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HeKS continues to suggest a way forward on the KS “bomb” argument

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Last week, one of my comments relating to the KS “bomb” argument was made the subject of an OP, which can be found here.

In that comment, I had offered a few preliminary thoughts on Keith’s argument (originally found here, and summarized by him here) and asked a few questions to better understand the assumptions informing his argument. Unfortunately, the issues raised in my OP comment, as far I can tell, were never actually addressed. Instead, the ‘responses’ in the ensuing conversation revolved almost entirely around what the participating ID proponents considered obviously false analogies, which invoked “Planetary Angels”, “Rain Fairies”, “Salt Leprechauns”, and “Toilet Whales”.

Regarding these analogies, Keith, Zachriel, and other ID opponents, seemed to be arguing as though ID claims a designing agent is necessary to explain the shape/pattern of the ‘Objective Nested Hierarchy’ (ONH) into which living organisms are claimed to fall, when the production of  an ONH can be explained by a natural, unguided process of branching descent.  Thus, they claimed, there is no difference between the ID position and one that claims planets are moving in elliptical orbits because angels are choosing to push them around in such orbits, or one that claims salt falls from a salt shaker into a pile on the table because the falling salt is being guided by invisible leprechauns who like making salt piles. The idea here is that in each case we have some superfluous explanatory entity being posited to directly guide some process that looks exactly like it is not being guided, does not need to be guided, and is explained perfectly well by law-based processes.

During the course of the thread it was pointed out to them innumerable times that, even granting the existence of an ONH for life, ID does not and would not cite the shape or production of such an ONH as being an example of something that requires an explanation by reference to an intelligent cause. Rather, in identifying the need for an intelligent cause to explain certain aspects of biology, ID points to the evident infusion of significant amounts of biological information into the world of life, as well as the novel introduction of complex, functionally-specified biological systems and molecular machines. In other words, for its evidence, ID points to aspects of life that do not seem obviously explicable by reference to purely natural processes, whether stochastic or law-based, but that do contain hallmarks that we habitually and uniquely associate with conscious, intelligent, intentional activity. In yet other words, the previously mentioned analogies to “Planetary Angels” and “Salt Leprechauns” are horribly and obviously misguided and entirely off the mark.

Unfortunately, the distinction never seemed to get through to them. And even more unfortunately, the thread was eventually derailed and shut down while a number of conversations were still in progress. Aspects of the discussion, however, continued here.

In that new thread, the Rain Fairies, the Salt Leprechauns, and their most recent common ancestor, the Plantary Angels, have again reared their head, being invoked in response to the objection from ID proponents to the description of microevolution as being “unguided”. The point of the ID proponents in this case relates quite closely to one of the claims in Keith’s so-called “bomb” argument, with which I myself took issue in the previously mentioned OP. In Keith’s summary of his argument, he says that even “the most rabid IDer” admits that “unguided evolution” exists, with the ultimate intention of extrapolating what ID proponents admit happens into what they say does not happen.

Now, when Keith refers to “unguided evolution” here, he is referring to the relatively minor microevolutionary changes that take place within a population, but on the view of ID proponents, these are not the kind of phenomena that could, even in principle, be extrapolated to account for the macroevolutionary innovations that would be necessary to account for the full content of the alleged ONH “Tree of Life”. And in taking issue with the characterization of microevolution as “unguided”, the ID proponent is taking issue with the fact that a phrase that might be uncontroversially applied to a subset of these phenomena is, within the context of Keith’s argument, being over-generalized in a way that implicitly suggests an acceptance by ID proponents of propositions they do not actually accept, and so is a case of illegitimately stealing ground en route to the argument’s conclusion.

In addition to my comments in the original OP, I expanded on them somewhat in a recent comment, which I’ll duplicate here to fill out the remainder of this post and hopefully spur further discussion.

From here:

Now, when it comes to this business of proving that microevolution is unguided, I think there needs to be an understanding of what it would even mean to suggest that it is “guided”. I’m reasonably certain that the majority of people who would dispute claims that microevolution is unguided do not mean that a designer is actively, in the moment, effecting a specific microevolutionary change. Nor would they dispute that random mutations happen. Rather, they would likely dispute that all mutations are random. And they would also likely argue (as I did in the previous thread) that the constrained allowance for – and even rapid increased initiation of – mutations and general genetic and epigenetic changes are a purposeful aspect of the design of organisms to allow for diversification and adaptation (which is sometimes very rapid). If the random variation or shuffling is too large, however, it kills the organism, makes it sterile, or at the very least reduces its reproductive potential, decreasing the chances that the significant defect will be passed on or largely affect subsequent generations of a population.

In other words, the argument is not that random mutations allowing microevolution look unguided but are actually being directly manipulated by some designer. Rather, the argument is that 1) the RM/NS mechanism is a constrained feature of organismal design, and that the Neo-Darwinists are looking at a design feature of a system that makes use of randomization and illegitimately extrapolating it to explain the entire system itself; and 2) that not all mutations/changes are random at all, but some are internally directed in a purposeful manner for the benefit of the organism.

So, it seems to me that, from an ID perspective, saying something like, ‘even IDists admit unguided evolution exists’, is either A) a case of making a trivial claim that cannot be legitimately extrapolated from the kinds of microevolutionary changes that are seen (overwhelmingly degrading genetic information and/or narrowing genetic variability; breaking or blunting existing biological function for a net fitness gain) to the kinds of macroevolutionary innovations that are theorized (the introduction of complex, functionally-specified systems and molecular machines), or B) a case of making an unwarranted and unsubstantiated claim that the system that allows for and makes use of the RM/NS mechanism for the benefit and diversification of the organism does so by fluke, in a way that is fully unconstrained, and is itself undesigned; or C) both.

Of course, as I’ve said numerous times before, I think this is only one of many issues with Keith’s argument, but it has become quite clear that it is difficult to get even just one criticism seriously addressed in a comment thread, so it would likely be useless to draw in any others at this point. I’m hoping that the nonsensical false analogies about Rain Fairies and Planetary Angels can be left to the side to allow for some kind of substantive discussion of the issues, but I’ve been given little reason to suspect that my hope is grounded.

 

1,038 Replies to “HeKS continues to suggest a way forward on the KS “bomb” argument

  1. 1
    keith s says:

    HeKS,

    Thank you for the new thread.

    You wrote:

    During the course of the thread it was pointed out to them innumerable times that, even granting the existence of an ONH for life, ID does not and would not cite the shape or production of such an ONH as being an example of something that requires an explanation by reference to an intelligent cause.

    I addressed that objection. I’m not sure why you’re ignoring me:

    In your ridiculous leprechaun argument, it is being invoked to explain the simple phenomenon of the salt falling into a pile, but with regard to your argument, nobody has claimed that the barriers relate to the shape of the tree. We’re not claiming that there’s something that prevents “unguided evolution” (setting aside the disputes over that term) from generally resulting in the shape of an ONH. And we’re not invoking design to account for the shape of the alleged tree.

    But they [the barriers] do [relate to the ONH pattern]. Derived characters are not limited to simple ones that IDers would willingly attribute to unguided evolution. They include features chock full of “CSI”.

    The formation of the ONH therefore cannot be teased apart from the production of features exhibiting CSI. So if the Designer is producing features with CSI, the Designer is also producing the ONH.

    Also here:

    You wrote:

    You also seem to be arguing that if a designer either adds to or produces any aspect or part of an ONH, he/she must therefore have directly and specifically instantiated every element present in the entire hierarchy and done so in a way that conforms to the alleged ONH, which is an obviously absurd all-or-nothing proposition.

    No. What I’m saying is that at every point in time it is possible for the Designer to do something that would completely wreck the ONH signal. The fact that we see the ONH thus means that the Designer continually decides (or is limited to) acting in a way that preserves the ONH.

    If ID is true, then the designer is fully involved, by intent or by limitation, in the production of the ONH.

  2. 2

    Keith et al seem to think that if an IDist agrees that natural selection exists, or that random mutation exists, they have committed to the agreement that unguided biological evolution exists.

    Since no ID proponent would agree that life exists at all without intelligent design, and thus biological evolution could not exist without design, how can Keith in good faith claim that IDists agree that unguided evolution exists at all – unless Keith is falsely extrapolating an agreement that natural selection and random mutation exist into an agreement that “unguided evolution” exists.

    If “evolution” = “all known biological features”, then to use one of Keith’s favorite terms, “falling” = “all known descent patterns”. Natural selection and random mutation would be unguided forces (by definition) acting on evolution; they may or may not be causally sufficient to account for some biological features.

    In the same sense, gravity would be an unguided force acting on the descent pattern of any object, but that doesn’t mean gravity gives a causally sufficient account of the descent pattern of everything that falls – such as, intelligently guided aircraft or skiers descending down a moutainside.

    Keith seems to think that a theory of “intelligent falling” is ludicrous on the face of it, but that is exactly the sort of thing we would require to account for the descent patterns of some things because gravity and all other natural forces would be insufficient explanations.

    Downhill skiers and snowboarders employ the equivalent of a theory of intelligent falling all the time, Keith. It’s what keeps them alive and in one piece. Because gravity acts on them doesn’t mean it can account for their descent pattern.

  3. 3
    HD says:

    >If ID is true, then the designer is fully involved, by intent or by limitation, in the production of the ONH.

    So what is wrong with that??

    Perhaps the problem is that you are arguing with some people who DON’T accept ONH?? Is that the issue? Because if one DOES accept ONH, why can’t he accept what you just said – which is what I was saying on the other thread the whole time.

  4. 4
  5. 5
    Andre says:

    Heks

    One of those systems I argue is PCD. Keith S is welcome to claim that unguided evolution is the best explanation for the diversity of life, but in doing so he has to account how unguided procesess created an evolutionary conserved system that is highly regulated. This system has built in fault tolorance, redundancy, backup systems, coordination with other systems is responsible for cell development, cell repair and cell stability. In addition all cells have some form of CRC checksum known as self and non self. PCD is tamper proof and experiments show any mutation of any kind to PCD initiates necrosis, a system self destruct mechanism that is not reversable.

    I say fine Keith make your claim but back it up with observational evidence. The quistion really is can you show how unguided processes built PCD? I eagerly await your answer.

  6. 6
    Phinehas says:

    keiths:

    Who is ignoring whom?

    HeKS responded to what you just wrote. He even quoted it. Here is his response with the quote:

    keiths: The formation of the ONH therefore cannot be teased apart from the production of features exhibiting CSI. So if the Designer is producing features with CSI, the Designer is also producing the ONH.

    HeKS: The structure of the ONH, if it exists, and if we allow that it results naturalistically, derives from the inheritance of existing traits through branching descent. But even if we allow that the ultimate ONH distribution of traits can be explained by their inheritance through branching descent, it does not follow that the appearance of complex novel biological systems, molecular machines or traits can be explained by the inheritance of traits through branching descent. You are insisting that the same simple process that would ultimately give an ONH its final shape must also be able to explain the existence and introduction of all the content/data that it hierarchically organizes, which simply doesn’t make any sense.

    Here, now, is a perfect opportunity for onlookers to see the character of keiths’ debating tactics. He ignores his opponent’s responses, acts as though they never happened, and then accuses his opponent of having ignored his original point. But the record shows otherwise and exposes keiths as worthy of the Black Knight comparison.

    So, keiths is either an unsophisticated troll, or his internal narrative likely does follow along rather closely to that of the Black Knight.

    [Arthur cuts off Black Knight’s left arm]
    King Arthur: Now, stand aside, worthy adversary!
    Black Knight: ‘Tis but a scratch!
    King Arthur: A scratch? Your arm’s off!
    Black Knight: No, it isn’t!
    King Arthur: Well, what’s that then?
    Black Knight: I’ve had worse.

  7. 7
    HeKS says:

    I’m also currently writing a further response to Keith that I didn’t have a chance to get to because the other thread got shut down.

  8. 8
    Phinehas says:

    keiths:

    What I’m saying is that at every point in time it is possible for the Designer to do something that would completely wreck the ONH signal.

    Really?! How is it that you know this about a designer that we know absolutely nothing about?

    Seriously. Please explain how you know that at every point in time it is possible for a designer that we know absolutely nothing about to do something that would completely wreck the OHN signal.

    WJM has it exactly right.

    WJM: IMO, this is related to keith’s hidden, probably unconscious/unrealized assumption that the designer in question is an omnipotent, magical entity that can instantiate whatever keith can imagine into the world; which is why keith doesn’t understand he is confusing what he can imagine with what a designer can possibly do. In his mind, the two must necessarily be the same thing because – again, in his mind – that is what both sides mean when they use the term “desginer”.

    Keiths continually tries to smuggle what he thinks he knows about the designer into his argument while at the same time pretending (because his argument rests on the pretension) that we know absolutely nothing about the designer. Surely, he must realize this by now.

  9. 9
    Zachriel says:

    HeKS: Regarding these analogies, Keith, Zachriel, and other ID opponents, seemed to be arguing as though ID claims a designing agent is necessary to explain the shape/pattern of the ‘Objective Nested Hierarchy’ (ONH) into which living organisms are claimed to fall, when the production of an ONH can be explained by a natural, unguided process of branching descent.

    The shape of the tree is a different issue from the existence of a branching pattern. Trees come in all sorts of shapes, both natural and artificial. The nested hierarchy strongly implies the existence of a tree, but doesn’t tell us what mechanisms shaped the tree.

    The argument that a designer is superfluous to explaining the nested hierarchy is correct. The argument that the nested hierarchy is sufficient to rule out design is incorrect.

    The formation of the ONH therefore cannot be teased apart from the production of features exhibiting CSI.

    That is incorrect. The nested hierarchy is evident in non-adaptive features, such as synonymous substitutions.

    If ID is true, then the designer is fully involved, by intent or by limitation, in the production of the ONH.

    Planting a tree hardly constitutes being “fully involved”.

  10. 10
    DNA_Jock says:

    Andre says
    “PCD is tamper proof and experiments show any mutation of any kind to PCD initiates necrosis, a system self destruct mechanism that is not reversable.”

    Strange that you should make this claim, Andre, when an abstract that you have quoted twice in the last three days from actually says

    We demonstrate that gup1? mutant strain present a significantly reduced chronological lifespan comparing to Wt. Moreover, this mutant showed to be highly sensitive to acetic acid. Yet, while chronologically aged and acetic acid treated Wt cells die exhibiting apoptotic markers, gup1? mutant cells under the same conditions seems to be incapable of undergoing apoptosis. Instead, these cells appeared to be experiencing a necrotic cell death process.

    They undergo necrosis when treated with acetic acid, Andre.

    Honorable?

  11. 11
    Andre says:

    DNA_Jock

    Study the entire paper, mutations to certain proteins, PCD kicks in and repairs, the moment any of the PCD proteins are mutated, it becomes dysregulated and necrosis happens. You have the link study the paper, PCD is evolutionary conserved and any type of change to PCD is fatal to the organism.

    We experienced this process first hand, We buried a dear friend of mine’s kid this month, from PCD breaking to the death of LK took a grand total of 4 days.

    RIP LK.

  12. 12
    Joe says:

    Well it is a given that unguided evolution cannot produce an objective nested hierarchy. An intelligent designer, using a common design, ie design standards, could easily produce a nested hierarchy of differing designs based on the same standards.

    Linnean Taxonomy, the observed ONH wrt higher organisms, is based on the hypothesis of a common design.

  13. 13
    Phinehas says:

    Zachriel:

    Z: The argument that a designer is superfluous to explaining the nested hierarchy is correct.

    Indeed! A designer is superfluous to explaining the nested hierarchy in the same way that salt leprechauns are superfluous to explaining a pile a salt! Well said.

    Of course, no one is arguing that the nested hierarchy is better explained by a designer, are they? Who is arguing this? Instead, as HeKS has put it:

    HeKS: Rather, in identifying the need for an intelligent cause to explain certain aspects of biology, ID points to the evident infusion of significant amounts of biological information into the world of life, as well as the novel introduction of complex, functionally-specified biological systems and molecular machines.

    And more insightful commentary from Zachriel:

    Z: The argument that the nested hierarchy is sufficient to rule out design is incorrect.

    Do you mean that it doesn’t make design a trillion times less likely? If so, can you please tell keiths? Thanks in advance.

  14. 14
    Joe says:

    Zachriel:

    The nested hierarchy strongly implies the existence of a tree,…

    A nested hierarchy can be depicted as a tree. That is the only tree it “implies”.

  15. 15
    DNA_Jock says:

    The paper you were quoting from is Tulha et al 2012, PMID: 22617017
    you say:

    Study the entire paper, mutations to certain proteins, PCD kicks in and repairs, the moment any of the PCD proteins are mutated, it becomes dysregulated and necrosis happens.

    I find zero support for your claim in the paper. I note that the authors happily grow up their gup1-deleted strain…
    Could you be a little bit more specific?

  16. 16
    Joe says:

    Linnean Taxonomy, the observed ONH, reads like intelligent design plan. For example it says what is required for a basic animal- the basic animal design standard. Then with each level there are differing additions leading to differing organisms. And it turtles all the way down to the actual organisms.

  17. 17
    HeKS says:

    @Keith #1

    I didn’t ignore you. I had already addressed similar issues prior to you making that comment, though my prior comments were directed to someone else. Also, I actually responded to the comment you’ve quoted by asking you a question intended to show you the problem with your reasoning, and you offered an initial answer but the thread was shut before I had a chance to respond.

    From my comment #548 in the other thread:

    Keith,

    No. What I’m saying is that at every point in time it is possible for the Designer to do something that would completely wreck the ONH signal. The fact that we see the ONH thus means that the Designer continually decides (or is limited to) acting in a way that preserves the ONH.

    If ID is true, then the designer is fully involved, by intent or by limitation, in the production of the ONH.

    Try to picture this, Keith…

    A process of branching descent is running in various lineages and a complex new trait, system or molecular machine is added to a lineage. What happens to the new addition?

    You responded:

    That depends. Does God the Designer add it to a single individual, to a few, to many, or to all? Is it beneficial, neutral, or deleterious? Homozygous or heterozygous? Does it go to fixation? How does drift impact it? Is it added to a subpopulation that’s on its way to reproductive isolation? How far along?

    Let’s assume that God the Designer “installs” it in all individuals of the population as a homozygous trait — instant fixation, in other words. In that case it will be passed down to all descendants along each subsequent branch until it is modified or it reverts.

    So let me respond now.

    Yes, in other words, the unguided process of branching descent would distribute the innovation in a way that continued and conformed to an objective nested hierarchy. This is true whether we’re talking about biology or just any generic process of branching descent with some form of primarily vertical inheritance. Content added to a line of descent within a process of branching descent would retain the objective nested hierarchy.

    So right off the bat a distinction needs to be made between the idea of fully instantiating a highly complex ONH and the idea of adding content to a process that naturally generates an ONH. To say that it seems intelligence is required to explain the infusion of content is not the same as saying that it seems intelligence is required to explain the bare fact of the claimed ONH. The fact that a natural process could account for the nature of the hierarchical relationships does not mean that a natural process could account for the content and features by which those hierarchical relationships are defined.

    Recognizing this distinction brings us to other issues that demonstrate a deeper and, it seems, all-encompassing problem with your argument.

    First, when you say…

    at every point in time it is possible for the Designer to do something that would completely wreck the ONH signal

    … it seems to me that you’re making a claim that doesn’t make any sense.

    You’re arguing as though the claimed ONH is objective in an absolute sense rather than in a statistical sense. There are significant incongruities all over the place at every level of the tree and countless examples cited of extreme morphological and molecular convergence, but when an analysis is performed on the traits that give the best, most parsimonious signal of an ONH, it is claimed that various forms of analysis still give a strong ONH signal with a high degree of statistical correlation. Your comment that is quoted just above suggests that it would be incredibly easy to “completely wreck the ONH signal”, but that is simply false. When you consider the number of organisms being classified, it would take an incredible amount to “completely wreck” an ONH signal that was derived by the distribution of traits primarily through a process of some sort of branching inheritance. In other words, it would basically require either an abandonment of using a form of branching descent to distribute traits and facilitate adaptation, or would require a concerted effort to specifically overcome the ONH pattern created by the branching descent process so that it was impossible to get an ONH signal with a high degree of statistical correlation even on an analysis of traits that gave the best, most parsimonious ONH signal.

    Second, your entire argument asking why a designer would choose an ONH pattern out of all possible relationships and claiming that it should be viewed as merely one of trillions of options that you can imagine being open to the designer is entirely wrong-headed. The question of why the designer would choose an ONH only makes sense if you assume the complete (and probably simultaneous) instantiation of the ONH of life, which ID does not assume. As soon as you allow that different forms of life appeared over a long period of time and that much of the diversity (though not necessarily the disparity) of life arose through the differential distribution of traits through branching descent, then you will immediately expect a powerful signal of an ONH as a byproduct of that process of branching descent. At that point, the question becomes, “Is there any reason why a designer would prefer to use a process of differential distribution of traits through branching descent in generating the diversity of life?” And that, obviously, becomes a very different question.

  18. 18
    Box says:

    Keith: No. What I’m saying is that at every point in time it is possible for the Designer to do something that would completely wreck the ONH signal.

    Setting aside the fact that this is an unsupported assumption. I would like to know what would completely wreck the ONH signal.
    Please, provide an example. What would ruin Theobald’s ONH?

  19. 19
    keith s says:

    keiths:

    What I’m saying is that at every point in time it is possible for the Designer to do something that would completely wreck the ONH signal.

    Phinehas:

    Really?! How is it that you know this about a designer that we know absolutely nothing about?

    Seriously. Please explain how you know that at every point in time it is possible for a designer that we know absolutely nothing about to do something that would completely wreck the OHN signal.

    Phinehas,

    This point is tripping up you and many of your fellow IDers, so let me take some time to smooth it out for you.

    The debate is not about a specific designer. There are many possible hypothetical designers with different characteristics, desires, and capabilities. The ID claim is that one or more of these hypothetical designers is responsible for the diversity and complexity of terrestrial life.

    You can think of it either way: there is a designer whose characteristics are unknown, or there is a set of designers, each having fixed characteristics, one or more of whom are real and are responsible for what we see in terrestrial life — but we don’t know which one(s).

    Those are logically equivalent, so when I say “it is possible for the designer to do something that would completely wreck the ONH signal”, that is shorthand for either of the following:

    1) the designer might have that capability, and we have no basis whatsoever for ruling it out; or

    2) some of the possible designers have that capability, and we have no basis for ruling them out.

    Either way, it is possible for the ONH to be wrecked at any point in time. Why doesn’t it happen?

    I have a good answer: the reason it doesn’t happen is because unguided evolution can’t do it. What is your answer?

  20. 20
    Box says:

    Keith,

    the designer might have that capability, and we have no basis whatsoever for ruling it out

    Now check this out:

    the designer might **NOT** have that capability, and we have no basis whatsoever for ruling that out

    Now what?
    Unsupported assumptions cannot be turned into facts Keith. Stop trying.

  21. 21
    keith s says:

    An amusing concession from WJM on the original thread at TSZ:

    IF I assume that they phylogenetic tree is as you say, and as well-evidenced as you say, THEN if I was making my decision about ID based on what the phylogenetic tree looked like, I would conclude that life is best explained via unguided processes.

    I love William. 🙂

  22. 22
    SteRusJon says:

    keith s has been avoiding the important difference between planetary orbits and evolution. With planetary orbits, none of us have any need to invoke fairies of any kind to explain the regularity we see. However, regarding evolution, there are some of us who see aspects of life that we cannot account for by means of filtered accidents. Origin of life and origin of body plans in the Cambrian, just name two of very many, are areas where some of us feel we have justification for doubting that a satisfactory case has been made that exclusively naturalistic processes are entirely sufficient. Since we cannot account for some aspects of life on an entirely naturalistic basis, we are justified to postulate as a possible cause a form intelligence having some properties that are similar to our own. For those who do not/cannot agree there are problems with the exclusively naturalistic explanation to assert that “science” has conclusively demonstrates there is “no problem” is certainly not the way to make their case. Way back when, Barry asked for a satisfactory case to be made that addressed, in a substantive way, just some of the difficulties that we in the ID camp see. There have been many keyboards worn away but I have not seen anything resembling a serious attempt to provide us with such.

    Speaking of fairies, how about the invocation of the “Dark Matter Fairy” and the “Dark Energy Fairy”. Cosmologists have postulated these two entities to account for observations that are not accounted for by our understanding of the regularities we have heretofore observed regarding gravity. (Leave aside the fact that we do not know how gravity actually works– may be fairies strictly following orders for all we know.) Dark matter has been proposed as a candidate because it, supposedly, has some properties that are similar to those of the matter we are familiar with. To my knowledge, dark matter is undetected so is it real? Dark energy has been suggested to account for the apparent acceleration of the furthest galaxies which would, as we understand physical processes, require some source of energy. To my knowledge, the source of the energy is yet unknown so is it real? How is this any different than invoking an intelligence similar to our own to account for some aspects of life (and the cosmos) that are not explainable (for some of us) by the exclusively naturalistic causes?

    Stephen

  23. 23
    Zachriel says:

    Phineas: Of course, no one is arguing that the nested hierarchy is better explained by a designer, are they?

    Many things have been argued on this blog, from there is no nested hierarchy, to designers make nested hierarchies not branching descent, to you’re stupid about nested hierarchies, to (most often) trying to evade the point.

    Phineas: Instead, as HeKS has put it

    What you quoted doesn’t say anything about the nested hierarchy or branching descent.

    Phineas: Do you mean that it doesn’t make design a trillion times less likely?

    No. It makes “special creation” trillions of times less likely. Branching descent is strongly supported.

  24. 24
    keith s says:

    Box:

    I would like to know what would completely wreck the ONH signal.
    Please, provide an example. What would ruin Theobald’s ONH?

    There are many, many possibilities. Here is one that I mentioned to Zachriel on the original thread at TSZ:

    That aside, the more important point is that even non-perverse designers, including those who guide evolution via common descent, can act in a way that does not allow us to infer a single objective nested hierarchy.

    For example, consider a designer who is guiding evolution. Let’s say the unfolding tree currently has fifty ‘twigs’. The designer decides to introduce a complex new trait into half of the twigs, scattered randomly across the tree. If you were trying to infer a nested hierarchy from the evidence of the twigs, you wouldn’t be able to make sense of the data. That’s because the method you use to infer the hierarchy assumes that complex traits don’t magically appear in different twigs at the same time. It tries to find a tree where the complex trait arises once and then gets passed to the descendants. Now, if this kind of thing is happening with many different traits at many different levels of the tree, it will be impossible to reconstruct a single objective nested hierarchy from the data. Instead, you’ll get a bunch of wildly incongruent hierarchies that are subjective because they depend on the order in which you consider the various traits.

    This is crucial, so I’ll emphasize it yet again: An objective nested hierarchy implies common descent, but common descent does not necessarily lead to an objective nested hierarchy. Common descent via design can lead to many incongruent subjective nested hierarchies, because design is not limited to gradual changes and predominantly vertical inheritance. Unguided evolution is generally limited to gradual changes and predominantly vertical inheritance, so it predicts a single objective nested hierarchy.

  25. 25
    keith s says:

    By the way, Box, you never did answer my question on the other thread. Is WJM “rotten to the core”, as your standards suggest, since he doesn’t care about the truth?

    Here is another data point for you.

    WJM:

    keiths:

    To a rational person who is seeking the truth, all of the evidence matters and should be considered.

    I sought the truth for a long time, but then realized that finding out what was true wasn’t really what I was after.

    I look forward to your answer.

  26. 26
    Quest says:

    Keith s,

    I’m just curious; What kind of evidence would convince you that life was designed, created and fully complex…?

    I’m just wondering what is preventing you from seeing what is obvious to most on this blog… Please give me something to work with…

  27. 27
    logically_speaking says:

    OK just for my own completeness I will post my responses to zachriel from the closed thread, apologies to everyone else.

    After will be my ONH expirement, enjoy.

    Zachriel,

    logically_speaking: So intelligent design is an equally if not better explanation of nested hierarchies determined by “best fit” computer algorithms.

    You:
    You are conflating the model with the thing being modeled. A weather simulation is designed, but it isn’t wet even when it projects rain. The computer algorithm for nested hierarchies creates a mathematical representation of the best fit by statistical comparison. This best fit is independent of the observer.

    My response:
    No I am not, I was showing how your analogy doesn’t hold up to scrutiny. Also your weather example is no good for you either, for the simple fact that weather simulation is attempting to predict the wheather before the fact. While the tree algorithms are after the fact.

    You:
    Great! Try it.

    So you won’t try it. That seems to be a trend with IDers.

    My response:
    Actually I had tried it even before you took over from my conversation with keith. I was simply hoping that you may see what becomes obvious if you also had done it. I will show you my experiment shortly.

    logically_speaking: I can arrange a bunch of cutlery, in size, function, and the material they are made from. All in a nested hierarchy, and using statistical analysis on it would also be useless.

    You:
    The statistical analysis would show that there are many equally rational ways to classify cutlery.

    My response:
    Hense my using the word useless, it also then applies to the tree of life.

    logically_speaking: Why did you OBJECTIVELY CHOOSE these features?

    You:
    We look at all the objective traits.

    My response:
    No “we” don’t, hense the reason why you had a list and I had a completely different list.

    logically_speaking: Unfortunately nobody does look at all the traits when creating classifications, thats why it is subjective.

    You:
    Modern classification is based on evolutionary relationships, however, we are discussing classification by traits. You will note that Theobald 2010 considered classification with and without the problematic traits. The result was the same.

    My response:
    First off, maybe modern classification has been hijacked by evolutionists, but it originally began with Carl Linnaeus who classified things using a design mindset without any evolutiony assertions. Second if classification is based on evolutionary relationships (how is this determined? By looking at the evolution of traits perhaps?), then trying to create a tree using these classifications to show evolutionary relationships is circular reasoning. Of course theobald’s results are the same, its based on so many faulty assumptions, bad use of statistics and circular reasoning.

    logically_speaking: branching descent is an assumption

    You:
    Yes, a hypothesis is a tentative assumption used to test its empirical implications. The positive result lends support to the hypothesis. How did you think science was done?

    My response:
    I agree. But when you have a theory that uses bad maths, circular reasoning and the assumptions can be shown to be wrong. Then the theory loses all credibility.

    logically_speaking: I can create nested hierarchies on cutlery using the geometry of trees and a bit of statistics, without any need for decent.

    You:
    Yes, but they won’t form an objective nested hierarchy.

    My response:
    I know they won’t form an objective nested hierarchy that is my point, I can use the exact methods and reasoning that Theobald uses and show how his methods fail.

    You:
    Again, your example of the bat was instructive. Biologists all classify bats as placentals, mammals, amniotes, tetrapods, gnastostomes, vertebrates, craniates, chordates, bilaterian, metazoa, eukaryotes. There is no reasonable doubt about this classification. No one who examines bats in detail classifies them as birds.

    My response:
    I am not saying that the classifications are in error, we humans love to classify everything as it makes it easier for us to talk about things and study them. However a large consensus of opinion does not make the opinion objective. Classification of life has and always will be subjective, the very fact that it’s hard to even define what life IS should tell you that.

    And now the objective nested hierarchy test.

    Let’s make things really easy and basic.

    The pile of cutlery contains, knives, forks and spoons. These will be classified as the functions. The materials shall be wood, plastic and metal. Finally the sizes shall be categorised as small, medium and large. I mention all this so that you may repeat the experiment if you wish. I am concentrating on the end product here and presenting a very simple table of the results.

    Now because of how basic the nested hierarchies can be we are able to see ALL of the possible outcomes. There turns out to be 6 ways of arranging the cutlery in nested hierarchies, these are from the bottom up;

    1. Material < size < function
    2. Material < function < size
    3. Function < size < material
    4. Function < material < size
    5. Size < function < material
    6. Size < material { function

    Because we can see ALL of the trees, statZachriel,

    logically_speaking: So intelligent design is an equally if not better explanation of nested hierarchies determined by “best fit” computer algorithms.

    You:
    You are conflating the model with the thing being modeled. A weather simulation is designed, but it isn’t wet even when it projects rain. The computer algorithm for nested hierarchies creates a mathematical representation of the best fit by statistical comparison. This best fit is independent of the observer.

    My response:
    No I am not, I was showing how your analogy doesn't hold up to scrutiny. Also your weather example is no good for you either, for the simple fact that weather simulation is attempting to predict the wheather before the fact. While the tree algorithms are after the fact.

    You:
    Great! Try it.

    So you won’t try it. That seems to be a trend with IDers.

    My response:
    Actually I had tried it even before you took over from my conversation with keith. I was simply hoping that you may see what becomes obvious if you also had done it. I will show you my experiment shortly.

    logically_speaking: I can arrange a bunch of cutlery, in size, function, and the material they are made from. All in a nested hierarchy, and using statistical analysis on it would also be useless.

    You:
    The statistical analysis would show that there are many equally rational ways to classify cutlery.

    My response:
    Hense my using the word useless, it also then applies to the tree of life.

    logically_speaking: Why did you OBJECTIVELY CHOOSE these features?

    You:
    We look at all the objective traits.

    My response:
    No "we" don't, hense the reason why you had a list and I had a completely different list.

    logically_speaking: Unfortunately nobody does look at all the traits when creating classifications, thats why it is subjective.

    You:
    Modern classification is based on evolutionary relationships, however, we are discussing classification by traits. You will note that Theobald 2010 considered classification with and without the problematic traits. The result was the same.

    My response:
    First off, maybe modern classification has been hijacked by evolutionists, but it originally began with Carl Linnaeus who classified things using a design mindset without any evolutiony assertions. Second if classification is based on evolutionary relationships (how is this determined? By looking at the evolution of traits perhaps?), then trying to create a tree using these classifications to show evolutionary relationships is circular reasoning. Of course theobald's results are the same, its based on so many faulty assumptions, bad use of statistics and circular reasoning.

    logically_speaking: branching descent is an assumption

    You:
    Yes, a hypothesis is a tentative assumption used to test its empirical implications. The positive result lends support to the hypothesis. How did you think science was done?

    My response:
    I agree. But when you have a theory that uses bad maths, circular reasoning and the assumptions can be shown to be wrong. Then the theory loses all credibility.

    logically_speaking: I can create nested hierarchies on cutlery using the geometry of trees and a bit of statistics, without any need for decent.

    You:
    Yes, but they won’t form an objective nested hierarchy.

    My response:
    I know they won’t form an objective nested hierarchy that is my point, I can use the exact methods and reasoning that Theobald uses and show how his methods fail.

    You:
    Again, your example of the bat was instructive. Biologists all classify bats as placentals, mammals, amniotes, tetrapods, gnastostomes, vertebrates, craniates, chordates, bilaterian, metazoa, eukaryotes. There is no reasonable doubt about this classification. No one who examines bats in detail classifies them as birds.

    My response:
    I am not saying that the classifications are in error, we humans love to classify everything as it makes it easier for us to talk about things and study them. However a large consensus of opinion does not make the opinion objective. Classification of life has and always will be subjective, the very fact that it's hard to even define what life IS should tell you that.

  28. 28
    logically_speaking says:

    Woah sorry, I seem to be having issues with cut and paste my experiment got stuck in the middle of that somehow.

  29. 29
    Zachriel says:

    SteRusJon: With planetary orbits, none of us have any need to invoke fairies of any kind to explain the regularity we see. However, regarding evolution, there are some of us who see aspects of life that we cannot account for by means of filtered accidents.

    That is not quite the analogy. At one time there was no physical explanation of the highly complex motions of the planets. Angels were the posited explanation for this complex motion. The problem is that angels don’t have testable entailments.

    It’s only later, with the theory of gravity, that angels became superfluous, but the original problem concerning the lack of entailments was there even without a physical theory.

    SteRusJon: Since we cannot account for some aspects of life on an entirely naturalistic basis, we are justified to postulate as a possible cause a form intelligence having some properties that are similar to our own.

    In science, a hypothesis has to have testable entailments. What are the testable entailments of angels the postulated designer?

    SteRusJon: How is this any different than invoking an intelligence similar to our own to account for some aspects of life (and the cosmos) that are not explainable (for some of us) by the exclusively naturalistic causes?

    Because dark matter and dark energy are only placeholders for the observed effects. Scientists don’t claim to understand them, but have proposed testable hypotheses, and are going about collecting data to test their hypotheses, such as with the SuperNova/Acceleration Probe. Meanwhile, ID claims to have the answers, deduce no entailments, and doesn’t collect data that could test any entailments.

  30. 30
    logically_speaking says:

    And now the objective nested hierarchy test.

    Let’s make things really easy and basic.

    The pile of cutlery contains, knives, forks and spoons. These will be classified as the functions. The materials shall be wood, plastic and metal. Finally the sizes shall be categorised as small, medium and large. I mention all this so that you may repeat the experiment if you wish. I am concentrating on the end product here and presenting a very simple table of the results.

    Now because of how basic the nested hierarchies can be we are able to see ALL of the possible outcomes. There turns out to be 6 ways of arranging the cutlery in nested hierarchies, these are from the bottom up;

    1. Material < size < function
    2. Material < function < size
    3. Function < size < material
    4. Function < material < size
    5. Size < function < material
    6. Size < material < function

    Because we can see ALL of the trees, statistical analysis will be worthless because in this case all of the nests are equally "correct".

    However lets now throw some evolutionists in to the experiment.

    These evolutionists assume that the cutlery was changed over time by the manufacturers of the cutlery, there job is to find out the order of decent.

    (This is the assumption of common decent)

    The evolutionists decide that because the functions of the cutlery are what determines how they are used today, must mean that function should be placed at the ends of each tree.

    (This is the subjective consensus of which traits are more important than others)

    Also there are only 4 scientists that can only do one tree each.

    (This represents the limitations of resources in that not ALL possibilities can be accounted for in the history of life)

    Now the nests that the evolutionists make are these;

    1. Material < size < function
    2. Material < function < size
    3. Function < size < material
    4. Size < material < function

    As they have agreed that function should be placed at the ends of the trees, they come to the conclusion that some of the trees must be in error. Therefore they must use statistical analysis to provide the "best fit".

    The statistical analysis provides the best fit objective nested hierarchy as;

    Material < size < function.

    As must be obvious, this so called ONH is an illusion.

    Even though this example is very basic and I have deliberately limited certain things, the principles, reasoning and problems behind this expirement can be scaled up to the biological ONH.

    One thing is certain, for any statistical analysis to be of any value for "best fit", you must first know ALL of the possibilities available, not mearly most.

    Unfortunately for the objective nested hierarchy of life, subjectivity has sneaked in through the back door and the front door, and even through windows.

    One of the main reasons why we can generate a "fake" objective nested hierarchy on the tree of life, is that as Keith acknowledges, there are literally trillions of possibilities of how life developed. It is impossible to take all the possible outcomes into consideration when doing the statistical analysis on the tree of life.

  31. 31
    Phinehas says:

    Zachriel:

    Phinehas: Instead, as HeKS has put it

    Z: What you quoted doesn’t say anything about the nested hierarchy or branching descent.

    Exactly. That was the point. No one is arguing that the nested hierarchy is better explained by a designer. They are arguing that lots of other things are better explained by a designer, as HeKS points out.

    Phinehas: Do you mean that it doesn’t make design a trillion times less likely?

    Z: No. It makes “special creation” trillions of times less likely. Branching descent is strongly supported.

    I’m also not seeing anyone arguing for “special creation.” Are you suggesting that this is what keiths is arguing against? Because that might explain a few things.

    ID != special creation

  32. 32
    keith s says:

    Zachriel:

    The argument that a designer is superfluous to explaining the nested hierarchy is correct. The argument that the nested hierarchy is sufficient to rule out design is incorrect.

    Zachriel,

    My argument is that unguided evolution explains the ONH trillions of times better than design. This, for all practical purposes, amounts to ruling out design, unless IDers can come up with countervailing evidence of equally lopsided strength. (And I’ve barely mentioned the other evidence against design.)

    You and I debated this two years ago. Interested onlookers can find our discussion on the original thread starting here.

    keiths:

    The formation of the ONH therefore cannot be teased apart from the production of features exhibiting CSI.

    Zachriel:

    That is incorrect. The nested hierarchy is evident in non-adaptive features, such as synonymous substitutions.

    No, it’s correct. Note that I am not saying that non-adaptive features don’t fit the ONH. They do, and they are important. I am saying that the production of supposedly CSI-rich features cannot be teased apart from the production of the ONH.

    keiths:

    If ID is true, then the designer is fully involved, by intent or by limitation, in the production of the ONH.

    Zachriel:

    Planting a tree hardly constitutes being “fully involved”.

    As I’ve stressed several times, my argument does not depend on a naturalistic account of OOL. It is about what happens after OOL, which is explained far, far better by unguided evolution than by ID.

  33. 33
    Zachriel says:

    Phineas: Of course, no one is arguing that the nested hierarchy is better explained by a designer, are they?

    Case in point:

    logically_speaking: So intelligent design is an equally if not better explanation of nested hierarchies determined by “best fit” computer algorithms.

    Your claim was that observed nested hierarchies are not objective. We pointed out that independent statistical methods are used to determine the degree of fit.

    logically_speaking: No “we” don’t, hense the reason why you had a list and I had a completely different list.

    Our list encompassed wings, including the particular structure of the wings. Your list excluded mammary glands, bellows lungs, wings articulated by the phalanges, airfoil is skin not feathers, hair, three auditory ossicles, a single-boned dentary, not to mention the molecular evidence. There’s no one who has ever studied anatomy that would classify bats with birds.

    logically_speaking: {modern classification} originally began with Carl Linnaeus who classified things using a design mindset without any evolutiony assertions.

    Linnaeus classified by best fit according to trait. He arrived at close to a best-fit objective nested hierarchy.

    logically_speaking: But when you have a theory that uses bad maths, circular reasoning and the assumptions can be shown to be wrong. Then the theory loses all credibility.

    Sure, but it’s a weak argument that depends on the claim that generations of biologists, people who have used supercomputers to decode the genome, of using bad maths and circular reasoning. Einstein wasn’t right because Newton was stupid or bad at maths.

    logically_speaking: I can use the exact methods and reasoning that Theobald uses and show how his methods fail.

    No. You could cherry-pick possibly, as you did with bat wings. That’s not quite the same thing. Darwin covered this territory in 1859.

    logically_speaking: I am not saying that the classifications are in error

    You can’t talk about whether they are in error or not unless the classification is objective. Otherwise, it’s just a matter of taste or convenience. This is where you should be feeling a bit of cognitive dissonance.

    logically_speaking: There turns out to be 6 ways of arranging the cutlery in nested hierarchies

    That’s right! But there’s only one reasonable way to classify bats; placentals, mammals, amniotes, tetrapods, gnastostomes, vertebrates, craniates, chordates, bilaterian, metazoa, eukaryotes.

  34. 34
    Phinehas says:

    keiths:

    For example, consider a designer who is guiding evolution. Let’s say the unfolding tree currently has fifty ‘twigs’. The designer decides to introduce a complex new trait into half of the twigs, scattered randomly across the tree. If you were trying to infer a nested hierarchy from the evidence of the twigs, you wouldn’t be able to make sense of the data. That’s because the method you use to infer the hierarchy assumes that complex traits don’t magically appear in different twigs at the same time.

    You mean like convergent evolution? Echolocation in bats and whales? That sort of thing?

  35. 35
    keith s says:

    logically_speaking #30,

    If you don’t learn how nested hierarchies are actually inferred, you will never understand what’s being debated here.

    Don’t you realize how silly it is to argue that the ONH isn’t real, when the molecular and morphological versions of Theobald’s Figure 1 match perfectly out of 10^38 possibilities?

    That’s 10,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 possibilities.

    You think that evolutionary biologists subjectively selected traits and markers that just happened to produce that stunning degree of match?

  36. 36

    re Keith at 21. 25 and the other thread:

    It seems keith is attempting some sort of diversionary narrative here, but I can’t quite figure out what he hopes to accomplish via these links and quotes. By his tone, I would assume it’s supposed to be derogatory towards me in some way, but I don’t see how – it just seems completely unrelated.

  37. 37
    keith s says:

    Phinehas,

    You mean like convergent evolution?

    Definitely not. I am talking about complicated features with the same genotype being inserted in parallel into many different branches of the tree.

    Humans do similar things all the time. Satellite radios showed up in all sorts of vehicles at roughly the same time. Why doesn’t your Designer ever do that?

    As I asked earlier:

    I have a good answer: the reason it doesn’t happen is because unguided evolution can’t do it. What is your answer?

  38. 38
    Phinehas says:

    keiths:

    Those are logically equivalent, so when I say “it is possible for the designer to do something that would completely wreck the ONH signal”, that is shorthand for either of the following:

    1) the designer might have that capability, and we have no basis whatsoever for ruling it out; or

    2) some of the possible designers have that capability, and we have no basis for ruling them out.

    Either way, it is possible for the ONH to be wrecked at any point in time. Why doesn’t it happen?

    Because it is also perfectly possible (and just as likely?) for the ONH not to be wrecked at any point in time? Seriously, I get that you think you have a point, but I have no idea what it is. It doesn’t appear to be any more interesting than: the designer might decide to wreck the ONH or the designer might not. OK.

  39. 39
    Zachriel says:

    Phinehas: You mean like convergent evolution?

    Convergence confounds the nested hierarchy, however, as Darwin pointed out “It is incredible that the descendants of two organisms, which had originally differed in a marked manner, should ever afterwards converge so closely as to lead to a near approach to identity throughout their whole organisation.”

    Phinehas: Echolocation in bats and whales?

    Interesting case. The prestin gene is highly conserved in mammals. If you look at the sequence for prestin bats and whales seem to group more closely than they would when looking at other traits. But! But if you look only at synonym substitutions, it returns the standard phylogeny.

  40. 40
    Quest says:

    Keith s,

    I think you have omitted my question…? Please tell me you have not done it deliberately.. That would be a shame or if you sent one of you pops to answer it for you…

  41. 41
    Phinehas says:

    keiths:

    My argument is that unguided evolution explains the ONH trillions of times better than design.

    If you dropped “unguided” and “trillions of times” I might be inclined to agree with you.

    If you supported “unguided” and “trillions of times” I also might be inclined to agree with you.

    So far, you seem awfully reluctant to do either, and so I am not inclined to agree with you.

  42. 42

    Phineas,

    Now ask him if unguided evolution could wreck the ONH signal at any time 🙂

  43. 43
    keith s says:

    Quest,

    Your question is off-topic. We are discussing my “bomb” argument in this thread.

  44. 44
    keith s says:

    William:

    Phineas,

    It’s Phinehas, with an ‘h’.

    Now ask him if unguided evolution could wreck the ONH signal at any time 🙂

    The answer is no. That’s why the absence of such phenomena supports unguided evolution and undermines ID.

  45. 45
    keith s says:

    Phinehas:

    Because it is also perfectly possible (and just as likely?) for the ONH not to be wrecked at any point in time? Seriously, I get that you think you have a point, but I have no idea what it is. It doesn’t appear to be any more interesting than: the designer might decide to wreck the ONH or the designer might not. OK.

    Think, Phinehas.

    The ONH is real. If a Designer is responsible, then he/she/it decided over and over and over again not to wreck the ONH. Millions of times.

    Humans routinely wreck ONHs. Why doesn’t your designer? Why does your designer mimic unguided evolution all the time?

    I have an explanation for why we see the ONH. What’s yours?

  46. 46
    Box says:

    Phinehas: You mean like convergent evolution?

    Keith: Definitely not. I am talking about complicated features with the same genotype being inserted in parallel into many different branches of the tree.

    Well, in bats and whales, convergence in echolocation ability runs all the way down to the genotype and needless to say they are different branches of the tree.

    If you want more examples, check this out.

    The latest example is the independent evolution of echolocation in mammals such as bats and whales. Such convergence has been known for some time now, but now it is observed at the molecular level as well. As the paper explains, “convergence is not a rare process restricted to several loci but is instead widespread”.

    As one evolutionist admitted, “These results imply that convergent molecular evolution is much more widespread than previously recognized”. And another admitted that the results are astonishing:

    We had expected to find identical changes in maybe a dozen or so genes but to see nearly 200 is incredible. We know natural selection is a potent driver of gene sequence evolution, but identifying so many examples where it produces nearly identical results in the genetic sequences of totally unrelated animals is astonishing.

  47. 47
    Joe says:

    Unguided evolution cannot explain an ONH so keith s is either totally ignorant, very stupid or very dishonest.

  48. 48
    Phinehas says:

    keiths:

    Think, Phinehas.

    I am thinking. In particular, I am thinking you just moved the goalposts.

    The ONH is real. If a Designer is responsible, then he/she/it decided over and over and over again not to wreck the ONH. Millions of times.

    No, no, no. If a designer is responsible, then it is possible that he/she/it decided over and over and over again not to wreck the ONH. It is also (equally?) possible that he/she/it did not have the capability to decide such a thing or was never presented with such a choice, and so, did not decide over and over and over again not to wreck the ONH.

    We just established this, didn’t we?

  49. 49
    keith s says:

    HeKS,

    Yes, in other words, the unguided process of branching descent would distribute the innovation in a way that continued and conformed to an objective nested hierarchy. This is true whether we’re talking about biology or just any generic process of branching descent with some form of primarily vertical inheritance. Content added to a line of descent within a process of branching descent would retain the objective nested hierarchy.

    See the example I provided to Box of how the ONH could be wrecked.

    Another example: the willy-nilly removal of complex features. It’s available to a designer, but not to unguided evolution.

    That’s why I keep stressing that gradual change and primarily vertical inheritance are essential if the ONH is to be inferable.

    To say that it seems intelligence is required to explain the infusion of content is not the same as saying that it seems intelligence is required to explain the bare fact of the claimed ONH.

    What you’re missing is that the infusion of complex “content” is not separable from the formation of the ONH. The unguided branching events are not recorded directly — they are inferred from the distribution of derived characters, including the complex ones.

  50. 50
    Mung says:

    keiths:

    Instead, the ‘responses’ in the ensuing conversation revolved almost entirely around what the participating ID proponents considered obviously false analogies, which invoked “Planetary Angels”, “Rain Fairies”, “Salt Leprechauns”, and “Toilet Whales”.

    Welcome to the world of keiths, a world full of fantasy and imagination. When heiths doesn’t have an argument, he conjures up an ‘analogy.’ DDD: Obfuscation by ‘Analogy’

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

  51. 51
    Phinehas says:

    keiths:

    Why does your designer mimic unguided evolution all the time?

    “Mimic” is your own editorializing. And “unguided” is your own assumption.

    Apart from the assumptions and extra baggage you load onto your argument, all you are really saying is that branching descent better explains an ONH than not branching descent. And I don’t disagree. I also don’t find this conclusion particularly interesting.

    Demonstrate that the branching descent was unguided, and I might be more interested. Demonstrate that unguided natural forces are also able to overcome the things that ID actually thinks are barriers to evolution (and the ONH is not one of these things) and I’d definitely be more interested. But editorializing plus assumptions don’t impress me very much.

  52. 52
    littlejohn says:

    keith s

    Is it not true that evolution is guided by ecological contingencies, and/or other external and internal stimuli?

    Is your definition of unguided evolution therefore just limited to the exclusion of intentional forces and outcomes?

    If OOL processes generated the seed (cell) that grew the tree, it seems reasonable to pursue a line of evidence that the seed could have been pre-programmed with the evolutionary potential to grow the tree we find inhabiting the whole earth.

    The fact that tree has survived about 4 BY’s on this planet is just one of many signs that the seed might have been planted and cultivated.

  53. 53
    keith s says:

    Phinehas,

    No, no, no. If a designer is responsible, then it is possible that he/she/it decided over and over and over again not to wreck the ONH. It is also (equally?) possible that he/she/it did not have the capability to decide such a thing or was never presented with such a choice, and so, did not decide over and over and over again not to wreck the ONH.

    Either way, how do you explain it? The ONH is predicted by the hypothesis of unguided evolution with gradual change and predominantly vertical inheritance.

    ID predicts the opposite: it is 99.999…% likely that we won’t see an ONH if ID is operating.

    You need to come up with a trillions-to-one persuasive reason for thinking that the designer would choose (or be limited to) the ONH motif. Otherwise unguided evolution is the far better choice.

    What is your trillions-to-one reason?

  54. 54
    Quest says:

    keith s,

    Don’t you think it is related to the whole objective off this blog to try to prove “…..” like you to be wrong…?
    I mean, there is a limit at to what ID’s can provide for a “…..” like you… Don’t you think that questioning others beliefs will get answered to yours….?

    Here we go again :
    “Keith s,

    I’m just curious; What kind of evidence would convince you that life was designed, created and fully complex…?

    I’m just wondering what is preventing you from seeing what is obvious to most on this blog… Please give me something to work with…”

    The way I see it, keith s not really interested in the evidence…. He is rather interested in the attention he gets from being oppositional to whatever IDers present… I suggest to drop this fellow as he is not interested in anything but his glorification.. He is proven to be an attention seeking M…n that give s..t about what the evidence is… that is my advice… because I think it is true…

  55. 55

    WJM asks:

    Now ask him if unguided evolution could wreck the ONH signal at any time

    Keith said:

    The answer is no. That’s why the absence of such phenomena supports unguided evolution and undermines ID.

    Which brings us to an earlier exchange in the previous thread, where keith stated:

    The Designer would have to restrict himself to gradual changes and predominantly vertical inheritance of features in order to leave behind evidence of the kind we see.

    And I responded:

    What keith fails to answer is if, or why unguided evolution is restricted to gradual changes and predominantly vertical inheritance.

    To which Keith responded:

    Because that’s what we observe, William, both in real time and from interpreting the evidence.

    In other words, the reason keith gives to support his contention that that unguided evolution must leave ONH evidence is because ONH evidence exists. He offers no explanation on why “unguided” evolution cannot in principle produce variation too fast or be primarily horizontal and not vertical in order to leave an ONH signal; he simply asserts that because we find an ONH, that means unguided evolution is restricted to generating an ONH!

    Well, using the same circular reasoning on the ID side of the argument, if ONH evidence exists then the designer must have been restricted to using means that left ONH evidence!

    /sigh

  56. 56
    HeKS says:

    Keith,

    That was not a serious response.

  57. 57
    Box says:

    Keith’s #53 doesn’t make sense at all. In effect Phinehas explains to him that the trillions of options available to the designer are totally unsupported; they may exist or not exist. So they are out.
    Then Keith says “Either way, how do you explain it?” and goes on if nothing happened and builds again on the trillion of options: “You need to come up with a trillions-to-one persuasive reason (…)”

    How does he do it? Just watching him makes me dizzy.

  58. 58
    keith s says:

    littlejohn #52,

    If OOL processes generated the seed (cell) that grew the tree, it seems reasonable to pursue a line of evidence that the seed could have been pre-programmed with the evolutionary potential to grow the tree we find inhabiting the whole earth.

    It depends on what you mean by “pre-programmed”. If all you mean is that the first life had the potential for random mutation, and that random mutation, natural selection and drift led to what we see now, then you are effectively a “neo-Darwinist”.

    If you are talking about genetic front-loading, then you have a problem. ID via genetic front-loading is as vulnerable to my argument as the other forms of ID.

  59. 59
    keith s says:

    HeKS,

    That was not a serious response.

    Yes, it was. Do you have a rejoinder?

  60. 60
    Mung says:

    keiths:

    The ID claim is that one or more of these hypothetical designers is responsible for the diversity and complexity of terrestrial life.

    That’s the ID claim?

    keiths:

    …he doesn’t care about the truth

  61. 61
    keith s says:

    Box:

    Keith’s #53 doesn’t make sense at all. In effect Phinehas explains to him that the trillions of options available to the designer are totally unsupported; they may exist or not exist. So they are out.

    They are not out, as I’ve explained to you again and again.

    Remember this?

    Box,

    Here’s what you and William are missing:

    1. To rule something out is to assign a probability of 0 to it.

    2. To rule something in is to assign a probability of 1 to it.

    3. Neither of those actions is appropriate, because we know nothing at all about the designer.

    4. The only remaining option is to assign an equal probability to all of the possibilities.

    This is the “principle of indifference”, aka the “principle of insufficient reason.” It’s the standard approach in Bayesian statistics for a situation in which you have no prior information, and it makes perfect sense. Statisticians use it all the time. So do Dembski and Marks in one of their papers.

    Yet you and William are claiming that it’s invalid, and that Dembski and Marks and statisticians all over the world are wrong. Why? Because if you allow the POI, you don’t get the answer you want. That’s pitiful, Box.

    And it’s even worse than that. If you don’t allow the POI, then you have no basis for rejecting the Rain Fairy.

    Everyone reading this knows that the Rain Fairy hypothesis is ridiculous. Yet you and William are unwittingly arguing that it would be irrational to reject it.

    I’m afraid you’ve got that backwards.

    The Rain Fairy hypothesis is ridiculous, and so is ID — by exactly the same logic.

  62. 62
    Vishnu says:

    I want to if keiths and adapa are homosexuals.

    Simple question

  63. 63
    Zachriel says:

    Phinehas: I also don’t find this conclusion particularly interesting.

    It’s incredibly interesting. Indeed, it’s one of the most astounding facts in all science. Humans and hummingbirds have a common ancestor!

  64. 64
    Box says:

    Keith #61,

    your nonsense has been demolished a trillion times already:

    WJM:
    Keith attempts to explain where he gets his “trillions of possibilities” that the designer “could have” instantiated instead of an ONH:

    Keith:
    Simple. There are 10^38 possibilities for a cladogram relating the 30 major taxa, which means there are 10^38 ways for two such cladograms to mismatch. Consider two cladograms based on, say, morphological vs. molecular data. If they mismatch significantly, then an ONH cannot be inferred.

    Keith is equivocating between “what is imaginable” and “what is possible”.

    Keith’s failure of logic here is that the “possibilities” he refers to exist solely as imagined variant arrangements of the evidence and not on any known capacity of the designer to implement such arrangements.

    In order to “not rule out” any of the imagined arrangements keith must first show his imagined arrangements are all possible arrangements the designer could have actually instantiated in the first place.

    Except Keith has no basis for such a demonstration because, as he said, he knows absolutely nothing about the designer.

    Because they are imaginable arrangements doesn’t mean they are actual possibilities available for instantiation to the designer. Keith has confused arrangements he can imagine with arrangements a designer could actually, possibly instantiate.

  65. 65
    Box says:

    Zachriel: It’s incredibly interesting. Indeed, it’s one of the most astounding facts in all science. Humans and hummingbirds have a common ancestor!

    The designer?

  66. 66
    Joe says:

    keith s:

    The ONH is predicted by the hypothesis of unguided evolution with gradual change and predominantly vertical inheritance.

    Absolutely not. Darwin refuted that claim back in 1859 and Denton did it again in 1985. Here is another refutation- A family tree is an example of gradual change and predominantly vertical inheritance yet you cannot construct an ONH based on derived characteristics with a family tree. Linnean Taxonomy is an ONH, it doesn’t have anything to do with gradual change and predominantly vertical inheritance and was used as evidence for a common design.

    Then once you factor in gradual change and predominantly vertical inheritance‘s requirement for numerous transitional forms, and there is no way we could form an ONH if we didn’t cherry-pick which organisms to include- oops that makes it very subjective.

    keith s is obviously willfully ignorant.

  67. 67

    (Assuming that unguided evolution predicts an ONH, and assuming that there is evidence of an ONH:)

    Keith said:

    The ONH is predicted by the hypothesis of unguided evolution [WJM: note the stealth-amendment here:]with gradual change and predominantly vertical inheritance.

    His original argument said:

    11. If we take that approach and assume, temporarily and for the sake of argument alone, that unguided evolution is responsible for the diversity of life, we can see that unguided evolution predicts an objective nested hierarchy out of the trillions of possibilities.

    Keith has stealth-amended his original argument, which made no mention of “gradual change” and predominantly vertical inheritance”; he simply asserted that “unguided evolution” predicted an ONH signal would be left.

    I guess that after Zachriel pointed out that guided biological evolution would do the same as unguided, and after I challenged him about whether or not unguided evolution could produce a broken ONH signal, Keith decided to amend his argument without notice.

    Unfortunately for keith’s argument, it makes no difference which form of his argument you use if you make equal assumptions on both sides, as per this rewording of his amended statement above:

    The ONH is predicted by the hypothesis of guided evolution with gradual change and predominantly vertical inheritance.

  68. 68
    keith s says:

    Box,

    I’m glad you quoted that. It was one of William’s finest foot-shooting moments.

    Here’s how I responded:

    WJM:

    Keith attempts to explain where he gets his “trillions of possibilities” that the designer “could have” instantiated instead of an ONH:

    Simple. There are 10^38 possibilities for a cladogram relating the 30 major taxa, which means there are 10^38 ways for two such cladograms to mismatch. Consider two cladograms based on, say, morphological vs. molecular data. If they mismatch significantly, then an ONH cannot be inferred.

    Keith is equivocating between “what is imaginable” and “what is possible”.

    Keith’s failure of logic here is that the “possibilities” he refers to exist solely as imagined variant arrangements of the evidence and not on any known capacity of the designer to implement such arrangements.

    In order to “not rule out” any of the imagined arrangements keith must first show his imagined arrangements are all possible arrangements the designer could have actually instantiated in the first place.

    You’re shooting yourself in the foot, William. By that logic, you have to demonstrate what is and isn’t possible for the designer before we can consider ID as an explanation. Oops.

    Except Keith has no basis for such a demonstration because, as he said, he knows absolutely nothing about the designer.

    And neither do you, so ID is off the table. Good work, William!

    Because they are imaginable arrangements doesn’t mean they are actual possibilities available for instantiation to the designer.

    Exactly. And if I can’t consider any of them as possibilities, you can’t either. You’ve single-handedly defeated ID, William.

    Note to onlookers: I love William. 🙂

  69. 69
    Joe says:

    Linnean Taxonomy, the observed ONH, reads like intelligent design plan. For example it says what is required for a basic animal- the basic animal design standard. Then with each level there are differing additions leading to differing organisms. And it turtles all the way down to the actual organisms.

    AND seeing that unguided evolution can’t get beyond populations of prokaryotes given starting populations of prokaryotes, there isn’t any way it can account for the diversity of life on Earth, so forget about it producing an ONH from that diversity.

    keith s, bombed to hell and obviously enjoying it. 😛

  70. 70
    Joe says:

    WJM:

    The ONH is predicted by the hypothesis of guided evolution with gradual change and predominantly vertical inheritance.

    Absolutely not- gradual change would bring about numerous transitional forms making it impossible to form the strict and distinct sets required of a nested hierarchy. Transitional forms produce overlapping sets. That is a bozo no-no when it comes to nested hierarchies.

  71. 71
    HD says:

    Keith, you never replied to my comment #3.

    In the meantime, I would like to respond to this and get clarification:

    Humans routinely wreck ONHs. Why doesn’t your designer? Why does your designer mimic unguided evolution all the time?

    I have an explanation for why we see the ONH. What’s yours?

    I have a hard time understanding this. UE is what is what is being argued over, so you can’t use that to prove your point. It’s just circular. All we have is the evolutionary process we have in front of us. Had we had different modes of evolution where we were able to say: “X is guided and Y is unguided, now our Z looks awfully like Y, therefore Z must be unguided too, and therefore if there IS a creator he is mimicking Y (unguided)” But we don’t have that luxury.

    You have repeated tacked on “Unguided” to evolution as if you know that guided evolution would have looked different than what we have now. How do you have this information if nobody else has it? How do you personally know what guided evolution looks like as opposed to unguided?

  72. 72
    Box says:

    Keith:
    You’re shooting yourself in the foot, William. By that logic, you have to demonstrate what is and isn’t possible for the designer before we can consider ID as an explanation. Oops.

    Nope. That doesn’t follow at all. Oops!

  73. 73

    IOW, it doesn’t matter if an evolutionary process(branching descent with variation from a common ancestor) is guided or unguided, if they proceed at a gradual rate with predominantly vertical descent, then they will predictably generate the same pattern.

    If you don’t assume gradual change or predominantly vertical descent, then it doesn’t matter if the evolutionary process is guided or unguided; the resulting pattern will appear unrelated to the pattern in the first example.

  74. 74
    Joe says:

    keith s:

    My argument is that unguided evolution explains the ONH trillions of times better than design.

    And you have been totally refuted. The refutation is so devastating that you have to ignore and/ or misrepresent it.

    The fact that you persist with this nonsense proves how desperate and small-minded our opponents are. We thank you for the display as it would have been impossible to get people to believe this happened if it wasn’t documented.

    Nice own goals

  75. 75

    Joe,

    I’m using keiths own assertions against him, whether they are actually valid or not. I’m not agreeing that unguided evolution would produce a nested hierarchy, I’m pointing out that even if it did, by keith’s reasoning guided evolution would produce the same pattern given the same parameters he places on unguided evolution.

    I agree you have a good argument that evolutionary processes do not predict a nested hierarchy, but even if they did, keith’s argument would still crash and burn.

  76. 76
    keith s says:

    WJM:

    Keith has stealth-amended his original argument, which made no mention of “gradual change” and predominantly vertical inheritance”; he simply asserted that “unguided evolution” predicted an ONH signal would be left.

    Your desperation is showing, William.

    From my original 2012 OP:

    There are many choices available to a Designer who guides evolution. Only a tiny fraction of them lead to a inferable, objective nested hierarchy. The Designer would have to restrict himself to gradual changes and predominantly vertical inheritance of features in order to leave behind evidence of the kind we see.

    And:

    The only way to get an ONH is if the strivings just happen to leave a trace that looks exactly like unguided evolution, through gradual changes and primarily vertical inheritance.

  77. 77
    Mung says:

    I warned everyone that they needed to link to keiths’s amended argument. So don’t blame me.

  78. 78

    You’re shooting yourself in the foot, William. By that logic, you have to demonstrate what is and isn’t possible for the designer before we can consider ID as an explanation. Oops.

    As I’ve already pointed out, Keith, your argument and ID theory are not the same thing. ID theory is about locating designs, not vetting potential designers. It would be foolish to say one must vet potential designers before one can identify a design.

    One must identify a design first, and then only from the nature of that designed artifact can one begin to consider what capacities any potential designer must have in order to instantiate that design.

  79. 79
    keith s says:

    Mung:

    I warned everyone that they needed to link to read keiths’s amended original argument. So don’t blame me.

    Fixed that for you.

  80. 80
    Mung says:

    keiths:

    1. To rule something out is to assign a probability of 0 to it.

    2. To rule something in is to assign a probability of 1 to it.

    3. Neither of those actions is appropriate, because we know nothing at all about the designer.

    4. The only remaining option is to assign an equal probability to all of the possibilities.

    Is this part of your ‘bomb’ argument? I’d hate to waste time pointing out the flaws only to find out you had no interest in addressing them because I posted in the wrong thread.

  81. 81
    Box says:

    Keith,

    There may be a trillion bathroom fairies in my bathroom.

    Let’s use your method:

    1. To rule something out is to assign a probability of 0 to it.

    2. To rule something in is to assign a probability of 1 to it.

    3. Neither of those actions is appropriate, because we know nothing at all about the designer.

    4. The only remaining option is to assign an equal probability to all of the possibilities.

    How many bathroom fairies are probably in my bathroom?

  82. 82

    Keith @76 thinks that the salient point he must respond to is the charge of “stealth-amending” his argument. Again, /sigh.

    However, I see that I was not specific enough; I said keith made no mention of “gradual changes and predominantly vertical inheritance” in his original argument; that could be misleading to someone that didn’t notice my [bracketed insertion point] and use of bolded letters.

    I meant that keith had made no mention of it in the specific part of it I quoted and indicated with brackets and emphasis, where he was talking about unguided evolution and where his argument was actually amended.

    Note keith’s reference to his original OP:

    There are many choices available to a Designer who guides evolution. Only a tiny fraction of them lead to a inferable, objective nested hierarchy. The Designer would have to restrict himself to gradual changes and predominantly vertical inheritance of features in order to leave behind evidence of the kind we see.

    Keith is referring to what a designer would have to restrict itself to when he employs the term ” gradual changes and predominantly vertical inheritance “, implying that the designer could have employed changes at a different speed or use predominantly horizontal inheritance and thus there would be no ONH signal.

    It is this very point that punched yet another hole in keith’s argument and why I challenged him on what unguided evolution could and could not do wrt speed of change and possibly predominant horizontal inheritance.

    IOW, if unguided evolution is also capable of these evolutionary variations that would destroy the ONH signal, then his argument is lost, because “unguided evolution” would not predict an ONH unless one added the same restraints to unguided evolution that keith pointed out would have to be placed on any designer to get an ONH: gradual changes and predominantly vertical inheritance.

    And that is where keith has stealth-changed his argument where I said he did, because he now realizes that unless he places the same restraints on unguided evolution, an ONH is not predicted.

  83. 83
    Joe says:

    William, after re-reading your comment I grasped that. There isn’t any escape as you now also have him cornered in his little world.

    Nice job

  84. 84
    Me_Think says:

    William J Murray @ 78,

    One must identify a design first, and then only from the nature of that designed artifact can one begin to consider what capacities any potential designer must have in order to instantiate that design.

    Apparently ID has identified a design, so can we move on to the designer capabilities?

  85. 85
    keith s says:

    Box,

    There might be any number of bathroom fairies in your bathroom, but Ockham votes for zero, and I think he has a good point.

    Don’t you?

  86. 86

    Me_Think said:

    Apparently ID has identified a design, so can we move on to the designer capabilities?

    Those that are willing can do so if they wish; it’s not a necessary venture under ID theory. Please refer to the Frequently Raised But Weak Arguments FAQ under the resources tab at the top of every page. ID theory is about locating designs, not determining who or what the designer is. That would be an entirely different kind of investigation.

  87. 87
    Joe says:

    MT:

    Apparently ID has identified a design, so can we move on to the designer capabilities?

    Are you suggesting the designer wasn’t capable producing what he/ she produced? How do we know that someone thousands of years ago had the capability to produce the Antikythera Mechanism? Any guesses?

  88. 88
    Joe says:

    There might be any number of bathroom fairies in your bathroom, but Ockham votes for zero, and I think he has a good point.

    That’s the same Ockham who votes for intelligent design. We likez him. 😎

  89. 89
    Me_Think says:

    ID theory is about locating designs, not determining who or what the designer is.

    Exactly. As it stands today, there is no difference between CSI and ID as a theory- both detect just design.
    Since CSI is woefully inadequate to detect design, wouldn’t you say, ID is woefully inadequate too because CSI and ID thoery are essentially the same?

  90. 90
    Joe says:

    Me Think- Don’t you ever get sick of being an immature butt? ID is not about just detecting design and never was. You have been told this so many times you must be an incredibly insipid troll to persist in your diatribe.

    Your desperation is getting sickening

  91. 91
    keith s says:

    William #73,

    You’re throwing everything at the wall to see if anything will stick. Why not pause and think about your “rebuttals” before posting them so I don’t have to keep refuting poorly-thought-out objections?

    You write:

    If you don’t assume gradual change or predominantly vertical descent, then it doesn’t matter if the evolutionary process is guided or unguided; the resulting pattern will appear unrelated to the pattern in the first example.

    We observe slow mutation rates and predominantly vertical inheritance. We observe them producing microevolution and ONHs. Unless you’re going to resurrect your bizarre “but they might be guided!” argument, falling right back into the Rain Fairy trap, those are observed characteristics of unguided evolution.

    Meanwhile, we know absolutely nothing about your purported designer. We don’t know whether he/she/it proceeds by slow mutation rates. We don’t know whether he/she/it sticks to a predominantly vertical inheritance scheme. All possibilities remain open.

    Unguided evolution predicts the ONH out of trillions of possibilities; ID does not.

  92. 92
    Me_Think says:

    Read WJM’s comment, and everyone else agrees with him ID.is.just.detecting.design.nothing.else.No agent.No mechanism.Nada.

  93. 93
    Me_Think says:

    Joe @ 90
    Read WJM’s comment, and everyone else agrees with him ID.is.just.detecting.design.nothing.else.No agent.No mechanism.Nada.

  94. 94
    Joe says:

    Me Think- Dembski says that ID is about the detection and study of intelligent design.

    You lose, as usual

  95. 95
    Joe says:

    We observe them producing microevolution and ONHs.

    Maybe in your dream-world but no one observes that in the real world. You must be deluded or hallucinating.

  96. 96
    Joe says:

    Also Dembski says that ID does not prevent anyone from trying to answer those other questions. That means your ignorance runs deep. I bet that makes you very proud of yourself.

  97. 97
    keith s says:

    William,

    And that is where keith has stealth-changed his argument…

    Yes. I traveled back in time to 2012 so I could “stealth-change” my argument. You got me, William.

    You really are desperate, aren’t you?

  98. 98
    Joe says:

    keith s doesn’t have an argument. keith s haz a very powerful and willful ignorance.

  99. 99
    keith s says:

    HD,

    Keith, you never replied to my comment #3.

    Sorry, HD. I’m fielding a lot of comments, so I might miss some and choose to skip others (like Quest’s).

    In the meantime, I would like to respond to this and get clarification:

    keiths:

    Humans routinely wreck ONHs. Why doesn’t your designer? Why does your designer mimic unguided evolution all the time?

    I have an explanation for why we see the ONH. What’s yours?

    I have a hard time understanding this. UE is what is what is being argued over, so you can’t use that to prove your point.

    I’m comparing UE and ID. UE fits the evidence better.

    It’s just circular. All we have is the evolutionary process we have in front of us. Had we had different modes of evolution where we were able to say: “X is guided and Y is unguided, now our Z looks awfully like Y, therefore Z must be unguided too, and therefore if there IS a creator he is mimicking Y (unguided)” But we don’t have that luxury.

    Unless you want to make William’s mistake by arguing that microevolution might be guided, you have to acknowledge that unguided microevolution proceeds by gradual change and predominantly vertical inheritance.

    No one knows of any reason whatsoever for a designer to be limited in this way. Humans certainly aren’t, as I’ve already explained.

    You have repeated tacked on “Unguided” to evolution as if you know that guided evolution would have looked different than what we have now.

    ID, including guided evolution, is compatible with practically any evidence whatsoever. That’s it’s Achilles heel, and it’s one of the reasons that UE is a superior hypothesis.

  100. 100

    Keith said this capacity of a designer would wreck the ONH signal:

    The designer decides to introduce a complex new trait into half of the twigs, scattered randomly across the tree

    Wait, wait. Keith is assuming an evolutionary process with gradual variation, common ancestry and primarily vertical descent on the “unguided evolution” side of the scale. If we make the same set of assumptions on the “guided evolution” side, then what keith describes cannot happen.

    I’ve already pointed out to keith that in his original argument, he began the two sides of the argument at different starting points – the unguided side was with an evolutionary biological system already present (“evolutionary” defined as “common ancestor with branching descent”), and the design side of the argument started prior to the instantiation of any life system at all.

    Those are not equal assumptions; one can either start before OOL and make a case from there, or start at an evolutionary system and make a case from there.

    If we start with an evolutionary system and nothing more on both sides of the ledger, then yes, a designer has the capacity to wreck the ONH signal in many ways at every point, but as keith now realizes (and attempted to stealth-amend his argument to accommodate), so too could unguided evolution wreck the ONH at countless points and in various ways via primarily horizontal inheritance and employing a fast rate of variation.

    This is why Keith had to add additional parameters to “unguided evolution”:

    The ONH is predicted by the hypothesis of unguided evolution with gradual change and predominantly vertical inheritance.

    .. because unguided evolution requires those qualifications (read: arbitrary constraints) in order (under Keith’s argument) for it to predict an ONH.

    If Keith is going to fairly make equal assumptions, – that of an instantiated, gradual, primarily vertical inheritance evolutionary (by definition) system, the example he used of how a designer could wreck the ONH system violates that assumption.

    In fact, if utilize fair assumptions about both sides, there would be no meaningful predictive variance between a guided or unguided system.

  101. 101
    Box says:

    WJM #85, Joe #88

    I’m no longer certain of anything. I may have to admit that Keith is right after all. There is this strange humming sound originating from the direction of the bathroom …

  102. 102
    HD says:

    >Unless you want to make William’s mistake by arguing that microevolution might be guided, you have to acknowledge that unguided microevolution proceeds by gradual change and predominantly vertical inheritance.

    What I have to acknowledge is the evolution may or may not work with gradual change (I lean that it does), but that in of itself says nothing whether it is guided or unguided – whether micro or macro. That is why I don’t understand you tacking on “unguided” to this conversation. I COULD understand a general discussion between the CONCEPT of evolution and YEC (for example). Than, you CAN make claims of what IS and what ISN’T. Evolution is an IS. There is evidence. A lot of it. But to say it is unguided or guided? How could you make any sort of strong claim since you have nothing to compare it to? You have no way of knowing what guided would look like.

    >No one knows of any reason whatsoever for a designer to be limited in this way.

    That’s not an argument against God using OHN. It’s just your personal ignorance of why a designer would do ANYTHING.

    >Humans certainly aren’t, as I’ve already explained.

    Humans also pee.

    >ID, including guided evolution, is compatible with practically any evidence whatsoever. That’s it’s Achilles heel, and it’s one of the reasons that UE is a superior hypothesis.

    No, it’s not its achilles heel, it just the nature of the topic. By definition, a creator would entail a creation…therefore whatever way he chose to do it, would leave evidence (whatever trillions of options He ended up using).

    UE is not a superior hypothesis because you have nothing to compare it to. And like I told you earlier, I realize these sorts of arguments can be used against ID. These are philosophical disputes not scientific. Because just like how you are saying ID is compatible with any evidence, you can just as much claim UE is compatible with anything if that reality is the reality we lived in. Like I said, you have nothing to verify the “unguided” nature of evolution with. And so it is nether a superior nor inferior hypothesis. It’s just an assertion.

  103. 103
    Joe says:

    Trying to discuss something with keith will produce that humming sound. It’s the sound of your brain cells dying. That is how keith can get bus to his level

  104. 104

    In 91 Keith reiterates his circular reasoning response I’ve already exposed earlier in this thread and in the other thread; his reason that unguided evolution is constrained to a gradual rate and primarily vertical descent is because that is the pattern we observe in evolution.

    Using that exact same logic, because we observe gradual variation and a primarily vertical descent in evolution, we can say we know that the designer was constrained to those parameters.

    Keith insists on assuming that the designer could do something else, but where in the evidence is that warranted? Where in his knowledge of the designer is that warranted? He claims that the idea that unguided evolution could produce something other than an ONH is not warranted because we don’t see a non-ONH pattern and we don’t see non-gradual variation and we don’t see primarily horizontal inheritance.

    But if we apply that same reasoning to the design side, we have no reason to assume the designer could have done anything differently (pattern-wise) than what we see. There is no evidence the designer could have instantiated a different pattern.

    Keith is just inventing unevidenced, unwarranted assumptions about a designer he admits he knows nothing about in order to reach his conclusion, and refuses to entertain corresponding assumptions about “unguided evolution”.

  105. 105
    keith s says:

    Slow down, William. You’re still in “throw everything against the wall” mode.

    Why not calmly and systematically think through your next objection so you won’t appear foolish?

    You write:

    Wait, wait. Keith is assuming an evolutionary process with gradual variation, common ancestry and primarily vertical descent on the “unguided evolution” side of the scale. If we make the same set of assumptions on the “guided evolution” side, then what keith describes cannot happen.

    Slow mutation rates and primarily vertical inheritance are observations of biology, including unguided microevolution, so I have a basis for my assumptions. You don’t, because your designer has never been observed and we know nothing about how he/she/it operates.

    Also, you’re talking about “vertical descent” when you should be talking about “vertical inheritance”. They are not the same.

    Neither are “common ancestry” and the ONH.

    I’ve already pointed out to keith that in his original argument, he began the two sides of the argument at different starting points – the unguided side was with an evolutionary biological system already present (“evolutionary” defined as “common ancestor with branching descent”), and the design side of the argument started prior to the instantiation of any life system at all.

    Those are not equal assumptions; one can either start before OOL and make a case from there, or start at an evolutionary system and make a case from there.

    How many times do I have to repeat this? I compare both UE and ID starting after OOL.

    If we start with an evolutionary system and nothing more on both sides of the ledger, then yes, a designer has the capacity to wreck the ONH signal in many ways at every point,

    And my argument does start exactly there, on both sides of the ledger.

    …but as keith now realizes (and attempted to stealth-amend his argument to accommodate),

    You’re starting to seem more than a bit unhinged, William. Despite all my Satanic evilutionist powers, I cannot travel through time.

    so too could unguided evolution wreck the ONH at countless points and in various ways via primarily horizontal inheritance and employing a fast rate of variation.

    We observe otherwise.

    I have observations to support my assumptions. You don’t. Observations trump wishful thinking.

  106. 106
    keith s says:

    William,

    At this point you seem fairly frantic, and you’re just repeating your earlier mistakes. I’m going to let you cool off for a while.

  107. 107
    HD says:

    Joe

    Apparently UD has seen fit to put a lot of it’s effort into Keith. Personally, I have not seen UD put this much effort into any one topic, in so little stretch of time as has been this discussion. So he can’t be that stupid.

  108. 108
    keith s says:

    HD,

    UE is not a superior hypothesis because you have nothing to compare it to.

    We also don’t know what the Rain Fairy would or wouldn’t do. Therefore unguided meteorology is not the superior hypothesis.

    All hail the Rain Fairy!

  109. 109

    Once again, at this point (for me at least), the most interesting aspect of the debate is not really what the debate is about, but the willingness of Darwinists to say things that are just flat-out absurd and to watch self-aggrandizing narratives proceed unabated by any obstacle.

    I mean, the idea that the pattern grains of salt make when poured on a table is qualitatively the same as what we find in a living cell…? If that statement wasn’t made in defense of Darwinism against ID it would be considered flat-out crazy.

  110. 110
    Mung says:

    Which rain fairy?

  111. 111

    Slow mutation rates and primarily vertical inheritance are observations of biology, including unguided microevolution …

    ROFL!

  112. 112
    Box says:

    Keith: I assume that the designer has a trillion of options available.

    Keith: I know nothing at all about the designer.

    Keith: I have observations to support my assumptions.

    What? Since when does that matter? Why not simply refuse to rule them out – observations or not?

  113. 113
    Mung says:

    keiths:

    You’re throwing everything at the wall to see if anything will stick.

    keiths:

    There might be any number of bathroom fairies in your bathroom, but Ockham votes for zero, and I think he has a good point.

    But Ockham didn’t stick to the wall either.

    That’s your judge of plausibility? how many stick to the wall? What will you throw next?

    Ockham would say [contra keiths] that we should not invoke any more intelligent designers than necessary.

    Keiths sez [contra Ockham] that we should invoke all the intelligent designers we can imagine and more, and conclude that no intelligent designer is necessary.

    DDD: Abusing Ockham.

  114. 114
    drc466 says:

    Just to agitate:

    Keith S: “Don’t you realize how silly it is to argue that the ONH isn’t real, when the molecular and morphological versions of Theobald’s Figure 1 match perfectly out of 10^38 possibilities?”

    I just want to make sure everyone understands what Keith S is saying. Forgot about the statistical artifact declared an “ONH” – Keith S is saying that, because a highly subjective selection of characteristics and a combination of maximum likelihood and maximum parsimony calculations results in a pair of matching trees, that the consensus tree of life must be correct. Because, obviously, if that consensus tree of life is not correct, then the true picture may not be an “ONH”, and the 1 in 10^38 “match” is just a (highly) improbable anomaly.
    So what does that mean? Well, examine Figure 1 in Theobald’s paper. For that to be true – cows and whales must share a common ancestor, that is closer than humans, chimps, or marsupials. Birds and crocodiles must share a common ancestor closer than crocodiles and lizards. As a matter of fact, for Keith S’ number to be valid, every ancestry and relationship drawn in that figure has to be valid – despite the fact that not a single undisputed common ancestor for any of the relationships between the 30 taxa exists in the fossil record.
    So, do we have any reason to doubt the reality of Theobald’s consensus tree – other than the aforementioned lack of any empirical fossil record evidence?
    Well, how about the following:
    1) There exist several nearly identical placental-mammal/marsupial animals – despite the tree stating that the placental-mammal/marsupial split must have occurred prior to the common ancestor of chimps, humans, cows and whales!!!
    2) Lizards and snakes are animals that have both egg-laying and live-birth varieties – despite “live-birth” being considered a significant enough evolutionary step to completely separate placental mammals from marsupials! In fact, evolutionists believe live birth to have independently evolved hundreds of times, because it’s the only way to make their “consensus tree of life” work!
    3) Again, to allow for the “placental” attribute to play a large role in the “consensus tree of life”, entire groups of animals like monotremes have to be completely excluded from the tree. So all the factors that would destroy the 1 in 10^38 get cherry-picked out beforehand!
    4) How about the fact that one of Theobald’s taxa is “Humans” (species=1), while another is “Birds” (species approx 10K), and another is Dicots (approx 200K)?

    One other fairly important point. As far as I can tell, Keith S claim that morphological and molecular trees converge on an exact match for the 30 taxa shown in Figure 1 of Theobald’s paper is not supported in the paper itself. While Theobald’s paper does make some claims about the likelihood of independent phylogenies converging on a limited number of trees, I don’t see anywhere that Theobald claims a single tree shakes out of multiple independent phylogenies – just that all of them generally produce an ONH, even if they don’t agree. I’ll gladly admit to being incorrect on this point if Keith S can point to it. (It actually works better for KS if I’m correct on this point, as it removes some of the claim that the consensus tree must be the single correct one).

  115. 115
    Andre says:

    DNA_Jock

    Lets put your silly game to bed now please……..

    Here is the paper……

    http://www.biomedcentral.com/1471-2180/12/80

    The question you asked was this…..

    Is PCD vital to Saccharomyces cerevisiae?

    I will have to do a copy and paste of each section it seems….

    Background

    During the past years, yeast has been successfully established as a model to study mechanisms of programmed cell death regulation. Saccharomyces cerevisiae commits to cell death showing typical hallmarks of metazoan apoptosis, in response to different stimuli. Gup1p, an O-acyltransferase, is required for several cellular processes that are related to apoptosis development, such as rafts integrity and stability, lipid metabolism including GPI anchor correct remodeling, proper mitochondrial and vacuole function, bud site selection and actin dynamics. Therefore, we hypothesize that apoptotic process would be affected by GUP1 deletion.

    Results

    In the present work we used two known apoptosis inducing conditions, chronological aging and acetic acid, to assess several apoptotic markers in gup1? mutant strain. We found that this mutant presents a significantly reduced chronological lifespan as compared to Wt and it is also highly sensitive to acetic acid treatment. In addition, it presents extremely high levels of ROS. There were notorious differences on apoptotic markers between Wt and gup1? mutant strains, namely on the maintenance of plasma membrane integrity, on the phosphatidylserine externalization, on the depolarization of mitochondrial membrane and on the chromatin condensation. Those suggested that the mutant, under either condition, probably dies of necrosis and not from apoptosis.

    Conclusions

    To Gup1p has been assigned an important function on lipid rafts assembly/integrity, lipid metabolism and GPI anchor remodeling. Our results provide, for the first time, the connection of the integrity of yeast lipid rafts and apoptosis induction and/or signaling, giving new insights into the molecular mechanisms underlying this process in yeast.

    gup1? mutant cells exhibit a reduction in chronological lifespan
    Yeast chronological lifespan is described as the length of time a population remains viable in the non-dividing/stationary phase [40,41]. Chronologically aged yeast cells die exhibiting specific markers of apoptosis [6,40]. We checked the survival of gup1? chronologically aged cells in comparison to Wt, continuously for 30 days throughout stationary phase until complete death of the culture.

    So what did they discover? Well the moment they tamper with Gup1, Apoptosis stops working (the evolutionary conserved bit) and necrosis is initiated. This means the cell dies….. it can not recover because necrosis is not reversible.

    The moment you break PCD or change it the organism self destructs.

  116. 116
    Andre says:

    Here is their results; GUP1 due to the dysregulation of PCD has a significantly reduced lifespan…..

    http://www.biomedcentral.com/1...../figure/F1

    PCD kills unguided evolution dead! Literally!

  117. 117
    HeKS says:

    @Keith #49

    See the example I provided to Box of how the ONH could be wrecked.

    Another example: the willy-nilly removal of complex features. It’s available to a designer, but not to unguided evolution.

    I didn’t ask you how the ONH could be wrecked. I told you what would be necessary for it to be wrecked. It would take a lot to overwhelm the signal if branching, primarily vertical inheritance had been used as the method to effect diversification and adaptation of organisms, because that process would naturally produce a strong ONH signal with a very high statistical correlation even if it was common for particular design features from one lineage to be reused in one or more others. Even if such a thing was common place, the lineage-specific design features would generally cause a strong statistical ONH that would dwarf the signal of the cross-lineage features. After all, the signal seems to survive just fine in spite of the near random distribution of the method of primordial germ cell production throughout the phyla.

    Once you recognize this – that it would take a lot of concerted effort to wreck the ONH under these circumstances – you are forced to try to argue that the designer in question would want to go out of its way specifically for the purpose of wrecking that signal that was naturally caused by its chosen method of distributing traits and facilitating adaptation. Why should we assume the designer would want to do that?

    Also, why would a designer remove complex features in a willy-nilly fashion?

    You are making the mistake that, because we can’t scientifically establish the identity of the designer based on the currently available data, it is proper to think the designer would act randomly, like the roll of a die, operating without any coherent methodology, and being just as likely to remove its own complex design features from organisms as to add them, which has no intuitive plausibility.

    Also, seeing features disappear willy-nilly would be very easy to explain on a theory of unguided evolution if organismal systems were not highly constrained to preserve function and minimize the effects of mutations.

    So, ultimately, you didn’t answer any of my points on this issue. You just offered an example of something that would contribute to breaking the ONH, but your example conformed to the very thing I pointed out made your claim suggesting it would be easy so nonsensical, and you didn’t address the problem or offer any reason why we should expect the designer to attempt to do such a thing.

    That’s why I keep stressing that gradual change and primarily vertical inheritance are essential if the ONH is to be inferable.

    Actually, that’s not strictly true. You don’t need gradual change across the board for an ONH to be inferable. What you mainly need is simply not to quickly lose high numbers of key features used for classification, though it would also be preferable to not have the genetic coding of existing features drastically changing while maintaining the same functionality, but both of these are things that one would have no problem explaining on unguided evolution if 1) organisms did not have design constraints to preserve function and limit change and 2) functional genetic sequences were plentiful relative to sequence space and easy to stumble upon. However, the rapid introduction of new features would not cause a problem for inferring an ONH. That would actually help it.

    To say that it seems intelligence is required to explain the infusion of content is not the same as saying that it seems intelligence is required to explain the bare fact of the claimed ONH.

    What you’re missing is that the infusion of complex “content” is not separable from the formation of the ONH. The unguided branching events are not recorded directly — they are inferred from the distribution of derived characters, including the complex ones.

    It doesn’t matter that complex traits also get distributed through the branching inheritance. Who ever suggested otherwise? I’ve never suggested only simple traits would be distributed this way. The point is that if the designer typically worked with the general process and motif of branching inheritance, which allows for the distribution of traits and for adaptation, then that process of diversification would cause a strong ONH pattern that would hold with high statistical significance even if the designer very regularly broke the pattern by co-opting design features from one lineage and adding them to another (though they would almost certainly need some tweaking in their new organismal environment).

    Now, the designer could work with the process in either a continuous or contiguous fashion, acting like a software engineer in a way that is perfectly sensible but which requires no particular love of objective nested hierarchies, which would simply be generated automatically as a byproduct of the chosen method of distributing the innovations through branching inheritance.

    So you really didn’t answer any of my points on this issue either, including the point that unless you’re assuming the direct instantiation of the entire ONH (which it seems you aren’t), then the question of why the designer would prefer an ONH pattern over the ‘trillions of other options’ is entirely misguided, and the question should really be, “Is there any reason why a designer would prefer to use a process of differential distribution of traits through branching descent in generating the diversity of life?” And, of course, the answer is yes, because that’s a perfectly sensible approach to solving the ‘problem’.

  118. 118
  119. 119
    Andre says:

    More on Apoptosis being vital for life

    http://connection.ebscohost.co.....-effectors

  120. 120
    Andre says:

    A fundamental biological process

    http://connection.ebscohost.co.....th-machine

    this site is a treasure trove! No Bias like we see on PNAS!

  121. 121
    HeKS says:

    @HD #107

    Apparently UD has seen fit to put a lot of it’s effort into Keith. Personally, I have not seen UD put this much effort into any one topic, in so little stretch of time as has been this discussion. So he can’t be that stupid.

    First of all, I don’t support this name-calling business. I think it’s perfectly appropriate to point out when people are using poor tactics, but I find the degree of name-calling from some people here rather unseemly if I’m being honest.

    Now, with regard to your comment, Keith doesn’t need to be that stupid, but he can be “that wrong” and behave “that stubbornly”.

    Over the course of approximately 800 comments across two threads based on OP’s derived from basic issues I raised with Keith’s argument, he has studiously avoided interacting with my points in a substantive way. He has made a show of writing words directed at me, but he has almost universally avoided actually addressing any of the arguments I’ve made. Instead, his responses to me have typically consisted of misrepresentations of snippets from my comments that he has then responded to, or of simply repeating assertions I’ve already addressed but clipping the relevant portion from his quote of my comments. He has then gone on to act as though he has somehow said something seriously challenging any of my points, putting the ball back in my court as though there is really something new for me to respond to.

    What is probably really stupid is the idea some of us seem to have that if we word things in just the right way, or say them enough times, Keith will finally see the mountain of errors making up this beloved argument of his. Undoubtedly Keith will think he’s unmoved because his argument is so good. I, on the other hand, think he has become so enamored with and proud of this argument of his that he is simply not open to seeing the many fatal flaws in it. It’s understandable to be proud of a good argument. Unfortunately, this happens to be a bad argument that he thinks is a good argument, which appears to be blinding him to what seem to be a variety of fatal logical and conceptual flaws in it.

    The debater in me pushes me to keep hammering away at him to get him to see the problems (and the debater in others is probably the reason for the ongoing attention he has gotten here lately), but the reluctant pragmatist in me is coming to realize that it really doesn’t matter what I say to him. What I can say with complete honesty, though, is that the attention he’s gotten from me lately is not at all because I think he has a good argument. I think it’s pretty obviously a terrible one. Rather, what got my attention was his repeated boasting over the supposed power of this argument that he claims nobody is able to refute. Perhaps that’s just good PR work on his part, because it piqued my interest in this argument … until I read it. Then I just became interested in getting him to realize how bad it was.

  122. 122
    Andre says:

    HD

    He has also ignored me by trying to defelct the issue and create an OP at TSZ about Pgrogrammed cell death.

    Keith S made the claim that unguided evolution is the best explanation for the diversity of life.

    I’m asking him to explain programmed cell death, an evolutionary conserved and highly regulated system that prevents unguided processes from happening, also if PCD becomes dysregulated the organism self destructs via necrosis.

    My question to Keith S is simple, please show how unguided processes created a guided process to prevent unguided processes from happening.

    Quite frankly I find it disturbing that anyone could phantom in their mind how such a process came about by the blind workings of matter. If you can’t explain;

    Stability control
    Redundancy
    Error Correction
    Regulation
    Fault Tolerance
    Coordination

    Using unguided processes then you really have nothing. Keith S has been ignoring me since day one and even thought it accordingly to call me a little twerp with his OP on TSZ.

    All I’m asking is this, Keith S to validate your claim show me how unguided processes created this guided process to prevent unguided processes from happening, he does this I apologise and he can make his claim without opposition.

  123. 123
    Alicia Renard says:

    As ID proponents seem to be struggling to deal with Keith S’s argument that evolutionary theory explains observed facts and evidence by attacking ToE, let me suggest another strategy.

    Why not make the case for “intelligent design”?

    So far, nobody has suggested how “intelligent design” explains the observed distribution of life, temporally and spatially, on this planet. If “intelligent design” were indeed the better explanation, it would be embraced by by the scientific community.

    But so far, there is no theory of “intelligent design”. There is no ID explanation that can be tested by examining it’s predictions against observations.

    What is the theory of “intelligent design”?

  124. 124
    Alicia Renard says:

    drc466

    Judging by your ignoring my responses to a previous set of your irrelevant questions, Keith S is fully entitled to ignore your comment.

  125. 125
    Andre says:

    Alicia

    Here you go;

    http://www.discovery.org/f/1453

    ID is not anti-Darwin or anti-evolution for the last time say it with me;

    ID is oppose to the idea that certain feature in the world could have been the result of the blind workings of matter.

    PCD is one such an example, to claim that unguided evolution built PCD you have to be able to show how it did it. Again you need to be able to explain how unguided processes are capable of;

    Stability control
    Redundancy
    Error Correction
    Regulation
    Fault Tolerance
    Coordination

    The claim that PCD is designed is not a negative claim it is a positive claim and can be shown because it incorporates engineering principles, unguided evolution can not incorporate engineering principles in its end products because unguided processes can not solve problems or establish trade offs. It is simply not possible.

  126. 126
    keith s says:

    HD,

    Apparently UD has seen fit to put a lot of it’s effort into Keith. Personally, I have not seen UD put this much effort into any one topic, in so little stretch of time as has been this discussion. So he can’t be that stupid.

    Isn’t it funny? From day one, UDers have been calling my argument things like “trivial”, “inane”, “terrible”, “fatally flawed”, etc. — yet after an entire month and more than a dozen threads, they still can’t refute it.

    Some of them have even taken to recycling previously refuted counterarguments. If it doesn’t stick to the wall the first time, why not throw it again?

    I’m actually sympathetic to a degree. ID is more than just a hypothesis to most of these folks. It has important religious implications, and letting go of it will be very hard for them. They’re fighting as hard as they can, and I don’t blame them. They should pull out the stops and do their best to find a flaw in my argument. But they should also be honest about it, first by admitting the obvious — that this is not an easy argument to refute — and second by acknowledging when their counterarguments are refuted, instead of endlessly recycling them as if the refutations had never happened.

  127. 127
    Andre says:

    Keith S we don’t need your sympathy, we need you to answer our questions, who cares about how you feel?

  128. 128
    Alicia Renard says:

    >Andre writes (quoting something?)

    ID is oppose[d] to the idea that certain feature in the world could have been the result of the blind workings of matter.

    Exactly. ID “theory” explains nothing. ID supporters merely find the theory of evolution unpalatable.

  129. 129
    keith s says:

    William #104:

    In 91 Keith reiterates his circular reasoning response I’ve already exposed earlier in this thread and in the other thread; his reason that unguided evolution is constrained to a gradual rate and primarily vertical descent is because that is the pattern we observe in evolution.

    You keep screwing that up. ‘Vertical inheritance’ is not ‘vertical descent’.

    The hypothesis of unguided evolution is that the process that powers unguided microevolution — via slow mutations, natural selection, and drift — also powers macroevolution. So of course I take advantage of our observations of microevolution! Why wouldn’t I?

    If my hypothesis is that macroevolution is just microevolution writ large, then by necessity the drivers of the two processes must be the same. That means a slow mutation rate with predominantly vertical inheritance, shaped by selection and drift.

    Meanwhile, you cannot make the same assumptions about the designer, because as you admit, you know nothing about him/her/it.

    Keith insists on assuming that the designer could do something else, but where in the evidence is that warranted? Where in his knowledge of the designer is that warranted? He claims that the idea that unguided evolution could produce something other than an ONH is not warranted because we don’t see a non-ONH pattern and we don’t see non-gradual variation and we don’t see primarily horizontal inheritance.

    You have no observations of your purported designer to fall back on, so you can’t rule out any of the possibilities. It’s the principle of indifference: you can’t rule any possibilities out, so you can’t assign them a probability of zero; you can’t be certain of any of the possibilities either, so you can’t assign a probability of one to any of them. What’s left? You have to assign nonzero probabilities. But not just any nonzero probabilities. They have to be equal nonzero probabilities, because otherwise you are favoring some possibilities over others, with no justification.

    It’s both common sense and standard statistical practice. I think the only reason you have trouble with it is that you don’t like the implications it has for ID.

    Be brave, William.

  130. 130
    Andre says:

    Alicia

    Lets stop playing word games, something is either designed or it is not. If it is not designed then natural laws chance and necessity must be able to explain it. So yes I oppose the idea that the blind workings of matter are capable of emulating intelligence and somehow conspire to solve engineering problems……

    Nothing can’t make anything! a scientific observation yet to be falsified!

  131. 131
    Andre says:

    Please always keep that in mind….

    Nothing can not solve engineering problems because nothing does not even know it about itself never mind circumvent any possible problems…..Chance and necessity is nothing!

  132. 132
    Andre says:

    The whole materialist premise rest on the insurmountable luck event of a few amino acids just happening to fall in place to kick start the whole process….

    I’m telling you know even if the earth was covered in kilometres of amino acids this would not have happened it is quite frankly impossible. The people with faith are those that hope for this magical event to have started, you have way to much faith and you are the superstitious one! You believe in miracles because you invoke them!

  133. 133
    Andre says:

    Keith S

    You are more obsessed with the designer than any of us. I don’t have to know anything about you other than that you have intelligence to know you typed up your argument….

    You could be an AI program…… You could be human, you could be a ghost or you could be a very smart monkey who knows?

  134. 134
    keith s says:

    William #109:

    I mean, the idea that the pattern grains of salt make when poured on a table is qualitatively the same as what we find in a living cell…? If that statement wasn’t made in defense of Darwinism against ID it would be considered flat-out crazy.

    I haven’t made that statement, as you know perfectly well.

    What I’ve said is that using the Salt Leprechaun hypothesis to explain how the grains of salt land on my french fries employs the same bad logic as using ID to explain the patterns and features of terrestrial life.

    Same for the Rain Fairy, Shamu the Toilet Whale, the Planetary Angels, the Streambed Designer, and the Explosion Designer.

    In all of those cases, including ID, a superfluous intelligent cause is being invoked to explain something that not only doesn’t require an intelligent cause, but in fact is far better explained by an unintelligent cause.

    If you think there are relevant differences that somehow transform the bad logic of the Salt Leprechauns et al into good logic in the case of the ID hypothesis, then tell us what those relevant differences are and explain how the logic is thus transformed.

    Be specific.

  135. 135
    Andre says:

    Keith S

    And you have repeatedly been told that living systems and salt falling are not the same thing……..

  136. 136
    keith s says:

    drc466:

    One other fairly important point. As far as I can tell, Keith S claim that morphological and molecular trees converge on an exact match for the 30 taxa shown in Figure 1 of Theobald’s paper is not supported in the paper itself.

    Did you even read it? It’s right there:

    So, how well do phylogenetic trees from morphological studies match the trees made from independent molecular studies? There are over 10^38 different possible ways to arrange the 30 major taxa represented in Figure 1 into a phylogenetic tree (see Table 1.3.1; Felsenstein 1982; Li 1997, p. 102). In spite of these odds, the relationships given in Figure 1, as determined from morphological characters, are completely congruent with the relationships determined independently from cytochrome c molecular studies (for consensus phylogenies from pre-molecular studies see Carter 1954, Figure 1, p. 13; Dodson 1960, Figures 43, p. 125, and Figure 50, p. 150; Osborn 1918, Figure 42, p. 161; Haeckel 1898, p. 55; Gregory 1951, Fig. opposite title page; for phylogenies from the early cytochrome c studies see McLaughlin and Dayhoff 1973; Dickerson and Timkovich 1975, pp. 438-439). Speaking quantitatively, independent morphological and molecular measurements such as these have determined the standard phylogenetic tree, as shown in Figure 1, to better than 38 decimal places. This phenomenal corroboration of universal common descent is referred to as the “twin nested hierarchy”. This term is something of a misnomer, however, since there are in reality multiple nested hierarchies, independently determined from many sources of data.

    [Emphasis added]

    drc466:

    I’ll gladly admit to being incorrect on this point if Keith S can point to it.

    Start admitting. And why not take some time to actually read Theobald? You can’t be an effective critic if you don’t understand what you’re trying to criticize.

  137. 137
    Andre says:

    Salt falling is done by the laws of gravity, the way salt falls from a shaker when I turn it upside down, providing there is no agent to change the course of the salt falling is the mere act of gravitational forces they are laws and they will always produce the same results. EVERYTIME…. Salt will fall and make a heap if I turn the shaker upside down.

    The order and specificity of systems we observe in living things can not be the result of natural forces because the parts are arranged in a way that is impossible for those natural forces to produce. When things are cast into obeying natural laws and they then suddenly defy those laws, by arranging parts to form a living system a miracle happened…… Do you believe in miracles Keith S?

  138. 138
    Andre says:

    Hold your hoses!

    Keith S are you citing the now discredited Haeckel to make a point?

    WTH? Are you serious?

  139. 139
    Andre says:

    And Keith S has the last cited paper for this ONH of his as;

    Dickerson and Timkovich 1975, pp. 438-439

    Really we are to consider the research done 39 years ago when we knew zip compared to today as the Gospel truth of Keith S? Really? Outdated research is the core of your ONH?

    How about the university of Maryland setting the record straight?

    http://www.geol.umd.edu/~tholt.....phylo.html

    we assume that it was inherited from their most recent common ancestor

    This matrix records whether the observed state for each taxon is ancestral or derived. How do we know? You may have noticed that we we haven’t had much to say about A. In this analysis, A is the outgroup taxon. This is a beetle that, on the basis of some prior information, we can assume is more distantly related to beetles A, B, and C than any of them are to one another. Maybe we found it fossilized in amber. The outgroup is our standard for what is derived and what isn’t, in that anything we see in it, we assume to be the ancestral state

    • What does this method yield:

    • Most reasonable hypothesis of phylogeny based on available data, not necessarily truth.

    My favourite quote!

    We now compare every possible evolutionary tree arrangement by mapping onto them the simplest possible distribution of each character state change.

    principle of parsimony, which holds that the simplest solution is usually the best. For us, the simplest hypothesis is the one that invokes the fewest character state changes. That is tree 1, with only six changes. Is this the true tree? God only knows. The best we can say is that it is our best approximation based on current knowledge.

    Only God knows……

    And Keith S…….

  140. 140
    Andre says:

    Keith’s argument condesned…..

    So based on assumptions Keith S created an argument, and through those assumptions Keith S concluded and made more assumptions that the “ONH” exist and for good measure he says neither fairies, leprechauns, toilet whales, God or any designer could have done it because they had a trillion possibilities, unguided evolution which is really nothing if you put your mind to it beat all those odds trillions to one and is the best explanation for the diversity of life.

    How did I do with Keith S’s Gospel truth?

    There is this very old saying

    assumptions are the mother of………

  141. 141
    keith s says:

    HeKS #117:

    Once you recognize this – that it would take a lot of concerted effort to wreck the ONH under these circumstances – you are forced to try to argue that the designer in question would want to go out of its way specifically for the purpose of wrecking that signal that was naturally caused by its chosen method of distributing traits and facilitating adaptation. Why should we assume the designer would want to do that?

    First, it’s not difficult to wreck an ONH. Humans do it all the time with their designs, which generally don’t fall into an ONH.

    Secondly, you appear to be making an awful lot of assumptions about the designer. On what basis?

    Practically every IDer I’ve encountered says that we can’t assume anything about the designer, and that “the designer wouldn’t have done it that way” is not a permissible argument. Do you disagree?

    If you would like to make assumptions about the designer, that’s fine. Just be aware that you must justify them. They can’t be ad hoc assumptions introduced simply for the purpose of conforming the designer to the evidence — that’s the Rain Fairy fallacy.

    Not only must you justify your assumptions, but the justifications must be of trillions-to-one strength, to compensate for the trillions-to-one advantage of UE in explaining the ONH.

    You are making the mistake that, because we can’t scientifically establish the identity of the designer based on the currently available data, it is proper to think the designer would act randomly, like the roll of a die, operating without any coherent methodology, and being just as likely to remove its own complex design features from organisms as to add them, which has no intuitive plausibility.

    I am not arguing that the designer must act that way. I’m simply saying that since we know absolutely nothing about the designer, we have no basis for treating any option as more likely than another.

    If you have relevant knowledge of the designer’s characteristics, please share!

    And if you think you can justify certain assumptions about the designer, then you’re welcome to try. But remember the strength requirement I mentioned above.

    keiths:

    That’s why I keep stressing that gradual change and primarily vertical inheritance are essential if the ONH is to be inferable.

    HeKS:

    Actually, that’s not strictly true. You don’t need gradual change across the board for an ONH to be inferable. What you mainly need is simply not to quickly lose high numbers of key features used for classification, though it would also be preferable to not have the genetic coding of existing features drastically changing while maintaining the same functionality, but both of these are things that one would have no problem explaining on unguided evolution if 1) organisms did not have design constraints to preserve function and limit change…

    But that’s what purifying selection does. The only changes that are tolerated are near-neutral or beneficial.

    and 2) functional genetic sequences were plentiful relative to sequence space and easy to stumble upon.

    They are. See Andreas Wagner’s new book Arrival of the Fittest.

    However, the rapid introduction of new features would not cause a problem for inferring an ONH. That would actually help it.

    Yes, if the old features remained static. Another assumption for you to justify.

    keiths:

    What you’re missing is that the infusion of complex “content” is not separable from the formation of the ONH. The unguided branching events are not recorded directly — they are inferred from the distribution of derived characters, including the complex ones.

    HeKS:

    The point is that if the designer typically worked with the general process and motif of branching inheritance,

    Another unjustified assumption about the designer.

    …which allows for the distribution of traits and for adaptation, then that process of diversification would cause a strong ONH pattern that would hold with high statistical significance even if the designer very regularly broke the pattern by co-opting design features from one lineage and adding them to another (though they would almost certainly need some tweaking in their new organismal environment).

    You are dictating how much lateral transfer the designer is “permitted” to use. On what basis? Humans use tons of lateral transfer, and for good reason.

    To summarize:

    1) It’s easy to wreck an ONH, and humans do it all the time.
    2) You’re making a slew of unjustified assumptions about the designer.
    3) If you make assumptions about the designer, you need to justify them.
    4) The justifications need to be solid enough to compensate for the trillions-to-one advantage of UE in explaining the ONH.

  142. 142
  143. 143
    keith s says:

    HeKS #121:

    You seem to be making excuses in preparation for bailing out of the discussion.

    Don’t give up so easily. See if you can actually respond to my counterarguments.

    It appears that you want to make a lot of assumptions about the designer. Can you justify them? Can you explain why it’s okay for ID supporters to make such assumptions when ID critics get scolded for doing so? Since you think that not all of the possibilities are equiprobable, can you provide some probability estimates along with your reasoning in determining them?

  144. 144
    Andre says:

    Keith S

    What assumptions are we making about the designer? You are obsessed with the designer and truthfully it seems that good old bad logic has crept into your thinking…..

    You know you’re looking for the explanation of the explanation of the explanation of the explanation.

  145. 145
    kairosfocus says:

    F/N, FTR: I have a minute, I point here to a specific response to the misreading of the ID explanatory filter that lies behind the fairy-tale invisible magic-working entities argument:

    http://www.uncommondescent.com.....ngels-etc/

    Here, too, for my always linked note’s excerpt on what Newton really thought on Natural LAW (as in, his link to the Law-Maker):

    http://www.angelfire.com/pro/k.....newtgensch

    That objectors demonstrably cannot or will not accurately or fairly represent what design thinkers think and say, erecting and knocking over strawman narratives after years and in the teeth of specific correction speaks sad volumes.

    Would you want to stand before a panel like that, sitting as judges over you, with your career on the line — or worse?

    KF

    PS: There is a pattern of objectors recirculating long since cogently answered arguments, evidently in pursuit of a message domination agenda that has little to do with truth. That too is quite sad.

  146. 146
    kairosfocus says:

    PPS: The same first linked just above highlights that the single rooted branching tree is in a lot of trouble based on molecular evidence. Multiple inheritance in the object oriented programming sense — which can look like “lateral transfers” (apply and adapt the wheel, don’t re-invent it) — is looking like a very good place to look at for reasonable explanations of otherwise “contradictory” trees, apparent lack of a single root as an issue, of course the ever missing links by the dozens or hundreds, mosaic creatures such as the Platypus, and puzzling multiple uses of Pax 6 etc, with 40 origins of eyes to explain etc. The lizard on the wall outside my window says, don’t forget what Dr Losos said about us.

  147. 147
    keith s says:

    KF:

    Multiple inheritance in the object oriented programming sense — which can look like “lateral transfers” (apply and adapt the wheel, don’t re-invent it)…

    Speaking of lateral transfers, why do you suppose your designer doesn’t do more of them? I know we’re not allowed to make assumptions about him, but he does seem like an odd bird, doesn’t he? For example:

    It’s interesting that KF’s preferred example of design — the Abu 6500 C3 fishing reel, with which he bores us to death — is full of gears, yet only one case of gearing has ever been found in nature.

    Did God the Designer finally get around to taking a mechanical engineering course before designing Issus coleoptratus?

  148. 148
    Andre says:

    There you have, Keith S is besotted with the designer……

  149. 149
    Joe says:

    From day one, UDers have been calling my argument things like “trivial”, “inane”, “terrible”, “fatally flawed”, etc. — yet after an entire month and more than a dozen threads, they still can’t refute it.

    Liar. It was refuted before you started posting here again.

  150. 150
    Joe says:

    Alicia Renard:

    As ID proponents seem to be struggling to deal with Keith S’s argument that evolutionary theory explains observed facts and evidence by attacking ToE, let me suggest another strategy.

    There isn’t a ToE to attack.

    Why not make the case for “intelligent design”?

    We have. Also science mandates that before we can reach a design inference necessity and chance be eliminated first. That means attacks on unguided/ blind watchmaker evolution are required.

    Are you really that ignorant when it comes to science?

  151. 151
    Joe says:

    Practically every IDer I’ve encountered says that we can’t assume anything about the designer,

    And another lie. ID isn’t about the designer but people are free to make assumptions about anything they want. Duh.

  152. 152
    Joe says:

    HD:

    Apparently UD has seen fit to put a lot of it’s effort into Keith. Personally, I have not seen UD put this much effort into any one topic, in so little stretch of time as has been this discussion. So he can’t be that stupid.

    LoL! UD is doing this to show the world the insipid, willfully ignorant and desperate our opponents are.

    All educated lurkers have seen keith get his arse handed to him on a daily basis- and I am OK with that.

  153. 153
    Joe says:

    UD is doing this to show the world how insipid, willfully ignorant and desperate our opponents are.

  154. 154
    Joe says:

    First, it’s not difficult to wreck an ONH.

    Transitional forms would do that. And guess what? Yours requires numerous transitional forms.

    Whoops

  155. 155
    kairosfocus says:

    F/N: For those who have been trying to wedge in as much space as possible between Orgel and Dembski, HT Mung, I have augmented the citation of Orgel, here:

    http://www.uncommondescent.com.....ngels-etc/

    I think we should pause and carefully assess the fuller discussion, given the sorts of talking points that have been confidently asserted for quite some time.

    A fresh look is in order.

    KF

    PS: Busy day ahead, began with an urgent call at 5:25 AM. Unlikely to be around UD further save for maybe snippets.

  156. 156
    kairosfocus says:

    KS, Pardon, but it seems to me that when Pax 6 is laterally transferred, exapted or whatever you like 40 times to make eyes, and does other things as well, that is speaking volumes that a side track on an oddity is not relevant on. After all, we already have motors and rotary action enzymes everywhere making ATP, we have motors in the flagellum, indeed outboard motors. We have angler fish that use lures, and spiders that use lines [now, there’s spiderwire . . . ], and more. I’d say fishing examples are very relevant! As for your evident hostility to God, and refusal to take on board the point repeatedly made that the design as cause inductive evidence is not by itself enough to identify specific designers, though it does indicate key characteristics, I suggest that you need some rethink. Indeed, you already have enough on your plate for th morning with the Mung extensions to Orgel which I have added and anotated here in the FTR you will not take seriously:

    http://www.uncommondescent.com.....ngels-etc/

    Happy reading, on the imagined huge separation between Orgel and Dembski. Don’t forget to tell the various objector sites the talking point is in drastic need of revision.

    Gotta go, today started with an urgent call at 5:25 AM, and is likely to be busy.

    KF

  157. 157
    Box says:

    // On the trillion of options available for the designer //

    Keith:

    I’m simply saying that since we know absolutely nothing about the designer, we have no basis for treating any option as more likely than another.

    Keith, the question is: where do you get the trillion options from? The answer is: I have created them ex nihilo.
    First you assume that these options exist and in the next step claim that there is no basis to rule them out.
    What you don’t get is that there is no support for assuming the existence of the options in the first place.

    In your “damp squib” argument it is assumed that a designer is capable of producing ONH. The same capability is assumed for unguided evolution.
    Now it is sound reasoning to keep the number of assumptions to a minimum. So let’s be modest and only assume that a designer is capable of producing an ONH as we see it. Not so in your argument.
    Out of nowhere innumerable assumptions spring into existence and morph into facts:

    Keith:

    The options open to a Creator are enormous. Only a minuscule fraction of them give rise to an objective nested hierarchy of the kind that we see in nature. In the face of this fact, the only way for a creationist to argue for common design is to stipulate that the Creator must have chosen one of these scant few possibilities out of the (literally) trillions available.

    It has been explained over and over to Keith that the availability of trillions of options to the designer is nothing but an unsupported assumption, since we know nothing about the designer. Keith has misunderstood that explanation which resulted in:

    Keith:

    since we know absolutely nothing about the designer, we have no basis for treating any option as more likely than another.

    Ok Keith. Here we go again:
    There are no factual options to treat more or less likely. You have just assumed the existence of these options. And there is no support whatsoever for this assumption. There is nothing to “not rule out” or “to treat more likely than another”.

    Now the time has come for Keith to admit that the trillions are out.

  158. 158

    Keith saidL

    Meanwhile, you cannot make the same assumptions about the designer, because as you admit, you know nothing about him/her/it.

    You have no observations of your purported designer to fall back on, so you can’t rule out any of the possibilities. It’s the principle of indifference: you can’t rule any possibilities out,

    It’s not about observing “the designer”, Keith. It’s about observing a process and making equal assumptions on both sides of an argument.

    Try and understand this. “The Designer” in your example lies outside of the evolutionary process in question. “Unguided evolution” (on the unguided side) is the evolutionary process in question.

    As I’ve tried to explain to you several different ways, if you want to make fair comparisons, you can either compare a “designer” to pre-OOL natural forces (or natural forces outside of the evolutionary process), or you can compare “unguided evolution” with “guided evolution”. Or, you can compare unguided evolution (constrained by gradual change and predominantly vertical inheritance) to guided evolution (constrained by gradual change and predominantly vertical inheritance). You must start in the same place using the same parameters and observations.

    You can either make a case involving how unliving natural and chance forces (outside of the evolutionary system) could wreck the ONH signal with how a designer could do so, or you can compare the difference between guided evolution and unguided evolution from the same set of observations wrt the evolutionary process we actually observe, adopting the same set of parameters for each side because “that is what we actually observe”.

    If you limit the available considerations on one side to forces within the system itself which conform to the evidence we see, you must limit your considerations on the other side equally. If you do so, you gain no difference between the two sides. The only reason in your argument that there is any difference between guided and unguided evolution is because you reach outside of the system itself on one side to speculate on what might have occurred otherwise, and refuse to do the same on the other side.

    If you bring in something outside of the evolutionary system on one side like a designer, the same must be allowed on the other side – like unliving natural forces.

    If you are going to argue from observed evidence that “this is what unguided evolution necessarily looks like”, you must reach the same conclusion about guided evolution because as soon as you reach outside of the evolutionary system to speculate on what something outside of the system might have done to ruin the ONH, you must do the same on the other side – reach outside of the actual, observed system to speculate on what might have ruined the ONH system.

    Are you going to claim that, speculatively, there are not trillions of ways that natural and chances forces could have ruined the ONH signal? I think not.

  159. 159

    Apparently UD has seen fit to put a lot of it’s effort into Keith. Personally, I have not seen UD put this much effort into any one topic, in so little stretch of time as has been this discussion. So he can’t be that stupid.

    It’s not just that his argument is so bad in so many ways, it’s his insistence on saying patently absurd things, his capacity to remain oblivious to sound refutation and correction; his ongoing, invincible self-aggrandizing narrative where he characterizes everyone else negatively and himself as causing fear, panic and desperation in others and his indefatigable capacity to simply reiterate already addressed and refuted assertions.

    Keith is a veritable fount of material useful to demonstrate many different things about the anti-ID perspective and about the nature of the debate in general. He is the gift that keeps on giving – although not in the way that I’m sure his internal narrative portrays it.

    So no, it’s not that keith is stupid; it’s that keith’s ideological blinkers and self-important narrative apparently drive him to say so many things that are very useful to ID advocates.

  160. 160
    DNA_Jock says:

    Really, Andre, you should learn that when you are in a hole, you should stop digging.
    Your original claim is that

    No PCD means there is no cell, they are unable to function without it due to the vast amount of tasks PCD have in cells.

    Leading me to ask:

    DNA_Jock @ 508:
    is it your contention that Type 1 CPD is essential to S. cerevisiae?

    Your response:

    Andre @ 517 : Is PCD Vital to Saccharomyces cerevisiae? You betcha! [pastes two passages from Tulha 2012.]
    It sucks to be a Darwinist…..
    PCD is tampered with the cells go BOOM!
    Game over sweetie pie!
    Game set match will you concede? Won’t hold my breath….

    And on this thread @115

    Well the moment they tamper with Gup1, Apoptosis stops working (the evolutionary conserved bit) and necrosis is initiated. This means the cell dies….. The moment you break PCD or change it the organism self destructs.

    You state (@116) that gup1 cells have a “significantly reduced lifespan”, but the actual statement in Tulha is “significantly reduced chronological lifespan”, which means that when sitting in stationary phase their viability drops off more rapidly than wild-type cells.
    I’m so glad that you provided the link to Figure 1 of Tulha,

    http://www.biomedcentral.com/1...../figure/F1
    PCD kills unguided evolution dead! Literally!

    Which shows that gup1 cells have a median survival in stationary phase of about 7.4 days, whereas the wild-type strain has a median survival of about 11.8 days.
    But can these cells GROW? Your claims above state “No PCD means there is no cell” and “The moment you break PCD or change it the organism self destructs.”
    Well Tulha’s Figure 1 has a very useful little inset, which shows the growth curves for the wild-type and the gup1 strains: over the course of 0.5 days in exponential phase, both strains increase ten-fold, and their rates of growth are indistinguishable.

    Game. Set. Match.
    😀

  161. 161
    Box says:

    // Follow up on post #157 //

    HeKS #117:
    You are making the mistake that, because we can’t scientifically establish the identity of the designer based on the currently available data, it is proper to think the designer would act randomly, like the roll of a die, operating without any coherent methodology, and being just as likely to remove its own complex design features from organisms as to add them, which has no intuitive plausibility.

    HeKS touches on what I have called Keith’s category mistake. Decisions by a free agent cannot be equated with the role of a die. If Keith insists on doing so, he is required to make the further unsupported assumption, that the designer is completely indifferent about the ordering of life.
    IOW in order for the comparison of a designer with a trillion-sided die to make sense, Keith has to make the following unsupported assumptions:

    1. There are a trillion options available for the designer.
    2. The designer is completely indifferent about the ordering of life.

    Indifference implies that the designer has no reason at all to favor one option over others. IOW Keith has to add more unsupported assumptions, and in effect strip a free agent of his ‘personhood’ – choice, reason, preference -, in order to equate a free agent to a random process like the role of a die.

  162. 162

    Isn’t it funny? From day one, UDers have been calling my argument things like “trivial”, “inane”, “terrible”, “fatally flawed”, etc. — yet after an entire month and more than a dozen threads, they still can’t refute it.

    Keith is confusing “can’t convince me my argument has been refuted” with “can’t refute it”.

    On the ID side, his “argument” has been so soundly refuted from so many different directions and in so many ways that the truly amazing part of this debate now is keith’s impenetrable narrative otherwise.

    Off the top of my head, here’s the short list of some of the ways keith’s argument has been refuted thus far:

    1. It’s trivial. in his argument, he assumes unguided evolution can produce biodiversity. ID theory stipulates that if natural forces can plausibly produce biodiversity, natural forces is by default the better explanation. His assumption makes unguided evolution the better explanation whether by a factor of trillions or not.

    2. He assumptions necessitate his conclusion. He limits natural forces to one outcome (ONH) and speculates trillions of possible outcomes from an outside influence on the other.

    3. He refuses to or is unable to support assertions in his argument when challenged. Such as, his assertion that we know unguided evolution exists.

    4. The claim that natural, gradual evolution predicts an ONH is just flat wrong. It predicts a smooth, non-hierarchical gradient, not a nested hierarchy.

    5. He makes unequal assumptions to gain his conclusion. One one side, he begins with a certain kind of unguided evolutionary system and restricts his assumptions to what has been observed from that system; on the other side, his assumptions speculate about influences outside of that system that could have wrecked the ONH system.

    6. He ignores correction about the ID position and insists on his mischaracterizations. Keith insists that even if natural forces were found to be a plausible adequate cause for biodiversity, ID would still demand it be shown “more plausible” than ID; that is flatly incorrect. Also, Keith’s argument focuses on his speculations about the designer; ID isn’t about any designer or their capacity. ID is strictly about design pattern identification.

    7. The ONH pattern doesn’t exist in biology in the first place. Calling a nested hierarchy pattern “objective” by utilizing multiple subjective, largely arbitrary categorization systems that were contrived in the first place under the belief that a nested hierarchy existed is hardly compelling. As has been pointed out, there is quite a bit of scientific information that undermines this claim.

    8. Keith’s argument is limited to an inconsequential aspect of evolution wrt the actual ID position. ID make no case about whether or not an ONH should exist; ID makes it’s case about the complex, functionally specified artifacts necessary for life in the first place and the information necessary for the generation of novel, complex bio-features. That the process does or does not leave evidence of an ONH is irrelevant to ID theory.

    9. Keith made the wrong kind of argument altogether. The argument posted here was in response to Barry Arrington’s challenge for a “science bomb” that would demonstrate natural forces up to the task of generating CSI. Keith’s argument simply assumes this very point, and then he attempts to make a logical argument based on the supposed probabilities available to some designer keith has imagined.

    I’m sure that list isn’t comprehensive. Sorry if I left out any other refutations.

  163. 163
    drc466 says:

    keith s @136,

    Leaving aside the unnecessary snark, thank you for the reference. I appreciate you pointing out the particular passage. I did indeed read that section, which seems to indicate, as you say, that Theobald claims his consensus tree of life is “the” single correct arrangement of those 30 taxa. However, here’s why I didn’t take it that way – Theobald appears to immediately admit that those congruent trees are a small sampling and out-dated. Immediately following that section of the paper (all emphasis mine):

    When two independently determined trees mismatch by some branches, they are called “incongruent”. In general, phylogenetic trees may be very incongruent and still match with an extremely high degree of statistical significance (Hendy et al. 1984; Penny et al. 1982; Penny and Hendy 1986; Steel and Penny 1993). Even for a phylogeny with a small number of organisms, the total number of possible trees is extremely large. For example, there are about a thousand different possible phylogenies for only six organisms; for nine organisms, there are millions of possible phylogenies; for 12 organisms, there are nearly 14 trillion different possible phylogenies (Table 1.3.1; Felsenstein 1982; Li 1997, p. 102). Thus, the probability of finding two similar trees by chance via two independent methods is extremely small in most cases. In fact, two different trees of 16 organisms that mismatch by as many as 10 branches still match with high statistical significance (Hendy et al. 1984, Table 4; Steel and Penny 1993). For more information on the statistical significance of trees that do not match exactly, see “Statistics of Incongruent Phylogenetic Trees”.

    The stunning degree of match between even the most incongruent phylogenetic trees found in the biological literature is widely unappreciated, mainly because most people (including many biologists) are unaware of the mathematics involved (Bryant et al. 2002; Penny et al. 1982; Penny and Hendy 1986). Penny and Hendy have performed a series of detailed statistical analyses of the significance of incongruent phylogenetic trees, and here is their conclusion:

    Biologists seem to seek the ‘The One Tree’ and appear not to be satisfied by a range of options. However, there is no logical difficulty in having a range of trees. There are 34,459,425 possible [unrooted] trees for 11 taxa (Penny et al. 1982), and to reduce this to the order of 10-50 trees is analogous to an accuracy of measurement of approximately one part in 10^6.” (Penny and Hendy 1986, p. 414)

    10-50 trees for just 11 taxa!!! When you add in the fact that, for the “consensus” tree, Theobald uses morphological trees from 1898 to 1960, and molecular trees from the 1970’s, it is clear that the foundation for the “1 in 10^38” claim is a) outdated, b) most likely derivative works, not independent, c) completely subjective (you would also be hard-pressed to claim that any of those trees were subjected to the statistical approaches of maximum parsimony, maximum likelihood, bootstrapping, etc., considering that computing power was practically non-existent at that time). Given the paragraphs quoted above, and Theobald’s failure to quote any more-recent trees in his list of congruent references, I think it would be fair to say that the consensus tree is consensus no longer, wouldn’t you agree?

    It would be ungracious of me, however, not to admit that Theobald does appear to be saying that the consensus tree of Figure 1 represents congruence between multiple independent molecular and morphological trees; and that I was incorrect when I said I didn’t think he had made that claim. So – I admit it, without reservation, and you may quote me: “Theobald does claim that his Figure 1 Consensus Tree of Life represents congruence of independently-generated morphological and molecular trees”.

  164. 164
    Zachriel says:

    William J Murray: if an evolutionary process(branching descent with variation from a common ancestor) is guided or unguided, if they proceed at a gradual rate with predominantly vertical descent, then they will predictably generate the same pattern.

    That is generally correct. Convergence (evolution) or borrowing (design) could confound the nested hierarchy. As human artifacts don’t generally form an objective nested hierarchy, the posited designer in biology would have to be significantly limited.

    William J Murray: It would be foolish to say one must vet potential designers before one can identify a design.

    They are causally related. Propose design, you are entailing a designer. If you hypothesize something is an artifact, then the evidence for the art and artisan become crucial to your claim. You can’t simply wave your hands and the problem disappears.

    drc466: despite the fact that not a single undisputed common ancestor for any of the relationships between the 30 taxa exists in the fossil record.

    Species come and go every few million years, so it’s unlikely to find fossils of exact common ancestors from the distant past. Instead, paleontologists predict transitional forms, organisms which exhibit primitive and derived characteristics.

    Andre: More on Apoptosis being vital for life

    You keep going on about apoptosis, but as we said previously, the proteins involved, such as BCL-2, form phylogenetic trees implying they do change over time.

    William J Murray: you can compare unguided evolution (constrained by gradual change and predominantly vertical inheritance) to guided evolution (constrained by gradual change and predominantly vertical inheritance). You must start in the same place using the same parameters and observations.

    Sure, and there is substantial evidence of natural mechanisms, and no evidence of a purported designer. But that takes us beyond what we can determine from the nested hierarchy alone.

    Box: 1. There are a trillion options available for the designer.

    If we posit special creation, then the nested hierarchy is a highly unexpected pattern.

    William J Murray: 4. The claim that natural, gradual evolution predicts an ONH is just flat wrong. It predicts a smooth, non-hierarchical gradient, not a nested hierarchy.

    That’s not a valid argument. While a strict nested hierarchy can’t be formed without distinct sets, a statistically relevant nested hierarchy would be immediately apparent.

    William J Murray: 7. The ONH pattern doesn’t exist in biology in the first place. Calling a nested hierarchy pattern “objective” by utilizing multiple subjective, largely arbitrary categorization systems that were contrived in the first place under the belief that a nested hierarchy existed is hardly compelling. As has been pointed out, there is quite a bit of scientific information that undermines this claim.

    There is no reasonable doubt about the existence of the objective nested hierarchy. It’s not a perfect pattern, but it’s very strongly supported.

  165. 165

    Zachriel said:

    As human artifacts don’t generally form an objective nested hierarchy, the posited designer in biology would have to be significantly limited.

    Since the posited designer lies outside of and/or prior to the evolutionary system, wouldn’t you also have to say that external or prior unliving natural and chance forces would also have to be significantly limited in order to not wreck the ONH signal over billions of years?

    They are causally related.

    So is abiogenesis and evolution. To be fair, let’s insist on Darwinists demonstrating abiogenesis first before we take any of their evolutionary theories seriously. Okay?

    That’s not a valid argument…
    There is no reasonable doubt ….

    I was presenting a list of rebuttals/refutations against keith’s argument. I’m not the one arguing all of those cases. Your issue is with them, not me, on some of these issues.

  166. 166
    Joe says:

    Zachriel:

    Instead, paleontologists predict transitional forms, organisms which exhibit primitive and derived characteristics.

    And transitional forms require new sets. And in turn those new sets pare down the number of differing defining traits between sets. Too many transitional forms and subjectivity rules.

    If we posit special creation, then the nested hierarchy is a highly unexpected pattern.

    That is incorrect. Linnean Taxonomy is the observed nested hierarchy and the hypothesis was one of a common design via a special creation. The only possible ways to get a nested hierarchy is by intelligent design or subjective classification.

  167. 167
    Joe says:

    You keep going on about apoptosis, but as we said previously, the proteins involved, such as BCL-2, form phylogenetic trees implying they do change over time.

    And we told you that changing over time does not say anything about the origin of the system. We are concerned with how unguided evolution could have produced PCD. Please try to pay attention.

  168. 168
    Zachriel says:

    William J Murray: Since the posited designer lies outside of and/or prior to the evolutionary system,…

    Hey, you’re actually making some sort of vague claim about the designer!

    William J Murray: wouldn’t you also have to say that external or prior unliving natural and chance forces would also have to be significantly limited in order to not wreck the ONH signal over billions of years?

    The nested hierarchy just gives us branching descent. We would then look for evidence of the branching process. For instance, are there gradations between species, are there mechanisms of reproductive isolation, and so on. Then we would look for evidence of the changes that have apparently occurred over time, variations within species, sources of novel variation, rates of change over geological timescales, and so on. All of this is subject to investigation, and evolutionary biologists have spent generations studying these mechanisms. There’s no evidence of involvement by an outside agent.

    William J Murray: So is abiogenesis and evolution.

    Sure, and evolutionary biologists have used every tool at their disposal to understand the early history of life, and its origin.

    William J Murray: To be fair, let’s insist on Darwinists demonstrating abiogenesis first before we take any of their evolutionary theories seriously.

    No. It doesn’t work that way. Life began on Earth. That’s a reasonable supposition. There are reasons to believe that it was a natural result of conditions on the primordial Earth, but it is certainly subject to investigation, and is being investigated.

    With ID, you can’t just wave your hands. The lack of entailments for the designer is a significant issue. It’s the same mistake as planets and angels before Newton. Just because something is complicated doesn’t mean angels did it.

    William J Murray: I was presenting a list of rebuttals/refutations against keith’s argument.

    They’re not refutations if they’re false.

  169. 169

    If you hypothesize something is an artifact, then the evidence for the art and artisan become crucial to your claim.

    No, it doesn’t. Even if we never find out who or what designed an object or how they instantiated it, that doesn’t mean that we cannot be relatively certain it was in fact designed by an intelligent agency.

    For example, take this crop circle:
    http://ts1.mm.bing.net/th?.....0&p=0

    Let’s say we have no idea who or what made it or how, and that we never find out. Does that mean we should start looking for natural causes?

    Or, lets say we visit an otherwise unremarkable planet in the future where no humans have been known to have visited and the only thing we find of significance is this pattern:

    http://ts1.mm.bing.net/th?.....0&p=0

    etched into a flat granite terrain that can be viewed from space. Should we start looking for a natural explanation? If we never find out who or what made it or how, should it be considered a naturally occurring phenomena by default, and should we spend decades of time, thousands of man hours and spend tens of millions of dollars research into figuring out what combination of natural forces and chance could plausibly produce that design?

    Or do you think the better way forward is to try and decode the design to see if it might have some kind of coded meaning contained in its pattern that might be interpretable if we can find what it might relate to?

  170. 170
    Box says:

    WJM: If you bring in something outside of the evolutionary system on one side like a designer, the same must be allowed on the other side – like unliving natural forces.

    Again I compliment William for his razor-sharp mind and analysis. Let me try to build on it a bit more here.

    Keith: How many times do I have to repeat this? I compare both UE and ID starting after OOL.

    That trick won’t help you Keith. First, let’s reduce UE (unguided evolution) to ‘unliving natural forces’ (UNF). Now, given the second law of thermodynamics, why would UNF predict anything else but chaos and destruction?
    The continued balancing act of an organism – homeostasis – is something that UNF cannot explain or predict. There are trillions of chemical reactions going on in each and every organism. If UNF predicts one thing it is certainly not ONH, but the falling apart of each and every organism instead.

  171. 171

    WJM asks:

    Since the posited designer lies outside of and/or prior to the evolutionary system, wouldn’t you also have to say that external or prior unliving natural and chance forces would also have to be significantly limited in order to not wreck the ONH signal over billions of years?

    Zachriel responded:

    The nested hierarchy just gives us branching descent. We would then look for ….

    I don’t see how any of what you say is remotely responsive to my question.

    Sure, and evolutionary biologists have used every tool at their disposal to understand the early history of life, and its origin.

    Again, unresponsive. If we’re not going to take design theory seriously because haven’t identified the designer, we shouldn’t take Darwinistic evolutionary theory seriuosly until we have identified abiogenesis.

    No. It doesn’t work that way. Life began on Earth. That’s a reasonable supposition. There are reasons to believe that it was a natural result of conditions on the primordial Earth, but it is certainly subject to investigation, and is being investigated.

    Until you can identify abiogenesis, you are just waving your hands and making assumptions, yet investigation into what abiogenesis supposedly wrought – Darwinistic evolution – continues regardless of the lack of abiogenesis identification.

    I’m afraid you’re trying to have it both ways. You want clearance to speculate from general naturalistic principles on the one hand without specifics as to how abiogenesis was achieved that would outline evolutionary entailments after abiogenesis, but deny speculation from general design principles without specifics about designer-generated abiogenesis that would provide entailments.

  172. 172
    Zachriel says:

    William J. Murray: For example, take this crop circle: Let’s say we have no idea who or what made it or how, and that we never find out.

    Just from what you have provided, it looks like something humans would do. We know they are in the area because you indicated it was a design carved into crops. We’ll conjecture a guess that it was found on Earth, that there are humans in the vicinity, and that they have the primitive technology necessary. Those simians! Always playing tricks on one another.

    William J. Murray: Or, lets say we visit an otherwise unremarkable planet in the future where no humans have been known to have visited and the only thing we find of significance is this pattern:

    Why it looks like something humans would do! Something like humans in many respects most likely. That is, an organic creature that evolved on a rock with liquid water revolving around a star. Or perhaps one of their robot proxies.

    William J. Murray: thousands of man hours and spend tens of millions of dollars research into figuring out what combination of natural forces and chance could plausibly produce that design?

    An effort spent looking for evidence of an intelligent entity with a physical presence would not be out of the ordinary, and may very well bear fruit.

    The fundamental difference between ID and this situation is that the former doesn’t posit a designer with entailments.

  173. 173
    Zachriel says:

    William J. Murray: I don’t see how any of what you say is remotely responsive to my question.

    William J. Murray: Since the posited designer lies outside of and/or prior to the evolutionary system, wouldn’t you also have to say that external or prior unliving natural and chance forces would also have to be significantly limited in order to not wreck the ONH signal over billions of years?

    Limited, yes. The nested hierarchy just gives us branching descent. We would then look for evidence of the branching process. For instance, are there gradations between species, are there mechanisms of reproductive isolation, and so on. Then we would look for evidence of the changes that have apparently occurred over time, variations within species, sources of novel variation, rates of change over geological timescales, and so on. All of this is subject to investigation, and evolutionary biologists have spent generations studying these mechanisms. There’s no evidence of involvement by an outside agent.

    William J. Murray: Again, unresponsive.

    William J. Murray: abiogenesis and evolution {are causally related}.

    Yes, they are. Actually, more precisely in light of the discussion, the origin of life and evolution. And evolutionary biologists have used every tool at their disposal to understand the early history of life, and its origin; while IDers claim not to have to bother.

    William J. Murray: Until you can identify abiogenesis, you are just waving your hands and making assumptions, yet investigation into what abiogenesis supposedly wrought – Darwinistic evolution – continues regardless of the lack of abiogenesis identification.

    We have strong evidence that evolution is a natural process. Investigations of the early history of life have only added support to this conclusion.

    We have no reasonable evidence of design, and investigations of the designer are said to be irrelevant.

  174. 174

    Lets do some rampant speculation here and see what happens.

    1. Let’s speculate that there are countless ways for a designer to trash an ONH signal, but very few ways, comparatively, to keep it intact. As keith said, it’s easy to trash the ONH signal. A designer would have to stay on his toes to keep it intact.

    2. Let’s speculate that there are countless ways for the natural environment, over the course of billions of years, to destroy evidence of an ONH, and comparatively few ways to keep it intact – especially given the 2LoT (great addition, Box!).

    Which becomes the better explanation? That over billions of years the natural environment just happened to conspire to keep the ONH evidence intact, or that a designer deliberately kept the ONH evidence intact?

    Hmmm.

  175. 175

    Zachriel @173,

    Reiteration doesn’t move any argument forward.

  176. 176
    Zachriel says:

    William J. Murray: 1. Let’s speculate that there are countless ways for a designer to trash an ONH signal, but very few ways, comparatively, to keep it intact. As keith said, it’s easy to trash the ONH signal. A designer would have to stay on his toes to keep it intact.

    We don’t have to speculate. We have an example. Human artifacts don’t generally form objective nested hierarchies.

    Box: Now, given the second law of thermodynamics, why would UNF predict anything else but chaos and destruction?

    The Second Law of Thermodynamics does not predict chaos or destruction. Everything we see, from sunlight to corn growing in the field, is perfectly consistent with the laws of thermodynamics.

    William J. Murray: 2. Let’s speculate that there are countless ways for the natural environment, over the course of billions of years, to destroy evidence of an ONH, and comparatively few ways to keep it intact – especially given the 2LoT (great addition, Box!).

    That would be contrary to the evidence. The mechanisms of evolution we observe are consistent with evolution over long periods.

  177. 177
    Zachriel says:

    William J. Murray: Reiteration doesn’t move any argument forward.

    We made explicit what was obvious though implicit in our previous answers.

  178. 178
    Phinehas says:

    keiths:

    Phin: No, no, no. If a designer is responsible, then it is possible that he/she/it decided over and over and over again not to wreck the ONH. It is also (equally?) possible that he/she/it did not have the capability to decide such a thing or was never presented with such a choice, and so, did not decide over and over and over again not to wreck the ONH.

    keiths: Either way, how do you explain it?

    How do I explain what? That the signal (assuming, for the sake of argument, there is one) is not wrecked? I thought I just did. If it is equally possible that the designer was not presented with the possibility to wreck the signal, or that doing things that would wreck the signal wasn’t part of the designer’s design, or any number of other possibilities, what is it exactly that I need to explain?

    The ONH is predicted by the hypothesis of unguided evolution with gradual change and predominantly vertical inheritance.

    Assuming for argument’s sake that their is an objective nested heirarchy (and, for me, the arguments that drc466 makes @114 and @163 seem rather damning, and, in my view, have not been adequately addressed), it is only predicted by branching descent with gradual change and predominantly vertical inheritance. The “unguided” part that you’ve thrown in is superfluous. You’ve studiously ignored this correction in the past, however, so I’m not expecting anything different here.

    ID predicts the opposite: it is 99.999…% likely that we won’t see an ONH if ID is operating.

    This is 99.999…% baloney. And that’s being generous. You can only get to this conclusion by assuming things about a designer that you’ve said we know absolutely nothing about. All the assumptions you make about the designer (and you make lots of them) are unsupported. Nor are they balanced by the assumptions you make about evolution. On both sides, you make assumptions that skew your argument in a way that leads inevitably to your desired conclusion. While I don’t doubt that this is very convenient, you must understand that no one else is obligated by reason or conscience to accept your assumptions.

    You need to come up with a trillions-to-one persuasive reason for thinking that the designer would choose (or be limited to) the ONH motif.

    Really, I don’t. Even if the trillions-to-one claim were not completely unsupported, the argument for ID does not rest at all on disproving an ONH. (And you’ve still got some work to do to demonstrate that it is “objective” as claimed.) An ONH is not one of the many hallmarks of design that ID puts forward. No one in ID is claiming that, given the proper initial conditions, natural forces are incapable of producing an ONH. No one in ID is claiming anything at all about the designer, and certainly not that the designer did or did not produce the ONH directly. There is, literally, nothing in your argument that is in any way compelling or challenging to ID. Rather, it is with your numerous faulty assumptions that ID disagrees.

    Otherwise unguided evolution is the far better choice.

    You really need to get this. Before you can even begin to persuade that unguided evolution is the far better choice based on the ONH, you need to demonstrate that the branching descent responsible for the ONH (if it exists) is, in fact, unguided. Can you do this?

  179. 179
    Box says:

    Zachriel:
    The Second Law of Thermodynamics does not predict chaos or destruction.

    Please educate yourself.

  180. 180
    Zachriel says:

    Zachriel: Everything we see, from sunlight to corn growing in the field, is perfectly consistent with the laws of thermodynamics.

    Box: Please educate yourself.

    Are you saying those processes are not consistent with the laws of thermodynamics?

  181. 181
    Phinehas says:

    Zachriel:

    We don’t have to speculate. We have an example. Human artifacts don’t generally form objective nested hierarchies.

    This depends on the purpose of the artifact. How many human artifacts are designed to be fruitful, multiply, and replenish the earth? If humans wanted to make such artifacts, might they generally form objective nested hierarchies?

  182. 182
    Phinehas says:

    Zachriel:

    Box: Now, given the second law of thermodynamics, why would UNF predict anything else but chaos and destruction?

    Z: The Second Law of Thermodynamics does not predict chaos or destruction. Everything we see, from sunlight to corn growing in the field, is perfectly consistent with the laws of thermodynamics.

    Right. And as WJM has pointed out, everything about a rocket flying to the moon is perfectly consistent with the law of gravity. Even so, the law of gravity does not predict rockets flying to the moon. Nor is the law of gravity sufficient to account for a rocket flying to the moon.

  183. 183
    Box says:

    Zachriel:
    The Second Law of Thermodynamics does not predict chaos or destruction.

    Nonsense:

    “The Second Law of Thermodynamics is commonly known as the Law of Increased Entropy. (…)
    As usable energy decreases and unusable energy increases, “entropy” increases. Entropy is also a gauge of randomness or chaos within a closed system. As usable energy is irretrievably lost, disorganization, randomness and chaos increase.

    Zachriel: Everything we see, from sunlight to corn growing in the field, is perfectly consistent with the laws of thermodynamics.

    Box: Please educate yourself.

    Are you saying those processes are not consistent with the laws of thermodynamics?

    I didn’t specifically comment on those processes. But, clearly you are mistaken. Obviously – until the moment of death -, life (the corn field) behaves in defiance of the second law – which should tell you something.

  184. 184
    Mung says:

    As ID proponents seem to be struggling to deal with Keith S’s argument that evolutionary theory explains observed facts and evidence by attacking ToE, let me suggest another strategy.

    Now that is just rich.

  185. 185
    Mung says:

    keiths:

    Speaking of lateral transfers, why do you suppose your designer doesn’t do more of them?

    Which designer?

  186. 186
  187. 187
    Mung says:

    keiths:

    Speaking of lateral transfers, why do you suppose your designer doesn’t do more of them?

    There are numerous elements that are shared across numerous different species.

    One way to explain them is to assume that they were inherited by common descent. But then it seems rather silly to ask why some designer hasn’t done lateral transfers. For all you know that’s exactly what happened and the assumption of common descent is false.

  188. 188
    keith s says:

    This thread was weird enough when I went to sleep last night. Now I awake to find:

    a) KF executing the ID triple-dodge, answering a question about the Designer’s failure to “laterally transfer” the concept of the gear by 1) ignoring the question about the Designer, 2) talking about Pax6 instead of gears, and 3) talking about exaptation instead of lateral transfer;

    b) Heartlander linking to a completely irrelevant paper on group theory and architecture, apparently because it contains the phrase “nested hierarchies”;

    c) Box complimenting WJM on his “razor-sharp mind and analysis”, and then

    d) Box claiming that life violates the Second Law of Thermodynamics.

    On the other hand, Mung and Joe are still Joe and Mung, respectively.

  189. 189
    Zachriel says:

    Box: Obviously – until the moment of death -, life (the corn field) behaves in defiance of the second law – which should tell you something.

    No, life does not violate the laws of thermodynamics. Not even humans with all their intelligence and machines can violate the laws of thermodynamics.

  190. 190
    Zachriel says:

    Z: The Second Law of Thermodynamics does not predict chaos or destruction.

    We will correct that misstatement. The Second Law of Thermodynamics does not allow only chaos and destruction. Everything we see, from sunlight to corn growing in the field, is perfectly consistent with the laws of thermodynamics.

  191. 191
    keith s says:

    And I forgot to mention

    e) drc466 complaining about a reconstructive accuracy of “only” 1 in 10^6; and

    f) William saying this to Box:

    2. Let’s speculate that there are countless ways for the natural environment, over the course of billions of years, to destroy evidence of an ONH, and comparatively few ways to keep it intact – especially given the 2LoT (great addition, Box!).

    Great addition, Box!

    Don’t either of you have the slightest curiosity about how the 2LoT really works?

  192. 192
    drc466 says:

    Zachriel @ 164,

    drc466: despite the fact that not a single undisputed common ancestor for any of the relationships between the 30 taxa exists in the fossil record.

    Species come and go every few million years, so it’s unlikely to find fossils of exact common ancestors from the distant past. Instead, paleontologists predict transitional forms, organisms which exhibit primitive and derived characteristics.

    Oh, absolutely – assuming universal common ancestry is true, that would have to be true (although it does seem odd that we can find entire skeletons of dinosaurs that supposedly went extinct 100my ago, but can’t find any transitional forms of mammals and marsupials that must have existed much more recently).
    However, extrapolating transitional forms without fossil evidence rather moves the “tree of life” from empirical to speculative, no? For example – the common ancestor to placentals and marsupials – was it egg-laying? And did the ancestry go egg->placental->marsupial, or egg->marsupial->placental, or egg->placental/egg->marsupial independently? and if independently, did placental/marsupial evolve from the same species, or separate species of egg-laying animals? How many generations of (unknown, speculative) egg-laying species separate the first true marsupial/placental species from their common ancestor? And what kind of (unknown, speculative) reproductive systems existed in the (unknown, speculative) transitional species?

    I think it was fair to point out that KS’ (via Theobald) tree of life is more empty than full; and that saying a statistical analysis of a tree dependent on unknown (and unknowable) true relationships proves unguided evolution is trillions of times more likely than the alternatives, is a bit of a reach.

  193. 193
    HD says:

    Heks

    I have to respectfully disagree with you. It’s just my opinion, but definitely one that I am sure other readers have felt. Even the title of this thread implies you are having a hard time. The word “Suggests” implies uncertainty and that you don’t have anything concrete. Regardless, many many many other people have come and gone that you felt were wrong, yet haven’t required this amount of attention for the past few weeks. Had you had a solid argument against him, I think you would be able to keep it simple and lay it down. I also feel the other problem here is too many people are trying to argue the science behind OHN. That is irrelevant. Its irrelevant if there are trillions of possibles or just one or ten. It’s irrelevant if OHN is true or not. All you have to take on the philosophical underpinnings to his conclusion.

    Obviously I believe him to be wrong. I have tried to lay it down quite simply. If a God exists, he would chose a motif to create. That is something even Keith has to agree on. Once that motif is used, we can decipher it. Where Keith is WRONG is his circular logic that God is using a motif to mimic unguided evolution. That is circular logic since we have not proven or can prove that evolution is guided or unguided. That is what is being questioned. In this case with Keith, I don’t have to demonstrate WHY God would chose XYZ. All I need to show is where Keith is wrong in his assertion that it IS unguided and why God would want to use something that LOOKS like it is. And since he (or I) don’t have another Universe with some other form of evolution to compare it to, his argument falls apart. You can’t just compare UE to ID. In order to do that you first have to demonstrate it IS unguided. Only then can you make a comparison against ID.

    True, I can not prove scientifically that evolution is guided (I know ID disagrees) but the corollary is equally true against Keith. Therefore bringing up the rain fairy and weather is a non sequitar. Weather doesn’t do what evolution does. God may or may not decide where it will rain tomorrow. Irrelevant to whether ultimately, evolution is goal oriented and God chose that self-reflecting entity called man would emerge.

    Also, it seems some people are arguing against evolution theory in general, which ends up spreading this threads out further than they have to be.

  194. 194
    Phinehas says:

    keiths:

    d) Box claiming that life violates the Second Law of Thermodynamics.

    Only in the same way a rocket going to the moon “violates” the law of gravity.

  195. 195
    Box says:

    Zachriel: No, life does not violate the laws of thermodynamics.

    So the 2LoT predicts that in bags of chemicals entropy remains in “balance” – and then a sudden abrupt increase ( at the moment of death) ?

    Zachriel: Not even humans with all their intelligence and machines can violate the laws of thermodynamics.

    So when a little bag of chemicals develops into an “adult” bag of chemicals – aka human being – and during this process we see a spectacular decrease of entropy (e.g. human brain) – this is consistent with the 2LoT?
    How do you know?

    “Humans with all their intelligence and machines” are a violation of the 2LoT,

    Isaac Asimov:

    You can argue, of course, that the phenomenon of life may be an exception [to the second law]. Life on earth has steadily grown more complex, more versatile, more elaborate, more orderly, over the billions of years of the planet’s existence. From no life at all, living molecules were developed, then living cells, then living conglomerates of cells, worms, vertebrates, mammals, finally Man. And in an is a three-pound brain which, as far as we know, is he most complex and orderly arrangement of matter in the universe. How could the human brain develop out of the primeval slime? How could that vast increase in order (and therefore that vast decrease in entropy) have taken place?

  196. 196
    Phinehas says:

    Zachriel:

    Z: The Second Law of Thermodynamics does not predict chaos or destruction.

    We will correct that misstatement. The Second Law of Thermodynamics does not allow only chaos and destruction. Everything we see, from sunlight to corn growing in the field, is perfectly consistent with the laws of thermodynamics.

    The law of gravity does not allow only falling. Everything we see, from an apple falling from a tree to a rocket going to the moon, is perfectly consistent with the law of gravity.

  197. 197
    Joe says:

    keith:

    This thread was weird enough when I went to sleep last night. Now I awake to find:

    That you are still soundly refuted. You can go back to bed now. 😛

  198. 198
    Joe says:

    The nested hierarchy just gives us branching descent.

    Zachriel continues to conflate the pattern a nested hierarchy can be depicted as with the pattern making the nested hierarchy. He has been doing that for years and just refuses to learn.

    Why are we feeding this insipid troll?

  199. 199
    Joe says:

    There are reasons to believe that it was a natural result of conditions on the primordial Earth,

    Religious reasons.

  200. 200
    Zachriel says:

    drc466: Oh, absolutely – assuming universal common ancestry is true, that would have to be true (although it does seem odd that we can find entire skeletons of dinosaurs that supposedly went extinct 100my ago, but can’t find any transitional forms of mammals and marsupials that must have existed much more recently).

    There’s plenty of transitional mammalian fossils. Some even show delicate bones involved in the evolution of the mammalian middle ear. But they probably aren’t direct ancestors.

    drc466: However, extrapolating transitional forms without fossil evidence rather moves the “tree of life” from empirical to speculative, no?

    Um, that’s called the scientific method. You propose a hypothesis, deduce entailments, then test those entailments.

    drc466: For example – the common ancestor to placentals and marsupials – was it egg-laying?

    Some common ancestor of plancetals and marsupials was egg-laying, though perhaps not the most recent common ancestor. The oldest eutherian fossil dates to about 125 million years. See Ji et al., The earliest known eutherian mammal, Nature 2002.

    You ask a lot of good questions, and there is active research into all of them. None of your questions impact the nested hierarchy though, while every new discovery confirms the overall ancestor-descendant pattern.

    Phinehas: Only in the same way a rocket going to the moon “violates” the law of gravity.

    No. Rockets do not violate the law of gravity or the laws of thermodynamics.

    Box: So the 2LoT predicts that in bags of chemicals entropy remains in balance – until the moment of death?

    No, it just predicts that it requires energy to maintain organic activity.

    Box: So when a little bag of chemicals develops into an “adult” bag of chemicals – aka human being – and during this process we see a spectacular decrease of entropy (e.g. human brain) – this is consistent with the 2LoT?

    Yes, it is fully consistent with the laws of thermodynamics.

    Box: How do you know?

    Because there is nothing which violates the laws of thermodynamics.

    Box: Isaac Asimov

    Asimov, of course, said that the phenomenon of life does not violate the laws of thermodynamics.

    Phinehas: Everything we see, from an apple falling from a tree to a rocket going to the moon, is perfectly consistent with the law of gravity.

    That’s right.

  201. 201
    logically_speaking says:

    Zachriel,

    It’s interesting that you only choose to respond to certain things only. I can only conclude that you concede or agree with the points you don’t respond to, such as the tree of life uses circular reasoning.

    Anyway to continue,

    logically_speaking: So intelligent design is an equally if not better explanation of nested hierarchies determined by “best fit” computer algorithms.

    You:
    Your claim was that observed nested hierarchies are not objective. We pointed out that independent statistical methods are used to determine the degree of fit.

    My response:
    Indeed, I maintain that there really is no such thing as a true objective nested hierarchy. Infact even if the designer had made life that showed anthing like a ONH then it still would be subjective, because the designer chose it to be that way. I have also shown in my experiment why the statistical methods fail to deliver.

    logically_speaking: No “we” don’t, hense the reason why you had a list and I had a completely different list.

    You:
    Our list encompassed wings, including the particular structure of the wings. Your list excluded mammary glands, bellows lungs, wings articulated by the phalanges, airfoil is skin not feathers, hair, three auditory ossicles, a single-boned dentary, not to mention the molecular evidence. There’s no one who has ever studied anatomy that would classify bats with birds.

    My response:
    I think we may be in danger of simply starting to repeat ourselves. Again concensus doesn’t make objective. Maybe for you to understand why it is subjective ask yourself WHY mammary glands are more important to classification than eyes are.

    logically_speaking: {modern classification} originally began with Carl Linnaeus who classified things using a design mindset without any evolutiony assertions.

    You:
    Linnaeus classified by best fit according to trait. He arrived at close to a best-fit objective nested hierarchy.

    My response:
    He did so without any evolutionary assumptions. What does that tell you?

    logically_speaking: But when you have a theory that uses bad maths, circular reasoning and the assumptions can be shown to be wrong. Then the theory loses all credibility.

    You:
    Sure, but it’s a weak argument that depends on the claim that generations of biologists, people who have used supercomputers to decode the genome, of using bad maths and circular reasoning. Einstein wasn’t right because Newton was stupid or bad at maths.

    My response:
    You are being disingenuous here I was talking about the theories not the people. Your response just seems to be an appeal to authority, are you suggesting that these people are infallible and don’t make mistakes or sometimes follow the crowd?

    logically_speaking: I can use the exact methods and reasoning that Theobald uses and show how his methods fail.

    You:
    No. You could cherry-pick possibly, as you did with bat wings. That’s not quite the same thing. Darwin covered this territory in 1859.

    My response:
    Yes. I have done it in my ONH expirement.

    logically_speaking: I am not saying that the classifications are in error

    You:
    You can’t talk about whether they are in error or not unless the classification is objective. Otherwise, it’s just a matter of taste or convenience. This is where you should be feeling a bit of cognitive dissonance.

    My response:
    Now you are just being flippant. The classification system is fine for the most part, but there are problems whichever methods you choose. I was mearly saying I have no major issues with how classification is done. I have no problem with calling a bat a mammal, I simply understand that it is a large consensus led subjective nested hierarchy, that I happen to agree with.

    logically_speaking: There turns out to be 6 ways of arranging the cutlery in nested hierarchies

    You:
    That’s right! But there’s only one reasonable way to classify bats; placentals, mammals, amniotes, tetrapods, gnastostomes, vertebrates, craniates, chordates, bilaterian, metazoa, eukaryotes.

    My response:
    Reason, my dear Zachriel, is subjective.

    The main reason why classification is subjective is because of the underlying assumption that the more traits a thing shares with another thing, the closer it must be related.

    But when this becomes the general rule, the other traits that they don’t share become less important.

  202. 202
    logically_speaking says:

    Keith S,

    “Don’t you realize how silly it is to argue that the ONH isn’t real, when the molecular and morphological versions of Theobald’s Figure 1 match perfectly out of 10^38 possibilities?

    That’s 10,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 possibilities.

    You think that evolutionary biologists subjectively selected traits and markers that just happened to produce that stunning degree of match”?

    I have shown what’s really going on in my ONH expirement.

    Do you really think 75 consistency index studies is sufficient given all the possibilities?

    Even if we were super nice and said that the 75 accounted for a million possibilities each thats,

    75,000,000 only out of,
    10,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 possibilities.

    As I Show in my ONH expirement, they produce a “fake” ONH precisely because they don’t take into account the other possibilities.

    My ONH expirement is a bomb to your bomb.

  203. 203

    There’s a reason Zachriel keeps saying that what we find in life “is consistent with” 2LoT; all he means by that is that 2LoT doesn’t rule it out. Meaning, it’s a bare possibility.

    The real question is if the 2LoT (along with any other chance/natural law forces) predicts unguided abiogenesis and an evolutionary/environmental system that leaves an ONH signal and an ongoing increase in stable biocomplexity.

  204. 204

    Why are we feeding this insipid troll?

    So that he keeps saying thing that are easily dispatched and which make the Darwinist side look worse and worse?

  205. 205
    Joe says:

    That works 😉

  206. 206
    bornagain77 says:

    Biological Information – Entropy, Evolution and Open Systems 11-15-2014 by Paul Giem – video
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V_G9HtsfXfs

  207. 207
    bornagain77 says:

    Biological Information – Information and Thermodynamics in Living Systems 11-22-2014 by Paul Giem – video
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IR_r6mFdwQM

  208. 208
    Box says:

    Keith: Box claiming that life violates the Second Law of Thermodynamics.

    Phinehas: Only in the same way a rocket going to the moon “violates” the law of gravity.

    Thank you Phinehas. You are right, that is what I should have said. IOW I’m stating that in life there is a force that operates inverse to the 2LoT. It doesn’t discontinue the 2LoT, but overpowers it – exactly for a lifetime.
    Indeed the same way a rocket going to the moon overpowers the law of gravity.

  209. 209
    Zachriel says:

    logically_speaking: I can only conclude that you concede or agree with the points you don’t respond to, such as the tree of life uses circular reasoning.

    We responded to your “circular reasoning” argument by pointing out how unlikely it is that generations of biologists have made such an elementary mistake.

    logically_speaking: Indeed, I maintain that there really is no such thing as a true objective nested hierarchy. Infact even if the designer had made life that showed anthing like a ONH then it still would be subjective, because the designer chose it to be that way.

    Um, no. If the designer makes something round, it is objectively round. It has nothing to do with the intentions of the designer.

    logically_speaking: Again concensus doesn’t make objective.

    We didn’t point to consensus, but an examination of all traits, not just some. This was covered by Darwin in 1859. You need to keep up.

    logically_speaking: He did so without any evolutionary assumptions. What does that tell you?

    That it’s objective and not dependent on the particular observer or explanatory theory.

    logically_speaking: Your response just seems to be an appeal to authority, are you suggesting that these people are infallible and don’t make mistakes or sometimes follow the crowd?

    It’s an appeal to authority. Sure people make mistakes, but scientists rarely make such fundamental errors in their own specialties, especially over generations.

    logically_speaking: I have done it in my ONH expirement.

    The only experiment we noticed was your showing multiple classifications for cutlery, followed by your realization that there is a single correct classification for mammals; mammals, amniotes, tetrapods, gnastostomes, vertebrates, craniates, chordates, bilaterian, metazoa, eukaryotes.

    logically_speaking: The classification system is fine for the most part, but there are problems whichever methods you choose.

    You haven’t provided another classification scheme, except for your abortive bats are birds classification. In other words, there is only one reasonable way to classify the vast majority of organisms.

    logically_speaking: I have no problem with calling a bat a mammal, I simply understand that it is a large consensus led subjective nested hierarchy, that I happen to agree with.

    Anyone who has studied the subject puts bats with mammals because that is the only rational classification possible when you look at all the observable traits. That’s what we mean by objective.

    logically_speaking: The main reason why classification is subjective is because of the underlying assumption that the more traits a thing shares with another thing, the closer it must be related.

    That’s called the criteria. If we classify organisms by their traits, they objectively fall into a specific nested hierarchy.

    William J. Murray: There’s a reason Zachriel keeps saying that what we find in life “is consistent with” 2LoT

    We reason we said it is because someone denied it.

    Box: You are right, that is what I should have said. IOW I’m stating that in life there is a force that operates inverse to the 2LoT.

    Life requires energy to maintain its activities. It’s a chemical engine. That’s the very nature of thermodynamics.

    Which has more thermodynamic order, a brain or an equal weight of diamonds?

  210. 210
    Alicia Renard says:

    @ drc466

    I reminded you that you had asked me some questions but omitted the link. As that thread was closed down, I’ll assume that you didn’t get chance to respond there. I’ll repost here as below.

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

    In your opinion, is Stonehenge Intelligently Designed?

    Latest research seems to indicate there were at least three separate phases of construction at the site over a period of one and a half thousand years. So the site evolved and was “remodelled” at least twice. Here is the main page to Sheffield University’s recent work at the site and the surroundings (The Cursus, Durrington Walls, Woodhenge etc). It all seems to indicate people, exclusively modern humans, were involved in the construction phases. Many of them are buried or cremated there or nearby. Remains of substantial meals have been found. A possible site that housed the builders is being excavated. The archaeology is rich and fascinating. Do we have names and photos? No. Your question seems trite. What we know and will never know about the purposes and motives of the people involved in the several phases of construction is vast. Built by people physically indistinguishable from people living today? Indisputable! Call it intelligently designed if you like but that seems trite and dismissive of the unimaginable collective effort involved.

    How do you know?

    Not having done more than visit the site, I can’t give you first-hand evidence of finds and locations. I have to trust the experts.

    Is your answer a scientific conclusion, or metaphysical assumption?

    Neither. It’s a summary of information I’ve gleaned from various sources that are widely available to anyone interested. I may have mis-spoken on details. Check for yourself – it’s all in the public domain.

    Is it based strictly on a probability calculation, or is there some other component?

    There’s a sprinkling of imagination. Some of the feast remnants included cattle bones that must have come from Scotland according to isotope analysis.

    Can your thought process regarding Stonehenge be quantified into a calculation that a computer could reproduce?

    Stonehenge may have been used to compute and predict seasons. But your question seems to ask can my thought processes be computed or reproduced. If that is what you ask then, as far as I know, not currently.

    If designed – do you know anything about the designer(s)?

    We know an immense amount about the builders. We have skeletons and other artifacts. Did they make sketches and plans before starting work? I have no idea. That they had some sort of plan or it was trial-and-error is hard now to establish.

    If you think you do – what do you know, and how do you know it?

    See above. (Your questions are rather repetitive.)

    Is your conclusion as to whether it is designed dependent on that knowledge/lack?

    I really don’t know whether the people “designed” the structures of Stonehenge and the environs before building them. I have heard the remark on visiting Europe that “they really knew how to build in the old days” and have heard the riposte “Well, all the bad buildings fell down so we only have the good ones left”.

    Whatever it is about Stonehenge that might make you think it had a non-naturalistic cause…

    We humans are limited to four dimensions and whatever arrives in our heads from our senses. But with little technology but much organised effort, projects such as we see in Stonehenge (and Newgrangea,d Skara Brae) it is impressive what can be achieved.

    …– does the simplest lifeform known to man have more, or less, of that characteristic?

    All life on Earth is related. We differ in degree only.

    Do I get to ask some questions, now?

  211. 211
    drc466 says:

    keith s @191,

    e) drc466 complaining about a reconstructive accuracy of “only” 1 in 10^6;

    Please refrain from using loaded characterizations. I did not “complain” about anything. I merely quoted what was in Theobald’s paper, in support of my assertion that there is not currently a consensus tree of life, and that “1 in 10^38” is unsupported (you would agree that 10^6 is not equal to 10^38, yes?).

    Now, since you have chosen not to reply to my criticisms of founding a statistical conclusion on self-admittedly incomplete, inaccurate and contradictory “treeS” of life, I’ll move on to the illogic of your central claim, that Unguided Evolution produces an ONH.

    Logically speaking, there are the following possibilities regarding UE and ONH:
    1) UE WILL create an ONH, regardless of the characteristics chosen when defining the tree of life.
    2) UE CAN create an ONH, depending on the characteristics chosen when defining the tree of life.
    3) UE WILL NOT create an ONH, regardless of the characteristics chosen when defining the tree of life.
    Likewise, there are the following possibilities regarding ID and ONH:
    4) An ID WILL create an ONH, regardless of the characteristics chosen when defining the tree of life.
    5) An ID CAN create an ONH, depending on the characteristics chosen when defining the tree of life.
    6) An ID WILL NOT create an ONH, regardless of the characteristics chosen when defining the tree of life.

    For your claim that UE is trillions of times more likely than ID to be true, UE must follow #1 above, while ID must follow #5 or #6 above. I don’t think anyone, you or IDist, would object to admitting #5 or #6 is true, although some might object to the likelihood of #6 – given millions of varied samples of anything, proper selection of characteristics should be capable of finding a statistical ONH. But for the sake of argument, we’ll go ahead and state that an active ID could create any possible configuration of nested and non-nested outcomes.

    So that leaves us with your assertion. For your assertion to be true, #1 must be true. #2 sounds possible, until you realize that if you can create a non-ONH from UE by picking certain characteristics when forming the tree, that your elimination of “trillions” of alternatives disappears – some of those trillions of alternatives become viable, by choosing the right (wrong!) characteristics. In other words, #2 = #5, and only #6 differentiates an ID from UE. #6 would require a true random distribution of characteristics across millions of species – if it is even possible, the number of possible permutations is surely miniscule compared to #5. In addition, it is a fairly trivial matter to show that, by proper selection of characteristics, almost ANY set of objects, designed or not, can be sorted into an ONH (ref. Heartlander’s example @186).

    So your assertion hinges on #1 – UE MUST produce an ONH, regardless of characteristics chosen. The words “convergent evolution”, “maximum parsimony”, and “maximum likelihood” should be more than sufficient to falsify that assertion, but a more simplistic example might be helpful.
    By selecting any subset of the characteristics used in creating trees of life (or different characteristics entirely), and applying a different weighting to those characteristics, one can easily create a non-ONH arrangement. Let us take, for example, the following, using the animal kingdom: sort by # of appendages, # of non-leg appendages, purpose of appendages, type of vision, reproductive methodology. This selection and priority of characteristics would place slugs and eels with snakes, lizards with cattle, etc. Within the 4-appendage group, you would have some 4-legged insects, birds, cattle, and humans. Birds and bats and primates would then be split out (2 legs, 2 non-legs). Bats and birds (wings) would then split from a common ancestor from primates (arms).

    So, clearly, trees of life are not independent of the type and weighting of characteristics – which leaves us with #2 as being true. UE CAN produce an ONH, if you subjectively select the right characteristics, in the right order, using the right weighting, and extraordinary statistical methods such as maximum likelihood.

    Leaving you to claim that #2 is correct and #5 and #6 are correct – and that #2 has “trillions” of fewer permutations than #6. Which is both illogical and ridiculous.

    (FYI – Theobald appears to support #2, that UE CAN generate an ONH. I’m not certain why he finds this an evidence for UE, as again it is a fairly trivial matter to produce an ONH for any sufficiently large group of objects, by proper selection of characteristics. In any case, KS’ claim that UE is trillions of times more likely than ID remains illogical if UE only provides a possibility of ONH, rather than a certainty regardless of characteristics examined.)

    (FYI #2 – Human languages are a perfect example of the illogic of KS’ argument. Theobald himself uses language as an example of ONH resulting from a phylogeny – e.g. Spanish, Portuguese, Italian obviously have common ancestry of one form or another. Yet human languages are just as obviously the result of Intelligent Design. No-one would claim that the Asian languages, for example, have the same ancestor as the European languages. And clearly each required some intelligent agent to create the words, define their meanings, and over time intelligently add new words to the vocabulary – while some “new” words are degenerative forms of earlier words, some “new” words (e.g. “technology”) had to be created by an intelligent agent. They provide a perfect example of the logical argument given above, and refute KS ably.)

  212. 212
    drc466 says:

    AR @210,

    All in all, you did an impressive job of dodging the question – apparently I was not clear enough in my questions.
    So let me simplify:
    1) If you had NO other evidence than the standing stones themselves, would you say they were the result of chance or some intelligent agent positioning them there.
    2) If chance, why?
    3) If agent, why?
    4) Can that chance/agent differentiation be calculated?
    5) If those stones were just loosely piled on the ground in no particular order, would you say chance/agent?
    6) Is it strictly a “probability” calculation? Is that specific unique arrangement on the ground significantly less probable mathematically than the standing structure?

    ID would posit the following answers:
    1) Agent
    2) No chance
    3) Positioning indicates some type of function/purpose
    4) Maybe – ID is about trying to determine this scientifically/mathematically
    5) Chance
    6) No – both are extremely improbable, but the first has some function/design/point to it, the second does not

    Do your answers agree?

    As for your questions – ask away!

  213. 213
    Alicia Renard says:

    HD at 193 writes.

    Obviously I believe [Keith S] to be wrong. I have tried to lay it down quite simply. If a God exists, he would chose a motif to create. That is something even Keith has to agree on. Once that motif is used, we can decipher it. Where Keith is WRONG is his circular logic that God is using a motif to mimic unguided evolution. That is circular logic since we have not proven or can prove that evolution is guided or unguided. That is what is being questioned. In this case with Keith, I don’t have to demonstrate WHY God would chose XYZ. All I need to show is where Keith is wrong in his assertion that it IS unguided and why God would want to use something that LOOKS like it is. And since he (or I) don’t have another Universe with some other form of evolution to compare it to, his argument falls apart. You can’t just compare UE to ID. In order to do that you first have to demonstrate it IS unguided. Only then can you make a comparison against ID.

    Is water “guided” when it runs downhill? I would say, yes. It is guided by the physical properties of water and the substrate over which it runs, the topology of the land and the effects of gravity. A theist can see God’s hand in that without needing to propose additional input from God tinkering with the flow. A theist who accepts evolution interprets the environment as the designer or guide for the flow of evolutionary change through time. Whilst, as far as I know, there are no atheists who reject evolution as a theory, there are many theists who accept evolutionary theory.

    True, I cannot prove scientifically that evolution is guided (I know ID disagrees)…

    Depends what you mean by guided, I guess. I doubt science can settle the issue of whether God maintains every atom in every corner of the Universe at every instant. If ID proponents claim that God/the designer manipulates events such that the laws of physics are disrupted, then that is something to look for.

    …but the corollary is equally true against Keith. Therefore bringing up the rain fairy and weather is a non sequitar. Weather doesn’t do what evolution does. God may or may not decide where it will rain tomorrow. Irrelevant to whether ultimately, evolution is goal oriented and God chose that self-reflecting entity called man would emerge.

    Do you check the weather forecast at all? Do you avoid open high spaces if thunderstorms threaten? If God can decide anything, why did he decide to mimic an evolutionary process that conforms to the predicted objective nested hierarchy?

    Also, it seems some people are arguing against evolution theory in general, which ends up spreading this threads out further than they have to be.

    I’d much rather see someone try to explain what they think ID “theory” is and haw it can explain what we observe.

  214. 214
    wd400 says:

    Yet human languages are just as obviously the result of Intelligent Design. No-one would claim that the Asian languages, for example, have the same ancestor as the European languages.

    Languages* aren’t designed, and there is good evidence that Asian and European languages stem from a common ancestor:

    http://www.pnas.org/content/110/21/8471.abstract

    *With the exception of esparanto an the like, which of course wouldn’t fit into a phylogeny

  215. 215
    drc466 says:

    wd400,

    Languages* aren’t designed

    You win most ridiculous statement of the day.

  216. 216
    wd400 says:

    Who designed Spanish?

  217. 217
    Alicia Renard says:

    drc466 writes:

    So let me simplify:
    1) If you had NO other evidence than the standing stones themselves, would you say they were the result of chance or some intelligent agent positioning them there.

    Stonehenge isn’t just stones. But the site was inhabited and built by anatomically modern humans over a long period of time. I don’t think the category “intelligent agent” is clearly defined enough for me to decide whether people are “intelligent agents” or not.

    2) If chance, why?

    Not by chance. I suspect the site was carefully chosen though by whomexactly and why exactly, I guess we’ll never know.

    3) If agent, why?

    The human builders were the agents and artisans. Evidence suggests that people and their animals came from distant parts of Britain, as far as Scotland. Evidence of feasting suggests large social gatherings, possibly religious.

    4) Can that chance/agent differentiation be calculated?

    I can’t imagine how.

    5) If those stones were just loosely piled on the ground in no particular order, would you say chance/agent?

    In this instance, probably not. The nearest place the large Sarsen stones could have come from is the Marlborough Downs, over twenty miles away.

    6) Is it strictly a “probability” calculation? Is that specific unique arrangement on the ground significantly less probable mathematically than the standing structure?

    I don’t think probability calculations make much sense with regard to past events.

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

    drc466 continues:

    ID would posit the following answers:
    1) Agent
    2) No chance
    3) Positioning indicates some type of function/purpose
    4) Maybe – ID is about trying to determine this scientifically/mathematically
    5) Chance
    6) No – both are extremely improbable, but the first has some function/design/point to it, the second does not

    Do your answers agree?

    Well, the interesting question is 4. And I see you can’t say how ID would determine this calculation, either.

    As for your questions – ask away!

    I’ll take a rain check for now. But I’ll think of something!

  218. 218
    Alicia Renard says:

    drc466

    I gotta question!!!

    Why would you think languages are designed?

  219. 219
    Box says:

    WD400: Who designed Spanish?

    The language fairies?

  220. 220
    Box says:

    Alicia Renard: Why would you think languages are designed?

    Of course they are designed – probably by human beings. What else? Do you think they are produced by chemical reactions in a warm little pond?

  221. 221
    wd400 says:

    Box, “language fairies” seem as good as any other answer, if we assume languages are designed.

  222. 222
    Phinehas says:

    Zachriel:

    Phinehas: Only in the same way a rocket going to the moon “violates” the law of gravity.

    Z: No. Rockets do not violate the law of gravity or the laws of thermodynamics.

    Which is, of course, why “violates” was in quotes. The law of gravity, however, is countered/overcome by rockets in a way that requires explanations ranging far outside the law of gravity, and even outside natural forces.

    Phinehas: Everything we see, from an apple falling from a tree to a rocket going to the moon, is perfectly consistent with the law of gravity.

    Z: That’s right.

    And yet a rocket’s ability to run counter to the law of gravity requires an explanation.

  223. 223
    Phinehas says:

    wd400:

    Who designed Spanish?

    Surely, you are not suggesting that there was no intelligent intervention in it’s formation, or that Spanish is the result of purely natural forces that did not have language in mind, are you?

  224. 224
    drc466 says:

    wd400/AR,

    Wow. I can’t decide whether to take you guys seriously, or not.
    1) Does human language exist without humans? No – it is not a product of chance. It was created (designed) by our ancestors when they needed to communicate.
    2) Do words like “technology” pop into existence all by themselves by chance, or does some (intelligent) individual think to him/herself, “I need a word to describe this particular type of advanced scientific study – I’ll call it ‘technology’!”
    3) Are new words being created and added to languages all the time (e.g. is Webster’s different from year to year)? Where do these new words come from? The ether?
    4) “Who designed Spanish”? It was developed as a modification to an earlier language, by a group of intelligent agents called…the Spanish.
    5) Where did the first words come from? Did two pre-humans look at a rock and have chance and time insert the sound “rock” into their brains? or did one of them “design” the word “rock”, point at a rock and indicate to the other that he/she wanted it to be called “rock”?

    Look, I know – you want to argue that there wasn’t one dude in spectacles and Birkenstocks who sat down one day and single-handedly “designed” an entire language. Which is a strawman of truly epic proportions. Or maybe you’re saying that since most words (but not all!) are derivatives of previously designed words, they don’t qualify as “designed”, somehow.

    But the truth, which you can’t avoid, and is why saying “languages aren’t designed” is ridiculous beyond belief, is that every word, every single word, is the result of an intelligent agent creating that word(sound), assigning a meaning to it, and conveying that meaning to another intelligent agent. Have the origins of most of those original definitions and creations been lost in the mists of time? Certainly. Does that mean that the original creation of each word was not the work of an intelligent agent? That is truly ludicrous. (Ludicrous is a nice word – I sure am glad that some non-designing non-intelligent chance process created that set of sounds and magically inserted its meaning into the mind of a group of humans!!!!)

    (Fish. Barrel. Much appreciated)

  225. 225
    Zachriel says:

    Phinehas: The law of gravity, however, is countered/overcome by rockets in a way that requires explanations ranging far outside the law of gravity, and even outside natural forces.

    Newton’s law of universal gravity states there is a force of attraction proportional to the product of their masses and inversely proportional to the square of the distance between them. A rocket is not outside of this law, nor is a balloon. Nor is a rocket outside the laws of thermodynamics.

  226. 226
    Phinehas says:

    Box:

    Phinehas: Only in the same way a rocket going to the moon “violates” the law of gravity.

    Box: Thank you Phinehas. You are right, that is what I should have said.

    Actually, you never used the word “violate” anyway. That word was placed in your mouth by keiths and then echoed by Zachriel. You used the word “defiance” to describe the relationship, which I think is entirely accurate and appropriate. Life defies the tendency toward chaos and disorder similar to how a rocket defies gravity. Neither can be explained in purely materialistic terms.

  227. 227
    Alicia Renard says:

    drc466 writes:

    No-one would claim that the Asian languages, for example, have the same ancestor as the European languages.

    Well, I think someone might. Me, for instance. I reckon there is some evidence that Homo erectus had the brain capacity (and well-developed Broca’s area) and vocal equipment (hyoid bone) for speech. So the roots of human language could stretch back possibly over a million years. So there is reason to think all modern human language radiates out from a proto-language of an ancestral population.

  228. 228
    Phinehas says:

    Zachriel:

    Phinehas: The law of gravity, however, is countered/overcome by rockets in a way that requires explanations ranging far outside the law of gravity, and even outside natural forces.

    Z: Newton’s law of universal gravity states there is a force of attraction proportional to the product of their masses and inversely proportional to the square of the distance between them. A rocket is not outside of this law, nor is a balloon.

    Fortunately, I didn’t say that a rocket is outside the law of gravity. I said that the explanation for a rocket must go outside the law of gravity, and even outside natural forces. And it must. Or are you now claiming that, in addition to life, a rocket is not the product of intelligent agency? Next, will we be discussing how gravity is acting on the information in the rocket’s guidance system?

  229. 229
    Zachriel says:

    Phinehas: Life defies the tendency toward chaos and disorder similar to how a rocket defies gravity.

    And the Sun defies gravitational collapse. The Earth’s atmosphere helps the surface defy the entropy of a cold universe.

  230. 230
    Alicia Renard says:

    drc466 writes:

    But the truth, which you can’t avoid, and is why saying “languages aren’t designed” is ridiculous beyond belief, is that every word, every single word, is the result of an intelligent agent creating that word(sound), assigning a meaning to it, and conveying that meaning to another intelligent agent. Have the origins of most of those original definitions and creations been lost in the mists of time? Certainly. Does that mean that the original creation of each word was not the work of an intelligent agent? That is truly ludicrous. (Ludicrous is a nice word – I sure am glad that some non-designing non-intelligent chance process created that set of sounds and magically inserted its meaning into the mind of a group of humans!!!!)

    Oh dear! I see we are getting a bit carried away with the semantics. For language to be able to develop, there needs to be several things in place. The ability to make and hear sounds of sufficient complexity, sufficient brain capacity for the mental processing required and a social organisation that would profit communication. These all have to evolve concurrently in small enough steps so that ability in language communication increases evenly through a social group or breeding population.

    When drc466 talks of agency, is he thinking that there is input from other mysterious agents?

  231. 231
    Phinehas says:

    drc466:

    (Ludicrous is a nice word – I sure am glad that some non-designing non-intelligent chance process created that set of sounds and magically inserted its meaning into the mind of a group of humans!!!!)

    I snorted out loud at this. Hilarious.

  232. 232
    Phinehas says:

    Zachriel:

    Phinehas: Life defies the tendency toward chaos and disorder similar to how a rocket defies gravity.

    Z: And the Sun defies gravitational collapse. The Earth’s atmosphere helps the surface defy the entropy of a cold universe.

    And if you hadn’t snipped the next sentence from your quote, everyone could have seen why your examples are missing the point.

  233. 233
    drc466 says:

    AR @230,

    When drc466 talks of agency, is he thinking that there is input from other mysterious agents?

    If nothing else, I think we’ve proven that you and I don’t think the same way ;-).

    Like Evolution v. ID, when I use the term “designed”, I simply mean “not by chance – some intelligence was involved”. A chair is designed. A rock is not. A word is designed. The sound the wind makes is not.

    Evolution (RMNS, Neutral theory, KS’ unguided evolution) is Not Designed – no intelligence involved. Language is Designed – requires intelligence to create, sustain, improve; in this case human intelligence.

    Agreed?

  234. 234
    HeKS says:

    @HD #193

    Heks

    I have to respectfully disagree with you. It’s just my opinion, but definitely one that I am sure other readers have felt. Even the title of this thread implies you are having a hard time. The word “Suggests” implies uncertainty and that you don’t have anything concrete.

    Hi HD,

    Regarding the thread title, I chose it only to create consistency with the title that KF wrote on the previous thread when he used one of my preliminary comments as the subject of an OP. KF titled that OP, “HeKS suggests a way forward on the KS ‘bomb’ argument”, but the thread got shut down while discussions where still going. The title of this thread indicates that it continues that thread. There is no deeper meaning to it.

    Furthermore, I can assure you that the only thing I’m having a hard time with is getting Keith to interact honestly with what I’m saying.

    In describing Keith’s tactics I left out one that jumped out at me when I read his most recent response to me. Keith seems to have a very convenient form of short-term memory loss, where you make an argument, he misrepresents a portion of it and responds, you address his misrepresentation and set forth the correct representation of the snippet he misrepresented, then in his next comment he tries to respond to your limited correction, suddenly “forgetting” the context in which it was originally presented, thereby creating yet another misrepresentation.

    For an example of this, just look at the exchange in this thread regarding what is required to “completely wreck” the signal of an ONH that is considered objective from a statistical analysis of a huge number of organisms.

    Keith has been trying to argue that it would have been easy for the designer to “completely wreck” the ONH signal at any time by acting in a way that was inconsistent with it, but that he never did. This argument is patently false, because it pretends the ONH Keith is talking about is objective in an absolute sense (i.e. there really is one perfect tree without any incongruities that could be destroyed with the slightest thing out of place) when, in reality, the ONH he’s referring to is considered “objective” on the basis of statistical correlations between highly incongruent trees. There are significant incongruencies throughout the entire alleged tree of life, but the ONH signal is still not wrecked from a statistical perspective. This is to be expected if new traits (whether introduced by “unguided evolution” or by design) were primarily distributed to subsequent generations through branching descent. As I said to Keith, wrecking the ONH signal “would basically require either an abandonment of using a form of branching descent to distribute traits and facilitate adaptation, or would require a concerted effort to specifically overcome the ONH pattern created by the branching descent process so that it was impossible to get an ONH signal with a high degree of statistical correlation even on an analysis of traits that gave the best, most parsimonious ONH signal.”

    Keith responded by giving an example of something that he thinks would break the ONH signal, which involved randomly assigning identical traits to half of the lineages existing at a given time. But not just once (the distribution of the method of primordial germ cell production across the phyla pretty much matches this requirement). The designer would need to do this habitually, randomly sprinkling identical traits onto organisms, willy-nilly.

    This example from Keith didn’t disagree with what I said about what would be required (he just ignored what I said). This is not easy. This is not a case of, “Oops, I made one wrong move and completely wrecked the ONH signal” as Keith’s argument implies could, and almost certainly would, happen. Rather, this would constitute an example of a concerted effort to specifically overcome the ONH pattern created by the branching descent process. But if the designer used branching descent to distribute traits to subsequent generations while also facilitating adaptation, why would the designer care to put forth a concerted effort to ruin the ONH signal that could be statistically inferred from that process? It’s intuitively implausible, but Keith offers no reason for it.

    And yet, when I pointed out to Keith that I didn’t ask for an example of what he thought would ruin this ONH because I already knew and told him the kind of thing that would be necessary and that it would take a lot to overcome this statistical ONH signal, he replied:

    “First, it’s not difficult to wreck an ONH. Humans do it all the time with their designs, which generally don’t fall into an ONH.”

    Do you see what happened there? Keith jumped back to talking about a hypothetical generic ONH that is objective in an absolute sense rather than one where the objectivity is derived from the statistical correlations between a very large number of incongruent (non-matching) trees. So Keith has just fallen back to repeating a false assertion that he had been trying to sneak by (or perhaps honestly didn’t realize was wrong at first), and presto, we’re back to the false claim that it would be super-easy for the designer to completely wreck the ONH pattern at any time.

    And why is it important for Keith that this false claim remain intact? Because he’s trying to argue that there’s no reason to think the designer would have a particular love of objective nested hierarchies over, supposedly, trillions of other options available to him, and yet just such a love would be implied if the designer meticulously avoided ever making a move that would “completely wreck” the perfect objective nested hierarchical structure, which would have been oh-so-simple. The reality of the situation, however, is that the designer could have acted (and it seems did act) in conflict with the ONH structure all over the place many times and it would not have “completely wrecked” the ONH signal at all.

    If you don’t see the seriousness of the problem here, both in terms of Keith’s tactics and the implications this point has for his argument (keeping in mind this only one part of the problem with his argument), then there’s probably not much I can do to help you understand it further, but if you do see it, then you should realize that this is what has been happening with Keith since square one. He dodges points every which way imaginable, and it becomes an endless cycle of him ignoring or misrepresenting what is said and then falling back to disputed, and often refuted, assertions and assumptions.

    For my part, there’s nothing uncertain in my arguments and I’m not lacking anything concrete. These issues have been apparent to me since the first moment I saw his argument, and they are ultimately fatal to it even if I allow most of his unsubstantiated assumptions. I understand why Keith is ducking and weaving, but don’t be fooled by his hand-waving replies, and don’t be tricked into thinking he’s presenting substantial replies to my points just because he’s writing words directed at me.

  235. 235
    wd400 says:

    4) “Who designed Spanish”? It was developed as a modification to an earlier language, by a group of intelligent agents called…the Spanish.

    There it is, the reason languages fall into nested hierarchies is not because of a design process (because the language as a whole is not designed, even if some words are the result invention), but because of descent with modification.

    Aslo,
    (a) most of the differences between, say, French Itallian and Romanian, are not the result of entirely new words, but drift in the meaning, pronunciation and representation of existing ones. Which, again, is how the nested hierarchy is estimated.
    (b) That human language needs humans does not mean language was designed. Whale song needs whales — did whales design whale song?

  236. 236
    Phinehas says:

    HD:

    Also, if you are sincere in your suggestion that we are having a difficult time with keiths’ argument, please have a look at what WJM wrote @162. It provides a decent summary of some of the ways that the argument fails and has been refuted. Engage it carefully, and then ask yourself whether any of those points have been adequately addressed by keiths. I think you will find most of them have not even been addressed at all.

  237. 237
    Phinehas says:

    wd400:

    There it is, the reason languages fall into nested hierarchies is not because of a design process (because the language as a whole is not designed, even if some words are the result invention), but because of descent with modification.

    This demonstrates rather masterfully where the disconnect lies. Thank you.

    Quite clearly, descent with modification doesn’t preclude intelligent intervention. Nested hierarchies do not preclude the involvement of an agent. Design and objected nested hierarchies are not mutually exclusive concepts. And, certainly, that intelligent intervention might result in an objective nested hierarchy is not a million-to-one proposition.

  238. 238
    wd400 says:

    That might be true if languages were designed…

    (and of course the presence of a nested hierarchy doesn’t preclude a designer — nothing at all can do that)

  239. 239
    Alicia Renard says:

    drc466 writes:

    If nothing else, I think we’ve proven that you and I don’t think the same way ;-).

    It’s communication that is unreliable. Language is an imperfect tool.

    Like Evolution v. ID, when I use the term “designed”, I simply mean “not by chance – some intelligence was involved”. A chair is designed. A rock is not. A word is designed. The sound the wind makes is not.

    I don’t think everything in the universe falls into two neat and separate sets of “designed” and “by chance”. The way you and others here use “designed” is equivocal. The equivocation is clear if you would only switch from passive to active voice. It would clarify who or what is designed the designed object.

    Evolution (RMNS, Neutral theory, KS’ unguided evolution) is Not Designed – no intelligence involved. Language is Designed – requires intelligence to create, sustain, improve; in this case human intelligence.

    Agreed?

    Not really. On evolution, the designer could be considered the environment. Pelagic marine organisms that can swim have an advantage over those that can’t. Orcas, barracuda, sharks and squid are all shaped by the niche they occupy.

    “Language is designed”? – by whom? The people that speak it? Or did it develop over deep time from vocal communication of social apes, through a proto-language in ancient humans?

  240. 240
    Alicia Renard says:

    …most of the differences between, say, French Itallian and Romanian, are not the result of entirely new words, but drift in the meaning, pronunciation and representation of existing ones.

    What have the Romans ever done for us?

    Modern descendants of Latin include Spanish, Portuguese, Catalan, Occitan, Italian, Romanian.

  241. 241
    Silver Asiatic says:

    1) Does human language exist without humans? No – it is not a product of chance.

    I’d like to hear the evolutionary story about the origin of human language through a process that did not involve design or intent (human intelligence).

    Randomly, a sender offered a sound that had no meaning, and randomly a receiver had no intention or interest in understanding it. But then evolution created meaning, and it coevolved to be the same meaning for sender and receiver without either of them realizing it. No design at all.

  242. 242
    Box says:

    Alicia Renard,

    drc466:

    Evolution (RMNS, Neutral theory, KS’ unguided evolution) is Not Designed – no intelligence involved.

    Agreed?

    Alicia Renard:

    Not really. On evolution, the designer could be considered the environment.

    Which part of “no intelligence involved” do you not understand? Or do you hold that the environment is intelligent?

  243. 243
    Silver Asiatic says:

    Or did it develop over deep time from vocal communication of social apes

    Do you think animals are incapable of designing things by intelligence? Beavers accidentally pile logs in streams the way gravity moves rocks to the bottom of a hill?

  244. 244
    wd400 says:

    Silver Asiatic,

    Do you think Whales designed whale song? Or birds designed warning calls? Or bacteria designed quorum sensing?

  245. 245
    Alicia Renard says:

    Box asks:

    Which part of “no intelligence involved” do you not understand?

    “Intelligence”. What that means when used by ID proponents is never made clear.

    Or do you hold that the environment is intelligent?

    See above for what I think about describing anything as “intelligent”. I do like the idea of talking about the niche (the precise environment) any particular organism occupies as its designer.

  246. 246
    Silver Asiatic says:

    Do you think Whales designed whale song?

    Yes, that’s a product of intelligence and intention. It could not possibly have been random. A signal was created to mean something. That’s design.

    Or birds designed warning calls?

    A bird randomly created a sound that meant nothing but it just happened to correlated with danger so another bird who thought it meant nothing just randomly aligned that correlated sound with danger?

    Obviously not. Birds created the informational realtionships and meaning through intelligence. They also build nests through intelligence.

    Or bacteria designed quorum sensing?

    I wouldn’t call that as comparable with language but any kind of informational relationships defy a chance origin.

  247. 247
    Alicia Renard says:

    Silver Asiatic writes:

    Do you think animals are incapable of designing things by intelligence?

    Taking tool use as an example, animals other than humans are able to make and use tools. Not just primates – some members of the Corvidae are skilled in tool use and puzzle solving.

    Beavers accidentally pile logs in streams the way gravity moves rocks to the bottom of a hill?

    Dam building in beavers appears instinctive so this would be a heritable trait rather than a learned skill. Environmental design if you like.

  248. 248
    Alicia Renard says:

    Silver Asiatic writes:

    I’d like to hear the evolutionary story about the origin of human language through a process that did not involve design or intent (human intelligence).

    I doubt anyone who thinks evolutionary processes were at work in the development of human language doubts humans are purposeful beings. But the prerequisites for language, the right sensory apparatus, sound-generating equipment, sufficient brain capacity to manage the processing and muscular control required could not have come about by human intent to speak. The whole panoply must have co-evolved. Hearing is a useful skill for living, finding prey, avoiding predators etc. All sorts of animals can make noises. Primitive insects like crickets use it in finding mates. Social animals: wolves, dolphins, chimps employ sound in social communication. There are no “IC” barriers from this to development of more complex communication leading to language that I can see.

    Randomly, a sender offered a sound that had no meaning, and randomly a receiver had no intention or interest in understanding it. But then evolution created meaning, and it coevolved to be the same meaning for sender and receiver without either of them realizing it. No design at all.

    Did male crickets chirp before female crickets heard them?

  249. 249
    Box says:

    Alicia Renard #245:

    “Intelligence”. What that means when used by ID proponents is never made clear.

    It is hard to believe that someone is so confused about the meaning of ‘intelligence’, that someone would go as far as holding that ‘the environment’ is intelligent. Yet, here you are and I guess you are a live example of such a case.

    Good luck with that.

  250. 250
    Alicia Renard says:

    It is hard to believe that someone is so confused about the meaning of ‘intelligence’, that someone would go as far as holding that ‘the environment’ is intelligent. Yet, here you are and I guess you are a live example of such a case.

    You’ve misunderstood or misread me. I said “intelligence” is not clearly defined by ID proponents such that it is effectively meaningless. I never said the environment is “intelligent”. I said the environmental niche could be described as the designer with respect to an organism.

    ETA …with respect to a population of organisms

  251. 251
    Barry Arrington says:

    AR @ 250 presents us with a nice example of:

    Darwinian Debating Device # 7: “Definition Deficit Disorder”

    The definition in the UD glossary is perfectly clear to all but the willfully obtuse.

  252. 252
    Phinehas says:

    wd400:

    Phin: And, certainly, that intelligent intervention might result in an objective nested hierarchy is not a million-to-one proposition.

    [I can’t tell what the following is responding to, but the above is my best guess.]

    wd400: That might be true if languages were designed…

    Again, are you claiming that there was no intelligent intervention in the formation of language?

  253. 253
    Alicia Renard says:

    Barry Arrington writes:

    AR @ 250 presents us with a nice example of:

    Darwinian Debating Device # 7: “Definition Deficit Disorder”

    The definition in the UD glossary is perfectly clear to all but the willfully obtuse.

    Let me see if I can’t commit DDD number (whichever is to do with quoting from Wikipedia) by quoting from Wikipedia

    The definition of intelligence is controversial. Some groups of psychologists have suggested the following definitions:

    From “Mainstream Science on Intelligence” (1994), an editorial statement by fifty-two researchers:
    A very general mental capability that, among other things, involves the ability to reason, plan, solve problems, think abstractly, comprehend complex ideas, learn quickly and learn from experience. It is not merely book learning, a narrow academic skill, or test-taking smarts. Rather, it reflects a broader and deeper capability for comprehending our surroundings—”catching on,” “making sense” of things, or “figuring out” what to do.[5]

    From “Intelligence: Knowns and Unknowns” (1995), a report published by the Board of Scientific Affairs of the American Psychological Association:
    Individuals differ from one another in their ability to understand complex ideas, to adapt effectively to the environment, to learn from experience, to engage in various forms of reasoning, to overcome obstacles by taking thought. Although these individual differences can be substantial, they are never entirely consistent: a given person’s intellectual performance will vary on different occasions, in different domains, as judged by different criteria. Concepts of “intelligence” are attempts to clarify and organize this complex set of phenomena. Although considerable clarity has been achieved in some areas, no such conceptualization has yet answered all the important questions, and none commands universal assent. Indeed, when two dozen prominent theorists were recently asked to define intelligence, they gave two dozen, somewhat different, definitions.[6][7]

    What does the glossary say?

    Intelligence – Wikipedia aptly and succinctly defines: “capacities to reason, to plan, to solve problems, to think abstractly, to comprehend ideas, to use language, and to learn.”

    🙂

  254. 254
    HeKS says:

    Barry,

    I think we should add a new DDD for Keith as I describe in #234. We could call it the “50 First Dates Disorder” or something like that.

  255. 255
    drc466 says:

    AR,

    Designed = Not by chance. Not difficult. You’ve entered “a dead dog is not really dead” territory. At this point, further discussion is probably pointless. However,

    1) Animal capabilities are either the result of unguided evolution or design built-in by an intelligent designer. Trying to use them as arguments in either direction are pointless exercises in circularity.

    2) Language IS designed.

    “Language is designed”? – by whom? The people that speak it? Or did it develop over deep time from vocal communication of social apes, through a proto-language in ancient humans?

    Again – if you seriously expect anyone to believe that words like “car”, “plane”, “astronaut”, “ship”, “dog”, “cow”, “gold”, “Sun”, “legionnaire”, etc., etc., etc. were “develop[ed] over deep time from vocal communication of social apes, through a proto-language in ancient humans”, you’re delusional.

    wd400,

    There it is, the reason languages fall into nested hierarchies is not because of a design process (because the language as a whole is not designed, even if some words are the result invention), but because of descent with modification.

    So, in other words, it is a perfect corollary for Creation/ID! Thousands upon thousands of unique sound/meaning combinations were created/designed by humans (see a few examples above). Over time, these individual sound/meaning combinations have changed slightly, even split off into multiple sounds with the same meaning based on the same original created sound/meaning combination. These sound/meaning combinations are, over time, being added to, by intelligent design, as new, unique sound/meaning combinations are required. The ONH signal due to the sound variations over time is sufficient to statistically generate an overall ONH, despite the fact that languages contain a multitude of individually-designed sound/meaning combinations, and despite the fact that new sound/meaning combinations are being continuously created.

    Thanks for proving my point, that phylogenies containing original and continuous design input produce ONH’s just as ably as unguided chance operating from a single source! Welcome to the ID camp!

    [Also],
    (a) most of the differences between, say, French Itallian and Romanian, are not the result of entirely new words, but drift in the meaning, pronunciation and representation of existing ones. Which, again, is how the nested hierarchy is estimated.

    Agreed. The individual words of human languages have drifted and changed over time, just like the individual created kinds of dog, horse, ant, spider, etc. have drifted and changed over time. Very creationist of you.

    (b) That human language needs humans does not mean language was designed.

    You also win 2nd-most ridiculous comment of the day.

    Whale song needs whales — did whales design whale song?

    Who/whatever designed whales, designed whale song. Arguing who/what designed whales is a circular argument, as stated above. Whale song is more like dam building in beavers, than language in humans. Whales don’t create new “words”, and develop “language” that is “trained” into the next generations of whales.

  256. 256
    Alicia Renard says:

    Phinehas writes:

    Again, are you [wd400]
    claiming that there was no intelligent intervention in the formation of language?

    I certainly claim that a group of intelligent people did not one day sit down and invent a language for themselves.

  257. 257
    drc466 says:

    AR,

    Did male crickets chirp before female crickets heard them?

    GREAT question! You’re almost there! For unguided evolution, this is a real stumper – does the attraction come before/after the ability to attract? These types of chicken/egg conundrums are in fact one significant argument against evolution. It’s a form of systemic irreducible complexity.
    For ID and creationism, of course, such a question is a no-brainer. The chirp and the hearing were designed simultaneously in the first crickets.

  258. 258
    Alicia Renard says:

    Again – if you seriously expect anyone to believe that words like “car”, “plane”, “astronaut”, “ship”, “dog”, “cow”, “gold”, “Sun”, “legionnaire”, etc., etc., etc. were “develop[ed] over deep time from vocal communication of social apes, through a proto-language in ancient humans”, you’re delusional

    As you say:

    At this point, further discussion is probably pointless.

    Goodness me. One clue. The naming word for an object, concept or idea usually does not precede the existence of the object etc. Hence “astronaut” was formed from two Ancient Greek words meaning “star sailor” when such a class of persons needed describing.

  259. 259
    Phinehas says:

    AR:

    Again, are you [wd400]
    claiming that there was no intelligent intervention in the formation of language?

    I certainly claim that a group of intelligent people did not one day sit down and invent a language for themselves.

    Good for you. I’d tend to agree.

    But that’s not really the question I asked, is it?

  260. 260
    Alicia Renard says:

    drs466 writes:

    GREAT question! You’re almost there! For unguided evolution, this is a real stumper – does the attraction come before/after the ability to attract? These types of chicken/egg conundrums are in fact one significant argument against evolution. It’s a form of systemic irreducible complexity.

    For ID and creationism, of course, such a question is a no-brainer. The chirp and the hearing were designed simultaneously in the first crickets.

    Bush crickets use sound (their ears are located on their knees) to locate prey and avoid predators, so it seems reasonable to think that sound detection systems precede sound producing systems.

    ETA “their ears are”

  261. 261
    Alicia Renard says:

    But that’s not really the question I asked, is it?

    You asked about “intelligent intervention”. According to the UD glossary, intelligence means “capacities to reason, to plan, to solve problems, to think abstractly, to comprehend ideas, to use language, and to learn”. I can’t parse a whole lot of sense from your phrase using that definition. Can an intervention be a capacity or have a capacity?

  262. 262
    Joe says:

    Alicia:

    I said “intelligence” is not clearly defined by ID proponents

    How do you know? You don’t appear to know anything. Intelligence as defined by ID is just the ability to apply knowledge to manipulate nature for some purpose.

    Why do we think that languages are designed? Because they are artifacts. Nature didn’t produce them, that’s for sure…

  263. 263
    Mung says:

    keiths: Speaking of lateral transfers, why do you suppose your designer doesn’t do more of them?

    Mung: There are numerous elements that are shared across numerous different species.

    One way to explain them is to assume that they were inherited by common descent. But then it seems rather silly to ask why some designer hasn’t done lateral transfers. For all you know that’s exactly what happened and the assumption of common descent is false.

    keiths: On the other hand, Mung and Joe are still Joe and Mung, respectively.

    And keiths still has no argument.

    Just today ENV posted an example of this very thing that keiths seems to think could never happen:

    “It may seem strange to consider the fact that you, as a mammal, have all the known genes required to pattern a feather, and yet you do not look like Big Bird. The reason for this discrepancy,” Zimmer insists, “is that genes can do different jobs.” This conclusion was derived from scientists looking at the “genetic recipe for feathers written in the DNA of birds.” This molecular “cookbook” is apparently very old, and “evolution was tinkering with the same [genetic] toolkit” in developing feathers.

    Mission Impossible: Trying to Explain the Feather Without Teleology

  264. 264
    Mung says:

    Addressing yet more nonsense from keiths:

    keiths claims as a significant pillar of his argument that designers can create literally untold numbers (“trillions”) of objective nested hierarchies.

    What’s his evidence for this claim? How has he supported it? What makes these trillions of imagined nested hierarchies objective?

    I am still Mung and Joe is still Joe and keiths still has no argument.

  265. 265
    Mung says:

    keiths:

    Don’t either of you have the slightest curiosity about how the 2LoT really works?

    So much for sticking to your “bomb” of an argument.

    keiths:

    Quest,

    Your question is off-topic. We are discussing my “bomb” argument in this thread.

    Some of us are, or are trying to. You’re not.

  266. 266
    Alicia Renard says:

    mung writes:

    keiths claims as a significant pillar of his argument that designers can create literally untold numbers (“trillions”) of objective nested hierarchies.

    What’s his evidence for this claim? How has he supported it? What makes these trillions of imagined nested hierarchies objective?

    It’s a hard concept to grasp but it involves entailments. Because ID theory amounts to no more than “it’s designed, I tells ya”, ID “theory” will fit any scenario regarding life’s diversity on earth. No entailments – no theory!

  267. 267
    Mung says:

    Zachriel: Which has more thermodynamic order, a brain or an equal weight of diamonds?

    Yes.

  268. 268
    Mung says:

    wd400:

    Who designed Spanish?

    My Spanish teacher.

    Rosetta Stone later came up with a better design.

    Neither one violated the law of ONH.

  269. 269
    Mung says:

    HeKS,

    It’s interesting isn’t it, how we treat the critics and skeptics differently and how they treat us differently?

    Not that the results are any different 😉

  270. 270
    Mung says:

    Alicia Renard:

    I certainly claim that a group of intelligent people did not one day sit down and invent a language for themselves.

    Well, you would be wrong. Humans have invented all sorts of languages and they do it all the time.

    One of my favorites:

    Yukihiro Matsumoto (“Matz”), the creator of Ruby, is a professional programmer who worked for the Japanese open source company, netlab.jp.

    In case you’re not hearing me, try:

    American Sign Language

  271. 271
    Joe says:

    LoL! @ Alicia- unguided evolution doesn’t have any entailments.

    As for ID we have told you what it entails yet you choose to remain willfully ignorant. Why you think that your ignorance refutes ID is the question.

  272. 272
    HeKS says:

    Mung,

    It’s interesting isn’t it, how we treat the critics and skeptics differently and how they treat us differently?

    Not that the results are any different 😉

    I’m not sure exactly what you mean.

    Also, Keith’s argument doesn’t claim that the designer could have created a trillion different objective nested hierarchies. His argument claims that the designer could have created a trillion different patterns other than an objective nested hierarchy and we have no reason to think he would prefer to create an objective nested hierarchy rather than something else.

    As I’ve told him several times now, this argument is entirely wrong-headed (SEE #117). Not that he’s actually interacted with what I’ve said or anything.

  273. 273
    Box says:

    HeKS,

    Would you care to comment on what I wrote in post #161?

  274. 274
    drc466 says:

    AR @258

    Goodness me. One clue. The naming word for an object, concept or idea usually does not precede the existence of the object etc. Hence “astronaut” was formed from two Ancient Greek words meaning “star sailor” when such a class of persons needed describing.

    Ah, finally. I was hoping someone would try to use the “this word isn’t designed because it is formed from two previous words”. Two points to consider:
    1) Neither “Star” nor “Sailor” convey the meaning “Star Sailor”. While the parts already existed with different meanings, only intelligent design (a person) could put the two together into a single unit to convey a heretofore unused and unneeded concept – a person who moves among the stars.
    2) If we were to accept that joining or modifying existing words to create new words with new meanings didn’t indicate design, by analogy combining pre-existing objects to create new objects with new function would also not indicate design – to wit, you could claim that a wheelbarrow was not designed, because after all the wheel, the rod, and the basket already existed.

    And, fortunately or unfortunately, with that I must leave these boards for awhile. Later all!

  275. 275
    Vishnu says:

    Look, folks, Keiths’s “bomb” is not bomb.

    Falsified. Over. And over. And over. And over again.

    Barry, how long will this be going on?

    Not telling you how to run your show here, but…

    How much more attention is going to be given to this… whatever you want to call it.

    Just curious.

  276. 276
    Mung says:

    HeKS:

    I’m not sure exactly what you mean.

    Using your approach is like attracting flies with honey. You treat them respectfully, you take them seriously, and in return you get what? More flies?

    I’m thinking we must come from vastly different cultures.

    Are you familiar with saying “You catch more flies with honey than you do with vinegar”?

    You might catch more flies, but it’s still a fly.

  277. 277
    Me_Think says:

    Vishnu @ 275
    Barry knows Keiths is UD’s rainmaker. Without keith there is no point in running UD!

  278. 278
    Vishnu says:

    Too much rain can make one feel waterlogged

  279. 279
    Me_Think says:

    Vishnu
    Waterlogged ? I am not sure if you know what rainmaker means.

  280. 280
    Vishnu says:

    Me_think,

    Yeah, I know what it means…

    After all, I saw the movie.

    Plus my best bud is a lawyer.

    Do you get the joke? Well, evidently not. I’m not the best joke-ster.

    How old are you? 12?

    Forgive me.

  281. 281
    HeKS says:

    Mung,

    Using your approach is like attracting flies with honey. You treat them respectfully, you take them seriously, and in return you get what? More flies?

    The way I treat my opponents reflects on me. The way they respond and/or generally behave reflects on them. A good argument doesn’t need rudeness to bolster it, nor does it require an unending string of evasions to defend it. Weak arguments need at least one and usually both of those things. When I see people behaving poorly, consistently resorting to name-calling, and/or consistently misrepresenting and evading counter-arguments, I typically assume the person knows (even if only deep down) that they don’t have a good argument. Why should I mimic that behavior when I know my own arguments are sound and when I’m interested in reasoning on things honestly rather than simply being a stubborn ideologue?

    As for the bit about honey attracting flies and vinegar repelling them, why should that cause me to use ‘vinegar’? I’m not trying to push away honest and serious discussion, and, in practice, when you develop a reputation for employing ‘vinegar’ as a go-to debate tactic, people who really are capable of engaging in honest and serious discussion will be far more likely to avoid you than the ‘flies’ who are still perfectly content to buzz around your head while spouting their “irrefutable” nonsense.

  282. 282
    Andre says:

    Our materialist friends are just too precious….

    Speech evolved from a common ancestor……

    I say all well and fine if you have a good imagination but here is the issue and it’s a biggie…..

    For information to mean anything, in this case speech the system has some minimum requirements that have to be in place before you can even transact…..

    Stuff like encoders and decoders….. they can’t evolve because they are prerequisites for the system to work…..

    But please don’t let this stand in the way of your vivid imaginations……

  283. 283
    HeKS says:

    @Box

    Re: your #161

    HeKS touches on what I have called Keith’s category mistake. Decisions by a free agent cannot be equated with the role of a die. If Keith insists on doing so, he is required to make the further unsupported assumption, that the designer is completely indifferent about the ordering of life.
    IOW in order for the comparison of a designer with a trillion-sided die to make sense, Keith has to make the following unsupported assumptions:

    1. There are a trillion options available for the designer.
    2. The designer is completely indifferent about the ordering of life.

    Indifference implies that the designer has no reason at all to favor one option over others. IOW Keith has to add more unsupported assumptions, and in effect strip a free agent of his ‘personhood’ – choice, reason, preference -, in order to equate a free agent to a random process like the role of a die.

    I very much agree with you. If there’s any point where there might be room to quibble it’s in saying that Keith’s assumption is that the designer is “indifferent about the ordering of life”. That may be exactly right, and basically is exactly what Keith is assuming – or at least thinks he’s assuming – in his argument. However, if you consider the matter in light of what I’ve been saying to Keith about what would be required for the designer to “completely wreck” the statistical ONH signal, Keith would actually have to assume that the designer passionately wants to eradicate any statistically inferable ONH signal that would naturally be left behind as the byproduct of a process that used branching descent as a method to distribute traits to subsequent generations while also facilitating organismal adaptation through microevolutionary processes.

    The first assumption turns the designer into a random natural process. The second assigns a bizarre, intuitively implausible psychology to the designer that cannot be remotely inferred from the details of the systems that are inferred to be designed. Neither one makes any sense.

  284. 284
    Mung says:

    HeKS:

    The way I treat my opponents reflects on me.

    Indeed it does. But it misses the point. The way you treat opponents could be due to your ignorance and it could reflect your ignorance. You could be naive. But that’s not the point I was trying to make.

    My point was that no matter how an opponent is treated, the same result is obtained.

    So how is it that your approach is better than the approach of anyone else here at UD? Seriously, I want to know.

    What do you think it takes to get our opponents to engage in honest and constructive debate?

  285. 285
    Andre says:

    I can say this with certainty, our opponents are not interested in truth…… The whole PCD debate highlights that, distortion of what I’ve posted, ignoring tactics, false accusations and lastly flat out science denial.

    CS Lewis said it best about our opponents.

    “I’m not interested in finding out whether the real universe is more like what the Christians say than what the Materialists say. All I’m interested in is leading a good life. I’m going to choose beliefs not because I think them true but because I find them helpful.”

  286. 286
    keith s says:

    Andre @285:

    CS Lewis said it best about our opponents.

    “I’m not interested in finding out whether the real universe is more like what the Christians say than what the Materialists say. All I’m interested in is leading a good life. I’m going to choose beliefs not because I think them true but because I find them helpful.”

    Andre,

    You know what’s funny? Lewis mocks that viewpoint, but it could have come straight from the mouth of William J Murray, who writes things like that all the time:

    As it doesn’t matter to me if my beliefs are true or not, doubt of any kind is a non-issue.

    I guess you could say that I’m the ultimate pragmatist; I don’t care if my beliefs are true; I only care that they work (or at least appear to). If they stopped working, I’d believe something else. Doubt, in my system, is a non-sequitur.

    It isn’t your opponents who don’t care about the truth. It’s your fellow IDer, William J Murray.

    Box made the same mistake as you. I’ve pointed it out a couple of times, but Box is too embarrassed to reply.

  287. 287
    Andre says:

    Keith S

    You are not one bit interested in truth. You have no intellectual honour and that is plain for all to see.

    Lastly if you can’t believe yourself why the hell should we?

  288. 288
    HeKS says:

    Mung,

    Indeed it does. But it misses the point. The way you treat opponents could be due to your ignorance and it could reflect your ignorance. You could be naive. But that’s not the point I was trying to make.

    Well, if you want to associate choosing to be respectful and charitable in debate with ignorance and naivete, it’s certainly within your rights to do so. But for my part, I’m not charitable because I’m gullible. I’m charitable because I choose to be. I’m respectful because I choose to be. And because I choose to debate this way, if you see me question the honesty of an opponent’s tactics or eventually choose to write someone off as being disingenuous or arguing in bad faith, you can be quite sure that I’m doing so because I honestly believe they have more than earned that accusation and are simply wasting my time rather than because I’m being uncharitable and simply using those accusations as an excuse to exit a discussion.

    Of course, if and when I eventually leave this discussion with Keith, you can bet he’s going to claim that it’s for the latter reason, but it’s not the likes of people like him that I want to make sure recognize the truth of the matter.

    My point was that no matter how an opponent is treated, the same result is obtained.

    That’s an interesting theory, but I don’t happen to agree with it. That may be true of some opponents, like those who are completely closed off to any kind of criticism or counter-argument, but why would that be universally true? Do you really think there’s no such thing as an open-minded opponent who honestly disagrees with you but is at least open to the possibility that they might be mistaken? And do you really think that being rude and overly antagonistic couldn’t possibly shut down conversation with a person who could otherwise be persuaded by sound-reasoning delivered respectfully?

    So how is it that your approach is better than the approach of anyone else here at UD? Seriously, I want to know.

    Huh? Where on earth did you get that from? All I said was that I don’t agree with one aspect (rudeness and name-calling) of the approach that some people here (on both sides) employ. I’m not sure how you get from that to the idea that I’ve claimed my approach is better than the approach of anyone else at UD. I don’t think that and I didn’t say anything remotely likely that.

    What do you think it takes to get our opponents to engage in honest and constructive debate?

    Well, they need to be honest and open to constructive debate. You can’t force people to be like that. But even when they aren’t like that, I don’t see the need to resort to rudeness and name-calling (though I recognize that frustration may occasionally get the better of anyone). Should we strongly and pointedly draw attention to their poor tactics and reasoning? Sure. Even repeatedly. If they’ve exhausted your intellectual charity and seem to be behaving dishonestly, say so. But if the discussion gets to the point that you’re not motivated to do anything other than point out how stupid you think someone is, well, that’s around the time I would personally choose to exit the discussion because nothing else of any use is likely to come from either side. But that’s me. If someone else chooses to do otherwise, that’s their business. But in my personal opinion it’s counterproductive and can reflect poorly on the position someone is arguing for. Many of the rabid anti-ID people resort to insults, misrepresentation and faulty logic because those are the only tools in their toolbox. Why follow their lead when we can do better?

  289. 289
    HeKS says:

    Keith,

    I’ll address your #141 tomorrow

  290. 290
    keith s says:

    Box #161:

    HeKS touches on what I have called Keith’s category mistake. Decisions by a free agent cannot be equated with the role of a die. If Keith insists on doing so, he is required to make the further unsupported assumption, that the designer is completely indifferent about the ordering of life.

    HeKS #283:

    I very much agree with you.

    Box, HeKS,

    You guys aren’t getting it.

    When I assign equal probabilities to all of the possibilities, I am not doing it because I think the designer is indifferent. I’m doing it because it’s the only sensible thing to do.

    I explained this to William:

    You have no observations of your purported designer to fall back on, so you can’t rule out any of the possibilities. It’s the principle of indifference: you can’t rule any possibilities out, so you can’t assign them a probability of zero; you can’t be certain of any of the possibilities either, so you can’t assign a probability of one to any of them. What’s left? You have to assign nonzero probabilities. But not just any nonzero probabilities. They have to be equal nonzero probabilities, because otherwise you are favoring some possibilities over others, with no justification.

    It’s both common sense and standard statistical practice. I think the only reason you have trouble with it is that you don’t like the implications it has for ID.

    Be brave, William.

    Again, it is not because I’m assuming the designer is indiffiernt. The probabilities are equal simply because we have no reason for making them unequal.

  291. 291
    Andre says:

    Heks

    I am all for cordial, civilised and honest discussion, but you can not categorize Keith S’s tripe in any of those, to be blunt its not even based on any testable claims, just on how Keith S feels about things. I think however the frustration lies in the fact that he is just not willing to engage with the meat of the matter.

    Keith S can be safely dismissed as a crackpot. After all we have spent more than 3000 comments in the last four weeks to help him with his faulty logic and it’s been to no avail……

    Matthew 10:14 give us some good advice on how to deal with people like Keith S.

    “Whoever does not receive you, nor heed your words, as you go out of that house or that city, shake the dust off your feet.”

    I’m dusting my feet ….

  292. 292
    HeKS says:

    Keith,

    With more than the due respect, I think you are the one who isn’t getting it. I understand perfectly what you’re trying to say, but I also understand why it’s wrong. Tomorrow I’ll try to explain to you why what you’re saying doesn’t make any sense. Will it get through? Probably not. But I’ll try.

  293. 293
    HeKS says:

    Andre,

    Heks

    I am all for cordial, civilised and honest discussion, but you can not categorize Keith S’s tripe in any of those

    I don’t, and I didn’t. I only described how I think people should behave in debate and how I try to.

    I’m dusting my feet ….

    I think that’s perfectly understandable and respectable.

  294. 294
    keith s says:

    HeKS #283:

    Keith would actually have to assume that the designer passionately wants to eradicate any statistically inferable ONH signal that would naturally be left behind as the byproduct of a process that used branching descent as a method to distribute traits to subsequent generations while also facilitating organismal adaptation through microevolutionary processes.

    No, I’m simply saying that we can’t quantify the designer’s determination to wreck the ONH (or preserve it). We know nothing about the designer. (How many times do I have to repeat that?)

    The first assumption turns the designer into a random natural process.

    No, as I explained just above in #290.

    The second assigns a bizarre, intuitively implausible psychology to the designer that cannot be remotely inferred from the details of the systems that are inferred to be designed. Neither one makes any sense.

    Did you say ‘intuitively implausible psychology’? It sounds like you are claiming some knowledge of the designer. I pointed this out earlier in #141:

    Secondly, you appear to be making an awful lot of assumptions about the designer. On what basis?

    Practically every IDer I’ve encountered says that we can’t assume anything about the designer, and that “the designer wouldn’t have done it that way” is not a permissible argument. Do you disagree?

    If you would like to make assumptions about the designer, that’s fine. Just be aware that you must justify them. They can’t be ad hoc assumptions introduced simply for the purpose of conforming the designer to the evidence — that’s the Rain Fairy fallacy.

    Not only must you justify your assumptions, but the justifications must be of trillions-to-one strength, to compensate for the trillions-to-one advantage of UE in explaining the ONH.

  295. 295
    HeKS says:

    Keith,

    I’m pretty sure I just said a few comments ago that I’d answer 141 tomorrow.

  296. 296
    keith s says:

    HeKS:

    I’m pretty sure I just said a few comments ago that I’d answer 141 tomorrow.

    I noticed. So?

  297. 297
    keith s says:

    HD #193:

    Obviously I believe him [keith s] to be wrong. I have tried to lay it down quite simply. If a God exists, he would chose a motif to create. That is something even Keith has to agree on.

    Not exactly. There doesn’t have to be a consistent motif. A designer could change motifs or go with a more free-form approach.

    Once that motif is used, we can decipher it. Where Keith is WRONG is his circular logic that God is using a motif to mimic unguided evolution.

    I’m not saying that God the Designer chose it because he wanted to imitate unguided evolution. He may have chosen it for a different reason, or because he was somehow limited and had no alternative.

    The point is that whether it is intentional or not, he ends up mimicking what unguided evolution would produce, because the ONH is exactly what UE predicts out of trillions of possibilities.

    In this case with Keith, I don’t have to demonstrate WHY God would chose XYZ.

    You have to justify the assumption that God would produce an ONH. If you assume it without justification, you are committing the Rain Fairy fallacy.

    All I need to show is where Keith is wrong in his assertion that it IS unguided and why God would want to use something that LOOKS like it is. And since he (or I) don’t have another Universe with some other form of evolution to compare it to, his argument falls apart. You can’t just compare UE to ID. In order to do that you first have to demonstrate it IS unguided. Only then can you make a comparison against ID.

    No, because we already know that mutation rates are slow, that inheritance is predominantly vertical, that selection and drift are real, and that microevolution can proceed without guidance. We also know that if those things are responsible for macroevolution as well as microevolution, then an ONH will result. In other words, the ONH is a prediction of unguided evolution.

    True, I can not prove scientifically that evolution is guided (I know ID disagrees) but the corollary is equally true against Keith. Therefore bringing up the rain fairy and weather is a non sequitar. Weather doesn’t do what evolution does. God may or may not decide where it will rain tomorrow. Irrelevant to whether ultimately, evolution is goal oriented and God chose that self-reflecting entity called man would emerge.

    The Rain Fairy et al do apply, because the logic is the same. As I said in my OP:

    This is a big problem for IDers. They concede that unguided evolution can bring about microevolutionary changes, but they claim that it cannot be responsible for macroevolutionary changes. Yet they give no plausible reasons why microevolutionary changes, accumulating over a long period of time, should fail to produce macroevolutionary changes. All they can assert is that somehow there is a barrier that prevents microevolution from accumulating and turning into macroevolution.

    Having invented a barrier, they must invent a Designer to surmount it. And having invented a Designer, they must arbitrarily constrain his behavior (as explained above) to match the data. Three wild, unsupported assumptions: 1) that a barrier exists; 2) that a Designer exists; and 3) that the Designer always acts in ways that mimic evolution. (We often hear that evolution is a designer mimic, so it’s amusing to ponder a Designer who is an evolution mimic.) Unguided evolution requires no such wild assumptions in order to explain the data. Since it doesn’t require these arbitrary assumptions, it is superior to ID as an explanation.

    Here’s an analogy that may help. Imagine you live during the time of Newton. You hear that he’s got this crazy idea that gravity, the force that makes things fall on earth, is also responsible for the orbits of the moon around the earth and of the earth and the other planets around the sun. You scoff, because you’re convinced that there is an invisible, undetected barrier around the earth, outside of which gravity cannot operate. Because of this barrier, you are convinced of the need for angels to explain why the moon and the planets follow the paths they do. If they weren’t pushed by angels, they would go in straight lines. And because the moon and planets follow the paths they do, which are the same paths predicted by Newton on the basis of gravity, you assume that the angels always choose those paths, even though there are trillions of other paths available to them.

    Instead of extrapolating from earthly gravity to cosmic gravity, you assume there is a mysterious barrier. Because of the barrier, you invent angels. And once you invent angels, you have to restrict their behavior so that planetary paths match what would have been produced by gravity. Your angels end up being gravity mimics. Laughable, isn’t it?

    Yet the ‘logic’ of ID is exactly the same. Instead of extrapolating from microevolution to macroevolution, IDers assume that there is a mysterious barrier that prevents unguided macroevolution from happening. Then they invent a Designer to leap across the barrier. Then they restrict the Designer’s behavior to match the evidence, which just happens to be what we would expect to see if unguided macroevolution were operating. The Designer ends up being an unguided evolution mimic.

  298. 298
    keith s says:

    Regarding William’s list of “refutations” in #162:

    Each one has already been rebutted, except for #9, which I will handle below.

    Keep trying, folks.

    And if you disagree with my assessment, cite the “refutation” at issue and explain why my rebuttal does not succeed. Don’t merely repeat the “refutation”. (I’m looking straight at you, William.)

  299. 299
    keith s says:

    From “refutation” #9 on William’s list:

    9. Keith made the wrong kind of argument altogether. The argument posted here was in response to Barry Arrington’s challenge for a “science bomb” that would demonstrate natural forces up to the task of generating CSI.

    No, and you can verify that by simply reading the OP.

    Why are you so undisciplined, William? Do the homework yourself.

    Barry asked for a “science bomb” that would “destroy my naive belief in ID.” I can’t control his reaction, of course, but I did provide him with a “science bomb” that ought to destroy his naive belief in ID.

    A month later, and IDers are still trying to defuse it.

  300. 300
    Alicia Renard says:

    drc466 writes:

    1) Neither “Star” nor “Sailor” convey the meaning “Star Sailor”. While the parts already existed with different meanings, only intelligent design (a person) could put the two together into a single unit to convey a heretofore unused and unneeded concept – a person who moves among the stars.

    Because you added the qualifier “a person” to the “intelligent design”, I find this statement perfectly in accordance with my own view. Of course language development needs the sort of intelligence (capacity to learn etc – thanks Barry!) that human beings possess and likely their ancestors possessed indistinguishably hundreds of thousands of years ago.

    2) If we were to accept that joining or modifying existing words to create new words with new meanings didn’t indicate design, by analogy combining pre-existing objects to create new objects with new function would also not indicate design – to wit, you could claim that a wheelbarrow was not designed, because after all the wheel, the rod, and the basket already existed.

    If you had included the “a person” qualifier, I would again be in agreement. But in fact language often seems to change in much the same way that evolutionary processes are postulated to occur. Words and phrases catch on and become popular, some die out, meanings change over time.

    Regarding your wheelbarrow analogy, I wonder if it was invented more than once? Interestingly, historical research into the origin/s of wheelbarrows is hampered by there being no common terminology for a “wheelbarrow” until long after their coming into use.

  301. 301

    Keith said:

    Again, it is not because I’m assuming the designer is indiffiernt. The probabilities are equal simply because we have no reason for making them unequal.

    Once again, the possibilities keith is attempting to use are not known possibilities of any putative, available and adequate designer to implement, so they say nothing at all about the probability of any designer to implement any of them. What he is talking about are re-configurations of the pattern of living organisms on on earth Keith imagines possible, nothing more, which he then simply assigns to a designer without warrant.

    Keith is apparently immune to this simple correction of his erroneous logic.

  302. 302
    Joe says:

    Barry asked for a “science bomb” that would “destroy my naive belief in ID.”

    And no one can deliver such a thing. Go figure…

  303. 303
    Joe says:

    The point is that whether it is intentional or not, he ends up mimicking what unguided evolution would produce, because the ONH is exactly what UE predicts out of trillions of possibilities.

    Seeing that unguided evolution has proven to impotent it is easy to see that keith s is either deluded or lying.

  304. 304
    Joe says:

    No, because we already know that mutation rates are slow, that inheritance is predominantly vertical, that selection and drift are real, and that microevolution can proceed without guidance.

    We don’t know that microevolution can occur without guidance.

  305. 305

    Keith said:

    The Rain Fairy et al do apply, because the logic is the same.

    As has been pointed out: Keith claims natural processes can produce X (biological diversity), and so ID is unnecessary. That is the very point ID disputes; that specific claim about that particular thing.

    ID asks Keith to scientifically support his claim that natural processes can produce X (biodiversity) specifically. In supposed response to that request, Keith points to things A,B, and C that ID does not dispute, indeed, agrees have been adequately, scientifically explained by natural forces, and then bizarrely claim that we are being inconsistent.

    By his argument, ID cannot challenge **anything** anyone claims is adequately caused by natural forces simply because ID doesn’t challenge all such claims. In cases where ID agrees that natural forces are shown to be sufficient, ID is satisfied natural forces are the better explanation (orbits of the planets, weather patterns, the pattern of salt falling from a shaker).

    Essentially, Keith is saying he doesn’t have to support his assertion that natural forces can sufficiently explain biodiversity because ID agrees that natural forces can adequately explain other things.

    Again, Keith is apparently immune to understanding where his logic went off the rails here.

  306. 306
    Box says:

    Keith,

    I would like to submit to the long list of refutations of your “argument” the following:

    ** UE does not predict an ONH but chaos and death instead **

    UE (unguided evolution) does not predict ONH (objective nested hierarchy of lifeforms), because when we reduce UE to natural forces, it becomes clear that it can predict nothing but an increase of entropy – IOW disorder, chaos, failure and death.

    Under materialism an organism is nothing but a bag of chemicals. Given the the second law of thermodynamics (2LoT) we expect a regular increase of entropy (more and more disorder/chaos) in a bag of chemicals.

    This is not what we see. What we see instead is a force that ‘defies the 2LoT’* – until the moment of “death” (admittedly a meaningless term under materialism).

    Random mutations and natural selection are either unhelpful or meaningless wrt order.

    Conclusion: Natural forces – which constitute UE – are inadequate to explain life and its continued existence and therefor inadequate to explain / predict ONH.


    *‘defies the 2LoT’ – n.b. does NOT mean ‘violates the 2LoT’ or ‘discontinues the 2LoT’, but rather ‘overpowers the 2LoT’.

  307. 307

    HeKS @234:

    Well said. Rest assured, the pattern of Keith’s arguments has been observed and commented on before, even by his compatriots at TSZ (if you don’t give Keith an IDist to target, he soon turns on others with this same debate style.

    I’ve debated keith many times. Virtually all of keith’s arguments involve hidden or unsupportable assumptions that he expects to remain unchallenged. I don’t think he does this consciously beause he is completely unprepared for the challenge and then insists his assumption is valid – much like he has done here about several different things.

    When you point out the problems with keith’s arguments, he starts turning more and more to reiteration, out-of-context responses, narrative and ridicule.

    There’s little doubt, IMO, that keith simply thought his “trillions of possibilities for the designer” would not be challenged because Keith formulated that argument to go against a certain kind of theistic view, which is a sort of “magical omnipotent god” perspective. Anyone with this perspective probably wouldn’t even think to challenge Keith’s “trillions” assumption because they would assume the same thing: that the magically omnipotent designer could just pop living creatures up willy-nilly wherever and whenever he wanted to, with whatever traits anyone could imagine – which is why Keith doesen’t hesitate to assign whatever he can imagine as an actual possibility available to the putative designer.

    Keith’s responses make sense if you assume Keith is thinking about a magically omnipotent desginer – THEN, of course, any imaginable possibility is an actual possibility for the designer.

    Also, I’ve noticed that Keith and others like him seem unable to hypothesize from someone else’s point of view. This is apparent in the comparative examples he, Zachriel and Adapa think are unquestionably appropriate and, to them, reveal the ID position to be ridiculous (Rain Fairy, orbital Angels, etc.). From their perspective, it seems, there is no scientific difference between the orbits of planets and what goes on in a cell, as if natural laws have been not only been shown to be causally adequate, but shown to mathematically predict (like the orbits of the planets) the advent of life and the rise of biocomplexity.

    Their ridiculing examples demonstrate this believed equivalence, as if it is tantamount to stupidity or insanity to even ask for support that unguided forces are sufficient in the case of biocomplexity.

    If one asked for a demonstration that gravity and other involved natural forces were adequate explanations for the path of an object around a planet, one could easily do so by plugging in the mathematical equations that describe the predictable patterns generated by these interacting forces. If these predictions fail to predict the path, something is wrong with the equations or there is another force acting on the object. Given certain kinds of paths, it may become necessary to add an intelligent causal agency to list of causal factors – whether one refers to angels, an intelligent pilot, or some kind of automated maneuvering system.

    Where is the natural-law formulaic predictive model for abiogenesis or the development of diverse biocomplexity? Astronomers and weathermen have such metrics that are used for predictive models that they can use if challenged that some phenomena is natural or not.

    Where is the naturalism/darwinism model?

    But, it seems that Keith et al cannot even step outside of their own perspective, put themselves in the shoes of an IDist (outside of cartoonish tropes and caricatures) and honestly ask themselves – how is abiogenesis and evolutionary naturalism demonstrated in the same way most orbital pathways are demonstrated natural?

    Keith is wrong when he claims that astronomers also “assume” that the pathways of objects around planets are natural. Astronomers do not just assume orbital paths are adequately explained by natural forces; they can conclusively, scientifically demonstrate it. Keith et al have already admitted they can only assume “unguided evolution” sufficient to the task of explaining biocomplexity.

    Yet, they draw an equivalence between an assumption of “sufficiently explained via unguided forces” in biology, and a scientifically conclusive demonstration of “sufficiently epxplained via unguided forces” in astronomy. Does keith really think that no astronomer could tell the difference between a natural path of an object in space and what appeared to be an intelligent maneuvering of an object in space or around the planet?

    It’s almost like a complete failure to honestly and vigorously challenge one’s own views. One of the ways I change my views is by vigorously arguing against them internally to see where my views are weak or unsupportable. Keith, Zachariel, AR, LH and Adapa seem to blindly blunder into making the most painfully erroneous and irrational statements as if they have never mentally explored the territory via internal debate or consideration.

  308. 308

    Box,

    That entropy argument is the bomb 🙂

    However, I think “overpowers the 2LoT is still a phrase that Darwinist will insist on misconstruing. I suggest: abiogenesis and the increase of stable, self-regulating biocomplexity by known natural forces is entropy-implausible. Life is a 2LoT implausibility.

    Yes, it’s possible, but scientifically implausible and as such is not a predictable outcome and so is not a good scientific theory. The only agency we see that consistently generates such entropy-implausible outcomes is intelligent design.

  309. 309
    DNA_Jock says:

    Andre @285

    The whole PCD debate highlights that, distortion of what I’ve posted, ignoring tactics, false accusations and lastly flat out science denial.

    I might say the same thing, but I’m not given to whining.

    I really haven’t been ignoring you, Andre: I guess you missed my post at 160.
    Do take a look.
    🙂

  310. 310
    Box says:

    WJM: Keith’s responses make sense if you assume Keith is thinking about a magically omnipotent designer – THEN, of course, any imaginable possibility is an actual possibility for the designer.

    And we are right to counter Keith by pointing out that ID doesn’t posit such an omnipotent designer. However I can imagine that Keith and some theists may regard the ID response to be a ‘convenient’ way out – valid or not.

    That’s why I believe it to be important to point out that in order to morph the designer into a trillion-sided die – as Keith does – more unsupported assumptions have to be added to the mix.
    In effect Keith has to strip the designer of personhood and add the unsupported assumption of a designer who is totally indifferent about the ordering of life – as indifferent as a trillion-sided die – see #161.

    I’m glad to read HeKS’ announcement (see post #292) to write about this subject.

  311. 311
    Box says:

    WJM:

    Life is a 2LoT
    implausibility

    I couldn’t agree more.

    BTW it would look great on a t-shirt.

  312. 312
    logically_speaking says:

    The objective nested hierarchy test.

    This is my “bomb” to Keiths “bomb”.

    Let’s make things really easy and basic.

    The pile of cutlery contains, knives, forks and spoons. These will be classified as the functions. The materials shall be wood, plastic and metal. Finally the sizes shall be categorised as small, medium and large. I mention all this so that you may repeat the experiment if you wish. I am concentrating on the end product here and presenting a very simple table of the results.

    Now because of how basic the nested hierarchies can be we are able to see ALL of the possible outcomes. There turns out to be 6 ways of arranging the cutlery in nested hierarchies, these are from the bottom up;

    1. Material < size < function
    2. Material < function < size
    3. Function < size < material
    4. Function < material < size
    5. Size < function < material
    6. Size < material < function

    Because we can see ALL of the trees, statistical analysis will be worthless because in this case all of the nests are equally "correct".

    However lets now throw some evolutionists in to the experiment.

    These evolutionists assume that the cutlery was changed over time by the manufacturers of the cutlery, there job is to find out the order of decent.

    (This is the assumption of common decent)

    The evolutionists decide that because the functions of the cutlery are what determines how they are used today, must mean that function should be placed at the ends of each tree.

    (This is the subjective consensus of which traits are more important than others)

    Also there are only 4 scientists that can only do one tree each.

    (This represents the limitations of resources in that not ALL possibilities can be accounted for in the history of life)

    Now the nests that the evolutionists make are these;

    1. Material < size < function
    2. Material < function < size
    3. Function < size < material
    4. Size < material < function

    As they have agreed that function should be placed at the ends of the trees, they come to the conclusion that some of the trees must be in error. Therefore they must use statistical analysis to provide the "best fit".

    The statistical analysis provides the best fit objective nested hierarchy as;

    Material < size < function.

    As must be obvious, this so called ONH is an illusion.

    Even though this example is very basic and I have deliberately limited certain things, the principles, reasoning and problems behind this expirement can be scaled up to the biological ONH.

    One thing is certain, for any statistical analysis to be of any value for "best fit", you must first know ALL of the possibilities available, not mearly most.

    Unfortunately for the objective nested hierarchy of life, subjectivity has sneaked in through the back door and the front door, and even through windows.

    One of the main reasons why we can generate a "fake" objective nested hierarchy on the tree of life, is that as Keith acknowledges, there are literally trillions of possibilities of how life developed. It is impossible to take all the possible outcomes into consideration when doing the statistical analysis on the tree of life.

  313. 313

    The difference between the theory of gravity and Darwinism is that an astronomer has a predictive, mathematical model that can demonstrate natural forces to be sufficient explanations for the path of an object around the Earth, while Darwinists are still scrambling around trying to find a model that renders abiogenesis and the rise of biocomplexity remotely plausible.

  314. 314
    Phinehas says:

    WJM:

    It’s almost like a complete failure to honestly and vigorously challenge one’s own views.

    Exactly. Isn’t it ironic that at TSZ, you are likely to run into some of the lest skeptical people you will ever find anywhere?

  315. 315
    Phinehas says:

    keiths:

    Regarding William’s list of “refutations” in #162:

    Each one has already been rebutted, except for #9, which I will handle below.

    Unless you are using “rebutted” in a very broad way, this news is quite incredible (in every sense of the word). Would you be so kind as to point out these rebuttals? Maybe you could take the list point-by-point so that we could see all of your rebuttals in one place.

  316. 316
    logically_speaking says:

    Zachriel,

    logically_speaking: I can only conclude that you concede or agree with the points you don’t respond to, such as the tree of life uses circular reasoning.

    You:
    We responded to your “circular reasoning” argument by pointing out how unlikely it is that generations of biologists have made such an elementary mistake.

    My response:
    You may think it’s unlikely for generations of biologists to make elementary mistakes, it still can happen, and has happened. Ontogeny recapitulates phylogeny is an interesting example, even though Haeckel’s theory is discredited today, his faked embryo drawings and similar pictures still appear in modern day textbooks.

    logically_speaking: Indeed, I maintain that there really is no such thing as a true objective nested hierarchy. Infact even if the designer had made life that showed anthing like a ONH then it still would be subjective, because the designer chose it to be that way.

    You:
    Um, no. If the designer makes something round, it is objectively round. It has nothing to do with the intentions of the designer.

    My response:
    But the designer can choose whether to make it round, square, triangular or any other shape.

    logically_speaking: Again concensus doesn’t make objective.

    You:
    We didn’t point to consensus, but an examination of all traits, not just some. This was covered by Darwin in 1859. You need to keep up.

    My response:
    I said this is becoming a case of repetition. Lets try again. Even IF you examined all traits, you will subjectively decide based on prior assumptions that some of the traits are more important than others. For example breasts over eyes.

    logically_speaking: He did so without any evolutionary assumptions. What does that tell you?

    You:
    That it’s objective and not dependent on the particular observer or explanatory theory.

    My response:
    Exept it’s not objective, that is why it is call Linnaean taxonomy.

    logically_speaking: Your response just seems to be an appeal to authority, are you suggesting that these people are infallible and don’t make mistakes or sometimes follow the crowd?

    You:
    It’s an appeal to authority. Sure people make mistakes, but scientists rarely make such fundamental errors in their own specialties, especially over generations.

    My response:
    But you forget, one of the main contentions of ID towards evolutionary scientists is that there is a fundamental error in that in biology an intelligent cause is ruled out a priori. So if the starting assumptions are wrong the results are more likely to also be wrong, but because of the worldview that says the starting assumptions must be right, nobody sees the error.

    logically_speaking: I have done it in my ONH expirement.

    You:
    The only experiment we noticed was your showing multiple classifications for cutlery, followed by your realization that there is a single correct classification for mammals; mammals, amniotes, tetrapods, gnastostomes, vertebrates, craniates, chordates, bilaterian, metazoa, eukaryotes.

    My response:
    My posts got muddled up, I have posted my experiment separately. Plus trying to claim I have come to the realisation that there is a single correct classification for mammals etc is false.

    logically_speaking: The classification system is fine for the most part, but there are problems whichever methods you choose.

    You:
    You haven’t provided another classification scheme, except for your abortive bats are birds classification. In other words, there is only one reasonable way to classify the vast majority of organisms.
    Secondly

    My response:
    Firstly I have not aborted anything, you really should stop jumping to conclusions about other people’s thoughts and intentions.
    Secondly, how many classification schemes will convince you that they are subjective?

    Interestingly the whale uses echolocation, as do bats. Whales live in the water, so do fish. A whale can be classified as a fish, if a fish is classified as a creature that lives in the water. Because I have decided echolocation is more important than breasts or living in water, I classify bats and whales as echolites. All other similarities between any other creature was just convergent evolution or design.

    logically_speaking: I have no problem with calling a bat a mammal, I simply understand that it is a large consensus led subjective nested hierarchy, that I happen to agree with.

    You:
    Anyone who has studied the subject puts bats with mammals because that is the only rational classification possible when you look at all the observable traits. That’s what we mean by objective.

    My response:
    Again appealing to authority. Rational things still depend on starting assumptions. If you start with faulty assumptions, the logic you use can be perfect, but the results will still be wrong. You seem to not actually know what objective means at all.

    logically_speaking: The main reason why classification is subjective is because of the underlying assumption that the more traits a thing shares with another thing, the closer it must be related.

    You:
    That’s called the criteria. If we classify organisms by their traits, they objectively fall into a specific nested hierarchy.

    My response:
    Regardless of what it’s called are you agreeing with me that, “The main reason why classification is subjective is because of the underlying assumption that the more traits a thing shares with another thing, the closer it must be related”?

    If you classify organisms by their traits please tell me where the duck billed platypus goes in your objectively specific nested hierarchy?

  317. 317
    Zachriel says:

    Zachriel: And the Sun defies gravitational collapse. The Earth’s atmosphere helps the surface defy the entropy of a cold universe.

    Phinehas: And if you hadn’t snipped the next sentence from your quote, everyone could have seen why your examples are missing the point.

    Phinehas: Life defies the tendency toward chaos and disorder similar to how a rocket defies gravity. Neither can be explained in purely materialistic terms.

    As our examples show, it isn’t ‘defiance’ that is crucial to your distinction. Rather, you point to something artificial and say it can’t be explained in purely materialistic terms. We presume you mean even in principle, but that’s something that’s not demonstrable.

    Phinehas: And, certainly, that intelligent intervention might result in an objective nested hierarchy is not a million-to-one proposition.

    Nonetheless, branching descent is strongly supported.

    Silver Asiatic: I’d like to hear the evolutionary story about the origin of human language through a process that did not involve design or intent (human intelligence).

    There is no overarching design in the origin of languages. They largely evolve by drift from older languages. While people may introduce a new word or prefer a new pronunciation of an old word, it is without a view to the overall design of the language. If a monk invents the letter-j to solve a problem with double-letter i’s, that doesn’t mean the monk was intending to restructure the language. It’s like preferential attachment, a local solution inadvertently affecting the global network. This related to the ambiguity concerning what is meant by design.

    William J. Murray: In cases where ID agrees that natural forces are shown to be sufficient, ID is satisfied natural forces are the better explanation (orbits of the planets, weather patterns, the pattern of salt falling from a shaker).

    You still misunderstand the argument. The problem is when design is inserted into purported gaps in scientific knowledge. Have you ever calculated the CSI of planetary orbits from a Medieval perspective? The most complex devices ever constructed until the modern era were for predicting the planets. If it takes the greatest scholars and technicians to emulate the movements of the planets, it is clear it must take a vast intelligence to keep them in their orbits.

    Box: UE (unguided evolution) does not predict ONH (objective nested hierarchy of lifeforms), because when we reduce UE to natural forces, it becomes clear that it can predict nothing but an increase of entropy – IOW disorder, chaos, failure and death.

    That’s nonsense. The Earth has been bathed in highly energetic photons for billions of years. Whether cows lowing in the field, or cars on the highway, nothing violates the laws of thermodynamics.

    Box: Given the the second law of thermodynamics (2LoT) we expect a regular increase of entropy (more and more disorder/chaos) in a bag of chemicals.

    Um, no. The bag is not isolated, but receives energy from external sources. There is nothing in living processes that violates the laws of thermodynamics.

    Which has more thermodynamic ‘order’, a brain or an equal mass of diamonds?

  318. 318
    Zachriel says:

    logically_speaking: There turns out to be 6 ways of arranging the cutlery in nested hierarchies

    That’s right. But there’s only one objective nested hierarchy for mammals; mammals, amniotes, tetrapods, gnastostomes, vertebrates, craniates, chordates, bilaterian, metazoa, eukaryotes.

    logically_speaking: These evolutionists assume that the cutlery was changed over time by the manufacturers of the cutlery, there job is to find out the order of decent.

    No, multiple nested hierarchies is characteristics of design. That’s because designer mix-and-match. Try this: Could a centaur or griffin be a memory of some actual organism?

    logically_speaking: You may think it’s unlikely for generations of biologists to make elementary mistakes, it still can happen, and has happened.

    Yes, it can, but is much less likely than otherwise. Einstein didn’t show that Newton was making elementary mistakes. He showed why Newton was right within the limitations of the scientific knowledge of the time, while also answering new questions that had arisen due to new observations.

    logically_speaking: Ontogeny recapitulates phylogeny is an interesting example

    That’s not an example of a logical error, but an extrapolation that was found to be somewhat in error.

    logically_speaking: But the designer can choose whether to make it round, square, triangular or any other shape.

    That’s right, but when we observe the ‘tomb of Cheops’, it’s objectively a pyramid, a polyhedron formed by four triangles meeting at a point connecting to a square base.

    logically_speaking: Even IF you examined all traits, you will subjectively decide based on prior assumptions that some of the traits are more important than others.

    We have been explicit that we consider all traits.

    phenogram, a diagram depicting taxonomic relationships among organisms based on overall similarity of many characteristics without regard to evolutionary history or assumed significance of specific characters

    logically_speaking: Exept it’s not objective, that is why it is call Linnaean taxonomy.

    No. That’s just silly. It’s not named Linnaean taxonomy because it was subjective any more than Boyle’s law is named after Boyle because the law is subjective. It’s called Linnaean taxonomy because of his use of nomenclature and nested classification. His results were objective within the limitations of his methods. In other words, independent observers could agree on his groupings.

    logically_speaking: one of the main contentions of ID towards evolutionary scientists is that there is a fundamental error in that in biology an intelligent cause is ruled out a priori.

    Yes, we understand the claim. It’s rejected by the vast majority of working biologists, and IDers have yet to publish any significant research in support of their contention. Rather, they make claims without testable entailments. It comes down to “It’s complex, therefore design.”

    logically_speaking: Interestingly the whale uses echolocation, as do bats. Whales live in the water, so do fish. A whale can be classified as a fish, if a fish is classified as a creature that lives in the water.

    Heh. We classify whales under w, and bats under b. The criteria was classification according to best fit of all observable traits. You can look at the blood and distinguish whales and fish. You can look at their skeletons and see that whales are closer to bats than fish. You can look at their hearts, eyes, muscles, or hair follicles, and understand that you are cherry-picking.

    logically_speaking: Again appealing to authority.

    No, referencing objective criteria.

    logically_speaking: “The main reason why classification is subjective is because of the underlying assumption that the more traits a thing shares with another thing, the closer it must be related”?

    We’re discussing classification based on objective criteria without regard to any underlying explanation.

    logically_speaking: If you classify organisms by their traits please tell me where the duck billed platypus goes in your objectively specific nested hierarchy?

    Monotremes, mammals, amniotes, tetrapods, gnastostomes, vertebrates, craniates, chordates, bilaterian, metazoa, eukaryotes.

  319. 319
    wd400 says:

    logically_speaking: There turns out to be 6 ways of arranging the cutlery in nested hierarchies

    There are actually (2n-5)!! nested hierarchies for the cutlery, where n is the number of pieces and !! is a double factorial. If there is a point to take from your example, it’s that there is little reason to think a tree estimated from “material” will perfectly match one estimated from “size”. But in biology, despite absurd number of possible tree-shapes, phylogenies estimated from different genes, and different characters generally agree pretty well.

    That’s how descent with modification works, it’s not how special creation tends to work (of course, nothing is impossible under special creation, so we can’t exclude it)

  320. 320
    keith s says:

    Box:

    Under materialism an organism is nothing but a bag of chemicals. Given the the second law of thermodynamics (2LoT) we expect a regular increase of entropy (more and more disorder/chaos) in a bag of chemicals.

    This is not what we see. What we see instead is a force that ‘defies the 2LoT’* – until the moment of “death” (admittedly a meaningless term under materialism).

    You can really tell that IDers are getting desperate when they resort to second law arguments. Even Sal Cordova was embarrassed by them:

    2nd Law of Thermodynamics — an argument Creationists and ID Proponents should NOT use

    If even Salvador “Darwin beat puppies!” Cordova turns up his nose at your argument, you know you’re scraping the bottom of the barrel.

  321. 321
    HD says:

    Keith.

    >Not exactly. There doesn’t have to be a consistent motif. A designer could change motifs or go with a more free-form approach.

    Fair enough. Or he can stick to it and be consistent like most anything else in nature. Next.

    >The point is that whether it is intentional or not, he ends up mimicking what unguided evolution would produce, because the ONH is exactly what UE predicts out of trillions of possibilities.

    But once again, you have no WAY of knowing it IS mimicking UNGUIDED evolution since you don’t know it IS unguided. This is what we are trying to cover. Whether it is or isn’t. So you can’t start of with that a prior. That is where your circular argument beings. The only question relevant to you is: Since we observe ONH, is it most likely guided or unguided. That’s it. It’s not: ONH is real. Unguided Evolution is real. Therefore please justify why a God would use a process that mimics unguided evolution.

    >You have to justify the assumption that God would produce an ONH. If you assume it without justification, you are committing the Rain Fairy fallacy.

    Do I have to justify anything ELSE God has produced? Again, for arguments sake if you come to some odd conclusion that there is a God, by definition you would agree he had to create SOMETHING. Whatever that something IS is irrelevant since he would NEED to create is some manner or not. There is no Rain Fairy fallacy here. What you are actually doing is committing the fallacy fallacy. (or something close to that).

    >No, because we already know that mutation rates are slow, that inheritance is predominantly vertical, that selection and drift are real, and that microevolution can proceed without guidance. We also know that if those things are responsible for macroevolution as well as microevolution, then an ONH will result.

    And how would you test something to be guided or unguided? Doesn’t this all assume we know how a God would guide anything? Where is the data to compare? Even you said God CAN restrict himself (for whatever reason) to use ONH.

    >In other words, the ONH is a prediction of unguided evolution.

    You are just begging the question once again. Is there any reason why, if the system was different (out of the trillions of other options being the case), a different theory would not have predicted that too? Probably. Therefore you would have been begging the question there too.

    >The Rain Fairy et al do apply, because the logic is the same.

    The logic can only be the same if we are talking about the same systems. We have no clue as to weather being 0% unguided or weather being a tool to a diety in certain instances. No clue. And therefore I return to what I have been saying

    “I can not prove scientifically that evolution is guided (I know ID disagrees) but the corollary is equally true against Keith.”

  322. 322
    Joe says:

    You know evos are getting desperate when they ignore or misrepresent all refutations of their ridiculous arguments.

  323. 323
    Joe says:

    But there’s only one objective nested hierarchy for mammals; mammals, amniotes, tetrapods, gnastostomes, vertebrates, craniates, chordates, bilaterian, metazoa, eukaryotes.

    And that nested hierarchy doesn’t have anything to do with branching descent.

    Nice own goal there Zacho.

  324. 324
    Joe says:

    Linnaeus was searching for the Created Kind and Linnean taxonomy is derived from that search. Linnean Taxonomy doesn’t have anything to do with branching descent. Linnean Taxonomy has everything to do with a common design.

  325. 325
    Joe says:

    Do you want to know what is impossible under Intelligent Design? Living organisms without CSI/ FSC.

  326. 326
    keith s says:

    Box,

    Also check out the shellacking that Granville Sewell’s 2LoT paper took on these two threads:

    Nick Matzke – Book Burner?

    Where is the difference here?

    Here is a summary:

    Timaeus,

    Scientific papers are judged by their contents. The contents of Granville’s paper are awful. Based on those contents, and using Granville’s own words, I have shown that Granville:

    1. Mistakenly asserts that “the increase in order which has occurred on Earth seems to violate the underlying principle behind the second law of thermodynamics, in a spectacular way.

    2. Titles his paper Entropy, Evolution and Open Systems without realizing that the second law is actually irrelevant to his improbability argument, since it is not violated by evolution.

    3. Misunderstands the compensation argument and incorrectly rejects it.

    4. Fails to understand that the compensation argument is a direct consequence of the second law, and that by rejecting it he is rejecting the second law itself!

    5. Fails to realize that if the compensation argument were invalid, as he claims, then plants would violate the second law whenever their entropy decreased.

    6. Asserts, with no evidence, that physics alone cannot explain the appearance of complex artifacts on Earth.

    7. Offers, as evidence for the above, a thought experiment involving a simulation he can neither run nor analyze.

    8. Declares, despite being unable to run or analyze the simulation, that he is “certain” of the outcome, and that it supports his thesis.

    9. Confuses negentropy with complexity, as Lizzie explained.

    10. Conflates entropy with disorder, as Lizzie explained.

    Granville was unable to defend his paper, so he bailed out of the thread. You are now retreating also — probably a wise move. It remains to be seen what Eric and CS3 will do.

    If Lizzie and I are able to expose egregious faults in Granville’s paper, using his own words, and none of you are capable of defending it, then how can you claim that his paper was good science that deserved to be accepted by the BI organizers?

    By accepting Granville’s paper, the organizers showed that the BI was not a serious scientific conference. Springer did the right thing in refusing to publish.

  327. 327
    Box says:

    Zachriel,

    Box: UE (unguided evolution) does not predict ONH (objective nested hierarchy of lifeforms), because when we reduce UE to natural forces, it becomes clear that it can predict nothing but an increase of entropy – IOW disorder, chaos, failure and death.

    Zachriel: That’s nonsense. The Earth has been bathed in highly energetic photons for billions of years. Whether cows lowing in the field, or cars on the highway, nothing violates the laws of thermodynamics.

    Box: Under materialism an organism is nothing but a bag of chemicals. Given the the second law of thermodynamics (2LoT) we expect a regular increase of entropy (more and more disorder/chaos) in a bag of chemicals.

    Zachriel: Um, no. The bag is not isolated, but receives energy from external sources. There is nothing in living processes that violates the laws of thermodynamics.

    Zachriel, I give the floor to Granville Sewell. Please pay close attention and learn something:

    Anyone who has made such an argument is familiar with the standard reply: the Earth is not an isolated system, it receives energy from the sun, and entropy can decrease in a non-isolated system, as long as it is “compensated” somehow by a comparable or greater increase outside the system.

    The “compensation” counter-argument was produced by people who generalized the model equation for isolated systems, but forgot to generalize the equation for non-isolated systems.

    Of course the whole idea of compensation, whether by distant or nearby events, makes no sense logically: an extremely improbable event is not rendered less improbable simply by the occurrence of “compensating” events elsewhere.
    According to this reasoning, the second law does not prevent scrap metal from reorganizing itself into a computer in one room, as long as two computers in the next room are rusting into scrap metal — and the door is open.

    The reason natural forces can turn a computer or a spaceship into rubble and not vice versa is probability: of all the possible arrangements atoms could take, only a very small percentage could add, subtract, multiply and divide real numbers, or fly astronauts to the moon and back safely.

    If an increase in order is extremely improbable when a system is closed, it is still extremely improbable when the system is open, unless something is entering which makes it not extremely improbable.

    Order can increase in an open system, not because the laws of probability are suspended when the door is open, but simply because order may walk in through the door…. If we found evidence that DNA, auto parts, computer chips, and books entered through the Earth’s atmosphere at some time in the past, then perhaps the appearance of humans, cars, computers, and encyclopedias on a previously barren planet could be explained without postulating a violation of the second law here…. But if all we see entering is radiation and meteorite fragments, it seems clear that what is entering through the boundary cannot explain the increase in order observed here.

    I imagine visiting the Earth when it was young and returning now to find highways with automobiles on them, airports with jet airplanes, and tall buildings full of complicated equipment, such as televisions, telephones and computers. Then I imagine the construction of a gigantic computer model which starts with the initial conditions on Earth 4 billion years ago and tries to simulate the effects that the four known forces of physics would have on every atom and every subatomic particle on our planet. If we ran such a simulation out to the present day, would it predict that the basic forces of Nature would reorganize the basic particles of Nature into libraries full of encyclopedias, science texts and novels, nuclear power plants, aircraft carriers with supersonic jets parked on deck, and computers connected to laser printers, CRTs and keyboards? If we graphically displayed the positions of the atoms at the end of the simulation, would we find that cars and trucks had formed, or that supercomputers had arisen? Certainly we would not, and I do not believe that adding sunlight to the model would help much.

  328. 328
    Box says:

    Keith #326:
    (… ) shellacking that Granville Sewell’s 2LoT paper took (… ) as Lizzie explained

    Hahaha! “As Lizzie explained”, get real Keith. If I were to name one person who has produced more nonsense at UD than you, it would be Lizzie – without any doubt.

  329. 329
    HeKS says:

    WJM and Box,

    WJM: Keith’s responses make sense if you assume Keith is thinking about a magically omnipotent designer – THEN, of course, any imaginable possibility is an actual possibility for the designer.

    WJM, I agree with everything you said in your comment, but I would argue over this point. Keith’s arguments and responses don’t even make sense if you assume the designer is omnipotent … at least not in terms of the part where he tries to argue the designer would need to really like ONHs to explain what we see. You need to at least add the further assumption that the designer directly instantiated the entire ONH rather than allowing that the ONH was simply the natural byproduct of the process the designer used to distribute traits to subsequent generations and facilitate organismal adaptation, namely, branching descent with primarily vertical inheritance of constrained variability in characters. In other words, in trying to make an argument on the basis of the existence of an ONH (and a very imperfect ONH where the signal is determined by statistical correlation between incongruent trees rather than a single absolute ONH based on the analysis of all available characters), Keith is bypassing the process that creates the general ONH structure and asking if there is reason to believe the designer would prefer to use the ONH structure itself rather than asking if there is a reason to believe the designer would prefer to use the process that happens to generate one as a byproduct.

  330. 330
    keith s says:

    UDers,

    Nothing about my argument assumes, or depends on, the indifference of the designer.

    Nothing about my argument assumes, or depends on, the omnipotence of the designer.

    Nothing about my argument assumes, or depends on, whether the designer does or does not like ONHs.

    Reread this comment. More than once, if necessary.

  331. 331
    Silver Asiatic says:

    Alicia Renard 248

    I doubt anyone who thinks evolutionary processes were at work in the development of human language doubts humans are purposeful beings. But the prerequisites for language, the right sensory apparatus, sound-generating equipment, sufficient brain capacity to manage the processing and muscular control required could not have come about by human intent to speak. The whole panoply must have co-evolved.

    You offer an interesting point of view. I can see that you recognize the problems involved.

    Your solution, in the bolded text, is informative – at least I can see how you have reconciled the problem (for yourself) with evolutionary ideas.

  332. 332

    HeKS,

    Well, I didn’t mean to imply that Keith was making a good argument, even given the hidden assumption of a magical, omnipotent designer.

    🙂

  333. 333
    Barry Arrington says:

    SA @ 331. Yes, you have to give her credit for recognizing that multiple highly-coordinated characters would have to evolve simultaneously for her scenario to work. Too many times the answer from the Darwinists is “it evolved,” when there is a rarely a single “it” that can be singled out as evolving in isolation. Consider the giraffe’s neck. It would have had to combine multiple simultaneous evolution of the heart, lungs, trachea, esophagus, nervous system, etc. etc.

    Now the next step. Get her to understand that not only is the suggested mechanism for the evolution of single feature implausible, but when you add on the necessary coordination among multiple features the whole scenario becomes hopeless.

  334. 334
    keith s says:

    Box,

    Here’s an example to show why your “indifferent designer” claim is silly.

    Suppose I’m investigating a crime perpetrated by a lone individual. I narrow the suspects down to two, Bob and Betty, each of whom seems equally likely to have committed the crime, based on the evidence to date. Bob likes traveling by train, but Betty prefers flying.

    I can truthfully say “there’s a 50% chance that the perpetrator prefers flying, and a 50% chance that the perpetrator prefer traveling by train.” Does that mean that the perpetrator is indifferent to the mode of transportation? Obviously not.

    There’s also a 50% chance that the perpetrator is a man, and a 50% chance that the perpetrator is a woman. Does that mean that the perpetrator is a hermaphrodite? Obviously not.

    I hope (almost pray) that you can see the connection to our ongoing debate. The fact that the probabilities are equal does not mean I’m assuming that the designer is indifferent.

    William, HeKS,

    Similar arguments apply to the questions of whether the designer is omnipotent and whether or not he/she/it likes/is indifferent to/hates ONHs.

  335. 335
    Silver Asiatic says:

    BA 333

    Now the next step. Get her to understand that not only is the suggested mechanism for the evolution of single feature implausible, but when you add on the necessary coordination among multiple features the whole scenario becomes hopeless.

    BA — good points. It’s not merely the appearance of these several implausible events, but they have to occur simultaneously – and they have to have this relationship in order to broadcast and receive signals – and then to code and translate and act on the signals.

    A randomly generated broadcast of a meaningless sound – only received by organisms capable of sensing the sound, but even for them, it’s a meaningless sound. If they don’t have the capability of returning a sound, there’s no feedback in the communication loop (and the sender won’t know to send again or retain the same sound).

    Supposedly, these sounds were mindlessly and accidentally correlated with objects or events. And both sender and receiver recognized the same correlation simultaneously.

    I’ve read a few attempts to explain the evolutionary origin of information and all of them sound like Alicia Renard’s. Things just must have happened simultaneously and now we have Shakespeare and the internet.

  336. 336
    Box says:

    Keith #334: I hope (almost pray) that you can see the connection to our ongoing debate.

    I cannot see the connection, because there is none.
    What you need to explain is why it is prudent to compare the choices of a free agent with a random process like the role of a die. Every statistician knows one cannot do that.
    Your example doesn’t touch this matter at all.

    But let’s wait for HeKS’ comment on this matter.

  337. 337
    HeKS says:

    WJM,

    HeKS,

    Well, I didn’t mean to imply that Keith was making a good argument, even given the hidden assumption of a magical, omnipotent designer.

    🙂

    Right. Didn’t think so 🙂

  338. 338
    keith s says:

    Box:

    But let’s wait for HeKS’ comment on this matter.

    In other words, you have no rebuttal, but you’re hoping (or praying) that HeKS does.

    Fair enough. Let’s see if HeKS can rescue you.

  339. 339
    Box says:

    Keith:

    In other words, you have no rebuttal but you’re hoping (or praying) that HeKS does.

    No that doesn’t follow at all. My post #336 is a rebuttal to your example – simply by pointing out why it is inapt.

    Got it?

  340. 340
    Phinehas says:

    keiths:

    I can truthfully say “there’s a 50% chance that the perpetrator prefers flying, and a 50% chance that the perpetrator prefer traveling by train.” Does that mean that the perpetrator is indifferent to the mode of transportation? Obviously not.

    It is interesting that you’ve chosen preference to make your point. Preference is a rather arbitrary kind of thing anyway, so it makes sense that there is a sort of indifference at bottom. But when looking to engineer something, it isn’t usually about preferences so much as constraints. This is no longer about whether I like vanilla or chocolate, but about whether I can reach functional goals.

    When discussing a rocket going to the moon, the designer may well be indifferent about whether the color of the rocket is blue or red. But there are going to be a lot of other things that an engineer cannot be indifferent about. Pretending choices about propulsion and guidance systems are analogous to random rolls of a die misses this point completely.

  341. 341
    Zachriel says:

    Box (quoting): “the Earth is not an isolated system, it receives energy from the sun, and entropy can decrease in a non-isolated system, as long as it is “compensated” somehow by a comparable or greater increase outside the system.”

    Technically, a closed system. Energy can cross the boundary, but not matter.

    Box (quoting): “According to this reasoning, the second law does not prevent scrap metal from reorganizing itself into a computer in one room, as long as two computers in the next room are rusting into scrap metal — and the door is open.”

    There is nothing in the second law that prevents scrap metal from reorganizing into a computer as long as energy is available for work. However, it doesn’t require it either.

    Box (quoting): “If an increase in order is extremely improbable when a system is closed, it is still extremely improbable when the system is open, unless something is entering which makes it not extremely improbable.”

    What is the probability of 10^46 molecules of water moving a thousand miles in the same general direction?

    Nothing violates the laws of thermodynamics, not the lilies of the field or a supercomputer, not a rocket ship or the birth of a human baby.

  342. 342
    keith s says:

    Phinehas,

    I chose preference as a direct counterpart to indifference. My example shows that equal probabilities do not imply indifference, contra Box.

    Similar reasoning works against William’s omnipotence claim and against the claim that the designer loves/hates/is indifferent to ONHs.

  343. 343
    Zachriel says:

    Box, which has more thermodynamic ‘order’, a brain or an equal mass of diamond?

  344. 344
    Joe says:

    keith s, everything in your argument depends on your ignorance-> Your ignorance of the entailments of a nested hierarchy. Your ignorance of the entailments of gradual evolution. Your ignorance of the capabilities of unguided evolution.

    You are a fine example of your ilk. Nice job- how’s the foot?

  345. 345
    Box says:

    Zachriel,

    Box (quoting): “the Earth is not an isolated system, it receives energy from the sun, and entropy can decrease in a non-isolated system, as long as it is “compensated” somehow by a comparable or greater increase outside the system.”

    Zachriel: Technically, a closed system. Energy can cross the boundary, but not matter.

    First, you are the one that must argue that the Earth is not a closed system. Trust me on this one, it is the only chance for your position.
    And what do you mean by matter cannot cross the boundary? How about spaceships going out and in, or how about comets and stuff?

    Box (quoting): “According to this reasoning, the second law does not prevent scrap metal from reorganizing itself into a computer in one room, as long as two computers in the next room are rusting into scrap metal — and the door is open.”

    Zachriel: There is nothing in the second law that prevents scrap metal from reorganizing into a computer as long as energy is available for work. However, it doesn’t require it either.

    This doesn’t make any sense. The second law is about probabilities. As Sewell explains:

    G.Sewell: The reason natural forces can turn a computer or a spaceship into rubble and not vice versa is probability: of all the possible arrangements atoms could take, only a very small percentage could add, subtract, multiply and divide real numbers, or fly astronauts to the moon and back safely.

    Box (quoting): “If an increase in order is extremely improbable when a system is closed, it is still extremely improbable when the system is open, unless something is entering which makes it not extremely improbable.”

    Zachriel: What is the probability of 10^46 molecules of water moving a thousand miles in the same general direction?

    Without an external cause for the movement on the water molecules, the chance is infinitely small – in full accord with the 2LoT.

    Zachriel: Nothing violates the laws of thermodynamics, not the lilies of the field or a supercomputer, not a rocket ship or the birth of a human baby.

    Indeed. Like I said ‘violates’ is not the right word; ‘overpower’ is more apt.

    Zachriel: Box, which has more thermodynamic ‘order’, a brain or an equal mass of diamond?

    I don’t know. My guess would be diamonds. Diamonds are thermodynamically stable and the magnificent order in brains seems poorly described in terms of thermodynamics.

  346. 346
    Zachriel says:

    Box: you are the one that must argue that the Earth is not a closed system.

    The Earth is essentially a closed system. (That wasn’t true in primordial times.)

    Box: And what do you mean by matter cannot cross the boundary? How about spaceships going out and in, or how about comets and stuff?

    In the present epoch, the effects are generally negligible. We can consider them if need be.

    Box: This doesn’t make any sense. The second law is about probabilities.

    The 2nd law is not about winning the lottery or 747s in a junkyard. It’s about the probability of microstates. If your concept doesn’t reduce to heat laws, then it isn’t thermodynamics.

    Box: Without an external cause for the movement on the water molecules, the chance is infinitely small – in full accord with the 2LoT.

    Sunlight changes what would be extremely improbable into something so common that it has a name — the monsoons.

    Box: Like I said ‘violates’ is not the right word; ‘overpower’ is more apt.

    Whatever you call it, it doesn’t change the fact that nothing violates the laws of thermodynamics.

    Box: My guess would be diamonds.

    That’s right. And diamonds occur naturally. In other words, the Second Law of Thermodynamics doesn’t preclude order occurring in nature, even something as improbable as the precise arrangement of pure carbon in a diamond.

    “What? Because atoms decay in the Earth’s interior, carbon atoms will spontaneously order themselves? Preposterous!”

  347. 347
    Alicia Renard says:

    Barry Arrington writes (331):

    SA @ 331. Yes, you have to give her credit for recognizing that multiple highly-coordinated characters would have to evolve simultaneously for her scenario to work. Too many times the answer from the Darwinists is “it evolved,” when there is a rarely a single “it” that can be singled out as evolving in isolation.

    I’m not sure if you are using simultaneously in a figurative sense. I would substitute “in parallel” in the case of language ability in humans.

    Consider the giraffe’s neck. It would have had to combine multiple simultaneous evolution of the heart, lungs, trachea, esophagus, nervous system, etc. etc.

    To a degree, but development of the zygote to adult in metazoa is a continuous process of cell division and differentiation controlled by gene switches. Where things go slightly wrong (in gigantism or dwarfism, for example) the whole organism still ends up with a proportionate amount of the required tissues, organs, blood vessels and skin. On the other hand, in any evolutionary trajectory from an ancestral population to the present population, there has to be at each generation an interbreeding, viable group of organisms that are overlappingly similar to both parents and offspring.

    Now the next step. Get her to understand that not only is the suggested mechanism for the evolution of single feature implausible, but when you add on the necessary coordination among multiple features the whole scenario becomes hopeless.

    This is rather pessimistic. I think exploration of the way evolutionary processes have worked to produce the diversity that we observe is far from complete but so far very productive, especially since the reinforcing input from molecular phylogenetics and the development of fast and cheap sequencing of DNA.

  348. 348
    Barry Arrington says:

    AR @ 347:

    development of the zygote to adult in metazoa is a continuous process of cell division and differentiation controlled by gene switches

    Yes, and developmental biology is extremely bad news for Darwinian evolution. Significant changes in body plans require mutations early in the development process. We know one thing about such mutations with absolute certainty: All (as in 100%, without exception) such mutations that have been observed have resulted in non-viable organisms. With respect to mutations and body plans, the ironclad rule that has been observed is: Significant mutations are not viable; viable mutations are not significant.
    As for the rest of your comment, it is clear that your faith is very strong.

  349. 349
    Alicia Renard says:

    Re Silver Asiatic in #331

    Glad you appreciated my point.

    Silver Asiatic writes (335):

    It’s not merely the appearance of these several implausible events, but they have to occur simultaneously – and they have to have this relationship in order to broadcast and receive signals – and then to code and translate and act on the signals.

    E. coli bacteria have the ability to position themselves in an optimum nutrient concentration. They do this by a version of random orientation and selection – “swim in randomly chosen straight line, if things get better keep going, if things get worse randomly generate new direction and swim etc repeated”. link) so there is a rudimentary awareness in the simplest of organisms. In metazoa, there are differentiated cells that form a sensory system and a nervous system and musculature for movement. We see many interesting morphological features way back in the dep Cambrian. Visual receptors are obvious, there are also antennae and surely chemoreceptors and why not sensitivity to touch and vibration. So there’s plenty of time for more elaborate eyes and ears to develop from these ancestral roots.

    A randomly generated broadcast of a meaningless sound – only received by organisms capable of sensing the sound, but even for them, it’s a meaningless sound. If they don’t have the capability of returning a sound, there’s no feedback in the communication loop (and the sender won’t know to send again or retain the same sound).

    Animals need to locate food to sustain themselves but sexually reproducing animals also need to locate a mate if their genes are to stay in the population. Smell, sight and hearing are all very useful for prey location and predator avoidance so co-option for mate location is not a huge step. Then sexual selection can kick in to produce runaway features. It seems to me at least reasonable that language evolution in our human (and near pre_human) ancestors could have had an element of sexual selection.

    Supposedly, these sounds were mindlessly and accidentally correlated with objects or events. And both sender and receiver recognized the same correlation simultaneously.

    Vocal communication is widely used in the animal kingdom, especially in highly social animals. Chimps use a range of vocalisations in various social contexts.

    I’ve read a few attempts to explain the evolutionary origin of information and all of them sound like Alicia Renard’s. Things just must have happened simultaneously and now we have Shakespeare and the internet.

    As I said, I think a sexual display element is plausible in development of human language. The power of poetry to seduce should not be underestimated. 🙂

  350. 350
    Alicia Renard says:

    Barry Arrington writes:

    Yes, and developmental biology is extremely bad news for Darwinian evolution.

    That’s an interesting assessment. I’m puzzled why you should think so.

    Significant changes in body plans require mutations early in the development process. We know one thing about such mutations with absolute certainty: All (as in 100%, without exception) such mutations that have been observed have resulted in non-viable organisms. With respect to mutations and body plans, the ironclad rule that has been observed is: Significant mutations are not viable; viable mutations are not significant.

    Absolute certainty, you say! If we’re talking Hox genes here, I think you are, not to beat about the bush, wrong.

    As for the rest of your comment, it is clear that your faith is very strong.

    Just the facts, Barry! 😉

  351. 351
    Joe says:

    Unguided evolution cannot explain the existence of HOX genes- not to beat around the bush and all.

  352. 352
    logically_speaking says:

    Zachriel,

    logically_speaking: There turns out to be 6 ways of arranging the cutlery in nested hierarchies

    You:
    That’s right. But there’s only one objective nested hierarchy for mammals; mammals, amniotes, tetrapods, gnastostomes, vertebrates, craniates, chordates, bilaterian, metazoa, eukaryotes.

    Again based on what? On if some traits are more important than others, or how many traits are shared between them, or both?

    logically_speaking: These evolutionists assume that the cutlery was changed over time by the manufacturers of the cutlery, there job is to find out the order of decent.

    You:
    No, multiple nested hierarchies is characteristics of design. That’s because designer mix-and-match. Try this: Could a centaur or griffin be a memory of some actual organism?

    My response:
    First off, yes. It’s my experiment, I can set the rules. Second we do see mix and match like the duck billed platypus. Thirdly, what kind of question is that? please explain your reasoning for it if you seriously want an answer.

    logically_speaking: You may think it’s unlikely for generations of biologists to make elementary mistakes, it still can happen, and has happened.

    You:
    Yes, it can, but is much less likely than otherwise. Einstein didn’t show that Newton was making elementary mistakes. He showed why Newton was right within the limitations of the scientific knowledge of the time, while also answering new questions that had arisen due to new observations.

    My response:
    I mostly agree with you, in that, it SHOULD be less likely. But given the history of mistakes in science in general, it shows that mistakes are very common in science. Luckily most don’t get through the checks and balances, but it is inevitable that some get through the cracks. Even the great man Einstein is said to be wrong on occasion.

    logically_speaking: Ontogeny recapitulates phylogeny is an interesting example

    You:
    That’s not an example of a logical error, but an extrapolation that was found to be somewhat in error.

    My response:
    I never claimed it was a logical error, it is an elementary error. I have explained this before, so I’ll try it in other words. Anyone can have a theory that is logically consistent and correct, however if their starting assumptions are wrong (elementary mistakes), the final results with be wrong. Haeckel’s results aren’t wrong because his logic is wrong, he is wrong because his starting assumptions are wrong.

    logically_speaking: But the designer can choose whether to make it round, square, triangular or any other shape.

    You:
    That’s right, but when we observe the ‘tomb of Cheops’, it’s objectively a pyramid, a polyhedron formed by four triangles meeting at a point connecting to a square base.

    My response:
    Is the fact that it’s a pyramid, more important than it not being a cube, or a random hole in the floor. Or that it is a tomb rather than a holiday home. Or that it was for Cheops only, and not for his cat?

    logically_speaking: Even IF you examined all traits, you will subjectively decide based on prior assumptions that some of the traits are more important than others.

    You:
    We have been explicit that we consider all traits.

    phenogram, a diagram depicting taxonomic relationships among organisms based on overall similarity of many characteristics without regard to evolutionary history or assumed significance of specific characters.

    My response:
    I see now why there is a disconnect between us. I have been arguing against Theobald’s ONH which uses Phylogenetic cladistics. Because this is the basis of Keith’s argument. All my previous arguments attack this mode of classification.

    However, once again we are back to a subjective choice that will influence the outcome. Which mode of classification to use phenetic or cladistic analysis.

    But let’s look at phenograms.

    If we can arrange life “based on overall similarity of many characteristics without regard to evolutionary history or assumed significance of specific characters”, then evolution cannot be THE explanation for the nested hierarchies.

    logically_speaking: Exept it’s not objective, that is why it is call Linnaean taxonomy.

    You:
    No. That’s just silly. It’s not named Linnaean taxonomy because it was subjective any more than Boyle’s law is named after Boyle because the law is subjective. It’s called Linnaean taxonomy because of his use of nomenclature and nested classification. His results were objective within the limitations of his methods. In other words, independent observers could agree on his groupings.

    My response:
    I was being a tiny bit humorous there. But unfortunately your counter example fails, as Boyle’s law is (probably) a fundamental universal constant, hense law. Whereas any kind of taxonomy is simply a way to classify things in some sort of logical order, based around whatever we decide is important.

    logically_speaking: one of the main contentions of ID towards evolutionary scientists is that there is a fundamental error in that in biology an intelligent cause is ruled out a priori.

    You:
    Yes, we understand the claim. It’s rejected by the vast majority of working biologists, and IDers have yet to publish any significant research in support of their contention. Rather, they make claims without testable entailments. It comes down to “It’s complex, therefore design.”

    My response:
    Wow talk about trying to punch below the belt. Fall of false statements. You very well know “It’s complex, therefore design”, is NOT the design argument.

    logically_speaking: Interestingly the whale uses echolocation, as do bats. Whales live in the water, so do fish. A whale can be classified as a fish, if a fish is classified as a creature that lives in the water.

    You:
    Heh. We classify whales under w, and bats under b. The criteria was classification according to best fit of all observable traits. You can look at the blood and distinguish whales and fish. You can look at their skeletons and see that whales are closer to bats than fish. You can look at their hearts, eyes, muscles, or hair follicles, and understand that you are cherry-picking.

    My response:
    But you don’t list all of the traits, why should I. You only listed the ones that you think are important, if I am then you are cherry-picking too. What about all the traits they don’t share, why are these not important? And what do you mean by “whales are closer to bats than fish” (Let’s ignore that both whales and fish live in the water and bats don’t)? If we wrote down your classification on paper then sure whales could be closer to bats than fish, but it doesn’t mean anything.

    logically_speaking: “The main reason why classification is subjective is because of the underlying assumption that the more traits a thing shares with another thing, the closer it must be related”?

    You:
    We’re discussing classification based on objective criteria without regard to any underlying explanation.

    My response:
    I’ve saved this for last, yes it seems we have been debating over slightly different things, but as it turns out its worse for your position.

    Here is a great article about phylogenetic trees, it is very informative about the different methods we have been discussing,

    http://www.cals.ncsu.edu/cours.....trees.html

    A few quotes,

    “There are several ways to create such trees. The method chosen often depends on the distinctiveness of each taxon, the type and quality of categorical data available, and the scientist’s overall philosophy toward classification”.

    ##Spot the subjectivity##

    “Even under the best of circumstances, developing such a dendrogram requires a great deal of speculation because the fossil record is often fragmentary (or entirely absent)”.

    ##We haven’t even discussed fossils and the problems in classifying THEM##

    “In a phenogram, each branch point represents a step of increasing similarity – taxa which share the most characters (both primitive and advanced) perch next to one another in the family tree even though they do not necessarily share a common ancestor”.

    ##Not necessarily share a common ancestor##

    logically_speaking: If you classify organisms by their traits please tell me where the duck billed platypus goes in your objectively specific nested hierarchy?

    You:
    Monotremes, mammals, amniotes, tetrapods, gnastostomes, vertebrates, craniates, chordates, bilaterian, metazoa, eukaryotes.

    My response:
    Interesting, why did you place the platypus at the end?

    Why couldn’t the order be, mammals, monotremes, amniotes, tetrapods, gnastostomes, vertebrates, craniates, chordates, bilaterian, metazoa, eukaryotes.

  353. 353
    wd400 says:

    Interesting, why did you place the platypus at the end?
    That’s a very odd question.

    Because platypusses are nested within monotremes which are nested within mammals. Marsupials and eutherians are more closley related to each other than either are to monotremes, so monoteremes necessarily fit within mammals.

  354. 354
    logically_speaking says:

    Wd400,

    logically_speaking: There turns out to be 6 ways of arranging the cutlery in nested hierarchies

    You:
    There are actually (2n-5)!! nested hierarchies for the cutlery, where n is the number of pieces and !! is a double factorial.

    My response:
    I see how there may be confusion.

    My experiment produces 162 end nodes/species,

    54 mid points/classes,

    And begins with the 6 ways of arranging the cutlery in nested hierarchies.

    I hope that helps.

    You:
    If there is a point to take from your example, it’s that there is little reason to think a tree estimated from “material” will perfectly match one estimated from “size”.

    My response:
    They don’t match that’s the point, but neither do phylogenetic trees. Which is the REASON WHY statistical analysis is needed to provide a best fit.

    You:
    But in biology, despite absurd number of possible tree-shapes, phylogenies estimated from different genes, and different characters generally agree pretty well.

    My response:
    No they don’t the more information we obtain the more difference is observed.

    You:
    That’s how descent with modification works, it’s not how special creation tends to work (of course, nothing is impossible under special creation, so we can’t exclude it)

    My response:
    What’s decent with modification? A rock rolling down a hill smashing on other rocks breaking bits off it, is decent with modification. Is that what you mean?

    What do you mean by special creation?

    Are you claiming that while special creation can be used to explain everything, decent with modification can’t? Can you please explain what DWM can’t do?

  355. 355
    logically_speaking says:

    Wd400,

    The classification monotremes, is an invented class to place TWO otherwise unclassifiable animals (platypus and the spiny anteaters) into the tree. That’s why it’s at the end.

  356. 356
    wd400 says:

    Isn’t it funny how well DNA agrees with the “invented” classification of mammals. And “monotremes” is only the end because it’s the parent-group to the leaf you specified.

    In eariler comment you seem to be confused by what it meant by nested. Your examples are ranked, not nested (there are > 10^300 nested arrangements for 162 “end nodes”, which is rather greater than 6.

  357. 357
    Mung says:

    keiths: Nothing about my argument assumes, or depends on, the indifference of the designer.

    Which designer or designers?

    keiths: Nothing about my argument assumes, or depends on, the omnipotence of the designer.

    Which designer or designers?

    keiths: Nothing about my argument assumes, or depends on, whether the designer does or does not like ONHs.

    Which designer or designers?

  358. 358
    Mung says:

    keiths: We know nothing about the designer. (How many times do I have to repeat that?)

    Which designer or designers?

  359. 359
    Mung says:

    keiths:

    I’m not saying that God the Designer chose it because he wanted to imitate unguided evolution. He may have chosen it for a different reason, or because he was somehow limited and had no alternative.

    Why don’t you just admit that in all your arguments there is only one designer and God is the designer and be done with it?

  360. 360
    Mung says:

    keiths:

    You can really tell that IDers are getting desperate when they resort to second law arguments. Even Sal Cordova was embarrassed by them:

    Is this the same Salvador Cordova who deleted dissenting opinions from his threads?

    Oh look, there is no one who disagrees with Sal in any thread authored by Sal. Sal must be right. ID must be wrong.

  361. 361
    Me_Think says:

    Mung @ 360

    Is this the same Salvador Cordova who deleted dissenting opinions from his threads?

    Oh look, there is no one who disagrees with Sal in any thread authored by Sal. Sal must be right. ID must be wrong.

    AFAIK Sal Cordova is an IDist. It seems you are ridiculing your fellow IDist.

  362. 362
    Mung says:

    Me_Think: AFAIK Sal Cordova is an IDist. It seems you are ridiculing your fellow IDist.

    So?

  363. 363
    logically_speaking says:

    Wd400

    “Isn’t it funny how well DNA agrees with the “invented” classification of mammals”.

    Care to site where you get that from?

    “And “monotremes” is only the end because it’s the parent-group to the leaf you specified”.

    Actually zachriel specified monotremes, I asked about the platypus.

    You seem to be saying it’s at the end because it’s at the end. The leaf is the end.

    “In eariler comment you seem to be confused by what it meant by nested. Your examples are ranked, not nested (there are > 10^300 nested arrangements for 162 “end nodes”, which is rather greater than 6”.

    Nope I am not confused by nests or rankings.

    I’ll try and help you again,

    The pile of cutlery contains, knives, forks and spoons. These will be classified as the functions. The materials shall be wood, plastic and metal. Finally the sizes shall be categorised as small, medium and large.

    Starting with the “parent-group” and ending with the “leaves”.

    Working from the bottom up creates,

    1. Material < size < function
    2. Material < function < size
    3. Function < size < material
    4. Function < material < size
    5. Size < function < material
    6. Size < material < function

    Can you show me any other way to arrange the traits other than these 6.

  364. 364
    logically_speaking says:

    Amendment to,

    My experiment produces 162 end nodes/species,

    54 mid points/classes,

    ## 18 hierarchies/domains, ##

    And begins with the 6 ways of arranging the cutlery in(to) nested hierarchies.

  365. 365
    wd400 says:

    Those are not nested, nested means one group fits within a larger supergroup. You the no nesting, just a line from a to c via b.

  366. 366
    logically_speaking says:

    Wd400,

    In my experiment, all large metal spoons could fall into nested hierarchy arrangement number six.

    The spoons fit into the super group of metals, which also includes large metal knives and large metal forks. The metal fits within the further super group of size, which also contains large plastic and large wooden cutlery.

    Any similarity between large, medium and small sized cutlery is due to convergent evolution or convergent design.

  367. 367
    HeKS says:

    The latest comment I’ve been working on is WAY longer than I expected and I’m not done yet. It will probably be up here some time tomorrow.

  368. 368
    keith s says:

    HeKS:

    The latest comment I’ve been working on is WAY longer than I expected and I’m not done yet.

    That’s unfortunate. Why not edit it down, making just the essential points, then elaborating later if needed?

    You also might want to consider splitting it into multiple comments.

  369. 369
    HeKS says:

    Keith,

    On an unrelated note, I noticed this thread at TSZ where Adapa claims that I was taking pot shots at him after he was banned, when I knew he couldn’t defend himself.

    Can you please pass on a message to him for me? (I don’t feel like registering since I don’t intend to participate there)

    Tell him I was not taking pot shots. That’s not my style, and certainly not on the assumption that he was actually banned and wouldn’t be able to respond. At that point it seemed to me he wasn’t actually banned at all and might simply be in moderation, which meant he would ultimately have every chance to respond. Further, the timeline seemed unclear, because I was under the impression that his comments appearing in this thread were actually made after he thought he had been banned but that those comments had just been in moderation and had subsequently been let through. Perhaps I was mistaken.

    Of course, if he wants to go on thinking I’m a “coward” or other people want to think that by making a reference to his previous comments I was doing something “disgraceful and indefensible”, he is (and they are) perfectly welcome to that opinion, but I’d rather it be clear that I’m saying I had no intention to take pot shots at someone because they weren’t around to defend themselves. If I disagree with something someone says, I’m more than happy to tell them directly.

  370. 370
    Box says:

    // Granville Sewell and the second law //

    In post #326 Keith provides two links to previous discussions at UD on the second law (2LoT). Keith claims that Granville Sewell’s paper took some “shellacking”, notably by Elizabeth B Liddle; aka Lizzie.

    In both threads (here and here) the strategy employed by Lizzie is a very simple one:

    Insist on a absurdly narrow interpretation of the 2LoT. IOW pretend that it can only be applied to heat and energy and deny everything else; even if that makes you look extremely foolish.

    I don’t wish to repeat the same discussion here. However, as a summary, two typical posts:

    Lizzie to Granville Sewell

    You seem to think that a tidy house, or a computer, has less entropy than a messy house, or a computer after it has been sat on by an elephant.

    It doesn’t.

    Granville Sewell to Keith s & Lizzie:

    Certainly the first formulations of the second law, which were all about heat and energy (…). But nearly all general physics texts (thermodynamics texts, not so much, since they prefer quantifiable applications) do give examples of “entropy” increases (in the more general sense) which have nothing to do with heat or energy, such as tornados, rust, fire, glasses breaking, cars colliding, etc. Isaac Asimov, in the Smithsonian magazine, even talked about the entropy increase associated with a house becoming more messy (see my footnote 6 in my Cornell contribution).

    So if I am confused in applying the more general formulations of the second law to things like tornados, I am at least in good company, as nearly all general physics textbooks do this, so I think it is quite unfair to say, as KeithS does, that I would be laughed out of any physics meeting.

    To those, who think that Lizzie and Keith graciously accepted the correction by Granville Sewell and moved on, I say: think again, the both of them are incorrigible.

  371. 371
    Zachriel says:

    logically_speaking: On if some traits are more important than others, or how many traits are shared between them, or both?

    Based on all the traits. You will also find that genetic and phenotypic data show largely consistent nested hierarchies.

    logically_speaking: It’s my experiment, I can set the rules.

    The experimental method involves varying parameters.

    logically_speaking: Second we do see mix and match like the duck billed platypus.

    The platypus exhibits primitive and derived features.

    logically_speaking: I never claimed it was a logical error, it is an elementary error.

    The claim wasn’t unreasonable, and newer theories had to explain why it did seem reasonable at the time. Embryos from related taxa do resemble each other more than their developed forms.

    logically_speaking: Is the fact that it’s a pyramid, more important than it not being a cube, or a random hole in the floor.

    Regardless, it’s objectively a pyramid.

    logically_speaking: I have been arguing against Theobald’s ONH which uses Phylogenetic cladistics.

    We have been very specific, and repeated our position multiple times. As for Theobald, he used two methods, one of which was inclusive. The result was substantially the same.

    logically_speaking: However, once again we are back to a subjective choice that will influence the outcome. Which mode of classification to use phenetic or cladistic analysis.

    When we say the temperature is a certain temperature, it’s an objective measurement even if we are the ones to decide to measure it. Phenetic and cladistic analysis reveal substantially the same tree. There are anomalies, but that’s to be expected when dealing with ancient transitions in lineages that have changed over time.

    logically_speaking: If we can arrange life “based on overall similarity of many characteristics without regard to evolutionary history or assumed significance of specific characters”, then evolution cannot be THE explanation for the nested hierarchies.

    Branching descent.

    logically_speaking: But unfortunately your counter example fails, as Boyle’s law is (probably) a fundamental universal constant, hense law.

    The counterexample works fine. We chose it because there was no ambiguity. It shows that simply because we name something after someone doesn’t mean it is subjective.

    logically_speaking: You very well know “It’s complex, therefore design”, is NOT the design argument.

    Of course it is, hence IC and CSI, both of which concern what is purportedly otherwise unexplainable complexity.

    logically_speaking: But you don’t list all of the traits, why should I.

    Whales under w, bats under b. List all the traits, then form your groups. Look at blood, tissue, organs, skeleton, brains, neurons, skin, eyes, ears, lungs. Look at all of it, then form your groups.

    logically_speaking: What about all the traits they don’t share, why are these not important?

    Look at all the observable traits, then form your groups.

    logically_speaking: If we wrote down your classification on paper then sure whales could be closer to bats than fish, but it doesn’t mean anything.

    If we classify bats and whales along with other organisms, bats and whales will fit best with organisms such as dogs and squirrels than with fish. It’s not that difficult. Perhaps we should start with a simpler example. Based on a study of observable traits, which one doesn’t belong: cat, dog, sunflower.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ect-kgxBb4M

    logically_speaking: There are several ways to create such trees.

    Sure there are, but with biological organisms, they are largely in agreement. Having independent means of confirming the finding supports our confidence in the finding.

    Where they are not in agreement is of primary interest to biologists. Examples of anomalies include posited convergence, horizontal inheritance, adaptive radiation, etc.

    But that doesn’t change the fact that when looking at observable traits, cats and dogs objectively fit best compared to sunflowers. And that when we examine many organisms they fit an objective nested hierarchy.

    logically_speaking: Interesting, why did you place the platypus at the end?

    Because monotremes nest within mammals which nest within therapsids which nest within synapsids, and so on.

  372. 372
    Joe says:

    wd400:

    Those are not nested, nested means one group fits within a larger supergroup.

    And populations (groups) do not fit into other populations.

  373. 373
    Joe says:

    Because monotremes nest within mammals which nest within therapsids

    In what way do mammals nest with theraspids? Please be specific or admit that you made it up.

  374. 374
    keith s says:

    HeKS #369,

    I passed your message on to Adapa.

  375. 375
    HeKS says:

    @Keith #374,

    Thanks

  376. 376
    Joe says:

    There isn’t any need to apologize to a sock puppet.

  377. 377
    DNA_Jock says:

    Box,
    Here’s the funny thing. Lizzie was right.
    Granville’s rebuttal consisted of “I may be wrong, but if I am, then I am in famous company.”
    Introductory physics texts (As GS notes, not thermodynamics texts, interesting that) often try to introduce the idea of entropy with misleading analogies. My understanding is that more recent texts avoid this mistake.

    Granville’s concept of “X-entropy” is fairly obviously wrong.

    It’s the Second Law of Thermodynamics for a reason.

  378. 378
    HeKS says:

    @Keith #141

    Once you recognize this – that it would take a lot of concerted effort to wreck the ONH under these circumstances – you are forced to try to argue that the designer in question would want to go out of its way specifically for the purpose of wrecking that signal that was naturally caused by its chosen method of distributing traits and facilitating adaptation. Why should we assume the designer would want to do that?

    First, it’s not difficult to wreck an ONH. Humans do it all the time with their designs, which generally don’t fall into an ONH.

    Incorrect, and non-responsive to my point. You’ve gone back to making a claim that would apply to an absolute ONH that considers all characters rather than a statistical ONH based on the correlations between many incongruent trees. There are significant incongruities throughout the entire supposed “Tree of Life” and they do not “completely wreck” the statistical ONH signal derived from the correlations at all. Nor would they be expected to. If traits are largely distributed through a form of branching descent then life will generally look like an ONH. If designs/traits used in one lineage are sometimes inserted into one or more other lineages, this will not remotely “wreck” the overall ONH signal. Not even if this was done very often. And especially not if the design/trait was altered to fit better in its new organismal environment. The general trend of distributing traits through some form of branching descent would continue to allow for the statistical detection of an ONH signal that dwarfed the numerous cases where the structure was significantly broken. This is one of the problems with claiming life is a true ONH when the ONH signal is inferred statistically from the correlation of a limited set of traits, using a limited range of comparisons, across many incongruent trees.

    Secondly, you appear to be making an awful lot of assumptions about the designer. On what basis?

    Practically every IDer I’ve encountered says that we can’t assume anything about the designer, and that “the designer wouldn’t have done it that way” is not a permissible argument. Do you disagree?

    If you would like to make assumptions about the designer, that’s fine. Just be aware that you must justify them. They can’t be ad hoc assumptions introduced simply for the purpose of conforming the designer to the evidence — that’s the Rain Fairy fallacy.

    I don’t agree in an absolute sense that we can’t assume anything about the designer, no. It depends on the context in which the assumption is being made. There’s also a difference between assuming something about a designer and inferring it on the basis of the thing that is believed to be designed. With regards to discerning the characteristics of a designer, I’ve stated my position on this site a few times: the design inference can provide us with insight into the minimum set of characteristics that the designer must possess, not the maximum set of characteristics the designer might possess. As such, one can make limited but warranted plausible inferences about a designer on the basis of their designs. And, given those inferences, one can also consider whether certain approaches can be more or less plausibly attributed to an agent with the characteristics that the designer is inferred to have on the basis of their designs. Further, one can consider whether anything in the nature of the project itself suggests constraints, even without giving consideration to the abilities or characteristics of the designer. We can also consider the kinds of methods that we would use to approach a project, goal or problem and use that as a context for the types of approaches we might expect to see some other intelligent agent using. The results of such considerations are not just “ad hoc assumptions introduced simply for the purpose of conforming the designer to the evidence”. It’s true that they do not result in deductive certainty, but they give us a reasonable frame of reference for what kinds of things might be more plausible and which might be less plausible, and which types of things we might be more likely to expect or less likely to expect.

    Now, one of the many problems with your argument is that, for all intents and purposes, you represent the designer as a random process that is exactly as likely to choose one logically possible option as another. But intelligent agents don’t work that way. And more specifically, designers don’t work that way. I know you’ve tried to deny that your argument assumes the designer acts like a random process or, indeed, makes any assumptions about the designer at all, but you’re mistaken. Assigning equal probability to all options, in itself, necessarily implies certain assumptions about the designer, like:

    – In approaching a complex design and engineering project, it is just as likely that the designer will use an incoherent and haphazard approach as a coherent, organized and methodical one

    – If the designer chooses a coherent, organized and methodical approach to a complex design and engineering project, it is just as likely that the designer will utterly abandon his approach for a completely different one over and over during the course of the project as it is that he will follow the coherent, organized and methodical approach he originally decided on.

    And even…

    – If the designer chose an approach that would result in a statistically inferable pattern into which his work would ultimately be able to be classified, it is just as likely that he would go to great lengths to ensure that such a pattern would be impossible to statistically infer as it is that he would be content to allow that pattern to stand.

    Your assigning of equal probability to all options also makes assumptions like this:

    – When any given intelligent person is presented with the full array of logically possible solutions to a problem, it is plausible to think that person will consider all logically possible solutions equally viable and desirable, or else will be indifferent to the general viability or desirability of the various solutions.

    Or, similarly, but more generally:

    – Given a vast array of logically possible approaches to carrying out a task, it is unlikely that a drastically reduced subset of more desirable approaches will consistently emerge if the full array of options are presented in a survey to a sample of people skilled in the subject matter.

    We have no reason to think any of these types of assumptions are true and a wealth of reasons (the totality of our experience of the domains of design, programming, engineering, etc.) to think they are false. To attempt to apply the Principle of Indifference to the array of logically possible (but so far unstated) actions a designer might take in approaching a problem or carrying out a goal doesn’t actually make any sense. The principle of indifference is applied when we are not aware of any variables to distinguish any one option from another, such that there is true “indifference” between any two given options and they are actually indistinguishable from each other except in terms of the labels that are applied to them. It is nonsensical to apply this to the array of logically possible ways a person might attempt to solve a problem, reach a goal, or undertake a complex project, because there are ways to distinguish the logically possible options from each other and to identify certain options as being better than others to achieve the intended purpose. Additionally, the specific details of the problem may place further constraints on even the small subset of preferable options and may suggest a further, smaller subset of best choices, or even just one.

    Consider a scenario:

    A man you’ve never seen before and about whom you know nothing is being chased by a group of people who are screaming that they are going to kill him and who are carrying knives, axes and other sharp objects, and one guy with a bow and arrow. The mob is about 20-30 yards behind the man, who is running as fast as he can. A little ahead of the man is a huge gorge hundreds of feet deep and a few hundred feet wide, and on the other side of it is a large mass of people waving him over saying they can help him.

    As the man approaches the edge he sees two old ropes spanning the gorge, one a few feet above the other, just off to his left. Slightly to his right he sees a nice, new steel bridge spanning the gorge. Both the makeshift rope bridge and the professionally constructed steel bridge are logically possible options for getting to the people on the other side of the gorge. Given that the only thing we know about the man at this point is that he seems to have the goal of surviving, should we conclude that because we don’t know anything else about him other than the basic goal he’s trying to achieve that it is therefore just as likely that he will choose to take the rope bridge as the steel bridge?

    The answer, of course, is no, because the end goal itself, and the nature of the problem being addressed, offers ways to distinguish between the logically possible options to determine which option is better for achieving the desired goal and therefore which option the man is more likely to choose. This kind of basic information can be used to distinguish between some options that are very different from each other and sometimes even ones that are very similar.

    For example, suppose all the parts to make a hot air balloon are sitting in a shelter near the edge of the gorge, perhaps mostly assembled, and with a few minutes of work the man might be able to climb into the hot air balloon and soar far away from the danger. This is a very different kind of option and it’s certainly logically possible that he could try to do this, but is it just as likely that he would try to take this approach as it is that he would try to run across the bridge to the people offering him help? Not really. The nature of the problem – namely the time constraints involved in having the angry mob hot on his heels – makes it highly unlikely that he would choose an approach that he quite clearly wouldn’t have time to carry out.

    Another logically possible option is that he could simply jump off the edge of the cliff in the hopes of landing in the narrow river near the middle of the canyon hundreds of feet below. It would be utterly stupid, but it would nonetheless be logically possible for him to attempt it. Does this mean he’s just as likely to try jumping off the cliff as to try running across the steel bridge? It seems unlikely.

    Alternatively, it’s logically possible that the man could think he’s some kind of superhero, and so it’s logically possible that he could just jump of the cliff thinking he’ll fly away to safety. It’s logically possible that he could try this, but does that mean we’re warranted in thinking it’s just as likely that he’ll do this as anything else? I wouldn’t be inclined to take that bet.

    But now suppose that we come back to the bridges and specify that the first steel bridge we mentioned earlier was very narrow, being only wide enough for one person, but that there was a second steel bridge a few feet further away that was quite a bit wider. Do we have any reason to think he might choose one steel bridge over the other? Well, it depends on how quickly he thinks on his feet and how many factors we think he might be taking into account. He might simply be thinking, “I need to get away”, in which case it’s most likely he would just take the closer, narrow bridge. But he could be thinking on a higher level that if the mob follows him across, the narrow bridge will create a bottleneck for them, making it easier for his helpers to deal with them, in which case he again would probably take the narrow bridge. But he could be thinking on still a higher level and reason that the only cause the mob would have to follow him across is if he actually gets to the other side alive, but that the narrow bridge makes him a very easy target for the guy with the bow and arrow, who will have plenty of time and opportunity to fire arrows at him in a straight line without ever even having to step on the bridge, making it almost certain that he will be hit. He might further reason that the wide bridge would give him the ability to duck and weave unpredictably as he crosses, making himself a much harder target for an arrow. And he might further note that the group of people offering him help is much larger than the mob pursuing him, and so they would probably be able to subdue the mob quite easily even without the aid of the bottleneck that would be caused by the narrow bridge. In this case, he would probably take the extra few seconds to run past the narrow bridge and cross the wider one.

    If we know nothing about the man and simply assume that he is of average intelligence and is also in fear, the safest bet is probably to assume he would just take the closer bridge. If neither bridge was closer, it would be fair to assume there was equal probability that he would take either bridge.

    In order to make a more informed determination of the probability that should be assigned to each bridge, we would need more information. For example, perhaps we had been following the chase, unobserved, for a few days. During that time, we may have witnessed the man dealing with other problems, perhaps evading traps, or maybe setting them, or overcoming obstacles in his path, or other such things. Though we don’t know this man or his background, by observing his actions we may determine that he is resourceful, intelligent, level-headed, not given to panic, good at solving problems, disciplined, a strategic thinker, mechanically inclined, etc. We could reasonably infer these characteristics from the nature of the things he has done, even if we don’t know anything else about him. And, if we have inferred such characteristics from the things we see he has done in the past, they could inform the relative probabilities we assign to other actions he might take in the future, like what bridge he might choose to cross in the stated scenario.

    In a different vein, we might consider the field of criminal profiling, where an unknown subject is inferred to have certain psychological characteristics simply on the basis of the crimes they have committed, and those characteristics are then used in weighing what possible future actions the unknown assailant is or is not likely to take as well as in determining whether or not certain other unsolved crimes are likely to have been perpetrated by the same subject.

    Then, of course, there’s the option of positing some particular designer and determining what you might expect to find as a result of their actions. Modern science arose from the idea that both our minds and the cosmos were designed by the orderly mind of God, and so we should expect nature to demonstrate a high degree of order and operate in accord with discernible regularities, such that it would be coherent and comprehensible – and even in many cases predictable – to our minds, and therefore discoverable to us. For this reason, theists are not surprised to find the highly fine-tuned order of the universe that allows for the existence of intelligent life. Nor are they surprised to find that, by-and-large, the world of life is also quite well ordered. Were life an utterly incomprehensible jumble of organisms that rarely, if ever, displayed a discernible pattern, then they would be surprised.

    Of course, most of this should all be rather obvious, but your argument utterly fails to take into account the fact that the nature of a problem, goal or project places constraints on the related logically possible solutions and offers information that can be used to distinguish what types of potential solutions are better or worse than others and more or less likely to be employed by an intelligent agent in achieving the goal, solving the problem or undertaking the project. It also fails to take into account the ability to infer that certain characteristics are present in a designer based on an analysis of the things they are believed to have designed, and that this information can then be used in weighing the general likelihood that they might have produced other kinds of designs or used other kinds of design approaches.

    All that being said, the funny thing about your claim that I “appear to be making an awful lot of assumptions about the designer” is that I had actually only pointed out that even though you claimed it would be easy for the designer to have “completely wrecked” the ONH at any time, and that it was significant he didn’t, it actually would not have been easy at all for the designer to do this, and therefore…

    you are forced to try to argue that the designer in question would want to go out of its way specifically for the purpose of wrecking that signal that was naturally caused by its chosen method of distributing traits and facilitating adaptation.

    That is an assumption created by comparing your claim to the facts of the situation.

    I then asked:

    Why should we assume the designer would want to do that?

    I wasn’t making an assumption here. I was pointing out that we have no basis for making the assumption that the designer would want to do what would be required to “completely wreck” the statistically inferable ONH signal that would naturally be caused by the general trend of distributing traits through branching descent, which you had wrongly implied would be very easy for the designer to do at any moment.

    You continued:

    Not only must you justify your assumptions, but the justifications must be of trillions-to-one strength, to compensate for the trillions-to-one advantage of UE in explaining the ONH.

    No, they don’t. And there is not a trillions-to-one advantage for UE, even if we assume that there were literally trillions of logically possible ways to approach the task. The symmetrical distribution of probabilities across all logical possibilities is silly and baseless. And, as I’ve said multiple times now, your entire argument that tries to identify a trillions-to-one advantage for UE based on the claim that we have no reason to think the designer would prefer to create an ONH out of the alleged trillions of other options available is entirely wrong-headed from the get-go, and for at least two more reasons in addition to the one I just mentioned:

    1) Trillions of logically possible tasks or steps, even if they really existed, are not the same as trillions of logically possible discernible patterns, so in this respect we might expect life would take the form of one pattern (or possibly a few) out of a much smaller array of feasible patterns, or else that it would simply look like a random jumble with no pattern at all, which would be unexpected on an hypothesis of design; and

    2) An ONH will be naturally generated as the byproduct of any general process that distributes traits and innovations through some form of branching descent.

    So, as I’ve said repeatedly, the actual question should be, “Is there any reason why a designer would prefer to use a process of differential distribution of traits through branching descent in generating the diversity of life?” I say yes, because that’s a perfectly sensible approach to solving the ‘problem’ of creating animal diversity while growing populations and also facilitating adaptation to diverse environments. If you would like to answer no, you’re free to try to argue that.

    You are making the mistake that, because we can’t scientifically establish the identity of the designer based on the currently available data, it is proper to think the designer would act randomly, like the roll of a die, operating without any coherent methodology, and being just as likely to remove its own complex design features from organisms as to add them, which has no intuitive plausibility.

    I am not arguing that the designer must act that way. I’m simply saying that since we know absolutely nothing about the designer, we have no basis for treating any option as more likely than another.

    And you are wrong. And not just wrong, but obviously wrong.

    You don’t need gradual change across the board for an ONH to be inferable. What you mainly need is simply not to quickly lose high numbers of key features used for classification, though it would also be preferable to not have the genetic coding of existing features drastically changing while maintaining the same functionality, but both of these are things that one would have no problem explaining on unguided evolution if 1) organisms did not have design constraints to preserve function and limit change…

    But that’s what purifying selection does. The only changes that are tolerated are near-neutral or beneficial.

    I think you’re confusing effect with cause. “Purifying selection” happens because organisms are made of complex, tightly-constrained, highly integrated systems. If they become deregulated or the processes intended to prevent significant changes from happening break down, things go bad for the organism and if they don’t outright die then they perform more poorly than the organisms who have stayed within the constrained range of variation that the system design allows for. It certainly isn’t necessary that any given process of “unguided evolution” would have recourse to something like “purifying selection”, or that it would just happen to fortuitously be operating on systems that have error correction to prevent drastic change, making it very difficult to just suddenly and accidentally lose a character from a population in a very short time, which could have been very easy under different circumstances.

    In other words, to make the point more clear, in order to get an ONH from some kind of branching descent process, new features can be added to organisms as fast as you like, but loss of significant features must not happen quickly. Such a state of affairs is to be expected in the context of a design process, such as in software versioning, where new features are typically added wholesale from one version to the next, but existing features, while often slightly tweaked, typically remain very recognizable and are rarely removed. In living organisms, the prevention of the loss of existing features is ensured by highly sophisticated and efficient proof-reading and error-correction systems, which again make perfect sense in a design context, where, as a result of foresight, the system is intentionally endowed with sophisticated features to maintain its functional stability. However, on balance, there’s no reason to expect that complex, interrelated systems would arise at all from a mindless process, much less that such a mindless process with no goals in view would endow its systems with powerful proof-reading and error-correction capabilities. So, were it not for the incredibly fortuitous nature and capabilities of the systems themselves, an evolutionary process operating in tandem with a process of branching descent would be unlikely to produce an ONH at all, since it would be far more likely that existing features would be lost quickly (and that organisms would regularly just drop dead) while new features would be added very slowly (if you assume that they could be added at all), which is precisely the opposite of the circumstances that are conducive to the general formation of an ONH. This being the case, a process of branching descent would, on balance, be far more likely to produce a general ONH structure when running on the kinds of systems that would be expected to result from intelligent design than on the kinds of systems that would be expected to result from a mindless process with no foresight and no goals in view (allowing, for the sake of argument, that such systems would arise at all).

    and 2) functional genetic sequences were plentiful relative to sequence space and easy to stumble upon.

    They are. See Andreas Wagner’s new book Arrival of the Fittest.

    I have his book, but you seem to have missed the point. If functional genetic sequences really are plentiful relative to sequence space and really are easy to stumble upon, that would make the generation of an ONH structure less likely on “unguided evolution”, since it would presumably be easy for functional genetic sequences to drastically shift through a lineage without loss of a functional character, thereby confounding attempts to match molecular phylogenies to morphological ones and to match functional stretches of DNA between presumed ancestors and descendants. Also, the easier it is for evolution to find functional sequences and dance around them without losing function, the more likely it is that highly similar characters, based on similar genes, will pop up everywhere in the supposed “Tree of Life” and then keep changing in a way that confuses presumed ancestor descendant relationships. Taken together, these phenomena really could make it quite easy to actually “completely wreck” the ONH signal and would make it far less likely that we should expect to see any kind of strong ONH signal produced by “unguided evolution”, even given the process of branching descent.

    However, the rapid introduction of new features would not cause a problem for inferring an ONH. That would actually help it.

    Yes, if the old features remained static. Another assumption for you to justify.

    There’s nothing to justify. This is a standard feature of designed systems.

    keiths:

    What you’re missing is that the infusion of complex “content” is not separable from the formation of the ONH. The unguided branching events are not recorded directly — they are inferred from the distribution of derived characters, including the complex ones.

    HeKS:

    The point is that if the designer typically worked with the general process and motif of branching inheritance,

    Another unjustified assumption about the designer.

    No, it’s not. The only thing I’m ‘assuming’ is that its reasonable to expect an intelligent designer to make an intelligent design choice, and so if using branching descent for the differential distribution of traits, the generation of organismal diversity and the facilitation of environmental adaptation makes good sense from a design perspective, it would be reasonable for the designer to use it.

    The basic assumption that it’s reasonable to expect an intelligent designer to make intelligent design choices is self-justifying. Furthermore, since I think the designer is highly intelligent and organized based on the incredibly complex and coordinated functionality of, for example, the cell, and since the designer seems to have a penchant for achieving multiple goals from single resources – as in the case of DNA, with multi-level genetic codes, alternative splicing, strings of code that carry functional meaning when read in both directions, etc. – then it makes perfect sense to me that the designer would use some form of branching descent to achieve the multiple goals I mentioned, since it would fit right in with the design style I perceive the designer to be using in the systems that directly lead me to make a design inference in the first place.

    …which allows for the distribution of traits and for adaptation, then that process of diversification would cause a strong ONH pattern that would hold with high statistical significance even if the designer very regularly broke the pattern by co-opting design features from one lineage and adding them to another (though they would almost certainly need some tweaking in their new organismal environment).

    You are dictating how much lateral transfer the designer is “permitted” to use. On what basis? Humans use tons of lateral transfer, and for good reason.

    No, I’m not in any way dictating how much lateral transfer the designer would be permitted to use. I’m saying that, given a general trend of distributing traits and facilitating adaptation through a form of branching descent, it would require a truly gargantuan amount of randomly distributed lateral transfer of identical traits to make it impossible to infer a strong ONH signal from any statistical correlation of traits in incongruent trees.

    Now, could the designer have done this if he wanted to? Sure. But we have no good reason to expect the designer to do this, such that his failure to do it would in any way imply he wasn’t involved in the design, production and diversification of life at all, which is what you want to argue. Furthermore, there are obvious legitimate reasons why the designer might not (and likely wouldn’t) choose do this, such as if the designer had a desire to cause and preserve a large degree of diversity and disparity in forms of life, which would be drastically reduced by the type of activity that would be needed to “completely wreck” the possibility of a statistically inferable ONH.

    Also, within a coherent group, like a suite of software applications, lateral transfer happens far more often in closely related contexts than in distantly related or completely unrelated ones. For example, while video editing software and photo editing software have some very different capabilities, they share a very similar context in terms of manipulating the display of still images (photos or video frames), and so we’re not surprised to find a significant overlap in their features, though often with some domain-specific tweaking. Photo editing software also sometimes has some overlap with word processing software, with the former letting you add text to images and the latter letting you add images to blocks of text, but the general overlap is far less significant in this case than it is between photo editing and video editing applications, as are the similarities in the available functionality related to the domains where they overlap. There is also an overlap in word processing software and code editors for programming, since both let you type text, but the latter typically lacks the suite of features for the complex formatting of text found in word processing applications and has a whole host of other functions useful to application development that word processors don’t generally have. Furthermore, the more distinct applications are from each other with reference to different domains, and the more the degree of lateral transfer of functionality is determined by similarity of context, the more likely it is that you’re looking at a suite of applications developed by a single source, whether it be a single person or a single company that is guiding a unified vision.

    To summarize:

    1) It’s easy to wreck an ONH, and humans do it all the time.

    No. Not relevant to the given circumstances.

    2) You’re making a slew of unjustified assumptions about the designer.

    No, I’m not.

    3) If you make assumptions about the designer, you need to justify them.

    My assumptions are very few, highly limited, and they are justified on any unbiased measure.

    4) The justifications need to be solid enough to compensate for the trillions-to-one advantage of UE in explaining the ONH.

    No, your whole trillion-to-one argument is wrong-headed.

  379. 379
    logically_speaking says:

    Zachriel,

    As this thread has been bumped off the front page now, I usually use that as a guide to finish up. So forgive me that this will be my final post on this thread. My answers will try to reflect that.

    logically_speaking: On if some traits are more important than others, or how many traits are shared between them, or both?

    You: Based on all the traits. You will also find that genetic and phenotypic data show largely consistent nested hierarchies.

    Me: No they don’t.

    logically_speaking: It’s my experiment, I can set the rules.

    You: The experimental method involves varying parameters.

    Me: yeah varied by the experimenter.

    logically_speaking: Second we do see mix and match like the duck billed platypus.

    You: The platypus exhibits primitive and derived features.

    Me: saying something is primitive or derived is subjective based on an assumption.

    logically_speaking: I never claimed it was a logical error, it is an elementary error.

    You: The claim wasn’t unreasonable, and newer theories had to explain why it did seem reasonable at the time. Embryos from related taxa do resemble each other more than their developed forms.

    Me: That’s right Zachriel, you try and defend the fraudster Haeckel. Thanks for showing that the myth still continues today.

    logically_speaking: Is the fact that it’s a pyramid, more important than it not being a cube, or a random hole in the floor.

    You: Regardless, it’s objectively a pyramid.

    Me: nice way to not answer the question.

    logically_speaking: I have been arguing against Theobald’s ONH which uses Phylogenetic cladistics.

    You: We have been very specific, and repeated our position multiple times. As for Theobald, he used two methods, one of which was inclusive. The result was substantially the same.

    Me: Funny how he doesn’t even mention phenogram once.

    logically_speaking: However, once again we are back to a subjective choice that will influence the outcome. Which mode of classification to use phenetic or cladistic analysis.

    You: When we say the temperature is a certain temperature, it’s an objective measurement even if we are the ones to decide to measure it. Phenetic and cladistic analysis reveal substantially the same tree. There are anomalies, but that’s to be expected when dealing with ancient transitions in lineages that have changed over time.

    Me: Is the temperature in Ceclius or Fahrenheit? Guess what both are subjective.

    logically_speaking: If we can arrange life “based on overall similarity of many characteristics without regard to evolutionary history or assumed significance of specific characters”, then evolution cannot be THE explanation for the nested hierarchies.

    You: Branching descent.

    Me: Great grandma, grandmother, mother, daughter. That must be what you mean by decent.

    logically_speaking: But unfortunately your counter example fails, as Boyle’s law is (probably) a fundamental universal constant, hense law.

    You: The counterexample works fine. We chose it because there was no ambiguity. It shows that simply because we name something after someone doesn’t mean it is subjective.

    Me: But sometimes it does, as in the case with the many taxonomic methods.

    logically_speaking: You very well know “It’s complex, therefore design”, is NOT the design argument.

    You: Of course it is, hence IC and CSI, both of which concern what is purportedly otherwise unexplainable complexity.

    Me: see what you did there, you added a specifation. Complexity plus specification is best explained by ID, and you know it.

    logically_speaking: But you don’t list all of the traits, why should I.

    You: Whales under w, bats under b. List all the traits, then form your groups. Look at blood, tissue, organs, skeleton, brains, neurons, skin, eyes, ears, lungs. Look at all of it, then form your groups.

    Me: no, the one experiment I did is enough to prove my points.

    logically_speaking: What about all the traits they don’t share, why are these not important?

    You: Look at all the observable traits, then form your groups.

    Me: Again your subjectively choosing obvervable traits without explaining why the unobserved ones are not as important.

    logically_speaking: If we wrote down your classification on paper then sure whales could be closer to bats than fish, but it doesn’t mean anything.

    You: If we classify bats and whales along with other organisms, bats and whales will fit best with organisms such as dogs and squirrels than with fish. It’s not that difficult. Perhaps we should start with a simpler example. Based on a study of observable traits, which one doesn’t belong: cat, dog, sunflower.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ect-kgxBb4M

    Me: If we based the study on traits they don’t share the results will be different.

    logically_speaking: There are several ways to create such trees.

    You: Sure there are, but with biological organisms, they are largely in agreement. Having independent means of confirming the finding supports our confidence in the finding.

    Where they are not in agreement is of primary interest to biologists. Examples of anomalies include posited convergence, horizontal inheritance, adaptive radiation, etc.

    Me: you have nothing more than get out clauses. A designer mix and match is a better explanation.

    You: But that doesn’t change the fact that when looking at observable traits, cats and dogs objectively fit best compared to sunflowers. And that when we examine many organisms they fit an objective nested hierarchy.

    Me: Best fit compared to what? Saying something is a best fit here, is mearly an extrapolation based on an assumption that the more shared traits means closer relatedness. It’s circular reasoning.

    logically_speaking: Interesting, why did you place the platypus at the end?

    You: Because monotremes nest within mammals which nest within therapsids which nest within synapsids, and so on.

    Me: see Joe’s response.

    Ok I am done posting on this thread.

    You may have the last word if you wish Zachriel.

  380. 380
    Zachriel says:

    HeKS: There are significant incongruities throughout the entire supposed “Tree of Life” and they do not “completely wreck” the statistical ONH signal derived from the correlations at all.

    No, but it’s worth pointing out that human artifacts generally do not form an objective nested hierarchy.

    HeKS: To attempt to apply the Principle of Indifference to the array of logically possible (but so far unstated) actions a designer might take in approaching a problem or carrying out a goal doesn’t actually make any sense.

    The principle of indifference is the reason we reject special creation in lieu of branching descent. Sure, the angels may just like elliptical orbits, but pointing to whim or some inscrutable motive of an unevidenced designer is not a reasonable argument. If you don’t know why planets follow their orbits, then the answer is you don’t know why planets follow their orbits. Indeed, that’s why you accept branching descent rather than special creation. Because it fits the evidence without invoking the whims or inscrutable motives of an unevidenced designer.

    HeKS: “Purifying selection” happens because organisms are made of complex, tightly-constrained, highly integrated systems.

    Purifying selection can occur for many environmental reasons, including changes to the environment that can be tracked. Because it is due to changes in the environment, it is not due to being tightly constrained intrinsically, but constrained by the changing circumstance.

    HeKS: Photo editing software also sometimes has some overlap with word processing software

    Or telephones, or mapping systems, or mounted on the dash of a car with leather upholstery. That’s why human artifacts do not form objective nested hierarchies. Humans mix-and-match to a degree simply not found in biological trees.

    HeKS: The only thing I’m ‘assuming’ is that its reasonable to expect an intelligent designer to make an intelligent design choice, and so if using branching descent for the differential distribution of traits, the generation of organismal diversity and the facilitation of environmental adaptation makes good sense from a design perspective, it would be reasonable for the designer to use it.

    If we only had the nested hierarchy to go on, then you might reasonably engage in that speculation. But it’s not.

  381. 381
    Zachriel says:

    Zachriel: You will also find that genetic and phenotypic data show largely consistent nested hierarchies.

    logically_speaking: No they don’t.

    Sure they do. The anomalies are just that, anomalies. And they are subject to investigation, and often have explanations which can be supported through investigation.

    logically_speaking: varied by the experimenter

    Science requires independent verification. Other experimenters will play with the knobs. That’s what they do.

    logically_speaking: saying something is primitive or derived is subjective based on an assumption.

    No. It’s based by their position within the phylogenetic tree.

    logically_speaking: Thanks for showing that the myth still continues today.

    It’s an observable fact that embryos of related taxa are more similar than their adult forms.

    logically_speaking: nice way to not answer the question.

    You diverted from our response by asking a question. You suggested that because a designer chose a pyramid over a cube that observing the pyramid is subjective. It’s not. It’s a pyramid, as all observers can agree. Diverting the discussion doesn’t change the observation.

    logically_speaking: Funny how he doesn’t even mention phenogram once.

    Theobald was working with protein sequences, and the reconstruction was independent of any assumption about ancestry.

    logically_speaking: Is the temperature in Ceclius or Fahrenheit?

    Doesn’t matter. They measure the same phenomenon.

    logically_speaking: Guess what both are subjective.

    Seriously, you’re saying that taking a temperature measurement is subjective.

    logically_speaking: Great grandma, grandmother, mother, daughter. That must be what you mean by decent.

    That’s descent, but not branching descent. Cladogenesis is branching.

    logically_speaking: Complexity plus specification is best explained by ID, and you know it.

    Well, no. We don’t. Indeed, it’s hard to even get a concise definition of specified complexity. They seemingly vary among each IDer.

    chi = – log2 [ 10 ^ –120 * phi~S(T) * P(T|H) ]

    Is P(T|H) a probability distribution?

    logically_speaking: Again your subjectively choosing obvervable traits without explaining why the unobserved ones are not as important.

    Whales under w, bats under b.

    logically_speaking: Saying something is a best fit here, is mearly an extrapolation based on an assumption that the more shared traits means closer relatedness.

    Seriously. Now you’re arguing that we can look at the traits of a dog, cat, and sunflower, and pick out the one that is objectively most different.

    You’re funny.

  382. 382
    Box says:

    HeKS #378,

    Interesting to learn that you argue against Keith’s implicit assumptions about the designer based on the idea that we can make better and more informed assumptions. Informed by the things that are believed to be designed and on what we know about the act of designing. And I certainly have to agree that – if we are to make assumptions about the designer – yours do make a lot of sense.

    HeKS:

    I don’t agree in an absolute sense that we can’t assume anything about the designer, no. It depends on the context in which the assumption is being made. There’s also a difference between assuming something about a designer and inferring it on the basis of the thing that is believed to be designed.

    I’m not yet convinced that I should turn away from the minimalistic (no-assumption) approach. Relevant is the following quote taken from Dembski’s ‘Being as Communion’, where is argued that ID doesn’t even have to assume that the designer is conscious personal intelligent agent.

    Granted, intelligent design is compatible with external design imposed by a conscious personal intelligent agent. But it is not limited to this understanding of teleology in nature. In fact, it is open to whatever form teleology in nature may take provided that the teleology is real. The principle of charity in interpretation demands that, so long as speakers are not simply making up meanings as they go along, terms are to be interpreted in line with speakers’ intent and recognized linguistic usage. The definition of intelligent design just given, which explicitly cites real teleology and does not restrict itself to external design, is consistent with recognized meanings of both words that make up the term intelligent design. Design includes among its recognized meanings pattern, arrangement, or form, and thus can be a synonym for information. Moreover, intelligence can be a general term for denoting causes that have teleological effects. Intelligence therefore need not merely refer to conscious personal intelligent agents like us, but can also refer to teleology quite generally.

    [ emphasis added ]

  383. 383
    HeKS says:

    @Box #382

    Just to be clear, I don’t think we need to make assumptions in order to make a design inference. But making a design inference is not really what Keith’s argument is about.

    As I’ve said from the beginning, Keith’s argument is moved along at virtually every point by unstated and unsubstantiated assumptions, even when he thinks he isn’t making any assumptions. In this particular case, he’s making an argument that life was not designed on the basis of being able to statistically infer an ONH pattern in life, because there are supposedly a trillion other things the designer could have done and, not knowing anything about the designer, we have no reason to think he would have generated an ONH instead of any of the other alleged “trillion” options.

    As I’ve said, this argument is already wrong-headed in focusing on a statistically inferable ONH signal rather than the process that would naturally lead to it. However, it’s also misguided in trying to apply an equal probability to all “trillion” logically possible alternative approaches he thinks might exit, which necessarily makes many assumptions about the putative designer, pretty much all of which happen to be absurd on any non-ideological measure.

    Logically possible approaches to solving a problem or reaching a goal are not like the two sides of a coin, or cards in a deck, such that all logically possible solutions are “indifferent”, or indistinguishable from each other, except on the basis of the names we call them or labels we assign to them. As such, assigning them probabilities on the basis of the principle of indifference is nonsensical. But the fact remains that if Keith is going to argue that life is not the product of design using an argument that necessarily relies heavily on making implicit assumptions about the designer (even when he doesn’t realize he’s doing it), then one must point out that those implicit assumptions are not warranted on any reasonable measure (and are, in fact, largely absurd), and that if we’re going to proceed with making assumptions about the designer, there are much better and more reasonable assumptions that could be made, and which also happen to be very limited, even being as simple as assuming that the intelligent designer is intelligent, or that the designer is good at what he/she does. And, in reality, even calling this an assumption is a misnomer, because it would actually just be an inference made on the basis of the designed artifacts. The only place that assumptions actually enter the picture is in using the inferences to weigh the relative plausibility of other hypothetical actions of the designer. Keith’s argument assumes there is no reason to think the designer would make one choice over any other, but it ignores the things I said it ignores in my previous comment. If we perform the same exercise after factoring in the problem/goal in question and the characteristics we can reasonably infer from the systems that triggered our design inference in the first place (though we could always ignore these and just posit any competent designer), we get a very different result. And perhaps I should note that there’s nothing circular about using inferences drawn from systems that trigger a design inference, as Keith’s argument is not even directly attacking the apparent design of those systems, but is only saying that the apparent design should be overpowered by the claimed improbability that the designer would generate life in a way that an ONH could be statistically inferred. It is therefore perfectly valid to consider whether what we see would really be unexpected if it were produced by the same designer who designed the systems present within the pattern, like the cell.

  384. 384
    keith s says:

    HeKS, Box,

    My eyelids are drooping, so I’m going to postpone my replies to your comments until tomorrow.

    Talk to you then.

  385. 385
    Box says:

    Dembski proposes to not restrict ID to an external design(er). This idea provides yet new ways to prove Keith’s argument to be wrong.

    Dembski: The definition of intelligent design just given, which explicitly cites real teleology and does not restrict itself to external design, (…)

    What this means is that e.g. Shapiro’s ‘natural genetic engineering’ can be accommodated by ID.

    IOW we can counter Keith’s argument by saying: Keith you assume an external designer who looks at the tree of life and makes conscious choices wrt its shape. However ID doesn’t make such assumptions. Maybe organisms do their own ‘natural genetic engineering’. Maybe there is no such overview on the tree of life. ID does not commit itself to an external and conscious designer.

    IOW we have the additional (luxurious) option to let Shapiro take care of Keith’s argument. And Shapiro will make Keith abundantly clear that his assumptions about the designer – even the very basic one about an ‘external conscious designer’ – are profoundly unsupported.

    More on defining ID, from Dembski’s ‘Being as Communion’:

    Intelligent design is the study of patterns (hence “design”) in nature that give empirical evidence of resulting from real teleology (hence “intelligent”). In this definition, real teleology is not reducible to purely material processes. At the same time, in this definition, real teleology is not simply presupposed as a consequence of prior metaphysical commitments. Intelligent design asks teleology to prove itself scientifically. In the context of biology, intelligent design looks for patterns in biological systems that confirm real teleology. The definition of intelligent design given here is in fact how its proponents understand the term. This definition avoids two common linguistic pitfalls associated with it: intelligent design’s critics tend to assume that the reference to “design” in “intelligent design” commits it to an external-design view of teleology; moreover, they tend to assume that the reference to “intelligent” in “intelligent design” makes any such external design the product of a conscious personal intelligent agent. Both assumptions are false.

  386. 386

    HeKS @378: Another masterful job exposing keith’s hidden, convenient assumptions.

    Box @385: Ouch! Yet another fatal, erroneous assumption exposed.

  387. 387
    Box says:

    HeKS:
    Logically possible approaches to solving a problem or reaching a goal are not like the two sides of a coin, or cards in a deck, such that all logically possible solutions are “indifferent”, or indistinguishable from each other, except on the basis of the names we call them or labels we assign to them. As such, assigning them probabilities on the basis of the principle of indifference is nonsensical.

    I agree. If our joint starting point is an external intelligent conscious designer then reason dictates that such a designer is much more likely to opt for logical solutions. IOW assigning equal probabilities to the alleged trillions of ‘solutions’ is out.

    HeKS:
    It is therefore perfectly valid to consider whether what we see would really be unexpected if it were produced by the same designer who designed the systems present within the pattern, like the cell.

    Again, I fully agree.

    However, what deserves attention is a principled approach of Keith’s argument:

    ** A free agent cannot be compared with the role of a die – full stop **

    There are all sorts of aspects of a free agent that wreck any attempt to assign equal probabilities. One is that – as you pointed out – a free agent is supposed to have intelligent reasons for doing things. But the concept of equal probabilities is also wrecked by e.g. esthetic preferences and/or the goal that the free agent has in mind.
    So what I’m saying is that the actions of a free agent cannot be modelled by the role of a die. It cannot be done, so Keith should not do that. FULL STOP

    If Keith still insists on assigning equal probabilities he has to turn a free agent in a trillion-sided die. In order to achieve that Keith carries the burden to find support for the many necessary assumptions.
    To be clear: the burden of proof lies with Keith.
    However, Keith mistakenly thinks that this is not the case.

    Keith:
    They can force guided evolution to match the evidence, but only by making a completely arbitrary assumption about the behavior of the Designer. They must stipulate, for no particular reason, that the Designer restricts himself to a tiny subset of the available options, and that this subset just happens to be the subset that creates a recoverable, objective, nested hierarchy of the kind that is predicted by unguided evolution.

    Like I said, Keith’s wrong on this. It is in fact the other way around. The ID-side doesn’t have to assume, force, restrict or stipulate anything. It’s not up to us to assume a particular free agent who wrecks equal probabilities. We hold that a free agent in principle wrecks equal probabilities and therefore cannot be modelled that way.
    It’s Keith who wants to try it anyway. So it’s up to Keith to offer support for his assumption of an indifferent designer who has no reason (or preference) to restrict himself to a tiny subset of the available options.

  388. 388
    HeKS says:

    @Box

    Re: #387, I completely agree.

    Re: #385, I get what you’re saying about the fact that there could be real teleology even apart from an external designer, but taking the evidence for ID in biology, physics and cosmology together, I happen to think there is an external designer, so I’m more inclined to argue on that basis. But as a purely logical line of attack against Keith’s argument, the point works.

  389. 389
    HeKS says:

    @WJM #386

    I thought it might have gotten too long and boring.

  390. 390
    Box says:

    HeKS #389 Re: #385,

    I get what you’re saying about the fact that there could be real teleology even apart from an external designer, but taking the evidence for ID in biology, physics and cosmology together, I happen to think there is an external designer, so I’m more inclined to argue on that basis.

    Point taken. If we ask real nicely we might be able to get Shapiro to join the ID-movement – as long as we don’t mention the fine-tuning of the cosmos 🙂

    HeKS #389, as usual I fully enjoyed your posts. I guess I’m not the only one who wishes that he could write like you.

  391. 391
    HeKS says:

    @Box #390

    That’s very kind of you to say. For the last few years I’ve spent most of my work time focused on web design and development, and particularly on user interface programming. However, for the 13 or so years before that, much of my work time was spent on writing, with a focus on simplifying complex policy and procedural information for government employees. So whatever I may bring to the table in terms of writing is largely just the result of lots of practice.

  392. 392
    keith s says:

    HeKS, Box,

    Both of you are still hung up on my use of the principle of indifference. Reread my earlier comment on this:

    Box,

    Here’s an example to show why your “indifferent designer” claim is silly.

    Suppose I’m investigating a crime perpetrated by a lone individual. I narrow the suspects down to two, Bob and Betty, each of whom seems equally likely to have committed the crime, based on the evidence to date. Bob likes traveling by train, but Betty prefers flying.

    I can truthfully say “there’s a 50% chance that the perpetrator prefers flying, and a 50% chance that the perpetrator prefer traveling by train.” Does that mean that the perpetrator is indifferent to the mode of transportation? Obviously not.

    There’s also a 50% chance that the perpetrator is a man, and a 50% chance that the perpetrator is a woman. Does that mean that the perpetrator is a hermaphrodite? Obviously not.

    I hope (almost pray) that you can see the connection to our ongoing debate. The fact that the probabilities are equal does not mean I’m assuming that the designer is indifferent.

    William, HeKS,

    Similar arguments apply to the questions of whether the designer is omnipotent and whether or not he/she/it likes/is indifferent to/hates ONHs.

    Do you understand why assigning equal probabilities to “by train” and “by plane” does not indicate that the perpetrator is indifferent to the mode of travel? If not, then keep thinking about it. It’s very important.

  393. 393
    HeKS says:

    @Keith #392,

    I’ll address that specific example in a few hours. I’m a little busy at the moment.

  394. 394
    Joe says:

    Humans mix-and-match to a degree simply not found in biological trees.

    Except when includes all of the required transitional forms. Also there isn’t anything with the concept of evolution that prevents mixing and matching.

    Chapter 6 of “Evolution: A Theory in Crisis”:

    Whenever classification schemes are drawn up for phenomena which fall into a continuous or obviously sequential pattern—such as climatic zones from the artic to the tropics, subspecies in a circumpolar overlap, the properties of atoms in the periodic table, series of fossil horses, or wind strengths from breeze to hurricane—class boundaries are bound to be relatively arbitrary and indistinct. Most of the classes defined in such schemes are inevitably partially inclusive of other classes, or, in other words, fundamentally intermediate in character with respect to adjacent classes in the scheme. Consequently, when such schemes are depicted in terms of Venn diagrams, most of the classes overlap and the schemes overall have a disorderly appearance.

    A quite different type of classification system is termed hierarchic. In which there are no overlapping or partially inclusive classes, but only classes inclusive or exclusive of other classes. Such schemes exhibit, therefore, an orderly “groups within groups” arrangement in which class boundaries are distinct and the divisions in the system increase in a systematic manner as the hierarchy is ascended. The absence of any overlapping classes implies the absence of any sort of natural sequential relationships among the objects grouped by such a scheme.” – Denton (bold added)

    Oops…

  395. 395
    Box says:

    Joe quoting Denton:

    The absence of any overlapping classes implies the absence of any sort of natural sequential relationships among the objects grouped by such a scheme.

    Absent natural sequential relationships aka “branching descent”?

  396. 396
    keith s says:

    HeKS #378:

    You’ve gone back to making a claim that would apply to an absolute ONH that considers all characters rather than a statistical ONH based on the correlations between many incongruent trees.

    No, my argument is based on a statistical ONH (the consensus phylogeny of the 30 major taxa, shown in Theobald’s Figure 1). In this particular case the morphological and molecular data cited by Theobald generate phylogenies that match exactly out of 10^38 possibilities, but my argument does not depend on an exact match. The probability of an exact or close to exact match is vanishingly small.

    If traits are largely distributed through a form of branching descent then life will generally look like an ONH.

    You haven’t justified the assumption that the designer would choose to distribute traits that way, nor have you justified the additional assumption that the rate of change would be slow enough to enable the recovery of an ONH.

    There’s also a difference between assuming something about a designer and inferring it on the basis of the thing that is believed to be designed.

    If you do the latter, you are committing the Rain Fairy fallacy.

    Take any physical phenomenon whatsoever. I can claim that it is designed, and I can infer that the designer wanted it that way (or was limited to making it that way, or just happened to make it that way). It works for Rain Fairies, Salt Leprechauns, and Shamu the Invisible Toilet Whale. It’s bad logic.

    The difference between UE and ID is that we already know that UE exists, that it operates via slow mutation and primarily vertical inheritance, and we know this from direct observation. We don’t have to infer it from the thing we are trying to explain, so we are not committing the Rain Fairy fallacy.

  397. 397
    keith s says:

    HeKS,

    Could you please try to be more concise? There is a lot of repetitious verbiage in your #378, but very few distinct points.

  398. 398
    keith s says:

    HeKS #378, continued:

    As such, one can make limited but warranted plausible inferences about a designer on the basis of their designs.

    Yes, after one has conclusively inferred design, but not before. It’s common sense. Otherwise you are falling into the Rain Fairy trap.

    Further, one can consider whether anything in the nature of the project itself suggests constraints, even without giving consideration to the abilities or characteristics of the designer.

    Yes, and if you are aware of any such constraints that are relevant to the ONH, please describe them.

    We can also consider the kinds of methods that we would use to approach a project, goal or problem and use that as a context for the types of approaches we might expect to see some other intelligent agent using.

    That amounts to assuming that the designer is like us in certain particular respects. That’s fine, as long as you can justify those assumptions. But can you?

    Now, one of the many problems with your argument is that, for all intents and purposes, you represent the designer as a random process that is exactly as likely to choose one logically possible option as another.

    No. You and Box keep making this mistake. See my #392 above.

    I know you’ve tried to deny that your argument assumes the designer acts like a random process or, indeed, makes any assumptions about the designer at all, but you’re mistaken.

    Then show me. What probabilities would you assign to the various possibilities, and why?

    Assigning equal probability to all options, in itself, necessarily implies certain assumptions about the designer, like:

    – In approaching a complex design and engineering project, it is just as likely that the designer will use an incoherent and haphazard approach as a coherent, organized and methodical one

    Incoherent and haphazard with respect to whose standards and whose goals? Where are you getting all of this information about the Designer?

    Also, non-ONH motifs are not “incoherent and haphazard” unless you think that almost all human designs are “incoherent and haphazard”. ONHs are the rare exception, not the rule, in human design.

    – If the designer chooses a coherent, organized and methodical approach to a complex design and engineering project, it is just as likely that the designer will utterly abandon his approach for a completely different one over and over during the course of the project as it is that he will follow the coherent, organized and methodical approach he originally decided on.

    What knowledge of the designer are you basing that assumption on? Perhaps the designer is clever enough that he/she/it doesn’t need to follow a “coherent, organized and methodical approach”. He/she/it might be smart enough to wing it, in other words. We simply don’t know, because we know nothing about the designer — as your fellow IDers never tire of reminding us. Where are you getting your knowledge of the Designer’s nature? I’m sure they would like to know, as would I.

    – If the designer chose an approach that would result in a statistically inferable pattern into which his work would ultimately be able to be classified, it is just as likely that he would go to great lengths to ensure that such a pattern would be impossible to statistically infer as it is that he would be content to allow that pattern to stand.

    You still haven’t justified the assumption that the designer would choose such an approach in the first place.

  399. 399
    Box says:

    Keith #396

    HeKS: There’s also a difference between assuming something about a designer and inferring it on the basis of the thing that is believed to be designed.

    Keith: If you do the latter, you are committing the Rain Fairy fallacy.

    Keith, you are not making sense for two reasons:
    First, when someone is making unsupported assumptions, like you do, all you got is … unsupported assumptions. HeKS argues that assumptions based on the thing that is believed to be designed, are (better) supported.
    Your reply make it seem as if you prefer the purely unsupported ones?!

    Second, it is part of your argument to assume that a designer exists and is capable of producing the ONH and alternatives. HeKS builds on that assumption and arrives at very different (more logical) characteristics of the designer than you do. However at this point you seem to forget your own argument and rebuke him for assuming the existence of designer and start off with your Rain Fairy nonsense.

    Let’s keep some focus.

  400. 400
    Joe says:

    Yes, Box, Denton was talking about branching descent.

  401. 401
    Joe says:

    Theobald’s figure 1 is not a nested hierarchy. It is a tree depicting ancestor-descendent relationships- note the red nodes

  402. 402
    HeKS says:

    @Box #396

    Is it just me or is this getting utterly ridiculous?

    Here I am working up a response to Keith to explain to him why his Bob and Betty analogy is not analogous at all (false analogies seem to be a real favorite of his), and I see these responses from him. I spend all this time and write all these words just to make sure Keith actually understands the issues and then he comes back seeming not to understand them at all, making the same mistakes over and over, and then asking me to use fewer words.

    I’m not sure what can possibly be expected of me in dealing with a person like this.

  403. 403
    keith s says:

    Box:

    Keith, you are not making sense for two reasons:
    First, when someone is making unsupported assumptions, like you do, all you got is … unsupported assumptions.

    Box,

    You keep talking about my “unsupported assumptions”, but every time I ask you to identify them, you list assumptions that I am not making — like the supposed assumption that the designer is “indifferent”.

    Can you list any “unsupported assumptions” that I am actually making?

    HeKS argues that assumptions based on the thing that is believed to be designed, are (better) supported.

    That is the Rain Fairy fallacy. Trust me, you don’t want to make that mistake.

    Second, it is part of your argument to assume that a designer exists and is capable of producing the ONH and alternatives.

    Yes, temporarily and for the sake of argument only. Without those assumptions, ID is ruled out from the get-go. Surely you don’t want that.

    HeKS builds on that assumption and arrives at very different (more logical) characteristics of the designer than you do.

    HeKS needs to justify the additional assumptions. He or she hasn’t done so, as I pointed out above.

  404. 404
    keith s says:

    HeKS,

    This is the second time that you’ve complained because I’ve responded when you weren’t ready. What’s up with that?

    We comment when we have the time and inclination. Deal with it and make your case, if you can.

  405. 405
    HeKS says:

    keith,

    I don’t know what you’re talking about. I wasn’t complaining that you responded when I wasn’t ready. I was simply expressing to Box that I feel the effort I’m putting in to trying to get you to understand why your previous example doesn’t work is likely a complete waste of effort, because you’re so stuck on certain ideas that you don’t even seem to understand the arguments made against them, as indicated by your last few posts. For example, you have this favorite argument in the form of this Rain Fairy Fallacy, but you don’t even seem to grasp the logic behind it in order to make a distinction between when it’s valid to use and when it isn’t.

  406. 406
    Joe says:

    The evidence has keith s as the rain fairy

  407. 407
    HeKS says:

    Also, BTW, the last time you thought I complained about when you posted … I wasn’t complaining that I wasn’t ready or about the timing of your post. I was pointing out that there was no need for you to repaste to me a chunk of a previous comment, as though I wasn’t aware of it, right after I had just told you I was going to be responding that comment it was taken from soon.

  408. 408
    HeKS says:

    Keith,

    I’m interested in something. Did you think it was a fluke that I chose a cell, a single cell, from which to draw my very modest and limited inferences about a designer?

    In reality, the choice was deliberate. Not because it was actually necessary for me to do so, but because I have some sense of your form of argumentation at this point. Did you actually stop to think about why I made that choice?

  409. 409
    Box says:

    HeKS #402:

    Is it just me or is this getting utterly ridiculous? (…)
    I’m not sure what can possibly be expected of me in dealing with a person like this.

    It most certainly is not just you.

    On the 8th of november William J Murray wrote the following in the “How Keith’s “Bomb” Turned Into A Suicide Mission” thread:

    I think the best we can hope for here is for interested onlookers with relatively open minds to judge for themselves. I’ve debated keith at TSZ a few times and watched him debate others. Whether it is about ID or not, with IDists or not, this is the kind of debate pattern you get from Keith.

    Even if we hold the view that he is impenetrable to the rebuttals/counter-arguments and has an indefatigable, self-aggrandizing internal narrative, at least he came over here and committed himself with an actual argument. I can respect that. Many other anti-IDists offer nothing more than invective, cheerleading and character attacks.

    The downside, however, will be months and months of keiths inserting his narrative in at every opportunity about how IDists were “afraid” to answer his questions and about how he blew up ID with a bomb we couldn’t refute.

  410. 410
    keith s says:

    HeKS #407,

    I quoted the comment because it was relevant to the point I was making.

    Please, less complaining and more substance.

    I’ve explained why the assumptions that you and Box accuse me of making are not assumptions at all. The principle of indifference applies when you aren’t making assumptions about the relative probabilities. Do you have a counterargument? If equal probabilities are inappropriate, then show us how you assign probabilities to the various possibilities, and justify your scheme.

    I’ve also pointed out that the assumptions you are making are unjustified, and explained why. Do you have a rebuttal? How do you know that the designer is human-like in the relevant respects? Where are you getting your knowledge of the designer? Please share your source with the rest of us.

  411. 411
    HeKS says:

    @Box #409

    I think WJM called it exactly right.

  412. 412
    keith s says:

    Box,

    While we’re waiting for HeKS to respond to my comments, how about answering the question I posed to you:

    You keep talking about my “unsupported assumptions”, but every time I ask you to identify them, you list assumptions that I am not making — like the supposed assumption that the designer is “indifferent”.

    Can you list any “unsupported assumptions” that I am actually making?

    And do you understand why your “indifferent designer” claim is silly?

  413. 413
    keith s says:

    While we await responses from Box and HeKS, let’s look at HeKS’s #383:

    As I’ve said from the beginning, Keith’s argument is moved along at virtually every point by unstated and unsubstantiated assumptions, even when he thinks he isn’t making any assumptions. In this particular case, he’s making an argument that life was not designed on the basis of being able to statistically infer an ONH pattern in life, because there are supposedly a trillion other things the designer could have done and, not knowing anything about the designer, we have no reason to think he would have generated an ONH instead of any of the other alleged “trillion” options.

    My use of the principle of indifference is not an assumption. It’s the very opposite of an assumption, and I have already explained why it is the rational choice:

    You have no observations of your purported designer to fall back on, so you can’t rule out any of the possibilities. It’s the principle of indifference: you can’t rule any possibilities out, so you can’t assign them a probability of zero; you can’t be certain of any of the possibilities either, so you can’t assign a probability of one to any of them. What’s left? You have to assign nonzero probabilities. But not just any nonzero probabilities. They have to be equal nonzero probabilities, because otherwise you are favoring some possibilities over others, with no justification.

    It’s both common sense and standard statistical practice. I think the only reason you have trouble with it is that you don’t like the implications it has for ID.

    Be brave, William.

    HeKS:

    However, it’s also misguided in trying to apply an equal probability to all “trillion” logically possible alternative approaches he thinks might exit,

    What is your alternative scheme? How do you assign probabilities to the many possibilities, and with what justification?

    …which necessarily makes many assumptions about the putative designer, pretty much all of which happen to be absurd on any non-ideological measure.

    Again, the POI is what you apply in the absence of assumptions about the relative probabilities. You are making many assumptions, while I am sensibly refraining from doing so. After all, we have no information about the designer.

    Logically possible approaches to solving a problem or reaching a goal are not like the two sides of a coin, or cards in a deck, such that all logically possible solutions are “indifferent”, or indistinguishable from each other, except on the basis of the names we call them or labels we assign to them.

    In the absence of prior information about the designer, equal probabilities are appropriate. After all, what basis do we have for making them unequal, given that we know nothing about the designer, his/her/its goals, or his/her/its capabilities?

    Here’s how I explained it to HD in the other thread:

    Let me try an illustration.

    Suppose I take five standard US coins from my piggy bank and place them in a row on the tabletop. Each coin is either a penny, a nickel, a dime, or a quarter. I then phone you, tell you what I’ve done, and ask you how likely it is that the second coin from the right is a dime. What would your answer be?

    A statistician would reason as follows: I know the coin must be either a penny, a nickel, a dime, or a quarter. I know nothing else about it or about any of the other coins. With no other information to go on, I have to assume that it’s equally likely to be a penny, nickel, dime, or quarter. My best guess is that the likelihood is 25% that the second coin from the right is a dime.

    Now, in reality, all kinds of situations are possible. Maybe I only ever put pennies in my piggy bank, in which case the second coin from the right cannot possibly be a dime. Maybe I dump all of my change into the bank at the end of each day, in which case the coin might or might not be a dime. Maybe I carefully selected five dimes from the piggy bank before I called you, in which case it is certain that the second coin from the right is a dime.

    All of these things are possible, but you have no idea which of them, if any, are true.

    Lacking that information, the smart thing to do is what the statistician does: assign equal probabilities to all of the possibilities. The odds are 25% that the coin is a dime.

    If we know nothing about ID’s putative designer — and we don’t — then the rational thing to do is to assign equal probability to all of the possibilities for what the designer could do. He could produce an ONH, or he could produce one of the trillions of alternatives. When we assign equal probabilities to all the possibilities, we find that the designer is trillions of times less likely to produce an ONH versus something else.

    With unguided evolution, it has to be an ONH.

    The UE prediction is confirmed, and ID is outclassed. Unguided evolution is unquestionably the better hypothesis, by an enormous margin.

  414. 414
    Joe says:

    Only a fool, a moron or an ignoramus would think that unguided evolution predicts an objective nested hierarchy and Darwin, Denton and myself have provided the reasons why.

  415. 415
    keith s says:

    HeKS #383, continued:

    And, in reality, even calling this an assumption is a misnomer, because it would actually just be an inference made on the basis of the designed artifacts.

    This is hopelessly circular. As I pointed out above, you can only make such inferences after you have inferred design:

    Yes, after one has conclusively inferred design, but not before. It’s common sense. Otherwise you are falling into the Rain Fairy trap.

    HeKS:

    The only place that assumptions actually enter the picture is in using the inferences to weigh the relative plausibility of other hypothetical actions of the designer.

    Again, that’s circular. You can’t use those inferences until after you have conclusively inferred design.

    Keith’s argument assumes there is no reason to think the designer would make one choice over any other, but it ignores the things I said it ignores in my previous comment. If we perform the same exercise after factoring in the problem/goal in question and the characteristics we can reasonably infer from the systems that triggered our design inference in the first place…

    Again, hopelessly circular. You can’t rely on a design inference that you haven’t yet made. It’s the Rain Fairy fallacy all over again.

    And perhaps I should note that there’s nothing circular about using inferences drawn from systems that trigger a design inference, as Keith’s argument is not even directly attacking the apparent design of those systems…

    What apparent design? The evidence is exactly what we’d expect in the absence of design.

    …but is only saying that the apparent design should be overpowered by the claimed improbability that the designer would generate life in a way that an ONH could be statistically inferred. It is therefore perfectly valid to consider whether what we see would really be unexpected if it were produced by the same designer who designed the systems present within the pattern, like the cell.

    Circularity again. HeKS, this is pitiful. You’re really struggling, aren’t you?

  416. 416
    HeKS says:

    Keith,

    Circularity again. HeKS, this is pitiful. You’re really struggling, aren’t you?

    You’ve never given me anything to struggle against. Watching you fumble with logic is like watching a cat try to put together an IKEA bookcase.

  417. 417
    HeKS says:

    Actually, I should amend that. You have made me struggle with getting you to understand the obvious or actually be genuinely responsive to counter-arguments. So I guess there’s always that.

  418. 418
    keith s says:

    HeKS,

    And yet your own circular logic is staring you in the face:

    1) assume design; then
    2) infer the designer’s characteristics from the design, so that
    3) you can infer design, because the designer’s characteristics match the design.

    Embarrassing, isn’t it?

    The same bad logic works for the Rain Fairy:

    1) assume that the Rain Fairy is responsible for the weather;
    2) infer the Rain Fairy’s characteristics from the weather;
    3) conclude that the Rain Fairy is responsible for the weather, because her characteristics match the weather so well!

  419. 419
    HeKS says:

    Keith,

    What’s embarrassing (for you) is that you don’t understand the nature of the argument and so you’ve convinced yourself it’s circular.

  420. 420
    keith s says:

    HeKS,

    The circularity is right there in your own words. You can’t argue that I’ve misinterpreted you, because you keep repeating it:

    #378:

    There’s also a difference between assuming something about a designer and inferring it on the basis of the thing that is believed to be designed.

    And:

    As such, one can make limited but warranted plausible inferences about a designer on the basis of their designs. And, given those inferences, one can also consider whether certain approaches can be more or less plausibly attributed to an agent with the characteristics that the designer is inferred to have on the basis of their designs.

    And:

    It also fails to take into account the ability to infer that certain characteristics are present in a designer based on an analysis of the things they are believed to have designed, and that this information can then be used in weighing the general likelihood that they might have produced other kinds of designs or used other kinds of design approaches.

    And:

    …it makes perfect sense to me that the designer would use some form of branching descent to achieve the multiple goals I mentioned, since it would fit right in with the design style I perceive the designer to be using in the systems that directly lead me to make a design inference in the first place.

    #383:

    And, in reality, even calling this an assumption is a misnomer, because it would actually just be an inference made on the basis of the designed artifacts.

    And:

    If we perform the same exercise after factoring in the problem/goal in question and the characteristics we can reasonably infer from the systems that triggered our design inference in the first place…

    And finally:

    And perhaps I should note that there’s nothing circular about using inferences drawn from systems that trigger a design inference…

    How embarrassing, HeKS. Your argument founders on the freshman logic mistake of assuming your conclusion.

  421. 421
    HeKS says:

    Keith,

    As far as I can tell, you’ve misinterpreted the logic, not the words. If you’d merely misinterpreted me it would be less be embarrassing for you. I wonder if you’re able to reconstruct the actual logic of my argument for yourself if you spend a few minutes thinking about.

    Assume, for fun, that I’m not making a circular argument. Now try to see if you can understand the actual logic of the argument.

    I know that in asking you to try this out I myself am assuming, for the sake of argument, that you’re able to distinguish between what is and is not a circular argument even though you’ve given me no reason to believe that, but the offer stands anyway.

    Regarding your Bob and Betty example, I’m working on my response as I have time between other things. I’ll try to finish tonight but it might not get posted until some time this weekend.

  422. 422
    Vishnu says:

    HeKS: As far as I can tell, you’ve misinterpreted the logic, not the words. If you’d merely misinterpreted me it would be less be embarrassing for you. I wonder if you’re able to reconstruct the actual logic of my argument for yourself if you spend a few minutes thinking about.

    Keiths, here’s a challenge:

    Mirror back to HeKS his position in your own words without quoting him.

    Let’s see if you can.

  423. 423
    keith s says:

    HeKS,

    In light of the quotes in #420, let’s hear your explanation of how your reasoning is not circular.

    Let the spinning begin.

  424. 424
    keith s says:

    Vishnu:

    Mirror back to HeKS his position in your own words without quoting him.

    Let’s see if you can.

    I did that already in #418:

    HeKS,

    And yet your own circular logic is staring you in the face:

    1) assume design; then
    2) infer the designer’s characteristics from the design, so that
    3) you can infer design, because the designer’s characteristics match the design.

    Embarrassing, isn’t it?

    The same bad logic works for the Rain Fairy:

    1) assume that the Rain Fairy is responsible for the weather;
    2) infer the Rain Fairy’s characteristics from the weather;
    3) conclude that the Rain Fairy is responsible for the weather, because her characteristics match the weather so well!

  425. 425
    HeKS says:

    @Vishnu #422

    Yes, exactly.

    This will be interesting if he actually tries it. It seems like I’ve yet to see a response from keiths that actually addresses any argument I’m actually making. He quotes me, then he writes words after my quotes that don’t actually answer the arguments I’ve made. They just seem to be words that address some strawman he has created in his head (perhaps he just really doesn’t grasp counter-arguments and has already convinced himself that it’s not possible there could be valid counter-arguements at all). In any case, it’s all starting to seem rather pointless.

  426. 426
    Vishnu says:

    HeKS, it’s all starting to seem rather pointless.

    Your only fault is that it’s taken you this long to realize it. Look at how he responds @ 424. That’s not a restatement of your position. Either he’s mentally challenged and/or a troll who craves attention. Either way it doesn’t matter. You did your job faultlessly and brilliantly.

    All sane thinking persons can see that.

    Barry knows it.

    Now, Barry, I implore you, get rid of keiths.

    Enough is enough.

    Oh, and by the way, keiths, are you A) a homosexual, and B) do you believe adults have the right to have sex with children?

    Yes or no.

    And

    yes or no.

    Just curious. (Seriously.)

  427. 427
    Pachyaena says:

    Vishnu, you are a disgusting load of trash.

  428. 428
    Box says:

    Keith:
    You keep talking about my “unsupported assumptions”, but every time I ask you to identify them, you list assumptions that I am not making — like the supposed assumption that the designer is “indifferent”.

    Is it obvious that when one assigns equal probabilities – and holds that this is an accurate description of reality – that one is in effect assuming “indifference”. Similarly, in terms of a die, one is assuming a “fair” (indifferent) die.

    Suppose we are standing near a highway junction. Now we see a car approaching the junction. Their are several possibilities: either the driver of the car chooses the junction, or continues on the highway, or turns his car around, or stops for a chat with us, or his car breaks down, or … and so forth.
    Let’s say there are a trillion of possibilities.
    Now when we, while standing near the highway junction and watching the car approaching, conclude that all the imaginable possibilities are equally likely – and hold that this estimation is an accurate description of reality – we must assume that the driver of the car is somehow “indifferent” towards the options available to him. IOW that there is an absence of reasons or preferences in the driver which would wreck equal probabilities. IOW we put a trillion-sided die behind the steering wheel.

    Like I said before:

    There are all sorts of aspects of a free agent that wreck any attempt to assign equal probabilities. One is that – as HeKS pointed out – a free agent is supposed to have intelligent reasons for doing things. But the concept of equal probabilities is also wrecked by e.g. esthetic preferences and/or the goal that the free agent has in mind.
    So what I’m saying is that the actions of a free agent cannot be modeled by the role of a die. It cannot be done, so Keith should not do that. FULL STOP

  429. 429
    Box says:

    Joe #394, #400

    Joe quoting Denton #394:

    A quite different type of classification system is termed hierarchic. In which there are no overlapping or partially inclusive classes, but only classes inclusive or exclusive of other classes. Such schemes exhibit, therefore, an orderly “groups within groups” arrangement in which class boundaries are distinct and the divisions in the system increase in a systematic manner as the hierarchy is ascended. The absence of any overlapping classes implies the absence of any sort of natural sequential relationships among the objects grouped by such a scheme.” – Denton (bold added)

    Joe, I’m trying to understand ONH. This cannot be as insane as I think it is, so do tell me where I go wrong.

    A prerequisite of an hierarchic classification system, is the absence of any overlapping classes.
    However, due to this absence of any overlapping classes, a hierarchic classification system is – by definition – the wrong tool to show evolution; overlap by gradual change via branching descent. IOW a hierarchic classification system is by definition – due to the absence of overlap – an evolution denier, since obviously ‘non-overlap’ means no evolution and no branching descent.

    Now after the construction of an hierarchic classification system (and the accompanying averting of overlap), we are asked by Darwinists to assume what we by definition cannot see: OVERLAP by branching descent.

    On your homepage you cite Agassiz:

    What we call branches expresses, in fact, a purely ideal connection between animals, the intellectual conception which unites them in creative thought. It seems to me the more we examine the true significance of this kind of group, the more we shall be convinced that they are not founded upon material relations.

    Do tell me that I have got it all wrong.

  430. 430
    Alicia Renard says:

    Vishnu at #426

    Oh, and by the way, keiths, are you A) a homosexual, and B) do you believe adults have the right to have sex with children?

    Yes or no.

    And

    yes or no.

    Just curious. (Seriously.)

    I hesitated to respond to this as I expected the blog owner, a dedicated moderator, or (at the very least a regular commenter ot two) to take exception to the above.

    Apparent silence!

    I see Barry Arrington is not a homosexual and would make homosexuality illegal, given the opportunity as he has stated:

    A man’s body is designed to be complementary with a woman’s body and vice versa. All of the confusion about whether same-sex relations are licit would be swept away in an instant if everyone acknowledged this obvious truth.

    link but does he also support the demanding of denials of criminal activity or support for criminal acivity as some sort of prerequisite for commenting here?

    Would Vishnu like to confirm whether he is a homosexual and has predilections for sex with children, animals or inanimate objects?

    Would anyone else like to confirm their sexual orientation and level of criminal activity?

    Should we adopt the default position (popular in “Intelligent Design” arguments) that the absence of an evidenced denial allows us to assume homosexual criminal by default?

  431. 431
    keith s says:

    Vishnu:

    Oh, and by the way, keiths, are you A) a homosexual, and B) do you believe adults have the right to have sex with children?

    Yes or no.

    And

    yes or no.

    Just curious. (Seriously.)

    Alicia Renard:

    I hesitated to respond to this as I expected the blog owner, a dedicated moderator, or (at the very least a regular commenter ot two) to take exception to the above.

    Apparent silence!

    It’s the second time Vishnu has pulled this crap. Here’s the first:

    I want to if keiths and adapa are homosexuals.

    Simple question

    I ignored him both times, as I was very curious to see if anyone on the ID side would speak up. Not a word.

    IDers, what do you think of Vishnu’s questions?

  432. 432
    keith s says:

    Box #428:

    Is it obvious that when one assigns equal probabilities – and holds that this is an accurate description of reality – that one is in effect assuming “indifference”.

    Not at all. In my “Bob and Betty” example, “prefers trains” and “prefers planes” have equal probability, but that decidedly does not mean that the perpetrator is indifferent to the means of transportation:

    Box,

    Here’s an example to show why your “indifferent designer” claim is silly.

    Suppose I’m investigating a crime perpetrated by a lone individual. I narrow the suspects down to two, Bob and Betty, each of whom seems equally likely to have committed the crime, based on the evidence to date. Bob likes traveling by train, but Betty prefers flying.

    I can truthfully say “there’s a 50% chance that the perpetrator prefers flying, and a 50% chance that the perpetrator prefer traveling by train.” Does that mean that the perpetrator is indifferent to the mode of transportation? Obviously not.

    There’s also a 50% chance that the perpetrator is a man, and a 50% chance that the perpetrator is a woman. Does that mean that the perpetrator is a hermaphrodite? Obviously not.

    I hope (almost pray) that you can see the connection to our ongoing debate. The fact that the probabilities are equal does not mean I’m assuming that the designer is indifferent.

    William, HeKS,

    Similar arguments apply to the questions of whether the designer is omnipotent and whether or not he/she/it likes/is indifferent to/hates ONHs.

    You have carefully avoided addressing that example, Box. Why is that?

  433. 433
    keith s says:

    After avoiding my example, Box tries one of his own:

    Suppose we are standing near a highway junction. Now we see a car approaching the junction. Their are several possibilities: either the driver of the car chooses the junction, or continues on the highway, or turns his car around, or stops for a chat with us, or his car breaks down, or … and so forth.

    Let’s say there are a trillion of possibilities.
    Now when we, while standing near the highway junction and watching the car approaching, conclude that all the imaginable possibilities are equally likely – and hold that this estimation is an accurate description of reality – we must assume that the driver of the car is somehow “indifferent” towards the options available to him. IOW that there is an absence of reasons or preferences in the driver which would wreck equal probabilities. IOW we put a trillion-sided die behind the steering wheel.

    Box,

    In your example, we have tons of prior knowledge. We know what cars are, and what they’re for. We know that they are generally reliable. We know that they tend to remain on the road rather than veering off randomly into front yards and ditches. We know that humans drive them, and that they are a means of transportation. We have an enormous amount of background knowledge about humans and their characteristics. And so on.

    All of this prior information shapes the probabilities we assign to the various possibilities.

    In the case of biological ID, what prior information do we have about the designer? None whatsoever.

    Please tell me that you can see the difference between the two scenarios.

  434. 434
    Box says:

    Keith,

    The analogy of the designer and his alleged trillion of options should be obvious in my example. It is less obvious in yours.

    Keith: You have carefully avoided addressing that example, Box. Why is that?

    I briefly addressed your example in #336 and I was hoping it would suffice, because your example is embarrassingly off the mark. But okay, since you insist.

    Who plays the role of the designer in your example? I suppose it is the hypothetical criminal who is either Bob or Betty. What are the choices that the hypothetical criminal (designer) can make? To be either Bob or Betty and in effect to like traveling by train or by airplane??

    I don’t think anyone would think that this is analogous to a free agent making choices.

    I hope this short analysis is enough for you to reconsider your example, because I do not think it deserves more attention than I already gave it.

    – –
    p.s. It seems to be the case that I’m the only person who is still willing to respond to you. I cannot blame others for giving up on you. Don’t push me over the edge also.

  435. 435
    keith s says:

    Keith, you did not address my example #428.

    Yes, I did.

  436. 436
    keith s says:

    Box,

    It is extremely bad form to change your comments after posting them.

    Fixing typos is okay, but changing content is not.

    If you want to add a point, leave the original comment unchanged and add the new point after typing ETA (“edited to add”) first, so that readers are aware of the addition.

  437. 437
    HeKS says:

    @Box #434

    I hope this short analysis is enough for you to reconsider your example, because I do not think it deserves more attention than I already gave it.

    You’re right, of course, that it doesn’t deserve any more attention than that, but I’m giving it more attention anyway. I just haven’t had a chance to finish yet.

  438. 438
    keith s says:

    Box,

    You don’t think choosing to travel by train is a choice made by a free agent?

  439. 439
    HeKS says:

    On a completely different note. I come back to check on this thread and notice a weird discussion about homosexuals and sex with children. This is probably the only time I’m ever going to say this about anything, but I agree with Keith and Alicia that I don’t see those kinds of questions as appropriate in this setting, nor do I see the relevance of them.

    I have also only just this moment realized that I have the ability to edit comments in this thread, but in light of the fact that some discussion has ensued over Vishnu’s comments, I don’t know whether it would be appropriate for me to now edit those questions out, since it seems I’d also then have to remove the other references to them.

  440. 440
    keith s says:

    HeKS,

    Don’t “forget” to address the rampant circularity in your reasoning that I pointed out in #420.

  441. 441
    Barry Arrington says:

    Vishnu, HeKS is correct @ 439. Do not do that again or you will be shown the door.

  442. 442
    keith s says:

    HeKS #439,

    I would prefer that you not delete Vishnu’s comments. Let them stand as a testament to his character.

  443. 443
    HeKS says:

    Keith,

    Don’t “forget” to address the rampant circularity in your reasoning that I pointed out in #420.

    You must mean that I shouldn’t forget to address my reasoning that you wildly mistook for circularity because you don’t seem to understand the nature of either your argument or mine.

    Don’t worry, I’ll eventually get to that.

  444. 444
    Box says:

    Keith,

    // about my example in #428 //

    First I regard my example as superfluous. It should be clear what I mean by ‘assuming indifference’ from the following lines:

    Box: Is it obvious that when one assigns equal probabilities – and holds that this is an accurate description of reality – that one is in effect assuming “indifference”. Similarly, in terms of a die, one is assuming a “fair” (indifferent) die.

    You did not address that part. What is unclear about it?

    About my example in #428

    Keith: In your example, we have tons of prior knowledge. We know what cars are, and what they’re for. We know that they are generally reliable. We know that they tend to remain on the road rather than veering off randomly into front yards and ditches. We know that humans drive them, and that they are a means of transportation. We have an enormous amount of background knowledge about humans and their characteristics. And so on.

    First, that does not mean that we can model what the driver is going to do by the role of a die. Let’s say there are 6 possibilities: the driver of the car chooses the junction, or stops to check his car, or continues on the highway, or turns his car around, or stops for a chat with us, or parks his car near the house on the other side of the highway. Let’s say those are the only (6) possibilities.
    Now the question to you is: on what basis can we assign equal probabilities – and think that this accurately describes reality? What if the house on the other side of the highway is where he lives?

    Keith: All of this prior information shapes the probabilities we assign to the various possibilities.
    In the case of biological ID, what prior information do we have about the designer? None whatsoever.

    You argue that we do know about the general reliability of cars and made that into an objection against my argument. I’m hardly impressed but I try to accommodate your objection. HeKS has eloquently argued that we have general knowledge about designers, the methods they choose and that can make better supported assumptions based on that, but you have swept all his efforts aside and even mocked him with your rain fairy gibberish.

    That is not the way to make progress in a discussion.


    //Keith about his own example: //

    You don’t think choosing to travel by train is a choice made by a free agent?

    Yes I do think so. However Bob is not analogous to the designer, right? So that actually is a very weird question you ask me.

  445. 445
    HeKS says:

    @Box #444

    HeKS has eloquently argued that we have general knowledge about designers, the methods they choose and that can make better supported assumptions based on that, but you have swept all his efforts aside and even mocked him with your rain fairy gibberish.

    Also, don’t forget that the “target” (the problem / goal / project being undertaken) provides information to differentiate between logically possible approaches and determine which approaches are better than others and which are not good at all, even without considering potential personal preferences that might be held by a randomly selected agent. Even just assuming average intelligence on the part of the putative agent / designer will eliminate a whole swath of logically possible approaches from plausible consideration.

  446. 446
    Box says:

    HeKS #445,

    My summary of your argument falls short, I fully agree. It was my aim to make clear to Keith that he uses unequal weights and unequal measures.

  447. 447
    vividbleau says:

    Heks and Box

    Obviously I am bored. There is no argument you can give that will convince Keith he is wrong about anything nor will I.

    However for the sake of any onlookers that still may be following this conversation I would like to point out to you and them some perplexing questions and observations regarding Keiths example re Bob and Betty

    Since the both of you have engaged Keiths and are most familiar with his argument I have a question for the both of you. It is my understanding that Keith asserts that there is absolutely nothing we know about the designer.Is this correct?

    If I am correct about this can either one of you know why he would use an example to bolster his argument of indifference by using an example that is chock full of background knowledge?

    Box Keiths takes you to task in 433

    In your example, we have tons of prior knowledge.

    Box does not Keiths example have tons of prior information? We have a detective ( in this case it is Keiths). We have evidence discovered by Keiths, enough evidence to narrow the suspects down from the population as a whole to two people yet he criticizes your example because your example contains prior knowledge. Do you find this strange?

    This question is for the both of you. Does it appear to either one of you that Keiths is doing a shell game?

    First he says based on tons of prior information that there is a 50% chance that Bob committed the crime and a 50% chance that Betty did. He then goes on to conclude that therefore there is a 50% chance that the PERPERTRATOR ( singular) will either take a plane or a train.

    But in Keiths example there is only ONE perpetrator which is either Bob or Betty! There is not a 50% chance that if Bob is the perpetrator he will take either a train or a plane. If Betty is the perpetrator there is not a 50% chance that she will take either a plane or a train. What am I missing? Thanks

    Vivid

  448. 448
    HeKS says:

    Box,

    Indeed, he does.

    I’m currently writing something up to address his Bob and Betty example. I thought it would be short, since there’s one truly glaring problem with the example that make it obviously irrelevant. But knowing Keith, I decided to expand a little and I’ve decided to point out the multiple layers of error in reasoning that lead him to mistakenly think that his Bob and Betty example is in any way relevant to the current debate.

    It’s really rather crazy that this needs to be done, but Keith does provide a wealth of opportunity to provide instructive examples to casual readers of what happens when you don’t put serious thought into the logic of your argument and its defenses before you run around claiming it’s irrefutable and so powerful as to make the contrary position “irrational”.

  449. 449
    HeKS says:

    @vividbleau #447,

    You’ve clued in on some of the issues with Keith’s example. As for your questions, I imagine they will largely be addressed in the response I’m writing up to the example. If any questions remain unanswered after that then we can discuss them further.

  450. 450

    This is rich.

    Keith is claiming that HeKS is making a circular argument apparently because he is using the evidence in question in order to draw some provisional conclusions about the hypothetical designer of said evidence if we assume the designer did, in fact, generate the design where the evidence comes from.

    I pointed out to keith before:

    If you don’t assume gradual change or predominantly vertical [inheritance], then it doesn’t matter if the evolutionary process is guided or unguided; the resulting pattern will appear unrelated to the pattern in the first example.

    Keith responded:

    We observe slow mutation rates and predominantly vertical inheritance. We observe them producing microevolution and ONHs. Unless you’re going to resurrect your bizarre “but they might be guided!” argument, falling right back into the Rain Fairy trap, those are observed characteristics of unguided evolution.

    What keith attempts to do here is reserve the right to use the actual evidence we find in microevolution only for the unguided side of the ledger.

    Note, his comment is the equivalent of saying: If we assume the evidence we have gathered thus far about life and microevolution was generated by unguided forces, then it tells us what we can expect from those unguided forces when it comes to macroevolution”.

    However, when HeKS uses the same evidence to make inferences about the designer and what we might expect from a designer in terms of macroevolution, Keith calls it “circular reasoning”.

    We’ve already gone over the Rain Fairy argument and have demonstrated why it is not valid. He’s re-using it here to try to keep the design side from employing the same evidence he’s using the same way he’s using it for the non-design side.

    Keith says this about the designer:

    Meanwhile, we know absolutely nothing about your purported designer. We don’t know whether he/she/it proceeds by slow mutation rates.

    IF we have assumed that a designer is responsible for what we see, then if we see slow mutation rates, we know any designer assumed to have generated what we see proceeds by employing slow mutation rates – at least in the case of what we see.

    We don’t know whether he/she/it sticks to a predominantly vertical inheritance scheme. All possibilities remain open.

    No, they don’t, by Keith’s reasoning, because that’s not what we see. If you require the design side to account for what could have happened but did not, you must also account on the non-design side for what natural forces could have done but did not. You can’t use the evidence and say “unguided does it this way because this is what we see” and then reject the explanation “designer does it this way because this is what we see.”

    The hypothesis of unguided evolution is that the process that powers unguided microevolution — via slow mutations, natural selection, and drift — also powers macroevolution. So of course I take advantage of our observations of microevolution! Why wouldn’t I?

    Why shouldn’t the design side use the same evidence? If you’re going to demand the design side account for what could have happened but did not, why don’t you have to account for it? “Because it happened the way we see it” is not an answer; it dodges the question.

    If my hypothesis is that macroevolution is just microevolution writ large, then by necessity the drivers of the two processes must be the same. That means a slow mutation rate with predominantly vertical inheritance, shaped by selection and drift.

    If my hypothesis is that macro-design is just micro-design writ large, then by necessity the design principles and engineering developmental process must be the same.

    Meanwhile, you cannot make the same assumptions about the designer, because as you admit, you know nothing about him/her/it.

    Where did I admit this? As far as I know, the only thing I’ve done wrt knowing anything about a designer is assume your position arguendo in order to show your implicit assumptions.

    If you’re going to allow yourself the right to use the evidence under debate as evidence to support the hypothetical unguided side of the debate, you must allow it to be used to support the hypothetical guided side.

  451. 451

    As far as the bob and betty analogy, keith is conflating assigning a principle of indifference on something where the actual possibilities are not known to be weighted in any way with a conscious agency being indifferent about the choices they make.

    Keith has assigned a principle of indifference to the imagined choices available to an intelligent, causal agency embarking on the task of generating a planetary system of living organisms. Nothing could be more absurd on the face of it. Even if we don’t know the actual possibilities, one must hold that some possible choices would undermine the effort and others would progress the effort. They cannot be assumed to be equal probabilities for an intelligent designer, as HeKS has argued so well.

    Even unknown, we cannot possibly, in all good faith, assume the possibilities are not weighted wrt their promoting or harming the success of the project.

    So, add that to another way Keith’s argument has been rebutted: The PoI he employs to make his case is entirely inappropriate. It can only be employed where there is no known or assumed value distinctions between actual possibilities; keith doesn’t know any of the actual possibilities, and we certainly cannot assume none of the possibilities would be no more likely employed than the other.

  452. 452
    Box says:

    Vividbleau,

    Keith’s example has tons of prior information, as you perceptively point out, but he doesn’t seem to be bothered by that at all. Talk about unequal weights and unequal measures.

    VB: But there is only one perpetrator. There is not a 50% chance that if Bob is the perpetrator he will take either a train or a plane. If Betty is the perpetrator there is not a 50% chance that she will take either a plane or a train. What am I missing?

    There is a 50% chance that perpetrator is Bob and a 50% chance that she is Betty. If Bob, then 100% train.

    But let us not get caught up in Keith’s shell game 🙂 Let’s keep focus here!
    The main issue here is the question if Keith’s example is germane or not. It’s NOT.
    Let’s not forget that Keith’s example is supposed to be analogous to a designer of life who has many options available.
    In post #434 I ask Keith who, in his example, plays the role of this designer. I informed him that the best I can come up with is the “hypothetical criminal” who is either Bob or Betty. Keith didn’t state otherwise, so I suppose he agrees.
    To my understanding a hypothetical criminal, “who” (?) has the “choice” (?) to be either Bob or Betty, is not analogous to a designer of life who makes choices – or any free agent who makes choices.
    IOW Keith’s example doesn’t make sense to me – at all.

  453. 453
    StephenB says:

    Keiths to HeKS,

    The circularity is right there in your own words. You can’t argue that I’ve misinterpreted you, because you keep repeating it:

    As I have explained many times, KeithS struggles with logic because he chooses to read his hopes and wishes into the comments (eisegesis) rather than to read out of them what the author intended (exegesis).

    So it is with all his misguided complaints about HeKS’s alleged “circular arguments.”KeithS cites the following examples:

    HeKS “As such, one can make limited but warranted plausible inferences about a designer on the basis of their designs. And, given those inferences, one can also consider whether certain approaches can be more or less plausibly attributed to an agent with the characteristics that the designer is inferred to have on the basis of their designs”

    HeKS is correct. The key passage here is “on the basis of their designs,” which is derived from empirical observations. No circularity.

    “It also fails to take into account the ability to infer that certain characteristics are present in a designer based on an analysis of the things they are believed to have designed, and that this information can then be used in weighing the general likelihood that they might have produced other kinds of designs or used other kinds of design approaches.”

    That is correct. If the designer shows signs of unusual creative ability, it follows that the designer may be capable of achieving the same result in different ways. No circularity.

    “…it makes perfect sense to me that the designer would use some form of branching descent to achieve the multiple goals I mentioned, since it would fit right in with the design style I perceive the designer to be using in the systems that directly lead me to make a design inference in the first place.”

    Yes. Based on the apparent style of design, which is, in turn, based on empirical observation, branching descent can reasonably be posited as a plausible explanation. No circularity.

    “If we perform the same exercise after factoring in the problem/goal in question and the characteristics we can reasonably infer from the systems that triggered our design inference in the first place…”

    Correct. One can consider, speculate, or hypothesize about the method of design from the same source that established the probability of design. No circularity. Also, KeithS conspicuously leaves out the critical elements in the passage, which is the nature of the exercise that HeKS is referring to. One has to wonder about about that omission (eisegesis?)

    KeithS

    How embarrassing, HeKS. Your argument founders on the freshman logic mistake of assuming your conclusion.

    There seems to be an inverse relationship between KeithS’s intellectual confidence and his capacity to follow a rational argument. I really don’t understand how he hopes to refute arguments that he cannot even follow.

  454. 454
    HeKS says:

    @StephenB #453

    Yes, it’s crazy how much like the Black Knight scenario this really is. But if anything, Keith is even worse. His arms and legs have been lopped off, but he doesn’t even think he’s received a “flesh wound”. Instead, he thinks I’ve stabbed myself in the heart. It’s really rather mind-boggling. It’s exactly as you said: “I really don’t understand how he hopes to refute arguments that he cannot even follow.”

  455. 455
    velikovskys says:

    Wjm:
    the imagined choices available to an intelligent, causal agency embarking on the task of generating a planetary system of living organisms. Nothing could be more absurd on the face of it. Even if we don’t know the actual possibilities, one must hold that some possible choices would undermine the effort and others would progress the effort. They cannot be assumed to be equal probabilities for an intelligent designer,

    How can one know what undermines or progresses the effort without any actual knowledge of the imagined goals and imagined abilities of an imagined designer?

  456. 456
    vividbleau says:

    Box

    But let us not get caught up in Keith’s shell game The main issue here is the question if Keith’s example is germane or not. It’s NOT.

    Ahhh that was what I was attempting to point out with my shell game observation.

    Vivid

  457. 457
    Box says:

    I appreciate well-written sentences, probably due to my constant struggle with words because I’m not a native English speaker.
    Once in a while I spot a sentence which I try to memorize and say out loud.

    Two examples:

    StephenB: There seems to be an inverse relationship between KeithS’s intellectual confidence and his capacity to follow a rational argument.

    Phinehas: Your internal narrative and its continued disconnect with reality is duly noted.

    Both are pure poetry to me, but what do I know?

  458. 458
    keith s says:

    IDers,

    It’s amazing to me that I actually need to spell this out for you guys, but here goes:

    My “Bob and Betty” example is not intended as a complete analogy for the ID question. Its purpose is to illustrate the particular mistake Box and HeKS are making about the supposedly “indifferent” designer.

    Equal probabilities do not signal indifference.

    In the Bob/Betty example, the probability that the perpetrator prefers trains is 50%. The probability that the perpetrator prefers planes is 50%. Does that mean that the perpetrator is indifferent to the choice? Obviously not.

    So when Box says…

    Keith has to make the following unsupported assumptions:

    1. There are a trillion options available for the designer.
    2. The designer is completely indifferent about the ordering of life.

    Indifference implies that the designer has no reason at all to favor one option over others. IOW Keith has to add more unsupported assumptions, and in effect strip a free agent of his ‘personhood’ – choice, reason, preference -, in order to equate a free agent to a random process like the role of a die.

    …and HeKS says…

    I very much agree with you.

    …they are making the same silly mistake as someone who claims that the perpetrator is indifferent in the Bob/Betty example.

    I repeat:

    Equal probabilities do not signal indifference.

  459. 459
    keith s says:

    vividbleau:

    But in Keiths example there is only ONE perpetrator which is either Bob or Betty! There is not a 50% chance that if Bob is the perpetrator he will take either a train or a plane. If Betty is the perpetrator there is not a 50% chance that she will take either a plane or a train. What am I missing?

    Box:

    There is a 50% chance that perpetrator is Bob and a 50% chance that she is Betty. If Bob, then 100% train.

    Exactly. Neither potential perpetrator is indifferent. So when we say that there’s a 50% probability that the perpetrator prefers trains, and a 50% probability that the perpetrator prefers planes, we are not saying that the perpetrator is indifferent.

    Likewise, there are many potential designers. When we say there was a tiny probability for the designer to have chosen pattern 4,920,664, and an equally tiny probability for the designer to have chosen pattern 305,057,718,399, we are not saying that the designer was indifferent.

    I don’t know how to make it any more obvious. Please think about it.

  460. 460
    keith s says:

    Box #444, regarding #428:

    First, that does not mean that we can model what the driver is going to do by the role of a die…
    Now the question to you is: on what basis can we assign equal probabilities – and think that this accurately describes reality?

    We can’t, and I’ve already explained why:

    In your example, we have tons of prior knowledge. We know what cars are, and what they’re for. We know that they are generally reliable. We know that they tend to remain on the road rather than veering off randomly into front yards and ditches. We know that humans drive them, and that they are a means of transportation. We have an enormous amount of background knowledge about humans and their characteristics. And so on.

    All of this prior information shapes the probabilities we assign to the various possibilities.

    In the case of biological ID, what prior information do we have about the designer? None whatsoever.

    If you think that there is relevant prior information that will allow you to assign probabilities unequally to the trillions of possible design patterns, then tell us what that information is, where you got it, what the modified probabilities should be, and why.

    That challenge applies to HeKS, also.

  461. 461
    HeKS says:

    Keith,

    I don’t completely agree with #2 in Box’s statement, which is why my original comment said:

    I very much agree with you. If there’s any point where there might be room to quibble it’s in saying that Keith’s assumption is that the designer is “indifferent about the ordering of life”.

    Given your Bob and Betty example, I better understand what you think you’re saying on this point and why you mistakenly think it makes sense, but Box is still not completely wrong on his #2 either and has clued in on something you evidently don’t see, which makes him at least more right than you are.

  462. 462
    Quest says:

    What should we do with people like keith s…?

    It is difficult to ignore his unsubstantiated rant…

    What should we do since he is not unswerving the fundamental questions to his faith…?

  463. 463
    Quest says:

    What should we do with people like keith s…?

    It is difficult to ignore his unsubstantiated rant…

    What should we do since he is not unswerving the fundamental questions to his faith…?

  464. 464
    keith s says:

    HeKS,

    You left out your next sentence:

    I very much agree with you. If there’s any point where there might be room to quibble it’s in saying that Keith’s assumption is that the designer is “indifferent about the ordering of life”. That may be exactly right, and basically is exactly what Keith is assuming – or at least thinks he’s assuming – in his argument.

    [Emphasis added]

    As I’ve explained, I am not assuming indifference, so you and Box are both wrong about that.

  465. 465
    HeKS says:

    Keith,

    Yes, and that was taken from comment #283, before my very long post in which I addressed this issue more directly. Not to mention that you have cast the comment in light of your Bob and Betty example, which first popped up in #334 and which I’m in the process of addressing now in another comment I’m writing.

    Also, what Box said is right, it’s just that the implied indifference is not absolute. But I’m addressing all this in my other comment.

  466. 466
    Box says:

    Keith:

    As I’ve explained, I am not assuming indifference, so you and Box are both wrong about that.

    Keith,

    If one assigns equal probabilities to each option available to the designer, does one not necassaraly assume that it is equally likely that the designer chooses any one of them?

    Now, the mental state that makes it equally likely that a free agent chooses any one of several options is what I call “indifference”.
    Why do you have a problem with that?

  467. 467
    keith s says:

    HeKS:

    Yes, and that was taken from comment #283, before my very long post in which I addressed this issue more directly.

    Take responsibility for your comments, HeKS.

    You made the claim, and the claim was incorrect. Your claims are your responsibility.

  468. 468
    HeKS says:

    Keith,

    The only part I was wrong about was what I thought that you thought you were assuming. I wasn’t wrong about what you are assuming, because I didn’t mean that your argument assumes the designer is indifferent in ad absolute sense, but in a specific sense that is necessarily implied by your argument.

  469. 469
    keith s says:

    Box #466,

    I’ve already explained this. It might be good for you to go back and reread my earlier comments.

    When we talk about “the perpetrator” in the Bob/Betty example, we are talking about a role that might be filled by Bob, or it might be filled by Betty. The fact that we assign equal probabilities to “by train” and “by plane” does not mean that we think the perpetrator is indifferent. It just means that we don’t yet know who fills the role of the perpetrator. Since the evidence points equally to Bob and Betty, we say there’s a 50% chance that the perpetrator prefers traveling by train, and 50% by plane.

    Equal probabilities do not signal indifference.

    Likewise, when we talk about “the designer”, we are talking about a role that might be filled by many different hypothetical entities. The fact that we assign equal probabilities to all of the possibilities does not mean that we think the designer is indifferent. It just means that we don’t know which entity fills the role of the designer.

    (Note to philosophically minded readers: this is the de re/de dicto distinction.)

  470. 470
    keith s says:

    Meanwhile, StephenB and William J Murray (along with HeKS) fall straight into the Rain Fairy trap.

    First StephenB:

    HeKS “As such, one can make limited but warranted plausible inferences about a designer on the basis of their designs. And, given those inferences, one can also consider whether certain approaches can be more or less plausibly attributed to an agent with the characteristics that the designer is inferred to have on the basis of their designs”

    HeKS is correct. The key passage here is “on the basis of their designs,” which is derived from empirical observations. No circularity.

    Oh, really? Here is HeKS’s passage in terms of the Rain Fairy:

    As such, one can make limited but warranted plausible inferences about the Rain Fairy on the basis of the weather she has produced. And, given those inferences, one can also consider whether certain approaches can be more or less plausibly attributed to an agent with the characteristics that the Rain Fairy is inferred to have on the basis of the weather she has produced.

    StephenB quotes HeKS again:

    “It also fails to take into account the ability to infer that certain characteristics are present in a designer based on an analysis of the things they are believed to have designed, and that this information can then be used in weighing the general likelihood that they might have produced other kinds of designs or used other kinds of design approaches.”

    That is correct. If the designer shows signs of unusual creative ability, it follows that the designer may be capable of achieving the same result in different ways. No circularity.

    And again, HeKS’s passage can be rewritten in terms of the Rain Fairy:

    It also fails to take into account the ability to infer that certain characteristics are present in the Rain Fairy based on an analysis of the weather she is believed to have produced, and that this information can then be used in weighing the general likelihood that she might have produced other kinds of weather or used other kinds of weather-generating approaches.

    Those passages become quite comical when the Rain Fairy is substituted for the designer, don’t they? Yet the logic is the same.

    Here are the remaining passages, all of which have been modified to refer to the Rain Fairy.

    …it makes perfect sense to me that the Rain Fairy would use some form of convection to achieve the multiple goals I mentioned, since it would fit right in with the weather style I perceive the Rain Fairy to be using in the systems that directly lead me to make a Rain Fairy inference in the first place.

    And:

    If we perform the same exercise after factoring in the problem/goal in question and the characteristics we can reasonably infer from the systems that triggered our Rain Fairy inference in the first place…

    The take-home lesson:
    If your pro-ID argument works equally well in defense of the Rain Fairy, you have a bad argument.

  471. 471
    Box says:

    Keith,

    If the designer is equally likely to choose for any kind of ordering of life, then the designer is specifically indifferent about the ordering of life.

    Are you okay with this Keith?

  472. 472
    HeKS says:

    Keith,

    What’s funny is your inability to see the difference between what I have said and your Rain Fairy parodies.

    In your incorrect 3-step restatement of my argument, you got both 1 and 3 wrong.

  473. 473
    HeKS says:

    @Box #471,

    It’s not the ordering of life that Keith’s argument necessarily implies the designer to be indifferent about. I’ll address what it is when I post my response to his Bob and Betty example later tonight.

  474. 474
    keith s says:

    Box:

    If the designer is equally likely to choose for any kind of ordering of life, then the designer is specifically indifferent about the ordering of life.

    Are you okay with this Keith?

    Let’s apply your logic to Bob and Betty:

    If the perpetrator is equally likely to prefer trains as planes, then the perpetrator is specifically indifferent about the mode of transportation.

    Are you okay with this Box?

    Box,

    If you find your logic leading from sensible premises to an absurd conclusion, there is something wrong with your logic.

  475. 475
    Box says:

    Keith #474,

    you have just proved that your example is ill-matched. I fully agree that it is.
    The problem with your example is obvious. There is no actual perpetrator who is both Bob and Betty. Similarly there is no designer who is two persons; at least at this point I see no support for this assumption 🙂
    However if there would be a perpetrator who is equally likely to travel by train or plane, then one could say that he is specifically indifferent about traveling by train or plane.

    Are you okay with that Keith?

    edited: I’m also fine with “neutral” – instead of “indifferent”.

  476. 476
    keith s says:

    Box,

    Do you seriously not understand that the following statement is true in the Bob/Betty scenario?

    There is a 50% chance that the perpetrator prefers traveling by train, and a 50% chance that the perpetrator prefers traveling by plane.

    I’m sorry, but I don’t see how to make my example any simpler than it already is. It may just be beyond your grasp.

  477. 477
    keith s says:

    HeKS,

    Enough with the trailers. Show us the movie.

    This is ridiculous:

    HeKS #393:

    I’ll address that specific example in a few hours. I’m a little busy at the moment.

    HeKS #402:

    Here I am working up a response to Keith to explain to him why his Bob and Betty analogy is not analogous at all…

    HeKS #421:

    Regarding your Bob and Betty example, I’m working on my response as I have time between other things. I’ll try to finish tonight but it might not get posted until some time this weekend.

    HeKS #437:

    You’re right, of course, that it doesn’t deserve any more attention than that, but I’m giving it more attention anyway. I just haven’t had a chance to finish yet.

    HeKS #448:

    I’m currently writing something up to address his Bob and Betty example.

    HeKS #449:

    As for your questions, I imagine they will largely be addressed in the response I’m writing up to the example.

    HeKS #465:

    Not to mention that you have cast the comment in light of your Bob and Betty example, which first popped up in #334 and which I’m in the process of addressing now in another comment I’m writing.

    HeKS #473:

    I’ll address what it is when I post my response to his Bob and Betty example later tonight.

    If you’d spent half as much time writing your comment as you have writing about it, you’d have been done last night.

    Just make your points and post your comment. I’ll respond, and you can elaborate later if you need to.

  478. 478
    keith s says:

    William J Murray follows StephenB and HeKS into the Rain Fairy trap:

    Keith is claiming that HeKS is making a circular argument apparently because he is using the evidence in question in order to draw some provisional conclusions about the hypothetical designer of said evidence if we assume the designer did, in fact, generate the design where the evidence comes from.

    Apart from the painfulness of his prose style, William’s error is obvious. His passage can be restated in terms of the Rain Fairy:

    Keith is claiming that HeKS is making a circular argument apparently because he is using the evidence in question in order to draw some provisional conclusions about the hypothetical Rain Fairy responsible for said weather if we assume the Rain Fairy did, in fact, generate the weather where the evidence comes from.

    It must be crowded down there in the Rain Fairy trap. Sorry, guys. I would have made it larger if I’d known how many of you were going to fall in.

  479. 479
    Box says:

    Keith #476,

    Keith:

    Do you seriously not understand that the following statement is true in the Bob/Betty scenario?

    There is a 50% chance that the perpetrator prefers traveling by train, and a 50% chance that the perpetrator prefers traveling by plane.

    Keith, I understand that your statement is true. There are of course equal probabilities scenarios and indeed yours is one of them.
    However, your Bob/Betty scenario is ill-matched for reasons already provided. Reasons which you have not yet addressed.
    In short: the designer is not Bob and Betty nor John and Mildred. Or do you wish to argue for multiple designers? 🙂

  480. 480
    keith s says:

    Box,

    Well, there could be multiple designers, though I’m afraid that possibility is going to confuse you even more than before, so let’s keep it simple by assuming at most one designer for now.

    Then:

    1a. There is one perpetrator, who could be Bob or Betty, but not both.
    1b. There is one designer, who could any of a myriad of hypothetical designer candidates, but not all of them.

    2a. The probability is 50% that the perpetrator prefers trains to planes, and 50% that the perpetrator prefers planes to trains.
    2b. The probability that the designer prefers (or is limited to) pattern 4,920,664 is tiny and equal to the probability that the designer prefers (or is limited to) pattern 305,057,718,399 or any of the other patterns.

    3a. The fact that the probabilities are equal does not mean that the perpetrator is indifferent to the mode of travel.
    3b. The fact that the probabilities are equal does not mean that the designer is indifferent to the pattern chosen.

    Box, please pause and think about this instead of dashing off another hasty and ill-considered response.

  481. 481