Intelligent Design

Ideological Turing Test

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To all of our friends who subscribe to materialist accounts of evolution:

Here is an interesting little test.

The Ideological Turing Test is a concept invented by Bryan Caplan to test whether a political or ideological partisan correctly understands the arguments of his or her intellectual adversaries. The partisan is invited to answer questions or write an essay posing as his opposite number; if neutral judges cannot tell the difference between the partisan’s answers and the answers of the opposite number, the candidate is judged to correctly understand the opposing side.

Now most folks in the ID movement can pass the test when it comes to materialist evolutionary theory.  After all, it is the dominant paradigm, and it has been crammed down our throats all of our lives.  Yeah, yeah, I know.  Our opponents often insist that only someone who does not truly understand their theory can reject it.  Let’s set that bit of self-serving question begging aside.  It really is the case that I have never seen a fair summary of ID theory come from one of our opponents.  Invariably we get some caricature like “ID posits that all complex things must be designed.”

So, here is my challenge to our opponents:  Do you understand ID well enough to pass the Ideological Turing Test?  If you think you do, prove it by giving a one paragraph summary of ID in the comments below.

 

 

 

124 Replies to “Ideological Turing Test

  1. 1
    Barry Arrington says:

    MatSpirit, WD400, Seversky, daveS

    We know you are lurking around. Why don’t you give it a go?

  2. 2
    bFast says:

    Barry, I love this test. I like that it is independant of any ideology. I do believe that the inverse of your proposed test, the ability of us IDers to pass the neo-Darwin test, is just as essential to this discussion as the test you propose. I bet, however, that a majority of us could pass with flying colors. The biggest giveaway would be that we know more about the science behind the theory than most Darwinists, and it’d show thorough.

  3. 3
    wd400 says:

    I don’t see much value in the exercise, since I’m much more interested in evidence than ideology. But, briefly.

    Intelligent design advocates argue that some features of the natural world are best explained by the action of some intelligence, rather than natural and/or undirected forces. In biology this goal is usually pursued by demonstrating that biological systems (including particular proteins, other gene products and interactions among these molecules) could not have have been generated by the biological processes known to generate and filter genetic diversity.

  4. 4
    daveS says:

    Barry,

    I take it most advocates of ID agree with the DI summary:

    The theory of intelligent design holds that certain features of the universe and of living things are best explained by an intelligent cause, not an undirected process such as natural selection.

    ID proposes that this intelligent cause can be detected through scientific means. I believe some ID proponents also argue against an unguided universe, claiming that life in particular could not plausibly have evolved naturalistically. Thus we have both pro-ID arguments as well as anti-naturalism arguments.

    Off the top of my head, I recall seeing such arguments based on various concepts of information, fine-tuning, irreducible complexity, and the theory of computation.

    I am not a scientist, so my opinion doesn’t carry much weight, but I don’t think that ID is necessarily unscientific.

  5. 5
    rvb8 says:

    ID is easily understandable, that’s one of its only good points. Features in nature scream design. Certain physical constants are finely tuned. There are irreducibly complex biological mechanisms evolution can not explain. Junk DNA is nonsense, we just don’t know its function at this time. Specified complexity is theoretically measurable.

    There may be others but that’s most of it I think, please correct me.

    No, understanding the idea is simple, the difficulty arises in the proof, testing the theory, and any experimentation that is going on, anywhere, at any time.

  6. 6
    bornagain77 says:

    Humorously, the Turing Test is a test, by a person, of a computer’s ability to exhibit intelligence equivalent to, or indistinguishable from, that of a person. Yet, Atheistic Materialists insist that they are not really persons but are merely neuronal illusions:

    “I’m not arguing that consciousness is a reality beyond science or beyond the brain or that it floats free of the brain at death. I’m not making any spooky claims about its metaphysics. What I am saying, however, is that the self is an illusion. The sense of being an ego, an I, a thinker of thoughts in addition to the thoughts. An experiencer in addition to the experience. The sense that we all have of riding around inside our heads as a kind of a passenger in the vehicle of the body. That’s where most people start when they think about any of these questions. Most people don’t feel identical to their bodies. They feel like they have bodies. They feel like they’re inside the body. And most people feel like they’re inside their heads. Now that sense of being a subject, a locus of consciousness inside the head is an illusion. It makes no neuro-anatomical sense.”
    Sam Harris: The Self is an Illusion

    “There is no self in, around, or as part of anyone’s body. There can’t be. So there really isn’t any enduring self that ever could wake up morning after morning worrying about why it should bother getting out of bed. The self is just another illusion, like the illusion that thought is about stuff or that we carry around plans and purposes that give meaning to what our body does.,,,”
    – A.Rosenberg, The Atheist’s Guide to Reality, ch.10

    “What you’re doing is simply instantiating a self: the program run by your neurons which you feel is “you.””
    Jerry Coyne

    The Confidence of Jerry Coyne – Ross Douthat – January 6, 2014
    Excerpt: But then halfway through this peroration, we have as an aside the confession (by Coyne) that yes, okay, it’s quite possible given materialist premises that “our sense of self is a neuronal illusion.” At which point the entire edifice suddenly looks terribly wobbly — because who, exactly, is doing all of this forging and shaping and purpose-creating if Jerry Coyne, as I understand him (and I assume he understands himself) quite possibly does not actually exist at all? The theme of his argument is the crucial importance of human agency under eliminative materialism, but if under materialist premises the actual agent is quite possibly a fiction, then who exactly is this I who “reads” and “learns” and “teaches,” and why in the universe’s name should my illusory self believe Coyne’s bold proclamation that his illusory self’s purposes are somehow “real” and worthy of devotion and pursuit? (Let alone that they’re morally significant: But more on that below.) Prometheus cannot be at once unbound and unreal; the human will cannot be simultaneously triumphant and imaginary.
    http://douthat.blogs.nytimes.c.....oyne/?_r=0

    Thus, since atheists ‘self’ admittedly are claiming that they are not real persons with real ‘minds’, then we Theists, as real persons with real minds, have every right to insist that Atheists have utterly failed the Turing Test for being humanly intelligent! 🙂

    i.e. Atheist’s, in their claim that they are not real but are merely neuronal illusions, have in fact ‘lost their minds’

    Philosophical Zombies – cartoon
    http://existentialcomics.com/comic/11

    In the following article, Dawkins himself admits that it would be ‘intolerable’ for him to live as if his atheistic worldview were actually true:

    Who wrote Richard Dawkins’s new book? – October 28, 2006
    Excerpt: Dawkins: What I do know is that what it feels like to me, and I think to all of us, we don’t feel determined. We feel like blaming people for what they do or giving people the credit for what they do. We feel like admiring people for what they do.,,,
    Manzari: But do you personally see that as an inconsistency in your views?
    Dawkins: I sort of do. Yes. But it is an inconsistency that we sort of have to live with otherwise life would be intolerable.,,,
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....02783.html

    The Heretic – Who is Thomas Nagel and why are so many of his fellow academics condemning him? – March 25, 2013
    Excerpt:,,,Fortunately, materialism is never translated into life as it’s lived. As colleagues and friends, husbands and mothers, wives and fathers, sons and daughters, materialists never put their money where their mouth is. Nobody thinks his daughter is just molecules in motion and nothing but; nobody thinks the Holocaust was evil, but only in a relative, provisional sense. A materialist who lived his life according to his professed convictions—understanding himself to have no moral agency at all, seeing his friends and enemies and family as genetically determined robots—wouldn’t just be a materialist: He’d be a psychopath.
    http://www.weeklystandard.com/.....tml?page=3

    In what should be needless to say, if it is impossible for you to live as if your worldview were actually true then your worldview cannot possibly reflect reality as it really is but your worldview must instead be based on a delusion.

    Existential Argument against Atheism – November 1, 2013 by Jason Petersen
    1. If a worldview is true then you should be able to live consistently with that worldview.
    2. Atheists are unable to live consistently with their worldview.
    3. If you can’t live consistently with an atheist worldview then the worldview does not reflect reality.
    4. If a worldview does not reflect reality then that worldview is a delusion.
    5. If atheism is a delusion then atheism cannot be true.
    Conclusion: Atheism is false.
    http://answersforhope.com/exis.....t-atheism/

  7. 7
    AhmedKiaan says:

    “Certain physical constants are finely tuned.”

    The problem with Fine Tuning is it makes god a mechanic who can only create universes according to the blueprints he’s been given. This is incredibly arrogant and blasphemous. And also, if you think your kilogram of brains is capable of understanding the parameters which constrain god, you are a fool.

  8. 8
    kairosfocus says:

    Cosmological fine tuning is a pretty direct inference from observations. The issue is, its explanation. And, the aspect of the cosmos being examined is precisely the mechanical. KF

  9. 9
    Bob O'H says:

    Hm, interesting (although I’m not so confident about IDers’ abilities to describe evolution – perhaps the subject for another blog post?). Anyway, here’s my entry. It’s based on biological ID: I know less about cosmological ID.

    Intelligent Design suggests that some aspects of the natural world are best explained as coming about through design. The arguments for this view are largely based on the improbability of other mechanisms (e.g. evolution) producing the world we observe. Most current research in ID is based on calculating these improbabilities (usually using information theory).

    (I use “natural world” just to exclude human-made objects, like cars and fishing reels)

  10. 10
    Silver Asiatic says:

    I’m surprised that all the responses thus far have actually been quite good! Surprised because I misjudged our opponents’ abilities to understand the concept?? I guess so.

    Ok, but I have seen so many ignorant misunderstandings of ID, especially by people who should know better (Jerry Coyne, Larry Moran, P.Z. Myers) that it seemed that the basic ID concept was impossible for materialists to understand. Some people are totally blind to the topic.

    If we flipped the Turing test around, defining ‘evolution’, is easy using the standard definitions. But term is also ambiguous and it gets challenging to be precise about it.

    If it was something like ‘neo-Darwinian evolution’, there wouldn’t be a problem.

  11. 11
    Origenes says:

    AhmedKiaan: The problem with Fine Tuning is it makes god a mechanic who can only create universes according to the blueprints he’s been given. This is incredibly arrogant and blasphemous.

    The concept of an all-powerful God doesn’t follow from the fine-tuning argument. Given fine-tuning one can argue for a designed universe — nothing more and nothing less. The identity of the designer(s) remains unknown.

    AhmedKiaan: And also, if you think your kilogram of brains is capable of understanding the parameters which constrain god, you are a fool.

    No one in his right mind claims that ‘understanding the parameters which constrain a material universe suitable for life’ equates ‘understanding the parameters which constrain god’.

  12. 12
    Barry Arrington says:

    SA @ 10: “all the responses thus far have actually been quite good”

    Nope. None of the responses so far passes the test. All of them demonstrate no more than a superficial understanding of, and a contempt for, ID. An analogous description of materialist evolutionary theory would be something like:

    “Evolutionary theory posits that organisms evolved from more simple to more complex forms and usually invokes some sort of a combination of chance and natural selection.”

    True enough as far as it goes, but it does not demonstrate more than a superficial understanding. Perhaps my expectations are too high.

  13. 13
    Silver Asiatic says:

    BA @ 12

    I appreciate the correction and upon second reading, yes I see at least one problem. Bob O’H gives it here:

    The arguments for this view are largely based on the improbability of other mechanisms (e.g. evolution) producing the world we observe.

    The ID argument is based on something other than this.

    daveS and rvb8 came closest to expressing the concept, but still not quite there. ID is a positive statement, for something, and not merely a negation of other theories.

    (I was just glad nobody said something like “ID is a religious-based concept that uses Biblical ideas to prove the universe was created by God …”).

  14. 14
    Fordgreen says:

    It’s an interesting exercise, but shouldn’t the responses be anonymous for this to work correctly? Isn’t that how a real Turing test would be conducted?

  15. 15
    daveS says:

    SA,

    Thanks for the recognition.

    Barry (and others),

    I request that when you judge that the test is over, you take advantage of this teachable moment and post a one-paragraph summary of ID which does meet your expectations.

  16. 16
    Bob O'H says:

    Barry @ 12 – is the problem with our attempts that they are short? I would suggest that your definition also “demonstrate[s] no more than a superficial understanding of ID”, but in the number of words you used, it’s difficult to do more, I think.

    (I also have other problems with what you wrote, but I don’t want to end up derailing this thread. I’d be happy to explain my problems on a new thread, if you want to go in that direction)

  17. 17
    Fordgreen says:

    There is a Wikipedia article on the ideological Turing test and it does appear that it can be conducted where the authors are known – however, it does seem that the judges should be neutral (which is obviously not the case here).

    One way to conduct it on UD is for everybody to temporarily change their WordPress IDs to a given pool of names (if one is used try another), and then post. And have people post both ID and evolution descriptions.

  18. 18
    bFast says:

    BA, “Nope. None of the responses so far passes the test.” Actually, in my view none of the responses do pass the test, but not for the reasoning that you provide. If I were to make my turing contribution to Darwinism, I would avoid declaring my philosophical position whatsoever, or I would inject a false position of agreement. When I begin the statement with “Intelligent design advocates argue that …” I already fail the test.

  19. 19
    daveS says:

    bFast,

    If I were to make my turing contribution to Darwinism, I would avoid declaring my philosophical position whatsoever, or I would inject a false position of agreement.

    I’m not sure I this understand correctly, but I also tried to avoid declaring any position on the truth or falsity of ID theory. I just attempted to describe what ID theory hypothesizes and some of the disciplines that are applied in the study of ID. Does my summary reflect a bias one way or another?

  20. 20
    Silver Asiatic says:

    Bob O’H

    is the problem with our attempts that they are short?

    For me, no. It’s the actual content of the definition that is wrong. As I quoted you above:

    The arguments for this view are largely based on the improbability of other mechanisms (e.g. evolution) producing the world we observe.

    That’s the only argument you gave for ID, which would make it merely a negative critique of other mechanisms. But that’s not correct. To do that would say nothing about what design is, or why one would make an inference to design.

  21. 21
    Eric Anderson says:

    wd400 @3:

    I don’t see much value in the exercise, since I’m much more interested in evidence than ideology. But, briefly.

    I agree with you that the focus should be on the evidence. The value of the test is that it helps identify biases and ideologies that an opponent of a particular theory might be bringing to the table. In other words, the exercise of going through the test, if sincerely undertaken, should help to limit and strip away the ideology and help us focus on the evidence.

    Intelligent design advocates argue that some features of the natural world are best explained by the action of some intelligence, rather than natural and/or undirected forces.

    Correct, as an initial broad description.

    In biology this goal is usually pursued by demonstrating that biological systems (including particular proteins, other gene products and interactions among these molecules) could not have have been generated by the biological processes known to generate and filter genetic diversity.

    Partly right, but not quite.

    The argument for design in any particular instance is a combination of at least two points; really two points, with sub-parts.

    1. The positive argument.

    Certain designed things exhibit particular characteristics that are generally recognizable as indicia of design. Many of these characteristics show up in abundance in some biological systems. Such systems would therefore, on their face, appear to be designed, as even the most vociferous naturalistic proponents, such as Dawkins, acknowledge.* Additionally, some intelligent beings are known, on the evidence, to have the ability to produce such features.

    Furthermore, as a sub-argument/observation, we observe that in every instance in which we know the historical provenance of such features, the source inevitably turns out to be an intelligent cause. Therefore, the most reasonable inference is that those features were likely designed.*

    2. The negative argument.

    Purely natural causes have never been shown to produce those kinds of features. Therefore, there is no reason, on the observational evidence, to believe that they can.

    Furthermore, as a sub-argument/observation, there are excellent practical and theoretical reasons to conclude that purely natural causes are not, in principle, capable of producing those kinds of features. Therefore, the most reasonable inference, is that they did not.

    —–

    Just to make sure, if we are completing our Turing test a bit more fully, we should also point out that intelligent design does not depend on, and therefore cannot be validly challenged on, red herrings like “God did it,” “too complex, so must have been designed,” bad design, poor design, and so many of the other complaints and arguments regularly leveled against intelligent design. In other words, in producing our description for the Turing test above, we should acknowledge that those are the fundamental points at issue and not bring in other baggage that does not address the points we described in the Turing test.

    —–

    Finally, I would also note that we need to be careful with your last phrase, “biological processes known to generate and filter genetic diversity.” If you are just talking about minor observable changes resulting from observable DNA mutations and the like, then yes. But if you are talking about large-scale, non-observed, hypothetical and theoretical changes that are posited to occur, then no. Indeed, much of the very question on the table is whether known biological processes can in fact generate the changes that are known to have occurred. I think we are probably on the same page here, just wanted to flag this in case.

    —–

    * Dawkins, and Darwin for that matter, both frame much of their naturalistic argument in the form of an argument against design. Indeed, the entire point of many of their writings is an attempt to demonstrate that the observable appearance of design can be produced by a design substitute. Both recognize that the default conclusion, in looking at many biological features, would be design. However, they believe they have found a design substitute that can explain the design without the designer.

    This argument against the default appearance of design is one of the most common, perhaps the most common, arguments made by evolutionary proponents in support of their theory.

  22. 22
    Eric Anderson says:

    Silver Asiatic and Bob O’H, see my comments to wd400 @21.

  23. 23
    wd400 says:

    If you ask for a single paragraph you are going to get general answers.

    From experience, I think we also know that IDers could not agree on a specific description of CSI or other specific approaches. How many people here could sign up to this post on CSI, for instance?

  24. 24
    Silver Asiatic says:

    EA – very good, thank you!

    Yes, what was missing in the definitions so far was how ID establishes positive evidence for design (agree or not whether it’s successful, we’re just talking about definitions).

    One of the problems is defining the characteristics of “a designed thing”. But we start with “design exists”. As stated, Dawkins and Darwin admit such and claim evolution creates that which was thought only to be designed.

    So, both start with “what appears to have been designed”.

    Then ID can test that and when natural processes fail to create “that which has the appearance of design”, then the inference of design is the best explanation. It’s not a circular argument.

    It’s actually similar to evolution:

    1. RM & NS change things.
    2. We see two fossils that appear similar.
    3. Similarity implies ancestry
    4. Ancestry is genetic inheritance, thus we see evolution

    However, in some cases, genetic analysis of living organisms indicate no ancestry – so convergent non-ancestral evolution is inferred.

    It’s the same with ID. We observe design. Observe aspects of nature that share the characteristics of design. Failing another cause, we infer design as the cause.

  25. 25
    Silver Asiatic says:

    wd

    I remember that post from a couple of years ago and it’s a good example of the kind of dispute that will arise.

    Another case I’ve encountered is where some ID advocates believe that modern science should be changed to allow for immaterial or supernatural causes – so ID is a critique of science itself in those cases. Where others do not see this problem.

    But you know that the same is very much true with debates on evolutionary theory.

  26. 26
    Barry Arrington says:

    Eric Anderson passes the Turing Test. This was the sort of thing that I hoped (but doubted) our opponents would be able to produce.

  27. 27
    J-Mac says:

    I personally find this “test” more appealing:

    If NASA found on Mars, or other planet, something resembling a robot, made of materials unknown to scientists on Earth, and no designers responsible for the designing of the robot were found, how would you describe this structure?

    1. It only has an appearance of design?
    2. Or that it was designed?
    This is a test for wd400 and daves and so on to shine…unfortunately… they never do…

  28. 28
    Dionisio says:

    Barry Arrington:

    Do you understand ID well enough to pass the Ideological Turing Test? If you think you do, prove it by giving a one paragraph summary of ID in the comments below.

    Eric Anderson passes the Turing Test.

    Where is Eric Anderson’s one paragraph summary of ID?

  29. 29
    J-Mac says:

    wd400
    “I don’t see much value in the exercise, since I’m much more interested in evidence than ideology”

    This is great news wd400! I think you would have no problem providing us with evidence rather than ideology about what the origins of life and what evidence about it convinced you the most that life originated on it’s own and without ID. I don’t think you need to overwhelm us with the many pieces of scientific evidence that you no doubt have, otherwise you wouldn’t just buy this ideology.
    I think it is fair to you and the observers if you ONLY revealed ONE PIECE OF SCIENTIFIC EVIDENCE that convinced you THE MOST that life originated on its own and without a Intelligent Designer.

    BTW: wd400, if you find yourself overwhelmed with choosing the piece of scientific evidence from among so many that you no doubt have to support your belief in abiogenesis, why don’t you ask your brothers in faith like MatSpirit, WD400, Seversky, daveS to help you choose the most convincing piece of scientific evidence that atheism has. I’m sure that no matter what you choose, it is going to overwhelm the ID believers.

  30. 30
    bFast says:

    DaveS (19), “I also tried to avoid declaring any position on the truth or falsity of ID theory.” I think you did a rather good job of avoiding declaring a position, better than other responses. However, I think to pass this turing test, a bit of supportive bias is called for. At least if I were to try the turing for Darwinism/naturalism, I’d throw in just enough “of course” to convince the turing analyst that I believed that view. Just sayin’.

  31. 31
    Dionisio says:

    J-Mac @27:

    […] made of materials unknown to scientists on Earth, […]

    Are biological systems made of materials unknown to scientists on Earth?

    At the core of the discussion, is it about the materials the biological systems are made of or is it about the algorithmic complexity of the whole enchilada of interwoven specified information-processing subsystems underlying elaborate cellular and molecular choreographies of signalling pathways and regulatory networks orchestrated within the biological systems?

    Is there anything (or process) -either known or imaginable*- that could produce and maintain what is observed in biology?

    (*) yes, I’d graciously leave open the possibility to imagine a detailed process that would explain the creation and maintenance of the biological systems as we see them today, knowing that we’re still missing a substantial chunk of the big picture.

  32. 32
    Dionisio says:

    I humbly admit that I would fail the Turing test on both ID and Darwinian/neo-Darwinian/extended synthesis/third way/3.5 way/fourth way/etc. evolution. Definitely both definitions are above my pay grade. But I kind of prefer whatever I can grasp of the ID concepts. 🙂

  33. 33
    wd400 says:

    I think it is fair to you and the observers if you ONLY revealed ONE PIECE OF SCIENTIFIC EVIDENCE that convinced you THE MOST that life originated on its own and without a Intelligent Designer

    I don’t know how life arose, and I think anyone that tells you they do (be it by natural causes or by design) is going well beyond what the evidence can tell us.

  34. 34
    Barry Arrington says:

    D: “Where is Eric Anderson’s one paragraph summary of ID?”

    D, take out the line breaks and EA’s brief summary becomes a paragraph. Really? You are going to quibble about line breaks?

  35. 35
    Dionisio says:

    BA:

    OK, I get it. My bad. Didn’t think about the line breaks.
    🙂

    In any case, EA’s explanation @21 is excellent!

    Thank you for starting this discussion thread about the bottom line ID concept. Every once in a while it helps to have a refreshing discussion on the subject.

  36. 36
    Dionisio says:

    We know biological life arose from design.
    No doubt about it.

    Since we are in the ID context, that’s all we say.

    However, for some of us, we know even the Designer.
    That’s what the evidences tell us.

    But again, that’s beyond the ID domain.

  37. 37
    Dionisio says:

    Here’s a note associated with Turing and Biology:

    In the landmark 1952 paper, “The chemical basis of morphogenesis”, Alan Turing proposed reactions between diffusing substances as a general model for biological pattern formation.
    In the development of his model, Turing abstracted from the growth of the tissues under consideration.
    Contrary to this assumption, however, feedback between patterning and growth is essential for numerous morphogenetic processes in nature.
    http://ist.ac.at/events/lectur.....hogenesis/

    Apparently Turing’s idea about morphogenesis was a little reductionist and now it seems like his concept was ‘slightly’ off target.

  38. 38
    Eric Anderson says:

    wd400 @23:

    If you ask for a single paragraph you are going to get general answers.

    I’m with you. We are all here in our spare time because we enjoy discussing the issues when we have a moment and because we feel that they are interesting, perhaps even important. I, for one, appreciate you taking time to make your initial comment and certainly would not hold your feet to the fire on an initial comment prepared in haste. You should feel free to expand or clarify if desired.

    That said, I can only comment on what you wrote, not on what you would have written had you written more.

    The primary aspect I wanted to highlight is that intelligent design — contra the oft-repeated assertions from its detractors — is not only a negative case against materialism. To be sure, any time we are drawing an inference to the best explanation about a historical event we will, of necessity, be required to address why we think one explanation is preferable to another. Thus, the negative case against the materialistic explanation is important.

    Indeed, even if the only function of intelligent design were to make a negative case against the materialistic creation account, it would still be making an incredibly valuable contribution.

    However, there is also a positive case for design. In fact of point, when we observe biological systems the inference to design is the first, the primary, and the most obvious inference. Darwin recognized this, and framed his argument primarily as a negative case against design. Dawkins does so as well in many of his writings, as do so many contemporary defenders of the materialistic story.

    This does not of course prove anything one way or another in and of itself. Without considering the evidence, as a matter of naked logic it could be true that our initial and natural inclination toward design in biology is wrong and that there is a design substitute lurking somewhere in the bouncing of atoms and the pulses of energy that make up the purely material forces of nature. As a matter of pure hypothetical speculation, it could be the case that every single instance in which we would be inclined to infer design can be explained away through some kind of purely natural design substitute.

    But such a design substitute has never been observed, and the more we learn about what is required to build and maintain biological systems, the less tenable the materialistic claim becomes. In stark contrast (and, I should add, in direct contradiction to the expectations of the materialistic narrative), our awareness of the extensive number of the very kinds of systems that gave rise to the initial intuitive inference to design in the first place continues to grow in number and force with every biological rock we turn over.

    A few key individuals have undertaken to tighten up the design inference, to explain it more fully, to perhaps even develop it into a scientific theory. This is an ongoing effort. It is logically possible that they have failed in their efforts. But any case against design needs to be made on the basis of what key design proponents have actually proposed, and against the clear landscape of the issues on the table.

    A clear and fulsome understanding of what intelligent design proposes, is a key starting point for any rational discussion of the evidence.

  39. 39
    rvb8 says:

    Barry,

    EA’s explanation passes? Listen to this;

    ‘Evolution is the theory that all life has common ancestary.
    It explains that gene duplication is frought with errors, and that these errors can produce features which could be advantageous to the individual, and heritable. Over long periods of time these advantageous heritable mutations become fixed in populations.’

    This theory of RM+NS is supported by discoveries in DNA, the fossil record, homology, redundent organs, geology, biogeography etc.

    Now, please tell me why EA has passed the Turing Test with his blather?

    EA’s ‘Positive Argument 1’, is nothing but an assertion, yet again; “It looks designed therefore…”
    If this is what it takes to pass the test I am going to say; “It looks evolved therefore….” I will of course have to ignore all the evidence I just mentioned, however being honest, I simply refuse to do that.

  40. 40
    Eric Anderson says:

    rvb8 @39:

    You misunderstand the exercise. What this thread is about is laying out the claims, not debating the merits of specific pieces of evidence.

    If you want to provide a brief exposition of what evolutionary theory, that is great. A Turing test for evolutionary theory would be a good follow-up thread for this one. Maybe Barry or I could start such a thread a bit later.

    The question on the table in the present thread is: Do you understand what intelligent design is? What are its key claims?

    And, just for completeness as I have done, it might also be useful to flag some of the red-herring talking points regularly brought up by opponents which unfortunately do not address the claims of intelligent design.

    —–

    P.S.

    For the record, I was not trying to pass the Turing test in my comments. I have been simply responding to wd400’s comments. But in assessing and responding to those comments I laid out some key aspects which are critical to a sound understanding of intelligent design and which anyone must grasp before they can adequately examine intelligent design. That is one of the points of Barry’s post.

  41. 41
    kairosfocus says:

    RVB8, you have unfinished business regarding your confusion of the complementarity of DNA chains with the information-bearing sequences within the chain in an earlier thread. I suggest, that — instead of abandoning that thread as though nothing significant and telling about your objections to ID has happened — you should now urgently attend to this: http://www.uncommondescent.com.....ent-621497 KF

    PS: You will even find that the linked and the onward linked discussion of Crick’s March 19, 1953 letter [which you would be well advised to read — not least from the outset it corrects the basic misunderstanding you demonstrated earlier . . . ] provides a significant part of the answer to what you imagine are strong objections to the point of being dismissive, per your comments just above.

    PPS: Kindly note the corrective at 45 in the previous thread i/l/o your oh its complicated strawman projection above, almost a week ago now:

    http://www.uncommondescent.com.....ent-621121

    45 kairosfocus November 25, 2016 at 3:24 am

    RVB8, [–> in 43 just above] you are confusing cross-links between the two complementary strands of DNA with chaining down the length of the string; which is telling. Without the freedom to have AGCT follow in the chain in any order, DNA could not store the information to assemble proteins specified by the genetic code. Your onward refusal to address functionally specific complex organisation and associated information, reducing to a strawman “Look how complicated it all is,” is further revealing as to determined mindset not to face sober evidence. And, the FIRST context is Darwin’s warm pond of chemicals or the like pre-life environment, the root of the tree of life in OOL, where yes, there is no reproductive mechanism based on genetic code so there is no basis for chance variation and genetically linked natural selection. Then, at body plan origin level you have dodged the issue of need for many closely matched and correctly arranged, properly coupled parts to achieve function i.e. deeply isolated islands of function in vast config spaces; yet another strawman tactic dismissal. The rest of your objections collapse in the wake of that basic, disqualifying confusion and resort to strawman tactics backed up by sneers. Please, think again. KF

    Insistently ignoring cogent correction (where, GP also corrected you there) and repeating a corrected objection elsewhere as though nothing has happened is not going to help you or your cause.

  42. 42

    Dionisio asks:

    Where is Eric Anderson’s one paragraph summary of ID?

    One might argue that a hallmark of a non-sentient response would be adhering to inputted response parameters even if a correct response (displaying a conceptual grasp of the subject) would best be served by going outside of those parameters. Mindless nature/automation doesn’t understand the importance of a goal, it only serves the rules that govern its immediate behaviors towards whatever goal it might acquire.

  43. 43
    gpuccio says:

    KF:

    Indeed, our “friend” RVB8 seems to be selectively “deaf”.

  44. 44
    john_a_designer says:

    It is impossible to have a meaningful discussion or debate with someone who does not or will not understand your point of view. So far, at least as far as I have seen, the anti-ID interlocutors who have commented on this thread have demonstrated that lack of comprehension or willingness. So what is their real motive?

    Personally I have neither the time nor patience for such people. It appears me that they are here to deflect, derail or disrupt the discussion. Again, what is their motive?

  45. 45
    Dionisio says:

    Exactly a month ago KF started this interesting discussion thread that relates to the current Turing test posted by BA:

    BTB, Answering the “ID is Religion/Creationism in a cheap tuxedo” talking point

    http://www.uncommondescent.com...../#comments

    In that thread gpuccio posted @43 a very insightful commentary on ID, which should pass this Turing test ‘hands down’ specially now that the ‘one-paragraph’ rule has been clarified (softened) by BA and WJM :

    […] there are many positions in ID, which may differ in general worldviews. It’s exactly because ID proper is empirical science that it can connect people of different worldviews. That is true of science in general.

    Moreover, as others have pointed out, the idea that science is about “thinking God’s thoughts after Him” is just a very general idea about science which has been shared by different kinds of thinkers. It just means that, if one just believes in some form of God, then it is perfectly natural to consider the laws and regularities that we observe in outer phenomena as the expression of God’s thought. If, instead, one does not believe in any God, then the same laws and regularities will have for him some different meaning.

    Again, whatever the worldview, no real scientists would probably doubt that science is about laws and regularities in phenomena. That’s what ID is, because ID is science, and nothing else.

    _____________________________

    I do have problems with methodological naturalism, and my problems derive exactly from my views about science, not from my religion.

    I have discussed that issue many times. In brief, methodological naturalism (or any kind of “naturalism”) is simply, IMO, bad philosophy of science. The main reasons why I believe that are:

    1) I don’t believe that any specific philosophy of science can give some final definitions of what science is or is not.

    2) I don’t believe that any specific philosophy of science can give some final definitions of what the scientific method should be (see Feyerabend).

    3) I don’t believe that “nature” and “naturalism” are good and well defined concepts. Indeed, they are completely ambiguous categories. That’s why I always avoid any reference, in my discussions, to what is “natural” or “supernatural”.

    The object of science is reality, things as they are, not “nature”, whatever it means.

    The most common meaning of nature, in the ambiguous language of modern scientism, is more or less:

    “The basic map of reality that we have at present”.

    The most common meaning of methodological naturalism, in the ambiguous language of modern scientism, is more or less:

    “We refuse to accept as science anything which is not compatible with the basic map of reality that we have at present”.

    That is a dogmatic and religious-like limitation of what science is, and I don’t accept it. Not for religious reasons, but for cognitive and scientific reasons.

    There may be some “ID proponents” who “have problems with the way science is done”. As I have said, there are many different worldviews in ID. I share some, I don’t share others.

    http://www.uncommondescent.com.....ent-620207

    PS. Please, note that gpuccio’s comments were taken out of another discussion, hence were not written with this Turing test in mind.
    Also, I did not ask gpuccio’s permission to post his comment here. He’s free to request the removal of this comment if he wishes so. But I hope he will let it stay so others can read it too. Specially your politely dissenting interlocutors who apparently don’t get it quite right yet. 🙂

  46. 46

    john_a_designer asks:

    So what is their real motive?

    It has been my experience that “the real motive”, in most conversations concerning virtually any topic of significance, is “protecting one’s current existential narrative”.

  47. 47
    daveS says:

    JAD,

    It is impossible to have a meaningful discussion or debate with someone who does not or will not understand your point of view. So far, at least as far as I have seen, the anti-ID interlocutors who have commented on this thread have demonstrated that lack of comprehension or willingness. So what is their real motive?

    As one who apparently tanked the exam, I’ll respond, even though I don’t really consider myself “anti-ID”. I can’t recall making any significant arguments here against ID per se.

    But lots of discussions happen at UD on the topics of mathematics and logic, which sometimes are only distantly related to ID. I’m interested in those, mainly.

    I have also posted on threads concerned with elementary philosophy, politics, “what atheists think”, and so forth, as these are sometimes accessible to the layperson.

    My motive? I enjoy discussing these things, especially when my interlocutors have different views than my own.

  48. 48
    Eric Anderson says:

    wd400 @23 & Silver Asiatic @25:

    The fact that a particular individual — Winston Ewert in the case of the link wd400 provided — was less clear than he should have been in a particular post (even misspoke, I would say, in his final paragraph) is hardly evidence of a disconnect in the theory or of a significant disagreement among key intelligent design proponents.

    If one reads Ewert’s post charitably, I think it is clear what his main point was, even if he misstated it toward the end — a very unfortunate misstatement, to be sure, as keith s latched onto it as though it were some kind of confirmation of his red-herring argument against intelligent design.

  49. 49
    Silver Asiatic says:

    Eric Anderson @48

    I’m not sure if Ewert, himself, thought he mistated the argument. He seemed to fully agree with Keith’s criticism, but only added that the ID argument is more than that.

    is hardly evidence of a disconnect in the theory or of a significant disagreement among key intelligent design proponents

    Well, Ewert said this in that thread:

    The version of specified complexity developed by Dembski isn’t an observable phenomenom. See http://www.metanexus.net/essay…..complexity. You can certainly have a notion of specified complexity that is observable, like Orgel and Wicken did. But care must be taken not to conflate it with Dembski’s conception.

    So, I think this shows there could be a disconnect here on a key element of ID theory. Additionally, some have added “functional” as an essential element of CSI that was missing in Dembski’s formulation.

    But aside from that, I posed another problem here:

    Another case I’ve encountered is where some ID advocates believe that modern science should be changed to allow for immaterial or supernatural causes – so ID is a critique of science itself in those cases. Where others do not see this problem.

    I’ve found radically different ideas on this idea from key ID proponents. I think the majority argue that ID requires a change in how science is done (as it is commonly done in the field of science today) and that science has to accept the existence of immaterial or supernatural causes.

    Others (like myself, in the minority) believe that ID theory works perfectly well in science as it as commonly known today (that is, within Methodological Naturalism) and no change is required to that scientific paradigm.

    That certainly makes a big difference. If the meaning and methods of science itself have to change – in virtually every university, lab and scientific research facility in the world, in order for ID to be accepted — then that’s obviously a huge task. It goes far beyond just demonstrating the scientific evidence for ID. In other words, ID would require a “different kind of science” than most scientists in the world recognize today.

    In any case, without getting into that debate – I do think there is a healthy difference of opinion on some important aspects of ID. We’ve seen it here in the past – disputes on whether ID gives evidence for or against common descent, for example.

  50. 50
    Silver Asiatic says:

    Where Barry A wondered if his expectations were too high, I think mine were too low.
    The fact that nobody equated ID to Biblical Creationism or that ID makes claims about God and religion, was a nice surprise. It’s still very common among anti-ID sites to see the linkage of ID and Creationism or very simplistic views on complexity supposedly equaling a theistic presence.

    I didn’t expect a fully detailed explanation of ID, although in hindsight I probably should have. If guys are here every day, for many years, reading and commenting – this kind of Turing Test should be very easy.

    Perhaps this part of the goal of the test could be highlighted:

    The partisan is invited to answer questions or write an essay posing as his opposite number; if neutral judges cannot tell the difference between the partisan’s answers and the answers of the opposite number, the candidate is judged to correctly understand the opposing side.

    It’s an attempt to see if you can state the ID argument in a way that is indistinguishable from what an ID advocate would say.

    It takes a lot of discipline – you have to set aside your personal animosity to the theory and say it the way a partisan or advocate would say it.

  51. 51
    Silver Asiatic says:

    But aside from that, I posed another problem here:

    Another case I’ve encountered is where some ID advocates believe that modern science should be changed to allow for immaterial or supernatural causes – so ID is a critique of science itself in those cases. Where others do not see this problem.

    From my comment above, Dionisio quoted in #45 this very exact thing I was thinking about in a nice coincidence!

    gpuccio takes the position that the meaning and method of science itself needs to change.

    As I see it, that is not a part of ID theory. In my understanding, ID is fully compatible with Methodological Naturalism. But as I said, many other ID proponents disagree.

    (Perhaps we could say “well nobody agrees with you so there really isn’t a dispute”! — ok, but I would appreciate some reference to where, in ID theory, one must accept that science, or the methods [methodological] of science as it is currently done today must change. I haven’t seen it and I’ve actually never seen anything like that in the definitions of what ID is.)

  52. 52
    Fordgreen says:

    Silver Asiatic (quoting from Wikipedia article on ideological Turing Test): “The partisan is invited to answer questions or write an essay posing as his opposite number; if neutral judges cannot tell the difference between the partisan’s answers and the answers of the opposite number, the candidate is judged to correctly understand the opposing side.”

    Thanks for quoting this – note the point about neutral judges. Barry himself admits that he had doubts about whether ID opponents would be able to pass the test – so I think it’s clear that he is far from a neutral judge.

    Again, it’s an interesting exercise, but if the ideological Turing test is to provide any value it needs to be conducted a controlled fashion with real neutral judges, and probably a blog forum like this is not the best place to attempt it. Although it isn’t necessary, I think too there would be benefit in making submissions anyonymous too, particularly given existing biases to certain authors.

  53. 53
    Eric Anderson says:

    Silver Asiatic @48:

    He seemed to fully agree with Keith’s criticism, but only added that the ID argument is more than that.

    I haven’t spent a lot of time delving into past discussions and threads, so it is certainly possible that Ewert clarified his position later in the thread or elsewhere. But based just on the brief OP wd400 linked to, those two points you mention above are inconsistent with each other.

    keith s’ criticism relates to “CSI.” Ewert tried to explain that CSI is more than just “C”, which by itself could be circular. Up to that point he was doing great. But then he stumbled in the final paragraph by saying that “CSI” was circular.

    What he should have said is that “C” could be circular in some circumstances, which is why it, in and of itself, is not sufficient to indicate design. When coupled with “SI” it is not circular at all, but forms a principled and objective way to distinguish design.

    To be sure, lots of people, including some people who support design, tend to be sloppy when dealing with the concept of CSI. This unfortunately results in unclear discussions and sloppy conclusions.

    keith s was wrong, because CSI is not circular. Ewert should have stood his ground, instead of trying to frame his point within the wording of keith s’ poor articulation of the issue.

  54. 54
    Eric Anderson says:

    Silver Asiatic:

    You have some good points about the broader issues surrounding intelligent design.

    When someone raises the question of what intelligent design is or whether we understand intelligent design or what intelligent design claims, it would seem we are talking about the design inference — the central, key claims of the theory. That is what I have been focusing on, and it is a relatively simple and straight-forward proposition.

    Unfortunately, a number of individuals still don’t quite get it or still don’t quite frame the central issues clearly, which results in confusion. All this means is that the individual either doesn’t fully understand the design inference or, more likely, didn’t do a good job of describing it (something we are all no doubt guilty of in hurried online posts and comments.) But it doesn’t mean that key design proponents have foundational disagreement over the central tenets of intelligent design.

    Now if we are going beyond what intelligent design is and getting into the implications of intelligent design, whether it should be taught in schools, whether the inference is met in specific biological instances, whether intelligent design meets some arbitrary definition of “science,” that is a different story. There are, and are bound to be, healthy disagreements on these issues.

  55. 55

    KF @ 41: I admire the kindness, compassion and patience you extend to rvb8 and others like him. You set a good example for ID advocates.

  56. 56
    Silver Asiatic says:

    Eric A — I agree in both cases. Thanks.

  57. 57
    Dionisio says:

    Silver Asiatic,

    As far as I can see, what should change in science is the attitude to research, specially in biology, so that researchers don’t have biased presuppositions that could affect their research. Top-down instead of bottom-up wherever it’s possible (obviously not always possible). Thinking with open minds out of preconceived boxes.

    The case of morphogen gradient formation and interpretation could serve as an example. How in the world diffusion alone could explain the complexity of morphogenesis? Even Turing’s 1952 ideas on this topic have turned ‘slightly’ inaccurate lately. Maybe because it was a little reductionist?

    Perhaps this is an interesting area for ‘healthy’ discussion here?

  58. 58
    Silver Asiatic says:

    Dionisio

    Great questions and I agree that it’s the attitude that needs to change.

    If our opponents would ask “ok, but at what point do you infer design, and does that mean that science stops”?

    The answer should be that science should infer design when there is FCSI present, and no reasonable (better, compelling) case for any other cause or source for the observation can be determined.

    Science doesn’t stop at that point – it can continue forever trying to find a natural cause.

    But until it does, and given the criteria above, scientific papers on such topics should begin with something like:

    “in research on the origins of this particular organism, thus far, the best explanation for it is intelligent design”.

    It could go on to say “however, new findings may indicate that such an organism/structure could have been formed by [whatever].”

    If the results are speculative or the evidence to a strong conclusion — then the point remains, “the best explanation for this is intelligent design”.

  59. 59
    Eric Anderson says:

    Fordgreen @52:

    Fair points about neutrality and blog forums.

    There is a flip side, however.

    The upside is that a blog gives people a chance to rework/revise/resubmit their thoughts and interact with others, rather than a “submit a once-and-final statement to a judge and they’ll give you a thumbs-up or thumbs-down without feedback.”

    In addition, given that the test is primarily geared toward determining whether the opponent understands and properly states the position in question, having the opponent’s statement analyzed and corrected by proponents is a uniquely helpful avenue for making sure the opponent understands the proponent’s position.

    Not perfect, by any means, but still a useful exercise.

  60. 60
    J-Mac says:

    I think it is fair to you and the observers if you ONLY revealed ONE PIECE OF SCIENTIFIC EVIDENCE that convinced you THE MOST that life originated on its own and without a Intelligent Designer

    You didn’t understand my question! I’m so sorry. Can you read my question again? If not. Don’t worry. In NA we take care of all disabled people. You seem to have any illiteracy problem but there are means to translate it to you. Do you happen to have a learning disability? No to worry, there are services that can take of that.

  61. 61
    gpuccio says:

    Silver Asiatic:

    “gpuccio takes the position that the meaning and method of science itself needs to change.”

    Not exactly.

    I don’t believe that an absolute method for science exists. That’s not the same thing. I am all in favor of Feyerabend here.

    So, if an universal scientific method does not exist, why should I say that it must change?

    I don’t accept methodological naturalism only because I believe that it is a wrong concept, bad philosophy of science. It is a wrong concept now, and it has always been. Nothing needs to change.

    I don’t accept references to “nature” and “naturalism” because, as I have tried many times to argue, there is no true definition of “nature”, and therefore of “naturalism”. The word is simply vague and ambiguous.

    That’s why most references to “methodological naturalism” are simply a (bad) philosophical position stating that scientific answers must be in the range of what someone expects them to be, an idea that is completely anti-science.

    That’s why I prefer to think of science as a shareable search for reality, for things as they are. I would never categorize “reality” in advance as “natural” or else. Neither should science do anything like that.

    So, I don’t believe that “the meaning and method of science itself needs to change”. Not at all. I simply believe that the meaning of science has always been, and always will be, to try to understand reality in objective shareable ways. That should never change. And I believe that methodological naturalism is a biased philosophy of science, a dogmatic position which is in essence completely anti-science, always has been and always will be.

    And, if a method of science really exists (which I doubt), then methodological naturalism has nothing to do with it.

  62. 62
    Dionisio says:

    gpuccio,

    Please, forgive me for quoting your comment from another discussion thread without your permission.

    I just thought your sound opinion was missing in this discussion.

    My opinion doesn’t count much here, because I’m just a biology student wannabe.

    I learn about the ID concept from you and the other serious folks in this site.

    Thank you.

    PS. Excellent comment @61! (as usual)
    Mile grazie!

  63. 63
    bjMurray says:

    Re: bornagain @ 6
    Great observation

    I like this idea, but as has been pointed out, it isn’t just about showing a superficial knowledge of the answers. If I where designing a test, I wouldn’t simply use questions, but make it discussion based. Take a number of participants from the two groups, divide them up in some random way, with assignments of which position you will be arguing as. Pair them up group A against group B, and let them hash it out.

    As I looked up about ideological Turing tests, I found quite a bit of talk about strategies to beat the system, not necessarily to show understanding. The above method may require not only being able to parrot the correct arguments, but to come up with original responses. I do wonder however, if even if the answers are technically correct, if the thought process may give it away.

  64. 64
    MatSpirit says:

    Barry: “MatSpirit, WD400, Seversky, daveS

    We know you are lurking around. Why don’t you give it a go?”

    I’d like to thank the folks at After the Bar Closes for reprinting your invitation, else I would have missed it.

    ID is the traditional Christian belief that God created life, the universe and everything, especially living things and especially us. It also encompasses the traditional Christian belief that this should be readily detectable. “The heavens declare the glory of God” or William Paley for examples.

    These traditional Christian beliefs became ID when the Supreme Court ruled that “Creation Science” was just a traditional Christian belief and forbade teaching it in public schools as science.

    A very smart law professor named Phillip Johnson, who had found Jesus while in the middle of a messy divorce, then had the idea of just saying that an unnamed Intelligent Designer, who was not necessarily the God of the Christians and Jews (and Muslims too, but keep that under your hat), designed life, the universe and everything. He felt that this could Constitutionally be taught in public school science classes and Pastor Bob could fill in the blanks on Sunday. Right about the time this new idea started gaining traction, Professor Johnson had a stroke visited upon him, but for some reason he didn’t claim the blood clot was Intelligently Designed and kept championing ID.

    This left only one problem for ID: finding actual evidence of an Intelligent Designer. Luckily for those with a sense of humor, a twenty-years-in-college professional student named William Dembski was working at a Baptist summer camp. (Professional students often have trouble finding suitable employment, at least employment that they themselves consider suitable.) He mightily impressed the daughter of the President of Baylor college and when the dust settled he was ensconced by Sloan in a comfortable position at Baylor.

    There followed over a decade of absolute hilarity (unless you were an ID sympathiser) and when the dust finally settled, Sloan was fired, Dembski was released from all duties at Baylor (but still cashed his paychecks), the names, home addresses, home phone numbers and email addresses of the entire Baylor Board of Regents were published right here on this blog, (which he also started), the world was treated to a cartoon “criticising” a judge with fart noises personally supplied by Dembski, Dembski proved that he couldn’t tell the difference between “some” and “all” in “No free Lunch”, got fired from a Christian college, got fired by the DI and announced he was giving up ID and switching to education. And with Mrs. DeVoss taking over education, that may prove to have been a wise move.

    And all that without a single bit of evidence for Intelligent Design that could withstand scrutiny. However, Behe did prove that if God was the Intelligent Designer, then He designed the malaria organism. Though obvious, this was not as welcomed by the ID community as you might think.

    Meanwhile, the scientific world kept clearing its throat and saying, “How about evolution? We’ve got lots of evidence for that.”

    I guess if I had to give the shortest, most concise definition of ID possible, I would say it’s one of the few funny parts of religion.

  65. 65
    MatSpirit says:

    Barry, what’s your definition of evolution? As far as I can tell from what you’ve written, it’s about as poor as Harris and Klebold’s.

  66. 66
    AhmedKiaan says:

    I’d say part of the reason Barry is in charge here instead of a scientist is because ID was a legal strategy, not a scientific revolution.

  67. 67
  68. 68
    wd400 says:

    EA, I don’t think there is any lack of clarity or mis-statement in Ewert’s post. You might want to take it up with him, or Dembski for that matter.

  69. 69
    gpuccio says:

    Dionisio:

    You can quote any of my comments whenever and wherever you like. They are public, and I am sure you will always quote them in the right context. 🙂

    Thank you for giving them your attention.

  70. 70
    gpuccio says:

    wd400:

    I don’t know if there is “any lack of clarity or mis-statement” in Ewert’s post. It is clear enough for me, and I completely disagree with him.

    Is it possible to disagree with a fellow IDist?

    Sure. As I have often said, ID is no religion nor dogma. Not is it a political party. It is science, and in science anyone can always disagree with anyone else.

  71. 71
    AhmedKiaan says:

    funny comment from around the internet:

    “I always figured BA77 was some deep cover, long game troll.”

    I don’t think so. I think he’s a True Believer.

  72. 72
    bornagain77 says:

    wd400 at 3 states:

    “I’m much more interested in evidence than ideology”

    MatSpirit at 64 states:

    Meanwhile, the scientific world kept clearing its throat and saying, “How about evolution? We’ve got lots of evidence for that.”

    And yet, despite this claim of fidelity to empirical evidence and thus to the scientific method by wd400 and Mat, i.e. to ‘follow the evidence wherever it leads’, the fact of the matter is that there is no empirical evidence whatsoever that unguided material processes can produce what atheists themselves admit is ‘the overwhelming appearance of design’:

    “Biology is the study of complicated things that give the appearance of having been designed for a purpose.”
    Richard Dawkins – The Blind Watchmaker (1996) p.1

    “Yet the living results of natural selection overwhelmingly impress us with the appearance of design as if by a master watchmaker, impress us with the illusion of design and planning.”
    Richard Dawkins – “The Blind Watchmaker” – 1986 – page 21
    quoted from this video – Michael Behe – Life Reeks Of Design – 2010 – video
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hdh-YcNYThY

    “The real core of Darwinism,,,, the ‘design’ of the natural theologian, by natural means.”
    Ernst Mayr

    “design without a designer”
    Francisco Ayala

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

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

    “Biologists must constantly keep in mind that what they see was not designed, but rather evolved.”
    Francis Crick – What Mad Pursuit – p. 138 (1990)

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

    Yet, despite the fact that, according to many leading atheists themselves, life gives the overwhelming ‘appearance’ of having been designed for a purpose, and that Darwinian evolution is suppose to explain that appearance of ‘design without a Designer’, the truth is that they have no real time empirical evidence whatsoever that unguided material processes can produce this self admitted ‘appearance of design’

    Franklin M. Harold, whom I believe is also an atheist, calls Darwinian accounts ‘a variety of wishful speculations’. Specifically he states:

    “,,,we must concede that there are presently no detailed Darwinian accounts of the evolution of any biochemical or cellular system, only a variety of wishful speculations.”
    Franklin M. Harold,* 2001. The way of the cell: molecules, organisms and the order of life, Oxford University Press, New York, p. 205.
    *Professor Emeritus of Biochemistry, Colorado State University, USA

    James Shapiro, main founder of the anti neo-Darwinian group “The Third Way”, makes an almost verbatim statement prior to Harold’s statement:

    “The argument that random variation and Darwinian gradualism may not be adequate to explain complex biological systems is hardly new […} in fact, there are no detailed Darwinian accounts for the evolution of any fundamental biochemical or cellular system, only a variety of wishful speculations. It is remarkable that Darwinism is accepted as a satisfactory explanation for such a vast subject — evolution — with so little rigorous examination of how well its basic theses works in illuminating specific instances of biological adaptation or diversity.”
    Prof. James Shapiro – “In the Details…What?” National Review, 19 September 1996, pp. 64.

    In the following humorous exchange I had with Larry Moran, he inadvertently admits he has no real time empirical evidence for Darwinian evolution

    Larry Moran, a professor of Evolutionary Biology, quoting Futuyma: “The theory of genetic drift … includes some of the most highly refined mathematical models in biology.”
    Me: “can you be kind enough to point us to the exact experiment that verified that those ‘highly refined mathematical models’ were actually talking about reality instead of just Darwinian pipe dreams?”
    Larry Moran: “That’s like asking to show how the mathematical models of physics predict the formation of Venus. Do you realize how silly that sounds?”
    Me: “Not nearly as silly as you saying that unguided material processes could EVER build a flagellum given all the time in the universe.
    Which is still yet orders of magnitude not as silly as you saying unguided material processes created your ‘beyond belief’ brain.

    In the following quote, Coyne admits that Darwinian evolution is a ‘historical science’ that is not subject to rigorous testing:

    “In science’s pecking order, evolutionary biology lurks somewhere near the bottom, far closer to phrenology than to physics. For evolutionary biology is a historical science, laden with history’s inevitable imponderables. We evolutionary biologists cannot generate a Cretaceous Park to observe exactly what killed the dinosaurs; and, unlike “harder” scientists, we usually cannot resolve issues with a simple experiment, such as adding tube A to tube B and noting the color of the mixture.”
    – Jerry A. Coyne – Of Vice and Men, The New Republic April 3, 2000 p.27 – professor of Darwinian evolution at the University of Chicago

    But hey, these are just quotes, and since wd400 and Mat claim to follow the evidence wherever it leads, let’s look at the empirical evidence itself.

    Many times Darwinists claim that evolution is an observed fact on par with the observed fact of gravity. But very contrary to their claims, the plain fact of the matter is that there are ZERO observed instances of neo-Darwinian evolution building up functional complexity.

    How about the oft cited example for neo-Darwinian evolution of antibiotic resistance? This following short video investigates antibiotic resistant bacteria and finds it to fall short as to being evidence for Darwinian evolution.

    Investigating Evolution: Antibiotic Resistant Bacteria – video
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v-Peboq0AqA

    This following site has a list of the degraded molecular abilities of antibiotic resistant bacteria

    Is Bacterial Resistance to Antibiotics an Appropriate Example of Evolutionary Change? – Kevin Anderson, Ph.D.
    Excerpt: Resistance to antibiotics and other antimicrobials is often claimed to be a clear demonstration of “evolution in a Petri dish.” ,,, all known examples of antibiotic resistance via mutation are inconsistent with the genetic requirements of evolution. These mutations result in the loss of pre-existing cellular systems/activities, such as porins and other transport systems, regulatory systems, enzyme activity, and protein binding.
    http://www.trueorigin.org/bacteria01.asp

    Moreover, far from being an example of Darwinian evolution, research has demonstrated that ‘antibiotic resistance is hard-wired into bacteria’ and has also demonstrated that ‘antibiotics themselves induce mutations leading to antibiotic-resistant bacteria’

    (Ancient) Cave bacteria resistant to antibiotics – April 2012
    Excerpt: Antibiotic-resistant bacteria cut off from the outside world for more than four million years have been found in a deep cave. The discovery is surprising because drug resistance is widely believed to be the result of too much treatment.,,, “Our study shows that antibiotic resistance is hard-wired into bacteria. It could be billions of years old, but we have only been trying to understand it for the last 70 years,” said Dr Gerry Wright, from McMaster University in Canada, who has analysed the microbes.
    http://www.scotsman.com/news/h.....1-2229183#

    The Diseaseome Could Take Medicine Beyond the Genome By Cynthia Graber on Thu, 09 Oct 2014
    Excerpt: Today, antibiotic resistance is thought to emerge because, scientists have believed, there are a few bacteria in a given community that are naturally resistant to a drug, and they thrive after the drug kills off the bacteria’s brethren. But instead, as Collins’ research has demonstrated, antibiotics themselves induce mutations, leading to antibiotic-resistant bacteria.
    http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/n.....-medicine/

    Antibiotic resistance doesn’t seem to be helping Darwinists.
    How about we look really, really, close at very sensitive growth rates and see if we can find any evidence for neo-Darwinian evolution?

    Unexpectedly small effects of mutations in bacteria bring new perspectives – November 2010
    Excerpt: Most mutations in the genes of the Salmonella bacterium have a surprisingly small negative impact on bacterial fitness. And this is the case regardless whether they lead to changes in the bacterial proteins or not.,,, using extremely sensitive growth measurements, doctoral candidate Peter Lind showed that most mutations reduced the rate of growth of bacteria by only 0.500 percent. No mutations completely disabled the function of the proteins, and very few had no impact at all. Even more surprising was the fact that mutations that do not change the protein sequence had negative effects similar to those of mutations that led to substitution of amino acids. A possible explanation is that most mutations may have their negative effect by altering mRNA structure, not proteins, as is commonly assumed.
    http://www.physorg.com/news/20.....teria.html

    Well, that doesn’t seem to be helping Darwinists either.
    How about if we just try to forcibly fix an unconditionally ‘beneficial’ mutation by sustained selection?

    Genome-wide analysis of a long-term evolution experiment with Drosophila – 2010
    Excerpt: “Despite decades of sustained selection in relatively small, sexually reproducing laboratory populations, selection did not lead to the fixation of newly arising unconditionally advantageous alleles. This is notable because in wild populations we expect the strength of natural selection to be less intense and the environment unlikely to remain constant for ~600 generations. Consequently, the probability of fixation in wild populations should be even lower than its likelihood in these experiments.”
    http://www.homepages.ed.ac.uk/.....202010.pdf

    UCI scientists decode genomes of sexually precocious fruit flies – September 16, 2010
    Excerpt: For decades, most researchers have assumed that sexual species evolve the same way single-cell bacteria do: A genetic mutation sweeps through a population and quickly becomes “fixated” on a particular portion of DNA. But the UCI work shows that when sex is involved, it’s far more complicated.
    “This research really upends the dominant paradigm about how species evolve,” said ecology & evolutionary biology professor Anthony Long, the primary investigator.
    https://news.uci.edu/press-releases/uci-scientists-decode-genomes-of-sexually-precocious-fruit-flies/

  73. 73
    bornagain77 says:

    Well that’s certainly disappointing.
    How about if we try to help neo-Darwinian evolution out a little bit and saturate genomes with mutations until we can actually see some ‘evolution’ in action?

    Response to John Wise – October 2010
    Excerpt: A technique called “saturation mutagenesis”1,2 has been used to produce every possible developmental mutation in fruit flies (Drosophila melanogaster),3,4,5 roundworms (Caenorhabditis elegans),6,7 and zebrafish (Danio rerio),8,9,10 and the same technique is now being applied to mice (Mus musculus).11,12 None of the evidence from these and numerous other studies of developmental mutations supports the neo-Darwinian dogma that DNA mutations can lead to new organs or body plans–because none of the observed developmental mutations benefit the organism.
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....38811.html

    Mutation + Selection = Stasis – October 8th, 2014
    Excerpt: As a trained physicist, Desai applied a statistical perspective using robots to precisely manipulate hundreds of lines of yeast to perform large scale evolutionary experiments. Scientists have long studied genetic evolution of microbes, but until now, only a few strains at a time.
    Robotically managing 640 lines of yeast from a single parent cell, Desai’s team was efficiently tooled to statistically analyze evolution at this level for the first time.
    In an interview with Singer, Joshua Plotkin, an evolutionary scientist at the University of Pennsylvania, commented, “This is the physicist’s approach to evolution, stripping down everything to the simplest possible conditions… They could partition how much of evolution is attributable to chance, how much to the starting point, and how much to measurement noise.”,,,
    While early mutations in the experiment initially variably influenced fitness, fitness in the final generations was the same. “Scientists,” Singer noted, “don’t know why all genetic roads in yeast seem to arrive at the same endpoint”.,,,,
    “I think many people think about one gene for one trait, a deterministic way of evolution solving problems,” David Reznick, a biologist at the University of California-Riverside, told Singer. “This says that’s not true.”
    Unexpectantly, Desai’s team discovered genetic mutations plus selection yields stasis in the microbe model– not evolution.
    http://www.darwinthenandnow.co.....on-stasis/

    Dang still no luck! We should have seen something, Oh well, how about if we try to force bacteria to evolve to adapt to a new environment?

    Researchers Ran a Massive Yearlong Experiment to Get Bacteria to Evolve. Guess What Happened? – August 22, 2014
    Excerpt: (the problem the researchers tried to address?)
    “the general inability to connect phenotype to genotype in the context of environmental adaptation has been a major failing in the field of evolution.,,,”
    (Their results in addressing this major failing?)
    ‘In short, it was hard to find anything beyond a “suggestion” or a “scenario” that these bacteria improved their fitness in any way by genetic mutations, other than the gross observation that some of the clones managed to survive at 45 °C. But even the ancestor could do that sometimes through the “Lazarus effect.”‘
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....89231.html

    Hmmm? Still no luck. Hey, I’ve got an idea, let’s just ask a professor of bacteriology if he has ever seen any evidence for Darwinian evolution:

    Scant search for the Maker
    Excerpt: But where is the experimental evidence? None exists in the literature claiming that one species has been shown to evolve into another. Bacteria, the simplest form of independent life, are ideal for this kind of study, with generation times of 20 to 30 minutes, and populations achieved after 18 hours. But throughout 150 years of the science of bacteriology, there is no evidence that one species of bacteria has changed into another, in spite of the fact that populations have been exposed to potent chemical and physical mutagens and that, uniquely, bacteria possess extrachromosomal, transmissible plasmids. Since there is no evidence for species changes between the simplest forms of unicellular life, it is not surprising that there is no evidence for evolution from prokaryotic to eukaryotic cells, let alone throughout the whole array of higher multicellular organisms.
    – Alan H. Linton – emeritus professor of bacteriology, University of Bristol.
    http://www.timeshighereducatio.....ode=159282

    “One century of studies on mutations has not provided a single verified example of a gene mutation that led to adaptive morphological change in metazoans.”
    (Cabej 2012.)

    Maybe Linton missed something? Let’s personally look at the last four decades worth of lab work to see if we can find what he may have missed:

    “The First Rule of Adaptive Evolution”: Break or blunt any functional coded element whose loss would yield a net fitness gain – Michael Behe – December 2010
    Excerpt: In its most recent issue The Quarterly Review of Biology has published a review by myself of laboratory evolution experiments of microbes going back four decades.,,, The gist of the paper is that so far the overwhelming number of adaptive (that is, helpful) mutations seen in laboratory evolution experiments are either loss or modification of function. Of course we had already known that the great majority of mutations that have a visible effect on an organism are deleterious. Now, surprisingly, it seems that even the great majority of helpful mutations degrade the genome to a greater or lesser extent.,,, I dub it “The First Rule of Adaptive Evolution”: Break or blunt any functional coded element whose loss would yield a net fitness gain.
    http://behe.uncommondescent.co.....evolution/

    Now this is starting to get a little frustrating.
    Perhaps we just have to give neo-Darwinian evolution a little ‘room to breathe’?
    How about we ‘open the floodgates’ and look at Lenski’s Long Term Evolution Experiment and see what we can find after 50,000 generations, which is equivalent to somewhere around 1,000,000 years of human evolution?

    Richard Lenski and Citrate Hype — Now Deflated – Michael Behe – May 12, 2016
    Excerpt: ,,, for more than 25 years Lenski’s lab has continuously grown a dozen lines of the bacterium E. coli in small culture flasks, letting them replicate for six or seven generations per day and then transferring a portion to fresh flasks for another round of growth. The carefully monitored cells have now gone through more than 60,000 generations, which is equivalent to over a million years for a large animal such as humans.,,,
    In 2008 Lenski’s group reported that after more than 15 years and 30,000 generations of growth one of the E. coli cell lines suddenly developed the ability to consume citrate,,,
    the authors argued it might be pretty important.,,,
    They also remarked that,,, perhaps the mutation marked the beginning of the evolution of a brand new species.,,
    One scientist who thought the results were seriously overblown was Scott Minnich, professor of microbiology at the University of Idaho ,,,
    So Minnich’s lab re-did the work under conditions he thought would be more effective. The bottom line is that they were able to repeatedly isolate the same mutants Lenski’s lab did as easily as falling off a log — within weeks, not decades.,,,
    Richard Lenski was not pleased.,,,
    In a disgraceful move, Lenski impugned Scott Minnich’s character. Since he’s a “fellow of the Discovery Institute” sympathetic with intelligent design,,,
    (Regardless of the ad hominem) With regard to citrate evolution, the Minnich lab’s results have revealed E. coli to be a one-trick pony.,,,
    The take-home lesson is that,,, (Lenski’s overinflated) hype surrounding the (implications of the citrate adaptation) has seriously misled the public and the scientific community. It’s far past time that a pin was stuck in its (Lenski’s citrate) balloon.
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....02839.html

    Now that just can’t be right.
    We should really start to be seeing some neo-Darwinian fireworks by 50,000 generations, i.e. 1 million years!
    Hey I know what we can do. How about we see what happened when the ‘top five’ ‘beneficial mutations from Lenski’s experiment were combined?
    Surely now the Darwinian magic will start flowing?

    Mutations : when benefits level off – June 2011 – (Lenski’s e-coli after 50,000 generations)
    Excerpt: After having identified the first five beneficial mutations combined successively and spontaneously in the bacterial population, the scientists generated, from the ancestral bacterial strain, 32 mutant strains exhibiting all of the possible combinations of each of these five mutations. They then noted that the benefit linked to the simultaneous presence of five mutations was less than the sum of the individual benefits conferred by each mutation individually.
    http://www2.cnrs.fr/en/1867.htm?theme1=7

    Well again, that just can’t be right! Something is going terribly wrong here. Have not Darwinists assured us that neo-Darwinian evolution is an established fact on par with gravity?
    Tell you what, let’s just forget trying to observe evolution in the lab. I mean it really is kind of cramped in the lab ya know, and let’s REALLY open the floodgates and let’s see what neo-Darwinian evolution can do with the ENTIRE WORLD at its disposal.
    Surely now neo-Darwinian evolution will flex its awesomely powerful muscles for all to see and forever make those IDiots, who believe in Intelligent Design, cower in terror and crawl back to their churches and shut up about all this intelligent design nonsense!

    A review of The Edge of Evolution: The Search for the Limits of Darwinism
    The numbers of Plasmodium and HIV in the last 50 years greatly exceeds the total number of mammals since their supposed evolutionary origin (several hundred million years ago), yet little has been achieved by evolution. This suggests that mammals could have “invented” little in their time frame. Behe: ‘Our experience with HIV gives good reason to think that Darwinism doesn’t do much—even with billions of years and all the cells in that world at its disposal’ (p. 155).
    http://creation.com/review-mic.....-evolution

  74. 74
    bornagain77 says:

    “The immediate, most important implication is that complexes with more than two different binding sites-ones that require three or more proteins-are beyond the edge of evolution, past what is biologically reasonable to expect Darwinian evolution to have accomplished in all of life in all of the billion-year history of the world. The reasoning is straightforward. The odds of getting two independent things right are the multiple of the odds of getting each right by itself. So, other things being equal, the likelihood of developing two binding sites in a protein complex would be the square of the probability for getting one: a double CCC, 10^20 times 10^20, which is 10^40. There have likely been fewer than 10^40 cells in the world in the last 4 billion years, so the odds are against a single event of this variety in the history of life. It is biologically unreasonable.”
    – Michael Behe – The Edge of Evolution – page 146

    Kenneth Miller Steps on Darwin’s Achilles Heel – Michael Behe – January 17, 2015
    Excerpt: Enter Achilles and his heel. It turns out that the odds are much better for atovaquone resistance because only one particular malaria mutation is required for resistance. The odds are astronomical for chloroquine because a minimum of two particular malaria mutations are required for resistance. Just one mutation won’t do it. For Darwinism, that is the troublesome significance of Summers et al.: “The findings presented here reveal that the minimum requirement for (low) CQ transport activity … is two mutations.”
    Darwinism is hounded relentlessly by an unshakeable limitation: if it has to skip even a single tiny step — that is, if an evolutionary pathway includes a deleterious or even neutral mutation — then the probability of finding the pathway by random mutation decreases exponentially. If even a few more unselected mutations are needed, the likelihood rapidly fades away.,,,
    So what should we conclude from all this? Miller grants for purposes of discussion that the likelihood of developing a new protein binding site is 1 in 10^20. Now, suppose that, in order to acquire some new, useful property, not just one but two new protein-binding sites had to develop. In that case the odds would be the multiple of the two separate events — about 1 in 10^40, which is somewhat more than the number of cells that have existed on earth in the history of life. That seems like a reasonable place to set the likely limit to Darwinism, to draw the edge of evolution.
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....92771.html

    Michael Behe – Observed (1 in 10^20) Edge of Evolution – video – Lecture delivered in April 2015 at Colorado School of Mines
    25:56 minute quote – “This is not an argument anymore that Darwinism cannot make complex functional systems; it is an observation that it does not.”
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9svV8wNUqvA

    Thus, despite the fact that leading Darwinists themselves admit that life gives the overwhelming appearance of design, and despite the fact that both wd400 and Mat claim to follow the evidence wherever it leads, the fact of the matter is that neo-Darwinists have “no detailed Darwinian accounts of the evolution of any biochemical or cellular system, only a variety of wishful speculations.”

    In conclusion, whatever wd400 and Mat (and other atheists) may be doing here on UD, they are, in fact, not following the evidence wherever it leads. There simply is no evidence for ‘design without a Designer’ (Francisco Ayala)

    Further notes:

    About a Bike Lock: Responding to Richard Dawkins – Stephen C. Meyer – March 25, 2016
    Excerpt: Moreover, given the empirically based estimates of the rarity (of protein folds) (conservatively estimated by Axe3 at 1 in 10^77 and within a similar range by others4) the analysis that I presented in Toronto does pose a formidable challenge to those who claim the mutation-natural selection mechanism provides an adequate means for the generation of novel genetic information — at least, again, in amounts sufficient to generate novel protein folds.5
    Why a formidable challenge? Because random mutations alone must produce (or “search for”) exceedingly rare functional sequences among a vast combinatorial sea of possible sequences before natural selection can play any significant role. Moreover, as I discussed in Toronto, and show in more detail in Darwin’s Doubt,6 every replication event in the entire multi-billion year history of life on Earth would not generate or “search” but a miniscule fraction (one ten trillion, trillion trillionth, to be exact) of the total number of possible nucleotide base or amino-acid sequences corresponding to a single functional gene or protein fold. The number of trials available to the evolutionary process (corresponding to the total number of organisms — 10^40 — that have ever existed on earth), thus, turns out to be incredibly small in relation to the number of possible sequences that need to be searched. The threshold of selectable function exceeds what is reasonable to expect a random search to be able to accomplish given the number of trials available to the search even assuming evolutionary deep time.
    ——-
    (3) Axe, Douglas. “Estimating the Prevalence of Protein Sequences Adopting Functional Enzyme Folds.” Journal of Molecular Biology 341 (2004): 1295-1315.
    (4) Reidhaar-Olson, John, and Robert Sauer. “Functionally Acceptable Solutions in Two Alpha-Helical Regions of Lambda Repressor.” Proteins: Structure, Function, and Genetics 7 (1990): 306-16; Yockey, Hubert P. “A Calculation of the Probability of Spontaneous Biogenesis by Information Theory,” Journal of Theoretical Biology 67 (1977c): 377-98; Yockey, Hubert. “On the Information Content of Cytochrome C,” Journal of Theoretical Biology 67 (1977b) 345-376.
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....02722.html

    Proteins Did Not Evolve Even According to the Evolutionist’s Own Calculations but so What, Evolution is a Fact – Cornelius Hunter – July 2011
    Excerpt: For instance, in one case evolutionists concluded that the number of evolutionary experiments required to evolve their protein (actually it was to evolve only part of a protein and only part of its function) is 10^70 (a one with 70 zeros following it). Yet elsewhere evolutionists computed that the maximum number of evolutionary experiments possible (over the entire history of life on earth) is only 10^43. Even here, giving the evolutionists every advantage, evolution falls short by 27 orders of magnitude.
    The theory, even by the evolutionist’s own reckoning, is unworkable. Evolution fails by a degree that is incomparable in science. Scientific theories often go wrong, but not by 27 orders of magnitude. And that is conservative.
    http://darwins-god.blogspot.co.....d-not.html

    “Shared Evolutionary History or Shared Design?” – Ann Gauger – January 1, 2015
    Excerpt: The waiting time required to achieve four mutations is 10^15 years. That’s longer than the age of the universe. The real waiting time is likely to be much greater, since the two most likely candidate enzymes failed to be coopted by double mutations.
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....92291.html

    When Theory and Experiment Collide — April 16th, 2011 by Douglas Axe
    Excerpt: Based on our experimental observations and on calculations we made using a published population model [3], we estimated that Darwin’s mechanism would need a truly staggering amount of time—a trillion trillion years or more—to accomplish the seemingly subtle change in enzyme function that we studied.
    http://biologicinstitute.org/2.....t-collide/

    The waiting time problem in a model hominin population – 2015 Sep 17
    John Sanford, Wesley Brewer, Franzine Smith, and John Baumgardner
    Excerpt: The program Mendel’s Accountant realistically simulates the mutation/selection process,,,
    Given optimal settings, what is the longest nucleotide string that can arise within a reasonable waiting time within a hominin population of 10,000? Arguably, the waiting time for the fixation of a “string-of-one” is by itself problematic (Table 2). Waiting a minimum of 1.5 million years (realistically, much longer), for a single point mutation is not timely adaptation in the face of any type of pressing evolutionary challenge. This is especially problematic when we consider that it is estimated that it only took six million years for the chimp and human genomes to diverge by over 5 % [1]. This represents at least 75 million nucleotide changes in the human lineage, many of which must encode new information.
    While fixing one point mutation is problematic, our simulations show that the fixation of two co-dependent mutations is extremely problematic – requiring at least 84 million years (Table 2). This is ten-fold longer than the estimated time required for ape-to-man evolution. In this light, we suggest that a string of two specific mutations is a reasonable upper limit, in terms of the longest string length that is likely to evolve within a hominin population (at least in a way that is either timely or meaningful). Certainly the creation and fixation of a string of three (requiring at least 380 million years) would be extremely untimely (and trivial in effect), in terms of the evolution of modern man.
    It is widely thought that a larger population size can eliminate the waiting time problem. If that were true, then the waiting time problem would only be meaningful within small populations. While our simulations show that larger populations do help reduce waiting time, we see that the benefit of larger population size produces rapidly diminishing returns (Table 4 and Fig. 4). When we increase the hominin population from 10,000 to 1 million (our current upper limit for these types of experiments), the waiting time for creating a string of five is only reduced from two billion to 482 million years.
    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pm.....MC4573302/

    “Darwinism provided an explanation for the appearance of design, and argued that there is no Designer — or, if you will, the designer is natural selection. If that’s out of the way — if that (natural selection) just does not explain the evidence — then the flip side of that is, well, things appear designed because they are designed.”
    Richard Sternberg – Living Waters documentary
    Whale Evolution vs. (The Waiting Time Problem of) Population Genetics – Richard Sternberg and Paul Nelson – (excerpted from ‘Living Waters’ video) (2015)
    https://youtu.be/0csd3M4bc0Q

    Verse:

    1 Thessalonians 5:21
    but test everything; hold fast what is good.

  75. 75
    EugeneS says:

    Eric Anderson, #21

    A nice summary. I would only stress one thing: the irreducibility of design as a causation category to chance and/or necessity. I think that this is the bottom line idea underpinning all ID. Otherwise it can be circularly argued that, well, okay, design is fine but agency itself can be reduced to more basic categories, i.e. to natural regularities and/or chance.

  76. 76
    Dionisio says:

    EugeneS @75:

    Excellent point!
    Thank you.

  77. 77
    Dionisio says:

    ID is not an invention of a group of people, but an undeniable fact we all can attest to.

    Unfortunately some people want to deny it because the implications beyond science are not acceptable to them.

  78. 78
    Eric Anderson says:

    MatSpirit @64:

    ID is the traditional Christian belief that God created life, the universe and everything, especially living things and especially us. It also encompasses the traditional Christian belief that this should be readily detectable. “The heavens declare the glory of God” or William Paley for examples.

    Talk about missing the mark.

    You’ve been around the debate long enough that you should know much better. One can only assume that you did not provide the above description in an attempt to accurately describe the claims of intelligent design. Rather, it seems to be a description based on your projection of the alleged motives of intelligent design proponents.

  79. 79
    Eric Anderson says:

    EugeneS @75:

    Good thoughts.

    Yes, the acceptance of design as a real, purposeful, intelligent activity must be accepted before we can have a rational discussion about whether design exists in the real world.

    I’m not sure this is so much a critical aspect of intelligent design theory as it is a basic matter of logic and definitions. You are quite right that many ID opponents have descended into completely irrational positions in order to avoid discussing the merits of ID — including arguing that there is no design anywhere, that everything is the result of purely natural causes (even human design, because, hey, humans are part of “nature”), and the like. These red herrings don’t address the fundamental questions of ID, but instead are semantic games geared toward deflecting the issues by defining away any rational understanding of the word “design.”

    Unless we can start with a reasonable and rational, even if not perfect, but reasonable, set of definitions for words like “intelligence” and “design” we don’t even get to an assessment of intelligent design.

    You are quite right, however, that the juxtaposition of design as a potential cause category, together with chance and necessity, is an important concept for understanding how we approach intelligent design.

  80. 80
    Eric Anderson says:

    MatSpirit @64:

    BTW, it is too bad that you didn’t take Barry’s intellectual challenge seriously as wd400 and some others did, but instead used your opportunity to comment as a chance to sling mud and issue a diatribe against intelligent design, all with a few ad hominems thrown in to boot.

    Shows a real lack of objectivity and reflects poorly on critics of intelligent design. Not an impressive effort.

  81. 81
    Silver Asiatic says:

    gpuccio

    I don’t believe that an absolute method for science exists. That’s not the same thing. I am all in favor of Feyerabend here.

    Of course, science just designates a branch of study. When I say “science would have to change”, what I meant was “science as it is most commonly known in the world today”. That is, Methodological Naturalism is the most widely used (even if not explicitly stated) method and meaning for science.

    Now, if you’re saying that “ID rejects MN” – that’s a philosophical component to ID that I wasn’t aware of. As I said earlier, ID is fully compatible with Methodological Naturalism. All MN means is that science is limited to the empirical, physical, material, natural, observable aspects of the universe. Causes that fall outside of that range are not the subject of physical science.

    Yes, I know from Medieval times, theology was considered a branch of science, and I could defend that, but I don’t think ID is saying that science needs to include studies of God’s nature, for example.

    So, if an universal scientific method does not exist, why should I say that it must change?

    As above, MN is the ‘universal’ method used in universities, labs, research facilities, publishing houses — and basically worldwide for science. No, it’s not ‘universal’ in the sense of an absolute philosophical definition. But my point is – “does ID propose that the very basis of science that is most commonly understood (MN) must change to permit immaterial, supernatural causes”?
    It seems you’re saying “yes” – that is the ID project, in part.

    I don’t accept references to “nature” and “naturalism” because, as I have tried many times to argue, there is no true definition of “nature”, and therefore of “naturalism”. The word is simply vague and ambiguous.

    The same can be said for “design” and many other aspects of reality. But in general, scientists know what is meant by ‘natural’ at least in comparison with supernatural.

    That’s why most references to “methodological naturalism” are simply a (bad) philosophical position stating that scientific answers must be in the range of what someone expects them to be, an idea that is completely anti-science.

    I differ here in that I think it is merely a safeguard for science in that it limits science to certain aspects of reality. Some things cannot be subjected to laboratory testing, they’re not the proper study for science (theology, philosophy for example).

    That’s why I prefer to think of science as a shareable search for reality, for things as they are. I would never categorize “reality” in advance as “natural” or else. Neither should science do anything like that.

    As a believer in God, I hold that God is the ultimate reality. But at the same time, I wouldn’t expect scientists to be involved in discussions about the nature of the Holy Trinity or the procession of the Holy Spirit or the nature of angels, for example.

    And I believe that methodological naturalism is a biased philosophy of science, a dogmatic position which is in essence completely anti-science, always has been and always will be.

    We might be talking about different things, but it seems you’re saying that ID cannot properly work within the context of methodological naturalism. So, scientists who adopt that thinking would have to change in order to accept or understand ID, right?

    And, if a method of science really exists (which I doubt), then methodological naturalism has nothing to do with it.

    I don’t see any problem with MN myself at all. In fact, that’s why I think ID is successful is because it can work within the context of MN, and in fact, does not require a different philosophy of science.

    But that’s a difference we have. I had always thought that ID did not have a unique philosophical position.

  82. 82
    Silver Asiatic says:

    MatSpirit

    When you use every opportunity you have to ridicule your opponent, eventually that wears thin and you don’t score any more points that way.

    As I pointed out earlier, one reason this Test is a challenge is that our opponents have to set aside emotion and animosity and try to give a neutral definition. I think it’s difficult to do that.

    If we passionately hate something, do we have enough mental discipline to actually present the positive argument for it?

    In your case, it doesn’t seem so. Are you driven by hurt and anger?

    In any case, that’s why I admire and congratulate wd400, daveS, rvb8 and Bob O’H for offering objective definitions, without rancor or snarkyness.

    I would hope and wish I could do the same with positions I oppose … but I’m not sure!

    To truly engage the topic, I would have to be objective and — in some cases, force myself to present the best possible argument for my opponent. But if I didn’t do that, I can’t possibly claim to understand my opponent’s position, and I could never really be effective against it.

  83. 83
    Barry Arrington says:

    MatSpirit @ 64. Your bigotry is very ugly. I will leave it up for all to see.

  84. 84
    Eric Anderson says:

    gpuccio @61:

    I don’t accept references to “nature” and “naturalism” because, as I have tried many times to argue, there is no true definition of “nature”, and therefore of “naturalism”. The word is simply vague and ambiguous.

    Nearly any word can be somewhat ambiguous and we will probably be without perfect definitions in almost any sphere.

    I’m curious, though, why you oppose the use of words like “natural” and “naturalism.” The standard dictionary definitions of those words would seem in most instances to be plenty adequate for present purposes. Certainly those words are much less fraught with ambiguity than, for example, the word “evolution,” which is all over the map.

    If you don’t like the word “natural,” what word or words would you perfer to describe things that result from the undirected, unintelligent (I was going to add “natural,” but will defer this time 🙂 ) processes of chemistry and physics?

  85. 85
    drc466 says:

    I really like this idea. Trying to pass the test for both ID and Evolution proved to be difficult, primarily due to the brevity requested – every statement leads to a rabbit trail of clarifying or expository remarks. Anyway, for your critique, here’s my efforts to sound like something I’m not:

    “Evolution is the near-universally accepted fact that all life on earth has descended from a single ancestor, through a process of mutation and natural selection. Supported by overwhelming evidence from biology, paleontology, geology, astronomy, chemistry, physics, and every other branch of science, evolution is the unifying theory behind all life sciences. Primarily the brain-child of Charles Darwin, Evolution theory was based on the observation that all life forms exhibit similarity in a graduated form from simple to complex, with the simplest forms of life appearing early in the chronological record some 3-4bya and more complex forms of life, culminating in mankind, appearing as time progressed. Over the last 150 years, advances in scientific knowledge concerning the cell, DNA, and biological development have all confirmed every aspect of the theory. While the precise mechanisms responsible for the evolution of individual species are somewhat debated and probably encompass a wide variety of processes, the overall conclusion that all life is the product of chance and time is not.”

    “Intelligent Design (ID) is the theory that the likelihood that any object is the product of either deliberate design by an intelligent source, or the product of random chance, can by scientifically and mathematically calculated from the properties of the object. These properties are often referred to as the Complex Specificity, or Functional Complexity, or other terms dealing with the amount of ‘Information’ and ‘Complexity’ exhibited by the object. As an example, a 747 exhibits these design properties to a much greater extent than, say, a rock, and thereof one can scientifically calculate the increased probability that a 747 is the product of Intelligent Design rather than some random chance process. ID has implications for Evolutionary Theory, in that all life forms exhibit significantly high degrees of Information and Complexity that make it extremely unlikely, if not mathematically impossible, for all life to have been the product of random chance.”

  86. 86
    bornagain77 says:

    further note to posts 72-74, I’ve got another idea. How about if we look at the molecular sequences of extremely ancient bacteria that have been revived from hundreds of millions of years ago so as to see just how much Darwinian evolution has occurred over hundreds of millions of years.

    “Raul J. Cano and Monica K. Borucki discovered the bacteria preserved within the abdomens of insects encased in pieces of amber. In the last 4 years, they have revived more than 1,000 types of bacteria and microorganisms — some dating back as far as 135 million years ago, during the age of the dinosaurs.,,, In October 2000, another research group used many of the techniques developed by Cano’s lab to revive 250-million-year-old bacteria from spores trapped in salt crystals. With this additional evidence, it now seems that the “impossible” is true.”
    http://www.physicsforums.com/s.....p?t=281961

    The Paradox of the “Ancient” (250 Million Year Old) Bacterium Which Contains “Modern” Protein-Coding Genes: Heather Maughan*, C. William Birky Jr., Wayne L. Nicholson, William D. Rosenzweig§ and Russell H. Vreeland ;
    “Almost without exception, bacteria isolated from ancient material have proven to closely resemble modern bacteria at both morphological and molecular levels.”
    http://mbe.oxfordjournals.org/...../19/9/1637

    Now that certainly can’t be right. Surely we should some change over 250 million years. Alrighty, I know what we can do now, let’s just forget about looking at molecular sequences of 250 million year old revived bacteria and focus strictly on the morphology of extremely ancient bacterial fossils. Surely now, by throwing out all the stops, we can finally catch us some ‘evolution in action’:

    Static evolution: is pond scum the same now as billions of years ago?
    Excerpt: But what intrigues (paleo-biologist) J. William Schopf most is lack of change. Schopf was struck 30 years ago by the apparent similarities between some 1-billion-year-old fossils of blue-green bacteria and their modern microbial counterparts. “They surprisingly looked exactly like modern species,” Schopf recalls. Now, after comparing data from throughout the world, Schopf and others have concluded that modern pond scum differs little from the ancient blue-greens. “This similarity in morphology is widespread among fossils of [varying] times,” says Schopf. As evidence, he cites the 3,000 such fossils found;
    http://www.thefreelibrary.com/.....a014909330

    Scientists discover organism that hasn’t evolved in more than 2 billion years – February 3, 2015
    Excerpt: Using cutting-edge technology, they found that the bacteria look the same as bacteria of the same region from 2.3 billion years ago — and that both sets of ancient bacteria are indistinguishable from modern sulfur bacteria found in mud off of the coast of Chile.
    http://www.sciencedaily.com/re.....104131.htm

    Organisms Refusing to Evolve Over Millions of Years – January 15, 2016
    Excerpt: The team conducted multiple tests on the mats and the microbes found hidden under them, including bulk carbon and SEM analysis and Raman micro-spectroscopy and report that the microbes were shaped like rods, growing in train like filaments, similar to many bacteria alive today. They note also that the microbes were quite uniform in shape and that they were able to control their diameter and length as modern microbes do. The fossils are also approximately 500 million years older than any other previous fossil found in a habitat, and thus represent some of the earliest forms of life ever found (the very earliest date back to approximately 3.43 billion years ago.)
    http://crev.info/2016/01/refusing-to-evolve/

  87. 87
    bornagain77 says:

    Now this is starting to get very suspicious! How about if we look at the geochemical signature from bacteria over billions of years? Surely, since the environment itself has changed drastically over billions of years, we can be sure to find us some ‘evolution in action’ now?

    Odd Geometry of Bacteria May Provide New Way to Study Earth’s Oldest Fossils – May 2010
    Excerpt: Known as stromatolites, the layered rock formations are considered to be the oldest fossils on Earth.,,,That the spacing pattern corresponds to the mats’ metabolic period — and is also seen in ancient rocks — shows that the same basic physical processes of diffusion and competition seen today were happening billions of years ago,,,
    http://www.sciencedaily.com/re.....152520.htm

    Geobiologist Noffke Reports Signs of Life that Are 3.48 Billion Years Old – 11/11/13
    Excerpt: the mats woven of tiny microbes we see today covering tidal flats were also present as life was beginning on Earth. The mats, which are colonies of cyanobacteria, can cause unusual textures and formations in the sand beneath them. Noffke has identified 17 main groups of such textures caused by present-day microbial mats, and has found corresponding structures in geological formations dating back through the ages.
    http://www.odu.edu/about/odu-p...../topstory1

    Scientists find signs of life in Australia dating back 3.48 billion years – Thu November 14, 2013
    Excerpt: “We conclude that the MISS in the Dresser Formation record a complex microbial ecosystem, hitherto unknown, and represent one of the most ancient signs of life on Earth.”… “this MISS displays the same associations that are known from modern as well as fossil” finds. The MISS also shows microbes that act like “modern cyanobacteria,”
    http://www.cnn.com/2013/11/13/.....ient-life/

    3.5 billion-year-old ecosystem found – November 12, 2013
    Excerpt: “Mound-like deposits created by ancient bacteria, called stromatolites, and microfossils of bacteria have previously been discovered in this region. However, a phenomenon called microbially induced sedimentary structures, or MISS, had not previously been seen in rocks of this great age.”
    MISS were created by microbial mats as the microbial communities responded to changes in physical sediment dynamics, Professor Wacey said.
    “A common example would be the binding together of sediment grains by microbes to prevent their erosion by water currents,” he said. “The significance of MISS is that they not only demonstrate the presence of life, but also the presence of whole microbial ecosystems that could co-ordinate with one another to respond to changes in their environment.”,,,
    The team described the various MISS from the ancient coastal flats preserved in the Dresser Formation and found close similarities in both form and preservation style to MISS in younger rocks.
    http://www.sciencealert.com.au.....25003.html

    Oldest fossils on Earth discovered in 3.7bn-year-old Greenland rocks – August 31, 2016
    Excerpt: Scientists have discovered the oldest physical evidence for life on the planet in the form of fossils in Greenland rocks that formed 3.7bn years ago.
    The researchers believe the structures in the rocks are stromatolites – layered formations, produced by the activity of microbes, that can be found today in extremely saline lagoons in a few locations around the world.
    The new fossils are 220 million years older than any previously discovered.
    “Up until now the oldest stromatolites have been from Western Australia and they are roughly 3,500 million (3.5bn) years [old],” said Clark Friend, an independent researcher and co-author of the research. “What we are doing is pushing the discovery of life earlier in Earth’s history.”,,,
    the shape of the newly discovered structures, together with clues from their chemical make-up and signs of layers within them, suggests that they were formed by microbes,,,
    https://www.theguardian.com/science/2016/aug/31/oldest-fossils-on-earth-discovered-in-37bn-year-old-greenland-rocks-stromatolites

    OK, I give up. I can’t find any of the evidence for Darwinian evolution that Darwinists insist exists everywhere. Apparently, despite the fact that Darwinists insist they have abundant evidence substantiating their claims for Darwinian evolution, it appears that bacteria themselves forgot that they were suppose to evolve into something other than bacteria over billions of years.

  88. 88
    gpuccio says:

    Eric Anderson;

    “Nature” is not only an ambiguous word: it is a word with dangerous ambiguity.

    Let’s see. “Methodological naturalism” is a philosophical position which assumes thart all explanations for things that we can observe (IOWs, scientific explanations) must be based only on “natural” events or laws. More or less.

    That is a very strong restriction of what science is.

    Is it warranted?

    Again, let’s see.

    What is “natural”, and what is not?

    You ask:

    “What word or words would you prefer to describe things that result from the undirected, unintelligent (I was going to add “natural,” but will defer this time) processes of chemistry and physics?”

    Well, for example:

    1) Things that result from undirected processes: unguided systems.

    2) Alternatively, things that result without the intervention of conscious processes: non conscious systems.

    What has “natural” to do with that? Is a painting “non natural”? “Supernatural”? Beyond the reach of science? You tell me.

    3) Things that result from processes of chemistry and physics: systems that can be well explained by the laws of chemistry and physics as we know them today. (They could always be explained better tomorrow by new ideas, laws, or principles).

    Is dark energy (if it exists) “natural”? Why?

    Who decides what is natural, and can be part of science?

    Is consciousness natural? Is it beyond the range of scientific thought? Who decides?

    The point is simple: science is about reality, and what we can understand of it. Nobody can categorize in advance reality (things that exists, as they exist) in the two sets of natural and non natural. What is the rule for that binary decision?

    So, explanations cannot be categorized in advance as “in the range of science” or “out of science”: all those explanations that explain observed facts better that others are better scientific explanations.

  89. 89
    Phinehas says:

    Solomon may have a better explanation for why MatSpirit was late to the party.


    Mockers resent correction,
    so they avoid the wise.

  90. 90

    I am amazed at the patience and compassion displayed by ID advocates toward their mockers/haters.

    As a former Marine, I am wired for violence and revenge. Kairosfocus, BornAgain77, and so many other regular contributors to this site have shown me a better way.

    Thank you all!

  91. 91
    Phinehas says:

    There’s no such thing as a former Marine. 😉

  92. 92
    gpuccio says:

    Silver Asiatic @81:

    Thank you for the detailed comment. You can also look at my answer to Eric Anderson at #88. However, but I will try here to directly answer your points and clarify better what I think:

    You say:

    “Now, if you’re saying that “ID rejects MN” – that’s a philosophical component to ID that I wasn’t aware of. As I said earlier, ID is fully compatible with Methodological Naturalism.”

    Well, let’s say it is a philosophical component of my views about science and ID. I like to take full personal responsibilities for the things I say. 🙂

    You say:

    “All MN means is that science is limited to the empirical, physical, material, natural, observable aspects of the universe. Causes that fall outside of that range are not the subject of physical science.”

    Here is the real point. You list 5 adjectives. That’s the source of the dangerous ambiguity.

    I fully agree for two of them: empirical and observable (which, IMO, mean more or less the same things).

    So, let’s say that we perfectly agree that science is about what is observable, and its possible explanations. But with one important caveat: while the facts that science tries to explain are certainly observable, the explanations themselves are not observable at all: theories are mental realities.

    Let’s go to the other 3 adjectives.

    Physical and material may well mean about the same thing, but that thing is really vague and dangerously ambiguous.

    What is matter? What is physical?

    Are fields physical? Is quantum wave function physical? Is dark matter (if it exists) physical? Is dark energy (if it exists) physical? Are strings (if string theory is true) physical?

    Your answer could be “yes”, because you could say that those things, if real, have definite roles in determining what we observe.

    But then, is consciousness physical? Again, the answer should be yes, because it too has definite roles in determining what we observe. A painting is physical, certainly, and the origin of its configuration is in the consciousness of the painter. Isn’t that a scientific explanation of the configuration of the painting? Is it compatible with methodological naturalism? You say.

    The simple point is: subjective experiences in consciousness cannot in any way be explained by what at present is considered “physical laws”.

    Let’s go to “natural”. That is even worse, because in brief it means nothing, it only expands the undefined concepts of physical and material to all that can be observed, or that can have a role to determine what we observe.

    So, while I agree with the fact that science is about non observable explanations of what is observable, I definitely don’t agree that science is in any way related to the concepts of physical, material, natural, whatever they may mean. Those concepts are simply the bad results of a bad philosophical fixation of some good scientific results: IOWs, what is usually called “scientism”, which is absolutely a specific philosophy, a very bad philosophy of reality which could be summed up as follows: “the only maps of reality that can be accepted are those which deal only with the concepts derived from science as we interpret it now”.

    Not good. Not good at all.

    So, why do I think that ID is not “fully compatible with Methodological Naturalism”? It’s simple.

    ID is a scientific theory about specific observable facts (biological objects and their configuration) that states that we can safely infer that those objects can only be explained by a design process.

    That implies that conscious agents interacted with matter on our planet in the last 4+ billion years.

    Now, is that compatible with methodological naturalism?

    Well, if we think of aliens as the designers, maybe.

    But if we think of other kinds of conscious agents? Any other kind? Not necessarily God?

    It’s easy: our adversaries have said hundreds of times that the idea that conscious agents interacted with matter, say, at the time of OOL and then after that, for billions of years, is against methodological naturalism. Indeed, that is often the final defense of neo darwinists. Why?

    Because their map of “nature” does not include conscious intelligent agents that are not humans (except maybe aliens, that for many reasons are not a reliable solution).

    And so? My map of nature can well include that idea, because there is nothing in what we understand of consciousness that precludes such a theory.

    So, if I observe objects that can only be designed by a conscious agent, I accept the hypothesis of a conscious agent as the best explanation for those objects, and I move on, looking for scientific ways to test that hypothesis.

    Methodological naturalists refute a priori the hypothesis, because for them some unknown conscious agent, at present not understandable in terms of our present physical laws, is not acceptable as a scientific hypothesis.

    If physicists reasoned like that, no debate about dark energy would ever have existed. Now, there is a debate about the facts: are they safe enough to justify the search for a theory which is completely out of what we presently understand? Are they really 5 sigma+ ?

    That’s a good debate, because it is about facts. But physicists would never deny that facts whose evidence is more than 5 sigma, and that cannot be explained by our current understanding of physical reality, need a paradigm shift in our understanding of reality. They would never insist in explaining those facts with bad theories based on the present understanding.

    Now, the point is: the evidence for design in biological objects is well beyond 5 sigma. Incredibly higher than that. And yet, biologists still insist in trying to explain those facts with very bad theories (neo darwinism) simply because they cannot accept a paradigm shift including design processes.

    And they invoke the lie of methodological naturalism to do that.

    Well, I don’t agree.

    To be even more clear, I don’t reject methodological naturalism because of what I think of ID. I reject it because of what I think of science.

  93. 93
    gpuccio says:

    Silver Asiatic:

    Some more comments.

    You say:

    “The same can be said for “design” and many other aspects of reality.”

    No. The concept of design has no ambiguity at all. I have defined it here in a fully operational way:

    http://www.uncommondescent.com.....ng-design/

    I quote my final definition:

    “Design is a process where a conscious agent subjectively represents in his own consciousness some form and then purposefully outputs that form, more or less efficiently, to some material object.

    We call the process “design”. We call the conscious agent who subjectively represents the initial form “designer”. We call the material object, after the process has taken place, “designed object”.”

    Some ID thinkers, including maybe Dembski, avoid that kind of definition, probably because they think that referring to consciousness in a definition makes it less acceptable. If that is their reason, I don’t agree.

    I use consciousness as an observable fact. Nothing more, nothing less. That use of consciousness is completely empiric, and completely appropriate in science. I make no assumptions about what consciousness is, and about how it should be explained in a wider map of reality. Not in my definition of design, at least. 🙂

    So, the concept of design has no ambiguity, and can be operationally defined with precision.

    I really doubt that “scientists know what is meant by ‘natural’ at least in comparison with supernatural”. If they have to define “natural” only “in comparison with supernatural”, I am really happy that I don’t know what they are supposed to know!

    You say:

    “But in general, scientists know what is meant by ‘natural’ at least in comparison with supernatural.”

    and:

    “Some things cannot be subjected to laboratory testing, they’re not the proper study for science (theology, philosophy for example).”

    I agree, but I would say that things that cannot be subjected to observation are not the proper study for science. the lab is not always the necessary setting.

    Again, science is about empirical facts. And explanations for the, which are not facts and are not observable.

    Well, the configuration of a painting, and of biological objects, are observable. So, they are “proper study for science”, whatever their explanation may be.

    We cannot observe a quantum wave function in the lab, only facts that are supported by that complex explanation. Don’t you think that quantum wave functions are part of science?

    “As a believer in God, I hold that God is the ultimate reality. But at the same time, I wouldn’t expect scientists to be involved in discussions about the nature of the Holy Trinity or the procession of the Holy Spirit or the nature of angels, for example.”

    I agree, because nothing of that is observable, or the necessary explanation for observable facts. At least, as far as we know at present! 🙂

    You say:

    “We might be talking about different things, but it seems you’re saying that ID cannot properly work within the context of methodological naturalism. So, scientists who adopt that thinking would have to change in order to accept or understand ID, right?”

    Yes. At least, scientists who adhere to the philosophy of scientism and methodological naturalism have to change. I don’t think all scientists share that philosophical attitude. It is absolutely not necessary to do good science, indeed it is a dangerous attitude.

    You say:

    “I don’t see any problem with MN myself at all. In fact, that’s why I think ID is successful is because it can work within the context of MN, and in fact, does not require a different philosophy of science.”

    OK, as I have explained I disagree. But I would add that no good philosopher of science would think that some absolute “philosophy of science” exists, and that it should be shared by all, or by all scientists. Why do you think that philosophers, and scientists, are still debating (and I hope they will always do) about the nature of science? Popper, Kuhn, Polanyi, Feyerabend, Chalmers, Penrose, and so on?

    You say:

    “But that’s a difference we have. I had always thought that ID did not have a unique philosophical position.”

    Here I fully agree. Having different philosophical positions is good. Very good. In ID, in science, in life.

    I love different philosophical positions. That’s one more reason why I reject methodological naturalism (or any other philosophy) as a necessary philosophy of science. 🙂

  94. 94
    bornagain77 says:

    Here are a few things, briefly off the top of my head, that are not considered ‘natural’ by the vast majority of scientists who profess to adhere to methodological naturalism, but that are considered ‘natural’ by the vast majority of everyday people who are living their daily lives in the ‘real world’ as it were.

    1. Minds/Consciousness
    2. Free will
    3. The concept of personhood
    4. The applicability of mathematics to the physical world

    A few notes to that effect:

    “There is only one sort of stuff, namely, matter-the physical stuff of physics, chemistry, and physiology-and the mind is somehow nothing but a physical phenomenon. In short, the mind is the brain.”
    Daniel Dennett

    “How does the brain go beyond processing information to become subjectively aware of information? The answer is: It doesn’t. The brain has arrived at a conclusion that is not correct. When we introspect and seem to find that ghostly thing — awareness, consciousness, the way green looks or pain feels — our cognitive machinery is accessing internal models and those models are providing information that is wrong.”
    Michael S. A. Graziano

    “I’m not arguing that consciousness is a reality beyond science or beyond the brain or that it floats free of the brain at death. I’m not making any spooky claims about its metaphysics. What I am saying, however, is that the self is an illusion. The sense of being an ego, an I, a thinker of thoughts in addition to the thoughts. An experiencer in addition to the experience. The sense that we all have of riding around inside our heads as a kind of a passenger in the vehicle of the body. That’s where most people start when they think about any of these questions. Most people don’t feel identical to their bodies. They feel like they have bodies. They feel like they’re inside the body. And most people feel like they’re inside their heads. Now that sense of being a subject, a locus of consciousness inside the head is an illusion. It makes no neuro-anatomical sense.”
    Sam Harris: The Self is an Illusion

    Sam Harris’s Free Will: The Medial Pre-Frontal Cortex Did It – Martin Cothran – November 9, 2012
    Excerpt: There is something ironic about the position of thinkers like Harris on issues like this: they claim that their position is the result of the irresistible necessity of logic (in fact, they pride themselves on their logic). Their belief is the consequent, in a ground/consequent relation between their evidence and their conclusion. But their very stated position is that any mental state — including their position on this issue — is the effect of a physical, not logical cause.
    By their own logic, it isn’t logic that demands their assent to the claim that free will is an illusion, but the prior chemical state of their brains. The only condition under which we could possibly find their argument convincing is if they are not true. The claim that free will is an illusion requires the possibility that minds have the freedom to assent to a logical argument, a freedom denied by the claim itself. It is an assent that must, in order to remain logical and not physiological, presume a perspective outside the physical order.
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....66221.html

    “that “You”, your joys and your sorrows, your memories and your ambitions, your sense of personal identity and free will, are in fact no more than the behaviour of a vast assembly of nerve cells and their associated molecules. As Lewis Carroll’s Alice might have phrased: “You’re nothing but a pack of neurons.” This hypothesis is so alien to the ideas of most people today that it can truly be called astonishing.”
    Francis Crick – “The Astonishing Hypothesis” 1994

    “What you’re doing is simply instantiating a self: the program run by your neurons which you feel is “you.””
    Jerry Coyne

    The Confidence of Jerry Coyne – Ross Douthat – January 6, 2014
    Excerpt: But then halfway through this peroration, we have as an aside the confession (by Coyne) that yes, okay, it’s quite possible given materialist premises that “our sense of self is a neuronal illusion.” At which point the entire edifice suddenly looks terribly wobbly — because who, exactly, is doing all of this forging and shaping and purpose-creating if Jerry Coyne, as I understand him (and I assume he understands himself) quite possibly does not actually exist at all? The theme of his argument is the crucial importance of human agency under eliminative materialism, but if under materialist premises the actual agent is quite possibly a fiction, then who exactly is this I who “reads” and “learns” and “teaches,” and why in the universe’s name should my illusory self believe Coyne’s bold proclamation that his illusory self’s purposes are somehow “real” and worthy of devotion and pursuit? (Let alone that they’re morally significant: But more on that below.) Prometheus cannot be at once unbound and unreal; the human will cannot be simultaneously triumphant and imaginary.
    http://douthat.blogs.nytimes.c.....oyne/?_r=0

    “You find it strange that I consider the comprehensibility of the world (to the extent that we are authorized to speak of such a comprehensibility) as a miracle or as an eternal mystery. Well, a priori, one should expect a chaotic world, which cannot be grasped by the mind in any way .. the kind of order created by Newton’s theory of gravitation, for example, is wholly different. Even if a man proposes the axioms of the theory, the success of such a project presupposes a high degree of ordering of the objective world, and this could not be expected a priori. That is the ‘miracle’ which is constantly reinforced as our knowledge expands.”
    Albert Einstein – Letters to Solovine – New York, Philosophical Library, 1987

    The Unreasonable Effectiveness of Mathematics in the Natural Sciences – Eugene Wigner – 1960
    Excerpt: ,,certainly it is hard to believe that our reasoning power was brought, by Darwin’s process of natural selection, to the perfection which it seems to possess.,,,
    It is difficult to avoid the impression that a miracle confronts us here, quite comparable in its striking nature to the miracle that the human mind can string a thousand arguments together without getting itself into contradictions, or to the two miracles of the existence of laws of nature and of the human mind’s capacity to divine them.,,,
    The miracle of the appropriateness of the language of mathematics for the formulation of the laws of physics is a wonderful gift which we neither understand nor deserve. We should be grateful for it and hope that it will remain valid in future research and that it will extend, for better or for worse, to our pleasure, even though perhaps also to our bafflement, to wide branches of learning.
    http://www.dartmouth.edu/~matc.....igner.html

    Mathematics and Physics – A Happy Coincidence? – William Lane Craig – video
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BF25AA4dgGg
    1. If God did not exist the applicability of mathematics would be a happy coincidence.
    2. The applicability of mathematics is not a happy coincidence.
    3. Therefore, God exists.

  95. 95
    bornagain77 says:

    Supplemental notes:

    Methodological Naturalism: A Rule That No One Needs or Obeys – Paul Nelson September 22, 2014
    Excerpt: Above, we noted that MN is a putative rule for biology — “putative” (that is, supposed but not actual) insofar as the content and practice of the science exhibit the widespread use of theological concepts and categories.

    It is a little-remarked but nonetheless deeply significant irony that evolutionary biology is the most theologically entangled science going. Open a book like Jerry Coyne’s Why Evolution is True (2009) or John Avise’s Inside the Human Genome (2010), and the theology leaps off the page. A wise creator, say Coyne, Avise, and many other evolutionary biologists, would not have made this or that structure; therefore, the structure evolved by undirected processes. Coyne and Avise, like many other evolutionary theorists going back to Darwin himself, make numerous “God-wouldn’t-have-done-it-that-way” arguments, thus predicating their arguments for the creative power of natural selection and random mutation on implicit theological assumptions about the character of God and what such an agent (if He existed) would or would not be likely to do.
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....89971.html

    Do You Like SETI? Fine, Then Let’s Dump Methodological Naturalism – Paul Nelson – September 24, 2014
    Excerpt: “Epistemology — how we know — and ontology — what exists — are both affected by methodological naturalism (MN). If we say, “We cannot know that a mind caused x,” laying down an epistemological boundary defined by MN, then our ontology comprising real causes for x won’t include minds.
    MN entails an ontology in which minds are the consequence of physics, and thus, can only be placeholders for a more detailed causal account in which physics is the only (ultimate) actor. You didn’t write your email to me. Physics did, and informed (the illusion of) you of that event after the fact.
    “That’s crazy,” you reply, “I certainly did write my email.” Okay, then — to what does the pronoun “I” in that sentence refer?
    Your personal agency; your mind. Are you supernatural?,,,
    You are certainly an intelligent cause, however, and your intelligence does not collapse into physics. (If it does collapse — i.e., can be reduced without explanatory loss — we haven’t the faintest idea how, which amounts to the same thing.) To explain the effects you bring about in the world — such as your email, a real pattern — we must refer to you as a unique agent.,,,
    some feature of “intelligence” must be irreducible to physics, because otherwise we’re back to physics versus physics, and there’s nothing for SETI to look for.”,,,
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....90071.html

    And although Dr. Nelson alluded to writing an e-mail, (i.e. creating information), to tie his ‘personal agent’ argument into intelligent design, Dr. Nelson’s ‘personal agent’ argument can easily be amended to any action that ‘you’, as a personal agent, choose to take:

    “You didn’t write your email to me. Physics did, and informed the illusion of you of that event after the fact.”
    “You didn’t open the door. Physics did, and informed the illusion of you of that event after the fact.”
    “You didn’t raise your hand. Physics did, and informed the illusion you of that event after the fact.”
    “You didn’t etc.. etc.. etc… Physics did, and informed the illusion of you of that event after the fact.”

    Human consciousness is much more than mere brain activity, – Mark Vernon – 18 June 2011
    However, “If you think the brain is a machine then you are committed to saying that composing a sublime poem is as involuntary an activity as having an epileptic fit. …the nature of consciousness being a tremendous mystery.”
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/comm.....n-activity

    Dr. Craig Hazen, in the following video at the 12:26 minute mark, relates how he performed, for an audience full of academics at a college, a ‘miracle’ simply by raising his arm,,

    The Intersection of Science and Religion – Craig Hazen, PhD – video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?f.....qlE#t=746s

    What should be needless to say, if raising your arm is enough to refute your supposedly ‘scientific’ worldview of atheistic materialism/naturalism, then perhaps it is time for you to seriously consider getting a new scientific worldview?

  96. 96
    Silver Asiatic says:

    gpuccio 92 & 93

    Thank you for such an excellent response! I appreciate the time you took on this complex, and important topic. That was very comprehensive, and I admire your clarity also.

    I hope to give an equally thoughtful reply, in time, but just for the moment I’d like to offer a quick response.

    First, bringing in the topic of this thread, we were looking at how do define ID. We asked our opponents to do this. wd400 came in later to say there is some dispute among ID advocates about the theory (implying that ID theory is not clear enough in itself for us to expect a clear definition from opponents).

    I tended to agree that not all ID proponents agree on what ID really is, but I also disagree that ID theory is not clear enough to be defined. I guess if a person accepts my understanding of ID, then it’s pretty clear. 🙂

    I’m only half joking there, but it’s hard to reach an “official definition” of ID and there are some loose ends in the theory that I think we touched on.

    A key area where your response showed that was with regard to Methodological Naturalism. It’s my view that ID is compatible with that philosophy. It’s your view that ID is not.

    With that, I think it’s fair to say, if you’re correct that ID is not a “science project” alone, but is a “philosophical project” as well. In other words, ID opposes the view that science should be limited to natural, observable, measurable, physical, material, empirical phenomena. Science would need to be open to questions on the nature of God, for example, or the nature and power of angels, etc.

    The second area that indicates a dispute within ID is in this paragraph here:

    “Design is a process where a conscious agent subjectively represents in his own consciousness some form and then purposefully outputs that form, more or less efficiently, to some material object.

    We call the process “design”. We call the conscious agent who subjectively represents the initial form “designer”. We call the material object, after the process has taken place, “designed object”.”

    Some ID thinkers, including maybe Dembski, avoid that kind of definition, probably because they think that referring to consciousness in a definition makes it less acceptable. If that is their reason, I don’t agree.

    As you state, Dembski might disagree with your view. But even if not, I think many IDists would not agree that Design necessarily requires a “conscious agent” – or more especially, that ID makes that statement about the Designer – namely, that “the Designer of ID is necessarily concious”.

    If you’re correct, that’s an essential part of ID theory – a part I disagree with. And therefore, I would flunk the Turing Test myself!

    Again, so what? I’m just an anonymous IDist who could be ignorant of such things. But I will say, in the 8 years of debate I’ve had on ID issues, I haven’t seen that ID posits necessarily either that “The Designer is a conscious agent” or that “Design is only done by a conscious agent”.

    Again you may be correct, but if so, that would kill off several common examples of design that I’ve used as analogy:
    Beaver dams
    Bee hives
    Bird migrations

    It’s for that reason, we use the term “Intelligent Design” and not “Conscious Design”. With “intelligence” we can see animals making choices to build things, but we don’t normally think that animals are conscious and making purposeful decisions.

    The key to Intelligent Design is that Intelligence is “non-determinate” by physical, natural, material forces and effects. The characteristic of intelligence we focus on is the “freedom” – non-determined – aspect of the outputs. It’s not something that randomness and natural (there’s that word for us) laws produce.

    With “conscious”, we have something quite different.

    Ok, I hope that’s enough to get us started. I will go back over other matters. But again, I think your definition of Design, and therefore of ID, is a unique one, but I could be wrong of course.

    I also don’t think that the ordinary way that science is done today, which is done under the philosophy of Methodological Naturalism, needs to change at all for ID conclusions to be valid and acceptable.

    I have seen many ID opponents, strict MN advocates, say that “yes, there could be a Intelligent Designer but there’s not enough evidence for it”.

    With MN, it’s not that non-material causes can’t exist or have any activity in the world, it’s merely that science cannot investigate the nature of those causes.

    That’s why we commonly say that “ID stops when design is identified” and that “ID says nothing about the nature of the designer”. That is because a designer that is outside of “nature” would not be subject to scientific analysis.

    That’s where we disagree and you offered a very interesting view on this subject. I have heard other IDists say bluntly, “no, ID does say something about the Designer”. In your case, you’re saying that “the Designer must be a conscious agent”.

    I certainly don’t want to reject that view. I just have not encountered it before, and that may simply be a result of my lack of knowledge about ID itself.

  97. 97
    gpuccio says:

    Silver Asiatic:

    Thank you for the comments. I think you have seriously considered and understood my points, and that is really good. My purpose is never to convince others, just to explain what I think.

    Just a few brief considerations, stimulated by your post.

    It is true that some ID proponents would not accept my definition of design, but I really believe that no other definition is possible. Indeed, those who avoid a definition based on the role of a conscious agent, never give any satisfying alternative definition of what design is.

    So, I really believe that, if ID wants to be empirical and clear, a definition of design like mine must be accepted.

    Using that definition, I have always been able to counter objections from ID critics, and to develop objective and operational definitions of functional complexity, of how to measure it, and of the reasons why it is the tool to infer design.

    Let’s go to your three examples:

    Beaver dams
    Bee hives
    Bird migrations

    I certainly believe that those are examples of design. But the designers are not the beaver, the bee, the bird.

    Instinctive behaviors in animals are hereditary. Therefore, they are transmitted through the genetic-epigenetic-what else vehicle that allows specific information to pass from parents to offspring.

    That information is obviously very complex, and it is obviously designed. But the designer is not the animal. It’s like saying that we are the designers of our nervous system. We are not.

    So. no doubt that it’s the beaver that builds the beaver dam, and no doubt the building process is complex and designed. But the beaver is guided by information that is inside it.

    The source of the confusion is probably due to the fact that animals have some intelligence, and that they can adapt the instinctive information in them to slightly different environmental variables. Therefore, no beaver dam is identical to another. So, there is some role of the animal. But there can be no doubt that the bulk of the information is hereditary. Have you noticed that bee hives do not show the great variations in time that characterize human architecture? 🙂

    There is a lot of functional information in each living being. Most of it is about biochemistry, cell biology, body functions and structure, and so on. Part of it is about hereditary behavior.

    There are neonatal reflexes which last for a few months, and then disappear. The Moro reflex is a good example. Are those reflexes designed? Yes, they are. Are they designed by the baby? No, no more than a hive is designed by the bees. No more than the path, procedure and strategy of long bird migrations is decided by the birds.

    One more thing: of course, I don’t agree that “ID stops when design is identified”. I never have.

    Many times here I have argued that not only ID implies the existence of a conscious designer (which is implicit for me in the definition itself of design), but that, once a designer is accepted as best explanation for what we observe, we have the scientific duty to understand as much as possible, from observed facts, about the nature, methods, timing, and so on of the designer and of the design process.

    IOWs, we cannot be scientific halfway, and then stop. If we observe facts, and propose explanations for them, we must pursue those explanations as much as possible, always starting from facts and good inferences. Nobody can decide in advance that we have to stop at some point. If some knowledge is really beyond scientific inquiry (which is certainly possible), that conclusion must come from good scientific inquiry, and from nothing else.

    If I must really summarize what ID is for me, I would say:

    ID is the scientific theory that says that we can safely infer a design process for objects that have some observable properties (functional complexity). That implies that the functional complexity in those objects was inputted into them, at some time, in some place.

    That is something science must investigate. The input of information and organization into matter is certainly something that interests science. Any possible effort must be done to understand where, when, by whom, how and why that information was inputted. Scientifically.

    Maybe we can have scientific answers, partial or more complete. Maybe we can’t. One thing is certain. Deciding in advance that we cannot find them is not a good scientific attitude.

  98. 98
    Tristan_M says:

    Alan Fox has issued a similar Turing Test over at The Skeptical Zone — this one on evolutionary theory. Denizens of UD are invited to come over to see if they can pass the test.

    http://theskepticalzone.com/wp.....ring-test/

  99. 99
    Eric Anderson says:

    drc466 @85:

    Thanks for the sincere contribution. Good thoughts. Just a couple of quibbles, one of which relates to this:

    Intelligent Design (ID) is the theory that the likelihood that any object is the product of either deliberate design by an intelligent source, or the product of random chance, can by scientifically and mathematically calculated from the properties of the object. These properties are often referred to as the Complex Specificity, or Functional Complexity, or other terms dealing with the amount of ‘Information’ and ‘Complexity’ exhibited by the object.

    CSI is not, in my opinion, calculable in any precise, meaningful, purely mathematical way.

    C, yes. But not SI.

  100. 100

    I have really enjoyed the conversation between SA and GP.

    Well done. Thanks.

  101. 101
    Seversky says:

    In 2004, in an interview in Touchstone magazine, Paul Nelson was quoted as saying

    Easily the biggest challenge facing the ID community is to develop a full-fledged theory of biological design. We don’t have such a theory right now, and that’s a real problem.

    I think Nelson had a point. If we take the definition offered in the Resources page here on UD:

    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. ID is thus a scientific disagreement with the core claim of evolutionary theory that the apparent design of living systems is an illusion.

    That’s a good statement of the claim for ID. I doubt there are many ID proponents who would disagree with it as stated although they might expand on it in different ways. The question is does a claim constitute a theory?

    One hallmark of a scientific theory is that it doesn’t just make a definitive claim about what is observed, it also offers tentative but testable explanations of how the observed phenomena might have come about.

    As I see it, the claim for ID rests broadly on two legs. First, there are phenomena, processes and structures in living things that have the appearance of being designed. Why do we think they appear to be designed? Because they look similar to things we design. Second, these phenomena look to complex to have come about through natural – as opposed to artificial – processes.
    The problem with the first leg is excluding the possibility of pareidolia. Are we just getting false-positives from our innate pattern-matching capacity? If we assume that some alien intelligence was responsible for designing and seeding life on Earth, evidence suggests it must have been done billions of years ago by beings with knowledge, science and technology far beyond anything we can even imagine. Why, then, should we think that their designs should resemble those of 19th/20th/21st humans who would not exist until billions of years into their future? Do we have any reason to think that current human design is in any way a reliable standard for identifying design on a universal scale?

    The problem with the second leg is the Hoyle fallacy. Yes, the chances of a tornado assembling a complete Boeing 747 from a pile of parts in a junkyard is so remote as to be next to impossible. The same is true of the de novo appearance of a modern protein.

    But consider what is being said. A protein is a complex assembly of molecules. The number of possible permutations of the component parts is truly astronomical, so much so that, according to claims here, it would take longer than the lifetime of the universe – using the whole physical resources of the universe as a computer – to run through them all. It’s the equivalent of a brute force approach to cracking a password, just try all the possible combinations until you hit the right one. In other words, it is saying that to be certain of hitting the right one you must be prepared to try them all. What it doesn’t tell you is which try will turn out to be the right one. It might be the very last one but equally it might be the very first one, or the 154th one or the 2,345,967th one. There is no way to know other than by trying. The second point to consider is that evolution does not work with all possible permutations. It can only work with permutations that are available to it at any given time, which might well be a much smaller and more manageable number.

  102. 102
    Dionisio says:

    gpuccio @92:

    […] the evidence for design in biological objects is well beyond 5 sigma […]

    Yes.

  103. 103
    bornagain77 says:

    Methinks Seversky ought to first seriously worry about the fact that his preferred explanation, Darwinian evolution, does not even qualify as a real, i.e. testable, scientific theory in the first place rather than worrying about whether Intelligent Design qualifies as a real, i.e. testable, scientific theory or not.

    “In so far as a scientific statement speaks about reality, it must be falsifiable; and in so far as it is not falsifiable, it does not speak about reality.”
    Karl Popper – The Two Fundamental Problems of the Theory of Knowledge (2014 edition), Routledge

    “Darwinism is not a testable scientific theory, but a metaphysical research program.”
    Karl Popper – Unended Quest: An Intellectual Autobiography (1976)

    Dubitable Darwin? Why Some Smart, Nonreligious People Doubt the Theory of Evolution By John Horgan on July 6, 2010
    Excerpt: Early in his career, the philosopher Karl Popper ,, called evolution via natural selection “almost a tautology” and “not a testable scientific theory but a metaphysical research program.” Attacked for these criticisms, Popper took them back (in approx 1978). But when I interviewed him in 1992, he blurted out that he still found Darwin’s theory dissatisfying. “One ought to look for alternatives!” Popper exclaimed, banging his kitchen table.
    http://blogs.scientificamerica.....evolution/

    The primary reason why Darwinian evolution is more properly classified as a pseudo-science instead of a real science is because Darwinian evolution has no rigid mathematical basis, like other overarching physical theories of science have. A rigid mathematical basis to test against in order to potentially falsify it.

    Deeper into the Royal Society Evolution Paradigm Shift Meeting – 02/08/2016
    Suzan Mazur: Peter Saunders in his interview comments to me said that neo-Darwinism is not a theory, it’s a paradigm and the reason it’s not a theory is that it’s not falsifiable.
    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/.....84812.html
    Peter Saunders is Co-Director, Institute of Science in Society, London; Emeritus professor of Applied Mathematics, King’s College London.
    Peter Saunders has been applying mathematics in biology for over 40 years, in microbiology and physiology as well as in development and evolution. He has been a critic of neo-Darwinism for almost as long.

    “On the other hand, I disagree that Darwin’s theory is as `solid as any explanation in science.; Disagree? I regard the claim as preposterous. Quantum electrodynamics is accurate to thirteen or so decimal places; so, too, general relativity. A leaf trembling in the wrong way would suffice to shatter either theory. What can Darwinian theory offer in comparison?”
    – Berlinski, D., “A Scientific Scandal?: David Berlinski & Critics,” Commentary, July 8, 2003

    Evolution is Missing a Mathematical Formula
    Excerpt: Virtually all scientists acknowledge that mathematics is the real language of science. Every theory uses words to describe and postulate the theory, but the true test of a theory is numbers and mathematics. It is numbers and mathematical formulae that distinguish true science from hocus-pocus.,,,
    Every scientific theory that has been promoted to the status of being a scientific law has been quantified and/or embodied into one or more mathematical formulae that make accurate predictions.
    But no scientist has been able to derive any working formula from the Theory of Evolution and no one has been able to quantify its dictums. Millions of scientists have tried to quantify the Theory of Evolution and they have all failed to do so.
    http://darwinconspiracy.com/article_1_rev2.php

    In fact, in so far as math can be applied to Darwinian claims, mathematics constantly shows us that Darwinian evolution is astronomically unlikely. That is to say, as far as math is concerned, evolution is ‘statistically impossible’. Here is one example out of many examples:

    “In light of Doug Axe’s number, and other similar results,, (1 in 10^77), it is overwhelmingly more likely than not that the mutation, random selection, mechanism will fail to produce even one gene or protein given the whole multi-billion year history of life on earth. There is not enough opportunities in the whole history of life on earth to search but a tiny fraction of the space of 10^77 possible combinations that correspond to every functional combination. Why? Well just one little number will help you put this in perspective. There have been only 10^40 organisms living in the entire history of life on earth. So if every organism, when it replicated, produced a new sequence of DNA to search that (1 in 10^77) space of possibilities, you would have only searched 10^40th of them. 10^40 over 10^77 is 1 in 10^37. Which is 10 trillion, trillion, trillion. In other words, If every organism in the history of life would have been searching for one those (functional) gene sequences we need, you would have searched 1 in 10 trillion, trillion, trillionth of the haystack. Which makes it overwhelmingly more likely than not that the (Darwinian) mechanism will fail. And if it is overwhelmingly more likely than not that the (Darwinian) mechanism will fail should we believe that is the way that life arose?”
    Stephen Meyer – 46:19 minute mark – Darwin’s Doubt – video
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vg8bqXGrRa0&feature=player_detailpage#t=2778

    The primary reason why no scientist has been able ‘quantify its dictums’ is because there are no known laws of nature for Darwinists to appeal to to base their math on. In other words, there is no known ‘law of evolution’, such as there is a ‘law of gravity’, within the physical universe for Darwinists to build a rigid mathematical basis on:

    “It is our contention that if ‘random’ is given a serious and crucial interpretation from a probabilistic point of view, the randomness postulate is highly implausible and that an adequate scientific theory of evolution must await the discovery and elucidation of new natural laws—physical, physico-chemical, and biological.”
    Murray Eden, “Inadequacies of Neo-Darwinian Evolution as a Scientific Theory,” Mathematical Challenges to the Neo-Darwinian Interpretation of Evolution, editors Paul S. Moorhead and Martin M. Kaplan, June 1967, p. 109.

    Nobel Prize-Winning Physicist Wolfgang Pauli on the Empirical Problems with Neo-Darwinism – Casey Luskin – February 27, 2012
    Excerpt: While they (Darwinian Biologists) pretend to stay in this way completely ‘scientific’ and ‘rational,’ they become actually very irrational, particularly because they use the word ‘chance’, not any longer combined with estimations of a mathematically defined probability, in its application to very rare single events more or less synonymous with the old word ‘miracle.’”
    Wolfgang Pauli –
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....56771.html

    The Evolution of Ernst: Interview with Ernst Mayr – 2004
    Excerpt: biology (Darwinian Evolution) differs from the physical sciences in that in the physical sciences, all theories, I don’t know exceptions so I think it’s probably a safe statement, all theories are based somehow or other on natural laws. In biology, as several other people have shown, and I totally agree with them, there are no natural laws in biology corresponding to the natural laws of the physical sciences.
    http://www.scientificamerican......-ernst-in/

    WHAT SCIENTIFIC IDEA IS READY FOR RETIREMENT? Evolution is True – Roger Highfield – January 2014
    Excerpt:,,, Whatever the case, those universal truths—’laws’—that physicists and chemists all rely upon appear relatively absent from biology.
    Little seems to have changed from a decade ago when the late and great John Maynard Smith wrote a chapter on evolutionary game theory for a book on the most powerful equations of science: his contribution did not include a single equation.
    http://www.edge.org/response-detail/25468

    In fact, not only does Evolution not have any known universal law to appeal to to base its math on, as other overarching theories of science have, the second law of thermodynamics, i.e. Entropy, a law with great mathematical explanatory power in science, almost directly contradicts Darwinian claims that increases in functional complexity/information can be easily had:

    The Common Sense Law of Physics Granville Sewell – March 2016
    Excerpt: (The) “compensation” argument, used by every physics text which discusses evolution and the second law to dismiss the claim that what has happened on Earth may violate the more general statements of the second law, was the target of my article “Entropy, Evolution, and Open Systems,” published in the proceedings of the 2011 Cornell meeting Biological Information: New Perspectives (BINP).
    In that article, I showed that the very equations of entropy change upon which this compensation argument is based actually support, on closer examination, the common sense conclusion that “if an increase in order is extremely improbable when a system is isolated, it is still extremely improbable when the system is open, unless something is entering which makes it not extremely improbable.” The fact that order can increase in an open system does not mean that computers can appear on a barren planet as long as the planet receives solar energy. Something must be entering our open system that makes the appearance of computers not extremely improbable, for example: computers.
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....02725.html

  104. 104
    bornagain77 says:

    Why Tornados Running Backward do not Violate the Second Law – Granville Sewell – May 2012 – article with video
    Excerpt: So, how does the spontaneous rearrangement of matter on a rocky, barren, planet into human brains and spaceships and jet airplanes and nuclear power plants and libraries full of science texts and novels, and supercomputers running partial differential equation solving software , represent a less obvious or less spectacular violation of the second law—or at least of the fundamental natural principle behind this law—than tornados turning rubble into houses and cars? Can anyone even imagine a more spectacular violation?
    http://www.uncommondescent.com.....econd-law/

    Information and Thermodynamics in Living Systems – Andy C. McIntosh professor of thermodynamics and combustion theory at the University of Leeds – 2013
    Excerpt: ,,, information is in fact non-material and that the coded information systems (such as, but not restricted to the coding of DNA in all living systems) is not defined at all by the biochemistry or physics of the molecules used to store the data. Rather than matter and energy defining the information sitting on the polymers of life, this approach posits that the reverse is in fact the case. Information has its definition outside the matter and energy on which it sits, and furthermore constrains it to operate in a highly non-equilibrium thermodynamic environment. This proposal resolves the thermodynamic issues and invokes the correct paradigm for understanding the vital area of thermodynamic/organisational interactions, which despite the efforts from alternative paradigms has not given a satisfactory explanation of the way information in systems operates.,,,
    http://www.worldscientific.com.....08728_0008

    Moreover, empirical evidence itself tells us that “Genetic Entropy”, the tendency of biological systems to drift towards decreasing complexity and decreasing information content, holds true as an overriding rule for biological adaptations over long periods of time:

    “The First Rule of Adaptive Evolution”: Break or blunt any functional coded element whose loss would yield a net fitness gain – Michael Behe – December 2010
    Excerpt: In its most recent issue The Quarterly Review of Biology has published a review by myself of laboratory evolution experiments of microbes going back four decades.,,, The gist of the paper is that so far the overwhelming number of adaptive (that is, helpful) mutations seen in laboratory evolution experiments are either loss or modification of function. Of course we had already known that the great majority of mutations that have a visible effect on an organism are deleterious. Now, surprisingly, it seems that even the great majority of helpful mutations degrade the genome to a greater or lesser extent.,,, I dub it “The First Rule of Adaptive Evolution”: Break or blunt any functional coded element whose loss would yield a net fitness gain.
    http://behe.uncommondescent.co.....evolution/

    Biological Information – Loss-of-Function Mutations (Michael Behe) by Paul Giem 2015 – video
    (Behe – Loss of function mutations that give an adaptive advantage are far more likely to fix in a population than gain of function mutations)
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hzD3hhvepK8&index=20&list=PLHDSWJBW3DNUUhiC9VwPnhl-ymuObyTWJ

    Can Purifying Natural Selection Preserve Biological Information? – May 2013 –
    Paul Gibson, John R. Baumgardner, Wesley H. Brewer, John C. Sanford
    In conclusion, numerical simulation shows that realistic levels of biological noise result in a high selection threshold. This results in the ongoing accumulation of low-impact deleterious mutations, with deleterious mutation count per individual increasing linearly over time. Even in very long experiments (more than 100,000 generations), slightly deleterious alleles accumulate steadily, causing eventual extinction. These findings provide independent validation of previous analytical and simulation studies [2–13]. Previous concerns about the problem of accumulation of nearly neutral mutations are strongly supported by our analysis. Indeed, when numerical simulations incorporate realistic levels of biological noise, our analyses indicate that the problem is much more severe than has been acknowledged, and that the large majority of deleterious mutations become invisible to the selection process.,,,
    http://www.worldscientific.com.....08728_0010

    Genetic Entropy – references to several peer reviewed numerical simulations analyzing and falsifying all flavors of Darwinian evolution,, (via John Sanford and company)
    http://www.geneticentropy.org/#!properties/ctzx

    And whereas Darwinian evolution has no known law of nature to appeal to so as to establish itself as a proper, testable, science, (in fact it is almost directly contradicted by the second law of thermodynamics, i.e. entropy), Intelligent Design does not suffer from such a disconnect from physical reality. In other words, Intelligent Design can appeal directly to ‘the laws of conservation of information’ (Dembski, Marks, etc..) in order to establish itself as a proper, testable, and rigorous science.

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

  105. 105
    bornagain77 says:

    And since Intelligent Design is mathematically based on the ‘law of conservation of information’, then that makes Intelligent Design very much testable and potentially falsifiable, and thus makes Intelligent Design, unlike Darwinism, a rigorous science instead of an unfalsifiable pseudo-science:

    The Law of Physicodynamic Incompleteness – David L. Abel
    Excerpt: “If decision-node programming selections are made randomly or by law rather than with purposeful intent, no non-trivial (sophisticated) function will spontaneously arise.”
    If only one exception to this null hypothesis were published, the hypothesis would be falsified. Falsification would require an experiment devoid of behind-the-scenes steering. Any artificial selection hidden in the experimental design would disqualify the experimental falsification. After ten years of continual republication of the null hypothesis with appeals for falsification, no falsification has been provided.
    The time has come to extend this null hypothesis into a formal scientific prediction:
    “No non trivial algorithmic/computational utility will ever arise from chance and/or necessity alone.”
    https://www.academia.edu/Documents/in/The_Law_of_Physicodynamic_Incompleteness

    The Origin of Information: How to Solve It – Perry Marshall
    Where did the information in DNA come from? This is one of the most important and valuable questions in the history of science. Cosmic Fingerprints has issued a challenge to the scientific community:
    “Show an example of Information that doesn’t come from a mind. All you need is one.”
    “Information” is defined as digital communication between an encoder and a decoder, using agreed upon symbols. To date, no one has shown an example of a naturally occurring encoding / decoding system, i.e. one that has demonstrably come into existence without a designer.
    A private equity investment group is offering a technology prize for this discovery (up to 3 million dollars). We will financially reward and publicize the first person who can solve this;,,, To solve this problem is far more than an object of abstract religious or philosophical discussion. It would demonstrate a mechanism for producing coding systems, thus opening up new channels of scientific discovery. Such a find would have sweeping implications for Artificial Intelligence research.
    http://cosmicfingerprints.com/solve/

    It’s (Much) Easier to Falsify Intelligent Design than Darwinian Evolution – Michael Behe, PhD
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_T1v_VLueGk

    Of related note: In so far as Darwinian evolution is dependent on the premises of reductive materialism, and regardless of whether Darwinists ever personally accept the falsification or not, Darwinian evolution is now empirically falsified by advances in quantum biology. Specifically, reductive materialism cannot explain the ‘non-local’ effect of quantum entanglement/information in molecular biology:

    Molecular Biology – 19th Century Materialism meets 21st Century Quantum Mechanics – video
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rCs3WXHqOv8

    Looking beyond space and time to cope with quantum theory – 29 October 2012
    Excerpt: “Our result gives weight to the idea that quantum correlations somehow arise from outside spacetime, in the sense that no story in space and time can describe them,”
    http://www.quantumlah.org/high.....uences.php

    i.e. Quantum information is experimentally shown to be irreducible to reductive materialistic explanations. And as such, since Darwinian evolution is based on reductive materialistic premises, then Darwinian evolution is experimentally falsified as the scientific explanation for molecular biology:

    The Scientific Method – Richard Feynman – video
    Quote: ‘If it disagrees with experiment, it’s wrong. In that simple statement is the key to science. It doesn’t make any difference how beautiful your guess is, it doesn’t matter how smart you are who made the guess, or what his name is… If it disagrees with experiment, it’s wrong. That’s all there is to it.”
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OL6-x0modwY

    Moreover, even if one tosses straight up empirical falsification out the window, and tries to use ‘predictive power’ as a demarcation for determining whether something is ‘scientific’ or not, (Imre Lakatos), then Darwinian evolution, even on that much looser demarcation criteria, fails to qualify as a science but is still more properly classified as a pseudo-science:

    A Philosophical Question…Does Evolution have a Hard Core ?
    Some Concluding Food for Thought
    Excerpt: So basically, the demarcation problem is a fun game philosophers enjoy playing, but when they realize the implications regarding the theory of evolution, they quickly back off…
    http://www.samizdat.qc.ca/cosm.....ore_pg.htm

    Imre Lakatos, although he tipped toed around the failure of Darwinism to have a rigid demarcation criteria, he was brave enough to state that a good scientific theory will make successful predictions in science and a pseudo-scientific theory will generate ‘epicycle theories’ to cover up embarrassing failed predictions:

    In his 1973 LSE Scientific Method Lecture 1[12] he (Lakatos) also claimed that “nobody to date has yet found a demarcation criterion according to which Darwin can be described as scientific”.
    Almost 20 years after Lakatos’s 1973 challenge to the scientificity of Darwin, in her 1991 The Ant and the Peacock, LSE lecturer and ex-colleague of Lakatos, Helena Cronin, attempted to establish that Darwinian theory was empirically scientific in respect of at least being supported by evidence of likeness in the diversity of life forms in the world, explained by descent with modification. She wrote that
    “our usual idea of corroboration as requiring the successful prediction of novel facts…Darwinian theory was not strong on temporally novel predictions.” …
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/I.....27s_theory

    “In degenerating programmes, however, theories are fabricated only in order to accommodate known facts”
    – Imre Lakatos (November 9, 1922 – February 2, 1974) a philosopher of mathematics and science, , quote as stated in 1973 LSE Scientific Method Lecture

    Here’s That Algae Study That Decouples Phylogeny and Competition – June 17, 2014
    Excerpt: “With each new absurdity another new complicated just-so story is woven into evolutionary theory. As Lakatos explained, some theories simply are not falsifiable. But as a result they sacrifice realism and parsimony.”
    – Cornelius Hunter
    http://darwins-god.blogspot.co.....uples.html

  106. 106
    bornagain77 says:

    And following in Lakatos footsteps, Dr. Hunter has compiled a list of some of the major false predictions generated by evolutionary theory. False predictions that are fundamental to evolutionary theory, i.e. go to the ‘core’ of the theory, and falsify it from the inside out as it were using Lakatos’s demarcation criteria.

    Darwin’s (failed) Predictions – Cornelius G. Hunter – 2015
    This paper evaluates 23 fundamental (false) predictions of evolutionary theory from a wide range of different categories. The paper begins with a brief introduction to the nature of scientific predictions, and typical concerns evolutionists raise against investigating predictions of evolution. The paper next presents the individual predictions in seven categories: early evolution, evolutionary causes, molecular evolution, common descent, evolutionary phylogenies, evolutionary pathways, and behavior. Finally the conclusion summarizes these various predictions, their implications for evolution’s (in)capacity to explain phenomena, and how they bear on evolutionist’s claims about their theory.
    https://sites.google.com/site/darwinspredictions/home

    And here is a broader overview of the many failed predictions of naturalism/materialism, in comparison to the successful predictions of Theism, in regards to the major scientific discoveries that have now been revealed by modern science:

    Theism compared to Materialism/Naturalism – a comparative overview of the major predictions of each philosophy – video
    https://youtu.be/QQ9iyCmPmz8

    Verse:

    1 Thessalonians 5:21
    but test everything; hold fast what is good.

  107. 107
    Silver Asiatic says:

    Tristan_MDecember 3, 2016 at 3:21 pm

    Alan Fox has issued a similar Turing Test over at The Skeptical Zone — this one on evolutionary theory. Denizens of UD are invited to come over to see if they can pass the test.

    So far, it looks like evolutionists just debating each other. So I guess nobody could pass the test. Or better, everyone passes because each person counts as the neutral observer and thus declares his or her view correct. 🙂

  108. 108
    Silver Asiatic says:

    gpuccio

    Beaver dams
    Bee hives
    Bird migrations

    I certainly believe that those are examples of design. But the designers are not the beaver, the bee, the bird.

    How do you vaildate that scientifically? We observe things that appear to be designed by intelligence – bee hives. We then observe the designers of those hives, bees. But you are saying that science tells us that bees are not the designers, some other agent is.

    The source of the confusion is probably due to the fact that animals have some intelligence, and that they can adapt the instinctive information in them to slightly different environmental variables.

    That’s what is normally understood as “design by an intelligent agent”. The animals are intelligent. We distinguish what they design from what non-intelligent forces can do. The animals can adapt designs to various conditions (birds can make nests using human artifacts like yarn or paper) – it’s a ‘non-determinate’ process, thus design.

    Therefore, no beaver dam is identical to another. So, there is some role of the animal. But there can be no doubt that the bulk of the information is hereditary. Have you noticed that bee hives do not show the great variations in time that characterize human architecture?

    Where is it shown, scientifically, that the bulk of the animal’s information is hereditary or where, precisely that information can be found in the animal? Birds, with no training at all, know how to cross the continent and land in precise locations. Where in the genome is that information found?

    But again, where all animal design fits certain limits, so also does all human design. Humans can speak of God, but no humans can manifest God’s intelligence. There are limits. So, do we say that humans are not the designers of their own thoughts? That God is the designer of everything? How does science prove that?

    There are neonatal reflexes which last for a few months, and then disappear. The Moro reflex is a good example. Are those reflexes designed? Yes, they are. Are they designed by the baby? No, no more than a hive is designed by the bees. No more than the path, procedure and strategy of long bird migrations is decided by the birds.

    The birds make decisions along the way. They choose how to overcome obstacles. The goal remains the same, but the journey is different each time. A baby makes decisions also. We can distinguish the movements of a baby from those of a raindrop or a rock sliding down a hill. The one is from intelligence, the other from physical determinates.

    It seems you’re saying that the baby is not capable of exhibiting any intelligent design because the baby is not conscious of designing anything, right?

    One more thing: of course, I don’t agree that “ID stops when design is identified”. I never have.

    Nobody else has chimed in here, but I would imagine you’d get some opposition to your view here. You believe (I’ve heard other IDists say it also) that ID does investigate who the designer is, the nature of the designer, and therefore the purposes, identity, processes and all other aspects of the designer. ID would then rule out some designers and favor others. Eventually, it would be possible for ID, using science alone, to identify who the designer is, even if the designer actually transcended all space, time, matter and human intelligence itself?

    Many times here I have argued that not only ID implies the existence of a conscious designer (which is implicit for me in the definition itself of design), but that, once a designer is accepted as best explanation for what we observe, we have the scientific duty to understand as much as possible, from observed facts, about the nature, methods, timing, and so on of the designer and of the design process.

    That is very clear and I think, controversial. You are saying that ID requires acceptance that the designer is a conscious agent, and that ID science can and has determined that. Beyond this, if the designer was God, ID science should investigate who God really is, what the nature of God is (mono-theistic or polytheistic for example) and how the nature of God (if a Trinity, doing things in nature by 3’s) is demonstrated in nature. Why the designer included things that are evil, for example, in nature – ID science would tell us that?

    Again, this really would take ID beyond mere science, and beyond philosophy also. If “all matters of reality” are the proper subject of science (I disagree and actually think that is scientism itself), then science would necessarily be involved in every theological study. Sacred texts would be interpreted scientifically. ID science would necessarily have to include information from the Bible in analysis. Certainly, the Bible tells us something about “a Designer”, so ID would have to sort that out and determine if the Bible is correct or not. Or ID science would have to tell us if the Koran is correct, or other teachings about various designers that have been proposed, or revelations received. Is Judaism correct or Christianity — ID science would have to explore and answer that somehow.

    edit … I just looked this up …

    Frequently raised but weak arguments against Intelligent Design
    #22 Intelligent design theory seeks only to determine whether or not an object was designed. Since it studies only the empirically evident effects of design, it cannot directly detect the identity of the designer; much less, can it detect the identity of the “designer’s designer.” Science, per se, can only discern the evidence-based implication that a designer was once present.

    That’s the standard understanding I’ve had. ID seeks only to determine whether or not an object was designed. It doesn’t attempt to understand the nature, identity, motives or methods of the designer.

    As for design only being possible by a conscious agent: I found this from kairosfocus:

    http://www.uncommondescent.com.....telligent/
    This raises a significant question: are beavers designers? (The answer seems obvious: yes.)

    Yes, I’ve always understood that, and I would agree “obvious, yes”. Beavers are designers. They do not act from physical determination but make intelligent choices. We can distinguish their work as Design, from log-jams in the river as non-design (or product of determined, physical processes).

    I’ll just say, I hope in a good way, gpuccio … your views are very different and I’ll call them controversial. But that could be a good thing. However, if you’re right, most of us wouldn’t pass our own Turing Test!

  109. 109
    gpuccio says:

    Siver Asiatic:

    I can only be happy that my views can appear controversial. I love debate, both with ID critics and fellow IDists. 🙂

    You ask:

    “Where is it shown, scientifically, that the bulk of the animal’s information is hereditary or where, precisely that information can be found in the animal? Birds, with no training at all, know how to cross the continent and land in precise locations. Where in the genome is that information found?”

    Of course we don’t know where in the genome is that information found. And so?

    Mendel published his studies about heredity in 1866. His concepts about heredity were refined by Fisher in 1918, and were used as the basis for the modern evolutionary synthesis in the 1930s. DNA was recognized as the vehicle of heredity in 1943 -1953. The genetic code, which allows to understand how proteins are coded in DNA, was discovered in 1961.

    As you can see, there is no need in science to know where some hereditary trait is written, or how it is written, to understand clearly its hereditary nature.

    In medicine, the epidemiology of a disease is often evidence of its hereditary nature, and that has always been true, even when we had no means to know the molecular basis of most genetic diseases. For example, the observable regularity with which some autosomal dominant traits can be observed in about 50% of the offspring is evidence of the hereditary nature of the trait.

    Now, bees build hives, and beavers build dams. Always in the same way, since they exist. How can you doubt that the information that guides their behavior is hereditary?

    Take the monarch butterflies migration, which involves many generations to be completed.

    I am not saying that animals cannot be intelligent, in some measure. I believe they are.

    The point is, all the best examples of complex functional information we can observe are human artifacts, and biological objects and systems. Some forms of animal behavior, like those you quote, are very complex, but they are essentially repetitive, and obviously guided by inherited information, even if we don’t know where it is written (why are you surprised? we still don’t understand where epigenetic procedures guiding cell development are written).

    Let’s put it another way: when a computer performs a task for which it has been programmed, is it the designer?

    No, the computer is the designed thing. The information has been put there by the programmer.

    OK, the computer is not alive.

    So, let’s see. When a group of construction workers build a palace according to the project of an engineer, are they designing the palace?

    No, the engineer is the designer.

    And yet, the workers are those who materially build the palace, and they are living beings, intelligent beings, and they certainly make many simple or even more complex choices during their work, which have some effect in the final form of the palace.

    But again, the bulk of the information for the palace is in the project designed by the engineer.

    You can also have a look at the famous Chinese room example by Searle, which shows how a conscious and intelligent agent can perform algorithms without understanding anything of their true meaning and purpose.

    I think there can be no doubt that the bulk of information for the complex animal behaviors you quote is hereditary. That’s why those behaviors have always been called instinctive, that’s why their essential form is always the same, that’s why they are limited and specific. They are designed, but they are designed in the hereditary functional information inherent in the species. And they are performed each time by the individual animals, of course with many adaptations, most of which are probably based, however, on inherited abilities: as we know, adaptation is often a property of complex designed systems.

    By the way, KF is a great friend, and I usually agree with most of his views about ID theory. I can only be happy that, occasionally, I can disagree with some statement of his. That happens, in human thought! 🙂

    More in next post.

  110. 110
    kairosfocus says:

    GP, I have not been closely following this thread [busy juggling sharp knives in the real Caribbean world . . . AC, After Castro], could you let me know the issue? KF

  111. 111
    kairosfocus says:

    F/N1: I understand TSZ is trying to issue a mirror image challenge. I will not go there but we can simply settle the matter of the implied complaint that we of UD etc do not understand the theory of evolution:

    Let me start with Wikipedia’s one liner definition of evolution: “change in the heritable characteristics of biological populations over successive generations,” which is of course held to be due to non-foresighted chance variations and “neutral drift” etc [= CV] and associated differential reproductive success in niches [DRS]; then, it is held to account for every thing from minor changes in populations to the grand narrative of life and its body plans from the original ancestral form(s) up to now. This, by what Darwin termed “descent with modification.” [ = DWM] Such, is held to have incrementally formed the tree of life (in whatever form is currently used) by unlimited branching tree evolution [UBTE], from microbes to man [BTOL]. By comonly used extension also (cf High School and College textbooks), it can be used to speak of chemical evolution, seen as leading up to the ancestral forms. There is also discussion of cosmological evolution and socio-cultural evolution of mankind as linked to this in a wider whole; evolutionary materialism is then often seen as the grand narrative of origins. The proposed mechanisms and dynamics for evolution of life can be summarised a la chemical equations, as I have often done here at UD; more or less:

    CV + DRS –> DWM [+ time] –> [U]BTE

    UBTE [+ deep time] –> BTOL

    The pivotal issues are that a theory of certain incremental, small variations has been grossly extrapolated to account for origin of major body plans, missing the 10 – 100+ million bases etc required to account for novel body plans, and of course the associated presence of deeply isolated islands of function [a natural result of FSCO/I, which requires multiple, well matched, correctly assembled and coupled components to work] among the possibilities of AA sequence space, just to address proteins. That is, the theory fails to adequately account for the functionally specific, complex organisation and associated information [FSCO/I] required to account for body plans.

    Per the Newton vera causa principle, there is only one actually observed adequate cause of such FSCO/I, intelligently directed configuration.

    Addressing the root of the ToL (as do most High School and College textbooks), we see a deeper yet problem, accounting for the origin of the FSCO/I found in cell based life as we have observed it. Especially, starting in a Darwin warm salty pond or the like, or any other favoured pre-biotic environment, from volcano vents to comet cores to gas giant moons to whatever. There, forces of chemistry, physics and thermodynamics have to be faced, and the phenomenon of deeply isolated islands of function in configuration spaces beyond the scope of search of a solar system of 10^57 atoms or an observed cosmos of 10^80 atoms has to be addressed. it is therefore no surprise to see that the state of models and speculations regarding OOL is rather unhealthy.

    The solution is to cut the Gordian Knot, and accept that on both a trillion-member observation basis and linked analysis of search challenge [as opposed to debates on probabilities and implicit assumptions that exponentially harder searches for golden searches can be waved away], the only reasonable, observed, demonstrated adequate cause of FSCO/I is design. thus, to moral certainty, FSCO/I is a strong, empirically reliable index of design as credible cause. Thus, OOL and origin of major succeeding body plans from microbes to man should be seen as coming about by design. As to who did such and how, those are not currently answered but can be investigated. Where, Venter et al point to the possibilities of molecular nanotech labs.

    KF

  112. 112
    kairosfocus says:

    F/N2: What about ID?

    Let me suggest as a starter, the outline in the UD glossary, publicly available c 2009 [cf. resources tab at the top of this and every UD page, noting also the ID definition and Weak Argument Correctives]:

    Intelligent design [ID] – Dr William A Dembski, a leading design theorist, has defined ID as “the science that studies signs of intelligence.” That is, as we ourselves instantiate [thus exemplify as opposed to “exhaust”], intelligent designers act into the world, and create artifacts. When such agents act, there are certain characteristics that commonly appear, and that – per massive experience — reliably mark such artifacts. It it therefore a reasonable and useful scientific project to study such signs and identify how we may credibly reliably infer from empirical sign to the signified causal factor: purposefully directed contingency or intelligent design. Among the signs of intelligence of current interest for research are:

    [a] FSCI — function-specifying complex information [e.g. blog posts in English text that take in more than 143 ASCII characters, and/or — as was highlighted by Yockey and Wickens by the mid-1980s — as a distinguishing marker of the macromolecules in the heart of cell-based life forms], or more broadly

    [b] CSI — complex, independently specified information [e.g. Mt Rushmore vs New Hampshire’s former Old Man of the mountain, or — as was highlighted by Orgel in 1973 — a distinguishing feature of the cell’s information-rich organized aperiodic macromolecules that are neither simply orderly like crystals nor random like chance-polymerized peptide chains], or

    [c] IC — multi-part functionality that relies on an irreducible core of mutually co-adapted, interacting components. [e.g. the hardware parts of a PC or more simply of a mousetrap; or – as was highlighted by Behe in the mid 1990’s — the bacterial flagellum and many other cell-based bodily features and functions.], or

    [d] “Oracular” active information – in some cases, e.g. many Genetic Algorithms, successful performance of a system traces to built-in information or organisation that guides algorithmic search processes and/or performance so that the system significantly outperforms random search. Such guidance may include oracles that, step by step, inform a search process that the iterations are “warmer/ colder” relative to a performance target zone. (A classic example is the Weasel phrase search program.) Also,

    [e] Complex, algorithmically active, coded information – the complex information used in systems and processes is symbolically coded in ways that are not preset by underlying physical or chemical forces, but by encoding and decoding dynamically inert but algorithmically active information that guides step by step execution sequences, i.e. algorithms. (For instance, in hard disk drives, the stored information in bits is coded based a conventional, symbolic assignment of the N/S poles, forces and fields involved, and is impressed and used algorithmically. The physics of forces and fields does not determine or control the bit-pattern of the information – or, the drive would be useless. Similarly, in DNA, the polymer chaining chemistry is effectively unrelated to the information stored in the sequence and reading frames of the A/ G/ C/ T side-groups. It is the coded genetic information in the successive three-letter D/RNA codons that is used by the cell’s molecular nano- machines in the step by step creation of proteins. Such DNA sets from observed living organisms starts at 100,000 – 500,000 four-state elements [200 k – 1 M bits], abundantly meriting the description: function- specifying, complex information, or FSCI.)

    That might be a first place to ponder, duly noting the onward evolution of thought.

    KF

    PS: A second good place to look — by sharp contrast with the sadly revealing persistent hatchet job at Wikipedia — is NWE: http://www.newworldencyclopedi.....ent_design

    PPS: ID is of course also relevant to cosmological fine tuning and other contexts. The theory of inventive problem solving [TRIZ, from the Russian] and linked views on technological evolution and institutional and/or cultural development are also relevant.

  113. 113
    kairosfocus says:

    GP & SA:

    I saw something at 108.

    Perhaps, it is time to look at ID in a micro sense and a macro/general sense — a fashion that is now 100+ years old in the sciences, with Relativity as the leader (as is proper and fitting).

    The micro theory of ID is focussed on the design inference and its empirical/analytical warrant. This is the core, when can we with high and well warranted confidence, infer to design as process? (Not, to designers as causal agents, but to a process of intelligently directed configuration.)

    This, we have sufficiently in hand, that we may proceed to the big picture.

    From this, we traverse to the question raised by Sheldon, what is the scientifically grounded significance of directly expressed [coded] and implied [i.e. by description of functional organisation] information in the world of life and the cosmos as a whole? Not neglecting, the world of human society, past, present and future.

    For, in studying design in the world, we must start with ourselves and our cultural world. We then may study beavers in action (etc), and look at the world of life and cosmos. Thus, we come to see a highly significant phenomenon, information and linked organisation tied to configuration based function. This points to intelligence and intelligently directed configuration. We find that life is based on information-centred molecular nanotech, closely parallel to our informatics, computing, automata, control systems, cybernetics and mechatronics. Save, with far more elegant technique than we have attained.

    Indeed, von Neumann kinematic, molecular nanotech self-replicators are common, in the core technology of life — the cell.

    In the cosmos, physics and configuration of the cosmos itself is fine tuned, setting up a world at a deeply isolated operating point for C-chemistry, aqueous medium, molecular nanotech, cell based, terrestrial planet life. A resonance peak standing in deep isolation, so to speak. From, the abundance of the first four most abundant elements: H, He, O and C on, with N close by (IIRC, in our galaxy, 5th). Stars, gateway to the rest of the elements, water and the basis for many rocky materials on terrestrial planets, the basis for the organic chemistry used in life, proteins.

    No wonder, Sir Fred Hoyle often spoke in terms of put-up jobs and monkeying with physics etc so there are no blind forces worth speaking of in the world.

    Coming back to beavers, like us, they are obviously secondary designers, reflecting design in the DNA. But, designers they are, their dams are adapted to stream conditions with astonishing technique. That degree of adaptability points to intelligence of some significant degree.

    Of course, no beaver went to engineering school so we speak of instincts. Revealing and concealing our deep ignorance in one word.

    (Why are we not studying beavers closely, probing for what it is is built in that enables their astonishing works?)

    All of this points onward to the issue of technological evolution and the theory of inventive problem solving [TRIZ].

    Why not, reverse engineer the world of life, and look at the cosmos with at least that degree of insight? (Once, spoken of as thinking God’s thoughts after him. Well, today, we can look at the design principles and patterns, then see what we can make of same for our own onward work.)

    My own suggestion is, we look at self replication and nanotech as gateways to industrial transformation that would open up development transformation. I point to Marcin Jakubowski and his global village construction set and the maker movement. key energy technologies such as pebble bed reactors, molten salt reactors and various possible approaches to fusion, too. (Is polywell fusion as was championed by Bussard et al, possible?)

    100 – 200 years, development transformation of earth and solar system colonisation: Moon, Mars, asteroid belt, gas giant moons.

    Of course there are associated worldviews issues, which points to wider areas of academic stimulation, starting with philosophy.

    But obviously, those are not science and they are not ID as a scientific enterprise. though, they may be even more important, including for rescuing our civilisation from its obviously self-destructive folly.

    Which, is a bit of a concern.

    KF

  114. 114
    gpuccio says:

    KF:

    Thank you for your very interesting contribution.

    It seems that the point of (possible) difference is about beavers! 🙂

    Well, in brief my point is that the design process generates new original complex functional information. So, as detectives in crime novels use to “follow the money trail” to find culprits, so we in ID should “follow the information trail” to find the design process and the intervention of the designer.

    Now, about beavers, I am happy to agree with you about “our deep ignorance”. I think that complex animal behaviors are still a mystery, and like you I would really welcome original inquiries in that field, especially if done from a design point of view.

    However, the “epidemiology” of dam building, of hive building, and of bird migration clearly points to a big hereditary component, even if we don’t understand in detail the mode of implementation of the necessary information. In that sense, the informational part in dam building that is hereditary can be safely attributed to the designer of beavers, and not to beavers themselves, if we follow the information trail.

    Then there is certanly an adaptational part, that can be partially inherited (as adaptational potentialities of the species) and partially attributable to the intelligence of beavers (which I have no intention to deny, lest I lose all my beaver friends! 🙂 ).

    It is really wonderful how complex animal features and behaviors (including for example mimetic abilities, which have been recently the object of an interesting post about mantis species) are integrated in systems of incredible complexity, that include also an active intelligence in the animal itself.

  115. 115
    gpuccio says:

    Silver Asiatic:

    Some more thoughts, in random order.

    I think we need an empiric definition of design. Otherwise, our adversaries will correctly object that our ideas are vague, contradictory, circular, and so on.

    My definition is empirical, and it has allowed me to counter all false accusations of circularity in my reasonings. If I had not beene able to refer to an explicit, empiric definition, I could never have done that.

    My definition is simply what design means and what design has ever meant: the output of form from a conscious agent to matter.

    My definition also allows an explicit rationale for the abolity of design to overcome probabilistic barriers that cannot be overcome by non design systems: the subjective experiences of understanding the meaning of things, and of having specific purposes, are the true responsible for the wonderful superior abilities of design systemcs versus non design systems.

    A non design system is any system where no subjective experience guides the evolution of the system. A design system is any syustem where subjective experiences of understanding and purpose intervene in the evolution of the system.

    For me, ID theory in a nutshell is very simple: non design systems can never generate new, original, complex functional information. Design systems, which include cosncious intelligent designers, can do that with amazing facility.

  116. 116
    Dionisio says:

    BA77 @104-106:

    Thank you for that interesting information.

  117. 117
    Silver Asiatic says:

    gpuccio,

    Many thanks again for your contribution to the topic.

    I believe your view that design always requires a conscious agent is novel, and is not supported by the ID community in general. I could be wrong of course, I’m not a spokesman for ID as such. But if your view is correct then you’ll need to convince people and get definitions changed, etc.

    The ordinary understand is that ID searches for design and then infers only Intelligence or an intelligent agent. ID has never said that it infers only a conscious agent. This would require analysis of whether some intelligences are conscious or not, and I’ve seen no ID studies on that.

    I take a classical view. Bees are intelligent agents. Some of their behavior is hereditary, just as with humans. But bees are more intelligent than flowers. Inherited traits in flowers are determinate – changing the shapes of leaves, color of blossoms, etc.

    But intelligence in bees is not reducible to heredity or genetics. To argue otherwise is materialism. Bees intelligence is not observed only in the structure of hives, but mostly in the processes that support the bee colony. Those process are driven primarily by very sophisticated information sharing – through complex language functions. We can consult with Upright Biped on this, but I’ll say anyway – language functions or information networks are non-reducible to genetics alone. There is an immaterial quality to the knowlege-sharing that bees use. No, they do not do the same thing every time. They use complex strategies to find the best fields for pollen, communicating messages that change flight patterns. This is not something that is genetically coded – again, paraphrasing UB’s work, the bees communication is “disoontinuous” with the medium of transfer (air, environment). Bees respond to stimuli and make choices on how to fly, how to defend the hive against predators, how to protect the queen, and even when to leave a hive and seek another. None of this is reducible to a determinate process – it is all sign of a Designing Intelligence.

    And with that, we don’t find evidence that bees are conscious. As for repetition, even humans do many repetitive, hereditary (probably) behaviors. Yes, bees act by instinct and have limits. But your challenge is to measurably show how much behavior is hereditary and how much is from immaterial intelligence. It seems you’re saying no bee activities are intelligent. How about human intelligence? How much is hereditary and how much immaterial. Dogs and chimps can actually innovate intelligently-designed behavior. We consider them more intelligent than insects, for example.

    Finally, computers can actually design by intelligence as well. There are different kinds of intelligence, animal, insect, machine, some would even say plants have some level of intelligence (can communicate signals among species).

    This is the best argument for ID in that we see some kinds of intelligence working in the world. Human is the highest form of intelligence we know, but there are other kinds. This leads to the inference that there can be a higher form of intelligence capable of designing what we see in nature.

    I do not see where your definition or the ID argument suffers at all from resorting to a more standard definition:

    Design: the output of form from an intelligent agent to matter.

    We do not know if the designer of the universe, for example, was necessarily conscious. We see evidence of intelligence. The universe could have been designed by an intelligent, non-conscious machine, created by another designer. ID has no way of studying that.

    In the weak arguments I quoted above there is this phrase:

    Since [ID] studies only the empirically evident effects of design, it cannot directly detect the identity of the designer

    Note what is implied. The designer (assuming the ultimate designer and not a secondary one, as with the ‘machine’ I presented, or even if angels created the universe – it’s the Designer of all, again philosophically, not scientifically, assuming one Designer) … cannot be empirically studied. Why? Because empiricism is directed towards “nature”, which is really all that is contained with time, space, matter, energy, laws — all “within the universe”. So, empiricism (science) cannot study the Designer of all of that, since that Designer is outside of the reach of the universe or empirical studies.

    I would change that part of the Weak Arguments just adding “an Ultimate Designer”, although I don’t think ID as a scientific project can determine if the designer of the universe is one or many, in fact, what that designer is like in scientific terms, except by analogy. We see evidence of intelligence in the world, we infer an intelligent designer.

    Again, if a non-conscious machine created the universe, we would only observe evidence of intelligence, not of consciousness.

    It’s like I said with a baby. Babies are not fully conscious, if at all. Can science measure how much? Can a semi-conscious person be a designing agent?

    I don’t think ID does any analysis on whether designing agents are conscious or not. That’s an idea that is unique to your view. Again, I’m not saying you’re wrong. On the contrary, I could be convinced that you’re correct.

    But in so doing, it’s evidence that we may not have the correct meaning or idea of what ID really is. That could be healthy growth for the project that we all support here.

  118. 118
    gpuccio says:

    Silver Asiatic:

    OK, I would leave it at this, because the discussion would become too wide.

    Just as a clue, I will say that I cannot find any definition of “intelligence” that is indepedent from the problem of consciousness, and that I have always used a different concept of consciousness from what you seem to be using.

    For me, consciousness means: the existence of subjective experiences. In that sense, I am rather certain that a baby is conscious.

    About bees, we have no certainty. But they could well be.

    I certainly agree with you about the intelligence displayed by animals. Which could well be related to some form of consciousness in them.

    Instead, I don’t believe that computers are intelligent in any real sense. They are machines, and the intelligence we see in them is only the intelligence of their designers, frozen in efficient algorithms that do exactly what they were designed to do. There is no subjective experience there, and therefore no new intelligence at all.

    But again, I would leave it at that.

    You say:

    “But if your view is correct then you’ll need to convince people and get definitions changed, etc.”

    I don’t want to convince anybody. I am here to defend ID, and I can defend ID in the only way possible for me: by using concepts and definitions that I believe to be true.

    If you give a look at my recent exchange with Bob O’H, here:

    http://www.uncommondescent.com.....confusion/

    (post #4, and then posts #13-29, up to now)

    you can judge for yourself if and how much my approach works, especially when a serious interlocutor tries to attack it.

  119. 119
    kairosfocus says:

    GP, I usually sum up design in a phrase: intelligently directed configuration. Where, we are examples that demonstrate that intelligent designers exist (with objecting comments being self-referential examples of design . . . ), AND that we are secondary designers, starting from what is written in our DNA. On that experience and required capability, I would argue in terms of Plato’s self-moved responsible and rational agent as a key aspect of design capability. I would argue that key features of our world indicate that its physics is designed, which is in the abstract realm, however that physics is instantiated. Just as, mathematics is an inherently abstract thing, the logic of structure and quantity; structure being quite abstract in this case, starting with sets of relevant type and related mathematical systems. Wigner on the relevance, power and effectiveness of mathematics in the physical realm speaks volumes. So does the astonishing, domain unifying Euler expression 0 = 1 + e^i*pi KF

  120. 120
    Silver Asiatic says:

    gpuccio

    I’ll just offer this. You said:

    About bees, we have no certainty [if they are conscious or not]. But they could well be.

    In your view, if bees are conscious, then they are Intelligent Designers – what we observe from them is Design. If bees are not conscious, what we observe from them is not Design.

    So, ID would have to know if bees are conscious or not in order to determine if bee activity is intelligently designed by them.

    I see that as a problem because I don’t see how science can determine if bees are conscious or not. We wouldn’t know if a thing was intelligently designed unless we knew if the designer was conscious. This would be a problem for SETI, for example.

    In any case, many thanks for a productive debate. I will take some time to read the thread you posted — and I appreciate your many thoughts here, as well as all your contributions to UD through the years!

  121. 121
    Eric Anderson says:

    Seversky @101:

    Thanks for your thoughts. There are a couple of foundational logical problems with your approach, but since I have little time today, let me just flag one that jumped out at me on a quick read. Hopefully we can walk through others later.

    The first issue can be summed up in the question you posed as follows:

    Why, then, should we think that their designs should resemble those of 19th/20th/21st humans who would not exist until billions of years into their future?

    Part of the point of intelligent design is to flag indicia of design that are reliable indicators, independent of the designer we may be dealing with. Is our ability to identify indicia of design dependent at some level on our understanding and our experience and what we understand about design? Of course. We should be cognizant of that.

    But on this score your critique is no more meaningful than if we were to reflexively reject any other field of study. After all, we bring our experience, our prior knowledge, and our current level of understanding into any field of study. We don’t just throw up our hands and say, “Well it sure looks like X is the case. But we can’t infer X, because perhaps the only reason it looks like X is because we are familiar with cases like X.” Such an approach is illogical and fails at a basic level of practicality in our effort to do science and to understand the world.

    On the flip side, what about all the systems in biology that, nearly on a daily basis, are described by biologists as surprising, unexpected, or beyond our capabilities? Under your approach do we get to count all of them as evidence for intelligent design because they aren’t like any human design we have ever produced?

    —–

    The observable fact is that many things in biology appear designed because they have indicia of design, not necessarily because they look like things humans have designed or are capable of designing. Some do. Some don’t.

    Furthermore, even if we were to accept your assertion that things in biology look designed only because they are similar to what humans have experience with, which conclusion is more rational: (a) something that looks designed and appears similar to known designed things is probably designed, or (b) something that looks designed and appears similar to known designed things is probably not designed, because . . . wait for it . . . it looks like things that we know are designed? Talk about a circular argument.

    Any rational person would immediately recognize that (a) is more rational than (b). It isn’t even a close call.

    Finally, let’s consider the alternative. In contrast to human-designed systems that are at least somewhat similar to biological systems, there is no purely natural mechanism that is known to produce the kinds of systems in question. Not even close. Billions upon billions of examples underscore that purely natural phenomena are incapable of producing the kinds of systems in question. Indeed, many, many natural processes, left to themselves, cut directly against what is required to produce and build complex, functional, integrated systems.

    And so the naturalistic explanation is left to plead vague stories about unspecified natural processes that allegedly might have occurred at some unknown point and in some unknown way in the deep past. Or to beg us to set aside what we do know about designed systems and instead rely on the forever-distant promise that some new law of chemistry or physics will someday be discovered that will be able to account for at least an inkling of what we see in biology.

    —–

    We can talk about the probability issue another day.

  122. 122
    gpuccio says:

    Silver Asiatic:

    I thank you too for your very clear contributions to the debate. I am completely sincere when I say that I appreciate differences of thought.

    I owe you a brief answer to your last post.

    1) We need not know anything about consciousness in the bees to infer design for the complex structure of the hive. We define design as the result of a conscious designer, but we infer design from the properties of the object. We only need to observe functional complexity in the object to infer that it is the result of some design process by some designer.

    As we apparently agree, there is no need to know anything about the designer to infer design from the designed object. At that point, we only know that some conscious intelligent being inputted functional information into the object.

    2) So, we are certain: the hive is designed. Some conscious designer inputted the information to realize its structure.

    3) But, now that we have inferred design, it is legitimate and necessary to ask: who is the deisgner?

    4) At this point, to be scientific and consistent with our theory, we have to “follow the information trail”.

    5) So, the correct question is: when and where does the information come in?

    6) I have offered many reasons to believe that at least the bulk of the necessary information must be in the biological structure of the bees as a species: genome, epigenome, or anything else that is physically passed from parents to offspring. My point is that that information, which IMO is the greatest part, has been designed, but not by any bee. It has been designed by the designer who is responsible of all the information that makes a bee a bee. IOWs, the biological designer or designers. It’s a big problem, but it is the same problem as understanding who designed ATP synthase, or any other biological object.

    7) You counter that bees can be conscious (I agree) and can be capable of independent design (I agree). However, their individual design would be responsible only of a minor part of the information necessary to build the hive: the specific choices of adaptation in specific contexts, for example. While the complexity of the hive is certainly very high, it is much more difficult to quantify the functional contribution of individual bees to the design of a specific hive. And part of that contribution could be itself adaptation, dependent on some genetic programming.

    8) IOWs, I am not denying that animals can generate some functional information. But I doubt that they can generate huge quantities of original functional information, as humans do, and as the biological designer(s) has certainly done throughout natural history.

    9) Because humans do generate tons of original complex functional information. Humans do not build hives (they could not, because with all their intelligence they don’t know how to do that). But they build houses, and houses have always been different. And they build machines, and computers, and produce ever new language. No computer has ever existed on our planet, until humans built the first one.

    10) The same is true of the biological designer(s). No ATP synthase existed on our planet, until someone conceived and implemented it in some of the oldest living beings. Each new protein, or biological structure, is a novelty in natural history. Proteins are not hives. They are houses, ever new. Each time a new protein or a new biological structure appears, there are tons of new, original, fresh functional information that appears on our planet for the first time. There is the intervention of a conscious, intelligent designer. The same cannot be said for each new hive that appears on the planet, because the basic information already existed.

    11) A final, but important point. I define design as the result of the output of form from some conscious being to matter. Therefore, I would never mention the term design if not in connection to some conscious agent, the designer.

    But design is not always complex. While complex functional information is necessary to infer design from the designed object, there are many designed objects that show no complex functional information, becasue they are simple.

    A simple example will clarify the point. A child draws a square on a sheet of paper, as a very simple drawing of a house. Well, maybe the child tells us that he is drawing a house, so we know directly that the square is a designed object, because we are observing directly the process of design: a conscious agent (the child) who outputs a form to a material object (the paper sheet) starting form a personal conscious representation of meaning (a house) and a purpose (to draw the house).

    OK. But if we just see the square, and we know nothing of its origin, we cannot infer design. The square is too simple. Squares do exist in non designed systems (I am ignoring for the moment the complexity linked to the fact that the square is on a sheet of paper, and is made by a pencil: for our purpose, let’s consider only its configuration).

    So, simple objects can be designed, but we cannot infer design from the object unless its functional configuration is complex.

    You can see how important it is to have an independent definition of design, which is not related to the functional complexity.

    That allows us to categorize all possible objects into 4 sets:

    a) Designed object with low functional complexity

    b) Designed object with high functional complexity

    c) non designed objects with low functional complexity

    d) non designed objects with high functional complexity

    Now, the whole point of ID theory is:

    – Objects in the a) set are common (the simple drawing of the child)

    – Objects in the b) set are common (most human artifacts)

    – Objects in the c) set are extremely common (practically the whole known universe, excluding human artifacts and biological objects

    – Object in the d) set simply do not exist in the universe as we know it

    (Just to be clear: I am not considering here the obvious possibility that the whole universe is designed, IOWs the cosmological argument for design. My reasoning here is only about finite objects in space and time.)

    Of course, biological objects are not classified here because their origin is exactly the controversial point. But, according to ID theory, reasoning on the above important fact, we can infer design for them, in the measure that they exhibit functional complexity (a very abundant measure indeed).

    So, to sum up: it is perfectly possible that animals are conscious, and that they generate some designed things. My point is simply that, in general, they cannot generate tons of new original complex functional information, like humans, the kind of information that we find only in human artifacts and in biological objects, including some complex instinctive animal behaviors.

    While consciousness can be enough to design things, some specific conscious experiences, in particular some refined experience of meaning, seem to be necessary to generate high quantities of original complex functional information.

  123. 123
    J-Mac says:

    I’m sorry I could not respond to some really provocative comments here. I was away and not able to access the internet access which became our lifeline to the so call “world”.Myself and my family will not use electronics all weekend.

  124. 124
    Dionisio says:

    Silver Asiatic,

    I wrote this in another* discussion thread, but wanted to rewrite it and extend it a little. I thought the extended version fits better in this discussion thread which seems more open beyond pure scientific debate.

    Whether the biological systems are designed or not doesn’t depend on how much we know about it or how well we quantify, detect and infer design.

    Generally objective truth does not depend on whether we know it.

    I understand that the quantification method gpuccio uses to digitally measure the functional complexity of certain biological objects and thus infer design is limited to those objects only.

    The brilliant ideas my former supervisor at work had could not be easily quantified. However, they were design ideas.
    The software we developed to implement those brilliant ideas could have been quantified using gpuccio’s method to infer design.

    Different control layers and procedural components of the designed biological systems may or may not be suitable for quantification in order to infer design. Each of them should be analyzed using different methods. Perhaps some of those methods don’t exist yet or may never exist.

    We are dealing with an unfathomable designed system that is beyond anything we conscious beings have ever imagined, much less designed. However, every day researchers from wet and dry labs are producing enormous amounts of new data that shed more light on the elaborate cellular and molecular choreographies orchestrated within the biological systems.

    We ain’t seen nothing yet. The best is still ahead.

    I don’t count myself officially among the ID proponents, because I believe I know the Designer, and I want to declare it openly. ID is pure science, hence it does not get that far. That’s why the ID proponents here in this blog come from a wide spectrum of philosophical and theological backgrounds. This friendly group is an eintopf on steroids. 🙂

    At the bottom of this we have the confrontation between the two most irreconcilable opposite sides of the spectrum: on one side the materialist atheistic worldview which rests on the belief that the ultimate reality is based on matter and energy only. On the completely opposite side we believe that the Ultimate Reality is defined in the first few verses of the Gospel according to the apostle John. In between those two irreconcilable opposite worldview positions we find myriad of shades of worldviews.

    It feels good to be on the winning side. But that also gives us the responsibility to be magnanimous toward those who disagree with us.
    We believe that we all were created in Imago Dei, hence we share the same dignity.

    Those of us who have been beneficiaries of Divine grace should enjoy being gracious toward others too!

    Let’s enjoy learning from what serious science is discovering these days, specially in biology.

    Let’s rejoice!

    Have a good week.

    PS. You did a good job heating up this* interesting discussion. 🙂
    We should test everything and hold only what is good. I think you helped to test some ideas here*. Well done!

    (*) here is the original post:
    http://www.uncommondescent.com.....ent-622064

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