Uncommon Descent Serving The Intelligent Design Community

“How Stuff Works” on ID



"Give science another 300 years, then check back." That's rich. I'm sure that with another 300 years of retrenchment and dogmatism, the Darwinians will just check their calendars and go, "y'know, Dembski was right back 1998" rather than "give us another 300 years." dave
"Yeah, I see your point. But how does one put combinatorial objects throught the EF?" How does one determine that a stone tool buried amongst other stones is designed? By very carefully separating that which is most suspected of being designed from that which is least suspected. DaveScot
DaveScot, Yeah, I see your point. But how does one put combinatorial objects throught the EF ? It seems one would need a priori knowledge about how to partition the designed component from the undesigned component. Perhaps one needs to be specific about the object in mind. Still, it might be tough. cheers, taut tautologydna
"Desisn detection is the future of science!" Have you read this pro-ID op-ed? http://www.techcentralstation.com/100705C.html That's the first thing that popped into my head when I read your comment. higgity
tautologydna There's still no third option. I don't consider either combinatorial (part designed part not designed) or unknown as additional options. DaveScot
Desisn detection is the future of science! Benjii
Designed or not designed ? Hamlet Hamlet run through a shredder. Snowflake. Snowman. The climate. Climate change. My t-shirt. My t-shirt with holes in it. A web page. The structure of the internet. ???? tautologydna
Alan Fox Things are either designed or not designed. You seem to be saying there's a third option. DaveScot
jboze asks isnt gravity a LAW and not a theory? It's a mathematical model that fits the observed facts and makes reliable predictions. Planetary bodies do what they do, without reference to a rule book. Alan Fox
DaveScot You seem to be saying if evolution doesn't explain things adequately then ID must therefore be right. Alan Fox
Benji I think you threw me a red herring with the name David Chiu. Alan Fox
thats what i hate when darwinists go on TV to attack ID. or even in print. they say- well gravity is also only a theory (correct me if im wrong, but isnt gravity a LAW and not a theory?) but, hell- mud to man evolution is a historical picture that is one interpretation of the evidence that can easily be used to posit common design just as well as common ancestry (the evidence really points more to common design). so, the two are not alike at all. they use this to confuse the avg person who has little scientific knowledge. its a deceitful tactic of course, but i see it all the time, claiming that evolution from mud to man is exactly like gravity in the sense that theyre both theories. you can test and repeat tests of gravity...see the effects in real time, today, tomorrow, and repeat it 1000 times. you cant do any of that with macroevolution, and not even the most brilliant scientists have gotten anywhere close to breaking the barrier to form new forms of life by speeding up mutation rates and even tinkering with entire genomes of certain animals. yet, theyll continue to claim that the theory of bio evo is just like gravity and then try to claim that ID and other ideas would be akin to teaching that gravity isnt backed up the evidence! shameless. jboze3131
"For this to be correct, it is necessary to be sure that you have coverered all the probability models for evolution." That's the point I tried to make. Did I obfuscate it with too much verbiage? I hate when I do that. "you consider yourself a design theorist but don’t actually believe design is responsible for creation" I don't believe it's not responsible either. I'm not totally convinced either way. I know that absent a comprehensive, repeatable experiment demonstrating that the protein synthesis factory represented by ribosomes and DNA can evolve without direction one must at least position ID as a live possibility. I haven't seen any experimental apparatus even come close to demonstrating that this organic machinery could evolve by chance alone. Yet I'm being asked to believe it's a theory as well grounded in hard evidence as gravity? Give me a break. Gravity is easily demonstrated in 100% repeatable experiments. Historic evolution is a narrative that has resisted every experimental attempt to repeat it. It's an amazing demonstration of my remarkable patience that I'm still skeptical of ID and leave open the possibility that standard evolutionary theory might be verified somehow in the future. DaveScot
For ID proponents, the notion of “kinds” includes the idea that only limited evolution is possible. A “kind”, say dogs for example, can evolve only such that all essential parts and functions remain the same, although some change in body proportions occur. Thus, although a bulldog and German shepherd appear quite different, there are no new functional parts. There is only a change of body proportions. But we can find even more extreme differences in appearance in the animal kingdom, where there is still a one to one correspondence of parts and function. Virtually all mammals have a one-to-one correspondence of body parts & organs. There are homologous organs throughout the mammalian world. Even dogs and humans have virtually all homologous organ systems and anatomical parts (The change of shapes is just greater). So it’s hard to say just where the boundary lies between limited evolved differences and a new “kind”. An ape has a one to one correspondence of homologous parts with humans. It has anatomically no greater differences from humans, than say a Chiwawa has from a Great Dane. Probably less except for the brain size. The brain is smaller, but is that change from ape to human any more different in kind than the change from Chiwawa to Great Dane? The problem here is defining the boundary of where “limited” evolution must stop. If we grant that biochemical evolution occurs (antibiotic resistance being the most common example) and we also observe large scale change of anatomical characteristics in a short time, could not over longer times distinct species arise? The problem I have is evolution being arbitrarily limited at a certain point, when it is already known to proceed sufficiently to produce viable anatomical changes and biochemical changes in relatively short times. It’s the arbitrariness of this boundary that seems suspect. Now, I know that “Irreducible Complexity” will be invoked to assert that no distinct new structures can be created by evolution, but only trivial variations on existing “kinds”. For the evolutionist, the specific mechanisms where distinct new structures arise pose a puzzle which needs to be solved. The ID community is not unreasonable in asking for such mechanisms. That work is very incomplete as of now. But this does not mean that the mechanisms and pathways don’t exist. It’s still very early. Note that it took 300 years to solve Fermat’s last theorem, despite the efforts of the world’s best mathematicians. The problem with invoking supernatural causes (ID) is that it short circuits naturalistic based methods prematurely. Give science another 300 years, then check back. At this point in the argument, the ID proponents will say the evolutionists have created an insurmountable barrier by evolutionists claiming that some unspecified mechanism is possible but without ever finding it, thus delaying forever the unwanted conclusion that ID is a necessary alternative. The reply to that is science is currently very fertile and exploding with results in molecular biology. More so than ever. Hence it would be the height of imprudence to, at this moment, throw up our hands and say “the only possibility is supernatural intervention”. In effect, the ID community is asking for the abandonment of the scientific method at a moment it is yielding it’s fruits most rapidly. mister_D
DaveScot, Regarding: "It is in the realm of probability resources where I’ve heard the only valid criticism of ID i.e. how can you know when you’ve exhaustively canvassed every possible probabilistic resource? Well, you can’t prove a negative, so in theory it’s never possible. But that applies to just about everything in science and it’s why all science is tentative so it’s not a fair objection as it singles out ID for conformance to a higher standard. At some point one concedes that the search is reasonably exhaustive and, until proven otherwise, IS exhaustive. For instance, one could claim that the fossil record has not been exhaustively searched and that the skeletons of modern humans might be found in pre-cambrian strata which would falsify standard theory of hominid evolution in a big way. If it’s unreasonable to apply that standard to standard evolution it’s also unreasonable to apply it to ID. You can’t have your cake and eat it too. There’s such a thing as fair play." I think there is an important difference. Bill claims that the explanatory filter essentially wipes the slate clean for other possible causes. Only then, after excluding all posibilities, is there actually evidence for design. Thus, the design inference fundamentally relies on the correct calculation, or, as you say, enough probabalistic resources. That is the way the explanatory filter is constructed. Most other science (including evolution) doesn't rely on this form of hypothesis testing. In most other science, probabilities are weighed directly against each other through things like likelihood ratio tests, or a specific hypothesis is tested under a specific model, and rejected if there is a low probability. For the EF, the probability of design is never actually calculated - just the probability of evolution. So, I think in this case, it is a reasonable expectation of the design inference. Because the nature of hypothesis testing is so unique here. I guess to make my point, how does one calculate the "probability of design" without knowledge of the existence of a designer ? The EF gets around this problem by essentially calculating the converse probability (the probability of evolution) and assuming that the probability of design is essentially (1 - this probability) [assuming regularity probability is zero]. For this to be correct, it is necessary to be sure that you have coverered all the probability models for evolution. I guess, to summarize, because the nature of hypothesis testing by the EF is so unique to science, then it is fair to have what you would consider a higher standard for the probability calculation. What do you think ? Also, were you serious that you consider yourself a design theorist but don't actually believe design is responsible for creation ? If so, that does make me happy ! I'd be curious to hear how you have come to this conclusion... Best, Taut tautologydna
Benji You asked if I had heard of David Chiu in comment 10 and I hadn't. I'm trying to find out what his contribution to ID is because of your comment. Are you now saying I'm wasting my time? I never mentioned Dr. Latham. I'm afraid I'm not acquainted with his work either. Alan Fox
Probably not. Why do you want to see his paper? Why did you say that Dr. Latham's book was nothing other than religious apologetics? He probably makes a convincing case against Darwinism. Benjii
I have to say Dr. Chiu keeps his light under a bushel, and the mention of his name does not seem to strike fear into darwinists. Is his paper available on line? Alan Fox
Yes! Benjii
Thanks Mr Bombadil(or can I call you Tom) Someone on ARN tracked him down for me. Alan Fox
List of peer reviewed ID treatments: http://www.discovery.org/scripts/viewDB/index.php?command=view&id=2640 Bombadill
Is it this article? D.K.Y. Chiu & T.H. Lui, “Integrated Use of Multiple Interdependent Patterns for Biomolecular Sequence Analysis,” International Journal of Fuzzy Systems, 4(3) (September 2002): 766-775. Alan Fox
DI=Discovery Institute Benjii
Check out the DI website, there's a link that says "Peer-Reviewed & Peer-Edited...", click on this and scroll down. I hope that helps. Benjii
Benji Other than being an ISCID fellow, there does not seem much info on David K Y Chiu of Guelph U, Canada. Is there some specific work he has done that is relevant to ID? Maybe a link? Alan Fox
re 28 Well done DaveScot You spotted the one flaw in my argument. Alan Fox
I understand specificity as a solution or partial solution to a problem. It works in any example I've considered. It requires that one have an understanding of both the solution and the problem so it wouldn't work to detect design in something of unknown function. For example, design detection won't discriminate between junk DNA and functional DNA. One must first know the function of the DNA in question. Until the function is known it cannot be known if it has specificity. Once something has been identified as complex and specified then probability resources (the real tripping stone IMO) must be canvassed and probability of undirected assemblage of the thing of interest made before a design inference can be drawn. It is in the realm of probability resources where I've heard the only valid criticism of ID i.e. how can you know when you've exhaustively canvassed every possible probabilistic resource? Well, you can't prove a negative, so in theory it's never possible. But that applies to just about everything in science and it's why all science is tentative so it's not a fair objection as it singles out ID for conformance to a higher standard. At some point one concedes that the search is reasonably exhaustive and, until proven otherwise, IS exhaustive. For instance, one could claim that the fossil record has not been exhaustively searched and that the skeletons of modern humans might be found in pre-cambrian strata which would falsify standard theory of hominid evolution in a big way. If it's unreasonable to apply that standard to standard evolution it's also unreasonable to apply it to ID. You can't have your cake and eat it too. There's such a thing as fair play. DaveScot
I thought i had a nice explanation but sure enough crandaddy out words me :( ---------------------------------------------------------------------- Taut - well i kinda think i get what your asking but u would probably need someone with experience in the filed to answer the question accurately. Im no where qualified for that level of complexity belive me but I'll take a shot or two. For instance if the tests , methods or theories that have been used to detect design show the opposite [i.e - life wasn't designed ?]. So using those same methods instead of giving or inferring the answer that yes A- was designed [ because "a" had so and so features, etc. ? ] there would be a high probability that it couldn't of been produced by anything [chance, the E word, etc ]but a design or er ?. Otherwise it would show no that A probably wasn't designed [because "a" lacked those features ] and so on... I think that any test that would be used to detect design would have to comply [ kind of basic standards ?] with the object having some kind of complex features that can be detected like i dunno DNA / coding ?. Maybe an eye, legs, itchy moostache etc. That would have a tough time coming out by chance. And if that object had those qualification then the object would therefor be designed or inferred to be ?. If not then that object couldn't be called or termed a product of design. I would think since virtually everything in life if not everything animals etc, has a /many complexity even the smallest one celled creature; that when a design test is done to it would probably find that object designed because it exhibited those qualifications. Im not sure of anything in life that hasn't some kind of remarkable complexity to em. Wouldn't the only thing that technically wont show any design would be something that doesn't exist ? Anyways i hope i made sense cuz it was kinda hard to put / explain what came up in the old noggin to paper [ in this case da blog of- course ] but yeah good que. ps - could you cover for my aspirin bills ? Charlie Charliecrs
Intelligent Design, as I see it, is a form of inductive reasoning that is necessary in science, particularly biology and other scientific fields that relate to biology. It constitutes the antithesis of evolutionary theory and makes these scientific fields just what they are-scientific. Excluding ID from the playing field is like having an election in which one candidate runs unopposed-it doesn't matter how good or bad the candidate is; he's going to win because there's nobody else to compete with him. The theory of evolution sans ID basically says this: sterile mud + approximately 4 billion years = mankind and all that he has accomplished. Why? Because it says so; that's why. This is circular reasoning. Intelligent Design and classic evolutionary theory essentially exist as a dichotomy which can be expressed as design/non-design. Think about it; either some sort of unguided evolutionary process accounted for some biological phenomenon or it didn't, thus constituting design. Until a plausible model for how some biological structure could have been made is offered forth, Intelligent Design is the only plausible alternative. Although I'm currently unaware of anyone who explicitly accepts this and still disbelieves in ID, to do so would not be unreasonable! Taut, I think your distinction between "Hard Design" and "Soft Design" is quite reasonable. You seem to be wondering how we could know whether or not a phenomenon exhibits specificity. The best way I can respond to that is to appeal to the human understanding of order as opposed to chaos. To determine whether or not something-anything-exhibits specificity, we first look to see if it exhibits randomness. When a can of paint is splashed against a wall, the pattern is completely random. The same thing happens when a glass object is smashed on the ground; the pieces are all sorts of odd shapes and fly everywhere. In contrast to this, we perceive that the opposite of randomness, or chaos, is order. This is to say that some force, be it natural law, intelligent intervention, or coincidence, has imposed some form on the phenomenon being considered that we perceive to be non-random. So we can, indeed, say that specification is based upon human understanding. It has to be because the highest intelligence we know of is human! In fact, the very definition of intelligence can be said to be the ability to inform something with a non-random pattern! If some extraterrestrial intelligence exists, how could it ever be detected if it lacks the ability to produce a non-random pattern? This leaves one to wonder if order in the form of non-randomness, or even intelligence itself, is a metaphysical reality, but to address this would be to transcend the scope of this blog. David crandaddy
taut "I can’t find an example of an IDer that doesn’t believe a designer was involved in creation." Meet me. Now you've found one. Happy now? DaveScot

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