the different forms of logical argumentation. The type of argument someone is using directly impacts how certain or tentative the conclusion of the argument can or must be.

    For this reason, it’s important to understand that ID makes an abductive argument so that one does not attempt to argue against it on the basis of claims that it does not make in the first place, as Guillermoe has been doing for the past several days.

    If you try to argue against ID by claiming that its methods have failed to successfully prove beyond all possible doubt that something was designed, you are simply barking up the wrong tree. ID does not claim that it can prove that beyond all possible doubt, as the ability to do that is simply beyond what the nature of the ID argument can do. ID is making a claim as to what is the BEST explanation based on our current knowledge. It is not making a claim as to what is DEFINITELY the CORRECT explanation, immune to any possible future evidence.

    It’s also important to understand the different forms of argumentation so that you can realize that this aspect of ID (offering only the currently best explanation rather than the certainly correct one) is not a unique weakness of ID, since abductive reasoning is the form of reasoning in the historical sciences, among which Evolution is included, which uses the same form of argumentation.

  67. 67
    Vishnu says:

    Without abductive reasoning, science wouldn’t even get off the ground since abductive reasoning is integral to the formation of hypotheses. No hypotheses, no science.

Leave a Reply