Darwinism Informatics Intelligent Design

Hieroglyphs – the Linguistic Challenge to Darwinism

Spread the love

What properties of the four forces of nature predict linguistic sequences? Or can an intelligent cause be inferred from the discovery and decryption of hieroglyphics?

That is the foundational challenge to Darwinism in explaining the discovery and deciphering of the Indus hieroglyphs.

                  J. M. Kenoyer / harappa.com
source J. M. Kenoyer / harappa.com
Markov analysis is being used to identify sequence patterns and uncover the language and meaning of the Indus hieroglyphs. See: Computers unlock more secrets of the mysterious Indus Valley script by Hannah Hickey, Univ. Washington

Four-thousand years ago, an urban civilization lived and traded on what is now the border between Pakistan and India. During the past century, thousands of artifacts bearing hieroglyphics left by this prehistoric people have been discovered. Today, a team of Indian and American researchers are using mathematics and computer science to try to piece together information about the still-unknown script.
The team led by a University of Washington researcher has used computers to extract patterns in ancient Indus symbols. The study, published this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, shows distinct patterns in the symbols’ placement in sequences and creates a statistical model for the unknown language.
“The statistical model provides insights into the underlying grammatical structure of the Indus script,” said lead author Rajesh Rao, a UW associate professor of computer science. “Such a model can be valuable for decipherment, because any meaning ascribed to a symbol must make sense in the context of other symbols that precede or follow it.”
. . .
The new study looks for mathematical patterns in the sequence of symbols. Calculations show that the order of symbols is meaningful; taking one symbol from a sequence found on an artifact and changing its position produces a new sequence that has a much lower probability of belonging to the hypothetical language. The authors said the presence of such distinct rules for sequencing symbols provides further support for the group’s previous findings, reported earlier this year in the journal Science, that the unknown script might represent a language.
“These results give us confidence that there is a clear underlying logic in Indus writing,” Vahia said.
Seals with sequences of Indus symbols have been found as far away as West Asia, in the region historically known as Mesopotamia and site of modern-day Iraq. The statistical results showed that the West-Asian sequences are ordered differently from sequences on artifacts found in the Indus valley. This supports earlier theories that the script may have been used by Indus traders in West Asia to represent different information compared to the Indus region. . . .
. . .”One of the main purposes of our paper is to introduce Markov models, and statistical models in general, as computational tools for investigating ancient scripts,” Adhikari said. . . For more information, contact Rao at rao@cs.washington.edu.(emphasis added)

See full news: Computers unlock more secrets of the mysterious Indus Valley script

Prof. Dr-Ing. Werner Gitt develops a hierarchy of information in his book: In the Beginning was Information ISBN: 3-89397-255-2

Gitt develops five levels of information:

# Fifth level Apobetics: Intended purpose & achieved result
# Fourth level Pragmatics: Expected and implemented actions
# Third level Semantics: Ideas communicated and understood
# Second level Syntax: Code employed and understood
# First level Statistics: Signal transmitted and received

Rao et al’s research is developing the first level Statistics and from that discovering the Syntax or code used and from that trying to understand the ideas being communicated.

What basis can Darwinism provide for ANY of Gitt’s five levels of information?
We have clear current and historic evidence of intelligent agents being the direct cause of encoded information (such as you are reading.) Thus, objectively, Intelligent Design provides a more satisfactory explanation for the existence of hieroglyphs – as well as for the computers and software tools used to analyze them.

59 Replies to “Hieroglyphs – the Linguistic Challenge to Darwinism

  1. 1
    herb says:

    Wow, this is pretty devastating evidence against Darwinism. But then again, there’s scads of that around these days. Most important IMHO is that this is yet another pro-ID paper in the peer-reviewed literature.

  2. 2
    Rude says:

    But of course if there were some political motive for denying that there ever was such a thing as an Indus Valley civilization, then we’d have no problem whatsoever ridiculing Rao.

    The question would be raised, “But is it science?” and the courts would have to get involved.

  3. 3
    Jehu says:

    What basis can Darwinism provide for ANY of Gitt’s five levels of information?

    Easy dude, infinite multi-verses. Ever heard of them? That and super duper long deep time. Combine those two things and the impossible becomes inevitable. It is called science dude. /sarcasm.

  4. 4
    R0b says:

    DLH:

    Thus, objectively, Intelligent Design provides a more satisfactory explanation for the existence of hieroglyphs – as well as for the computers and software tools used to analyze them.

    Indeed, the hypothesis that hieroglyphs, computers, and software are designed by humans is a far more satisfactory explanation than the Darwinian hypothesis.

    Er… what’s the Darwinian hypothesis again?

  5. 5
    PaulN says:

    The funny thing is that even when not considering the origin of these hieroglyphs- simply adding wind, erosion, raw energy, or any other number of random natural processes would do nothing to make them any more complex or meaningful after the fact. In fact it would effectively diminish such highly specified complexity into rubbish over any given amount of time.

  6. 6
    DLH says:

    Broadly “Darwinism” has numerous challenges:
    First is the obvious Origin of Life (OOL) for which Darwin

    . . .conceive in some warm little pond, with all sorts of ammonia and phosphoric salts, light, heat, electricity, etc., present, that a protein compound was chemically formed ready to undergo still more complex changes . . .

    More recent the challenge is how to conceive of OOL in a frozen snowball earth covered by one 1 km thick ice. Origin and Evolution of Life on a Frozen Earth Scientists debate whether life’s start was hot or cold

    Regardless the temperature, there is yet no basis for showing how stochastic processes by the four forces of nature come up with even the first self replicating cell.

    The second major challenge is microevolution of cells developing complex biochemical systems.
    A third challenge is macroevolution of complex body parts.

    Language presents at least a fourth.

  7. 7
    Joseph says:

    Archaeology is nothing more than the “scribe of the gaps” and archaeologists are failed geologists- that is geologists who have given up. (sarcasm)

  8. 8
    ScottAndrews says:

    The Darwinian hypothesis does not apply to hieroglyphs. They are far too simple to have natural causes. First they must climb down off the wall, build a civilization, and draw their own hieroglyphs. Only then does accidental organization become the best and only explanation.

  9. 9
    Lenoxus says:

    On top of everything else, these hieroglyphs clearly cannot be accounted for by material causes. Take that, naturalists!
    DLH:

    We have clear current and historic evidence of intelligent agents being the direct cause of encoded information (such as you are reading.)

    Does DNA have an intelligent decoder to translate its instructions? If not, why not? And in what sense does the process require intelligence, if not to encode or decode the information? Just the original cell?

    … there is yet no basis for showing how stochastic processes by the four forces of nature come up with even the first self replicating cell.

    So, how about that fifth force of Intelligence? How do we know it was up to the task? If it was… are there any tasks it’s not up to? Just curious…
    Joseph:

    Archaeology is nothing more than the “scribe of the gaps” and archaeologists are failed geologists- that is geologists who have given up. (sarcasm)

    Yeah — since when was there any physical evidence that people have lived anywhere or physically created things such as written words? So far, “humans” are just a hypothetical phenomenon which leave no evidence for their existence. Total gap-filling.

  10. 10
    Joseph says:

    Lenoxus:

    Does DNA have an intelligent decoder to translate its instructions?

    Yes, it is called a ribosome- a genetic compiler.

    And in what sense does the process require intelligence, if not to encode or decode the information?

    The same sense that a computer requires intelligence.

    As for the “scribe of the gaps”- as far as you know humans picked it up from what nature,operating freely gave them.

    But anyway life begets life- what does that tell you?

  11. 11
    tragic mishap says:

    This thread is cracking me up. Comments 2, 7 and 8 are deserving of special note. We should have a sarcasm contest. Winner gets an ancient arrowhead gauranteed to have been formed without intelligence! (While supplies last. Arrowhead is not guaranteed to work and should not be used indoors or with anything resembling a bent shaft and string.)

  12. 12
    Lenoxus says:

    Joseph:

    Yes, it is called a ribosome- a genetic compiler.

    The ribosome is intelligent?

    As for the “scribe of the gaps”- as far as you know humans picked it up from what nature,operating freely gave them.

    I’m not sure I grasp the distinction here, or see how it’s relevant to the question of archaeology and whether proposing human creators is a “god of the gaps”. Obviously, humans are intelligent, even if they learn how to do some or all things from nature. Is someone a singer if a god teaches him to sing, but not if a bird does?

    But anyway life begets life- what does that tell you?

    That the first cause of all things must have been an organism?

  13. 13
    kairosfocus says:

    Lenoxus:

    First, a footnote . . .

    Re: The ribosome is intelligent?

    1 –> First, look at its function in the cell as typified in the diagrams here and here. Also examine the survey description here.

    2 –> Then, ask yourself, is the central processing unit of a computer [which interprets and executes digital instructions in a read off sequence] INTELLIGENT?

    3 –> or is its organised mechanical functionality in executing algorithms instead a SIGN of intelligence? [Cf the diagram and discussion of the design theory explanatory filter here.]

    4 –> this brings us back to the original focus of this thread, the as yet un-cracked Indus valley hieroglyphs.

    5 –> Examine the pictures above: is it logically possible that such could have been formed by accidental processes of weathering etc? [Ans, as a strict possibility, yes.]

    6 –> Why then — given that we do not have any ability to read any alleged message incorporated in them — is there inference that they are designed by intelligent argents rather than forces of chance and mechanical necessity acting on whatever initial conditions happened to prevail where we found the items? [Ans: by inferring that intelligence is the best explanation for the apparently functional organisation of the apparent glyphs, especially as their production seems to have been somewhat of a routine matter, and is closely associated with other complex functional features — bas reliefs of bulls, gods/men etc.. That is, in a scientific context, we have inferred to intelligence as the best explanation on empirical evidence.]

    7 –> In short, the [often, implicit] application of the ID explanatory filter — apart form cases where it is inconvenient to the evolutionary materialist school of thought — is a routine scientific exercise.

    8 –> Observe further the onward, equally scientific project: reverse engineering the apparent functional features, to detect a suspected code.

    9 –> That is, we see how codes are routinely associated with the action of intelligences as a sign of intelligence and as an indicator of their purposeful action.

    10 –> So, since a digital code has been known to be associated with the DNA/RNA messaging system in the cell ever since 1953 on, why — apart form worldview level question-begging — is it not generally accepted that such a functional code (as well as its interpreting and executing machinery) is best explained by an intelligent coder?

    GEM of TKI

    PS: A couple of days back, I had occasion to use utility software to peek into the structure of an e-SWORD bbl file. As I looked on the ASCII character string onscreen, I was impressed to see how the majority of the file [especially the header!] seemed to be a rather long string of repetitive, seemingly meaningless characters. It brought to mind the way that much of DNA has a similar structure; which led in now rapidly fading — but rather more recent than many would admit — former days, to the inference that most of the DNA is “junk.” [BTW, I gather the ENCODE project is finding macro-structures in DNA.]

    PPS: Sparc, since you seem to be now reduced to such rhetorical sniping, I am a very different individual from BA 77, Jerry and others. That I am commenting from Montserrat [which may appear to the system as Antigua] should be proof enough.

  14. 14
    kairosfocus says:

    PPPS: Re L’s: That the first cause of all things must have been an organism?

    Further observe how the chain of inference world: we observe that causes tend to come in three forms: chance and/or necessity and/or intelligence. We seek characteristic sings of each ans assign such to diverse facets of observed phenomena, routinely using inference to best explanation not demanding absolute logical proof.

    In that context, we identify signs of intelligence.

    So, we are able to infer to intelligent cause provisionally but with high enough confidence to put the weight of serious decisions on it [e.g in a courtroom using circumstantial evidence: was it accident, suicide or murder . . . ]. And, once we have intelligent cause as reasonable on best explanation of currently observed empirical evidence, we may then look for suspects or candidates; e.g. based on other circumstantial constraints.

    In the case of the origin of Terran, cell-based life, such intelligences may or may not have been beyond the cosmos, but were definitely not human.

    As we look at the life-friendly, fine-tuned cosmos we inhabit, the class of candidates looks like it would require great power and intelligence intent on creating a context for onward origin and [guided] development of life. that such sounds rather like the sort of God theists often discuss, is interesting but not a matter of circularity in reasoning.

    in short, that is not a matter of a question-begging, “MUST HAVE BEEN . . . ” assumption. but instead it is inference to best explanation in a context open to alternatives. If you would dismiss the above, then kindly propose and warrant a better explanation on empirical evidence.

  15. 15
    BVZ says:

    I am having a difficult time following the argument in the OP.

    Basically, it is possible to perform statistical analysis on a language. I don’t see how this is a problem for evolution.

    Could someone walk me through the logic here?

  16. 16
    kairosfocus says:

    BVZ:

    Look at he just above, on what is going on in the case: routine application of the explanatory filter in a scientific context, prior to being able to work out the meaning of the text.

    the statistics part is being used to try to get enough “cipher text” to apply modern code cracking techniques to solve the language-writing system. (Presumably, the symbols relate to ancient Indus Valley speech, which would be somewhat related to Sanskrit etc.)

    GEM of TKI

  17. 17
    Nakashima says:

    Mr Joseph,

    But anyway life begets life- what does that tell you?

    That ‘life’ is no longer the definite, binary category people once thought it was.

  18. 18
    kairosfocus says:

    PS: BV, now that I am slightly more awake, I should add something.

    The first issue is if there is a something there to see. And statistical pattern analysis is being used to see that here is an apparently linguistic [one presumes alphabetical, cf. how Q is usually followed by U in English etc] function, so that sequences seem to come in meaningful patterns. So much so that moving one glyph out of the observed placing sufficiently changes pattern to make a clearly discernible difference.

    So, statistics are spotlighting functionality, and then on the patterns detected and one guesses correlations to the known patterns of Sanskrit or maybe just broad Indo-European (PC for “Aryan” . . . I suppose) linguistic patterns, they are going for a crack without benefit of a Rosetta Stone with parallel columns of text. Cf Wiki on Linear B to see how they cracked it using similar techniques. [It even has its own unicode symbol set now! See also images here. Cf book discussion of decipherment here, esp ch 6, noting of course how the year 1953 turns up.]

  19. 19
    kairosfocus says:

    Nakshima-san:

    Of course cell-based life [notice my specificity . .. as a Christian I am very open to the possibility of non cell based life! SP—- . . . ] is known to work in a way that is based on DNA, ribosomes, enzymes, proteins etc. thus, it is functionally specific and complex.

    In turn, that life uses symbolic patterns, codes, algorithms and processors thereof. That is the class of function is very familiar form information science.

    In our observation, such cell based life comes from previous cell based life, using special structures and algorithms for replication; and often special cells for sexual reproduction.

    Life from life in short, raising the issue where did the original life come from, given what we know about he observed cause of such information-functional, algorithmic, code based complex entities.

    GEM of TKI

  20. 20
    Nakashima says:

    KF-san,

    Once you restrict your observation to cell based life, then the answer to the question becomes easier, “from non cell based life”. This shows the failure of the “in our observation” intuition/inference/analogy/warrant/habit. We know conditions 3-4 billion years ago were quite different, why persist in using a logical argument that moves backwards from the present?

  21. 21
    kairosfocus says:

    Nakashima-san:

    [NB: We must not let this thread simply slide away form its focus]

    The issue is not a generic statement that uses one word to substitute for another uninformatively; but the question of the information and its storage and processing system.

    As for “backward” arguemts that move from the present to the past, why, we can only observe IN the present, so if we are to do origins science on the roots of that present we will have to argue from the preset to the past.

    And, there is a little principle of extension of scientific reasoning that infers that the world as a whole tends to work in more or less similar patterns, so we provisionally generalise on observations that support inferences to currently best and reasonably reliable explanations.

    I think Peirce spoke of it as the three step logic of science or something like that: abduction, deduction, induction.

    Wiki:

    ___________

    Borrowing a brace of concepts from Aristotle, Peirce examined three basic modes of reasoning that play roles in inquiry, processes currently known as abductive, deductive, and inductive inference. Peirce also called abduction “retroduction” and, earliest of all, “hypothesis”. He characterized it as guessing and as inference to the best explanation. Peirce sometimes expounded the modes of inference by transformations of the classical Barbara (AAA) syllogism, for example in “Deduction, Induction, and Hypothesis” (1878, see CP 2:623). He does this by rearranging the rule (which serves as deduction’s major premiss), the case (deduction’s minor premiss), and the result (deduction’s conclusion):

    Deduction.

    Rule: All the beans from this bag are white.
    Case: These beans are from this bag.
    \therefore Result: These beans are white.

    Induction.

    Case: These beans are [randomly selected] from this bag.
    Result: These beans are white.
    \therefore Rule: All the beans from this bag are white.

    Hypothesis (Abduction).

    Rule: All the beans from this bag are white.
    Result: These beans are white.
    \therefore Case: These beans are from this bag.

    Peirce went on in 1883 in “A Theory of Probable Inference” (Studies in Logic) to equate hypothetical inference with the induction of characters of objects. Eventually dissatisfied, by 1900 he was distinguishing them again and taking the syllogistic forms as not quite basic. In 1903 he presented the following logical form for abductive inference[58]:

    The surprising fact, C, is observed;

    But if A were true, C would be a matter of course,
    Hence, there is reason to suspect that A is true.

    Note that the logical form does not also cover induction, since induction does not depend on surprise and does not introduce a new idea in its conclusion. Abduction seeks a hypothesis to account for facts; induction seeks facts to test a hypothesis. Peirce now regarded abduction as plainly preparatory to further study and inference. In his methodeutic or theory of inquiry (see below), Peirce regards the three modes as clarified by their coordination in essential roles in inquiry and science, with abduction generating a possible hypothesis to account for a surprising phenomenon, deduction clarifying the relevant necessary predictive consequences of the hypothesis, and induction testing the sum of the predictions against the sum of the data to show something actually in operation.[59]

    _____________

    And of course the scientific investigation strategy being used to tackle apparent Indus Valley script is based on precisely this approach, accepting that intelligent action is an empirically detectable fact.

    GEM of TKI

  22. 22
    Nakashima says:

    KF-san,

    I am sure we are in violent agreement about the general principles, only the details of their application are a little slippery. The general statement that life comes from life was not yours, originally, and I don’t hold you to defend it.

    If we observe today rock formations that required a different chemistry in the oceans or atmosphere than we have today, we can’t use today’s atmosphere as the basis for an argument. Similarly, if we put prebiotic materials in an environment containing sophisticated cells, and the cells consumed them as food, then we have learned we can’t argue from cells backwards, either. At best we can draw so sort of regression line and project backwards along it, which is always dangerous.

  23. 23
    kairosfocus says:

    Nakashima-san:

    I have to be heading out right away, but5 could not resistt his one:

    At best we can draw so sort of regression line and project backwards along it, which is always dangerous.

    Think about what that says for the grand apparatus of neo-Darwinian macro-evolution, which is exactly that sort of grand extrapolation beyond the observable.

    On particular points:

    1 –> As you now note, I did not first use the term, it is actually the law of Pasteur and Virchow (those C19 fundy dummies . . . not). Even in the thread, someone else cited it.

    2 –> the law is obviously limited, as cell based life cannot be eternal, given what else we credibly know about our universe.

    3 –> While we may not infer that today’s atmosphere was always there, we must reason in ways that are consistent with today’s atmosphere being as it is, which constrains our reasoning sharply.

    4 –> Also, in the context of prelife chemistry, the proportion of Oxygen becomes a two sided sword: significant presence, no Miller-Urey type phenomena, no “soup.” Too little, UV smashes the organic chemicals, no soup again, and the overlap range is also prohibitive. [Notice how we are inferring from observed present chemistry and actinic radiation and its sources in the sun’s physics . . . ]

    5 –> getting back to the issue of inference to intelligence. We see that the sort of explanatory filter approach is in use in the case of the apparent Indus Valley script.

    6 –> So, if such FSCI on many grounds is inferred as intelligently sourced, why then is the code based algorithmic functionality of the cell not reasonably hypothesised — bias set to one side — as an intelligent artifact? [Esp given the linked von Neuman cluster to get to self-replication, and the search resource exhaustion that the associated configuration spaces soon impose on the scope of the cosmos as a whole as observed.]

    GEM of TKI

  24. 24
    tgpeeler says:

    #15 -BVZ

    I would be happy to do this. I have been making this argument for some time and I’m delighted that someone with the academic credentials to get this idea into the public discourse has done so. I posted a more detailed response to the subject of your question at

    http://www.uncommondescent.com.....ent-316367

    on the 4th of May. For here, I will summarize.

    It seems to me that a good explanation should, among other things, explain what needs to be explained. In the case of “life,” what needs to be explained is information, not physical structures. In other words, in order to explain the house we must refer to the architectural plans. In order to explain living organisms we must refer to the genetic language and the biological information in the genomes. “Natural selection” of course, does nothing of the kind but I will save that for later.

    If you are a materialist (or a physicalist or a “naturalist,” and I hope that you are not) then ALL you have to explain anything and everything is the laws of physics. Any self-respecting proponent of the “isms” that deny that there is anything beyond nature, beyond the material, beyond the physical, have eliminated Mind/mind as an ultimate explanation for anything.

    Given that, we quickly see the following chain of reasoning.

    *Information must be explained to explain life.
    *Language must be explained to explain information.
    *Symbols and rules must be explained to explain language.
    *Physics has NOTHING TO SAY about why particular arrangements of symbols mean something as opposed to something else or why then mean anything at all.
    *THEREFORE, it is impossible to explain information within a materialist ontology. IMPOSSIBLE.

    So symbols and rules are what must be explained. But physics has nothing to say about symbols, the representation of one thing for another, or rules, why a particular arrangement symbols “CAT” means a certain kind of mammal and “ACT” means to do something, something done, or a segment of a play, depending on context. Physics also has nothing to say about why “TAC” also means Tyrosine, to get to the heart of the matter.

    I could go on and on. The proponents of Darwinism, neo-Darwinism, the modern synthesis, evo-devo, whatever you want to call the latest incarnation of intellectual garbage that is being peddled to the public, are intellectually dishonest. They avail themselves of the explanatory resources of Mind/mind yet deny the existence of Mind/mind. It’s astonishing to me that the ID community hasn’t already destroyed these pretenders.

    Information always reduces to mind, not to physics. Case closed. This is not difficult. It couldn’t be more simple. The entire “intellectual” enterprise of naturalism, materialism, physicalism, is devoid of truth. They cannot explain anything that matters to human beings. Well, they can explain why electrons do what they do, or at least predict that they will do what they do and that makes my TV work so they can explain at least one thing that matters. 🙂 But about purpose, morality, reason, information, and consciousness, to name a few, these “isms” have NOTHING to say.

  25. 25
    MeganC says:

    Has ID theory managed to tell us anything useful about biological life using the methods described in the article? Anything we didn’t know before?

  26. 26
    Upright BiPed says:

    Megan,

    Research has told us that the sequencing of nucleotides have no physical properties that cause them to exist in the functional state under which we find them. It has also told us that it is fundamentally impossible for the mechanism of chance to have coordinated the disparate physical objects within the cell which those nucleotides control. Finally, it has also shown that neither chance nor physical law can organize the symbol system in which those nucleotides encode their information, or the process by which it is decoded.

    None of that research was particularly labeled “ID Research”. You’ll have to decide for yourself whether or not that matters – just as you’ll have to decide for yourself whether not it matters what chance and physical necessity cannot do.

  27. 27
    Nakashima says:

    Mr Tgpeeler,

    How do you deal with bee dancing in your system?

  28. 28
    MeganC says:

    Upright BiPed,

    “Research has told us that the sequencing of nucleotides have no physical properties that cause them to exist in the functional state under which we find them. It has also told us that it is fundamentally impossible for the mechanism of chance to have coordinated the disparate physical objects within the cell which those nucleotides control. Finally, it has also shown that neither chance nor physical law can organize the symbol system in which those nucleotides encode their information, or the process by which it is decoded.”

    So where, if anywhere, has this data proven useful? Is it, for instance, being used to help understand or cure genetic diseases, cancer or AIDS? Or perhaps it will help in the fight against illegal immigration and terrorism?

    “None of that research was particularly labeled “ID Research”. You’ll have to decide for yourself whether or not that matters – just as you’ll have to decide for yourself whether not it matters what chance and physical necessity cannot do.”

    Why was it not labeled “ID Research”? Was it perhaps not done by ID scientists? I guess it wouldn’t really matter either way, just as long as ID theory can further our knowledge of biological life?

  29. 29
    tgpeeler says:

    Hello Mr. Nakashima, or should I say konichiwa? 🙂

    Thanks for asking. That’s one of the first things that occurred to me as a potential objection. There are other instances of this in the animal world such as army ants (and other ants and other bugs, whatever) communicating with chemicals and whales and dolphins communicating with whistles and clicks. (And human beings sometimes communicate in sign language that involves no words. I know this because somebody gave me a symbolic gesture the other day on the freeway and there was no mistaking the message!) But think about it. There is a language involved in all of these instances. Let’s take the bee “dance” as an example. The bees make certain “steps” in certain combinations that communicate “the pollen is over here.” In order for that to happen, the symbols, or steps, in this case, are arranged in certain ways (according to some set of rules) that means “go 400 meters south by southeast” or “go 600 meters due west” or whatever (or get the hell out of my lane). The point being that in order for communication, the transmission of information, to take place, a language is required and LIFE IS REQUIRED. And since all languages require symbols (written, verbal, chemical, physical, digital, whatever) and rules (how the symbols are arranged into vocabulary and into meaningful communication by grammar and syntax) then symbols and rules MUST BE explained.

    But they CANNOT BE explained by physics. Information is immaterial. It’s encoded in physical substrate BUT it’s independent of that substrate. The meaning isn’t in the physics or chemistry of the ink on the page or the smoke signals in the sky. Physics is about the material and physical world and would have nothing to say about symbols, the representation of one thing for another, or rules, how the symbols were arranged. This is the key point that MUST BE driven home. If all I have to explain things is physics then I can never, EVER explain information. And when you have Dawkins, Crick, Yockey, hell, all of them, talking about life and information and DNA then they are finished. It’s over. They say only physics has causal and explanatory power but we have seen that it is conceptually impossible for physics to explain symbols and rules, therefore it cannot eplain language, therefore it cannot explain information, therefore it cannot explain life. Game over.

    I have tried to attack this issue at the most fundamental level. I’ve been through the chance can do this and chance can’t do that arguments but they all miss the crucial point. There is no life apart from information, and there is no information apart from language, and there is no language apart from symbols and rules. And the ONLY thing that can explain symbols and rules is a mind. Or, originally, a Mind. Physics is not up to the task because physics is about the physical world, not the immaterial world of information.

    Materialism, naturalism, physicalism, whatever you want to call it, is intellectually bankrupt from the beginning. It doesn’t get the first things (what exists) right so as a result it gets everything else wrong when it comes to life. This applies to morality, epistemology, everything. It truly is a mystery to me why the ID crowd hasn’t slaughtered them on this point. I can’t believe that we are still even having this conversation, to tell you the truth. It’s not that evolution by “natural selection” isn’t true, it’s not even possible for it to be true. Only a mind can account for information. I’ll be speaking about this in Houston in a couple of weeks. Preaching to the choir, so to speak, but I welcome opposing points of view. It gives me a great foil for presenting the truth.

  30. 30
    Upright BiPed says:

    Megan,

    With all due respect, your comments seem to be based on something other than fact.

    Actually, as I read your remarks I am wondering just what the assumptions are that you operate with. Are you under the belief that having a view of the origins of nucleic sequencing which is based solely on the observable evidence will somehow inhibit our ability to solve biological problems? Are you thoughts such that our medical progress is subject to an incorrect reading of the data?

    http://www.plosbiology.org/art.....io.0050112

    Either way, I am surprised that you suggest that recognizing reality is less valuable to mankind than willfully perpetrating a mistake (after it has been proven to be so).

    In any case, such recognition has practical value, for instance, we might not have wasted the past 35 years operating under the ridiculous assumption that junk DNA was actually junk.

  31. 31
    Nakashima says:

    Mr Tgpeeler,

    It is actually either a very late “konban ha”, or a very early “ohayo gozaimasu” in Japan right now! But ohayo just means “it’s early, isn’t it?” so maybe that is more appropriate.

    Anyway, I’m not clear on whether life is necessary or whether mind is necessary. Are you saying that since bees use language that they have minds? Or that language can be created by life, even if not life with a mind like ours?

    Thank you if you can clarify.

  32. 32
    tgpeeler says:

    Ah, I was going by American time. 🙂

    I’m saying that ultimately, at the bottom of all human information, we will find a human mind. Not physics. So I am extrapolating to all other kinds of creatures whether they be sentient aliens or mindless bugs. If life requires information, and it does. And information requires language, and it does. And language requires symbols and rules, and it does. THEN we must explain symbols and rules. But physics can’t do that. So any “ism” that relies on physics as its explanatory work horse can never explain symbols and rules, therefore language, therefore information, therefore life. That’s my point. Neo-Darwinian evolution is a fraud and a farce and there will be a lot of red faces someday.

    As far as animals go, they create and use information all the time. Just watch a nature show on how whales hunt or how army ants maneuver through the jungle. But obviously they are not using information like we do. They are, as far as I know, not self-aware, rational, moral creatures, like we allegedly are. They don’t have “minds” like human minds. But they do interact with their environment and they do communicate. So I would not say that bees have a “mind” but then that poses the question: where does that information come from, then? I say it’s built into the DNA. I say this as a logical deduction, not an empirical observation.

    Let me try it this way. I’m saying that only living things communicate. On a conceptual level, language is required for the communication of information. I don’t see how this cannot be true. Try to communicate or even imagine communication apart from language.

    At its core, language is symbols and rules for organizing those symbols. The symbols can be letters, sounds, bumps, dots and dashes, ones and zeroes, chemical “odors”, gestures, and so on. But in order for communication to take place, the sender and receiver must be on, or nearly on, the same wavelength. I must recognize the symbols you use and the rules for using them otherwise I can’t understand what you say. Does this help?

  33. 33
    tgpeeler says:

    Some quotes on life and information:

    “You can treat the genetic code as a dictionary in which sixty-four words in one language (the sixty-four possible triplets of a four-letter alphabet) are mapped onto twenty-one words in another language (twenty amino acids plus a punctuation mark).” River Out of Eden, page 11.

    “Life is just bytes and bytes and bytes of digital information.” River Out of Eden, page 19.

    “Indeed, the whole DNA/protein-based information technology is so sophisticated – high tech, it has been called by the chemist Graham Cairns-Smith – that you can scarcely imagine it arising by luck, without some other self-replicating system as a forerunner.” River Out of Eden, page 150.

    “We have seen that DNA molecules are the centre of a spectacular information technology.” The Blind Watchmaker, page 126.

    “…so that the language that is used in the nucleic acid polymers is universal.” Of Molecules and Men, page 10.

    The existence of a genome and the genetic code divides the living organisms from nonliving matter. There is nothing in the physico-chemical world that remotely resembles reactions being determined by a sequence and codes between sequences. Information Theory, Evolution, and the Origin of Life, page 2.

    The belief of mechanist-reductionists that the chemical processes in living matter do not differ in principle from those in dead matter is incorrect. There is no trace of messages determining the results of chemical reactions in inanimate matter. If genetical processes were just complicated biochemistry, the laws of mass action and thermodynamics would govern the placement of amino acids in the protein sequences. page 5.

    Information, transcription, translation, code, redundancy, synonymous, messenger, editing, and proofreading are all appropriate terms in biology. They take their meaning from information theory (Shannon, 1948) and are not synonyms, metaphors, or analogies. page 6

    The genetic information system is the software of life and, like the symbols in a computer, it is purely symbolic and independent of its environment. Of course, the genetic message, when expressed as a sequence of symbols, is nonmaterial but must be recorded in matter or energy. page 7.

    Life is guided by information and inorganic processes are not. page 8.

  34. 34
    Nakashima says:

    Mr Tgpeeler,

    The process of arriving at an agreed signal system can be viewed as an example of co-evolution. Since symbols are arbitrary, they can begin as any random association which then become habituated. This could even be at the chemical level. What starts as a very loose association becomes, through feedback over time, a much tighter and precise relationship.

  35. 35
    Rude says:

    There is a difference between a code and mere design. A code is a type of design but a step removed—its information must be decoded by a mind or a machine before its function or specification can be realized. All codes are to one degree or another arbitrary, not so the design instantiated in matter. A shovel or mouse trap is immediately functional. An English paragraph or a sequence of DNA is not.

    Thus it is ordinarily much easier to guess the function of an archaeological artifact (pottery, weaponry, etc.) than the meaning of a code such as in the Indus Valley tablets. Without a key to the code we are typically lost. Without the Behistan inscription and the Rosetta stone we would have been hard pressed to decipher Akkadian and Egyptian. But language has certain characteristics, as do various writing systems (logographic, syllabic and phonetic), which can be analyzed independently of meaning, and speaks to the nature of design as opposed to the repetitive or random noise patterns found in nature.

    The Indus Valley writings are interesting in that they are close to as old as the Mesopotamian and thus among the oldest on earth. Outside of India most would be epigraphers have assumed the language to have been Dravidian—not Indo-Aryan—but that theory carries political liability in India, as David McAlpin was to learn.

    Anyway the identification and decipherment of ancient writing provides a real example of design detection and the fact that the science doesn’t stop with the detection.

  36. 36
    tgpeeler says:

    Mr. Nakashima says:

    “The process of arriving at an agreed signal system can be viewed as an example of co-evolution. Since symbols are arbitrary, they can begin as any random association which then become habituated. This could even be at the chemical level. What starts as a very loose association becomes, through feedback over time, a much tighter and precise relationship.”

    I don’t understand the claim(s) that you are making and I sure don’t know what your foundational assumptions are. What, exactly, are you claiming? That arbitrary symbols somehow created information? When you trace back the antecedent chain of causes where do you arrive? What is at the bottom of information? Chance? Chance can’t possibly create meaningful information even given symbols and rules. Plus, information is meaningless outside the context of life. You can’t have information without life and you can’t have life without information. So which came first? How did it “evolve”? If that is your claim.

  37. 37
    MeganC says:

    Upright BiPed,

    “With all due respect, your comments seem to be based on something other than fact.”

    Which comments of mine are you referring to? And what happened to answering my questions?

    “Actually, as I read your remarks I am wondering just what the assumptions are that you operate with.”

    Gravity?

    “Are you under the belief that having a view of the origins of nucleic sequencing which is based solely on the observable evidence will somehow inhibit our ability to solve biological problems? Are you thoughts such that our medical progress is subject to an incorrect reading of the data?”

    I dunno, you tell me…

    “Either way, I am surprised that you suggest that recognizing reality is less valuable to mankind than willfully perpetrating a mistake (after it has been proven to be so).”

    Ok, whatever, so what has come of your alternative approach? Anything tangible?

    “In any case, such recognition has practical value, for instance, we might not have wasted the past 35 years operating under the ridiculous assumption that junk DNA was actually junk.”

    Nothing at all? When can we expect some developments? I’m not asking for headline news, just some new data/greater understanding based on ID theory.

  38. 38
    Nakashima says:

    Mr Tgpeeler,

    There were a lot of citations today to the evolution of mutual behaviors today on the Scrumptious Wrasse thread. But if we consider bees dancing, dancing behavior and reactions to dancing behavior could begin as random and uncoordinated. However, even slight correlations betwen dance and reaction will lead those bees to more food than the other random combinations, and cetainly more food than the anti-correlated bees. Even though waggling is arbitrary behavior, as good as hopping or buzzing, it now means something. An arbitrary behavior has become a symbol, conveying meaning, simply by correlation.

    A chemical example would be the association of G with hydrophobic amino acids and C with hydrophillic amino acids. That is a much smaller and less precise genetic code than the one we have today. But it would still guide protein synthesis in interesting ways. The G-phobic, C-phillic would just be a frozen accident.

  39. 39
    Upright BiPed says:

    Megan,

    I was trying to give you the benefit of the about asking if the truth (based on the best evidence) was important. Some people rightly find such questions intellectually primitive. I am one of those people

    As for your continued implication that medicine is dependent on origins research, I will simply let the implications of the Plos article speak for itself.

  40. 40
    ScottAndrews says:

    Nakashima:

    The process of arriving at an agreed signal system can be viewed as an example of co-evolution. Since symbols are arbitrary, they can begin as any random association which then become habituated.

    In the case of bees which communicate cooperatively, any behavior which sends a message offers no benefit unless the it is understood.

    Keep in mind that these are not people consciously attempting to communicate and to understand. These are unreasoning animals. Any visible behavior which relates to possessed knowledge is a mutated accident. One bee is not trying to tell the other anything.
    And, if its behavior does not produce results because there isn’t another bee to receive the message, then it confers no advantage.

    Likewise, the “receiving” bee, unable to think abstractly, does not understand the meaning of the message. It has mutated an inexplicable instinct to fly in a certain direction in response to the sight of another bee moving in its own oddly mutated manner. If there is no bee with a mutation to send that signal, there is no advantage.

    I left out one minor detail – the message takes into account the position of the sun, even when the bees have been in the hive for extended periods. Apparently they had some additional mutations that affected both the sending of the messages and the response to them to take the sun into account. So now we have an abstract message calculated using direction and distance to the flowers and the position of the sun.

    And one more – worker bees don’t reproduce.

    But I’ve learned by now that nothing is a showstopper for Darwinism. The impossible is inevitable. “Improbable” is just another word for “it took longer.” No big deal. It’s just a few more mutations. Or a few more of something else. We’re not sure which or how many or why or how, but we’ll call it an explanation and call it science.

  41. 41
    tsmith says:

    But I’ve learned by now that nothing is a showstopper for Darwinism. The impossible is inevitable. “Improbable” is just another word for “it took longer.” No big deal. It’s just a few more mutations. Or a few more of something else. We’re not sure which or how many or why or how, but we’ll call it an explanation and call it science

    thats RIGHT!!! whatever it is, it HAD to evolve, because EVOLUTION IS TRUE..and the alternative is UNTHINKABLE!!!! PRAISE DARWIN!!

    evolution is a religion…atheism posing as science…

  42. 42
    Lenoxus says:

    Yeah, well, look at all the problems the Designer would have had to face in giving those bees language. First, she would have had to

    and then, she would

    Finally, she’d add a dash of

    and that would largely solve the remaining issues.

    Huh, something seems to be wrong with my keyboard…

  43. 43
    ScottAndrews says:

    Lenoxus:
    As is my occasional habit, I addressed this exact type of “reasoning” in another thread, giving you the benefit of the doubt that perhaps you were actually interested in the answers to the questions you raised.
    Why did I bother?
    Now I know better. You adhere to an ideology, and contradictory information will bounce off of you like bullets off of Superman’s forehead. Some people are ignorant, but a rare few are proud of their refusal to learn.

  44. 44
    Lenoxus says:

    I guess I was getting tiresome with my harping on that one objection… I’m sorry. What’s fundamentally bugging me here is the way in which ID sometimes refuses to allow naturalistic biology to operate normally. When solely evolutionary mechanisms are proposed to explain something, they are accused of being insufficient. If additional mechanisms to basic Darwinian evolution are proposed (such as punk eek or HGT), the argument is made that those contradict evolution, that they put evolution as a whole on thin ice, and that such mechanisms are just hat-pulled from nothing to avoid the obvious conclusion of Design. Any given explanation for, say, the origin of bee language or of mutualism is just a “magic incantation” derived from overactive imaginations, whereas the inference of generic, non-mechanistic design is purely hard logic. Any given naturalistic explanation can be “picked apart”. Design, however, cannot. (For example, you can never claim that that designer “wouldn’t do that”, because you’re not the designer.)

    Yet, with Design, what’s being proposed is a phenomenon that has never been observed. Yes, “design” has generically been observed. But “Design” as a mechanism for the origin of biological structures hasn’t been, at least not in a way that even experts within the ID community can agree on. (Do gaps in the fossil record indicate saltation, or does each reproductive event involve little change? Are all genomes “designed to evolve”, or do they deteriorate due to “genetic entropy”? And why can’t such ideas be accused of being hat-pulled, especially given the lack of evidence for any of them?)

  45. 45
    ScottAndrews says:

    Lenoxus:
    (My overreaction was a bit unnecessary. Sorry about that.)

    No designer has ever been caught in the act of creating or adding new features to living things. That is true.
    Neither has anything else. So by that logic, haven’t we just eliminated all possible origins? You can’t apply that to one and not to the other. Given that life exists, that line of reasoning may be discarded.

    It’s logical to wish to know the mechanisms of design, or of evolution. Intelligent design is simply a test to determine whether a thing required an intelligent cause. The test is solid, unless you know of a thing besides intelligence that generates functionally specific, useful information. If it only answers that one question and leaves the rest blank, so be it, if the test is accurate. My thermometer accurately tells me the temperature, but cannot tell me where the heat is measures comes from. Is is faulty?

    If you disregard intelligent design, disregard it for something better. Given an event such as the origin of the “waggle dance,” how are unspecified, unmeasured random accidents which have never been observed to produce such a result, and for which there is no true hypothesis a better explanation? It’s trading “that makes sense, I wonder how it was done,” for “I bet bees accidentally developed a detailed method of signaling distance and direction in relation to the sun, even no one has ever seen such a thing or knows how it would happen.” How is that an improvement?

  46. 46
    Lenoxus says:

    ScottAndrews: I really appreciate your civility, and again confess that I have been overly snarky, a bad habit of mine.

    No designer has ever been caught in the act of creating or adding new features to living things. That is true. Neither has anything else.

    With that, I’ll just have to agree to disagree. Any given example of “new features” seen developing in our lifetimes or recent history (for example, nylon-eating bacteria) will simply be regarded by UD denizens as insufficiently different from old features, or as bringing a loss-of-information cost, or perhaps (though surprisingly rarely) as actual design in action.

    The test is solid, unless you know of a thing besides intelligence that generates functionally specific, useful information.

    Well, how about deoxyribonucleic acid? Every step of its functioning seems to occur without intelligent intervention, yet functional information is produced by even the tiniest of mutations, unless you sufficiently distort the definition of “information”.

    If you disregard intelligent design, disregard it for something better.

    The thing is, any non-design based explanation is sooner or later going to be lumped in with “materialist science” and all its frailties. By that standard, there is nothing “better” which could please ID.

    Given an event such as the origin of the “waggle dance,” how are unspecified, unmeasured random accidents which have never been observed to produce such a result, and for which there is no true hypothesis a better explanation?

    If all explanations are to be measured strictly on the basis of whether the proposed mechanism has been seen to produce specifically the phenomenon in question, than that rules out not only evolution but much of archaeology, astronomy, etc. The inference that evolution lead to language in bees is derived from the knowledge that evolution has lead to advantageous developments in other organisms; with ID, there is no record of known past design to refer to.

    It’s trading “that makes sense, I wonder how it was done,” for “I bet bees accidentally developed a detailed method of signaling distance and direction in relation to the sun, even no one has ever seen such a thing or knows how it would happen.” How is that an improvement?

    The second quotation seems to describe ID just as well (except for the “accidentally” part), whereas with the first, I admit I’m suspicious about “I wonder how it was done”. Why is there yet no agreed-upon mechanism? What does the lack of an agreed-upon mechanism tell us about the actual design mechanism, which must (according to ID) tangibly exist? That it’s not really worth worrying about?

  47. 47
    MagicDonJuan1000 says:

    So the argument is as follows:

    1) Computer analysis of man-made drawings is indicating that the drawings share characteristics of language, such as repetition of characters and symbols

    2) This analysis indicates that the man-made symbols were indeed designed by an intelligent being

    3) Therefore, other aspects of nature that exhibit similar repetition, which we can call organization for shorthand, were designed by intelligence.

    Rather than a refutation of evolution, this is awful collee freshman logic.

    What you have is circular logic (analysis of man-made (i.e. intelligent) markings has revealed that the markings were indeed designed by man) misapplied to an argument by analogy.

    You have a system, call it language, that only has any utility whatsoever if there is a common, agreed upon set of rules between sentient beings. If aberrations occur within language exchange, i.e. conversation or common usage, either a new word, phrase, etc. that suits all parties is adopted, or we assume that the person belched, or is uneducated, or has an accent. Through random events concepts and symbols are introduced that either are accepted or fail in the context of the user group, call it the pool of resources accessible to words for them to thrive. Taking a single snapshot of the field of competition at any one point reveals what looks like organization although over time the words, symbols and usage change.

    This is many ways is similar to evolution, as a system that proves beneficial to all parties (“life”) adapts and changes in fits and starts, indeed with randomness, to increasing levels of sophistication.

    Therefore, regardless of the circularity of your initial argument, I would argue that the argument by analogy in fact subverts your whole argument.

  48. 48
    ScottAndrews says:

    Lenoxus:
    The mechanism is certainly worth worrying about. That’s why I don’t find Darwinism substantial. It proposes mutation and horizontal gene transfer and recombinance, but there is no evidence indicating that such mechanisms produce the changes attributed to them, undirected or otherwise. It’s a leap of blind faith.

    Random, accidental, step-by-step invention of machines, features, and languages is on par with perpetual motion machines. Historical science or not, when someone tries to sell the impossible, they don’t deserve to be taken seriously until they cough up some real hard evidence.

    Well, how about deoxyribonucleic acid? Every step of its functioning seems to occur without intelligent intervention, yet functional information is produced by even the tiniest of mutations, unless you sufficiently distort the definition of “information”.

    Surely you jest. Shall I tamper with the door of my microwave so that I can increase my functional information while I boil water? Or should I just wear less sunblock?

  49. 49
    Lenoxus says:

    ScottAndrews:

    Random, accidental, step-by-step invention of machines, features, and languages is on par with perpetual motion machines.

    I actually like this comparison. I mean, in and of itself, that’s an interesting thought problem.

    Shall I tamper with the door of my microwave so that I can increase my functional information while I boil water? Or should I just wear less sunblock?

    I guess what you’re talking about is self-caused mutation by radiation. That would be extreme change of a sort which is almost always harmful. Of course, most mutations do not involve extreme change, and some can be beneficial, yadda yadda you’ve heard this before :). Obviously, the fact that some mutations increase both fitness and information doesn’t mean that mutation is generically “good”. For an individual organism, it’s usually risky. The fact that a given population of bacteria is likely to gain antibiotic resistance should not make a specific bacterium happy.

    What do I mean by “functional information is produced by even the tiniest of mutations”? Well, if mutations allow an organism to acquire antibiotic resistance or to digest a new food source, does this not count as an increase of functional information? Or is it an example of increased function at the cost of information, a claim I’ve seen many times here but never seen substantiated? Is there simply a kind of “upper limit” to the amount of positive change that can occur before a genome has “run out”?

  50. 50
    ScottAndrews says:

    Lenoxus:

    Obviously, the fact that some mutations increase both fitness and information doesn’t mean that mutation is generically “good”.

    Much of the argument hinges on this, but there’s no evidence to back it up. Mutations change information. Changed information is not increased information.
    The idea that such mutations create information as opposed to simply altering it is purely speculative. It shouldn’t be in the same book as halfway decent hypothesis.

    Are mutations typically beneficial, neutral, or harmful? The answer tells us whether to open up the microwave. Self-inflicted is irrelevant.

    As for the example of antibiotic resistance: Yes, variation produces a strain that survives. But is that new information?
    If we measured every man and woman and chopped off everything taller than 4 feet, the survivors would reproduce and everyone would be short. That a variation confers survival does not make it new information. That’s why they produce countless strains and yet remain identifiable as the very same bacterial.

    Random chance is no more plausible an explanation than it was several posts ago.

  51. 51
    Lenoxus says:

    Are mutations typically beneficial, neutral, or harmful? The answer tells us whether to open up the microwave.

    Actually, I agree with this. Given that mutations are typically neutral, but those that have any effect are typically harmful, the answer is no, don’t open that microwave. (Of course, you have more than your DNA to worry about when it comes to side-effects of high-energy EM radiation.) But you are an organism, not a species, and it is species that benefit in the long run from mutation (at the unfortunate cost of thousands of deaths).

    That said, I’d be the last to recommend a program of mass self-inflicted mutation, because (1) modern medicine and hygiene are well up to the task of preserving the species, (2)there’s nothing morally “good” about massive amounts of evolutionary change, and (3) extreme amounts of mutation in one go are not how evolution normally works anyway.

    That a variation confers survival does not make it new information. That’s why they produce countless strains and yet remain identifiable as the very same bacterial.

    As I see it, what makes it new information is that it confers something different, survival or no. The new fitness is icing on the cake!

    But when you say “very same bacteria”, you seem now to be talking about speciation, not information. Here’s one page summarizing various cases of observed speciation. Of course, in every case, one can argue “that’s still a fruit fly, even if it doesn’t repoduce with those other fruit flies”, but why should we expect any more significant change in a mere hundred years of looking for it? (Conversely, if there really is a phenomenon of Design constantly at work, why doesn’t rapid natural speciation appear to us all the time? Has Design stopped, or does it too take a long, long time?)

  52. 52
    DLH says:

    Nakashima at 38
    Thank you for your considered posts.

    A chemical example would be the association of G with hydrophobic amino acids and C with hydrophillic amino acids. . . .[to ] guide protein synthesis in interesting ways.

    That is an interesting suggestion.

    However the presumed protein synthesis requires a preexisting functioning DNA/RNA coding, replication, repair and synthesis.

    Each step of this recursive self replicating system is dependent on each other step.

    In coded communication, a true code can be assigned independent of the meaning. The DNA coding sequence is independent of the properties of the synthesized protein.

    The Chevy company’s “Nova” car had a favorable meaning in English as a bright exploding star. It had few sales in Latin America where “No va” meant “doesn’t go”.
    “To table” in the UK is to place into consideration while in the US it is to remove from consideration. “Guy” can mean male friend in English or cow in Nepali. “Gift” in German mean’s “poison”. etc.
    See “False Friends”.

    That independence between code and meaning is at the heart of the challenge to Darwinism.

    May I recommend to you Werner Gitt’s book In the Beginning was Information for further discussion of the different levels of information and communication.

  53. 53
    ScottAndrews says:

    Lenoxus:
    Like I said, if you’ve got perpetual motion, bring it.
    There’s a lot stacked up against random chance inventing the bee waggle dance or turning rats into bats, all in tiny accidentals steps.
    Several cases of possible speciation, two virtually indistinguishable versions of the exact same thing, just don’t cut it. The claim they attempt to support is just too big.
    I understand we’ve only had a hundred years or so for observation. Perhaps another thousand centuries will support the faith with evidence.
    But all you’ve got is what you’ve got. And it doesn’t include any evidence that mutations or any other random event in any numbers can do what’s been said.
    For such a preposterous claim, the evidence must be conclusive and damning.

  54. 54
    magnan says:

    MagicDonJuan1000(47):

    “What you have is circular logic (analysis of man-made (i.e. intelligent) markings has revealed that the markings were indeed designed by man) misapplied to an argument by analogy.”

    Hardly. The decipherment work on the Indus Valley script does have a link with ID theory. The first goal of epigraphic analysis is determination of the apparent number of written symbols. From this can be determined whether the script is ideographic, syllabic or alphabetical, or a mix. If the number of written characters is limited, it is probably alphabetic or syllabic. In this case “meaning” is indirect, through the linguistic meaning of the successive spoken syllables coded in the written script chained together to form spoken words in some language independent of the script. It turned out that Egyptian heiroglyphics were a mixture of both types. The statistical work on the Indus Valley symbols is apparently an attempt to determine first, if the symbols represent a language at all (syllabic or ideographic), or are just bookkeeping ideographs.

    How does this relate to ID? The DNA code is analogous to a mainly alphabetic/syllabic script. The base pairs (letters or syllables) symbolize proteins (words), which symbolize biological structures and higher level functions (the biological language). In our experience only human minds are capable of originating such an efficient indirect means of coding and expressing meaning. Of course Darwinists claim absolutely anything including such a script and language must have originated by a gradual succession of random small advantageous advancements. No intelligence needed, no evidence needed, no ability to falsify needed. Sounds really scientific….

  55. 55
    tgpeeler says:

    Seriously, does anyone really believe in Darwinian evolution anymore? On the one hand we posit Mind as the source of biological information and on the other hand we posit “natural selection” plus genetic mutation. How DO they stack up?

    “Natural selection” (I use scare quotes deliberately) is based on at least four faulty assumptions. The first is that there is a “struggle” to survive. But the materialist philosophy which is the basis for this “science” says that there is no purpose in the universe. So how can that be? There is no purpose in the universe but somehow there is a struggle for survival. We can’t have it both ways, now, can we? It’s either purpose or no purpose. If you allow purpose in order for “natural selection” to work then you have to explain the existence of purpose. Which you can’t do. So neither do you get it for “natural selection.”

    The second false assumption on which “ns” is based is that populations increase geometrically (a Malthusian myth). They don’t. The planet would be overrun with critters if that were true, but we aren’t, so it isn’t.

    The third false assumption (also a Malthusian myth) is that food supplies increase only arithmetically. Thus the false problem of the “struggle for survival” wherein the overpopulating organisms compete with each other for a diminishing food supply. Those better able to adapt, live, and those that don’t, die.

    What nonsense. Living things live and only living things reproduce. Wow. What insight. Being alive necessarily, by definition, means “being fit.” If I’m not fit, I’m not alive. If I’m alive, I’m fit. This, THIS, is the major mechanism for the creation of biological information? ha ha chortle chortle. You must be kidding me.

    The fourth faulty assumption is that it even exists. I guess I could have started with this one and saved a few words. This is what I find absolutely hilarious about “ns” as an explanation for anything (it’s not). This is the idea that it has causal power in nature. That is, if it is to have explanatory power at all, “ns” must have causal power. But if “ns” has causal power, and all causal power resides in physics, then “ns” must be part of physics. No? But it isn’t. Ask a physicist about “ns” being one of the forces in nature and he will laugh at you, if he bothers to do that. There are four forces in nature and “ns” isn’t on that list. So my unsophisticated mind reasons like this. If physics is all that has causal power (and this is the claim of the “isms” – m’ism, n’ism, and p’ism), but “ns” isn’t mentioned in any of the physics books, i.e. it is not recognized as a part of physics, then it has NO CAUSAL POWER and therefore it’s not real. It’s a myth. Oh it’s “real” enough if you are reading a biology book and if you take “real” to mean that someone believes it is real. But appealing to “ns” to explain anything in biology is like appealing to Santa Claus to explain Christmas presents under the tree. How funny is that? And grownups do it all the time. Even some ID proponents make this horrible, horrible mistake. Acknowledging that “natural selection” can account for anything (“micro” evolution but not “macro” evolution). But wait, don’t organisms change? Don’t they adapt? Yes, they do. But it’s not “ns” that we see, it’s the interplay of exquisitely designed creatures with their environment. The information already exists that allows for organisms to adapt. It’s not something “magically” generated on the fly.

    But wait, there’s more hilarity. There are those, (I’ve read their books) who think that genetic mutations PLUS “ns” can account for an increase in biological information and thus new species. So that’s akin to taking an essay and randomly altering selected letters, possibly rearranging or duplicating some words or sentences, and saying that will improve the essay. This is pretty cute in an odd sort of way. Kind of like watching a little kid pound on a piano and they think they’re playing a symphony.

    So we’ve missed, as usual, the real problem which is not the alteration of biological information but the ORIGIN of it. So now we’re back to the crux of the problem. To explain life you must explain information. To explain information you must explain language. To explain language you must be able to explain symbols and rules. If you are a materialist, naturalist, physicalist, you ONLY have physics with which to explain anything. So how does physics come to bear on why “cat” means one thing and “act” means another? Go ahead. Tell me what laws or forces explain the use of symbols. Well, of course, none of them do and they never will. And they don’t because physics explains the material world but we are talking about the immaterial world. But the “ists” deny the existence of the immaterial world (Gods, souls, minds, laws (except physics, of course, but no moral law)). They apparently accept the existence of information but somehow it escapes their notice that information, although encoded in material substrates, is immaterial. Another logical contradiction. This from people who allegedly worship reason as they mock ID. Pretty funny stuff, you’ll agree.

    The bottom line is that information always reduces to, or is explained by, Mind/mind, not matter. And naturalism, materialism, and/or physicalism, the philosophical basis for contemporary science (and much philosophy) is utter nonsense. I guess people who will believe that “ns” plus random information changes can write the biological equivalent of Shakespeare, and then some, will believe anything.

  56. 56
    HouseStreetRoom says:

    Very nice, tgpeeler. I’ve yet to see anyone seriously address this argument (and you’ve made it before).

  57. 57
    herb says:

    tgpeeler,

    Even some ID proponents make this horrible, horrible mistake. Acknowledging that “natural selection” can account for anything (“micro” evolution but not “macro” evolution). But wait, don’t organisms change? Don’t they adapt? Yes, they do. But it’s not “ns” that we see, it’s the interplay of exquisitely designed creatures with their environment.

    This is marvelous stuff. Do you have your own blog?

    TBH, I’ve always accepted natural selection as a real phenomenon, but perhaps that’s already conceding too much to the Darwinists. Could you flesh out more fully this distinction you’ve drawn between NS and the interplay between creatures and their environment? Is there an experiment which could distinguish between the two processes?

  58. 58
    Frost122585 says:

    The glyphs are very interesting analogy to what Steve Meyer writes about in his new book Signature In The Cell.

    The DNA code and the machinery found at the center of life’s structure really are even more complex and specified and many times more functional as the obviously designed glyphs.

    Bill Dembski has said that the fundamental question is “can design be detected in nature? Everything turns on this question.”

    The bottom line is probability and specified patterns. Obviously if you have a very symmetrical pattern like a glyph we immediately think it was designed by an intelligence. Why? Because we dont see anyhting looking that specific and improbable in nature as a rule- we know caves dont naturally produce gylphs. Furthermore if we see more similar looking glyphs near by we know that we have an even greater puzzle of more specificity and improbability. This requires an even bigger explanation capable of influencing matter for even larger tasks and extended periods. Well the signature within the cell is many times more complex – and the DNA in the cell is vastly more numerous in the trillions of examples of SC. So the bottom line is that if we immediately think a glyph is intelligently designed then we should conclude that DNA is designed as well except we should reach that conclusion trillions of times quicker, more easily and with that much greater conviction.

    The bottom line is that the real objection is from the materialists who will only accept ID if a material designer can be pointed to. This is obviously an unfounded personal philosophical bias that is logically invalid. Call materialism poltical, dogmatic or religious but it sure isn’t scientific.

  59. 59
    tgpeeler says:

    Thank you both (House/Herb) for your comments. I do have a blog but I don’t post every day or even every week but usually after I’ve been thinking for awhile. It just sort of dawned on me one day a month or three or four ago, who knows, as I was thinking about things and it hit me that if natural selection had real causal power that physicists would know about it. Particularly since “they” (Dawkins in particular) are so adamant about “n.s.” being essentially physics working out is some odd ways. (I can give you some citations if you like) So I asked a dear friend of mine who’s a recently retired physics professor about this and he basically said of course not. (p.s. apparently a lot of physicists don’t think very much of the scientific skills of biologists and it’s no wonder – anyone who can believe what apparently one has to believe to be a biologist these days cannot have a solid grasp of critical thinking processes. I’m always telling him that physicists give biologists a pass, and they do.) So anyway, then I remembered that Darwin had been influenced by the writings of Malthus and of course he got it all wrong then and the Club of Rome and their ilk get it wrong today. I don’t even know if the Club of Rome is still around but I came across them in the late 70’s while I was doing a master’s degree and they were the “end is near because we’re running out of everything gang” best I recall, I’m sure it’s more complicated than that but not really, if you get my drift. Anyway, so then I already had figured out that the philosophical underpinnings of “n.s.” were in direct conflict with the alleged principle itself so I figured three strikes and it’s out. The physics part, the philosophy part, and the empirical part.

    Think about it. On a coral reef, say, the explanation for why some fish have bright colors that help them survive is “n.s.” But that’s the same explanation for why some fish have drab colors, it’s to help them survive. It’s the same explanation for everything. Wings, no wings. Color, no color. Scales, no scales. Exoskeleton, no exoskeleton. Blah, blah, blah.

    And finally, we all know Darwinian evolution is a crock so how could the guts of it be true if the theory is nonsense? So that’s pretty much all I know about “n.s.” I’m not a scientist but I do read a lot of what the “scientists” write and mostly I just try to think things through logically. I can’t imagine how anyone would falsify “n.s.” since it explains everything. But all it means is that living things live and only living things reproduce. That is pretty hard to argue with but to call it “the greatest intellectual achievement of mankind” as Francis Crick did or to attribute God-like causal power to it is hilarious. I think this will eventually go down in scientific history as the greatest hoax and/or fraud of all time. I wish the ID experts, the real guys with PhD’s, not the amateurs like me, would really explore this some more. I have no idea about an empirical experiment but as a thought experiment I’ll consider it. Maybe I’ll have an idea. Thanks again.
    Tom
    p.s. tgpeeler.blogspot.com

    Please feel free to leave feedback, questions, challenges, etc… Iron sharpens iron… or in my case, lead. 🙂

    The whole origin of life thing, it occurred to me today, driving back from the lake, is really the whole origin of information thing. Life is so intimately tied to information, and vice versa, I really need to think about it a lot more, but since you can’t have either without the other I think it’s pretty safe to say that it’s fair to recast the origin question as an information question. This makes the issue a lot plainer, it seems to me. If we are talking about the “origin of life” studies, and they are all nowhere, they still hold out hope of some chemical accident getting things going. But if we realize that the problem is the origin of information, then reasoning as I have, the game is over. A mind is necessary for information whether it’s biological or not. I’m guessing the people working on DNA are discovering daily how much they don’t know about what goes on in the cell. Which is another way of saying that the “grammar and syntax” of the genetic language (and we KNOW it has those things, all languages do) is vastly more complex than we can probably even imagine. So how to account for this? I think the opening verse of John does it pretty well. In the beginning was the Word. In the beginning was Information. I’m not a theologian either but I think this makes sense in a lot of ways. Pretty interesting to consider. For me, at least.

Leave a Reply