For some time now, LYO has been a fairly frequent critic in UD’s comment threads. Overnight, he has challenged EA:
I challenge you to give me a fact, real or hypothetical, any fact at all about the world which would falsify ID.
There were prompt short answers that immediately followed the just linked:
UB: A demonstration that inanimate matter can physically establish the relationships required for information to be recorded and transferred.
Joe: Demonstrate that blind and undirected chemical processes can produce a living organism from non-living matter- ie demonstrate that a living organism is reducible to matter, energy, necessity and chance.
A little later, responding to the wider point being raised by LYO, EA said:
Your comment about “no substance” doesn’t make any sense. What is non-substantive about asking whether design exists and whether it can be reliably detected? That is a perfectly reasonable, objective, scientific question. It is done all the time in archaeology, forensics, IP litigation, etc. Are you seriously claiming that detection of design in these areas is lacking all substance? You are still hung up on this ID=creationism meme that you can’t seem to get free of. It is very simple. No-one is trying to trick you. Think about it. I let you use your own definition of creationism and I’ve clearly responded to your definition of creationism and conclusively shown that ID does not equal creationism, so stop repeating the old business that it does.
I think, however, that something more is needed, as LYO’s comment is unfortunately a very representative example of a pattern of objections we see here at UD and elsewhere. So, we need to deal with the underlying pattern of thinking and behaviour that is reflected in this challenge, including, the issue of irresponsibility that it surfaces. Accordingly, I have commented:
>>Have you ever taken time to skim either my note linked through my handle or the IOSE course [start here on], or even the definition of ID or the weak argument correctives in the resources tab in this and every UD page? Or, have you ever read the NWE article on ID — the Wiki one is a blatant hatchet job.
You ask (studiously avoiding a fairly direct answer here at 35 above, yesterday afternoon addressed to you):
I challenge you [EA] to give me a fact, real or hypothetical, any fact at all about the world which would falsify ID.
Let’s outline a simple, easily done test that would blow up the whole design theory edifice if a single credible positive result would emerge: random generation of functionally specific text beyond 500 – 1,000 bits, through the infinite monkeys experiment.
This would break the inference to design as best empirically grounded explanation; on observing complex, specified information.
Or using the log reduced Chi expression (cf here at UD for how it can be deduced — a thread with some 400 comments),
Chi_500 = Ip*S – 500, bits beyond the solar system threshold.
If a known random source were to produce a clear case of FSCI, it would break the design inference as an inductive generalisation backed up by analysis of configuration spaces and the “needle in a haystack” limitations of blind search.
Here is Wiki, testifying against general ideological interest on the actual results of such to date:
The [infinite monkeys] theorem concerns a thought experiment which cannot be fully carried out in practice, since it is predicted to require prohibitive amounts of time and resources. Nonetheless, it has inspired efforts in finite random text generation.
One computer program run by Dan Oliver of Scottsdale, Arizona, according to an article in The New Yorker, came up with a result on August 4, 2004: After the group had worked for 42,162,500,000 billion billion monkey-years, one of the “monkeys” typed, “VALENTINE. Cease toIdor:eFLP0FRjWK78aXzVOwm)-‘;8.t” The first 19 letters of this sequence can be found in “The Two Gentlemen of Verona”. Other teams have reproduced 18 characters from “Timon of Athens”, 17 from “Troilus and Cressida”, and 16 from “Richard II”.
A website entitled The Monkey Shakespeare Simulator, launched on July 1, 2003, contained a Java applet that simulates a large population of monkeys typing randomly, with the stated intention of seeing how long it takes the virtual monkeys to produce a complete Shakespearean play from beginning to end. For example, it produced this partial line from Henry IV, Part 2, reporting that it took “2,737,850 million billion billion billion monkey-years” to reach 24 matching characters:
RUMOUR. Open your ears; 9r”5j5&?OWTY Z0d…
In short, spaces of 10^50 configs have been successfully searched for islands of function based on random walks.
Such spaces, however, are 1 in 10^100 of the scope at the 500 bit solar system threshold identified. The scope of the observed cosmos level threshold of 1000 bits is 10^150 beyond that threshold.
The blind search challenge issue should be clear enough. Save of course to those blinded by the sort of polarising talking points and question-begging materialist a prioris we have been highlighting and correcting all along.
Now, the funny thing is, none of what was just pointed out again should be news to you, it has been on the table over and over for the past year or so. So, you are speaking that which is false, in the teeth of easily accessible correction.
You need to pause and ask yourself seriously: why.
I will give you my impression on trying — again — to dialogue with you: I get the very strong impression that you have swallowed whole the characterisation of ID made by agenda-driven enemies with a track record of disrespect for truth and fairness. So you seem to be deaf and blind to corrective evidence.
On fair comment, as at now, you come across as one here to push talking points, not to actually seriously interact in light of evidence.
Indeed, some of the strawman caricatures you have pushed in the teeth of evident correction (which you give no signs of seriously interacting with) come across as willfully slanderous to the point where you may be guilty of propagating lies you should know are falsehoods put in wanton disregard for truth and fairness, in the hope that they will be seen as true.
Do you really want to be like that?
Please, think again.>>
The confidently issued “challenge” by LYO is plainly premised on suppression of easily accessible and fairly clear evidence to the contrary.
The interesting question, is why is it that — in the teeth of direct evidence to the contrary — LYO and so many others have locked themselves into the belief and assertion that design theory is empty of meaning, has no substantial claims, is not open to empirical testing and falsification, and is in effect “Creationism in a cheap tuxedo.”
It seems that what is going on is that we are dealing with a case of the effect of the swallowed absurdity: if we can be led to believe an absurd claim, we will often reject contrary evidence precisely because it cuts across what we have become committed to. And of course it is then ever so tempting to project that it is those who try to correct who are blind to the “obvious” truth.
So, let us draw attention once again to the basic fact, so we can fix it in our minds: Design theory makes the general empirical prediction — per induction on many cases and per the infinite monkeys/needle in the haystack type analysis — that, reliably, complex specified information, especially functionally specific, complex information (and particularly, digitally coded information) will be the product of intelligence. Empirically refute this, and design theory will collapse, just like, thermodynamics would collapse if a perpetual motion machine could be demonstrated.
In this light, it will be interesting to see how LYO and ilk explain how they are so confidently making patently false claims like the above, when they have repeatedly been pointed to easily accessible corrective evidence. Design theory is empirically falsifiable, and it is not creationism in a cheap tuxedo. And, oh, yes, ID actually can be defined, thusly:
The theory of intelligent design (ID) holds that certain features of the universe and of living things are best explained by an intelligent cause rather than an undirected process such as natural selection . . . .
In a broader sense, Intelligent Design is simply the science of design detection — how to recognize patterns arranged by an intelligent cause for a purpose. Design detection is used in a number of scientific fields, including anthropology, forensic sciences that seek to explain the cause of events such as a death or fire, cryptanalysis and the search for extraterrestrial intelligence (SETI). An inference that certain biological information may be the product of an intelligent cause can be tested or evaluated in the same manner as scientists daily test for design in other sciences . . . .
Positive evidence of design in living systems consists of the semantic, meaningful or functional nature of biological information, the lack of any known law that can explain the sequence of symbols that carry the “messages,” and statistical and experimental evidence that tends to rule out chance as a plausible explanation. Other evidence challenges the adequacy of natural or material causes to explain both the origin and diversity of life.
Can we, then, at least lay the strawman distortions of ID to rest, in our further discussions? END