Uncommon Descent Serving The Intelligent Design Community

Introducing New ID-Relevant Peer-Reviewed Journal: BIO-Complexity


Check out this new ID-relevant [“ID-friendly” is too strong — ID proponents will get no preferential treatment] peer-reviewed journal: BIO-Complexity. The Evolutionary Informatics Lab (www.evoinfo.org) has an article under submission there.


Editor in Chief

Matti Leisola, Enzymology and Enzyme Engineering; Helsinki University of Technology, Finland


Editorial Board

David Abel, Origin of Life; The Origin-of-Life Science Foundation, United States

Douglas Axe, Protein Structure–Function; Biologic Institute, United States

William Basener, Statistics and Population Modeling; Rochester Institute of Technology, United States

Michael Behe, Biochemistry and Biological Complexity; Lehigh University, United States

Walter Bradley, Origin of Life; Baylor University, United States

Stuart Burgess, Biomimetics and Biomechanics; University of Bristol, United Kingdom

Russell Carlson, Biochemistry; University of Georgia, United States

William Dembski, Mathematics and Information Theory; Discovery Institute, United States

Marcos Eberlin, Chemistry; State University of Campinas, Brazil

Charles Garner, Prebiotic Chemistry; Baylor University, United States

Loren Haarsma, Biophysics; Calvin College, United States

Peter Imming, Organic Chemistry; Martin Luther University, Germany

James Keener, Bioengineering and Mathematics; University of Utah, United States

David Keller, Biophysical Chemistry and Molecular Machines; University of New Mexico, United States

Branko Kozulic, Biochemistry; Gentius Ltd, Croatia

Wolf-Ekkehard Lönnig, Plant Genetics; Max Plank Institute for Plant Breeding Research (retired), Germany

Jed Macosko, Biophysics and Molecular Machines; Wake Forest University, United States

Robert Marks, Evolutionary Computing and Information Theory; Baylor University, United States

Norman Nevin, Medical Genetics; Queen’s University of Belfast (emeritus), Ireland

Edward Peltzer, Ocean Chemistry, United States

Colin Reeves, Genetic Algorithms and Information Theory; Coventry University, United Kingdom

Siegfried Scherer, Microbial Ecology; Technische Universität München, Germany

Ralph Seelke, Microbiology; University of Wisconsin-Superior, United States

David Snoke, Physics and Modeling; University of Pittsburgh, United States

Richard Sternberg, Genomics, Cladistics and Theoretical Biology; Biologic Institute, United States

Scott Turner, Physiology, Ecology and Evolution; State University of New York-Syracuse, United States

Jiří Vácha, Pathological Physiology and Evolutionary Theory; Masaryk University (emeritus), Czech Republic

John Walton, Chemistry; University of St Andrews, United Kingdom

Jonathan Wells, Cell and Developmental Biology; Biologic Institute, United States

There are so many corollaries to Sooner’s post @ #19. The first one is a primer - Sooner Emeritus: "BIO-Complexity is obviously designed to manufacture the scientific controversy.... ".... fill in the blank. "Science is obviously designed to manufacture the scientific non-controversy...."... fill in the blank. JPCollado
Hi Dr. Debmski, You might want to consider adding the option of using LaTeX instead of Word. At least to me, papers formatted in Word seem "lower-quality" than those formatted via LaTeX. GradStudent
Upright: Perhaps, we need to look at the saying that "a soft answer turneth away wrath but grievous words stir up anger." Having said that, we must note that the same well known work discusses those who professing themselves wise, in resentful ingratitude, become utterly foolish; shutting their eyes to the evidence within them and surrounding them. This echoes a classical remark by Plato, in the Laws Bk X, in the voice of the Athenian stranger:
[The avant garde philosophers, teachers and artists c. 400 BC] say that the greatest and fairest things are the work of nature and of chance, the lesser of art [ i.e. techne], which, receiving from nature the greater and primeval creations, moulds and fashions all those lesser works which are generally termed artificial . . . They say that fire and water, and earth and air [i.e the classical "material" elements of the cosmos], all exist by nature and chance, and none of them by art, and that as to the bodies which come next in order-earth, and sun, and moon, and stars-they have been created by means of these absolutely inanimate existences. The elements are severally moved by chance and some inherent force according to certain affinities among them-of hot with cold, or of dry with moist, or of soft with hard, and according to all the other accidental admixtures of opposites which have been formed by necessity. After this fashion and in this manner the whole heaven has been created, and all that is in the heaven, as well as animals and all plants, and all the seasons come from these elements, not by the action of mind, as they say, or of any God, or from art, but as I was saying, by nature and chance only . . . . these people would say that the Gods exist not by nature, but by art, and by the laws of states, which are different in different places, according to the agreement of those who make them; and that the honourable is one thing by nature and another thing by law, and that the principles of justice have no existence at all in nature, but that mankind are always disputing about them and altering them . . . These, my friends, are the sayings of wise men, poets and prose writers, which find a way into the minds of youth. They are told by them that the highest right is might, and in this way the young fall into impieties, under the idea that the Gods are not such as the law bids them imagine [and note, Plato made it clear at the beginning of Bk X that he has serious doubts on the pantheon of Greek gods, but of course that is a very different thing from the question of the root of our being in Mind and Art]; and hence arise factions, these philosophers inviting them to lead a true life according to nature, that is, to live in real dominion over others [here, Plato hints at the career of Alcibiades], and not in legal subjection to them . . . .
In short, evolutionary materialism is old, has always been based on philosophical assertions that beg big questions, has always sought to suppress the alternative explanation that art may well explain what we see, and has always entailed amorality, with the onward tendency to create tyrannies of the powerful based on the notion that "might makes right." We would do well to soberly think about such issues, and I hope the new journal is sufficiently open that wider articles on not only epistemological issues but also ethics and origins science in society can be considered. GEM of TKI kairosfocus
The second article is up on BIO-Complexity: Reductive Evolution Can Prevent Populations from Taking Simple Adaptive Paths to High Fitness Ann K Gauger, Stephanie Ebnet, Pamela F Fahey, Ralph Seelke: http://bio-complexity.org/ojs/index.php/main/article/view/BIO-C.2010.2 bornagain77
Sooner, If your play was to shame me for calling a fool a fool, then it was a wasted effort. I’ve never been on the a-team here at UD, and if my style limits my effectiveness then I’m more than willing to accept that judgment. I’m a big boy on such matters, and you’ll never hear me whining to the moderators about being in the battle. The fact remains there are dozens of regular contributors at UD (including myself) that would happily deal with your objections to the observable evidence of design - except that you apparently don’t have any. That’s the main issue with people like you. You never directly address the observable evidence. You are always off in the weeds; questioning motives and arguing the perimeter. You are a model of the average UD gamer who has no intention whatsoever of subjecting his core beliefs to cross examination, yet that is all you do to others. You quite literally tuck yourself into a cocoon of misrepresentations and side issues; hiding yourself in a ridiculous air of superior thinking, and then you label ID proponents as “sad cases” because they actually engage the real issue. Where I come from, people like you are called out for such absurdity, particularly when it’s being sold as rational discourse. Actually, I struggle to think of a memorable figure in history who proved his case by hiding himself from the scrutiny of others. Perhaps you could help me out with that. There are others here (Kairos, StephenB, vjtorley, Timaeus, nullasius, Tom Peeler, Paul Giem, Atom, Cannuckian, niwrad, Patrick, idnet, Apollos, gpuccio, PAV, etc, ect, all of whom I respect) who place a high importance on maintaining regulation manners with intellectual cowards such as yourself, and I certainly understand their point. However, it does surface a question in regards to suffering fools. I label you a pompous fool because that’s the trash you put out, and I haven’t even a moment of regret for doing so. Of course, saying such a thing puts me in lean territory on UD. This is the situation forced upon the UD moderators by the materialist ideologues who populate the opposition. Instead of attacking the actual evidence for ID, they would like nothing more than to come to here and vent their spleens by means of baseless invectives. (This is evidenced by the comments they make on the “all science” websites that allow them to do so). I therefore do no favors for UD moderators by calling you out. Of course, the distinction I make is that my characterization of you isn’t baseless at all; to the contrary, it’s an observation of your own actions. For instance, lets just look at the core fallback position you always take on this site: You come to an ID website populated by ID proponents (who are fairly characterized as those who do not believe material science can answer all of life’s questions) and then after kludging together a few misrepresentations of ID, you repeatedly fall back to scorn its proponents for failing to realize that material science cannot answer all of life’s questions. Just exactly how rational is that, may I ask? It seems silly beyond reason to me. For someone who cannot argue for the validity of the status quo, it must be quite convenient to then argue that it’s pointless to challenge it. As a measure of fair-mindedness, I once asked you for the materialist’s websites you visit to scorn them for believing in material science. Where is that list Sooner? Upright BiPed
Thanks BA. Was skimming through 40 comments, well 38, to see if anyone had even noticed the first paper. lol tragic mishap
Link fix: LET IT RISE http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OVq_GKukA8I bornagain77
YEAH!!! Douglas Axe submitted the first article: The Case Against a Darwinian Origin of Protein Folds Douglas Axe to BIO-Complexity http://bio-complexity.org/ojs/index.php/main/article/view/BIO-C.2010.1 All I can say about the future of this journal is,,,, ,,,Let it rise http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OVq_GKukA bornagain77
PPS: Other participants, the attempted turnabout accusation by Sooner above exemplifies why it is very important for us to be scrupulously civil in our exchanges with rhetors of Sooner's ilk. They will scoop things out of their context and construe us as indulging in hate so it "justifies" them in their habitual pattern of distraction, distortion, denigration and dismissal. But underlying this, we can see that they still have not addressed the issues on the merits. Astute onlookers can see who speaks to the merits and who is trying to dodge them. kairosfocus
Sooner: You lost me coming out the starting gate with a nasty and uncalled for ad hominem, seeing as I took the time above to give you specific evidence and argument on point:
You conveniently lump me with those you love most to hate, and then try to drop a ton of rusty boilerplate on me.
Sooner, you just exemplified exactly the pattern of subject changing red herrings [I wrote to you in the context of a common pattern of fallacious materialist argument that you exemplified], dismissive strawman distortion [rusty boilerplate and hate . . . ] and uncivil denigration and dismissal [hate] I objected to and pointed out as all too familiar and commonplace with evolutionary materialistic secular humanist advocates here at UD and in many other places. Onblookers, observe how Sooner tried to make the issue one of debating people [and I have no need to try to defend phrases used by others], instead of addressing issues. Having no solid answer on the issues, he has resorted to dismissive labels: rusty boiler plate, and nasty personalities: slanderous, irresponsible and blatantly false accusations of hate. Plainly, Sooner, you have underscored the relevance of the points made to you above. And you have again failed to address the merits, which suggests strongly that you cannot. And false accusations of hate go beyond the pale of civil discourse. Frankly, an apology is warranted, not that I expect such on sadly long track record of observing your ilk in action. G'day GEM of TKI PS: Steve: good to drop in for a few minuets. Been busy elsewhere. kairosfocus
To the moderator: I forgive Upright BiPed the abuse. He goes to the heart of the matter in the debate. He actually responds to my points, rather than to the points he wishes I had made. Last, but not least, he is succinct. Sooner Emeritus
This pattern of distraction, distortion, denigration and dismissal is all too familiar, and is unproductive
Indeed. You conveniently lump me with those you love most to hate, and then try to drop a ton of rusty boilerplate on me. Ho-hum.
Kindly, address the issue, not the ad hominem laced strawman distortion.
You might want to get the choir in line before preaching hellfire to the sinners. ... feed it out to high-brow suckers (PT Barnum “one born every minute”) like youself to adorn yourself with. ... cattle-like behavior as yours. You wouldn’t know an independent thought if it bit you on the ass. The idea that you think ID is manufaturing the controvery is just friggen funny as hell. You’d make ole’ PT proud. As I said, you’d make PT Barnum proud. He’s got a whole roll of tickets for you and your friends. Really Sooner, you are about as big a bag of illogical reasoning as I see here on UD. ... pompous intellectual bigots like yourself. Sooner Emeritus
PPS: Sooner, cell based life involves self-replicating systems that embed:
(i) an underlying code to record/store the required information and to guide procedures for using it, (ii) a coded blueprint/tape record of such specifications and (explicit or implicit) instructions, together with (iii) a tape reader [[called “the constructor” by von Neumann] that reads and interprets the coded specifications and associated instructions, and (iv) implementing machines (and associated organisation and procedures) to carry out the specified replication (including that of the constructor itself); backed up by (v) either: (1) a pre-existing reservoir of required parts and energy sources, or (2) associated “metabolic” machines carrying out activities that provide required specific materials and forms of energy by using the generic resources in the surrounding environment.
Also, parts (ii), (iii) and (iv) are each necessary for and together are jointly sufficient to implement a self-replicating von Neumann universal constructor. That is, we see here an irreducibly complex set of core components that must all be present in a properly organised fashion for a successful self-replicator to exist. [Take just one core part out, and function ceases: the replicator is irreducibly complex (IC).]. This irreducible complexity is compounded by the requirement (i) for codes, requiring organised symbols and rules to specify both steps to take and formats for storing information, and (v) for appropriate material resources and energy sources. Immediately, we are looking at islands of organised function for both the machinery and the information in the wider sea of possible (but mostly non-functional) configurations. In short, outside such functionally specific -- thus, isolated -- information-rich target zones, want of correct components and/or of proper organisation and/or co-ordination will block function from emerging or being sustained. So, once the set of possible configurations is large enough and the islands of function are credibly sufficiently specific/isolated, it is unreasonable to expect such function to arise from chance, or from chance circumstances driving blind natural forces under the known laws of nature. Now, too, a tape of 1,000 bits (= 125 bytes) is plainly insufficient to specify the parts and instructions for a von Neumann replicator. But, the number of possible configurations of 1,000 bits is 1.07 * 10^301, more than ten times the square of the 10^150 states the 10^80 atoms of our observed universe would take up across a reasonable estimate of its lifespan. So, viewing our observed universe as a search device, it would scan less than 1 in 10^150th part of even so “small” a configuration space. But, Sooner, we routinely see intelligences creating FSCI-rich entities that go well beyond 125 bytes of complexity; though we have bot yet been able to create self-replicators. We also do not observe such entities emerging by chance and blind mechanical forces. There is no good basis for imposing a priori materialism in the teeth of what the empirical evidence does substantiate. And, again, the journal provides a forum for a free discussion, instead of continuing the imposed materialist censorship. kairosfocus
PS: Sooner, I see you are trying to impose the false dichotomy natural vs supernatural, while ignoring the obvious alternative: nature vs art, as is discussed in the weak argument correctives top right in this page. Sooner, we routinely observe and only observe FSCI coming from agents, i.e purposeful intelligences. On the simple induction from observation in light of that pattern and the implications of large configuration spaces with relatively small target zones (once the functional organisation requires 1,000 bits, we are looking at 10^301 possible configs, and our whole cosmos we observe acting as a search engine could not cover more than 1 in 10^150 of that, effectively no search) we have excellent reason to infer on the usual provisional induction from empirical data that FSCI is a reliable sign of intelligent action. So, the presence of FSCI points to intelligence on inference to best, empirically based explanation. And note, no injection of the "supernatural" has happened. Such signs then point to intelligence involved in origin of life and complex novel body plans. Also, to the origin of an observed cosmos fine-tuned for the existence of cell based carbon chemistry life. We then may argue beyond that on who are candidate designers, but that is a secondary issue. Notice, this is not an a priori supernaturalism -- by strict contrast with Lewontinian a priori materialism -- but a simple empirical chain of reasoning. Just, it seems to point where materialists are uncomfortable to go, and it is no surprise that hey then resort to the rhetoric of a priorism and appeal to anti supernaturalistic prejudice. Kindly, address the issue, not the ad hominem laced strawman distortion. (For more details cf the Weak Argument Correctives above, again. This pattern of distraction, distortion, denigration and dismissal is all too familiar, and is unproductive. That is why the journal being discussed above is so necessary.} kairosfocus
"zephyr" (#29) wrote: "My point is ID needs to expand its territory, ID is limited only by nature and the cosmos, ie it is unlimited in scope to all intents and purposes." Do you then envision expanding intelligent design to attack the current versions of geology and other earth sciences, astronomy (including cosmology and astrophysics), physics and chemistry? PaulBurnett
Sooner: Pardon an intervention. You cannot have it both ways. Let us hear prof Lewontin in his well known 1997 NYRB article:
. . . to put a correct view of the universe into people's heads we must first get an incorrect view out . . .   the problem is to get them to reject irrational and supernatural explanations of the world, the demons that exist only in their imaginations, and to accept a social and intellectual apparatus, Science, as the only begetter of truth . . . . To Sagan, as to all but a few other scientists, it is self-evident that the practices of science provide the surest method of putting us in contact with physical reality, and that, in contrast, the demon-haunted world rests on a set of beliefs and behaviors that fail every reasonable test . . . .  It is not that the methods and institutions of science somehow compel us to accept a material explanation of the phenomenal world, but, on the contrary, that we are forced by our a priori adherence to material causes to create an apparatus of investigation and a set of concepts that produce material explanations, no matter how counter-intuitive, no matter how mystifying to the uninitiated. Moreover, that materialism is absolute, for we cannot allow a Divine Foot in the door. [“Billions and Billions of Demons,” NYRB, January 9, 1997. Bold emphasis added.]
Now, of course, on origins science we are facing cases where we did not and cannot credibly observe the actual facts of the remote past. (Indeed, this is not news, in Job, when God speaks out of the storm in the drama, he challenges Job and friends on precisely this point.) So, on matters of origins science, we are facing an inference to best explanation of the roots of our world and ourselves; in effect a pre-historical reconstruction in absence of generally accepted record. Materialists, a la Lewontin, argue that we may only do so by inference to material causal factors of chance and necessity; and indeed, the US NAS remarks on this (especially the rhetorically loaded question-begging false contrast between natural and supernatural instead of the longstanding, empirically known trichotomy implied in the three-fold factors, necessity, chance and art) show that Lewontin was not idiosyncratic. He is representing an institutionally dominant view. But, as Lewontin also underscored, science gained its credibility by its ability to access empirically anchored, credible truth. Truth based on what we experience and observe. Precisely what we inherently cannot do on deep past origins. And, precisely where trafficking on the general credibility of science, materialism is being imposed a priori in the name of science being "the only begetter of truth," which is itself a philosophical assertion not a scientifically observed fact. Similarly, the idea that on origins -- despite what we know as the only observed cause of functionally specific complex organisation and information [i.e. intelligence] and despite the literally beyond astronomically adverse odds of seeing such FSCI emerge by chance and necessity just once (much less many thousands of times) -- we may only infer to chance plus necessity is an a priori, question-begging imposition, not a fact of reality. As, Lewontin was honest enough to admit. So, if science seeks truth, then it cannot a priori rule out empirically anchored inference to design. If it makes such an a priori, then it cannot claim to be seeking the truth about or world, but instead has descended into ideology and ideologically driven agenda. So, when we see now a declaration that we cannot effectively know the true truth on origins, then this raises serious issues about imposition of speculations and assertions and assumptions from philosophy under false colours of science on the unsuspecting public. (Nor is this a new issue, e.g. former Secretary of State Bryan raised this specific issue in his 1922 lectures and book on the subject. And in his un-presented closing arguments from 1925, he raised the even more longstanding issues of amorality linked to evolutionary materialism; using the Loeb-Leopold murder trial and Darrow's utterly revealing arguments there.) Indeed, given how this is being enforced in education, courts and even parliaments, it raises the issue of unjust de facto establishment of the functional equivalent to a state religion under false colours of claimed scientifically grounded truth. For, whatever anti realist philosophies of science one may argue about in fora, it is well known that the public credit of science is based on the precise view that Lewontin described in 1997. In that context, the rise of an open forum journal where the issues can be freely discussed without imposition of materialistic censorship as Lewontin described, is a very important development. G'day GEM of TKI kairosfocus
Upright BiPed:
An agent is an agent.
Peachy. You've made it quite clear that agency is immaterial, purposive causation. You associate agency with a deficiency in materialistic explanation of natural phenomena, and then turn the explanatory gap into an attribute of nature itself, calling it a discontinuity:
What can be taken from the evidence is an observable discontinuity in the natural processes we clearly see in operation across the universe. That discontinuity has features which distinguish it from these natural unguided processes.
We do not observe a gap empirically. It is not "clearly seen." What you identify as a discontinuity depends upon your understanding of causal relations scientists have inferred on their observations of matter. You are reifying the abstract relations, and turning their explanatory deficiency into a bizarre sort of "natural" entity that is an unobservable void rather than an empirically observable presence. You insist that the "discontinuity" resulting from your reification be explained as though real:
Yes, and I say that people who plug in mechanisms which are hopeless to accomplish what needs to be explained (while simultaneously ignoring the only cause known by universal experience to be able to create the effect) are even more foolish.
The most insidious foolishness is insistence that everything "needs to be explained" by public science. Science achieves much of what it does because it is a radically objective enterprise. The "universal experience" of agency is a subjective, not objective, sense of ourselves as gods (or demigods or children of God). So science refuses to address us as materially un-caused causes of material effects. Boo-hoo-hoo. [Schoolchildren need to learn that science does not address everything real, and that many people, including some scientists, question whether it addresses what is most important to us as human beings. (Personally, I've spent much more time reading science than literature. But no technical work has come close to affecting me as deeply as, say, The Brothers Karamazov.) The sensational successes of a public science of objects do not indicate that there is nothing to reality but objects.] I contend that there is no operational distinction between your agent and the sundry gods, imps, and demons that scientists banished centuries ago. You must either describe the operations to make the distinction, or justify readmission of the gods to certain areas of science. Sooner Emeritus
great to hear of this new journal. It's needed for sure. I do hope that it goes beyond microbiology and mathematics in critiquing evolution. What I mean is that there is so much in nature that defies a neo-Darwinian explanation, and yet all these significant problems for the orthodoxy are too much overlooked and neglected even by IDists, instead the focus is on microbiology eg IC systems, DNA etc. I'm generalising of course. I don't want to be misunderstood here. I am not saying there is anything wrong with that at all, hardly, just that there are problems across the board for neo-Darwinism and not just in the world of the cell and in genetics. These other disciplines in the natural sciences (and the numerous headaches they induce for a Darwinian world-view, denials to the contrary) need to be given their due, eg in ecology, botany, social insects, cetaceans, evolution of sex in the plant and animal kingdoms etc. What I am saying is that ID needs to broaden its horizons. It's not only with 'the signature of the cell', the OOL problem, fine-tuning and the like that Darwinism and scientific materialism hits a brick wall. It is across the board with nature. We mustn't only play by the rules that Darwinians set, with their focus on microbioogy and DNA even as they misrepresent things on this front. The back and forth on IC and CSI and evolutionary informatics is all very fine and well and necessary. However the general public are largely left flummoxed by microbiology and its insider jargon, and so the scientific priesthood remains if not sealed off, at least impenetrable in their dogma and rhetoric to most outsiders. There are problems with Darwinism in the wider visible world, with plants and insects for example, with cetacean evolution and so much else, that are far more easily explained to laypeople and far more easier to expose Darwin's naked emperor in this regard. One of the reasons why neo-Darwinians have been so successful in overselling their tales is that by hiding behind bamboozling jargon only insiders and those so interested in all this understand, they have fooled a lot of people who otherwise would not be so easily duped. So when discussing say problems from an orthodox perspective with the evolution of numerous complex and intricate ecosystems in tropical forests say, it is easier for laypeople and non-specialists to get the problems here than say the back and forth on the IC of the blood-clotting cascade. The point of all my rambling is where are all the ID friendly botanists and ecologists and zoologists? Don't let the microbiologists and mathematicians take all the credit here. We need to encourage more ID friendly critiques pertaining to these other disciplines in the natural sciences. Another thing, there are profound implications of ID to medicine that are largely neglected. I cannot explain what I mean without writing a book. However ID does rock the boat with so much in orthodox medicine, a field fraught through and through with deep-seated scientific reductionist and materialist bias in "understanding" disease, never mind its corruption. This bias has led to misunderstanding much about disease and its treatment. It's just one of the reasons why the recent heated debate over Obamacare missed the point by ten light years. Frankly very few will know what I mean by this. An irony here is that IDists and other Darwin critics are as liable to swallow and revere so much in medical science that is dubious (since predicated on scientific materialism) and yet because of overspecialisation and a similar censorship that rules in medicine, which is not just a branch of the natural sciences but a huge and bloated multi-billion dollar industry, very few IDists see it (a few do though). The connections here between ID and numerous fiascos in modern scientific materialistic medicine are not being made though and nobody appears to want to rock the leaking boat that is modern medicine here (from the ID camp at least). It however needs to be done. It is an urgency. Also ID and its implications to ecology and environmental conservation likewise need to be addressed (and no I am not talking about AGW hysterics and nonsense, not directly at any rate). We are going through a sixth (and man-made) extinction - deforestation, overfishing - its consequences are horrific and disgracefully ignored, in favour of AGW religion and partly for that reason. And yes there are ID implications here, but that is a whole other topic. I can't ramble on and on. My point is ID needs to expand its territory, ID is limited only by nature and the cosmos, ie it is unlimited in scope to all intents and purposes. ID I know is in its infancy, yet it must be willing to go out on a limb and look beyond its comfort zones and not be held back by upsetting more than Darwinians. The truth is ID opens up a Pandora's box that goes well beyond upsetting just the Dawkinsbots and theistic evolutionists.... zephyr
You seem particularly set on making science “tell the truth” about something that happened four billion years ago. Luminary OOL researchers like Gerry Joyce and Tom Cech readily acknowledge that we’ll never know what really happened. Your certitude that it was intelligent design is quite remarkable, by contrast. You like to talk the “empirical” talk, but I don’t see you walking the walk. Do you have a time machine?
I hate to burst your bubble, but trying to gain a perspective on reality that “tells the truth” is considered by many to be almost as important as not doing so. Really Sooner, you are about as big a bag of illogical reasoning as I see here on UD. And telling me to watch my empirical backside as you willfully misrepresent and ignore every bit of the observable evidence is rather pathetic. It’s the very thing that laypeople expect from pompous intellectual bigots like yourself. Your ongoing quest to blindly allow materialism to ignore proper scientific discipline while you belittle those who fight against it…well…it’s truly a sight to see. Let’s unpack this a little further. Joyce can say we will never know, but to be in good standing we must conclude by virtue of an unnecessary and unfalsifiable assumption that “unguided processes did it”?! Do you hear yourself? We must ignore what we actually do know and blindly assume that causes already known to be utterly incapable of the effect in question are instead (by virtue of group ideology) capable of the effect after all? The fact that these assumptions are already contradicted within the observable evidence can be swept away as nothing more than the collateral damage of professional expedience. That is pathetic Sooner. Upright BiPed
You’re sidestepping. Is an intelligent agent a god by another name, or not?
Sidestepping? Hardly so. An agent is an agent. Keep your eye on the ball here Sooner: The key issue is the word “agent”. What can be taken from the evidence is an observable discontinuity in the natural processes we clearly see in operation across the universe. That discontinuity has features which distinguish it from these natural unguided processes. This is where the rubber meets the road Sooner; instead, you want to add God or gods into the mix because that’s your own personal way of ignoring the nose on your face. But the observable evidence doesn’t care about your personal games Sooner, and neither should anyone else. Anyone so disposed as to waste time on your defenses should start by understanding why you need them in the first place. Please allow me to explain. For your attack on ID to even be considered interesting you would first need to address the evidence for ID on its own empirical terms, then you can (in triumphant glory, of course) turn to the God issue and dispose of it however you wish. Now that would be a show of intellectual force deserving of your playbill, and it’s the only argument that will ever defeat ID because it’s the only argument that actually addresses ID. But, you don’t do that. You instead skip all the observable evidence and head straight for the tall grass and the low fruit. You pull a flank on the real issue because you are utterly incapable of attacking the real issue on its front. For crying out loud, you can’t even mount a conceptual answer to the questions at hand. You then add the embarrassing but laughable idea that it’s your opponents who are “sidestepping” the issue. As I said, you’d make PT Barnum proud. He’s got a whole roll of tickets for you and your friends. Oh, and Sooner…just so you’ll know the difference. When you said I was sidestepping the issue of God. I didn’t sidestep it at all; I attacked it on its front. The actual evidence doesn’t point to God or gods, or any particularly God, if any God at all. It points to a discontinuity in the natural processes observed in the universe, and the most likely cause of that discontinuity (based upon the observable evidence) is an act of an agent. In fact, an act of agency is the only cause to have ever been shown capable of creating the effect which needs to be explained. That is the limit of the scientific evidence; any metaphysical proposals will have to stand outside of what can be tested by scientific means. You see, you can’t make me sidestep an issue. That’s how it works when you stop playing games with the evidence.
Can you tell me the heuristic value in scientific investigation of assuming that gods sometimes intervene in nature?
No I won’t tell you such, but then again, your question doesn’t have anything to do with the evidence at hand. Why answer a willfull misrepresentation? Let’s rephrased your question and leave out the misrepresentation for an interesting change of pace: Can you tell me the heuristic value in acknowledging that a discontinuity (even of unknown origin) in the natural processes of universe is scientifically detectable and exist? Yes. If a discontinuity can be shown to exist by all rational means of scientific investigation (even though we do not know its source) then to acknowledge its existence through those same means of investigation would result in our perception of reality being in touch with the observable evidence. Any more questions?
I say that there is enormous heuristic value in searching relentlessly for causal relations on phenomena. The people who give up looking for them, and who plug gaps in their knowledge with God or gods, regularly look like fools when persistent scientists make new discoveries.
Yes, and I say that people who plug in mechanisms which are hopeless to accomplish what needs to be explained (while simultaneously ignoring the only cause known by universal experience to be able to create the effect) are even more foolish. And while you’re in the mood for pointless speculative nonthingness, are you suggesting that if little Julie comes down with tuberculosis we can expect Michael Behe to say “God did it”, or would he be more likely to say it happens by means of mycobacterium? Do you have an honest answer for this question, based upon the actual publications of Michael Behe himself? Do you? Upright BiPed
Upright BiPed, You're sidestepping. Is an intelligent agent a god by another name, or not? Can you tell me the heuristic value in scientific investigation of assuming that gods sometimes intervene in nature? I think it's mighty important to posit that when you prepare a physical system, the preparation determines the distribution of your measurement. Even if invisible gods (imps, demons) sometimes drop in sui causa and change the probability distribution (create information, as Dembski and Marks put it), there is no utility in admitting them into your explanations. I say that there is enormous heuristic value in searching relentlessly for causal relations on phenomena. The people who give up looking for them, and who plug gaps in their knowledge with God or gods, regularly look like fools when persistent scientists make new discoveries. It genuinely distresses me to see people who understand themselves to be children of God, made in the image of God -- in this world, but supposedly not of it -- assimilate a sick zeitgeist in which everything real is knowable by public science, and anything that is not knowable by public science is not real. By private experience, which I will not allow anyone to discount, I understand myself to be a god, and a child of God. My sense of my own agency is ineluctable. I can only assume that everyone who reads this has a similar sense of self-determination. Some choose to say that the sense is merely an illusion because it cannot be demonstrated scientifically. They, not I, forget that all scientific "truths" are symptoms of the assumptions under which science is conducted. You, too, seem confused about the matter of assumptions in science. There is really no way to test an assumption. Testability is a criterion for hypotheses and theories, not assumptions. Some people have mistakenly said that the assumption of determinism was challenged by quantum mechanics. In fact, there was never a time when physicists gave up attempts to explain quantum effects in deterministic terms, e.g., algorithmic randomness. As I see it, science gains its utility by assuming true of all things what I believe to be false about myself. That does not bother me in the least. I simply remember that science is good for gaining knowledge of certain sorts, and not others. You seem particularly set on making science "tell the truth" about something that happened four billion years ago. Luminary OOL researchers like Gerry Joyce and Tom Cech readily acknowledge that we'll never know what really happened. Your certitude that it was intelligent design is quite remarkable, by contrast. You like to talk the "empirical" talk, but I don't see you walking the walk. Do you have a time machine? Sooner Emeritus
correction: shows that [only] purely unguided forces are at work in the cosmos? Upright BiPed
Sooner, can you tell us of a test that shows that purely unguided forces are at work in the cosmos? That is - after all - the number one assumption in modern materialism? IS IT testable or not? HAS IT been tested, or not? If not, then why is it an assumption? Upright BiPed
Sooner, it is not ID that must manufacture the controversy, that is wholly the product of materialism's scientific popularizers. It is they who must manufacture it, then feed it out to high-brow suckers (PT Barnum "one born every minute") like youself to adorn yourself with. This way, the village atheist thinks he's enlightened by you, and the beat rolls on. You can trust me on this assessment, I spent a career on the shovel side of the equation quantifying the social reactions to such cattle-like behavior as yours. You wouldn't know an independent thought if it bit you on the ass. The idea that you think ID is manufaturing the controvery is just friggen funny as hell. You'd make ole' PT proud. Upright BiPed
Sooner E wrote:
Most scientists contend that the ID thesis is not testable within the established framework of science, and that it is therefore in its very essence unscientific.
Researchers like me can submit only technical articles, lending credence to the claim of socio-political activists that there is a scientific controversy over ID that deserves to be taught in science classes of public schools.
If only technical articles testing ID claims are accepted as submissions, and there is no way to empirically test the claims of ID in a technical manner, then the journal will have a very short life indeed! There's no need to fear, they will be unable to publish any non-solicited submissions. Disaster averted. My personal take is that the journal aims to provide an open ground for testing and publishing ID related and ID critical work. It's quite easy to come up with conspiracies and ulterior motives, but the papers published over time will reveal the worth (or lack thereof) of the journal itself. No need to rush into judgment before we have an adequate sample size of Bio-complexity articles to draw sweeping conclusions from. Atom Atom
Sooner stated: "There is no scientific controversy over intelligent design." That is true,, the controversy is over the 150 year failure of evolution to live up to its major predictions! You can see 14 fundamental predictions that were falsified here. http://www.darwinspredictions.com/ Did you mention something about ID making no verifiable scientific claims? A Response to Questions from a Biology Teacher: How Do We Test Intelligent Design? - March 2010 Excerpt: Regarding testability, ID (Intelligent Design) makes the following testable predictions: (1) Natural structures will be found that contain many parts arranged in intricate patterns that perform a specific function (e.g. complex and specified information). (2) Forms containing large amounts of novel information will appear in the fossil record suddenly and without similar precursors. (3) Convergence will occur routinely. That is, genes and other functional parts will be re-used in different and unrelated organisms. (4) Much so-called “junk DNA” will turn out to perform valuable functions. http://www.evolutionnews.org/2010/03/a_response_to_questions_from_a.html Shoot ID is even falsifiable Sooner which is a lot more than I can say for neo-Darwinism: Michael Behe on Falsifying Intelligent Design - video http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N8jXXJN4o_A The following article clearly points out how evolutionists are able to avoid falsification by the crushing lack of evidence not found in the fossil record: Seeing Ghosts in the Bushes (Part 2): How Is Common Descent Tested? - Paul Nelson - Feb. 2010 Excerpt: Fig. 6. Multiple possible ad hoc or auxiliary hypotheses are available to explain lack of congruence between the fossil record and cladistic predictions. These may be employed singly or in combination. Common descent (CD) is thus protected from observational challenge. http://www.evolutionnews.org/2010/02/seeing_ghosts_in_the_bushes_pa.html Shoot Sooner I think the entire materialistic philosophy should be tested against Theistic philosophy within the scientific method: http://docs.google.com/Doc?docid=dc8z67wz_5fwz42dg9 Excerpt: The materialistic and Theistic philosophy make, and have made, several natural contradictory predictions about what evidence we will find. These predictions, and the evidence we have found, can be tested against one another within the scientific method. For a quick overview here are a few: 1.Materialism predicted an eternal universe, Theism predicted a created universe. - Big Bang points to a creation event. - 2. Materialism predicted time had an infinite past, Theism predicted time had a creation - Time was created in the Big Bang. - 3. Materialism predicted space has always existed, Theism predicted space had a creation (Psalm 89:12) - Space was created in the Big Bang. - 4. Materialism predicted at the base of physical reality would be a solid indestructible material particle which rigidly obeyed the rules of time and space, Theism predicted the basis of this reality was created by a infinitely powerful and transcendent Being who is not limited by time and space - Quantum mechanics reveals a wave/particle duality for the basis of our reality which blatantly defies our concepts of time and space. - 5. Materialism predicted the rate at which time passed was constant everywhere in the universe, Theism predicted God is eternal and is outside of time - Special Relativity has shown that time, as we understand it, is relative and comes to a complete stop at the speed of light. (Psalm 90:4)- 6. Materialism predicted the universe did not have life in mind and life was ultimately an accident of time and chance. Theism predicted this universe was purposely created by God with man in mind - Every transcendent universal constant scientists can measure is exquisitely fine-tuned for carbon-based life to exist in this universe. - 7. Materialism predicted complex life in this universe should be fairly common. Theism predicted the earth is extremely unique in this universe - Statistical analysis of the hundreds of required parameters which enable complex life to be possible on earth gives strong indication the earth is extremely unique in this universe. - 8. Materialism predicted much of the DNA code was junk. Theism predicted we are fearfully and wonderfully made - ENCODE research into the DNA has revealed a "biological jungle deeper, denser, and more difficult to penetrate than anyone imagined.". - 9. Materialism predicted a extremely beneficial and flexible mutation rate for DNA which was ultimately responsible for all the diversity and complexity of life we see on earth. Theism predicted only God created life on earth - The mutation rate to DNA is overwhelmingly detrimental. Detrimental to such a point that it is seriously questioned whether there are any truly beneficial mutations whatsoever. (M. Behe; JC Sanford) - 10. Materialism predicted a very simple first life form which accidentally came from "a warm little pond". Theism predicted God created life - The simplest life ever found on Earth is far more complex than any machine man has made through concerted effort. (Michael Denton PhD) - 11. Materialism predicted it took a very long time for life to develop on earth. Theism predicted life to appear abruptly on earth after water appeared on earth (Genesis 1:10-11) - We find evidence for complex photo-synthetic life in the oldest sedimentary rocks ever found on earth - 12. Materialism predicted the gradual unfolding of life to be self-evident in the fossil record. Theism predicted complex and diverse life to appear abruptly in the seas in God's fifth day of creation. - The Cambrian Explosion shows a sudden appearance of many different and completely unique fossils within a very short "geologic resolution time" in the Cambrian seas. - 13. Materialism predicted there should be numerous transitional fossils found in the fossil record, Theism predicted sudden appearance and rapid diversity within different kinds found in the fossil record - Fossils are consistently characterized by sudden appearance of a group/kind in the fossil record, then rapid diversity within the group/kind, and then long term stability and even deterioration of variety within the overall group/kind, and within the specific species of the kind, over long periods of time. Of the few dozen or so fossils claimed as transitional, not one is uncontested as a true example of transition between major animal forms out of millions of collected fossils. - 14. Materialism predicted animal speciation should happen on a somewhat constant basis on earth. Theism predicted man was the last species created on earth - Man himself is the last generally accepted major fossil form to have suddenly appeared in the fossil record. - As you can see when we remove the artificial imposition of the materialistic philosophy, from the scientific method, and look carefully at the predictions of both the materialistic philosophy and the Theistic philosophy, side by side, we find the scientific method is very good at pointing us in the direction of Theism as the true explanation. - bornagain77
Sooner- Maybe you should look at the history of science and what underpins it as a pursuit worth undertaking. Phaedros
BIO-Complexity is obviously designed to manufacture the scientific controversy that the Discovery Institute needs for its "teach the controversy" campaign. It is supported by the Biologic Institute, which is in turn supported by the Discovery Institute. The editorial board is dominated by affiliates of the Biologic Institute and fellows of the Discovery Institute. It is telling that the Biologic Institute itself engages in "Our take on the ID controversy" rhetoric, cutely cherry-picking to create the impression that adversaries agree that there actually exists a scientific controversy. Read the cited opinion piece by E. O. Wilson -- a link is provided -- and you'll see that he actually denies the scientific legitimacy of the design thesis. The quoted passage, taken in context, is no more than sarcastic hyperbole. Back to the new journal:
BIO-Complexity is a peer-reviewed scientific journal with a unique goal. It aims to be the leading forum for testing the scientific merit of the claim that intelligent design (ID) is a credible explanation for life.
The second sentence is really weird. Most scientists contend that the ID thesis is not testable within the established framework of science, and that it is therefore in its very essence unscientific. This is a philosophical matter, and not one of science. Remarkably, BIO-Complexity publishes philosophical articles, but only ones that it has solicited. Researchers like me can submit only technical articles, lending credence to the claim of socio-political activists that there is a scientific controversy over ID that deserves to be taught in science classes of public schools. The conveniently redefined "innovative" peer-review process of BIO-Complexity is much less stringent than is the norm in scientific journals.
The most significant form of peer review begins when a completed work is made publically available for examination and response. The goal of pre-publication peer review should therefore be to decide whether the work in question merits the attention of experts, rather than to predict the final result of that attention. BIO-Complexity uses an innovative approach to pre-publication peer-review in order to achieve this goal. [...] Two or more reviewers will be consulted for each reviewed manuscript. Authors are encouraged to suggest suitable reviewers, though the Editor may elect to use other reviewers. Reviewers are asked to comment in fair terms on the work's limitations, but also on whether they think the expert community would benefit from considering both the merits and the limitations. Taking into consideration the manuscript and the reviewers' comments, the Editor will use this criterion of benefit to decide whether to take the manuscript forward. [...] BIO-Complexity aims to communicate decisions to authors within six weeks of submission.
In short, this is a slap-dash process of getting articles posted on a website for debate. There is no requirement that the editor act as advised by the reviewers. At the same time, the editor does not take personal responsibility for the quality of an accepted article. For each published article, the journal publishes one critique, accepted at the sole discretion of the editor of the article. The authors of the article will respond just once to the critique. There are also online comments on articles:
Respectful, open dialog is the most productive way to approach matters of controversy. [Emphasis added, of course.]
If an adversary comments, he or she does so under constraints that lend to the impression that there is a legitimate scientific controversy:
* Only people willing to use their real names are allowed to post comments. * Comments that fail to respect others will be removed (repeat or flagrant offenders being blocked). * Comments need to stay on point. To be registered for posting comments, first register as a reader or author, then send an email from an institutional or corporate account (to establish your identity) with a brief description of your areas of interest to our support address.
My point will never be on point according to BIO-Complexity. An intelligent agent is a god by another name, and is outside the scope of scientific investigation. There is no scientific controversy over intelligent design. Sooner Emeritus
Thanks Atom for the clarification (which I made in the title and post above). Given the outright hostility that many journals and professional societies direct against ID, to have a journal that is at least open to it led me to characterize BIO-Complexity as "ID-friendly." That conveys the misimpression that pro-ID papers will be given preferential treatment, which is NOT the case. I therefore downgraded my characterization of the journal to "ID-relevant" because, as Atom pointed out, contrary views will be gladly entertained. William Dembski
Off topic for all the chemistry buffs; Cheap hydrogen fuel from seawater may be a (giant) step closer: Excerpt: The molybdenum compound was so successful it could work on seawater or pure water without additives. The compound is stable due to five bonds holding the molybdenum in place. Long said the molecule is stable for long periods in aqueous solutions, and they saw no degradation in catalytic activity over their three-day experiment. The molecule remains stable even when impurities, such as those found in seawater, are present. This would further reduce the cost since no organic acids or solvents are needed. The compound’s stability makes it more durable than the nickel and iron compounds used previously, but it is slower than the natural hydrogenases and needs a higher electric voltage to operate. The group is now experimenting with different metals and "tweaking" the PY5 groups to see if they can improve the speed and efficiency and reduce the energy requirements. They are also looking at the possibility of coupling the system to solar-generated electricity to make it even more viable. http://www.physorg.com/news191745752.html bornagain77
I personally would like to encourage Allen MacNeil to present an anti-ID paper to the new journal. I would be thrilled if he would tackle the issues he himself has raised, to wit: At one point he tells us that DNA does indeed contain meaningful information recorded within the sequences of its nucleobases. And then he tells us that all meaningful information is first the product of perception. It would then be very intersting to know why we cannot infer that the meaningful information which gave rise to life was not the product of perception. Perhaps he can take a moment from writing his pro-Darwin book to provide this most-interesting answer. In fact, it might even seem that the book would be incomplete without it. Upright BiPed
I love the idea that papers denying ID will be reviewed. Now all those extremely well-versed authors which do not feel the need to misrepresent ID positions in order to attack them will have a place to post their findings and defeat the theory; those that do not claim victory by a mere change in calculated probabilities from 10^77 down to 10^52 will finally see the light of day; those that deal directly with the evidence without recourse to just-so stories can -at last- have their criticisms heard. Yah! (cough) Upright BiPed
I don't really see why it's necessary to analyze this word by word. It's quite obvious that what is meant is that this journal will be publishing pro-ID papers at the very least. Phaedros
ShawnBoy, You're probably correct that this was the intended definition. However, I wanted to point out what the journal says about itself and its policies. From my understanding (which could be mistaken), content both for and against ID will be published. Critiques of pro-ID articles are specifically requested (see the journal policies section linked above.) Also see Doug Axe's post here: http://biologicinstitute.org/2010/04/30/the-debate-over-design-gains-momentum-with-a-new-peer-reviewed-science-journal-bio-complexity/
This contest of ideas, this rigorous exchange, is precisely how science is meant to work. And that’s exactly what BIO-Complexity is about. Unlike most science journals, this one is founded on critical scientific exchange. That commitment began with an inclusive approach to recruiting scientists to serve as editors. As one of the people involved in the process, I can assure you that whatever the Editorial Board [2] ends up looking like when all the replies are in, the invitations went out to everyone we could think of with the expertise and the interest to make a useful contribution, regardless of their perspective on ID. Inevitably some will have been overlooked, and these too will be welcome later additions, pending board approval.
pelagius, Obviously many of the board members are ID friendly if not outright ID advocates and no doubt many will complain about this. According to Doug's blog post, invitations were sent out to people with a wide variety of views on ID. Perhaps the current editorial board composition is a product of self-selection? (With pro-ID invitees being more likely to accept an invitation to become an editor of a journal not hostile to ID.) Atom Atom
Friendly | Define Friendly at Dictionary.com The fourth definition...
not hostile or at variance; amicable: a friendly warship; friendly natives.
I'm sure that's the meaning Dr. Dembski was aiming for. pelagius, Darwin ideologues' refusal to take biology into the 21st century shouldn't prevent progress from being made by those scientists who aren't terrified of modern science. ShawnBoy
Atom, Given the makeup of the editorial board, I think it is safe to say that this journal will be very ID-friendly. pelagius
NZer, The links accompanying the people's names are opened via javascript on the Bio-complexity site. Hence, why they won't work here. Atom Atom
Dr. Dembski, From my understanding the journal will be ID-agnostic, not ID-friendly. (See first line above.) Purpose and Scope
To achieve its aim, BIO-Complexity is founded on the principle of critical exchange that makes science work. Specifically, the journal enlists editors and reviewers with scientific expertise in relevant fields who hold a wide range of views on the merit of ID, but who agree on the importance of science for resolving controversies of this kind. Our editors use expert peer review, guided by their own judgement, to decide whether submitted work merits consideration and critique. BIO-Complexity aims not merely to publish work that meets this standard, but also to provide expert critical commentary on it.
(emphasis mine) Although the journal will focus on testing concepts of ID (and will feature critiques of the published pro-ID papers), I don't think it is correct to say it is an ID-friendly journal. It is simply a journal dealing with ID, with content that is both for and against the idea. Just that fact that a journal allows for papers presenting ID findings is, I guess, enough to make us feel it is ID friendly. Friendly, of course, is a relative term when journal editors hostile to ID abound. Atom Atom
The Evolutionary Informatics Lab (www.evoinfo.org) has an article under submission there. Great news! I'm looking forward to it. DiEb
Is it just my Mac, or are the links above not working? NZer
Congratulations on the launch! I look forward to reading the articles. nullasalus
Excellent development. Rest assured, though, that militant atheist sleazes will simply claim that it is not a peer reviewed peer reviewed journal. Matteo
What do you suppose the reaction of the scientific community will be? It will certainly be interesting to see the reaction of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the National Academy of Sciences, or even the National Association of Biology Teachers. Similarly, I look forward to comments in peer-reviewed scientific journals such as Science, Nature, Cell or Genetics. Does anyone know if Bio-Complexity has applied for listing in the Science Citation Index? PaulBurnett
Wow, this looks great, a really big step forward for the biological sciences! Congratulations to everyone involved, looks like a stellar editorial board! Granville Sewell
Wonderful news Dr. Dembski,,, I can already here the refrain from the materialists though,,, "Well it is not a "real" peer review article since it was not reviewed by an "evolutionist"". Their code word for a "peer" who uncritically, and unwaveringly, accepts Darwinian evolution to be absolutely true for all of life no matter what the evidence says. bornagain77
This is incredible! :) Phaedros

Leave a Reply