Intelligent Design

Has The Skeptical Zone Finally Earned its Name

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Perhaps.  Its founder is preaching materialist heresy.

In a post over at The Skeptical Zone Elizabeth Liddle joins the ranks of our opponents who are finally admiting that biological design inferences are not invalid in principle.  She writes:

Has Barry finally realised that those of us who oppose the ideas of Intelligent Design proponents do not dispute that it is possible, in principle, to make a reasonable inference of design?  That rather our opposition is based on the evidence and argument advanced, not on some principled (or unprincipled!) objection to the entire project?

EL, welcome to the ranks of biological design theorists, by which I mean that group of people willing to follow the evidence for (or against) design in biology wherever it leads.

There is more good news.  EL quoted me when I set forth the following objection ID proponents often get:  “All scientific claims must employ methodological naturalism, and you violate the principle of methodological naturalism when you make a design inference in biology.”

EL writes:

Yes, indeed, Barry.  It is not a valid objection . . . There is nothing wrong with making a design inference in principle. We do it all the time, as IDists like to point out.  And there’s nothing wrong with making it in biology, at least in principle.  There is certainly nothing that violates the “principle of methodological naturalism when you make a design inference in biology”

There is even more good news.  EL rejects the idea that one most know who the designer is before one can infer design:

The objection to ID by people like me . . .  is not that it is impossible that terrestrial life was designed by an intelligent agent, nor that it would be necessarily impossible to discover that it was, nor even, I suggest, impossible to infer a designer even if we had no clue as to who the designer might be (although that might make it trickier).

She even agrees that biological design inferences can be made without invoking any supernatural agent:

If Barry means that we can only infer natural, not supernatural, design, he is absolutely correct

I have been saying biological ID infers merely “design” and not supernatural design for several years.  I am glad it has finally sunk it.

More good news.  EL quotes me again:  “You agree with us that it is the EVIDENCE that is important, and objections thrown up for the purpose of ruling that evidence out of court before it is even considered are invalid.”

And she agrees:

Yes, it is the EVIDENCE that is important,

Then she runs of the rails:

Of course, by the same token, nobody can claim that ID is false – it may well be true that life was designed by a supernatural designer

EL writes this sentence as if biological ID theory posits a supernatural designer.  Sigh.  Every prominent ID theorist has always (when speaking qua ID) said that it is a project to detect design, not supernatural design.

Then back to good news:

EL says she does not object to the broader ID project

. . . as stated in the UD FAQ:  In a broader sense, Intelligent Design is simply the science of design detection — how to recognize patterns arranged by an intelligent cause for a purpose. Design detection is used in a number of scientific fields, including anthropology, forensic sciences that seek to explain the cause of events such as a death or fire, cryptanalysis and the search for extraterrestrial intelligence (SETI). An inference that certain biological information may be the product of an intelligent cause can be tested or evaluated in the same manner as scientists daily test for design in other sciences.

Wow.  Yes, that is EL folks.  Don’t believe me, follow the link and check it out yourself.

As I write this her post has gotten over 750 comments, some of which are very interesting.

The first one is EL’s own:

And that’s my point, really – that it’s perfectly possible to test ID hypotheses (small case id I guess) because you can test specific predictions arising from specific hypothesised scenarios.

ID opponent Glen Davidson joins the bandwagon and even adds an area of biological design that has received too little attention:

It is done in biology in fact as well as in principle. Genetic engineering can often be detected, and certainly would be searched for in the case of any biologic warfare. I wouldn’t particularly disagree with Allan Miller so long as there is no context, but, within known context, we can find telltale evidence of genetic tampering or of domestication.

Our William J. Murray jumps in with this zinger:

REC and Moran say they can detect convincing indications of design by intelligence …. what are their definitions and methodology? I mean, isn’t that what you guys always ask ID advocates?

A heaping helping of hypocrisy anyone?  🙂

Our old foe Kantian Naturalist agrees with EL!

I concur with the general sentiments expressed here.

EL even comes up with a not-half-bad definition of “intelligence” for the “I” in ID.

an entity with a human-like type capacity to invent things

EL then writes:

I absolutely agree that inferring design does not require a supernatural hypothesis. That was one of the points I was making in the OP.

I am not quite sure how she squares that with what she wrote before (which seemed to imply that she believes the “D” in ID is always posited to be supernatural agent even though all ID proponents say otherwise):

Of course, by the same token, nobody can claim that ID is false – it may well be true that life was designed by a supernatural designer

KN makes an astute observation:

I also think, quite frankly, that Dembski and Behe are also methodological naturalists (on my suggestion of what that concept means), and this comes out in their refusal to identify the putative designer(s) with any deity or deities. ID is consistent with methodological naturalism — as well as consistent with metaphysical naturalism.

208 Replies to “Has The Skeptical Zone Finally Earned its Name

  1. 1
    Andre says:

    WoW

    Is it the 1st of April? I never? Is this quite possibly the opportunity to start a honest and open dialogue about design without the constant…. Who designed the designer nonsense?

    I certainly hope so.

  2. 2
    kairosfocus says:

    BA,

    Pardon me my doubts, especially given the trillion member observational base on the cause of functionally specific complex organisation and associated information (FSCO/I), backed up by the needle in haystack blind direct search and blind search for a golden search challenges.

    I suspect that we may be seeing recognition that one level of objection is too patently closed minded, and there is a retreat to the next bastion of selective — operative word — hyperskepticism.

    The test is, whether they will be willing to recognise the force of the vera causa principle in addressing causal explanations of things we cannot directly inspect. If vera causa is recognised, instantly the fact that per a trillion member base of observations and the needle in haystack challenge, FSCO/I is an empirically reliable marker . . . sign . . . of cause by intelligently directed configuration.

    The second test is like unto the first: whether these are willing to recognise that for rational discourse, warrant and knowledge to be, we must be responsibly and rationally significantly free.

    From these two hang a transformational change in how we address major scientific and general questions.

    So, let us see how tests 1 and 2 apply.

    KF

    PS: My point is borne out by how EL dismisses the design inference in her closing remarks:

    its [= ID’s] fallacious (in my view) conclusion that:

    …that certain features of the universe and of living things are best explained by an intelligent cause rather than an undirected process such as natural selection.

    Fallacious not because I assume that the “intelligent cause” is supernatural, but because the math and biochemistry simply do not support that inference. Even if it’s true.

    There is no biochemistry (and no thermodynamics behind it . . . ) that warrants the spontaneous emergence of smart gated, code using metabolic automata with embedded von Neumann kinematic self replication facilities, period. Like unto it the relevant math is in reality the combinational explosion implied by the FSCO/I involved, where the need for many correctly arranged, correct, correctly coupled parts sharply constrains functional clusters of configs to islands of function in the space of possible configs of the same parts. In simple terms, shaking up a bait bucket full of reel parts will never assemble a working ABU 6500 reel. That is where the needle in haystack search comes in, and it is closely tied to the statistical underpinnings of thermodynamics, that the predominant cluster of possible microstates prevails by virtue of statistical weight, of course unless constraints are imposed otherwise. Starting with Max, Maxwell’s demon.

  3. 3
    kairosfocus says:

    PPS: Those who wish to argue that mechanical parts don’t stick together, molecules do would be well advised to look again at the many technological devices around that do work precisely because mechanical parts can and do click and stick together. And compare the use of enzymes and ATP in promoting ever so many required biochemical reactions that are otherwise energetically unfavourable.

  4. 4
    Mapou says:

    Darwinists are feeling the heat. LOL.

    Eventually, they’ll claim that they have always been advocates of intelligent design. We IDiots were just too stupid to understand their theory. After all, the theory of evolution predicts everything, even intelligent design.

  5. 5
    Bob O'H says:

    EL writes this sentence as if biological ID theory posits a supernatural designer. Sigh. Every prominent ID theorist has always (when speaking qua ID) said that it is a project to detect design, not supernatural design.

    And yet Dr. Dembski famously wrote “Indeed, intelligent design is just the Logos theology of John’s Gospel restated in the idiom of information theory.” Now he’s moved on from ID, are you throwing him under the bus?

  6. 6
    phoodoo says:

    Bob,

    What do you mean he has moved on from ID?

  7. 7
    bornagain says:

    Dawkins himself said that inferring ‘top down’ Design is intuitive, i.e. Inferred not from the ‘bottom up’ parts themselves but from the ‘top down’ ‘purposeful arrangement of parts’ (Blind Watchmaker, Behe paraphrase)

    Life Reeks Of Design – Behe
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hdh-YcNYThY

    Yet he, of course, claims that the design he sees is merely an illusion:

    “Yet the living results of natural selection overwhelmingly impress us with the appearance of design as if by a master watchmaker, impress us with the illusion of design and planning.”
    Richard Dawkins – “The Blind Watchmaker” – 1986 – page 21

    Even atheist Francis Crick, co-discoverer of DNA, seems to have been particularly haunted by seeing this ‘illusion of design’ everywhere he looked in molecular biology:

    “Biologists must constantly keep in mind that what they see was not designed, but rather evolved.”
    Francis Crick – What Mad Pursuit

    “Organisms appear as if they had been designed to perform in an astonishingly efficient way, and the human mind therefore finds it hard to accept that there need be no Designer to achieve this”
    Francis Crick – What Mad Pursuit – p. 30

    Dawkins and Crick are certainly not alone in seeing this illusory ‘appearance of design’ in biology

    living organisms “appear to have been carefully and artfully designed”
    Lewontin

    “The appearance of purposefulness is pervasive in nature.”
    George Gaylord Simpson

    “I remember how frustrated I became when, as a young atheist, I examined specimens under the microscope. I would often walk away and try to convince myself that I was not seeing examples of extraordinary design, but merely the product of some random, unexplained mutations.”
    -Rick Oliver (‘Designed to Kill in a Fallen World.’)

    William Murray comments on how Atheists will try to suppress the truth of design in biology since it leads to God.

    WJM on the truth denialism issue (of militant atheists) – Sept. 13, 2015
    Excerpt: “Regardless of the overwhelming appearance of design in biology, it is possible that chance and natural law could have generated the appearance of design. That possibility of “deception” or “error” about the appearance of a thing is enough for them to deny the overwhelming evidence to the contrary.,,,
    IMO, Keiths et al use “bare possibility” as a means to justify their intellectual aversion to truth, because truth inexorably leads to God. They wish to deny God, and so they must avoid truth; avoiding truth means clinging to possibilities, terminologies, interpretations and philosophies that deny truth or redefines it.”
    http://www.uncommondescent.com.....ent-579896

    Moreover, even though atheists can’t demonstrate, nor even coherently explain, how a single protein of that ‘illusion of design’ in biology came about by unguided material processes, the elephant in the living room problem that is never addressed by atheists is much bigger than that.

    The elephant in the living problem is not how can unguided material processes possibly explain the origin of a single protein, but the unaddressed problem is “How in blue blazes do a billion-trillion proteins know how to keep a person alive for precisely a lifetime and not a moment longer?’

    The Unbearable Wholeness of Beings – Stephen L. Talbott – 2010
    Excerpt: Virtually the same collection of molecules exists in the canine cells during the moments immediately before and after death. But after the fateful transition no one will any longer think of genes as being regulated, nor will anyone refer to normal or proper chromosome functioning. No molecules will be said to guide other molecules to specific targets, and no molecules will be carrying signals, which is just as well because there will be no structures recognizing signals. Code, information, and communication, in their biological sense, will have disappeared from the scientist’s vocabulary.
    ,,, the question, rather, is why things don’t fall completely apart — as they do, in fact, at the moment of death. What power holds off that moment — precisely for a lifetime, and not a moment longer?
    Despite the countless processes going on in the cell, and despite the fact that each process might be expected to “go its own way” according to the myriad factors impinging on it from all directions, the actual result is quite different. Rather than becoming progressively disordered in their mutual relations (as indeed happens after death, when the whole dissolves into separate fragments), the processes hold together in a larger unity.
    http://www.thenewatlantis.com/.....-of-beings

    HOW BIOLOGISTS LOST SIGHT OF THE MEANING OF LIFE — AND ARE NOW STARING IT IN THE FACE – Stephen L. Talbott – May 2012
    http://www.netfuture.org/2012/May1012_184.html#2

    Body plans, contrary to neo-Darwinian presuppositions, simply are not reducible to DNA!
    http://www.uncommondescent.com.....ent-587726

    If a billion-trillion proteins dedicated to the singular purposeful task of keeping a person alive for precisely a lifetime and not a moment longer (Talbott) does not constitute an inference to ‘top down’ design, i.e. to seeing the ‘purposeful arrangement of parts’, then all reason is lost and the atheist is drifting about in an Alice in Wonderland world of profound insanity.

    One Body – animation – video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pDMLq6eqEM4

    It’s Really Not Rocket Science – Granville Sewell – November 16, 2015
    Excerpt: In a 2005 American Spectator article, Jay Homnick wrote:
    “It is not enough to say that design is a more likely scenario to explain a world full of well-designed things. It strikes me as urgent to insist that you not allow your mind to surrender the absolute clarity that all complex and magnificent things were made that way. Once you allow the intellect to consider that an elaborate organism with trillions of microscopic interactive components can be an accident… you have essentially “lost your mind.””
    ,,, Max Planck biologist W.E. Loennig once commented that Darwinism was a sort of “mass psychosis” — then he asked me, is that the right English word? I knew psychosis was some kind of mental illness, but wasn’t sure exactly what it was, so I looked it up in my dictionary when I returned home: “psychosis — a loss of contact with reality.” I wrote him that, yes, that was the right word….
    Loennig and Homnick are still right. Once you seriously consider the possibility that all the magnificent species in the living world, and the human body and the human brain, could be entirely the products of unintelligent forces, you have been in academia too long and have lost contact with reality — you have lost your mind.
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....00911.html

    Of related note to atheists having ‘lost their minds’: Humorously, many leading atheists in academia will absolutely insist that they have no mind and that they really don’t exist as real persons, i.e. insist that they are ‘illusions’.

    Atheists Don’t Really Exist:
    https://docs.google.com/document/d/14DktPLhEDt1rxJgUWbkpLCWuDZEJDz4xnrLLVfsXkk8/edit

    Atheists really have, (and many of them will argue with you if you insist they have a mind), completely ‘lost their minds’.

    You simply can’t make this stuff up! 🙂

  8. 8
    kairosfocus says:

    BobO’H, perhspas you need to read the relevant UD weak argument corrective on twisting a reflection on the significance of the design inference per a wider consideration, into a projected conflation of theology and inductive reasoning in a scientific context: http://www.uncommondescent.com/faq/#logosth . KF

  9. 9
    Bob O'H says:

    phoodoo @ 6 – See here. It looks like he still has a few loose ends to tie up, but then he’s going to become a political revolutionary.

  10. 10
    daveS says:

    Thanks for posting that link, Bob O’H. I will be interested to see more details about this idea of Dembski’s:

    I’m going to propose a radically decentralized, information-based form of money that owes nothing to the state. Stay tuned. [2015 note: what I have in mind is more radical than bitcoin.]

  11. 11
    Bob O'H says:

    You’re right, kf. That argument corrective is weak. Not least because it mis-represents the quote you are trying to defend.

  12. 12
    Barry Arrington says:

    Bob, sorry old bean. Your “gotcha” fizzles. Perhaps you do not understand the phrase “when speaking qua ID.” Go figure out what it means and come back and tell us why you are patently wrong here.

  13. 13
    Barry Arrington says:

    Bill Dembski once ruminated about his personal view that the designer is God.

    Richard Dawkins has written several book length treatments on the religious implications of Darwinism.

    Bob O’H on ID: Ha! Gotcha. ID is religious.

    Bob O’H on Darwinism: [crickets]

    Hypocritical much Bob?

  14. 14
    Barry Arrington says:

    Bob O’H

    Before I move on, I am curious about one thing. Do you agree with Elizabeth Liddle when she writes:

    I absolutely agree that inferring design does not require a supernatural hypothesis.

  15. 15
    bornagain says:

    Well isn’t this interesting. Dr. Dembski, (and Dr. Marks), no thanks to Darwinists who ridiculed, mocked, and even persecuted him relentlessly over the years, advanced conservation of information theorems further than anyone else has to date, (which is certainly a fairly impressive accomplishment in its own right), and Darwinists, instead of conceding that he has been correct all along, pretend as if he has done nothing of significance and now ridicule him for switching his primary focus to,,,

    “In the last few years, my focus has switched from ID to education, specifically to advancing freedom through education via technology.”

    I still have a few ID projects in the works, notably second editions of some of my books (e.g., NO FREE LUNCH and THE DESIGN INFERENCE). I regard BEING AS COMMUNION: A METAPHYSICS OF INFORMATION (published 2014) as the best summation of my 23-years focused on ID (the start of that work being my article “Randomness by Design” in NOUS back in 1991). ,,,
    https://billdembski.com/a-new-day/

    Seeing as Dembski has, over the years, suffered first hand from Darwinists trying to censor his research and teaching, I certainly think his new direction in ‘freedom of education’ is very understandable and I hope, and pray, he has as much success in that area as he has had in furthering conservation of information theorems.

    As to Dembski’s accomplishments thus far:

    Here are all the main publications (which are linked) at evoinfo lab:
    http://evoinfo.org/publications/

    Conservation of Information Made Simple – William A. Dembski – August, 2012
    Excerpt: Biological configuration spaces of possible genes and proteins, for instance, are immense, and finding a functional gene or protein in such spaces via blind search can be vastly more improbable than finding an arbitrary electron in the known physical universe. ,,,
    ,,,Given this background discussion and motivation, we are now in a position to give a reasonably precise formulation of conservation of information, namely: raising the probability of success of a search does nothing to make attaining the target easier, and may in fact make it more difficult, once the informational costs involved in raising the probability of success are taken into account. Search is costly, and the cost must be paid in terms of information. Searches achieve success not by creating information but by taking advantage of existing information. The information that leads to successful search admits no bargains, only apparent bargains that must be paid in full elsewhere.
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....63671.html

    The Search for a Search: Measuring the Information Cost of Higher Level Search William A. Dembski and Robert J. Marks II
    Abstract: Needle-in-the-haystack problems look for small targets in large spaces. In such cases, blind search stands no hope of success. Conservation of information dictates any search technique will work, on average, as well as blind search. Success requires an assisted search. But whence the assistance required for a search to be successful? To pose the question this way suggests that successful searches do not emerge spontaneously but need themselves to be discovered via a search. The question then naturally arises whether such a higher-level “search for a search” is any easier than the original search. We prove two results: (1) The Horizontal No Free Lunch Theorem, which shows that average relative performance of searches never exceeds unassisted or blind searches, and (2) The Vertical No Free Lunch Theorem, which shows that the difficulty of searching for a successful search increases exponentially with respect to the minimum allowable active information being sought.
    http://evoinfo.org/publication.....-a-search/

    Before They’ve Even Seen Stephen Meyer’s New Book, Darwinists Waste No Time in Criticizing Darwin’s Doubt – William A. Dembski – April 4, 2013
    Excerpt: In the newer approach to conservation of information, the focus is not on drawing design inferences but on understanding search in general and how information facilitates successful search. The focus is therefore not so much on individual probabilities as on probability distributions and how they change as searches incorporate information. My universal probability bound of 1 in 10^150 (a perennial sticking point for Shallit and Felsenstein) therefore becomes irrelevant in the new form of conservation of information whereas in the earlier it was essential because there a certain probability threshold had to be attained before conservation of information could be said to apply. The new form is more powerful and conceptually elegant. Rather than lead to a design inference, it shows that accounting for the information required for successful search leads to a regress that only intensifies as one backtracks. It therefore suggests an ultimate source of information, which it can reasonably be argued is a designer. I explain all this in a nontechnical way in an article I posted at ENV a few months back titled “Conservation of Information Made Simple” (go here). ,,,

    ,,, Here are the two seminal papers on conservation of information that I’ve written with Robert Marks:
    “The Search for a Search: Measuring the Information Cost of Higher-Level Search,” Journal of Advanced Computational Intelligence and Intelligent Informatics 14(5) (2010): 475-486
    “Conservation of Information in Search: Measuring the Cost of Success,” IEEE Transactions on Systems, Man and Cybernetics A, Systems & Humans, 5(5) (September 2009): 1051-1061
    For other papers that Marks, his students, and I have done to extend the results in these papers, visit the publications page at http://www.evoinfo.org
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....70821.html

    Evolutionary Computing: The Invisible Hand of Intelligence – June 17, 2015
    Excerpt: William Dembski and Robert Marks have shown that no evolutionary algorithm is superior to blind search — unless information is added from an intelligent cause, which means it is not, in the Darwinian sense, an evolutionary algorithm after all. This mathematically proven law, based on the accepted No Free Lunch Theorems, seems to be lost on the champions of evolutionary computing. Researchers keep confusing an evolutionary algorithm (a form of artificial selection) with “natural evolution.” ,,,
    Marks and Dembski account for the invisible hand required in evolutionary computing. The Lab’s website states, “The principal theme of the lab’s research is teasing apart the respective roles of internally generated and externally applied information in the performance of evolutionary systems.” So yes, systems can evolve, but when they appear to solve a problem (such as generating complex specified information or reaching a sufficiently narrow predefined target), intelligence can be shown to be active. Any internally generated information is conserved or degraded by the law of Conservation of Information.,,,
    What Marks and Dembski prove is as scientifically valid and relevant as Gödel’s Incompleteness Theorem in mathematics. You can’t prove a system of mathematics from within the system, and you can’t derive an information-rich pattern from within the pattern.,,,
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....96931.html

    Conservation of information, evolution, etc – Sept. 30, 2014
    Excerpt: Kurt Gödel’s logical objection to Darwinian evolution:
    “The formation in geological time of the human body by the laws of physics (or any other laws of similar nature), starting from a random distribution of elementary particles and the field is as unlikely as the separation of the atmosphere into its components. The complexity of the living things has to be present within the material [from which they are derived] or in the laws [governing their formation].”
    Gödel – As quoted in H. Wang. “On `computabilism’ and physicalism: Some Problems.” in Nature’s Imagination, J. Cornwall, Ed, pp.161-189, Oxford University Press (1995).
    Gödel’s argument is that if evolution is unfolding from an initial state by mathematical laws of physics, it cannot generate any information not inherent from the start – and in his view, neither the primaeval environment nor the laws are information-rich enough.,,,
    More recently this led him (Dembski) to postulate a Law of Conservation of Information, or actually to consolidate the idea, first put forward by Nobel-prizewinner Peter Medawar in the 1980s. Medawar had shown, as others before him, that in mathematical and computational operations, no new information can be created, but new findings are always implicit in the original starting points – laws and axioms.
    http://potiphar.jongarvey.co.u.....ution-etc/

  16. 16
    Bob O'H says:

    barry – firstly, had Dembski written something like “I personally believe that ID can best be interpreted in the light of the Logos theology of John’s Gospel” then you would be right – one can view scientific theories in different metaphysical or theological lights (it’s why many atheists and Christians are happy to work side by side doing science). But he didn’t say that. He went much further, and said that ID “is just the” logos theology.

    Now, that might be his personal view, not shared by anyone else, but still here is one (former?) prominent ID proponent saying that ID is just about the super-natural.

  17. 17
    Bob O'H says:

    Barry – yes I agree with Elizabeth Liddle’s statement:

    I absolutely agree that inferring design does not require a supernatural hypothesis

    So?

  18. 18
    bornagain says:

    Hypocritical much Bob?

    Darwinism would collapse without its faulty Theological foundation.

    Charles Darwin, Theologian: Major New Article on Darwin’s Use of Theology in the Origin of Species – May 2011
    Excerpt: The Origin supplies abundant evidence of theology in action; as Dilley observes:
    I have argued that, in the first edition of the Origin, Darwin drew upon at least the following positiva theological claims in his case for descent with modification (and against special creation):

    1. Human beings are not justified in believing that God creates in ways analogous to the intellectual powers of the human mind.
    2. A God who is free to create as He wishes would create new biological limbs de novo rather than from a common pattern.
    3. A respectable deity would create biological structures in accord with a human conception of the ‘simplest mode’ to accomplish the functions of these structures.
    4. God would only create the minimum structure required for a given part’s function.
    5. God does not provide false empirical information about the origins of organisms.
    6. God impressed the laws of nature on matter.
    7. God directly created the first ‘primordial’ life.
    8. God did not perform miracles within organic history subsequent to the creation of the first life.
    9. A ‘distant’ God is not morally culpable for natural pain and suffering.
    10. The God of special creation, who allegedly performed miracles in organic history, is not plausible given the presence of natural pain and suffering.
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....46391.html

    Charles Darwin’s use of theology in the Origin of Species – STEPHEN DILLEY
    Abstract
    This essay examines Darwin’s positiva (or positive) use of theology in the first edition of the Origin of Species in three steps. First, the essay analyses the Origin’s theological language about God’s accessibility, honesty, methods of creating, relationship to natural laws and lack of responsibility for natural suffering; the essay contends that Darwin utilized positiva theology in order to help justify (and inform) descent with modification and to attack special creation. Second, the essay offers critical analysis of this theology, drawing in part on Darwin’s mature ruminations to suggest that, from an epistemic point of view, the Origin’s positiva theology manifests several internal tensions. Finally, the essay reflects on the relative epistemic importance of positiva theology in the Origin’s overall case for evolution. The essay concludes that this theology served as a handmaiden and accomplice to Darwin’s science.
    http://journals.cambridge.org/.....741100032X

    Methodological Naturalism: A Rule That No One Needs or Obeys – Paul Nelson – September 22, 2014
    Excerpt: It is a little-remarked but nonetheless deeply significant irony that evolutionary biology is the most theologically entangled science going. Open a book like Jerry Coyne’s Why Evolution is True (2009) or John Avise’s Inside the Human Genome (2010), and the theology leaps off the page. A wise creator, say Coyne, Avise, and many other evolutionary biologists, would not have made this or that structure; therefore, the structure evolved by undirected processes. Coyne and Avise, like many other evolutionary theorists going back to Darwin himself, make numerous “God-wouldn’t-have-done-it-that-way” arguments, thus predicating their arguments for the creative power of natural selection and random mutation on implicit theological assumptions about the character of God and what such an agent (if He existed) would or would not be likely to do.,,,
    ,,,with respect to one of the most famous texts in 20th-century biology, Theodosius Dobzhansky’s essay “Nothing in biology makes sense except in the light of evolution” (1973).
    Although its title is widely cited as an aphorism, the text of Dobzhansky’s essay is rarely read. It is, in fact, a theological treatise. As Dilley (2013, p. 774) observes:
    “Strikingly, all seven of Dobzhansky’s arguments hinge upon claims about God’s nature, actions, purposes, or duties. In fact, without God-talk, the geneticist’s arguments for evolution are logically invalid. In short, theology is essential to Dobzhansky’s arguments.”,,
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....89971.html

    Nothing in biology makes sense except in light of theology? – Dilley S. – 2013
    Abstract
    This essay analyzes Theodosius Dobzhansky’s famous article, “Nothing in Biology Makes Sense Except in the Light of Evolution,” in which he presents some of his best arguments for evolution. I contend that all of Dobzhansky’s arguments hinge upon sectarian claims about God’s nature, actions, purposes, or duties. Moreover, Dobzhansky’s theology manifests several tensions, both in the epistemic justification of his theological claims and in their collective coherence. I note that other prominent biologists–such as Mayr, Dawkins, Eldredge, Ayala, de Beer, Futuyma, and Gould–also use theology-laden arguments. I recommend increased analysis of the justification, complexity, and coherence of this theology.
    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23890740

    I like Egnor’s maxim much better since it is based on good science and not on bad theology.

    “Nothing in biology makes sense without inference to functional biological information.”
    Michael Egnor – Life Is a “Distinguished Outcome”
    – November 20, 2015
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....01061.html

    “Evolution is promoted by its practitioners as more than mere science. Evolution is promulgated as an ideology, a secular religion a full-fledged alternative to Christianity, with meaning and morality. I am an ardent evolutionist and an ex-Christian, but I must admit that in this one complaint, and Mr. Gish is but one of many to make it, the literalists are absolutely right. Evolution is a religion. This was true of evolution in the beginning, and it is true of evolution still today.”
    Ruse, M., How evolution became a religion: creationists correct? Darwinians wrongly mix science with morality, politics, National Post, pp. B1, B3, B7 (May 13, 2000)

    “Instead of presenting scientific evidence that shows atheism to be true (or probable), the neo-atheists moralize about how much better the world would be if only atheism were true. Far from demonstrating that God does not exist, the neo-atheists merely demonstrate how earnestly they desire that God not exist.8 The God of Christianity is, in their view, the worst thing that could befall reality. According to Richard Dawkins, for instance, the Judeo-Christian God “is arguably the most unpleasant character in all of fiction. Jealous and proud of it; a petty, unjust unforgiving control-freak; a vindictive, bloodthirsty ethnic-cleanser; a misogynistic homophobic racist, infanticidal, genocidal, filicidal, pestilential, megalomaniacal, sadomasochistic, capriciously malevolent bully.”9 Dawkins’s obsession with the Christian God borders on the pathological. Yet, he underscores what has always been the main reason people reject God: they cannot believe that God is good. Eve, in the Garden of Eden, rejected God because she thought he had denied her some benefit that she should have, namely, the fruit from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. 10 Clearly, a God who denies creatures benefits that they think they deserve cannot be good. Indeed, a mark of our fallenness is that we fail to see the irony in thus faulting God. Should we not rather trust that the things God denies us are denied precisely for our benefit? Likewise, the neo-atheists find lots of faults with God, their list of denied benefits being much longer than Eve’s—no surprise here since they’ve had a lot longer to compile such a list!”
    William Dembski – pg. 10-11 – Finding a Good God in an evil World
    http://designinference.com/doc.....of_xty.pdf

    The Descent of Darwin (The Faulty Theological Foundation of Darwinism) – Pastor Joe Boot – video – 16:30 minute mark
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iKzUSWU7c2s&feature=player_detailpage#t=996

  19. 19
    Barry Arrington says:

    Way to dodge the questions Bob.

    When Richard Dawkins says “Darwin made it possible to be an intellectually fulfilled atheist” does that mean that Darwinism is about atheism?

    Unless you answer “yes” to that question, you are nothing but a hypocrite Bob.

  20. 20
    Barry Arrington says:

    Barry:

    Every prominent ID theorist has always (when speaking qua ID) said that it is a project to detect design, not supernatural design.

    Bob:

    And yet Dr. Dembski famously wrote “Indeed, intelligent design is just the Logos theology of John’s Gospel restated in the idiom of information theory.”

    Liddle:

    I absolutely agree that inferring design does not require a supernatural hypothesis.

    Bob:

    I agree with Elizabeth Liddle’s statement

    Bob agrees with me (and Liddle) on the general issue: ID is not a religious theory.

    Then why the gotcha zinger about Dembski? I guess Bob just couldn’t resist throwing out the “ID is religion in a cheap tuxedo” meme — even when he admits it is false. That makes you pathetic liar in addition to being a hypocrite Bob.

  21. 21
    Zachriel says:

    Barry Arrington: welcome to the ranks of biological design theorists, by which I mean that group of people willing to follow the evidence for (or against) design in biology wherever it leads.

    Of course biological design can be detectable. For instance, if the organism is one that has no plausible evolutionary ancestors, such as a griffin, then it may indicate design. Of course, to confirm this hypothesis, we would look for other evidence; perhaps the existence of an imaginative creature from the same planet.

    Barry Arrington: EL rejects the idea that one most know who the designer is before one can infer design

    If there is an phenomenon thought to be designed, then that would lead to additional hypotheses, in particular, about the nature of the design{er}. The ability to test those hypotheses, and the results of such tests, would impact the original hypothesis of design. In other words, there is a tapestry of evidence, not an isolated, wipe your hands and go home conclusion.

    Barry Arrington: She even agrees that biological design inferences can be made without invoking any supernatural agent

    The distinction between natural and supernatural is not clearly defined. However, positing an omniscient, omnipotent, omnipresent designer has no distinct entailments, and is unfalsifiable.

    Barry Arrington: Our William J. Murray jumps in with this zinger:

    REC and Moran say they can detect convincing indications of design by intelligence …. what are their definitions and methodology? I mean, isn’t that what you guys always ask ID advocates?

    The usual. Hypothesis-testing with various methodologies. The direct entailments concerning the discovery of a hypothesized design are the links of causation from the artisan to the art to the artifact; the who, what, when, where, why, and how. Absent these, the original contention is probably unsupportable.

    Meanwhile, the Intelligent Design movement is scientifically sterile.

  22. 22
    Virgil Cain says:

    “The Design Revolution”, page 25, Dembski writes:

    Intelligent Design has theological implications, but it is not a theological enterprise. Theology does not own intelligent design. Intelligent design is not a evangelical Christian thing, or a generally Christian thing or even a generally theistic thing. Anyone willing to set aside naturalistic prejudices and consider the possibility of evidence for intelligence in the natural world is a friend of intelligent design.

    He goes on to say:

    Intelligent design requires neither a meddling God nor a meddled world. For that matter, it doesn’t even require there be a God.

  23. 23

    Now, look for them to deny they ever denied that design could be detected. Just like they deny there was ever a global cooling scare. Just like they deny Darwin ever had a problem with the fossil record.

    As I said in the other thread:

    Atheist/materialist scientist says, “Looks like design to me.” = Science

    Theist scientist says “Looks like design to me.” = FUNDAMENTALIST CREATIONISTS ARE DESTROYING SCIENCE AND TRYING TO IMPOSE A THEOCRACY ON THE WORLD!!!

  24. 24
    Virgil Cain says:

    In his book “Signature in the Cell” Stephen C. Meyer addresses the issue of Intelligent Design and religion:

    First, by any reasonable definition of the term, intelligent design is not “religion”.- page 441 under the heading Not Religion

    He goes on say pretty much the same thing I hve been saying for years- ID doesn’t say anything about worship- nothing about who, how, why, when, where to worship- nothing about any service- nothing about any faith nor beliefs except the belief we (humans) can properly assess evidence and data and properly process information. After all the design inference is based on our knowledge of cause and effect relationships.

  25. 25
    Zachriel says:

    William J Murray: Now, look for them to deny they ever denied that design could be detected.

    That’s funny.
    http://rarearchitecturaldrawin.....lding.html
    http://bigappled.com/wp-conten.....1/ESB5.jpg

  26. 26
    EugeneS says:

    Zachriel,

    “Of course biological design can be detectable. For instance, if the organism is one that has no plausible evolutionary ancestors, such as a griffin, then it may indicate design.”

    You are saying this only because you are sure there are no griffins. You only don’t realize that this is exactly what puts what you think you are supporting into the ‘non-science’ box. Evolutionism cannot be falsified! Anything can be described as having evolved.

    Common descent has nothing to do with refuting or proving design. It is a different matter altogether. You seem to be excluding the possibility of common descent being a means of design.

    I personally have serious issues with common descent but they are theological and therefore of much more serious nature than scientific. However, speaking from the scientific standpoint, I cannot see why it could not have been a means of design at least in certain cases.

  27. 27

    Then: No real scientists believe ID.
    Now: We never said that!
    Then:”Darwinism” isn’t a term any real scientist uses.
    Now: We never said that!
    Then: “Microevolution” and “macroevolution” are terms only creationists uses.
    Now: We never said that!
    Then: You can’t locate ID because you can’t even define I (intelligence).
    Now: We never said that!
    Then: You must know the designer and/or his methods before you can infer design.
    Now: We never said that!
    Then: ID is just designer of the gaps filling in for unknown natural causes.
    Now: We never said that!

    These guys are unbelievable.

  28. 28
    Virgil Cain says:

    Zachriel:

    Of course biological design can be detectable.

    Of course biological design has been detected.

    For instance, if the organism is one that has no plausible evolutionary ancestors, such as a griffin, then it may indicate design.

    ID is not anti-evolution but you are an equivocating coward.

    Of course, to confirm this hypothesis, we would look for other evidence;

    We have found such evidence in physics, chemistry, cosmology and geology.

    If there is an phenomenon thought to be designed, then that would lead to additional hypotheses, in particular, about the nature of the design.

    That’s fine as ID is about the detection and study of the design.

    However, positing an omniscient, omnipotent, omnipresent designer has no distinct entailments, and is unfalsifiable.

    ID is about the DESIGN, not the designer.

    The usual. Hypothesis-testing with various methodologies. The direct entailments concerning the discovery of a hypothesized design are the links of causation from the artisan to the art to the artifact; the who, what, when, where, why, and how. Absent these, the original contention is probably unsupportable.

    Only a scientifically illiterate punk would spew such nonsense. The “the who, what, when, where, why, and how” all come AFTER design has been detected and are not required to detect design.

    And that proves that ID is not a scientific dead-end as it obviously opens up new questions that we will try to answer.

  29. 29
    Zachriel says:

    EugeneS: You are saying this only because you are sure there are no griffins.

    How do we know that griffins never existed, that the stories aren’t memories of once extant organisms?

  30. 30
    Zachriel says:

    William J Murray: No real scientists believe ID.

    When you capitalize “ID”, it generally refers to specific claims about organisms that the vast majority of biologists reject.

    William J Murray: ”Darwinism” isn’t a term any real scientist uses.

    Darwinism has multiple, related meanings. Biologists generally use it to refer to evolution by natural selection, though sometimes it refers to branching descent. If there is confusion, it’s best to avoid the term, as there are more precise terms available.

  31. 31
    EugeneS says:

    Zachriel,

    “How do we know…?”

    True. We don’t know if something did not exist. And we should not exclude the possibility a priori. That is my point. Valid scientific claims of impossibility are very strong and rare claims.

  32. 32
    bornagain says:

    semi OT:

    The Origin of Life and the Origin of Science Point to God
    Second in a two-part series on the growing evidence for intelligent design.
    By Jonathan Witt – November 13, 2015
    Excerpt: 20th century scientists came to realize that the universe is not eternal but had a beginning, and that its laws and constants are so finely tuned for life that multiple Nobel laureates have concluded that these findings point to a creative intelligence as the source for this finely tuned beginning.

    That’s one cosmic-sized counterexample. A second important counterexample is physically small — microscopic really — but enormous in its significance: the origin of the first life.,,,

    Christians Invented Science
    Actually, the birth of science itself doesn’t fit comfortably with scientism’s grand progress narrative. Certainly, researchers continue to gain new insights into how material forces cause various things in nature, and that’s a good thing. But the insight that we live in a world with underlying laws and constants, which can be profitably investigated isn’t controversial. More than this, the idea was encouraged by the Christian belief that nature is the rational and orderly work of a divine mind. It spurred Christian theists such as Copernicus, Galileo and Kepler to go looking for the underlying order of nature. In the process of looking for that underlying order, those men launched the scientific revolution.

    The theistic commitments of those early men of science were crucial to the birth of modern science. It’s now well-established among historians of science that modern science is largely a Christian invention, and one substantially based on theological ideas. In this we have perhaps the most obvious contradiction to scientism’s cherished progress narrative, since on their telling, the early “theological stage” of science is supposed to be the most primitive and useless.
    https://stream.org/origin-of-life-of-science-point-to-god/

  33. 33
    Zachriel says:

    EugeneS: True. We don’t know something did not exist. And we should not exclude the possibility a priori.

    That’s right. We reject the existence of griffins because they have no plausible evolutionary antecedents.

    On the other hand, if you found evidence of a griffin, you would be famous worldwide. Why don’t you bother to look for one? You know why: It’s because, unlike other strange creatures like Tiktaalik or Archaeopteryx, griffins don’t fit.

  34. 34
    asauber says:

    On the other hand, if you found evidence of a griffin, you would be famous worldwide.

    Does a drawing of a Griffin count as evidence for a Griffin, Zachy?

    Andrew

  35. 35
    Virgil Cain says:

    Zachriel:

    We reject the existence of griffins because they have no plausible evolutionary antecedents.

    How do you know “they have no plausible evolutionary antecedents”?

    And if we ever get to another planet and they have griffins, evolutionism is falsified? Really?

  36. 36
    bornagain says:

    “Does a drawing of a Griffin count as evidence for a Griffin”

    “We have all seen the canonical parade of apes, each one becoming more human. We know that, as a depiction of evolution, this line-up is tosh (i.e. nonsense). Yet we cling to it. Ideas of what human evolution ought to have been like still colour our debates.”
    Henry Gee, editor of Nature (478, 6 October 2011, page 34, doi:10.1038/478034a),

    Paleoanthropologist Exposes Shoddiness of “Early Man” Research – Feb. 6, 2013
    Excerpt: The unilineal depiction of human evolution popularized by the familiar iconography of an evolutionary ‘march to modern man’ has been proven wrong for more than 60 years. However, the cartoon continues to provide a popular straw man for scientists, writers and editors alike.
    ,,, archaic species concepts and an inadequate fossil record continue to obscure the origins of our genus.
    http://crev.info/2013/02/paleo.....hoddiness/

    New York Times Inherits the Spin, Republishes Darwinists’ Error-Filled “Answers” to Jonathan Wells’ – 2008
    Excerpt: And all three of these textbooks include fanciful drawings of ape-like humans that help to convince students we are no exception to the rule of purposelessness.
    Some biology textbooks use other kinds of illustrations ,,,
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....10581.html

    “alleged restoration of ancient types of man have very little, if any, scientific value and are likely only to mislead the public”
    Earnest A. Hooton – physical anthropologist – Harvard University

    Paleoanthropology
    Excerpt: In regards to the pictures of the supposed ancestors of man featured in science journals and the news media Boyce Rensberger wrote in the journal Science the following regarding their highly speculative nature:
    “Unfortunately, the vast majority of artist’s conceptions are based more on imagination than on evidence. But a handful of expert natural-history artists begin with the fossil bones of a hominid and work from there…. Much of the reconstruction, however, is guesswork. Bones say nothing about the fleshy parts of the nose, lips, or ears (or eyes). Artists must create something between an ape and a human being; the older the specimen is said to be, the more apelike they make it…. Hairiness is a matter of pure conjecture.”
    http://conservapedia.com/Evolu.....thropology

    “National Geographic magazine commissioned four artists to reconstruct a female figure from casts of seven fossil bones thought to be from the same species as skull 1470. One artist drew a creature whose forehead is missing and whose jaws look vaguely like those of a beaked dinosaur. Another artist drew a rather good-looking modern African-American woman with unusually long arms. A third drew a somewhat scrawny female with arms like a gorilla and a face like a Hollywood werewolf. And a fourth drew a figure covered with body hair and climbing a tree, with beady eyes that glare out from under a heavy, gorilla-like brow.”
    “Behind the Scenes,” National Geographic 197 (March, 2000): 140
    picture – these artists “independently” produced the 4 very “different” ancestors you see here
    http://www.omniology.com/JackalopianArtists.html
    http://www.uncommondescent.com.....-disorder/

    “There’s nothing so absurd that if you repeat it often enough, people will believe it.”
    William James (1842-1910) The father of modern Psychology

    One can see that ‘artistic license’ for human evolution being played out on the following site.

    10 Transitional Ancestors of Human Evolution by Tyler G., March 18, 2013
    http://listverse.com/2013/03/1.....evolution/

    Please note, on the preceding site, how the sclera (white of the eye), a uniquely human characteristic, was brought in very early on, in the artists’ reconstructions, to make the fossils appear much more human than they actually were, even though the artists making the reconstructions have no clue whatsoever as to what the colors of the eyes, of these supposed transitional fossils, actually were.

    Evolution of human eye as a device for communication – Hiromi Kobayashi – Kyoto University, Japan
    Excerpt: The uniqueness of human eye morphology among primates illustrates the remarkable difference between human and other primates in the ability to communicate using gaze signals.
    http://www.saga-jp.org/coe_abst/kobayashi.htm

    Are humans the only primates that cry? – 2003
    Excerpt: In sum, if we define crying as tearful sobbing, then we know that humans are the only primates that cry.
    http://www.scientificamerican......only-prima

    The actual evidence:

    “Something extraordinary, if totally fortuitous, happened with the birth of our species….Homo sapiens is as distinctive an entity as exists on the face of the Earth, and should be dignified as such instead of being adulterated with every reasonably large-brained hominid fossil that happened to come along.”
    Anthropologist Ian Tattersall, The Fossil Trail: How We Know What We Think We Know about Human Evolution (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1996), 246.
    (emeritus curator at the American Museum of Natural History)

    “A number of hominid crania are known from sites in eastern and southern Africa in the 400- to 200-thousand-year range, but none of them looks like a close antecedent of the anatomically distinctive Homo sapiens…Even allowing for the poor record we have of our close extinct kin, Homo sapiens appears as distinctive and unprecedented…there is certainly no evidence to support the notion that we gradually became who we inherently are over an extended period, in either the physical or the intellectual sense.”
    Dr. Ian Tattersall: – paleoanthropologist – emeritus curator of the American Museum of Natural History – (Masters of the Planet, 2012)

  37. 37
    Zachriel says:

    asauber: Does a drawing of a Griffin count as evidence for a Griffin

    Good question. Such a drawing might lead us to ask whether such a creature ever existed, so we subject the initial speculation to hypothesis-testing. As we have a strongly supported theory of evolution, we know that such creatures have no plausible evolutionary antecedents. We might then look for evidence that they are a mixing-and-matching common to ‘design’, perhaps dreamed up in the fertile imagination of hominids known for their religious imagery that inhabit the same planet.

  38. 38
    asauber says:

    Zachy,

    You didn’t answer my question. A simple yes or no will do.

    Andrew

  39. 39
    EugeneS says:

    Zachriel,

    “We reject the existence of griffins because they have no plausible evolutionary antecedents.”

    Nonsense. There are no known evolutionary antecedents. This may change owing to the essence of evolutionary theory (provided one exists). But there lies a big problem: if your theory predicts both A and NOT(A) in all cases, it is a worthless theory.

  40. 40
    Jack Jones says:

    ” we have a strongly supported theory of evolution”

    Incorrect

    The Evolutionary community is divided over just what the theory is.

    Evolution exists as a philosophy.

  41. 41
    Virgil Cain says:

    The criteria for inferring design in biology is, as Michael J. Behe, Professor of Biochemistry at Leheigh University, puts it in his book Darwin ‘ s Black Box: “Our ability to be confident of the design of the cilium or intracellular transport rests on the same principles to be confident of the design of anything: the ordering of separate components to achieve an identifiable function that depends sharply on the components.”

    Intelligent Design makes testable claims. And these claims are tested and can be potentially falsified via Newton’s four rules of scientific investigation>, AKA Occam’s Razor/ parsimony.

    ID is based on three premises and the inference that follows (DeWolf et al., Darwinism, Design and Public Education, pg. 92):

    1) High information content (or specified complexity) and irreducible complexity constitute strong indicators or hallmarks of (past) intelligent design.

    2) Biological systems have a high information content (or specified complexity) and utilize subsystems that manifest irreducible complexity.

    3) Naturalistic mechanisms or undirected causes do not suffice to explain the origin of information (specified complexity) or irreducible complexity.

    4) Therefore, intelligent design constitutes the best explanations for the origin of information and irreducible complexity in biological systems.

    This tells you not only what to look for- the positive case- but also follows Newton and Occam in that if you can slice off the designer by showing that mother nature, father time and their offspring, emergence are all that is required, the design inference is refuted.

    Both IC and CSI are examples of work and counterflow. Neither can exist without the intervention of an intelligent agency.

    What is irreducible complexity? Wm. Dembski in No Free Lunch, refined the definition as:

    IC– A system performing a given basic function is irreducibly complex if it includes a set of well-matched, mutually interacting, non-arbitrarily individuated parts such that each part in the set is indispensable to maintaining the system’s basic, and therefore original, function. The set of these indispensable parts is known as the irreducible core of the system.

    Numerous and Diverse Parts If the irreducible core of an IC system consists of one or only a few parts, there may be no insuperable obstacle to the Darwinian mechanism explaining how that system arose in one fell swoop. But as the number of indispensable well-fitted, mutually interacting,, non-arbitrarily individuated parts increases in number & diversity, there is no possibility of the Darwinian mechanism achieving that system in one fell swoop.

    Minimal Complexity and Function Given an IC system with numerous & diverse parts in its core, the Darwinian mechanism must produce it gradually. But if the system needs to operate at a certain minimal level of function before it can be of any use to the organism & if to achieve that level of function it requires a certain minimal level of complexity already possessed by the irreducible core, the Darwinian mechanism has no functional intermediates to exploit.

  42. 42
    Virgil Cain says:

    Zachriel:

    As we have a strongly supported theory of evolution,

    The griffin of scientific theories 😛

  43. 43
    Zachriel says:

    asauber: You didn’t answer my question.

    It could be evidence, albeit contradicted by a huge amount of contrary evidence.

    EugeneS: There are no known evolutionary antecedents.

    There are no plausible evolutionary antecedents. A griffin has six limbs, two of which are wings. Your best bet would be a hybrid between an eagle and a lion, but that is contrary to strongly supported science concerning hybridization.

  44. 44
    Jack Jones says:

    @42

    Virgil, Do you have any understanding of why Zach refers to himself as “we”?

    Has he a cojoined twin that he speaks for or something?

  45. 45
    asauber says:

    It could be evidence

    Well now, I think we have some evidence here that Zachy has a problem identifying what is evidence, and what isn’t.

    Andrew

  46. 46
    Jack Jones says:

    “For instance, if the organism is one that has no plausible evolutionary ancestors, such as a griffin, then it may indicate design.”

    You are committing the fallacy of using arguments for the evolution of already living organisms as arguments against design, it is a false one.

    If you want to argue against design when it comes to biology then you have to tell me when was a living organism observed to originate by chance from non living matter in the outside world?

  47. 47
    Zachriel says:

    Jack Jones: You are committing the fallacy of using arguments for the evolution of already living organisms as arguments against design, it is a false one.

    We’re not arguing against design, but for design! Evolutionary theory leads us to reject the physical existence of griffins, and to look for their origin elsewhere. However, you are free to disagree. If you found evidence of a griffin, you would be famous worldwide. Why don’t you bother to look for one?

  48. 48

    Fun Fun.

    I’ve seen first hand what TSZ does with observations they can’t refute. Thousands upon thousands of comments going absolutely nowhere, as if just typing words in a combox will suffice.

  49. 49
    Jack Jones says:

    ” Evolutionary theory”

    There is no “evolutionary theory”

    “leads us”

    You don’t do anything other than post crap on the net.

    “If you found evidence of a griffin, you would be famous worldwide.”

    What have griffins got to do with your faith of life originating by chance?

    “However, you are free to disagree. If you found evidence of a griffin, you would be famous worldwide. Why don’t you bother to look for one?”

    Where did I say anything about Griffins or believing in them?

    I see you going on and on about them, You are seriously weird.

    Are you on drugs?

  50. 50
    Zachriel says:

    Jack Jones: What have griffins got to do with …

    It has to do with the original post, design detection.

    Jack Jones: why don’t you go and look for one, seeing as you are obsessed with them?

    We’re satisfied griffins are ‘designed’, for the reasons given. Do you disagree?

  51. 51
    Jack Jones says:

    “It has to do with the original post, design detection.”

    What has it got to do with design detection?

    Since when did saying design is a better explanation than chance require positing the existence of a griffin?

  52. 52
    Virgil Cain says:

    Jack Jones- “Zachriel” refers to an angel- Zachriel’s blog (the picture is of Kaiser Wilhem)- and from there we get to “we are legion”

  53. 53
    Jack Jones says:

    Mr Cain, Zach is one weird fellow.

  54. 54
    Virgil Cain says:

    Zachriel:

    Evolutionary theory leads us to reject the physical existence of griffins,

    That is incorrect. Evolutionism would be OK if there were Griffins.

  55. 55
    asauber says:

    Zach is one weird fellow

    Zachy is UD’s Pet Evolution Troll.

    Feed him if you feel like it.

    Andrew

  56. 56
    Jack Jones says:

    @55 “Zachy is UD’s Pet Evolution Troll.”

    Oh I know about that Andrew, Not only how he has carried on against me but with mike and others too.

    You would think there would be some better opposition but these kind of people seem to be mostly what the other side has to muster.

  57. 57
    EugeneS says:

    Speaking about griffins, has anyone seen what kind of mutants there were in the radioactively polluted area of Chernobyl?

  58. 58
    Andre says:

    Zachriel is a young earth creationist taking the mickey out of everyone.

  59. 59
    asauber says:

    You would think there would be some better opposition but these kind of people seem to be mostly what the other side has to muster.

    I agree, Jack Jones. And I think the reason Zachy hangs out here is because ID’ers are cooler to him than people in his own tribe. He(?)’s really looking to escape from them. I suspect they are a unhappy group, and I sympathize with his plight.

    Andrew

  60. 60
    Axel says:

    ‘“The appearance of purposefulness is pervasive in nature.”
    George Gaylord Simpson’

    If it looks like a duck, quacks like a duck…. What a pity old, Sam Irving couldn’t chip in at greater length, and in person.

  61. 61
    Mapou says:

    asauber @59,

    Don’t sympathize with the troll’s plight. He’s a malignant narcissist and should suffer for wasting everyone’s time with his nonsense.

  62. 62
    LarTanner says:

    I also agree that “design” may be inferred, and that most IDists intend that the Designer is the Abrahamic God.

  63. 63
    Mapou says:

    LarTanner:

    I also agree that “design” may be inferred,

    And we should care because of what again?

    and that most IDists intend that the Designer is the Abrahamic God.

    Most Darwinists, by contrast, believe that inert dirt gave birth to living organisms. Which is more sensible, in your opinion: believing that intelligent designers designed complex living organisms or believing inert dirt designed complex living organisms?

  64. 64

    I also agree that “design” may be inferred,

    Yeah? How?

  65. 65
    Andre says:

    Mapou

    How can you even question that dirt made itself and magically became alive. No doubt you are being illogical!!!!!!

  66. 66
    Mapou says:

    What I want to know is this. How did a stupid dirt-worshipping religion like Darwinism become the state religion?

  67. 67
    StephenB says:

    Bob O’H:

    And yet Dr. Dembski famously wrote “Indeed, intelligent design is just the Logos theology of John’s Gospel restated in the idiom of information theory.”

    Did you read the title of the work in which that comment was made? (“The Bridge Between Science and Theology) It’s kind of hard to discuss the relationship between science and theology without discussing the latter.

    logos

    noun

    1.
    (often initial capital letter) Philosophy. the rational principle that governs and develops the universe [as found in the study of science]

    2.
    Theology. the divine word or reason incarnate in Jesus Christ. John 1:1–14. [as revealed in scripture]

    Just so that you will know, Dembski is discussing the relationship between (1) and (2), each of which is one aspect of a single, unified truth.

  68. 68
    Mapou says:

    Don’t bother with Bob O’H. The man is a crackpot who has a hard time understanding that the combinatorial explosion kills all stochastic search mechanisms dead, including and especially RM+NS.

  69. 69
    jimmontg says:

    I remember being in 8th grade science class in the Norwalk-La Mirada school district a suburb of Los Angeles, back in the early 60s. One week they had a film about how evolution happened by showing germs that decided to get together into a group and soon they needed to make lungs of some sort and a waste disposal system of some sort etc. etc. A girl asked the teacher how the germs decided how to do all that without having any brains. He answered that germs have little thinking spots, I kid you not, he said little thinking spots and that’s where they got their instincts from.

    I asked the girl what she thought about it and she said it must be true or the teacher wouldn’t have told us about the germ’s “little thinking spots.” The following week in our home room which included Social Studies the teacher showed a film that talked about how just the 200 bones in the human body could never assemble themselves in the correct order if given forever to do it. I asked Gail what she thought and she said that that made more sense and just about every kid in class (about 25 students) started asking questions of the teacher about the science film we had watched the previous week. I’ll never forget what she said and I can’t even remember her name anymore, but she said, “Some people believe in made up stories” and she positively howled when I told her about the little thinking spots.

    I did not grow up in a religious house, my parents were your typical American pagan of the time, you know the type God is “some old Man Who lives upstairs and his last name is Damn”. But I never forgot the lesson I learned about what people will believe. Essentially the atheist’ creation myth is how life came from dirt since proteins cannot form underwater let alone in a hi-temp undersea vent. That is why I am not even able to consider the idea that life formed by itself, it doesn’t make any sense and is even more ridiculous than that science teacher’s “little thinking spots.” For the Darwinist germs actually would have to have a little thinking spot to get together and build all the life forms alive today and in the past.

  70. 70
    Zachriel says:

    Jack Jones: Since when did saying design is a better explanation than chance require positing the existence of a griffin?

    It’s an example of design detection related to an organism. Here’s another, from Venter’s synthetic genome: “J. CRAIG VENTER INSTITUTE 2009 … ‘TO LIVE, TO ERR, TO FALL, TO TRIUMPH, TO RECREATE LIFE OUT OF LIFE.’ – JAMES JOYCE”

  71. 71
    Zachriel says:

    Z: J. CRAIG VENTER INSTITUTE 2009

    As a follow up, we can ask the who, what, when, where, why, and how.
    http://www.jcvi.org/

  72. 72
    Eric Anderson says:

    Barry:

    Interesting.

    I am a bit late to this thread. However, my understanding is that Elizabeth has claimed to be open to the general idea of design detection for some time. At least in word, if not deed.

    Seems like the last time I was involved in a discussion with her on this point her objection was not to design detection per se. Instead, she came up with an absurd approach that required, in essence, that we know with precise certainty the exact odds of every naturalistic scenario and that this be calculated out to the nth degree before we can say anything about the probabilities. A rather naive and simplistic approach of “Gee, if we don’t know the exact odds, then we can’t ever say that something is improbable.” This despite it being pointed out to her several times that we do know a fair amount about the minimal odds involved and that any additional factors compound the odds, not the other way around.

    Thus, her approach was essentially to say: “Sure, it is possible to detect design in theory, but not in practice, so we don’t have to take the design inference seriously.”

    Her approach sounds objective and reasonable at first blush, but when we dig a little deeper it essentially amounts to a subterfuge of the whole idea that we can detect design in biology. It reminds me a lot of Darwin’s objective-sounding but wholly self-serving approach in The Origin: “But I can find no such case.” Set up an impossibly high barrier to the questioning of the naturalistic theory, but do it in such a way that it sounds objective on the surface. That way the true believers fall in line and think Darwin (Elizabeth in this case) is being reasonable.

    I don’t frequent TSZ so I don’t know if Elizabeth has in fact changed her tune and is actually — in practice, in the real world — willing to consider design in biology, or whether this is just the veneer of objectivity. However, I am very skeptical.

    I suspect you are also skeptical that she is willing to actually consider design in biology. Why? Where is the disconnect between the wonderful, objective-sounding sound bites you cited above and her actual conclusion regarding design in biology?

    It probably has much to do with her approach I describe above. Or a silly claim that we don’t have experience with a designer of life, and so cannot draw analogies; or some similar weak deflection of the actual implementation of design detection in biology.

    Something to watch out for.

  73. 73
    Barry Arrington says:

    EA @ 72.

    You are right to be skeptical about how this will all work out in practice. Here is why I think her post is valuable for promoting dialogue nevertheless.

    Liddle has conceded the following:

    1. Our opponents do not dispute that it is possible, in principle, to make a reasonable inference of biological design (BD)

    2. BD does not violate methodological naturalism.

    3. As a corollary to 2, BD does not necessarily posit a supernatural designer.

    4. It is possible that that terrestrial life was designed by an intelligent agent.

    5. It is possible to discover terrestrial life was designed by an intelligent agent.

    6. It is possible to infer a designer even if we had no clue as to who the designer might be.

    7. It is the evidence that is important.

    8. ID is simply the science of design detection — how to recognize patterns arranged by an intelligent cause for a purpose.

    9. Design detection is used in a number of scientific fields, including anthropology, forensic sciences that seek to explain the cause of events such as a death or fire, cryptanalysis and the search for extraterrestrial intelligence (SETI).

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

    11. In sum, it’s perfectly possible to test intelligent design hypotheses because you can test specific predictions arising from specific hypothesised scenarios.

    12. We have a working definition of an intelligent designer: an entity with a human-like type capacity to invent things

    So the first thing I would say is that if we can begin any discussion with those 12 things off the table, then we’ve made great strides. We can now focus on the evidence instead of constantly swatting at their efforts to rule all evidence that does not support their claims out of court.

    As to your history with EL, yes she has pulled stunts like the one you describe. This is different because of the context. Look at the following sentence in her post: Barry expresses his epiphany in a UD post REC Becomes a Design Proponent. Then click on the link to my post in that sentence.

    You will find that everything was touched off not by some impossible mathematical demonstration but by a simple, reasonable and straightforward exercise in design detection performed by Larry Moran: (1) the following indicia of design are present in this organism. (2) I conclude it was designed.

    Liddle implicitly recognized the validity of that approach when she points to it and says, essentially, I’ve been saying that approach is valid all along. You are correct. She has not been saying that or anything like that all along. But is very good that she is saying it now.

  74. 74
    Bob O'H says:

    Barry @ 20 – you’re conflating 2 issues: (1) whether ID is a project to detect supernatural design, and (2) whether any leading ID expert has said that ID is a project to detect supernatural design. I was specifically addressing point 2, and gave the evidence that suggests that one leading ID expert has said that ID is a project to detect supernatural design. Dembski wrote that – irrespective of whether he was right or wrong. So your counter-argument fails: all you are doing is arguing that Dembski was wrong when he wrote that.

  75. 75
    Bob O'H says:

    Mapu @ 68 – I frequently work with stochastic model fitting methods that are able to find good solutions in large dimensional space (i.e. several hundreds or even thousands of continuous(*) parameters), so I’m well aware of how easy it is for stochastic search mechanism to find optimal (or close to optimal) solutions. You should look at how much MCMC is used nowadays.

    (*) OK, strictly not continuous, as I’m working numerically

  76. 76
    Axel says:

    ‘I don’t know if Elizabeth has in fact changed her tune and is actually — in practice, in the real world — willing to consider design in biology, or whether this is just the veneer of objectivity. However, I am very skeptical.’

    With good reason, I think. It’s why I’m puzzled that the opinions of EL should be considered of interest. She and KN are impossibly ambagious sophists – and dissemblers qua that ‘veneer of objectivity’.

  77. 77
    Barry Arrington says:

    Bob @ 74:

    I see. Your point is so narrow as to be irrelevant and misleading. That doesn’t make you look any better Bob. You are also wrong. Let’s sum this up.

    Barry:

    Every prominent ID theorist has always (when speaking qua ID) said that it is a project to detect design, not supernatural design.

    Bob points to a statement by Dembski in an attempt to falsify my claim:

    “Indeed, intelligent design is just the Logos theology of John’s Gospel restated in the idiom of information theory.”

    Now, the important qualifier is “(when speaking qua ID).” Bob, perhaps you do not know what “qua” means. Let me help you out. It means: “In the capacity of.” So my statements means: “Every prominent ID theorist has always, when speaking in the capacity of ID, said that it is a project to detect design, not supernatural design.”

    So has Dembski said qua ID? Virgil gives us a nice summary:

    “The Design Revolution”, page 25, Dembski writes:
    Intelligent Design has theological implications, but it is not a theological enterprise. Theology does not own intelligent design. Intelligent design is not a evangelical Christian thing, or a generally Christian thing or even a generally theistic thing. Anyone willing to set aside naturalistic prejudices and consider the possibility of evidence for intelligence in the natural world is a friend of intelligent design.

    He goes on to say:
    Intelligent design requires neither a meddling God nor a meddled world. For that matter, it doesn’t even require there be a God.

    How do we reconcile these statements with the one you made? Simple, when he made the statement you quote he was not speaking qua ID. SB does a nice job of explaining this:

    Did you read the title of the work in which that comment was made? (“The Bridge Between Science and Theology) It’s kind of hard to discuss the relationship between science and theology without discussing the latter.

    Clearly Dembski was not speaking qua ID when he made that statement.

    What have you done? Why, you’ve quote-mined Dembski. You took his comment out of context and asserted that it means something it plainly does not mean. Quote mining is a form of lying Bob. Lying reflects poorly on you too.

  78. 78
    Mapou says:

    Bobby:

    Mapu @ 68 – I frequently work with stochastic model fitting methods that are able to find good solutions in large dimensional space (i.e. several hundreds or even thousands of continuous(*) parameters), so I’m well aware of how easy it is for stochastic search mechanism to find optimal (or close to optimal) solutions. You should look at how much MCMC is used nowadays.

    This is a lie, of course. Take the search space of the game of chess. Its size is about 10^50, an intractable search space. Even though current chess engines use a non-stochastic search algorithm (i.e., the search tree is drastically pruned with heuristics), it is still impossible to solve chess even with the most powerful supercomputers in existence.

    Now, consider search space for the game of Go, 10^150. Go programmers know that a stochastic search is useless. This is why AI researchers are now applying deep neural networks to the problem. Google’s DeepMind will have an announcement on this topic in the coming weeks or months.

    When someone says that they solve optimization problems with a stochastic search algorithm, they are talking about little toy problems with several parameters. You are obviously lying when you claim to do random optimization with 1000s of parameters. You are cheating somewhere. In comparison, the branching factor of chess is only about 50.

    Now consider the size of the human genome (4 ^ number of base pairs) or a microbe and try to calculate the search space for that. Even a parallel computer the size of quintillions of universes would be no better than a Commodore 64 in such a huge space.

    PS. You can’t fool me, Bob. I’ve been a software engineer and an AI researcher for many years. I have worked with GAs. They are worthless except when working on little toy problems. And even then, a simple randomized optimizer is much faster than GAs.

  79. 79
    Eric Anderson says:

    Barry @72:

    That is a good list, and you’ve done a good job of identifying the particulars. Now it remains to be seen whether there is indeed objective intellectual honesty behind the concessions or whether there is another layer of obfuscation and denial.

    It should be possible to determine by asking a simple follow up question. For example, does Elizabeth think that any biological system or feature was designed? If not, then she should be able to provide a reasoned explanation for why not — without going back on any of the 12 things you listed.

  80. 80
    NickMatzke_UD says:

    The “non-cladistic” was supposed to go here in my post:

    Yet more complex methods involve fitting probabilistic models
    –>
    Yet more complex (non-cladistic) methods involve fitting probabilistic models

  81. 81
    Eric Anderson says:

    Nick, wrong thread perhaps?

    Just wanted to make sure I wasn’t missing something . . .

  82. 82
    NickMatzke_UD says:

    yeah wrong thread. I requested a delete.

  83. 83
    Bob O'H says:

    Barry @ 77 – it may well be that the Dembski quote I used is a quote-mine. In which case, show it by explaining the precise context.

    I agree with SB that when discussing science and theology both need to be mentioned, but Dr. Dembski did more than say there was a relationship – he equated ID with theology: he said ID is logos theology. In fact he emphasised it by saying that ID is just logos theology. As I pointed out in 16 there are formulations that he could have used which would have avoided this, but he didn’t use them.

    Amusingly, your quote of Dr. Dembski further undermines your original point. In particular:

    Anyone willing to set aside naturalistic prejudices and consider the possibility of evidence for intelligence in the natural world is a friend of intelligent design.

    Dr. Liddle & I both accept that inferring design does not require a supernatural hypothesis, but Dr. Dembski disagrees, and says we have to accept non-natural (=supernatural. Is there any alternative?) possibilities.

  84. 84
    Zachriel says:

    Eric Anderson: any biological system or feature was designed? If not, then she should be able to provide a reasoned explanation for why not

    There’s no scientific evidence of artifice or artisan, and strong scientific evidence of evolutionary processes.

  85. 85
    Virgil Cain says:

    Zachriel:

    There’s no scientific evidence of artifice or artisan,

    How would you know? You have to be one of the dimmest people ever.

  86. 86
    Eric Anderson says:

    Zachriel, your statement fails. The question is not whether you can come up with a one-liner, bald-faced, unsupported claim. That is pedestrian and adds nothing to the discussion.

    The question is whether Elizabeth can come up with a reasoned, detailed, evidence-based explanation for why design is not detected in case A, as opposed to case B.

    The design inference is on the table. She has apparently agreed that the approach and methodology are reasonable. So let’s apply them and see what happens.

    But anyway, that is for her, not you.

  87. 87
    Mapou says:

    Bob O’H,

    It’s time for you to retract your lie @75. Why do Darwinists lie so much? Why are you people so afraid of the truth?

  88. 88

    Barry:

    “[Elizabeth] has not been saying that or anything like that all along.”

    Can you cite anything I have ever said anywhere that implies that I think that it is not, in principle, possible to detect design in biology?

    I’ve frequently said that the arguments made in favour of the conclusion that biological organisms were designed by an external designer are flawed.

    My own view is that Darwinian processes are themselves an “intelligent system”, although not one with foresight or intention, and that we correctly deduce that biological organisms are the result of a system with “the power and facility to choose between options” as Dembski defines intelligence. “Natural selection” is indeed a “natural” form of “selection” aka “choosing”.

    So the question becomes: would it be possible to infer that an intentional intelligent agent designed a biological system?

    Yes, I think it would be, and have never thought otherwise, nor said anything that could be interpreted otherwise. My position regarding a putative intentional agent is that a hypothesis involving a putative intentional agent would have to posit some constraints on the agent’s powers, or it could not be tested.

    Thus I do not consider it possible to test the hypothesis that life was intentionally designed by an omnipotent creator. It’s an unfalsifiable, therefore untestable, hypothesis.

    But your OP is specifically NOT about divine designers. So yes, I think it would be possible, in principle, to test the hypothesis that life was intelligently designed by non-divine designers.

  89. 89
    Virgil Cain says:

    Elizabeth:

    My own view is that Darwinian processes are themselves an “intelligent system”

    Great, when you come up with a way to test your own view, please tell us.

    “Natural selection” is indeed a “natural” form of “selection” aka “choosing”.

    Not really. Eliminating the less fit is not like selecting the most fit.

    My position regarding a putative intentional agent is that a hypothesis involving a putative intentional agent would have to posit some constraints on the agent’s powers, or it could not be tested.

    That is very unscientific of you. Newton’s four rules apply- as does Occam and parsimony. We only infer a designer acted when there is evidence and that includes the lack of support for materialistic explanations.

    Thus I do not consider it possible to test the hypothesis that life was intentionally designed by an omnipotent creator.

    ID doesn’t require an omnipotent designer.

  90. 90
    Phinehas says:

    LT:

    …and that most IDists intend that the Designer is the Abrahamic God.”

    Intend that the Designer is the Abrahamic God? What do you mean by “intend?” That seems a strange word to use. How do IDists intend something about the Designer?

    If you’d said, “believe,” I might agree.

  91. 91
    Phinehas says:

    EL:

    “Natural selection” is indeed a “natural” form of “selection” aka “choosing”.

    Nature can neither choose nor select. Trying to anthropomorphize nature, while understandable, given that the appearance of design needs to be explained away, isn’t really a very scientific or skeptical approach to the issue.

  92. 92

    Well, as Dembski himself points out, information is created when options are differentially eliminated. That is what happens under what Darwin called “natural” selection, pointing out that the effect of the environment “weeding out” variants less able to exploit its resources or avoid its hazard was the “natural” equivalent of human breeders choosing to breed only from those animals that showed the wanted characteristics.

    So while one might regret Darwin’s anthropomorphisation, the effect is the same. The difference lies in the absence of intention in the “natural” version. But then Dembski specifically excluded (oddly) “intention” from his definition, thinking (oddly again) that it was not in the domain of science.

  93. 93
    Virgil Cain says:

    Elizabeth, For natural selection to even work it requires the information that needs to be explained in the first place.

  94. 94
    Phinehas says:

    Whether information can exist without intention is an interesting question, but if there is no intention, then there is no selection and no choosing.

    Natural selection is an oxymoron. Nature does not intend and therefore cannot select. When you remove the selection from natural selection, you are simply left with what is natural. Describing non-intending natural processes is certainly a valid scientific endeavor, but pretending those processes are capable of selection or choosing is not.

  95. 95
    bFast says:

    Pinehas, “When you remove the selection from natural selection…” Yet this is exactly what Larry Moran proposes — that natural selection is pretty much irrelevant. He then declares that this solves all of the problems. No natural selection, just “natural”, its all good now.

  96. 96
    Virgil Cain says:

    Complicated things have some quality, specifiable in advance, that is highly unlikely to have been acquired by random chance alone. In the case of living organisms, the quality that is specified in advance is…the ability to propagate genes in reproduction- Richard Dawkins “The Blind Watchmaker”

    Specified complexity, natural selection can’t get started without it. 😎

  97. 97
    mike1962 says:

    Zächrielein: There’s no scientific evidence of artifice or artisan, and strong scientific evidence of evolutionary processes.

    Chance and necessity are not known to create coded information.

    OOL hypotheses are incomplete and unproven.

    Intelligent agents (humans) are known to create coded information.

    Therefore, coded information in the cell points towards artisan.

    Which is why SETI is looking for signals with coded information:

    How do you know if you’ve detected an intelligent, extraterrestrial signal?… 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#obs3

  98. 98
    Eric Anderson says:

    Elizabeth:

    My position regarding a putative intentional agent is that a hypothesis involving a putative intentional agent would have to posit some constraints on the agent’s powers, or it could not be tested.

    Constraints in what sense? Surely you are not suggesting that a designer is limited in some special way beyond what is possible given natural laws. A designer capable of designing physical systems that operate within the bounds of natural laws doesn’t have any particular bounds — other than those natural laws. So, yes, the designer in creating physical systems that exist in the real world is obliged to follow the rules of natural laws that allow that physical system to exist. Nothing more; nothing less.

    You point doesn’t make sense. It might make sense if we were trying to look at the capabilities of a specific, known designer to determine if that designer produced a specific design. Such analysis occurs in forensics all the time. However, that analysis is not germane to and is logically subsequent to the determination of design itself.

    Thus I do not consider it possible to test the hypothesis that life was intentionally designed by an omnipotent creator. It’s an unfalsifiable, therefore untestable, hypothesis.

    Fortunately, that is not the hypothesis put forward by intelligent design, so it is a red herring.

    The real question is whether you are willing to acknowledge that it is possible to detect that life was intentionally designed. Period. No further assumptions about by whom, or what the nature, characteristics and intent of the designer was.

    It sounds like you acknowledge that this is possible. Correct?

    But your OP is specifically NOT about divine designers. So yes, I think it would be possible, in principle, to test the hypothesis that life was intelligently designed by non-divine designers.

    Great. Sounds like we’re all on the same page.

    So . . .

    Given that the design inference is an acknowledged, live possibility: Do you think life was intelligently designed? If not, why not?

  99. 99
    Eric Anderson says:

    bFast @95:

    LOL!

    Yep, it all boils down to the Great Evolutionary Explanation:

    Stuff Happens

  100. 100
    Mung says:

    Zachriel: There’s no scientific evidence of artifice or artisan, and strong scientific evidence of evolutionary processes.

    Meanwhile, Marcello Barbieri describes life as artifact-making. Silly Zachriel.

    http://philpapers.org/rec/BARTPO-44

  101. 101
    Jack Jones says:

    Mung “Meanwhile, Marcello Barbieri describes life as artifact-making. Silly Zachriel.”

    “Silly zachriel”? More than silly. That bloke’s a nutter.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gmT2sJAWFSs

  102. 102
    Mung says:

    Let me see if I can help clarify things a bit.

    Lizzie:

    Thus I do not consider it possible to test the hypothesis that life was intentionally designed by an omnipotent creator. It’s an unfalsifiable, therefore untestable, hypothesis.

    1. What does this have to do with anything? ID does not consist of the hypothesis that life was intentionally designed by an omnipotent creator.

    2. By what means does one rule out an omnipotent creator?

    Lizzie:

    I think it would be possible, in principle, to test the hypothesis that life was intelligently designed by non-divine designers.

    1. What does this have to do with anything? ID does not consist of the hypothesis that life was intelligently designed by non-divine designers.

    2. By what means does one rule out a divine designer?

    If you have no principled means to rule out one and rule in the other then your position turns out to be vacuous.

    Surely I am not the only one to notice Elizabeth’s shift from design to THE DESIGNER(S)!!!

    Same old song and dance?

  103. 103

    Eric: “Constraints in what sense?”

    In the sense of allowing us to make a testable predictions. For instance, if we considered that, for example, complex life had arisen on earth too suddenly for evolution to account for it, and postulated that it was seeded here by an intelligent agent, the next step would be to test hypotheses about candidate agents – what techniques they might have used, whether there was any corroborative evidence for their presence on earth, what tools they might have used and left behind, what marks of their handiwork.

    Eric: “It might make sense if we were trying to look at the capabilities of a specific, known designer to determine if that designer produced a specific design. Such analysis occurs in forensics all the time. However, that analysis is not germane to and is logically subsequent to the determination of design itself.”

    I disagree. One might hypothesis a designer as the possible explanation for a living thing, or other candidate artefact, before asking the question as to who or what that designer might be, but without asking questions about the designer, one would be left with an untestable hypothesis.

    Eric: “The real question is whether you are willing to acknowledge that it is possible to detect that life was intentionally designed. Period. No further assumptions about by whom, or what the nature, characteristics and intent of the designer was.”

    I am not “willing to acknowledge” that one could infer intentional design without testing hypotheses about the designer and that designer’s intent. Note the word hypotheses (not “assumption”, although the words are sometimes used interchangeably – where they are, though, the “assumption” must be provisional, and able to be falsified).

    Eric: “Given that the design inference is an acknowledged, live possibility: Do you think life was intelligently designed? If not, why not?”

    Let me first your first clause into the active voice: “Given that it is possible to infer that a designer designed a thing…” Given that rendering, I will answer your question:

    I think some life was intelligently designed. In fact I know it was. There are already many living things whose genomes have been intentionally manipulated directly by intentional human beings, as well as countless more whose genomes have been intentionally manipulated by means of selective breeding of desired (intended) characteristics. And I think that when currently living species are long dead fossils, and future intelligent palaeontologists dig us, and our domesticated animals up, they will have a good chance of correctly inferring that a specific species of primitive primate was capable of designing the genomes of other species. They might even identify the now extinct homo sapiens as the designer. Clues they will have will include a sudden increase in horizontal gene transfer in apparently domesticated species with no known vector; archaeological evidence of the technology for genome manipulation in locations correlated with evidence of human activity; and evidence of species domestication with apparent selection of characteristics likely to make those species useful to the humans whose fossils they are found in proximity with.

    But of course this is not what you mean (and you know I do not dispute this). You mean: do I mean that, say, early life on earth was placed there by an intelligent designer?

    No, I don’t think that’s very likely. Firstly, I don’t think that the pattern of life looks like the work of an intentional designer – I think it looks like the work of an “intelligent” system with feedback loops that result in the optimisation of entities for survival and reproduction, but not one with foresight. Secondly, the kind of intelligent designers that I am aware of not only design, but fabricate their designs, and are themselves living things. And I see no evidence of fabrication of living things, and even if there were, that would only raise the question: were the putative fabricators designed?

    Thirdly, I think that the complexity and optimisation of biological organisms is beyond any kind of designer that we could easily postulate. If humans ever design a life form, I suggest the most likely method will be to find a way of stimulating it to evolve, and controlling its evolution. Same with AI, by the way.

    But were evidence to arise, say, of optimised solutions from one lineage being transferred to another (as we install cameras in phones), or of evidence of artefactual fabrication, or of the presence of designers on early earth, or possibly something I haven’t thought of that indicated that living things were designed, I might have to think again.

    But I do not share the conviction of ID proponents that life is too complex to have evolved – on the contrary, I think it is too complex to have been designed, and as it possesses the key attribute required for evolution, namely that rather than being fabricated by a designer, it reproduces itself then it seems the much more likely scenario is that it evolved. As we can actually watch it doing, in real time, as well as over the fossil record.

    Of course we are still without a theory of how the self-replication process got going. I find “A designer made the first life forms” a less plausible likely explanation (because we have no evidence for such a designer, and, as I said earlier, it would only raise the question of where THAT designer came from) than explanations based in chemistry, because we already know quite a bit about chemistry, and the extraordinary ways in which molecules can interact by virtue of the forces intrinsic to their atoms.

    Now, that leaves open the question of whether the entire universe, chemistry and all, was brought into being by an intelligent agent who chose a set of physical laws that would tend (either probabilistically or deterministically) to bring about life on at least one small rocky planet. But that is an intrinsically untestable hypothesis, as there would be no detectably “designed” qualities that would mark it out as different from an “undesigned” universe – because we have no candidate “undesigned” universe against which to test it.

    Having said that, the “fine-tuning” argument, I would say, is possibly the best “design” argument around. I just don’t find it very compelling. Better, I think, is the Thomist argument that there must be a reason for there being anything rather than nothing. I’m not sure that the the reason needs to be “an intelligent designer” though. It could be that it’s just not a sensible question – “nothing” may turn out not to actually mean anything. “Something” may turn out to be far more likely than “nothing”.

    Anyway, apologies for the long answer. As Twain, or Shaw, or someone, said: I did not have time for a short one.

    But the tl:dr answer is: No I don’t think an intentional designer designed life specifically, and I don’t know whether an intentional designer designed the universe. I don’t think it matters. I don’t think we can demonstrate the existence of a divine creator any more than I think we can demonstrate the non-existence of a divine creator.

    I think the strongest argument for a divine spark of some sort is the existence of consciousness. I no longer find the argument persuasive, but I did for a long time, and I understand why some people still do.

  104. 104

    Mung: “Surely I am not the only one to notice Elizabeth’s shift from design to THE DESIGNER(S)!!!”

    Of course, Mung. As I’ve made clear consistently, while I think it is possible to present “a designer did this” as a hypothesis about a pattern (living things, for instance), I don’t think you get can test that hypothesis without then moving on to testing hypothesis about what intentions that designer might have had, what tools s/he might have used, what methods of manufacturer, what purpose s/he might have had in mind for his/her product.

    It is a direct corollary of postulating “design” that there is a putative designer. The idea that any hypothesis centred on the designer is off limits seems to me absurd. Without such a hypothesis, the inference would remain “well I can’t think of a non-design hypothesis so it must be design” i.e. designer-of-the-gaps. To move beyond that, IMO, ID needs to move to designer hypotheses – not necessarily “who”, but “how” and “why”.

    There have been a few – front-loading looked interesting at one point. I haven’t seen any recently, and none that have borne fruit.

  105. 105
    Box says:

    Elizabeth B Liddle:
    I think the strongest argument for a divine spark of some sort is the existence of consciousness. I no longer find the argument persuasive, but I did for a long time, and I understand why some people still do.

    You do? Oh.

  106. 106
    bFast says:

    Elizabeth B Liddle, “It is a direct corollary of postulating “design” that there is a putative designer. The idea that any hypothesis centred on the designer is off limits seems to me absurd.”

    I happen to agree with you. Certain characteristics of the designer naturally and quickly fall out of the designer hypothesis. Most notably, if the big bang is designed, then the designation of singular for the designer is appropriate. It could possibly be a group of designers acting as one, but for a polydesigner hypothesis to even begin, that polydesigner hypothesis must see the designers all agree. The same can be said for life, especially if you hold to UCD as I do. One universal ancestor, one designer. Yup, once you hypothesize a designer, the data provides some knowledge about the nature of that designer — like it or not.

  107. 107

    Not sure of your point, Box. I’m only speaking for myself. I can’t speak for anyone else.

  108. 108

    Good to have some common ground bfast!

  109. 109

    Mung: “If you have no principled means to rule out one and rule in the other then your position turns out to be vacuous.”

    Not sure what position you think I hold with regard to a divine designer. As I’ve said, I don’t think it’s an issue that can be determined by scientific methodology.

    Do you?

  110. 110
    Mapou says:

    Liddle to Mung:

    Not sure what position you think I hold with regard to a divine designer. As I’ve said, I don’t think it’s an issue that can be determined by scientific methodology.

    Do you?

    I do. In my view, whoever the designers were, they must have left us an unmistakable message, one especially designed for our age of increased scientific knowledge, a time when our species would be on the brink of self-destruction.

    I further hypothesise that the message is hidden in plain sight and is freely accessible to almost everyone on earth, especially with widespread internet accessibility. Many have already dismissed it as superstitious nonsense but it contains revolutionary and detailed scientific knowledge that will change the world practically overnight. It’s coming soon. Wait for it.

    And, when you see it happening, don’t say no one told you. Because I just did.

    PS. I got the feeling that Liddle is warming up to ID.

  111. 111
    Marc LaClear says:

    My dear Lizzie,

    “I think it would be possible, in principle, to test the hypothesis that life was intelligently designed by non-divine designers.”

    How about intelligently designed, period? Not sure why you would worry about the divinity or lack thereof of the designer before looking.

    Wouldn’t design be the first step? I think not wanting to support the “God answer” blinds people from looking at the evidence objectively.

  112. 112
    Marc LaClear says:

    Lizzie says,

    “Without such a hypothesis, the inference would remain “well I can’t think of a non-design hypothesis so it must be design” i.e. designer-of-the-gaps. To move beyond that, IMO, ID needs to move to designer hypotheses – not necessarily “who”, but “how” and “why”.”

    How is the idea that genetic copying errors and selection built the bacterial flagellum testable? How did this event happen in a no-designer scenario? If you don’t know the hows of the formation of these machines why do we need to know the hows and whys of a designer?

    Don’t you find this to be special pleading?

  113. 113
    Bob O'H says:

    Mapou @ 87 – that was no lie. If you’re ignorant of modern stochastic search mechanisms, that’s fine. The truth is that I’m currently running an analysis with over 1500 parameters (just looking at the speciation and extinction parameters, there are 6^1052 states), and it’ll work fine in finding the solution. Whilst this problem is large, it’s by no means the largest I’ve run, and other people run much larger ones.

    The reason these problems are not intractable is because there is structure in both the model and the data.

  114. 114
    EugeneS says:

    Evolution employs natural selection i.e. selection from among already existing functions. Natural selection cannot select for future function which is categorically different from mere sorting that routinely occurs in nature.

    Evolution is a second order of magnitude phenomenon, noise compared to generation of large amounts of novel functional information necessary to encode biological novelty.

  115. 115
    EugeneS says:

    Bob,

    It all depends on the problem formulation. There can be easily soluble problems of huge dimensions. Fine. Question is, whether it reflects reality.

    Problem constraints severly limit the capabilities of stochastic search. Plus a lot depends on the optimization function and on particular search algorithms, neighborhood operators etc.

    It is a well known limitation of stochastic search algorithms in general that they stagnate in local optima. It may well be that for your problems the landscape is amenable to stochastic search. But this is not so for biological organisms.

  116. 116
    Bob O'H says:

    EugeneS – yes, I agree that the shape of the search space is important, and if it’s cooperating everything can work fine. Mapou, apparently, doesn’t believe this. I guess this means he thinks you’re a liar too.

  117. 117

    @Elizabeth B Liddle “It is a direct corollary of postulating “design” that there is a putative designer. The idea that any hypothesis centred on the designer is off limits seems to me absurd.”

    It is not absurd. Just as well Mozart as creator of his music is off limits to science. We are never going to have a science about what is in people’s soul. We simply have opinion for that, judgement and so on.

    Why haven’t evolutionists learned anything from social darwinist involvement in the holocaust? You are not allowed to make what is good and evil into a matter of pseudoscientific fact, which means agency is outside of science.

    You can find out how the decisions are made, that is intelligent design science.

  118. 118
    kairosfocus says:

    Bob O’H: What evidence per observation do you have that the config space for AA chains or D/RNA chains is such that it is convenient for OOL and origin of body plans, rather than the reported pattern of deeply isolated protein fold domains, for example? KF

  119. 119

    Hey, Mark! Good to see you!

    You wrote:

    “My dear Lizzie,

    “I think it would be possible, in principle, to test the hypothesis that life was intelligently designed by non-divine designers.”

    How about intelligently designed, period? Not sure why you would worry about the divinity or lack thereof of the designer before looking.”

    Because without a postulated designer with postulated set of intentions, or purposes, or fabrication methods, there isn’t much to test. Simply being unable to explain a pattern by any known non-intelligent, non-intentional process does not allow us to conclude that an intelligent designer was responsible. The origin of life is an example – we don’t yet have a good model to explain the origin of life. Our lack of a good model does not allow us to conclude that an intelligent designer was involved. To make a positive design inference one would have to test a specific design hypothesis, which would involve hypotheses about, say, the methodology and/or purpose of the designer.

    Wouldn’t design be the first step? I think not wanting to support the “God answer” blinds people from looking at the evidence objectively.

    No, I don’t think this is true, though I appreciate that it is widely believed. Sure, the theory that something was designed by an intelligent intentional designer would be a first step, and might be strongly suggested by the data. But to test that theory, you’d need to derive a testable hypothesis. This is perfectly possible, provided you don’t postulate an omnipotent designer who could do anything – because a causal agent that could explain anything actually explains nothing. But it could be a divine designer – as long as you had a testable prediction. There’s nothing in scientific methodology that stops divine hypotheses from being tested. There have been a number of studies on the efficacy of intercessionary prayer for instance.

    But while you can test the hypothesis that intercessionary prayer is effective, you can’t test the hypothesis that intercessionary prayer is answered but in ways that are unknowable and unmeasurable.

    Science can only deal with predictive hypotheses, because the methodology is entirely based on predictions. That’s why the output is often “natural laws” – rules of thumb that enable us to predict Y if we know X.

  120. 120
    gpuccio says:

    Elizabeth:

    Hi, how are you?

    Just a few comments on your last post (I have not followed the whole discussion).

    You say:

    Because without a postulated designer with postulated set of intentions, or purposes, or fabrication methods, there isn’t much to test.

    I don’t think that is true. There is a lot to test, as I will try to show.

    You say:

    Simply being unable to explain a pattern by any known non-intelligent, non-intentional process does not allow us to conclude that an intelligent designer was responsible.

    Again, that is a gross mistake about ID. The problem is not only that a “pattern” cannot be explained by “conventional” theories, but rather that it is a pattern which is specific of intentional, conscious, intelligent design. That is the whole point of complex functional information.

    The origin of life is an example – we don’t yet have a good model to explain the origin of life.

    Certainly true!

    Our lack of a good model does not allow us to conclude that an intelligent designer was involved.

    Maybe it does not allow you to conclude that. It certainly allows me. Because life, even in its simplest known forms, implies tons of complex functional information.

    To make a positive design inference one would have to test a specific design hypothesis, which would involve hypotheses about, say, the methodology and/or purpose of the designer.

    Well, I have a specific design hypothesis, and others may have different specific design hypotheses.

    My hypothesis, which I have expressed and defended a lot of times, is that in natural history we can find evidence of sudden appearance of complex functional information: new protein superfamilies, new body plans, new functional networks of regulation. Each of them so complex that it screams design. And that such appearance is evidence of manipulation of biological variation by some purposeful intelligent designer.

    I must stop now, but I will get back soon.

  121. 121
    gpuccio says:

    Elizabeth:

    You say:

    …hypotheses about, say, the methodology and/or purpose of the designer

    The methodology can well be guided variation. That’s a clear hypothesis. It assumes that the consciousness of the designer can guide biological variation by some consciousness-matter interface, similar to the interface is our brains.

    The purpose can well be defined as a “local” purpose: to achieve some specific function. Hypotheses about more general plans of the designer are legitimate, but not necessary to infer design for a specific function.

    So, is specific proteins appears which form a specific biochemical network which is useful in a biological context, the achievement of that function is purpose enough to infer design, if complex information is necessary to achieve the function, and if that information is shown to have appeared and is beyond any reasonable non design explanation.

    Sure, the theory that something was designed by an intelligent intentional designer would be a first step, and might be strongly suggested by the data.

    It is.

    But to test that theory, you’d need to derive a testable hypothesis.

    That functional information in biological objects is complex enough to exclude non design explanations is a testable hypothesis.

    That tons of that kind of information appears rather suddenly in natural history is a testable hypothesis.

    That the functional space of proteins is so disconnected that the traditional explanation of “connections” enabling reasonable neo-darwinist paths between them can be falsified is a testable hypothesis.

    That epigenetic regulation networks are so complex and functional that new, unimaginable tons of functional information must be added to what we already know is a testable hypothesis.

    That OOL was rather sudden, and not a slow evolution from non existent primordial and never observed beings is a testable hypothesis.

    And so on, and so on. ID generates testable hypotheses as much as neo-darwinism. The two theories are still “the only games in town” to explain biological functional complexity. The two theories are mutually exclusive. And each new fact is in favor of one or the other (guess which? 🙂 )

    This is perfectly possible, provided you don’t postulate an omnipotent designer who could do anything – because a causal agent that could explain anything actually explains nothing.

    I perfectly agree. Only two things are required of the biological designer:

    1) To have conscious representations of some kind of the functional complexity to be achieved.

    2) To be able to interaction with biological matter so that functional information can be imprinted into it from the designer’s consciousness.

    That is no more and no less than what is required for human design. That is well different from “being able to do anything”, IOWs it is not omnipotence.

    There’s nothing in scientific methodology that stops divine hypotheses from being tested.

    Maybe. But that’s not what we need to test in ID.

    Science can only deal with predictive hypotheses, because the methodology is entirely based on predictions.

    I don’t exactly agree. I would say that science can only deal with explanations and/or predictions. You seem to really underestimate explanations. I can imagine why, but it is not a good motive.

  122. 122
    Virgil Cain says:

    Elizabeth Liddle:

    I don’t think you get can test that hypothesis without then moving on to testing hypothesis about what intentions that designer might have had, what tools s/he might have used, what methods of manufacturer, what purpose s/he might have had in mind for his/her product.

    Talk about being scientifically illiterate. You don’t even ask those questions until AFTER you have determined that design exists. That is how it works with archaeology, forensics and SETI, so why should ID be different?

    Because without a postulated designer with postulated set of intentions, or purposes, or fabrication methods, there isn’t much to test.

    Of course there is. We can A) see if purely materialistic processes can produce it and B) see if it matches the design criteria.

    Simply being unable to explain a pattern by any known non-intelligent, non-intentional process does not allow us to conclude that an intelligent designer was responsible.

    It is a start in that direction.

    Our lack of a good model does not allow us to conclude that an intelligent designer was involved.

    Couple that with the evidence and we get a design inference for the OoL.

    Science can only deal with predictive hypotheses,

    Your position doesn’t have any.

  123. 123
    Virgil Cain says:

    Elizabeth Liddle:

    But I do not share the conviction of ID proponents that life is too complex to have evolved

    ID doesn’t say that.

    on the contrary, I think it is too complex to have been designed, and as it possesses the key attribute required for evolution, namely that rather than being fabricated by a designer, it reproduces itself then it seems the much more likely scenario is that it evolved.

    Unguided evolution, ie natural selection, drift and neutral changes, is impotent and cannot produce anything but disease and deformities. And biological reproduction is just another phenomena that your position cannot account for.

    That is the whole problem, Elizabeth. You poo-poo ID and yet you cannot offer anything that meets your standards as a replacement.

  124. 124
    Zachriel says:

    Phinehas: Natural selection is an oxymoron.

    Actually, it’s a term-of-art, a jargon, a coined expression, a scientific terminology. It refers to the process that occurs when differing traits lead to differential reproductive success.

    bFast: Yet this is exactly what Larry Moran proposes — that natural selection is pretty much irrelevant.

    You’ve been corrected on this previously.

    Larry Moran: Natural selection is an important mechanism of evolution.
    http://bioinfo.med.utoronto.ca.....ident.html

    mike1962: Chance and necessity are not known to create coded information.

    Molecular replicators can store information about the structure of the replicator and also act as an enzyme.

    mike1962: OOL hypotheses are incomplete and unproven.

    Sure, but there is support for many facets of abiogenesis.

    mike1962: Intelligent agents (humans) are known to create coded information.

    Yes.

    mike1962: Therefore, coded information in the cell points towards artisan.

    Therefore, coded information in the cell points towards humans. Huh?

    Eric Anderson: So, yes, the designer in creating physical systems that exist in the real world is obliged to follow the rules of natural laws that allow that physical system to exist.

    That’s a start. That means we can investigate the who, what, when, where, why, and how. Where did the energy come from? What was the mechanism by which the first humans was formed?

    Eric Anderson: However, that analysis is not germane to and is logically subsequent to the determination of design itself.

    No. The scientific evidence is intertwined. The hypothesis has testable entailments, which may add confidence to or undermine the original claim.

    Mung: Meanwhile, Marcello Barbieri describes life as artifact-making.

    According to biosemiosis, the informational characteristics of organisms evolved naturally. The paper you cite actually proposes a form abiogenesis.

    Marc LaClear: Wouldn’t design be the first step?

    Great! You’re convinced that life is designed. Now scientifically test that claim by researching the who, what, when, where, why, and how. Let us know what you discover.

    Marc LaClear: How is the idea that genetic copying errors and selection built the bacterial flagellum testable?

    You can’t take the data in isolation, and the flagellum is very ancient. We would expect that the flagellum was preceded by simpler structures, but it is easier to reconstruct more modern transitions.

    EugeneS: Evolution employs natural selection i.e. selection from among already existing functions. Natural selection cannot select for future function which is categorically different from mere sorting that routinely occurs in nature.

    That’s right. So fins become legs become arms become wings.

    EugeneS: It is a well known limitation of stochastic search algorithms in general that they stagnate in local optima.

    Recombination avoids the problem of becoming locked on a local peak.

    EugeneS: It may well be that for your problems the landscape is amenable to stochastic search. But this is not so for biological organisms.

    The canonical example is the mammalian middle ear. How could it possibly evolve!?

    gpuccio: 2) To be able to interaction with biological matter so that functional information can be imprinted into it from the designer’s consciousness.

    That’s the who, what, when, where, why, and how. At least the when, where, and how. Where did the energy come from? What was the mechanism by which the first humans was formed?

    And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul. — Genesis 2:7

  125. 125
    gpuccio says:

    Elizabeth:

    Please, look at the Nature paper linked by News in the most recent post, and to my brief comment there.

    The role of non coding RNAs in regulating crucial epigenetic funtions has been predicted many times by us UDists, and is finding constant support in research papers. And the role of retrotransposons in designing genomic variations generating new functional non coding sequences is one of the main points in my personal model of biological design.

    Thist is, definitely, a very testable hypothesis.

  126. 126
    gpuccio says:

    Zachriel:

    You say:

    That’s the who, what, when, where, why, and how. At least the when, where, and how. Where did the energy come from? What was the mechanism by which the first humans was formed?

    The energy is an interesting part of the problem. Indeed, in some models it could not be necessary at all.

    Some models of the interaction between consciousness and brain, as you certainly know, imply the ability of conscious representations to interfere with quantum probability, without violating basic quantum principle, except in imparting informational and functional meaning to probability events which would otherwise be completely random. That process could be some form of Maxwell’s demon mechanism which imparts order without requiring energy.

    Alternatively, some energy could be required, and it could be linked to the “mind” processes of non material, conscious beings (including us).

    Luckily, we can study those aspects in the future, if we assume, as I do, that the interaction between the biological designer and biological matter is similar to the interaction between our consciousness and our brains. So, we have a very testable model on which to work.

    I don’t understand the question about humans. I suppose that human biological bodies have been designed in a way similar to the other biological entities. There is no special scientific problem there.

    I hope you are not trying to move the discussion to philosophical and specifically religious matters! 🙂

  127. 127
    Virgil Cain says:

    Zachriel still choking on natural selection:

    Actually, it’s a term-of-art, a jargon, a coined expression, a scientific terminology. It refers to the process that occurs when differing traits lead to differential reproductive success.

    That is incorrect and demonstrates ignorance and deception. Natural selection requires the variation to be accidental.

    That’s the who, what, when, where, why, and how.

    And only a scientifically illiterate punk would think we have to know those before we can determine design exists.

  128. 128
    Mapou says:

    Bob O’H:

    Mapou @ 87 – that was no lie. If you’re ignorant of modern stochastic search mechanisms, that’s fine.

    Either it is stochastic or it isn’t. “Modern” has nothing to do with it. RM+NS is stochastic. Is it modern?

    The truth is that I’m currently running an analysis with over 1500 parameters (just looking at the speciation and extinction parameters, there are 6^1052 states), and it’ll work fine in finding the solution. Whilst this problem is large, it’s by no means the largest I’ve run, and other people run much larger ones.

    The reason these problems are not intractable is because there is structure in both the model and the data.

    Not true. It is because it is not stochastic. You are cheating somewhere and lying about it. There is no getting around the combinatorial explosion if you are using a truly random search.

  129. 129
    Eric Anderson says:

    Elizabeth @103:

    Elizabeth:
    Thank you for taking time to provide a fulsome reply. I’m heading on the road for Thanksgiving soon, but just a couple of quick points that jumped out at me:

    For instance, if we considered that, for example, complex life had arisen on earth too suddenly for evolution to account for it, and postulated that it was seeded here by an intelligent agent, the next step would be to test hypotheses about candidate agents – what techniques they might have used, whether there was any corroborative evidence for their presence on earth, what tools they might have used and left behind, what marks of their handiwork.

    With all due respect, I am afraid you are misunderstanding how a design inference works. First, it is not just a question of arising “too suddenly for evolution to account for it.” Yes in terms of competing historical explanations the negative case against traditional evolutionary claims is important. However, the positive side of design is looking at the artifact in question to see if it contains the kinds of characteristics that we associate with designed artifacts.

    The next step in drawing a design inference is not testing “hypotheses about candidate agents.” Trying to determine who the designer was may be an interesting follow-up question after design has been established, but it is not part of the design inference itself. Proposing various hypotheses about candidate agents is not how the design inference works in SETI, archaeology or any other area. Indeed, we learn something about the capabilities of a designer once we conclude design. Your approach is exactly backwards.
    (The one part of your paragraph that might be on track is the reference to “marks of their handiwork,” but only if you are referring to general design criteria. If you are talking about some kind of personalized mark, then no, that is not part of the design inference. Again, it is part of an interesting follow-up question about the identity of the designer.)

    . . . without asking questions about the designer, one would be left with an untestable hypothesis.

    Again, you are confused as to the flow of analysis. What exactly do you think is the untestable hypothesis? Whether (i) something was designed and whether (ii) that design matches up with particular characteristics of a proposed designer are two separate questions. Logically so and forever so. Please don’t conflate them.

    Thirdly, I think that the complexity and optimisation of biological organisms is beyond any kind of designer that we could easily postulate.

    This is a very strange statement. It essentially amounts to: “I can infer that an artifact that rises to the level of requiring X capabilities was designed. But if the artifact required X+Y capabilities, then we can’t infer design.” Again, you miss the flow of logic. If X+Y capabilities doesn’t require design, then X certainly doesn’t either.

    Continuing in a similar vein:

    But were evidence to arise, say, of optimised solutions from one lineage being transferred to another (as we install cameras in phones), or of evidence of artefactual fabrication, or of the presence of designers on early earth, or possibly something I haven’t thought of that indicated that living things were designed, I might have to think again.

    The real issue here and where the rubber meets the road is the following:

    Despite your statements of lip service toward the general validity of a design inference, you really are not talking about the design inference at all. What you are talking about is a collection of other anecdotal and circumstantial pieces of evidence that would allow us to conclude that designer was present. The whole point of the design inference is to determine whether design occurred in the absence of these other anecdotal and circumstantial bits of evidence. To be sure, some of those other pieces of evidence might exist, but they are not directly critical to the ability to detect design from the artifact itself.

    But I do not share the conviction of ID proponents that life is too complex to have evolved – on the contrary, I think it is too complex to have been designed, and as it possesses the key attribute required for evolution, namely that rather than being fabricated by a designer, it reproduces itself then it seems the much more likely scenario is that it evolved.

    Again, this is incredibly backwards logic. You are claiming that if we are justified in inferring design because an artifact contains certain indicia of design, the when the artifact contains even more indicia of design we cannot conclude design. Completely backwards.
    I should also add, that there is no observable evidence that an evolutionary process has the capabilities you are assigning to it. But that is another story.

    This confirms my understanding of what your position has been for years, namely that undirected natural processes are fully up to the task of creating life and biology as we know it. It is a strange position, given the almost universal lack of evidence to support that great creative capability, but I understand your view.

    But the tl:dr answer is: No I don’t think an intentional designer designed life specifically, and I don’t know whether an intentional designer designed the universe. I don’t think it matters. I don’t think we can demonstrate the existence of a divine creator any more than I think we can demonstrate the non-existence of a divine creator.

    I’m not sure where a “divine” term got introduced, as it isn’t part of ID.

    —–

    Elizabeth, thank you again for taking time to clarify your position. The real disconnect here, as I have identified above, is that (despite statements to the contrary) you do not accept the design inference as a valid mode of inquiry as it is used in SETI, archaeology, forensics and as ID proponents have applied it to living organisms. That is itself unfortunate and strange, but it is helpful to see where the disconnect actually lies. I don’t know if this is the result of a misunderstanding of how a design inference works, or whether it is just a hyper-skeptical approach aimed at design in biology that has spilled over to a rejection of the design inference generally. In any event, thank you for clarifying your position.

  130. 130
    Mung says:

    Elizabeth Liddle:

    Well, as Dembski himself points out, information is created when options are differentially eliminated.

    Do you have a cite for this?

  131. 131
    Mung says:

    Lizzie:

    Not sure what position you think I hold with regard to a divine designer.

    You don’t even know what position you hold.

    But if it helps, you’re an atheist.

    As I’ve said, I don’t think it’s an issue that can be determined by scientific methodology.

    Yes, and that makes your position vacuous. You have no principled means to distinguish between a natural designer and a supernatural designer. So all this talk that it somehow makes a difference to the testability of the design argument is just so much meaningless jabbering.

  132. 132
    Zachriel says:

    Eric Anderson: The next step in drawing a design inference is not testing “hypotheses about candidate agents.” Trying to determine who the designer was may be an interesting follow-up question after design has been established, but it is not part of the design inference itself.

    So you say you can detect designer without regard to the designer or the design process? That’s fine. Wondeful, in fact. But all scientific claims are tentative, and the obvious entailments of your claim are the how, what, when, where, why, and how. That you want reach your conclusion, then wipe your hands and go home shows a misunderstanding of the scientific method. You build confidence in your conclusion through marshaling evidence by generating and testing many different implications of the initial finding. The lack of such evidence, the lack of even a minimal scientific curiosity, undermines that initial finding.

    Eric Anderson: Proposing various hypotheses about candidate agents is not how the design inference works in SETI, archaeology or any other area.

    Archaeology specifically studies human material culture. Perhaps you’ve heard of them. They’re a peculiar species of ape on the third rock from the sun. When a purported artifact is discovered, it is immediately subjected to scrutiny concerning the how, what, when, where, why, and how. The original conclusion will be reevaluated in the light of these findings.

    SETI starts with the assumption that any transmission is by an organism (or proxy) that has evolved around a star as humans did, and has similar technical means as humans. If and when such a signal is discovered, it will immediately be subjected to scrutiny concerning the how, what, when, where, why, and how. The original conclusion will be reevaluated in the light of these findings.

    You can’t separate the different lines of evidence. They are inextricably intertwined.

  133. 133
    Mung says:

    gpuccio:

    My hypothesis, which I have expressed and defended a lot of times, is that in natural history we can find evidence of sudden appearance of complex functional information: new protein superfamilies, new body plans, new functional networks of regulation.

    New codes.

    Code Biology

  134. 134
    Jack Jones says:

    @12 “Archaeology specifically studies human material culture. Perhaps you’ve heard of them. They’re a peculiar species of ape on the third rock from the sun.”

    That’s a new one, I never heard that the field of Archaeology was a species of anything.

    Very strange indeed.

    “When a purported artifact is discovered, it is immediately subjected to scrutiny concerning the how, what, when, where, why, and how. The original conclusion will be reevaluated in the light of these findings.”

    But you have so much faith in dumb luck then it is a surprise that you do not choose that as an option.

    “SETI starts with the assumption that any transmission is by “an organism (or proxy) that has evolved around a star”

    No, SETI is looking for transmissions that indicate other intelligent life in the universe and how the intelligent life originated does not come into it.

  135. 135
    Zachriel says:

    Jack Jones: I never heard that the field of Archaeology was a species of anything.

    Huh? Archaeology is the study of human material culture. Humans are a biological species.

    Jack Jones: But you have so much faith in dumb luck then it is a surprise that you do not choose that as an option.

    Natural processes are often a how, and undermines the claim of design. Knapped stones, for instance, can be difficult to determine whether they were manufactured or the result of natural forces.

    Jack Jones: No, SETI is looking for transmissions that indicate other intelligent life in the universe and how the intelligent life originated does not come into it.

    SETI is looking for electromagnetic emissions from other star systems, something humans emit from their own star system. They don’t look in deep space or gas nebulae where complex organic life is not thought to have evolved. Understanding how star systems develop, and which are likely to harbor complex organisms such as humans, is an important part of the SETI program. Indeed, the whole concept is based on theories of how planets and organisms are thought to have formed.

  136. 136
    gpuccio says:

    Mung:

    New codes.

    Absolutely! 🙂

  137. 137
    Jack Jones says:

    @135

    “Archaeology is the study of human material culture”

    Archaeology is not a living thing.

    “Humans are a biological species”

    Humans are the ones doing the investigation, The name of the field is Archaeology.

    “Natural processes are often a how”

    There is nothing natural about your faith of life originating spontaneously in nature.

    You are rejecting how nature is known to operate.

    “and undermines the claim of design.”

    No, discovering how nature operates makes sense on design, your faith in dumb luck provides no basis that the universe has underlying laws that can be discovered or that your sensory apparatus comports with reality or that scientists should report their results honestly and accurately.

    The only person whose claims that are undermined is your own when you appeal to how nature operates, You are contradicting your own faith in dumb luck which provides no basis for talking about the nature of reality.

    “SETI starts with the assumption that any transmission is by an organism (or proxy) that has evolved around a star as humans did, and has similar technical means as humans. If and when such a signal is discovered, it will immediately be subjected to scrutiny concerning the how, what, when, where, why, and how. The original conclusion will be reevaluated in the light of these findings.”

    No, SETI looks for signals of intelligence, it does require going into how the intelligence is meant to have originated.

  138. 138
    Zachriel says:

    Jack Jones: Archaeology is not a living thing.

    No. Archaeology is a field of study.

    Jack Jones: Humans are the ones doing the investigation

    Yes. Archaeology is the study of the material culture of humans, not of a disembodied intelligence.

    Jack Jones: SETI looks for signals of intelligence, it does require going into how the intelligence is meant to have originated.

    You ignored the point. They look for signals from star systems because humans evolved on a planet revolving around a star, and theories of planet formation and life formation indicates that’s where you will find other life.

    http://www.seti.org/node/647

  139. 139
    EugeneS says:

    Zachriel,

    To Jack Jones: “You ignored the point”.

    Isn’t it what you are doing all the time?!

    Evolution needs a functional semiotic system to start with. Evolution does not invent new functions. Co-optation to even start needs a functional system and a functional switch from function A to function B. How did they come into existence?

    Evolution cannot explain the generation of statistically significant amounts of functional information, which can only be explained by intentional design.

  140. 140
    Zachriel says:

    EugeneS: Evolution needs a functional semiotic system to start with.

    Yes, and theories about planetary motion require planets. That doesn’t mean we can’t have theories of planetary motion absent an explanation for the origin of planets. See Newton 1687.

    EugeneS: Evolution does not invent new functions.

    There is strong evidence that it does, for instance, the mammalian middle ear.

  141. 141
    Virgil Cain says:

    There is strong evidence that it does, for instance, the mammalian middle ear.

    There isn’t any evidence that unguided evolution produced the mammalian inner ear. There isn’t any way to test the claim.

  142. 142
    Virgil Cain says:

    So you say you can detect designer without regard to the designer or the design process?

    That is the only way to do it. We don’t even ask about the designer until AFTER design is detected.

    But all scientific claims are tentative, and the obvious entailments of your claim are the how, what, when, where, why, and how.

    Yes, those come AFTER design is detected and the design and all relevant evidence is studied.

    That you want reach your conclusion, then wipe your hands and go home shows a misunderstanding of the scientific method.

    What a moronic thing to say. You have to be one ignorant punk, Lee.

    Archaeology specifically studies human material culture.

    they have to find and determine the presence of artifacts first. You must be proud to be an ignoramus. It is that process- design detection- that ID follows.

    Thankfully you are not an investigator.

  143. 143
    Daniel King says:

    Virgil Cain:

    There isn’t any evidence that unguided evolution produced the mammalian inner ear. There isn’t any way to test the claim.

    Reality:

    The evolution of mammalian auditory ossicles is one of the most well-documented and important evolutionary events, demonstrating both numerous transitional forms as well as an excellent example of exaptation, the re-purposing of existing structures during evolution.

  144. 144
    Daniel King says:

    We don’t even ask about the designer until AFTER design is detected.

    OK. Start asking.

  145. 145
    Virgil Cain says:

    OK my little pufferfish- how many generations and what genes were involved in the alleged evolution of the mammalian inner ear? How can we test the claim that changes in DNA can produce the types of transformations required?

    Your “reality” is nothing more than a bald assertion.

    cheers,
    Virgil Cain

  146. 146
    Virgil Cain says:

    OK. Start asking.

    Does that mean that you agree that design has been detected?

    How do you propose we answer those questions seeing how vague and general our answers are when it comes to artifacts- artifacts that we are capable of reproducing? Obviously the design of living organisms and planetary systems is way above our capability.

    I am sure that once ID has the resources that are being squandered on evolutionism we will put our efforts into answering those questions that the design inference opens.

  147. 147
    Box says:

    Zach: SETI starts with the assumption that any transmission is by an organism (or proxy) that has evolved around a star as humans did, and has similar technical means as humans.

    “Proxy”; see The Dominant Life Form in the Cosmos Is Probably Superintelligent Robots.

    Zach: If and when such a signal is discovered, it will immediately be subjected to scrutiny concerning the how, what, when, where, why, and how. The original conclusion will be reevaluated in the light of these findings.

    Sure, but let’s be clear: follow-up questions regarding the designer, like “how, what, when, where and why” only come up AFTER it has been established that the signal is designed.

    Eric Anderson: Trying to determine who the designer was may be an interesting follow-up question after design has been established, but it is not part of the design inference itself.

  148. 148
    kairosfocus says:

    Box, VC, et al: Notice, how there is a strong tendency to ppull discussion away from the pivotal issue that life is founded on functionally specific, complex organisation and associated information, and away from what the observational evidence and needle in haystack analysis tells us about the source of such FSCO/I? Notice the confident but observationally, evidentially unsupported implication that “natural selection writes code and linked organisation out of lucky noise”? Notice the assumption that we can spontaneously get mind from meat? What is this telling us about the nature of the issue we are addressing? KF

  149. 149
    Jack Jones says:

    “No. Archaeology is a field of study.”

    Just like I taught you.

    “Yes Archaeology is the study of the material culture of humans, not of a disembodied intelligence.”

    And Archaeology is not a species just like I taught you.

    ” They look for signals from star systems because humans evolved on a planet”

    No, your chance evolutionary faith of how man came to be does not factor in to looking for other intelligent life.

  150. 150
    Zachriel says:

    Box: Sure, but let’s be clear: follow-up questions regarding the designer, like “how, what, when, where and why” only come up AFTER it has been established that the signal is designed.

    You keep missing the point. The followup studies may impact the original hypothesis. The evidence is all intertwined. The “reach a conclusion and wipe your hands and go home method” is contrary to how science is done.

    As Daniel King said, “Start asking.” Let us know what you determine.

    Eric Anderson: Trying to determine who the designer was may be an interesting follow-up question after design has been established, but it is not part of the design inference itself.

    Nope. You can’t say you’ve reached a valid conclusion while ignoring its most obvious entailments. It’s part-and-parcel.

    Jack Jones: And Archaeology is not a species just like I taught you.

    Archaeology is not a biological species. Have no idea what you’re going on about.

    Jack Jones: No, your chance evolutionary faith of how man came to be does not factor in to looking for other intelligent life.

    It does for SETI.

    SETI, the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, is an exploratory science that seeks evidence of life in the universe by looking for some signature of its technology. Our current understanding of life’s origin on Earth suggests that given a suitable environment and sufficient time, life will develop on other planets. Whether evolution will give rise to intelligent, technological civilizations is open to speculation. However, such a civilization could be detected across interstellar distances, and may actually offer our best opportunity for discovering extraterrestrial life in the near future.
    http://www.seti.org/node/647

  151. 151
    EugeneS says:

    Zachriel

    “Yes, and theories about planetary motion require planets. That doesn’t mean we can’t have theories of planetary motion absent an explanation for the origin of planets. See Newton 1687.”

    How relevant is it to our discussion?!

    The putative theory of evolution concerns the appearance of new function (i.e., borrowing your flawed analogy, the appearance of new planets). However, it does not satisfactorily explain new function. That is what makes it irrelevant to your flawed analogy.

    If the theory of planetary motion had concerned the appearance of new planets, that would have been similar to what we discuss here on this blog.

    “Strong evidence, for example, mammalian middle ear”

    Your comments show desperation. Middle ear, right arm, left toe…

    Your standards for the strength of scientific evidence are inacceptably low. You have zero evidence of non-telic causation producing telic semiotic systems.

  152. 152
    Jack Jones says:

    Zach “Archaeology is not a biological species.”

    Just Like I taught you.

    Zach “Have no idea what you’re going on about.”

    It was what you were going on about.

    Zach “Archaeology specifically studies human material culture. Perhaps you’ve heard of them. They’re a peculiar species of ape on the third rock from the sun.”

    But I taught you otherwise and now you say:

    Zach “Archaeology is not a biological species.”

    You’re welcome.

    “It does for SETI.”

    It’s added gloss.

    You could believe life was deliberately created on earth and there is a chance it was deliberately created elsewhere.

    You could be Agnostic about how life originated but believe that because there is life on earth then it is possible that it exists elsewhere.

    Their addded gloss is not showing it is needed to do their work, It may be politically correct to use the gloss but it is not demonstrating that it is needed.

  153. 153
    Zachriel says:

    EugeneS: How relevant is it to our discussion?!

    Directly relevant. Not knowing the origin of the “semiotic system” doesn’t mean we can’t have a valid theory of how such systems evolve.

    EugeneS: The putative theory of evolution concerns the appearance of new function (i.e., borrowing your flawed analogy, the appearance of new planets). However, it does not satisfactorily explain new function.

    Evolution does provide a valid model for the origin of new functions. There is support from many different fields of research. The best place to start is with the historical progression, so we can see what needs to be explained.

    EugeneS: Middle ear, right arm, left toe…

    Handwaving. The mammalian middle ear is an excellent example of how evolution works to produce irreducibly complex structures.

    Jack Jones: It’s added gloss.

    No. The history and origin of SETI is steeped in the concept of life and evolution as natural occurrences. Stars are suns for other worlds. Amazingly, it was only recently that the first exoplanets were discovered, though scientists long believed they existed.

  154. 154
    EugeneS says:

    “so we can see what needs to be explained.”

    Everything from A to Z needs to be explained. Evolution is nowhere near an adequate explanation of complex functional systems.

  155. 155
    Zachriel says:

    EugeneS: Everything from A to Z needs to be explained.

    We don’t have to explain what causes gas pressure, or why comets have tails. Evolution does have to provide a general explanation for the mechanisms responsible for the history of life, including the evolution of complex adaptations.

    EugeneS: Evolution is nowhere near an adequate explanation of complex functional systems.

    The best place to start is with the historical progression, so we can see what needs to be explained. Do you accept that sunfish share ancestry with sunflowers? Or bakers with bonobos?

  156. 156
    Daniel King says:

    Virgil Cain:

    How do you propose we answer those questions…?

    Formulate a testable hypothesis.

    …seeing how vague and general our answers are when it comes to artifacts- artifacts that we are capable of reproducing?

    I’ve seen how vague your answers are when it comes to formulating a testable hypothesis.

    Obviously the design of living organisms and planetary systems is way above our capability.

    Not obvious. Giving up before even starting is a ticket to nowhere.

    I am sure that once ID has the resources that are being squandered on evolutionism we will put our efforts into answering those questions that the design inference opens.

    What kind of resources? Mental resources?

    It doesn’t cost anything to think up testable hypotheses.

  157. 157
    Jack Jones says:

    “No. The history and origin of SETI is steeped in the concept of life and evolution as natural occurrences. Stars are suns for other worlds!”

    No, it is gloss, In fact, Believing that they can investigate the universe and evaluate signals is consistent with the idea that the mind is designed to understand truth and logically evaluate what is being received.

    Believing their brains were the result of dumb luck provides no grounds for doing scientific investigation, believing they are just chemistry in motion provides no grounds for free will and Unintentionalism provides no grounds for the correspondence of perception with reality or the laws of logic needed for logical evaluation.

    They may hold to their dumb luck faith and do investigation but that is Compartmentalization of their minds.

    The more you go on about science and understanding how nature works shows that you reject your faith of Unintentionalism and dumb luck.

    To argue is to in essence say your faith is a false one.

    You really shouldn’t argue at all, because the more you argue about truth and scientific investigation etc is to say your faith of unintentionalism and dumb luck is false.

  158. 158
    Zachriel says:

    Jack Jones: In fact, Believing that they can investigate the universe and evaluate signals is consistent with the idea that the mind is designed to understand truth and logically evaluate what is being received.

    The facts are what they are, as stated by SETI. The history is what it is, including Drake’s early work. That’s why humans send robot explorers to Mars to look for water. It’s why they point radio telescopes at distant star systems, looking for electromagnetic signals. Waving your hands doesn’t change any of that.

  159. 159
    Jack Jones says:

    “The facts are what they are, as stated by SETI.”

    Stating something is not demonstrating it as being a necessity.

    Not only have you failed to show investigating the universe for alien life requires believing in spontaneous generation of life on earth or believing alien intelligence came about spontaneously but you have also failed to show how such a belief in dumb chance for how humans came about provides grounding for scientific investigation.

    Waving your hands doesn’t change any of that.

  160. 160
    Mapou says:

    Zachriel:

    The facts are what they are, as stated by SETI. The history is what it is, including Drake’s early work. That’s why humans send robot explorers to Mars to look for water. It’s why they point radio telescopes at distant star systems, looking for electromagnetic signals.

    A religion of cretins and impostors playing scientists.

  161. 161
    EugeneS says:

    Zachriel

    The best place to start is primary school.

    Do you accept that OS Windows appeared by random generation of machine code?

  162. 162
    Virgil Cain says:

    Daniel King:

    Formulate a testable hypothesis.

    Let’s see an example of testable hypotheses for evolutionism. Try one for the evolution of any bacterial flagellum via natural selection, drift and neutral changes.

    I’ve seen how vague your answers are when it comes to formulating a testable hypothesis.

    I have posted testable hypotheses for ID. OTOH you have never posted one for evolutionism.

    Obviously the design of living organisms and planetary systems is way above our capability.

    Not obvious.

    We cannot design those so obviously they are above our capabilities. And obviously thinking is above yours.

    Giving up before even starting is a ticket to nowhere.

    Your position gave up, Daniel. It doesn’t have any hope of figuring out how things evolved.

    What kind of resources? Mental resources?

    ALL resources- the resources that evolutionism is wasting by not even trying to figure out how things evolved.

    It doesn’t cost anything to think up testable hypotheses.

    Those do not answer questions and your position doesn’t have any.

  163. 163
    Zachriel says:

    Jack Jones: Stating something is not demonstrating it as being a necessity.

    No. We provided support, from SETI, from the history of the search for extra terrestrial life. You waved your hands.

    Jack Jones: Not only have you failed to show investigating the universe for alien life requires believing in spontaneous generation of life on earth or believing alien intelligence came about spontaneously …

    That wasn’t the claim, but that SETI is based on that belief, as discussed by Eric Anderson @132.

    EugeneS: Do you accept that OS Windows appeared by random generation of machine code?

    No. Windows OS was designed and manufactured by humans.

    As for the evidence for evolution, the best place to start is with the historical progression. Do you agree that the fossil record shows a progression from primitive vertebrates to primitive gnathostomes to tetrapods to amniotes to mammals to primates to hominids? Do you accept that sunfish share ancestry with sunflowers? Or bakers with bonobos?

  164. 164
    Jack Jones says:

    “No. We provided support.”

    You provided assertions, I debunked the assertions and you have no rebuttal. You wave your hands.

  165. 165
    Virgil Cain says:

    Zachriel:

    As for the evidence for evolution, the best place to start is with the historical progression.

    LoL! Evidence for evolution exists regardless of any imagined historical progression. Fish-> tetrapods-> fish-a-pods, is what we observe and that is contrary to Common Descent.

    Do you agree that the fossil record shows a progression from primitive vertebrates to primitive gnathostomes to tetrapods to amniotes to mammals to primates to hominids?

    No.

    Do you accept that sunfish share ancestry with sunflowers? Or bakers with bonobos?

    There isn’t any evidence for that nor any way to objectively test the claim. It isn’t a scientific claim.

  166. 166
    mike1962 says:

    Zächrielein: Molecular replicators can store information about the structure of the replicator and also act as an enzyme.

    That’s not an example of chance and necessity created coded information.

    Zächrielein Sure

    Thanks for the concession.

    Zächrielein but there is support for many facets of abiogenesis.

    So? Nature created stones therefore Stonehenge?

    Zächrielein: Therefore, coded information in the cell points towards humans. Huh?

    Coded information points towards human-like intelligence (something with foresight and the ability to manipulate matter to its ends), just like coded information from a star system would point to the existence of a human-like intelligence, which is why SETI is looking for it. Do you think SETI is looking for humans?

  167. 167
    Zachriel says:

    mike1962: That’s not an example of chance and necessity created coded information.

    The replicator has a sequence which encodes a complex three-dimensional structure of itself.

    mike1962: Nature created stones therefore Stonehenge?

    No. The hypothesis of abiogenesis comes from common descent, knowledge of the chemical processes in organisms, and knowledge of the primordial Earth.

    mike1962: Do you think SETI is looking for humans?

    SETI is looking for human analogues, organisms that arose spontaneously on other sun systems, as it is thought happened on Earth, that have developed technology, much like humans, and use electromagnetic radiation to communicate, much like humans. That’s why scientists search for water on local planets, and Earth-like exoplanets.

    They are not trying to detect coded information, but narrow-band signals . If one is found, they will certainly subject the signal to all sorts of tests, including whether there is coded information, where the signal is coming from, how might have sent it, what the signal might mean, or whether it is simply due to some natural causes. This requires addressing specifics of the signal, not vague generalities about “codes”.

  168. 168
    mike1962 says:

    Zächrielein: The replicator has a sequence which encodes a complex three-dimensional structure of itself.

    Chance and necessarily are not known to have given rise to that process.

    Zächrielein: The hypothesis of abiogenesis comes from common descent, knowledge of the chemical processes in organisms, and knowledge of the primordial Earth.

    So? Is that suppose to be a refutation of my point?

    Zächrielein: SETI is looking for human analogues, organisms that arose spontaneously on other sun systems

    Organisms are not known to have arisen spontaneously on any star systems, including our own. Despite SETI’s philosophical bias, that’s not stopping them from searching for coded information, that is a marker for intelligence, on other star systems.

  169. 169
    Zachriel says:

    mike1962: Chance and necessarily are not known to have given rise to that process.

    There are molecular replicators, and random sequences can catalyze the appropriate reactions. It’s not a complete theory, however.

    mike1962: Is that suppose to be a refutation of my point?

    If you had a point it was that there is no evidence supporting abiogenesis. We provided a broad outline of that evidence.

    mike1962: Organisms are not known to have arisen spontaneously on any star systems.

    No, it’s a hypothesis based on what is know of how life arose and diversified on Earth. See Drake’s Equation for some idea of the thinking involved.
    http://www.seti.org/drakeequation

    mike1962: But that’s not stopping SETI from searching for coded information that is a marker for intelligence.

    Again, they are not trying to detect coded information, but narrow-band electromagnetic emissions from other star systems. If such a signal is found, then, of course, they’ll see if it includes some sort of message. Any such claim would be subject to a great deal of scrutiny though.

  170. 170
    Daniel King says:

    Virgil Cain:

    Daniel King:

    Formulate a testable hypothesis.

    Virgil Cain:

    Let’s see an example of testable hypotheses for evolutionism.

    Virgil can’t formulate a testable hypothesis. We all knew that.

    Daniel:

    I’ve seen how vague your answers are when it comes to formulating a testable hypothesis.

    Virgil:

    I have posted testable hypotheses for ID.

    Be a man. Post one here.

    Virgil:

    Obviously the design of living organisms and planetary systems is way above our capability.

    Daniel:

    Not obvious.

    Virgil:

    We cannot design those so obviously they are above our capabilities. And obviously thinking is above yours.

    Understanding design is one thing. Designing something is another. Understanding design is obviously way above your capabilities.

    Daniel:

    Giving up before even starting is a ticket to nowhere.

    Virgil:

    Your position gave up, Daniel. It doesn’t have any hope of figuring out how things evolved.

    That doesn’t help your position.

    Daniel:

    What kind of resources? Mental resources?

    Virgil:

    ALL resources- the resources that evolutionism is wasting by not even trying to figure out how things evolved.

    Still no testable hypotheses from Virgil Cain.

    Daniel:

    It doesn’t cost anything to think up testable hypotheses.

    Virgil:

    Those do not answer questions and your position doesn’t have any.

    Hypotheses pose questions, Virgil. Can’t you think of a testable hypothesis generated by ID?

  171. 171
    Virgil Cain says:

    Daniel pufferfish:

    Virgil can’t formulate a testable hypothesis.

    Not for evolutionism. No one can.

    Be a man. Post one here.

    OK, my little pufferfish:

    ID is based on three premises and the inference that follows (DeWolf et al., Darwinism, Design and Public Education, pg. 92):

    1) High information content (or specified complexity) and irreducible complexity constitute strong indicators or hallmarks of (past) intelligent design.

    2) Biological systems have a high information content (or specified complexity) and utilize subsystems that manifest irreducible complexity.

    3) Naturalistic mechanisms or undirected causes do not suffice to explain the origin of information (specified complexity) or irreducible complexity.

    4) Therefore, intelligent design constitutes the best explanations for the origin of information and irreducible complexity in biological systems.

    Understanding design is one thing. Designing something is another. Understanding design is obviously way above your capabilities.

    Spewing cowardly nonsense is your only capability.

    That doesn’t help your position.

    Of course it does. Newton’s four rules of scientific investigation, aka Occam’s Razor and parsimony says necessity and chance explanations have to be considered and rejected first. And we can easily reject evolutionism because all it has for support are cowardly losers like yourself.

    Hypotheses pose questions, Virgil

    And we were discussing ANSWERING the questions. Dio try to follow along.

    Can’t you think of a testable hypothesis generated by ID?

    I can think of many. But I gave you one that you can choke on.

    cheers,
    Virgil Cain

  172. 172
    Virgil Cain says:

    Zachriel:

    No, it’s a hypothesis based on what is know of how life arose and diversified on Earth.

    Except we don’t know how life arose and diversified on Earth

    See Drake’s Equation for some idea of the thinking involved.

    The Drake equation is antiquated and has been superseded, first by the <b.rare earth equation and then by the Privileged Planet equation

  173. 173
    Daniel King says:

    Virgil Cain:

    OK, my little pufferfish:

    ID is based on three premises and the inference that follows (DeWolf et al., Darwinism, Design and Public Education, pg. 92):

    1) High information content (or specified complexity) and irreducible complexity constitute strong indicators or hallmarks of (past) intelligent design.

    2) Biological systems have a high information content (or specified complexity) and utilize subsystems that manifest irreducible complexity.

    3) Naturalistic mechanisms or undirected causes do not suffice to explain the origin of information (specified complexity) or irreducible complexity.

    4) Therefore, intelligent design constitutes the best explanations for the origin of information and irreducible complexity in biological systems.

    No surprises here. Virgil doesn’t have a clue as to what constitutes an hypothesis.

    Pitiful.

  174. 174
    Virgil Cain says:

    OK my little pufferfish, give us a hypothesis for evolutionism so we can compare. Make sure it has to do with natural selection, drift and/ or neutral changes.

    Or just admit that you don’t know jack.

    cheers,
    Virgil Cain

  175. 175
    Virgil Cain says:

    If a hypothesis is “an explanation of some phenomena (object/ structure/ event) that can be tested in some way such that it can be confirmed or refuted”, then what I posted is a hypothesis.

    I don’t know what definition my little pufferfish uses but he is free to find one and post it.

  176. 176
    Virgil Cain says:

    My little puffer fish swam away rather than try to support its nonsensical accusation?! No surprise there…

  177. 177
    Daniel King says:

    If a hypothesis is “an explanation of some phenomena (object/ structure/ event) that can be tested in some way such that it can be confirmed or refuted”, then what I posted is a hypothesis.

    I don’t know what definition my little pufferfish uses but he is free to find one and post it.

    How can any of those creationist “hypotheses” @173 be tested?

    My definition of hypothesis:

    A hypothesis (plural hypotheses) is a proposed explanation for a phenomenon. For a hypothesis to be a scientific hypothesis, the scientific method requires that one can test it.

    A biological example, relevant to mutation and natural selection:

    Hypothesis: Genetic mutations arise in the absence of selection, rather than being a response to selection.

    Test: http://www.genetics.org/content/28/6/491.full.pdf

  178. 178
    Virgil Cain says:

    What I presented meets your definition, Daniel. You owe me an apology.

    A biological example, relevant to mutation and natural selection:

    Hypothesis: Genetic mutations arise in the absence of selection, rather than being a response to selection.

    That has nothing to do with whether or not the mutations were happenstance occurrences or induced by the organism in response to some environmental cue.

    How about a relevant hypothesis for natural selection, drift or neutral changes producing something like ATP synthase or any bacterial flagellum?

  179. 179
    Virgil Cain says:

    How can ID’s hypothesis be tested?

    1) High information content (or specified complexity) and irreducible complexity constitute strong indicators or hallmarks of (past) intelligent design.

    2) Biological systems have a high information content (or specified complexity) and utilize subsystems that manifest irreducible complexity.

    3) Naturalistic mechanisms or undirected causes do not suffice to explain the origin of information (specified complexity) or irreducible complexity.

    4) Therefore, intelligent design constitutes the best explanations for the origin of information and irreducible complexity in biological systems.

    1 and 2 are tested by observations and experiences. And if point 3 is refuted then point 1 also falls. Point 3 is about the inability natural selection, drift and neutral changes to produce molecular machinery and the changes required to produce the diversity of life. So all you and yours have to do is step up and show us that we are wrong by demonstrating those processes can do it.

    However you need testable hypotheses first.

  180. 180
    Daniel King says:

    Virgil:

    That has nothing to do with whether or not the mutations were happenstance occurrences or induced by the organism in response to some environmental cue.

    That’s the classic Luria – Delbruck experiment. It specifically addresses that issue! You’re hopeless.

    This thread is dead. Enjoy talking to yourself.

  181. 181
    Virgil Cain says:

    Daniel King:

    That’s the classic Luria – Delbruck experiment. It specifically addresses that issue!

    Yes, it does but not in the way you think. Ya see bacteria are part of the environment and we know that bacteria communicate. The environmental cue would come from that communication.

    So thank you for proving that you are a narrow-minded coward.

  182. 182
    mike1962 says:

    Zächrielein: t’s not a complete theory

    That’s an understatement.

    If you had a point it was that there is no evidence supporting abiogenesis. We provided a broad outline of that evidence.

    Anyone who is interesting in my point is welcomee to read what I wrote above. You have provided no refutation.

    No, it’s a hypothesis based on what is know of how life arose and diversified on Earth.

    SETI is looking for coded information regardless of the unproven status of the hypothesis because coded information is an obvious sign of intelligence regardless of how the intelligence came to exist.

    See Drake’s Equation for some idea of the thinking involved. http://www.seti.org/drakeequation

    Drake’s equation is bunk. That SETI is searching for coded information despite giving lip service to the Drake Equation is to their credit.

    they are not trying to detect coded information

    Yes they are. As cited above:

    How do you know if you’ve detected an intelligent, extraterrestrial signal?… 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#obs3

  183. 183
    Zachriel says:

    mike1962: Anyone who is interesting in my point is welcomee to read what I wrote above.

    Here’s your point above.

    mike1962: Nature created stones therefore Stonehenge?

    We have to read between the lines, but your point seems to be that just because complex chemicals may form naturally, that doesn’t mean molecular replicators may form. However, there is evidence supporting the formation of nucleotides, and nucleotide polymers, and the formation of self-catalyzing nucleotide polymers. That is more than just parts, but a clue to a possible transition to molecular self-replication.

    mike1962: SETI is looking for coded information anyway because it is a sign of intelligence regardless of how the intelligence came to exist.

    No, they are not *looking* for coded information. They will look for coded information, if and when any candidate signals are found.

    mike1962: Drake’s equation is bunk.

    It’s evidence of the historical basis for SETI. That’s why they point their telescopes at other stars — they’re suns for other worlds.

    mike1962: “How do you know if you’ve detected an intelligent, extraterrestrial signal?… Other tell-tale characteristics include a signal that is completely polarized or the existence of coded information on the signal.

    What is it with IDers and ellipses? The missing text is “Such narrow-band signals are what all SETI experiments look for.” If they find such a signal, then it will be analyzed to see if it encodes any information. No matter what they claim to have found, it will subject to intense scrutiny.

  184. 184
    mike1962 says:

    Zächrielein: your point seems to be that just because complex chemicals may form naturally, that doesn’t mean molecular replicators may form. However, there is evidence supporting the formation of nucleotides, and nucleotide polymers, and the formation of self-catalyzing nucleotide polymers. That is more than just parts, but a clue to a possible transition to molecular self-replication.

    The evidence is very far from getting where you need to go.

    No, they are not *looking* for coded information. They will look for coded information, if and when any candidate signals are found.

    That one made me laugh out loud.

    It’s evidence of the historical basis for SETI. That’s why they point their telescopes at other stars — they’re suns for other worlds.

    It’s still bunk. To their credit SETI is looking for signs of intelligence regardless, as previously stated.

    What is it with IDers and ellipses? The missing text is “Such narrow-band signals are what all SETI experiments look for.”

    What is it with the Zächrielein hive’s vision processing? Do you see the “or” in there?

    I’ll post it with more context, and a helpful annotation:

    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 [<— right there] the existence of coded information on the signal.

    Unfortunately, SETI searches are burdened with confusion caused by narrow-band, polarized and coded signals from our own planet. Military radar and telecommunications satellites produce such signals. The Allen Telescope Array sorts out these confusing signals by comparing the cosmic static received from one part of the sky with that from another.

    It is obvious that SETI is looking for polarized signals “or” coded information on a signal.

  185. 185
    Virgil Cain says:

    SETI is looking for an ARTIFICIAL signal, ie a signal that mother nature could not produce.

  186. 186
    Virgil Cain says:

    However, there is evidence supporting the formation of nucleotides, and nucleotide polymers, and the formation of self-catalyzing nucleotide polymers.

    RE- Stonehenge:

    There is evidence supporting the formation of stones, stone-cutting forces and forces that can move stones. That is more than just parts but a clue to the possible transition to the current geological formation.

  187. 187
    Zachriel says:

    mike1962: The evidence is very far from getting where you need to go.

    No doubt. That’s why theories of abiogenesis are still considered tentative. Nonetheless, they have been scientifically fruitful.

    mike1962: To their credit SETI is looking for signs of intelligence regardless

    That is correct. All current experiments are based on attempts to find a narrow-band electromagnetic emission.

    mike1962: Such narrow-band signals are what all SETI experiments look for. Other tell-tale characteristics include a signal that is completely polarized or [<— right there] the existence of coded information on the signal.

    If and when SETI finds a candidate signal, it will be analyzed for a possible coded message. However, ALL current experiments look for any narrow-band electromagnetic emission without regard to “code”.

  188. 188
    mike1962 says:

    Zächrielein: No doubt

    Thanks for the acknowledgement.

    That’s why theories of abiogenesis are still considered tentative.

    Quite.

    Nonetheless, they have been scientifically fruitful.

    So? My statements @97 and beyond hold.

    If and when SETI finds a candidate signal, it will be analyzed for a possible coded message. However, ALL current experiments look for any narrow-band electromagnetic emission without regard to “code”.

    So? My statements @97 and beyond hold.

  189. 189
    Jack Jones says:

    “That’s why theories of abiogenesis are still considered tentative. Nonetheless, they have been scientifically fruitful.”

    Considering Abiogenesis is to go outside of how nature is known to operate.

    The law of Biogenesis shows that what is natural is that life only comes from previous life. When you appeal to life arising spontaneously in nature then you are rejecting how nature is known to operate.

    You appeal to nature while rejecting how nature is known to operate. You are not consistent Lee and your faith is in disharmony with what is empirically known for how nature operates.

    If you want to appeal to nature then you have to stay inside of what is known for how nature operates Lee. You shouldn’t be a hypocrite now.

  190. 190
    Zachriel says:

    mike1962: Thanks for the acknowledgement.

    It’s been our position all along.

    mike1962: OOL hypotheses are incomplete and unproven.

    True. But there is evidence supporting the general hypothesis.

    mike1962: Intelligent agents (humans) are known to create coded information.

    So humans created the first life.

    mike1962: Which is why SETI is looking for signals with coded information

    All current SETI experiments are just looking for narrowband electromagnetic emissions.

  191. 191
    Jack Jones says:

    @190 “True. But there is evidence supporting the general hypothesis”

    Nope, the law of Biogenesis shows life cannot originate naturally. You are welcome to believe chemistry acted differently in the past and that life arose spontaneously from chance interactions of lifeless chemicals but your faith is non natural, You are being logically inconsistent.

  192. 192
    Zachriel says:

    Jack Jones: Nope, the law of Biogenesis shows life cannot originate naturally.

    A scientific law is just a generalized observation. Abiogenesis is posited to occur in conditions that are not now extant on the Earth.

    Jack Jones: You are welcome to believe chemistry acted differently in the past …

    Chemistry didn’t act differently, but conditions were different.

  193. 193
    Jack Jones says:

    “Chemistry didn’t act differently, but conditions were different.”

    Well you’re entitled to your faith that laws of chemistry were inoperative because you claim conditions were different.

    We however observe that life does not arise spontaneously from non living chemicals.

    You are going outside of what is known naturally. You are thus inconsistent when you appeal to nature.

    if you want to appeal to nature then you have to stick to what is known about how nature operates. If you want to go outside of nature and appeal to a different kind of chemistry that is not governed by known natural law then you have to admit that you yourself hold a supernatural belief.

  194. 194
    mike1962 says:

    Zächrielein: It’s been our position all along.

    Glad to hear it.

    True. But there is evidence supporting the general hypothesis.

    Not much. And nothing that reasonably rules out competing hypotheses, such as intelligent intervention.

    So humans created the first life.

    So the intelligent life on other planets that SETI is searching for are humans?

    All current SETI experiments are just looking for narrowband electromagnetic emissions.

    SETI is “just looking” for narrow-band emissions in hopes of finding “polariz[ation]” or “coded information” because those are “tell-tale” signs of “an intelligent signal.”

    http://www.seti.org/faq#obs3

  195. 195
    EugeneS says:

    Zachriel @192 does not know what he is talking about!

    “Chemistry didn’t act differently, but conditions were different.”

    Different conditions indeed!

    Facepalm.

  196. 196
    Zachriel says:

    Jack Jones: We however observe that life does not arise spontaneously from non living chemicals.

    Not in current conditions for the short periods of human observation. The evidence indicates life began on Earth billions of years ago when the Earth was much different from what it is today.

    mike1962: Not much. And nothing that reasonably rules out competing hypotheses, such as intelligent intervention.

    While abiogenetic hypotheses have been scientifically fruitful; design hypotheses say nothing, predict nothing, lead to no new insights.

    mike1962: So the intelligent life on other planets that SETI is searching for are humans?

    No. SETI doesn’t wave their hands and say “design”, but hypothesize specific characteristics of the artisan, art, and artifact. They explicitly looks to abiogenesis and evolution to guide research. That’s why they point their telescopes at stars, and are particularly interested in Earth-like planets.

    mike1962: SETI is “just looking” for narrow-band emissions in hopes of finding “polariz[ation]” or “coded information” because those are “tell-tale” signs of “an intelligent signal.”

    We can be sure they’d like to watch alien sitcoms, but all their current experiments are for the detection of narrowband electromagnetic emissions.

    EugeneS: Different conditions indeed!

    Are you suggesting the Earth has always been the way it is today?

  197. 197
    Jack Jones says:

    196″Not in current conditions for the short periods of human observation. The evidence indicates life began on Earth billions of years ago when the Earth was much different from what it is today.”

    The evidence indicates that as far as nature goes, then you are not going to get it spontaneously from nature.

    You’re most welcome to go outside of what is known for how nature operates and believe that chemistry acted differently in the past, Your belief is not a natural one though as you reject how nature is known to operate.

  198. 198
    mike1962 says:

    Zächrielein: While abiogenetic hypotheses have been scientifically fruitful;

    Despite the personal philosophy of any researcher, the fruit of OOL research so far is neutral. The chemicals produced by known processes are just as useful to an intelligent designer and constructor of life as they are to whatever unknown naturalistic processes may have assembled the first life form. Only when a complete testable and falsifiable naturalistic theory exists will anyone know if the “fruit” favors the naturalistic theory or not.

    design hypotheses say nothing, predict nothing,

    A basic design hypothesis says that some features of the organism will be so unlikely that a intelligence is more likely. As in the case of coded information, particularly when there is no likely stocastic chemical affinities between codes and resulting proteins. Which is what we see.

    lead to no new insights.

    We’ll have to wait and see.

    SETI doesn’t wave their hands and say “design”, but hypothesize specific characteristics of the artisan, art, and artifact. They explicitly looks to abiogenesis and evolution to guide research. That’s why they point their telescopes at stars, and are particularly interested in Earth-like planets.

    The point evidently evaded you. You implied that my position necessarily leads to humans as the designers of earth life because the replicator contains coded information, and the only known source of coded information is intelligence in the form of humans. But if you’re going to insist on using that sauce for the goose, you’ll have to lather up the gander too, because SETI is looking for coded information as well, from intelligent beings that are presumably not human. I can live with the idea that human-like intelligent entities other than humans exist, and so can SETI, apparently.

    We can be sure they’d like to watch alien sitcoms, but all their current experiments are for the detection of narrowband electromagnetic emissions.

    Is that suppose to be a refutation of my point?

    At any rate, nothing you have said refutes what I wrote @96.

  199. 199
    Zachriel says:

    mike1962: the fruit of OOL research so far is neutral.

    The hypothesis has led to discovery of novel ribozymes from random libraries, artificial molecular replicators, the discovery of complex molecules in plausible primordial conditions, protocells with replicating vesicles, etc.

    mike1962: A basic design hypothesis says that some features of the organism will be so unlikely that a intelligence is more likely.

    The hypothesis is scientifically sterile.

    mike1962: You implied that my position necessarily leads to humans as the designers of earth life because the replicator contains coded information, and the only known source of coded information is intelligence in the form of humans.

    You want to extrapolate to something called “design”. Such vagueness doesn’t lead to testable predictions about the artisan or the art.

    SETI makes specific predictions about the designer, which leads to specific predictions as to how to detect the artifact, the art, and the artisan.

  200. 200
    Jack Jones says:

    “The hypothesis is scientifically sterile. ”

    Incorrect, it is belief in a form of design that gave rise to modern science in the first place.

    What would be sterile is saying “stuff happens” and your faith position of unintentionalism, that provides no grounding for scientific research or understanding.

    Your faith in an unintended universe and unintended humans with minds that are the products of dumb chance provides absolutely 0 grounding for scientific investigation.

    “The hypothesis has led to discovery of novel ribozymes from random libraries, artificial molecular replicators, the discovery of complex molecules in plausible primordial conditions, protocells with replicating vesicles, etc. ”

    Your faith in unintentionalism for how the universe and human mind came to be provides no grounds for discovery and what we have discovered about chemistry is that lifeless chemicals do not assemble to bring forth living organisms, As far as nature operates, if you want to get living organisms then they can only come from living organisms. That shows your appeal to a natural cause is to reject how nature is known to operate.

    Your faith is in disharmony with what is known about how nature operates.

    To try and get around this then scientists are working to artificially create life in the lab.

    Your faith of life originating spontaneously in a natural environment however produces nothing.

    Your faith is not a part of what is known empirically. Your faith is a rejection of what is known for how nature operates.

  201. 201
    mike1962 says:

    Zächrielein: The hypothesis has led to discovery of novel ribozymes from random libraries, artificial molecular replicators, the discovery of complex molecules in plausible primordial conditions, protocells with replicating vesicles, etc.

    This compatible with a design scenario. Which means it’s neutral, as I said.

    The hypothesis is scientifically sterile.

    Not it isn’t.

    SETI makes specific predictions about the designer, which leads to specific predictions as to how to detect the artifact, the art, and the artisan.

    So does a design hypothesis with respect to biology. Coded information. Multiple layering of codes. The presence of structures where natural chemical affinity is vanishing low and practically impossible. Irreducible structures. Front loading strategies. Deliberate messages in the genome. Etc. The search for such things are more likely driven by a design theoretic. The design hypothetical is hardly scientifically sterile.

  202. 202
    Zachriel says:

    mike1962: This compatible with a design scenario.

    Almost anything can be “compatible” with design scenarios, depending on their particulars. However, the discoveries are not *entailed* in the design scenario.

    mike1962: Not it isn’t.

    What scientific discoveries have resulted from entailments of the ID hypothesis?

    mike1962: So does a design hypothesis with respect to biology. Coded information. Multiple layering of codes.

    The genetic code was not discovered as a result of the ID hypothesis, but a consequence of genetic theory.

    mike1962: Irreducible structures.

    Irreducibility in genetics was first noted by Hermann Muller in 1918 based on evolutionary principles.

    mike1962: Deliberate messages in the genome.

    Well, that would be something. What is the message?

  203. 203
    mike1962 says:

    Zächrielein: Almost anything can be “compatible” with design scenarios, depending on their particulars. However, the discoveries are not *entailed* in the design scenario.

    That’s right. When dealing with intention, obviously the approach is going to be different than when dealing with law-like sources.

    What scientific discoveries have resulted from entailments of the ID hypothesis?

    Ask any forensic scientist.

    The genetic code was not discovered as a result of the ID hypothesis, but a consequence of genetic theory.

    The genetic code is not an entailment of genetic theory. It’s discovery is neutral.

    Irreducibility in genetics was first noted by Hermann Muller in 1918 based on evolutionary principles.

    Irreducibility is not an entailment of evolutionary principle. It’s discovery is neutral.

    Well, that would be something. What is the message?

    I don’t know of any. If any are found, it will probably be found by someone looking for them based on a design theoretic. Regardless of the philosophical notions of discoverer, if any are found they certainly would not be an entailment of blind evolutionary theory.

    I stand by what I said @97 and you’ve not succeeded in refuting it. You can have the last word.

  204. 204
    Mung says:

    Zachriel:

    The genetic code was not discovered as a result of the ID hypothesis, but a consequence of genetic theory.

    Complete and utter nonsense.

    Please try to do better Zachriel.

  205. 205
    Zachriel says:

    mike1962: That’s right. When dealing with intention, obviously the approach is going to be different than when dealing with law-like sources.

    If there’s no entailments, then there are no testable entailments, and the hypothesis is sterile.

    mike1962: Ask any forensic scientist.

    In other words, there are no scientific discoveries in biology that have resulted from entailments of the ID hypothesis.

    mike1962: Irreducibility is not an entailment of evolutionary principle.

    Yes, it is. See Muller, Genetic variability, twin hybrids and constant hybrids, in a case of balanced lethal factors, Genetics 1918.

    mike1962: I don’t know of any.

    Well, let us know.

  206. 206
    Virgil Cain says:

    ID has testable entailments.

    IC is an entailment of evolutionism only in that it exists and because of that it evolved. 🙄 And because it evolved it evolved by natural selection, drift and neutral changes. 🙄 🙄 Unfortunately no one knows how to test the claim that those processes can produce IC systems and structures. It is a scientifically sterile claim.

  207. 207
    Virgil Cain says:

    Almost anything can be “compatible” with design scenarios,…

    That is incorrect. There is a reason that not all deaths are considered murders, not all fires are considered arsons and not all rocks are considered artifacts. The design has testable entailments and these are borne out by Newton’s four rules of scientific investigation (Occam’s razor and parsimony). Any given design inference can be refuted by slicing off the need for a designer.

  208. 208
    Virgil Cain says:

    As for messages in the genome- “build this polypeptide” comes to mind. That is the message delivered by the MESSENGER RNA to the ribosome.

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