Intelligent Design

Is Intelligent Design dead?

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Mathematician Jason Rosenhouse has written an extraordinary post in which he pronounces the Intelligent Design movement officially dead: “Truly, ID is dead,” he declares. In this post, I’d like to put forward three good mathematical arguments illustrating why the Intelligent Design movement remains very much alive. All of these arguments come from scientists who are highly qualified in the fields they are writing about. Two of the scientists are committed evolutionists (one is a Darwinian, the other an adherent of the “nearly-neutral” theory of evolution), and the other scientist is the holder of a Caltech Ph.D. who has written two articles for the Journal of Molecular Biology (see here and here for abstracts), as well as co-authoring an article published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, an article in Biochemistry and an article published in PLoS ONE, and his work has been reviewed in Nature. As far as I am aware, none of the three arguments listed below has been refuted – indeed, I have yet to see a satisfactory response to any of them. If Professor Rosenhouse wishes to respond, he is welcome to do so.

The mathematical arguments listed below relate to three topics: the origin of protein folds, the origin of life, and the time available for evolution.

1. The origin of protein folds

Above: Three possible representations of the three-dimensional structure of the protein triose phosphate isomerase. Illustration courtesy of Wikipedia.

Every living thing on this planet contains proteins, which are made up of amino acids. Proteins are fundamental components of all living cells and include many substances, such as enzymes, hormones, and antibodies, that are necessary for the proper functioning of an organism. They’re involved in practically all biological processes. To fulfill their tasks, proteins need to be folded into a complicated three-dimensional structure. Proteins can tolerate slight changes in their amino acid sequences, but a single change of the wrong kind can render them incapable of folding up, and hence, totally incapable of doing any kind of useful work within the cell. That’s why not every amino-acid sequence represents a protein: only one that can fold up properly and perform a useful function within the cell can be called a protein.

Now let’s consider a protein made up of 150 amino acids – which is a fairly modest length. All living things known to scientists – including even the humblest bacteria – contain at least some proteins which are of this length. And as Dr. Axe points out in his paper: “…[P]rotein chains have to be of a certain length in order to fold into stable three-dimensional structures. This requires several dozen amino acid residues in the simplest structures, with more complex structures requiring much longer chains.”

If we compare the number of 150-amino-acid sequences that correspond to some sort of functional protein to the total number of possible 150-amino-acid sequences, we find that only a tiny proportion of possible amino acid sequences are capable of performing a function of any kind. The vast majority of amino-acid sequences are good for nothing.

So, what proportion are we talking about here? An astronomically low proportion: 1 in 10 to the power of 74, according to work done by Dr. Douglas Axe. When we add the requirement that a protein has to be made up of amino acids that are either all left-handed or all right-handed, and when we finally add the requirement that the amino acids have to be held together by peptide bonds, we find that only 1 in 10 to the power of 164 amino-acid sequences of that length are suitable proteins. 1 in 10 to the power of 164 is 1 in 1 followed by 164 zeroes. Given that the number of discrete events (or elementary bit-operations) that have occurred during the history of the entire universe has been estimated at less than 10^150, according to calculations performed by Dr. Seth Lloyd, it should be obvious to the reader that that the 4.54 billion years of Earth history is nowhere near enough time for a protein to form as a result of unguided natural processes.

To get round this difficulty, some scientists have hypothesized that maybe Nature has a hidden bias that makes proteins more likely to form, but all the evidence suggests there isn’t any such bias – and even if there were one, that would need explaining too. Why should Nature be biased in favor of building structures that can fold up neatly and do a useful job in the cell, when it has no foresight?

Finally, scientists have suggested that maybe another molecule – RNA – formed first, and proteins came later, but the same problem arises for RNA: the vast majority of possible sequences are non-functional, and only an astronomically tiny proportion work. Robert Shapiro (1935-2011) was professor emeritus of chemistry at New York University. In a discussion hosted by Edge in 2008, entitled, Life! What a Concept, with scientists Freeman Dyson, Craig Venter, George Church, Dimitar Sasselov and Seth Lloyd, Professor Shapiro explained why he found the RNA world hypothesis incredible:

… I looked at the papers published on the origin of life and decided that it was absurd that the thought of nature of its own volition putting together a DNA or an RNA molecule was unbelievable.

I’m always running out of metaphors to try and explain what the difficulty is. But suppose you took Scrabble sets, or any word game sets, blocks with letters, containing every language on Earth, and you heap them together and you then took a scoop and you scooped into that heap, and you flung it out on the lawn there, and the letters fell into a line which contained the words “To be or not to be, that is the question,” that is roughly the odds of an RNA molecule, given no feedback — and there would be no feedback, because it wouldn’t be functional until it attained a certain length and could copy itself — appearing on the Earth.

How, then, can we account for the origin of proteins that could fold and perform useful tasks? In a recent article, Dr. Douglas Axe has argued that we should be looking well outside the Darwinian framework for an adequate explanation of protein fold origins. The following excerpt is taken from Dr. Douglas Axe’s article, The Case Against a Darwinian Origin of Protein Folds, in BioComplexity 2010(1):1-12. doi:10.5048/BIO-C.2010.1

Abstract

Four decades ago, several scientists suggested that the impossibility of any evolutionary process sampling anything but a minuscule fraction of the possible protein sequences posed a problem for the evolution of new proteins. This potential problem-the sampling problem-was largely ignored, in part because those who raised it had to rely on guesswork to fill some key gaps in their understanding of proteins. The huge advances since that time call for a careful reassessment of the issue they raised. Focusing specifically on the origin of new protein folds, I argue here that the sampling problem remains. The difficulty stems from the fact that new protein functions, when analyzed at the level of new beneficial phenotypes, typically require multiple new protein folds, which in turn require long stretches of new protein sequence. Two conceivable ways for this not to pose an insurmountable barrier to Darwinian searches exist. One is that protein function might generally be largely indifferent to protein sequence. The other is that relatively simple manipulations of existing genes, such as shuffling of genetic modules, might be able to produce the necessary new folds. I argue that these ideas now stand at odds both with known principles of protein structure and with direct experimental evidence. If this is correct, the sampling problem is here to stay, and we should be looking well outside the Darwinian framework for an adequate explanation of fold origins.

Excerpt from the paper:

“Based on analysis of the genomes of 447 bacterial species, the projected number of different domain structures per species averages 991. Comparing this to the number of pathways by which metabolic processes are carried out, which is around 263 for E. coli, provides a rough figure of three or four new domain folds being needed, on average, for every new metabolic pathway. In order to accomplish this successfully, an evolutionary search would need to be capable of locating sequences that amount to anything from one in 10^159 to one in 10^308 possibilities, something the neo-Darwinian model falls short of by a very wide margin.” (p. 11)

A more detailed, non-technical discussion of Dr. Axe’s paper can be found in my recent post, Barriers to macroevolution: what the proteins say. Curiously, none of the critics who responded to my post were able to point out any flaws in Dr. Axe’s reasoning, and I haven’t found any convincing online refutations of Dr. Axe’s paper, either.

How, I would ask, can Professor Rosenhouse assert with swaggering confidence that Intelligent Design is dead, when scientists haven’t even demonstrated the possibility of a single protein arising by unguided natural processes, and when the best data we have says that the time available is orders of magnitude too short?

2. The origin of life

Above: The genetic code. Illustration courtesy of Wikipedia.

Dr. Eugene V. Koonin is a Senior Investigator at the National Center for Biotechnology Information, National Library of Medicine, at the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Maryland, USA. Dr. Koonin is also a recognized authority in the field of evolutionary and computational biology. Recently, he authored a book, titled, The Logic of Chance: The Nature and Origin of Biological Evolution (Upper Saddle River: FT Press, 2011). I think we can fairly assume that when it comes to origin-of-life scenarios, he knows what he’s talking about.

In Appendix B of his book, The Logic of Chance, Dr. Koonin argues that the origin of life is such a remarkable event that we need to postulate a multiverse, containing a very large (and perhaps infinite) number of universes, in order to explain the emergence of life on Earth. The reason why Dr. Koonin believes we need to postulate a multiverse in order to solve the riddle of the origin of life on Earth is that all life is dependent on replication and translation systems which are fiendishly complex. As Koonin puts it:

The origin of the translation system is, arguably, the central and the hardest problem in the study of the origin of life, and one of the hardest in all evolutionary biology. The problem has a clear catch-22 aspect: high translation fidelity hardly can be achieved without a complex, highly evolved set of RNAs and proteins but an elaborate protein machinery could not evolve without an accurate translation system.

In his book, and also in his peer-reviewed article, The Cosmological Model of Eternal Inflation and the Transition from Chance to Biological Evolution in the History of Life (Biology Direct 2 (2007): 15, doi:10.1186/1745-6150-2-15), Dr. Koonin provides what he calls “a rough, toy calculation, of the upper bound of the probability of the emergence of a coupled replication-translation system in an O-region.” (By an “O-region,” Dr. Koonin means an observable universe, such as the one we live in.) The calculations on pages 434-435 in Appendix B of Dr. Koonin’s book, The Logic of Chance, are adapted from his peer-reviewed article, The Cosmological Model of Eternal Inflation and the Transition from Chance to Biological Evolution in the History of Life, Biology Direct 2 (2007): 15, doi:10.1186/1745-6150-2-15. The model itself is not intended to be realistic one – that’s why it’s called a toy model – but it makes some very generous assumptions about the availability of RNA on the primordial Earth. Using his “toy model,” Dr. Koonin estimates that the odds of even a very basic life-form – a coupled replication-translation system – emerging in the observable universe are 1 in 1 followed by 1,018 zeroes. Dr. Koonin calculates the probability of this basic life-form emerging after performing what he calls “a back-of-the-envelope calculation” of the odds of the emergence of “a primitive, coupled replication-translation system,” which requires, at a minimum, the formation of “two rRNAs with a total size of at least 1000 nucleotides,” “10 primitive adaptors of about 30 nucleotides each,” and “one RNA encoding a replicase” with “about 500 nucleotides.” He concludes:

In other words, even in this toy model that assumes a deliberately inflated rate of RNA production, the probability that a coupled translation-replication emerges by chance in a single O-region is P < 10-1018. Obviously, this version of the breakthrough stage can be considered only in the context of a universe with an infinite (or, at the very least, extremely vast) number of O-regions.

Dr. Koonin evades the theistic implications of his calculations by positing a multiverse – a “solution” which fails on no less than five grounds, which I discussed in detail in my recent post, Professor Krauss Objects.

I should add that Dr. Koonin’s 2007 paper, in which he provided a mathematical description of his toy model, Inpassed a panel of four peer reviewers, including one from Harvard University, who wrote:

In this work, Eugene Koonin estimates the probability of arriving at a system capable of undergoing Darwinian evolution and comes to a cosmologically small number

The context of this article is framed by the current lack of a complete and plausible scenario for the origin of life. Koonin specifically addresses the front-runner model, that of the RNA-world, where self-replicating RNA molecules precede a translation system. He notes that in addition to the difficulties involved in achieving such a system is the paradox of attaining a translation system through Darwinian selection. That this is indeed a bona-fide paradox is appreciated by the fact that, without a shortage [of] effort, a plausible scenario for translation evolution has not been proposed to date. There have been other models for the origin of life, including the ground-breaking Lipid-world model advanced by Segre, Lancet and colleagues (reviewed in EMBO Reports (2000), 1(3), 217?222), but despite much ingenuity and effort, it is fair to say that all origin of life models suffer from astoundingly low probabilities of actually occurring

…[F]uture work may show that starting from just a simple assembly of molecules, non-anthropic principles can account for each step along the rise to the threshold of Darwinian evolution. Based upon the new perspective afforded to us by Koonin this now appears unlikely. (Emphases mine – VJT.)

Finally, I’d like to point out that Dr. Koonin’s calculations have been reviewed by Dutch biologist Gert Korthof, in an online article titled, The Koonin threshold for the Origin of Life on Earth. At the end of his review, Dr. Korthof proposes an experiment that could verify or falsify Koonin’s model.

Think about that. A leading evolutionary biologist has calculated that the odds of even a very basic life-form – a coupled replication-translation system – emerging in the observable universe are 1 in 1 followed by 1,018 zeroes. To avoid the theistic implications of his argument, he posits a multiverse – a solution which, as I’ve argued before, is fraught with difficulties. How, then, can Professor Rosenhouse brazenly declare that Intelligent Design is dead?

3. Is there enough time for evolution to have occurred?

Above: An implementation of a Turing machine. Illustration courtesy of Wikipedia.

In 2011, I wrote a post titled, At last, a Darwinist mathematician tells the truth about evolution. My post contained a partial transcript of a talk given by Dr. Gregory Chaitin, a world-famous mathematician and computer scientist, at PPGC UFRGS (Portal do Programa de Pos-Graduacao em Computacao da Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Sul.Mestrado), in Brazil, on 2 May 2011. Professor Chaitin is also the author of a book titled, Proving Darwin: Making Biology Mathematical (Pantheon, 2012, ISBN: 978-0-375-42314-7; paperback, Vintage, 2013, ISBN: 978-1-400-07798-4). As a mathematician who is committed to Darwinism, Chaitin is trying to create a new mathematical version of Darwin’s theory which proves that evolution can really work. However, in his 2011 talk, Professor Chaitin was refreshingly honest and up-front about the mathematical shortcomings of the theory of evolution in its current form. What follows is a series of excerpts from Chaitin’s talk (headings are mine – VJT):

The mathematical inadequacy of Darwin’s theory

[W]hat I want to do is make a theory about randomly evolving, mutating and evolving software – a little toy model of evolution where I can prove theorems, because I love Darwin’s theory, I have nothing against it, but, you know, it’s just an empirical theory. As a pure mathematician, that’s not good enough…

Life is evolving software

So here’s the way I’m looking at biology now, in this viewpoint. Life is evolving software. Bodies are unimportant, right? The hardware is unimportant. The software is important…

The relevance of computational theory to understanding how life works: a brief history

If you look at it from the point of view of biology, … I’ll give you a revisionist version of this. Turing fumbles the ball. He’s surrounded by software everywhere, in the natural world, in the biosphere. There’s software everywhere, he’s just finally realized what it is that makes biology work, but he doesn’t get it… He’s too trapped in the pre-Turing viewpoint….

So it’s von Neumann, … who did not come up with the original idea that Turing did, but who appreciated infinitely better than Turing the full scope and implications of this new viewpoint. And this is sort of typical of von Neumann. He’s a wonderful mathematician, he’s my hero….

So von Neumann looked at this work of Turing and said, “This applies not just to artificial automata, Turing machines, which are computers, it applies in the biological world. And von Neumann has a paper published in 1951, … called … “The General and Logical Theory of Automata”, and he’s talking about natural automata and artificial automata. Artificial automata are computers; natural automata are biological organisms.

OK, so software is everywhere there, and what I want to do is make a theory about randomly evolving, mutating and evolving software – a little toy model of evolution where I can prove theorems, because I love Darwin’s theory, I have nothing against it, but, you know, it’s just an empirical theory. As a pure mathematician, that’s not good enough…

Modern organisms are too messy to use if you want a mathematical model which rigorously demonstrates the possibility of evolution

Biology is too much of a mess. DNA is a programming language which is billions of years old and which has grown by accretion, and … we know a little bit about it, but it’s just a catastrophe. So instead of working with randomly mutating DNA, let’s work with randomly mutating computer programs, where we invented the language, and we can keep it a theoretical computer program, one that a theoretician would make, so you know, you specify the semantics, you know the rules of the game.

And … I’m proposing that as a more tractable question to work on… So I propose to call this new field metabiology, and you’re all welcome to get involved in it. So far there’s just me and my wife Virginia working on this. It’s wide open. And the idea is to exploit this analogy between artificial software – computer programs – and natural programs, DNA.

[I]nstead of trying to prove theorems about what happens with random mutations on DNA, we’re going to try to prove theorems about random mutations on computer programs. OK. This is the proposal – to make a field like that.

A toy model is required to rigorously demonstrate the possibility of evolution

So, my organisms are software organisms. They are only software. My organisms are programs. You pick some language, and the space of all possible organisms is the space of all possible programs in that language. And this is a very rich space. So that’s the idea…

Toy models are extremely unrealistic

So, my organisms are software organisms. They are only software. My organisms are programs. You pick some language, and the space of all possible organisms is the space of all possible programs in that language. And this is a very rich space. So that’s the idea…

So how do we make a toy model of evolution? …

OK, here comes the toy model… So the model is very simple. There’s only one organism. Not only there’s no bodies, it’s a program… There is no population, there is no environment, there is no competition… [but] it’ll evolve anyway. Let me tell you what there is. So it’s a single software organism, it’s a program, and it will be mutated and evolving … What does this program do? Well, I’m interested in programs that calculate a single positive whole number, and then they halt… So my organism is really a pure mathematician or a computer scientist. And the reason that I’m going to get them to evolve is that I’m going to give them something challenging to do, something which can use an unlimited amount of creativity. So what is the goal of this organism? … How do I decide if an organism has become more fit? What is the notion of fitness … for this organism? What is its goal in life? Well its goal is … the Busy Beaver problem. It’s a very simple problem … and it’s just the idea of: name a very big positive integer. And this might sound like a trivial, stupid thing, but it’s not. It’s sort of the simplest problem which requires an unlimited amount of creativity, which means that in a way, Godel’s incompleteness theorem applies to it. There is no general method… No closed system will give you the best possible answer. There are always better and better ways to do it. So the reason is basically that this problem is equivalent to Turing’s halting problem. So that’s the theoretical basis of why this problem is so fundamental and can utilize an unlimited amount of mathematical creativity. OK, so the fitness of this organism, which comes from the program, is the number it calculates. The bigger the number, the better the organism. So that’s their goal in life. ..These are mathematicians and their aim is to calculate enormously big numbers. The bigger, the better…

he breakthrough is to allow algorithmic mutations – very powerful mutational mechanisms which, as far as I know, are not the case in biology, but nobody really knows all the mutational mechanisms in biology. So this is a very high-level kind of mutation. An algorithmic mutation means: I will take a program – my mutation will be a program – that I give the current organism as input and it produces a mutated organism as output. So that’s a function. It’s a computable function. That’s a very powerful notion of mutation. And the crucial thing is: what is the probability going to be?

OK, so this is the idea. If the algorithmic mutation M which is a function basically, a computable function which takes the organism and maps it into the mutated organism. If that’s a K-bit program then this will have a probability of 1 over 2 to the K. That’s a very natural measure, and for those of you who have heard of the halting probability, which was mentioned in the very nice introduction, which is the probability that a Turing machine halts, which is my version of Turing’s halting problem. You see this field knows how to associate probabilities with algorithms in a natural way. …Those of us who work in this field are convinced that this is a natural way – we can give various reasons – for associating probabilities on computer programs. OK?

So from a mathematical view this is now a very natural way to assign a probability to a mutation.

Even toy models of evolution require a Turing oracle in order to work properly

Now one important thing to say is that there’s a little problem with this: we need something which Turing invented, not in his famous paper of 1936, but in a less well-known but pretty wonderful paper of 1938, which are called oracles….

And basically what an oracle is, it’s something you add to a normal computer, to a normal Turing machine, that enables the machine to do things that are uncomputable. You’re allowed to ask God or someone to give you the answer to some question where you can’t compute the answer, and the oracle will immediately give you the answer, and you go on ahead. So I need an oracle to enable me to carry out this random walk… [Y]ou can get stuck running the new organism to see what it calculates, you see, and you’ll go on forever, and it’ll never calculate anything, so you’re just stuck there and the random walk dies. So we’ve got to keep that from happening. And if you actually want to do that, as a thought experiment, you would need an oracle.….

The first thing I … want to see is: how fast will this system evolve? How big will the fitness be? How big will the number be that these organisms name? How quickly will they name the really big numbers? So how can we measure the rate of evolutionary progress, or mathematical creativity of my little mathematicians, these programs? Well, the way to measure the rate of progress, or creativity, in this model, is to define a thing called the Busy Beaver function.

Three possible kinds of evolution: Intelligent Design (the smartest possible kind), Darwinian evolution, and exhaustive search (the slowest kind)

So anyway, let me tell you about three different evolutionary regimes you can have with this model. This is the one I’m really interested in. This is cumulative random evolution. OK? But first I want to tell you about two extremes, two sort of evolutionary regimes, because we want to get a feeling for how well this model does, when you’re picking the mutations at random, in the way I’ve just described. So to get that sort of bracket, the sort of best and worst possibilities, to see how this kind of model behaves, you need to look at two extremes which are not normal cumulative evolution in the way I’ve described. So one extreme is total stupidity. You don’t look at the current organism. For the next organism, you pick an organism at random. In other words, the mutation isn’t told of the current organism. It just gives you a new organism at random without being able to use any information from the current organism. It’s stupid. So what this does, this basically amounts to exhaustive search, in the space of all possible programs with a probability measure that comes from algorithmic information theory. And if you do that, this is the stupidest possible way to evolve… your organism will reach fitness – the Busy Beaver function of N – in time exponential of N. Why? Because basically that’s the amount of time it takes to try every possible N-bit program, and it’ll find the one that is the most fit, and that one has this fitness. You see, so this is, sort of, the worst case. But notice that time 2 to the N is what? You’ve tried 2 to the N mutations. That’s the timing in here. Every time you try, you generate a mutation at random and try it, to see if that gives you a bigger integer, and that counts as one clock.

Now, what is the smartest possible way, the best possible way to get evolution to take place? This is not Darwinian. This is if I pick the sequence of mutations. It has to be a computable sequence of mutations, but I get to pick the best mutations, the best order, you know, do the best possible mutations, one after the other, that will drive the evolution – the mutations you try – … as fast as possible. But it has to be done in a computable manner with the mutations. So that you could sort of call Intelligent Design. I’m the one that’s designing that, right? In my model, …in this space, I get to pick the sequence, I get to indicate the sequence of mutations that you try, that will really drive the fitness up very fast. So that’s sort of the best you can do, and what that does, it reaches Busy Beaver function of N in time N, because basically in time N it got to go to the oracle N times, and each time, you’re getting one bit of creativity, so this is clearly the best you can do, and you can do it in this model. So this is the fastest possible regime.

So this [here he points to exhaustive search] of course is very stupid, and this [here he points to Intelligent Design] requires Divine Inspiration or something. You know, [in Darwinian evolution] you’re not allowed to pick your mutations in the best possible order. And mutations are picked at random. That’s how Darwinian evolution works.

So what happens if we do that, which is sort of cumulative random evolution, the real thing? Well, here’s the result. You’re going to reach Busy Beaver function N in a time that is – you can estimate it to be between order of N squared and order of N cubed. Actually this is an upper bound. I don’t have a lower bound on this. This is a piece of research which I would like to see somebody do – or myself for that matter – but for now it’s just an upper bound.

Only Intelligent Design is guaranteed to evolve living things in the four billion years available. It seems that Darwinian evolution would take too much time

So what happens if we do that, which is sort of cumulative random evolution, the real thing? Well, here’s the result. You’re going to reach Busy Beaver function N in a time that is ? you can estimate it to be between order of N squared and order of N cubed. Actually this is an upper bound. I don’t have a lower bound on this. This is a piece of research which I would like to see somebody do – or myself for that matter – but for now it’s just an upper bound. OK, so what does this mean? This means, I will put it this way. I was very pleased initially with this.

Table:
Exhaustive search reaches fitness BB(N) in time 2^N.
Intelligent Design reaches fitness BB(N) in time N. (That’s the fastest possible regime.)
Random evolution reaches fitness BB(N) in time between N^2 and N^3.

This means that picking the mutations at random is almost as good as picking them the best possible way. It’s doing a hell of a lot better than exhaustive search. This is BB(N) at time N and this is between N squared and N cubed. So I was delighted with this result, and I would only be more delighted if I could prove that in fact this [here he points to Darwinian evolution] will be slower than this [here he points to Intelligent Design]. I’d like to separate these three possibilities. But I don’t have that yet.

But I told a friend of mine … about this result. He doesn’t like Darwinian evolution, and he told me, “Well, you can look at this the other way if you want. This is actually much too slow to justify Darwinian evolution on planet Earth. And if you think about it, he’s right.… If you make an estimate, the human genome is something on the order of a gigabyte of bits. So it’s … let’s say a billion bits – actually 6 x 10^9 bits, I think it is, roughly – … so we’re looking at programs up to about that size [here he points to N^2 on the slide] in bits, and N is about of the order of a billion, 10^9, and the time, he said … that’s a very big number, and you would need this to be linear, for this to have happened on planet Earth, because if you take something of the order of 10^9 and you square it or you cube it, well …forget it. There isn’t enough time in the history of the Earth … Even though it’s fast theoretically, it’s too slow to work. He said, “You really need something more or less linear.” And he has a point...

More realistic models of evolution won’t allow you to rigorously prove anything about evolution

But what happens if you try to make things a little more realistic? You know, no oracles, a limited run time, you know, all kinds of things. Well, my general feeling is that it would sort of be a trade-off. The more realistic your model is – this is a very abstract fantasy world. That’s why I’m able to prove these results. So if it’s … more realistic, my general guess will be that it’ll be harder to carry out proofs. And it may be that you can’t really prove what’s going on, with more realistic situations…

Here, Professor Chaitin candidly admits that in the light of our current knowledge, Darwinian evolution is orders of magnitude too slow in generating the mutations required for life to evolve. And as far as I am aware, Professor Chaitin’s challenge of proving mathematically that Darwinian evolution can produce organisms with the required fitness in the time available – billions of years, instead of quintillions – remains unsolved.

Towards the conclusion of his talk, Professor Chaitin pessimistically suggested that the possibility of Darwinian evolution may turn out to be forever unprovable, using realistic assumptions. If he’s right here, then evolution is really a theory like no other. It is one thing to believe in a theory whose possibility has not been demonstrated. It is quite another thing to believe in a theory whose possibility cannot be demonstrated. What makes such an act of assent rational?

Perhaps Professor Rosenhouse will respond by citing a 2010 paper by Herbert S. Wilf and Warren J. Ewens, a biologist and a mathematician at the University of Pennsylvania, in Proceedings of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), titled, “There’s plenty of time for evolution“. However, Intelligent Design proponents are one step ahead of him. In a peer-reviewed scientific paper in the journal BIO-Complexity, titled, “Time and Information in Evolution“, authors Winston Ewert, Ann Gauger, william Dembski and Jonathan Marks demonstrate that Wilf and Ewens’ mathematical simulation of evolution doesn’t model biologically realistic processes of Darwinian evolution at all. A summary of the paper can be found here. Allow me to quote a brief excerpt:

Wilf and Ewens argue in a recent paper that there is plenty of time for evolution to occur. They base this claim on a mathematical model in which beneficial mutations accumulate simultaneously and independently, thus allowing changes that require a large number of mutations to evolve over comparatively short time periods. Because changes evolve independently and in parallel rather than sequentially, their model scales logarithmically rather than exponentially. This approach does not accurately reflect biological evolution, however, for two main reasons. First, within their model are implicit information sources, including the equivalent of a highly informed oracle that prophesies when a mutation is “correct,” thus accelerating the search by the evolutionary process. Natural selection, in contrast, does not have access to information about future benefits of a particular mutation, or where in the global fitness landscape a particular mutation is relative to a particular target. It can only assess mutations based on their current effect on fitness in the local fitness landscape. Thus the presence of this oracle makes their model radically different from a real biological search through fitness space. Wilf and Ewens also make unrealistic biological assumptions that, in effect, simplify the search. They assume no epistasis between beneficial mutations, no linkage between loci, and an unrealistic population size and base mutation rate, thus increasing the pool of beneficial mutations to be searched. They neglect the effects of genetic drift on the probability of fixation and the negative effects of simultaneously accumulating deleterious mutations. Finally, in their model they represent each genetic locus as a single letter. By doing so, they ignore the enormous sequence complexity of actual genetic loci (typically hundreds or thousands of nucleotides long), and vastly oversimplify the search for functional variants. In similar fashion, they assume that each evolutionary “advance” requires a change to just one locus, despite the clear evidence that most biological functions are the product of multiple gene products working together. Ignoring these biological realities infuses considerable active information into their model and eases the model’s evolutionary process.

In other words, evolutionists are back at square one. To be sure, there are many converging lines of circumstantial evidence for common descent. But common descent is not evolution. Evolution is an unguided natural process, working by mechanisms which require no foresight whatsoever. And evolutionists are still as far as ever from demonstrating even the plausibility (let alone the truth) of their bold claim that these unguided mechanisms could have generated the vast diversity of organisms we see around us, within the time available.

Professor Rosenhouse may reply that the foregoing arguments are merely arguments from ignorance. No, they’re not. They’re arguments based on the best scientific knowledge available to date. Of course, future discoveries may overturn them. But in the meantime, it is rational to follow the evidence where it leads us: away from unguided natural processes, and towards Intelligent Design.

What do readers think?

257 Replies to “Is Intelligent Design dead?

  1. 1
    Jim Smith says:

    Naturalism is dead.

  2. 2
    Mark Frank says:

    Rosenhouse just says ID is dead. The item was about something altogether different and that sentence standsalone as a comment in passing. So we really don’t know what he meant. But I suspect is was more about the failure of ID to attract interest, followers and research than about the actual arguments.

  3. 3
    Don Pedro says:

    ID isn’t dead. It’s simply sterile, consistently failing to come up with anything productive.

  4. 4
    Joe says:

    Nice projection Piotr. Unlike your position at least ID has a methodology. Your position has all the resources and still has nothing.

  5. 5

    I think it was just a sarcastic comment about the non-ID oriented exchanges going on here, esp. about morality. IOW, “if this is what’s going on at the premiere ID blog, ID is truly dead”.

    I think the notion that “ID is dead” is just another demonstration of the power of the self-deluding materialist narrative.

  6. 6
    Zachriel says:

    tjtorley (quoting): If you make an estimate, the human genome is something on the order of a gigabyte of bits. So it’s … let’s say a billion bits – actually 6 x 10^9 bits, I think it is, roughly – … so we’re looking at programs up to about that size [here he points to N^2 on the slide] in bits, and N is about of the order of a billion, 10^9, and the time, he said … that’s a very big number, and you would need this to be linear, for this to have happened on planet Earth, because if you take something of the order of 10^9 and you square it or you cube it, well …forget it.

    N^2 is an upper limit, not a lower limit. In addition, most of evolution occurred with much smaller genomes and very large populations. So, while a computer works algorithmically (single steps), nature is massively parallel. There might be 10^30 organisms developing the mechanisms of metabolism and other basic processes.

    As for oracles, they can be the external world to be explored.

  7. 7
    harry says:

    Don Pedro @3

    ID isn’t dead. It’s simply sterile, consistently failing to come up with anything productive.

    I have heard many versions of that remark for years. I have a question for those who make such remarks. Let me describe a hypothetical scenario before asking it.

    Let’s say that what appears to many to be an unmanned (or should I say “unaliened”?) extraterrestrial drone lands on planet Earth and just sits there doing nothing, as though we were being invited to examine the technology of which it consists. There are scientists though, who insist the “drone” is really a naturally occurring phenomenon and came about mindlessly and accidentally. Others insist that it is obviously an intelligently designed drone. The fact that it is of extraterrestrial origin is not disputed.

    Here is my question: By what methods, acceptable to those who insist that ID is not science or that it never produces any results, would those who thought it was obvious that the object was an intelligently designed drone demonstrate that that was indeed the case? In other words, what approach that is legitimate science according to opponents of ID would be used to demonstrate that intelligent design has taken place when there is no a priori assumption that it hasn’t?

  8. 8
    Zachriel says:

    harry: I have heard many versions of that remark for years.

    So the reason ID isn’t sterile is because of its utility in a situation which hasn’t occurred and may never occur.

    In any case, we would recognize it as an artifact by its similarity and differences with known artifacts and non-artifacts.
    http://doubtfulnewscom.c.press.....142441.jpg

  9. 9
    bornagain77 says:

    Dr. Torley, although the probability arguments are certainly very good arguments supporting the validity of the inference to Intelligent Design, I’ve been thinking recently that an even more convincing case can be made that Intelligent Design is not dead from looking at Jason Rosenhouse’s own field of expertise.
    Specifically, mathematics itself provides a more excellent evidence for Design than probability does, and ‘proves’ that not only is Intelligent Design not dead, but the Intelligent Designer, who I hold to be God, is alive and well.
    In laying the ‘mathematical’ case out, Alfred Wallace, co-discoverer of natural selection, stated:

    “Nothing in evolution can account for the soul of man. The difference between man and the other animals is unbridgeable. Mathematics is alone sufficient to prove in man the possession of a faculty unexistent in other creatures. Then you have music and the artistic faculty. No, the soul was a separate creation.”
    Alfred Russel Wallace – An interview by Harold Begbie printed on page four of The Daily Chronicle (London) issues of 3 November and 4 November 1910.

    And indeed, as Wallace contended, we find that the difference between man and the other animals is unbridgeable.

    Evolution of the Genus Homo – Annual Review of Earth and Planetary Sciences – Ian Tattersall, Jeffery H. Schwartz, May 2009
    Excerpt: “Unusual though Homo sapiens may be morphologically, it is undoubtedly our remarkable cognitive qualities that most strikingly demarcate us from all other extant species. They are certainly what give us our strong subjective sense of being qualitatively different. And they are all ultimately traceable to our symbolic capacity. Human beings alone, it seems, mentally dissect the world into a multitude of discrete symbols, and combine and recombine those symbols in their minds to produce hypotheses of alternative possibilities. When exactly Homo sapiens acquired this unusual ability is the subject of debate.”
    http://www.annualreviews.org/d.....208.100202

    Leading Evolutionary Scientists Admit We Have No Evolutionary Explanation of Human Language – December 19, 2014
    Excerpt: Understanding the evolution of language requires evidence regarding origins and processes that led to change. In the last 40 years, there has been an explosion of research on this problem as well as a sense that considerable progress has been made. We argue instead that the richness of ideas is accompanied by a poverty of evidence, with essentially no explanation of how and why our linguistic computations and representations evolved.,,,
    (Marc Hauser, Charles Yang, Robert Berwick, Ian Tattersall, Michael J. Ryan, Jeffrey Watumull, Noam Chomsky and Richard C. Lewontin, “The mystery of language evolution,” Frontiers in Psychology, Vol 5:401 (May 7, 2014).)
    It’s difficult to imagine much stronger words from a more prestigious collection of experts.
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....92141.html

    And also as Wallace contended, we find that math is not so much of a learned ability as it is an inherent ability of humans that must be polished by education:

    Geometric Principles Appear Universal in Our Minds – May 2011
    Excerpt: Villagers belonging to an Amazonian group called the Mundurucú intuitively grasp abstract geometric principles despite having no formal math education,,, Mundurucú adults and 7- to 13-year-olds demonstrate as firm an understanding of the properties of points, lines and surfaces as adults and school-age children in the United States and France,,,
    http://www.wired.com/wiredscie.....-geometry/

    But what is it, particularly, about mathematics that convinced Wallace that humans had a soul?
    I think Berlinski puts the ‘natural’ inference between mathematics and the soul, that Wallace intuitively saw, best in the following interview:

    An Interview with David Berlinski – Jonathan Witt
    Berlinski: There is no argument against religion that is not also an argument against mathematics. Mathematicians are capable of grasping a world of objects that lies beyond space and time ….
    Interviewer:… Come again(?) …
    Berlinski: No need to come again: I got to where I was going the first time. The number four, after all, did not come into existence at a particular time, and it is not going to go out of existence at another time. It is neither here nor there. Nonetheless we are in some sense able to grasp the number by a faculty of our minds. Mathematical intuition is utterly mysterious. So for that matter is the fact that mathematical objects such as a Lie Group or a differentiable manifold have the power to interact with elementary particles or accelerating forces. But these are precisely the claims that theologians have always made as well – that human beings are capable by an exercise of their devotional abilities to come to some understanding of the deity; and the deity, although beyond space and time, is capable of interacting with material objects.
    http://tofspot.blogspot.com/20.....-here.html

    Wallace and Berlinski are hardly alone in noticing this correspondence. There are many quotes from the Christian founders of modern science noting the correspondence.
    Sir Isaac Newton stated:

    “This most beautiful system of the sun, planets, and comets, could only proceed from the counsel and dominion of an intelligent and powerful Being. And if the fixed stars are the centres of other like systems, these, being formed by the like wise counsel, must be all subject to the dominion of One; ,,,
    This Being governs all things, not as the soul of the world, but as Lord over all; and on account of his dominion he is wont to be called Lord God pantokrator, or Universal Ruler;,,, The Supreme God is a Being eternal, infinite, absolutely perfect;,,,”
    Sir Isaac Newton – Quoted from what many consider the greatest science masterpiece of all time, his book “Principia”
    http://gravitee.tripod.com/genschol.htm

    In fact, on discovering the mathematical laws of planetary motion, Johann Kepler declared these very ‘unscientific’ thoughts:

    ‘O God, I am thinking your thoughts after you!’
    “Geometry is unique and eternal, a reflection from the mind of God. That mankind shares in it is because man is an image of God.”
    – Johannes Kepler

    Galileo stated:

    Mathematics is the language with which God has written the universe.
    Galileo Galilei

    And these Christian founders of modern science were hardly uttering dark age superstitions when they made their remarks about the correspondence of mathematical laws of the universe, the human mind’s ability to discern them, and God. The mystery persists to this present day:
    Einstein expressed his wonder at the correspondence like this:

    How can it be that mathematics, being after all a product of human thought which is independent of experience, is so admirably appropriate to the objects of reality? Is human reason, then, without experience, merely by taking thought, able to fathom the properties of real things?
    — Albert Einstein

    Eugene Wigner, in a paper the ruffled quite a few atheistic feathers, termed the correspondence between the ability of the human mind to discern mathematics and our ability to accurately describe the universe with mathematics, a ‘miracle’:

    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

    William Lane Craig developed a philosophical proof from God from the unexpected applicability of mathematics to nature:

    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.

    William Lane Craig on the unexpected applicability of mathematics to nature – 11/13/13
    http://winteryknight.wordpress.....to-nature/

  10. 10
    bornagain77 says:

    The usual retort from Atheists to this argument is that the applicability of mathematics ‘just is’ and that you don’t need to appeal to God to explain mathematics, i.e. atheists held/hold that mathematics was a self consistent system that needed no other explanation.
    But Kurt Godel, using the ‘logic of infinity’, destroyed the notion that mathematics can be its own self existent explanation:

    THE GOD OF THE MATHEMATICIANS – DAVID P. GOLDMAN – August 2010
    Excerpt: we cannot construct an ontology that makes God dispensable. Secularists can dismiss this as a mere exercise within predefined rules of the game of mathematical logic, but that is sour grapes, for it was the secular side that hoped to substitute logic for God in the first place. Gödel’s critique of the continuum hypothesis has the same implication as his incompleteness theorems: Mathematics never will create the sort of closed system that sorts reality into neat boxes.
    http://www.firstthings.com/art.....ematicians

    Kurt Gödel – Incompleteness Theorem – video
    https://vimeo.com/92387853

    Taking God Out of the Equation – Biblical Worldview – by Ron Tagliapietra – January 1, 2012
    Excerpt: Kurt Gödel (1906–1978) proved that no logical systems (if they include the counting numbers) can have all three of the following properties.
    1. Validity … all conclusions are reached by valid reasoning.
    2. Consistency … no conclusions contradict any other conclusions.
    3. Completeness … all statements made in the system are either true or false.
    The details filled a book, but the basic concept was simple and elegant. He (Godel) summed it up this way: “Anything you can draw a circle around cannot explain itself without referring to something outside the circle—something you have to assume but cannot prove.” For this reason, his proof is also called the Incompleteness Theorem.
    Kurt Gödel had dropped a bomb on the foundations of mathematics. Math could not play the role of God as infinite and autonomous. It was shocking, though, that logic could prove that mathematics could not be its own ultimate foundation.
    Christians should not have been surprised. The first two conditions are true about math: it is valid and consistent. But only God fulfills the third condition. Only He is complete and therefore self-dependent (autonomous). God alone is “all in all” (1 Corinthians 15:28), “the beginning and the end” (Revelation 22:13). God is the ultimate authority (Hebrews 6:13), and in Christ are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge (Colossians 2:3).
    http://www.answersingenesis.or...../equation#

    Bruce Gordon puts the present ‘incomplete’ mathematical situation for atheists like this:

    BRUCE GORDON: Hawking’s irrational arguments – October 2010
    Excerpt: ,,,The physical universe is causally incomplete and therefore neither self-originating nor self-sustaining. The world of space, time, matter and energy is dependent on a reality that transcends space, time, matter and energy.
    This transcendent reality cannot merely be a Platonic realm of mathematical descriptions, for such things are causally inert abstract entities that do not affect the material world,,,
    Rather, the transcendent reality on which our universe depends must be something that can exhibit agency – a mind that can choose among the infinite variety of mathematical descriptions and bring into existence a reality that corresponds to a consistent subset of them. This is what “breathes fire into the equations and makes a universe for them to describe.” Anything else invokes random miracles as an explanatory principle and spells the end of scientific rationality.,,,
    Universes do not “spontaneously create” on the basis of abstract mathematical descriptions, nor does the fantasy of a limitless multiverse trump the explanatory power of transcendent intelligent design. What Mr. Hawking’s contrary assertions show is that mathematical savants can sometimes be metaphysical simpletons. Caveat emptor.
    http://www.washingtontimes.com.....arguments/

    And although, planets, stars, and galaxies, following universal mathematical laws is certainly a very compelling evidence that the universe is indeed, as is held in Theism, governed by One omnipotent being, i.e. governed by God almighty,,,

    “Our monotheistic traditions reinforce the assumption that the universe is at root a unity, that is not governed by different legislation in different places.”
    John D. Barrow

    Quantum mechanics goes one step further than that and shows, quite clearly, that material particles are directly under the control of this ‘non-abstract’, and transcendent, world of mathematics:

    Wheeler’s Classic Delayed Choice Experiment:
    Excerpt: Now, for many billions of years the photon is in transit in region 3. Yet we can choose (many billions of years later) which experimental set up to employ – the single wide-focus, or the two narrowly focused instruments. We have chosen whether to know which side of the galaxy the photon passed by (by choosing whether to use the two-telescope set up or not, which are the instruments that would give us the information about which side of the galaxy the photon passed). We have delayed this choice until a time long after the particles “have passed by one side of the galaxy, or the other side of the galaxy, or both sides of the galaxy,” so to speak. Yet, it seems paradoxically that our later choice of whether to obtain this information determines which side of the galaxy the light passed, so to speak, billions of years ago. So it seems that time has nothing to do with effects of quantum mechanics. And, indeed, the original thought experiment was not based on any analysis of how particles evolve and behave over time – it was based on the mathematics. This is what the mathematics predicted for a result, and this is exactly the result obtained in the laboratory.
    per bottom layer

    Moreover, this transcendent, ‘non-abstract’, mathematical quantum world is now found in our material bodies on a massive scale:

    Quantum Information/Entanglement In DNA – short video
    https://vimeo.com/92405752

    Classical and Quantum Information Channels in Protein Chain – Dj. Koruga, A. Tomi?, Z. Ratkaj, L. Matija – 2006
    Abstract: Investigation of the properties of peptide plane in protein chain from both classical and quantum approach is presented. We calculated interatomic force constants for peptide plane and hydrogen bonds between peptide planes in protein chain. On the basis of force constants, displacements of each atom in peptide plane, and time of action we found that the value of the peptide plane action is close to the Planck constant. This indicates that peptide plane from the energy viewpoint possesses synergetic classical/quantum properties. Consideration of peptide planes in protein chain from information viewpoint also shows that protein chain possesses classical and quantum properties. So, it appears that protein chain behaves as a triple dual system: (1) structural – amino acids and peptide planes, (2) energy – classical and quantum state, and (3) information – classical and quantum coding. Based on experimental facts of protein chain, we proposed from the structure-energy-information viewpoint its synergetic code system.
    http://www.scientific.net/MSF.518.491

    Thus Alfred Wallace’s contention that Mathematics is proof that “the soul was a separate creation” has far more validity to it than he realized at the time:

    Quantum Entangled Consciousness – Life After Death – Stuart Hameroff – video
    https://vimeo.com/39982578

    Verse and Music:

    John1:1
    “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.”

    of note: ‘the Word’ in John1:1 is translated from ‘Logos’ in Greek. ‘Logos’ is the root word from which we derive our modern word ‘logic’
    http://etymonline.com/?term=logic

    Casting Crowns – The Word Is Alive – Live
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X9itgOBAxSc

  11. 11
    Mung says:

    Intelligent Design is not dead. It’s just that rotting corpse smell wafting from the oft-refuted arguments against it that might lead one to think so.

  12. 12
    Mung says:

    Zachriel:

    In any case, we would recognize it as an artifact by its similarity and differences with known artifacts and non-artifacts.

    ID in a nutshell. Hypocrite.

  13. 13
  14. 14
    ppolish says:

    Intelligent Design can heal bodies and raise profits. Improve Evo Theory. It’s the future.
    http://vcresearch.berkeley.edu.....ffer_david

  15. 15
    Zachriel says:

    Mung: ID in a nutshell.

    Archaeology traces the links of causation from artifact to art to artisan. ID does not, claiming it doesn’t matter. Archaeology is supported by cross-related sciences. ID is not, claiming it doesn’t matter. Archaeology makes testable claims. ID does not.

    ppolish: Intelligent Design can heal bodies and raise profits.

    The term is used differently in the article than in this blog. Intelligent design in that sense includes architecture and engineering.

  16. 16
    Joe says:

    Zachriel:

    Archaeology traces the links of causation from artifact to art to artisan.

    Archaeology rarely, if ever, points to a specific artisan. Who built Nan Madol?

    ID does not, claiming it doesn’t matter.

    Wrong again. ID says that is a separate question from whether or not the thing being investigated was intelligently designed or not.

    Archaeology is supported by cross-related sciences. ID is not,

    ID is supported by biology, chemistry, physics, cosmology, geology, astronomy- quite a few cross-related sciences.

    Archaeology makes testable claims. ID does not.

    ID makes the same testable claims as archaeology, forensic science and SETI- namely that when intelligent agencies act in nature they tend to leave traces of their activities behind.

    You lose, again, as usual, Zacho. But then again we all know you will just ignore everything and fall back on your willful ignorance and cowardly equivocations.

    Good luck with that.

  17. 17
    ppolish says:

    “Schaffer has favored a kind of intelligent design approach to modify the virus. Known as directed evolution, the strategy uses genetic engineering to find variations in the virus that will allow it to effectively deliver drugs to target cells.”

    Zachary, brilliant Dr Schafffer has a base in both Mathematics & Biology. That combination will lead one to “Intelligent Design” and “Directed Evolution”. At Cal Berkeley even:)

    Mathematics is the Darwinist’s bane.

  18. 18
    harry says:

    Zachriel @8

    So the reason ID isn’t sterile is because of its utility in a situation which hasn’t occurred and may never occur.

    Respond to what I said instead of to your straw man. I didn’t make such an assertion. I just presented a hypothetical scenario which I thought would clarify what I was asking.

    In any case, we would recognize it as an artifact by its similarity and differences with known artifacts and non-artifacts.

    Excluding life’s protein machines from both, provide me with two lists. The first is a list of functionally complex phenomena constructed from digitally stored assembly instructions, where each item on this list is known to have come about without intelligent agency being a causal factor. The other list is the same except that intelligent agency is known to have been a causal factor.

    What should we conclude about life from the fact that you have nothing on the first list? And from the fact that intelligent agency was a causal factor in every functionally complex artifact constructed from digitally stored assembly instructions that is known to us?

  19. 19
    Mapou says:

    One wonders. Why is Zachriel such an arse? And why is he hiding behind a pseudonym like a little wimp?

  20. 20
    scottH says:

    Even if the only thing ID offered was a challenge to those supporting the theory of evolution to not allow such easy explanations, especially those that are so improbable, isn’t that enough to keep it around? You should demand more from your theory and those who are proposing these solutions.

    Demand more from yourself and do not let these just so stories be good enough. Isn’t that how science progresses, by challenging other theories? I’m probably younger than most on here and less experienced but am pretty disappointed reading what is allowed to pass as an explanation in support of evolution, not to mention the usual rhetoric thrown at ID.

    Actual discussion about the issues gets us closer to the truth. Not this “your theory is stupid and so are you” talk. Do better. It shows me what is more important is holding on to an idea that helps your worldview, not the truth.

    If you relax your worldview a bit, though it may be uncomfortable, you might realize this. Challenging a theory is not a bad thing, it’s how we move forward. Set a better example for newbies like me.

  21. 21
    JoeCoder says:

    1 in 10 to the power of 164 is 1 in 1 followed by 164 zeroes. Given that the number of discrete events (or elementary bit-operations) that have occurred during the history of the entire universe has been estimated at less than 10^150, according to calculations performed by Dr. Seth Lloyd, it should be obvious to the reader that that the 4.54 billion years of Earth history is nowhere near enough time for a protein to form as a result of unguided natural processes.

    Dr. Torley, I’ve read Axe’s paper and the debates online that followed it. Doug Axe proposes that one in 10^64 random sequences of amino acids can fold, not one in 10^164. So that’s a googol times more likely, not that it’s enough to really make a difference.

    In his video review of Darwin’s Doubt, Paul Giem also misquoted this number as one in 10^74. So at least you’re in good company.

  22. 22
    Don Pedro says:

    Ppolish,

    Here’s a quote from a recent article co-authored by Professor Schaffer (Bartel–Weinstein–Schaffer 2012, emphasis added):

    Directed evolution is a high-throughput molecular engineering approach that has been successfully utilized to generate protein pharmaceuticals with enhanced biological activities, antibodies with enhanced binding affinity and enzymes with new specificities.[21] The method emulates the process of natural evolution, in which repeated genetic diversification and selection enable the accumulation of key mutations or genetic modifications that progressively improve a molecule’s function, even without knowledge of the underlying mechanistic basis for the problem.

    In other words, they use various techniques for viral mutagenesis to generate a large “library” of (random) variants, and then apply selective pressures to find the most successful variants. The difference between what they do and natural evolution is that in the latter case the pressures are exerted by the environment, while in the former the researchers apply them in a controlled way to achieve a desired property. Directed evolution is what they do in the lab. They don’t say or imply that natural evolution is directed.

  23. 23
    Roy says:

    Intelligent design died as science at Dover, where it was shown to be nothing more than a rebranding of creationism being pushed by a bunch of perjurers.

    It died as anything else in this thread when vjtorley was unable to provide any positive evidence or arguments in favour of ID, only negative arguments against evolution.

    Roy

  24. 24
    Joe says:

    Roy:

    Intelligent design died as science at Dover, where it was shown to be nothing more than a rebranding of creationism being pushed by a bunch of perjurers.

    Actually a bunch of perjurers were believed by an ignorant judge.

  25. 25
    Mapou says:

    Roy @23, why be such a hypocrite? ID is falsifiable because it predicts a non-nested tree of life which is what is observed in nature. Live with it.

  26. 26
    Joe says:

    Piotr, Undirected evolution is impotent. It can’t be modeled and offers up nothing.

  27. 27
    ppolish says:

    Baby steps, Don Pedro. And btw, quoting Dr Schaffers saying his ID method “emulates natural selection” says nothing about Nature being undirected.

    Evolution can be directed by Man. Evolution reveals mountains of evidence of being directed without Man also. Fish turn into Monkeys, never vice versa. Sea Monkeys do not count.

  28. 28
    Don Pedro says:

    Ppolish,

    I suggest you write to Dr Schaffer and ask him if he believes in Intelligent Design (as opposed to “intelligent design”, with scare quotes).

  29. 29
    Zachriel says:

    ppolish: brilliant Dr Schafffer has a base in both Mathematics & Biology. That combination will lead one to “Intelligent Design” and “Directed Evolution”. At Cal Berkeley even:)

    So? The term is still being used in the article in the sense of human engineering, not the nebulous claim of some designer somehow somewhen designed life.

    harry: Excluding life’s protein machines from both, provide me with two lists. The first is a list of functionally complex phenomena constructed from digitally stored assembly instructions, where each item on this list is known to have come about without intelligent agency being a causal factor.

    Life.

    harry: The other list is the same except that intelligent agency is known to have been a causal factor.

    Accounting software.

    vjtorley: If we compare the number of 150-amino-acid sequences that correspond to some sort of functional protein to the total number of possible 150-amino-acid sequences, we find that only a tiny proportion of possible amino acid sequences are capable of performing a function of any kind.

    About 10^-11 protein sequences fold into functional proteins. See Keefe & Szostak, Functional proteins from a random-sequence library, Nature 2001.

  30. 30
    Roy says:

    Even if the only thing ID offered was a challenge to those supporting the theory of evolution to not allow such easy explanations, especially those that are so improbable, isn’t that enough to keep it around?

    No. Evolutionary biologists are more than capable of identifying the shortcomings of their theories. There’s no need for challenges from non-experts, particularly ones who are not only familiar with neither evolutionary theory nor logic, but are also incurably biased to the point that a real-time video event of evolution in action would not be sufficient evidence to convince them.

  31. 31
    ppolish says:

    To a Materislist, Man’s Intelligent Designs are Nature’s Intelligent Designs. 100% bags of chemicals intelligently designing and directing other bags of chemicals.

    To a Materialist, there is no “Naturalness Problem”. There is only Nature.

  32. 32
    Roy says:

    Actually a bunch of perjurers were believed by an ignorant judge.

    The only perjury established at Dover was that of Bonsell, Buckingham, etc, and the judge did not believe them.

    If you have evidence that anyone other than the members of the Dover school board lied under oath at Dover, present it. Otherwise your claim is nothing but malicious and empty slander, and anything further you might say will be ignored.

  33. 33
    Roy says:

    ID is falsifiable because it predicts a non-nested tree of life which is what is observed in nature. Live with it.

    ID does not predict a non-nested tree of life, since Mike Behe testified that ID is compatible with common descent. Live with it.

  34. 34
    Jim Smith says:

    According to Karl Popper you can’t prove a scientific theory, you can only disprove one. This applies to all fields of science.

    If something happened in the past, such as a geological phenomenon, how do you determine the cause? By inference to the best explanation and uniformitarianism. By identifying causes in operation today that can cause the phenomenon that occurred in the past and choosing the best one. Applied to ID, if you find information (DNA), mathematical relationships (fine-tuning), codes, cybernetic systems, semiotic systems, and irreducibly complex systems which are all known to be produced by intelligence and you can’t explain them by necessity and or chance, then design is the best explanation.

  35. 35
    Joe says:

    Common descent doesn’t predict a nested hierarchy. And Forrest lied when she said that ID requires the supernatural. Anyone who sez that ID = creationism is a liar. Anyone who sez that unguided evolution can produce irreducible complex features, is a liar.

    Judge Jones was in no position to determine what is and isn’t science- he was fooled by a literature bluff.

  36. 36
    Seversky says:

    William J Murray @ 5

    I think it was just a sarcastic comment about the non-ID oriented exchanges going on here, esp. about morality. IOW, “if this is what’s going on at the premiere ID blog, ID is truly dead”.

    I think the notion that “ID is dead” is just another demonstration of the power of the self-deluding materialist narrative.

    I rarely agree with WJM on anything but I can agree with him here, at least, his first sentence. The main thrust of Rosenhouse’s post is about morality, prompted by the discussions here.

    The Intelligent Design movement (IDM) is not dead but I think you can make a case for it stagnating and vjtorley’s OP is further evidence for that thesis.

    One common criticism of IDM is that the majority of the written output its proponents is devoted to attacking the alleged inadequacy of the theory of evolution as an account of how life on Earth emerged and diversified over time. Far less is concerned with advancing a well-articulated theory of intelligent design.

    As it stands, the theory of ID is little more than the summary quoted on this website:

    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.

    In a broader sense, Intelligent Design is simply the science of design detection — how to recognize patterns arranged by an intelligent cause for a purpose. Design detection is used in a number of scientific fields, including anthropology, forensic sciences that seek to explain the cause of events such as a death or fire, cryptanalysis and the search for extraterrestrial intelligence (SETI). An inference that certain biological information may be the product of an intelligent cause can be tested or evaluated in the same manner as scientists daily test for design in other sciences.

    The OP was an opportunity to set out positive arguments and evidence in favor of a theory of Intelligent Design. Instead, as in so many previous instances, it is simply an extended argument against evolution based on questionable calculations of improbability and arguments to the inadequacy of evolution to account for these supposedly improbable phenomena.

    Even if we allow that a good case against evolution had been made, so what? The failure of evolution wouldn’t mean that ID ‘wins’ by default. As I will continue to point out, proposing a ‘who” does not answer the question of ‘how’, which is what you are demanding of evolutionary biology and what it is trying to address.

    No one is denying that biology cannot offer a step-by-step articulation of how life grew out of inanimate chemicals, if that is what happened, or that, as yet, it has no detailed map of the genetic pathways leading from species to species. The theory, like all others in science, is incomplete, a work-in-progress.

    What I would like to see from vjtorley or any other ID proponents here, is in what way does a theory of ID better explain those phenomena for which you you think the evolutionary account is inadequate. Although it is a question for cosmology rather than biology, how is postulating an Intelligent Designer or Uncaused First Cause (UFC)any better than an postulating an uncaused universe or multiverse? How and why did the ID/UFC create life from non-life? How and why did the ID/UFC create all the diversity of living things we see around us now?

    I’m sure it’s very comforting in many ways to believe that we were created and that the Creator has something special in mind for us. I’m certainly very pleased to be here given the alternative but it doesn’t tell us why and it doesn’t tell us how. It also doesn’t tell us why and how the Creator exists. And those are all perfectly reasonable questions.

  37. 37
    Mapou says:

    Roy:

    ID is falsifiable because it predicts a non-nested tree of life which is what is observed in nature. Live with it.

    ID does not predict a non-nested tree of life, since Mike Behe testified that ID is compatible with common descent. Live with it.

    Neither you, nor Mike Behe, nor Darwin, nor some court monkey with a gavel, nor anybody else, owns science.

    It is common knowledge that intelligent design over time results in a non-nested hierarchy. Darwinian common descent, by contrast, dictates a strictly nested hierarchy which is not observed. Darwinian evolution is thus falsified. Live with it.

  38. 38
    Zachriel says:

    Mapou: Darwinian common descent, by contrast, dictates a strictly nested hierarchy which is not observed.

    That is incorrect. Darwin proposed two mechanisms that confound the nested hierarchy; hybridization and convergence.

  39. 39
    Mapou says:

    Joe:

    Common descent doesn’t predict a nested hierarchy.

    It does predict a strictly nested hierarchy but only if you accept the Darwinist RM+NS pseudoscientific dogma. Both common descent and Darwinian evolution are falsified.

  40. 40
    Querius says:

    Great post, Dr. Torley!

    You wondered . . .

    How, I would ask, can Professor Rosenhouse assert with swaggering confidence that Intelligent Design is dead, when scientists haven’t even demonstrated the possibility of a single protein arising by unguided natural processes, and when the best data we have says that the time available is orders of magnitude too short?

    How? Because as is the case with a number of commentators here, the Opinion of Dr. Rosenhouse as a professor is intrinsically irrefutable proof, requiring no other empirical or logical evidence.

    Professor Chaitin said:

    Modern organisms are too messy to use if you want a mathematical model which rigorously demonstrates the possibility of evolution. Biology is too much of a mess. DNA is a programming language which is billions of years old and which has grown by accretion, and . . . we know a little bit about it, but it’s just a catastrophe.

    Professor Chaitin makes those astonishing pronouncements from admittedly incomplete knowledge of something that obviously works extremely well. Lacking a shred of scientific evidence, he apparently possesses a sort of scientific clairvoyance of how DNA developed. He continues with

    So instead of working with randomly mutating DNA, let’s work with randomly mutating computer programs, where we invented the language, and we can keep it a theoretical computer program, one that a theoretician would make, so you know, you specify the semantics, you know the rules of the game.

    Was the language also randomly mutated or was it created through Intelligent Design? No, he needs to mutate the programming language as well.

    . . . but nobody really knows all the mutational mechanisms in biology.

    But the professor is unequivocally certain that the mechanisms, whatever they might be, are indeed mutational, and that none of mechanisms or changes were caused by an intelligent agent.

    The first thing I . . . want to see is: how fast will this system evolve?

    And what, pray tell, will the professor do if the program doesn’t produce the results he wants?

    But I told a friend of mine . . . about this result. He doesn’t like Darwinian evolution, and he told me, “Well, you can look at this the other way if you want. This is actually much too slow to justify Darwinian evolution on planet Earth.” And if you think about it, he’s right.

    Yep! When you think about it. I don’t know whether Professor Chaitin knows that he’s walking in the footsteps of Haldane, but retreating into a fantasy world isn’t the solution to what happened on earth. Instead, he should reconsider his fundamental beliefs, and as many others have done, lose his Faith in Darwin.

    -Q

  41. 41
    Mapou says:

    Zachriel:

    Mapou: Darwinian common descent, by contrast, dictates a strictly nested hierarchy which is not observed.

    That is incorrect. Darwin proposed two mechanisms that confound the nested hierarchy; hybridization and convergence.

    Hybridization does not require RM+NS. And we don’t need Darwin to teach us about hybridization. Convergence, OTOH, is just unfalsifiable pseudoscientific crap.

  42. 42
    Joe says:

    Transitional forms would ruin a nested hierarchy and common descent expects many transitional forms. Denton goes over this in “Evolution: A Theory in Crisis”.

  43. 43
    Zachriel says:

    Mapou: Hybridization does not require RM+NS. And we don’t need Darwin to teach us about hybridization. Convergence, OTOH, is just unfalsifiable pseudoscientific crap.

    Immaterial. You claimed that “Darwinian common descent” dictates a strict nested hierarchy, and that is simply not the case; not with Darwin, not since Darwin.

  44. 44
    Mapou says:

    Zachriel:

    Mapou: Hybridization does not require RM+NS. And we don’t need Darwin to teach us about hybridization. Convergence, OTOH, is just unfalsifiable pseudoscientific crap.

    Immaterial. You claimed that “Darwinian common descent” dictates a strict nested hierarchy, and that is simply not the case; not with Darwin, not since Darwin.

    You’re just a weaver of lies and deception. It is the case that Darwinian common descent dictates a strictly nested hierarchy. It is precisely for this reason that Darwin felt it necessary to come up with more pseudoscientific crap to correct a problem of his own making.

  45. 45
    Silver Asiatic says:

    Seversky

    When we observe Stonehenge we see specified, ordered complexity. We infer design.

    When we observe software or human literature, we see obvious indicators of intelligent input in the design.

    When we observe the specified complexity of protein folds, of life itself (and therefore the improbability of its origin), of the fine-tuned constants in the universe that support life on earth, or the mathematical symmetries and ordered processes in the universe … you conclude “there is no evidence of design”.

    Ok, understood. You see no evidence of design. ID is about exploring and presenting that evidence. You, however, find none, or find none of it convincing.

    However, to then say “let’s forget about what the ID project is about (evidence of design) and now just tell me who the designer is and what he/she/it did and how it was accomplished”, doesn’t make much sense.

    If you are not convinced by the ID argument (evidence of design), why ask ID to generate a new project and set of arguments?

    If a design exists – one possibility is an immaterial designer. You’d then need to be prepared to explore what that possibility entails.

  46. 46
    Zachriel says:

    Mapou: It is the case that Darwinian common descent dictates a strict nested hierarchy.

    Darwin wrote extensively on hybridization and convergence, and the effect each had upon the observed nested hierarchy. You are fighting a strawman.

  47. 47
    Joe says:

    It is the case that Darwinian common descent dictates a strictly nested hierarchy.

    No, it does not. Some evos claim it does but they are ignorant of nested hierarchies. Darwin attributed the pattern observed to (well timed) extinctions. He absolutely knew of the problem with transitional forms and the ability to form distinct categories for classification.

  48. 48
    Mapou says:

    Zachriel @46,

    I don’t care what Darwin wrote about. You are agreeing with me that common descent dictates a strictly nested hierarchy. Otherwise, you would not need to add hybridization and convergence to correct an obvious problem in the theory.

    Why do you repeat the same lie over and over after you’ve been shown wrong? Hybridization does not explain the kind of lateral design inheritance we see in nature and convergence is pseudoscientific BS on the face of it.

    Earth to all brain-dead Darwinists: How does one falsify convergence?

  49. 49
    Mapou says:

    Joe, I don’t yet see how transitional forms destroy the nested hierarchy of common descent.

  50. 50
    Joe says:

    Seversky is just confused. First there isn’t any theory of evolution to attack, Second science mandates that all design inferences eliminate necessity and chance before reaching a design inference. So obviously it haz to be that natural selection is incapable or we don’t even get a chance to infer design.

    We are here discussing ID precisely because there haven’t been any viable alternatives.

  51. 51
    Joe says:

    Mapou, Nested hierarchies require distinct sets- clear cut identification. Transitional forms would blur all lines of distinction.

    Linnaean classification is the nested hierarchy format. It doesn’t have anything to do with common descent. Darwin tried to explain why we observe that pattern by calling on extinction events to create nice distinct groups.

  52. 52
    Mung says:

    DNA is a programming language which is billions of years old and which has grown by accretion, and . . . we know a little bit about it, but it’s just a catastrophe.

    DNA is not a programming language. Sheesh.

    That’s like saying the bits on my thumb drive are a programming language. Not even wrong.

  53. 53
    SteRusJon says:

    Zachriel,

    @29 you respond to Harry’s comment/challenge @18 with

    harry: Excluding life’s protein machines from both, provide me with two lists. The first is a list of functionally complex phenomena constructed from digitally stored assembly instructions, where each item on this list is known to have come about without intelligent agency being a causal factor.

    Life.

    It is an obvious “begging of the question” on your part. The very point of Harry’s challenge was to emphasize that the only item you can put on the first list is life which ID does not agree belongs there. If we agreed that it did belong there, there would be no cause for this contention.

    Another demonstration you would rather be snarky than engaging in this contention. If you were to engage, you might have to concede the point to Harry. A point, I fully believe, you understand quite well. Can’t have that, now, can we?

    How do you think such antics reflect on your case?

    Stephen

  54. 54
    Mapou says:

    Joe:

    Mapou, Nested hierarchies require distinct sets- clear cut identification. Transitional forms would blur all lines of distinction.

    Linnaean classification is the nested hierarchy format. It doesn’t have anything to do with common descent. Darwin tried to explain why we observe that pattern by calling on extinction events to create nice distinct groups.

    Every Darwinist and even ID proponent I’ve encountered maintain that common descent results in a strictly nested hierarchy. It makes sense within evolutionary theory because species on different branches of the tree cannot interbreed.

    But now you’re saying that the mechanism of Darwinian evolution destroys the hierarchy? If true, it would be amazing. This is very bad news for Darwinists, no? So why is Darwinism still considered a scientific paradigm?

  55. 55
    Joe says:

    Look at it this way- If you had two distinct groups- mammals and reptiles- where would you put the mammal-like reptiles and reptile-like mammals? Obviously you would need to add more groups and that would man you would have to choose amongst fewer defining characteristics. Then think about doing that for every transitional form tat had to have existed.

    Reptiles, fish, amphibians, mammals all have distinct defining characteristics. They are definite separate groups. Now add all those transitionals and you don’t have those distinctions any more. All lines are blurred.

    Gradual evolution is anti-nested hierarchy. OTOH an intelligent designer using a common core design could easily produce a nested hierarchy. Linnaean classification pertains to what he perceived as a common design.

  56. 56
    unwilling participant says:

    Mapou: “One wonders. Why is Zachriel such an arse? And why is he hiding behind a pseudonym like a little wimp?”

    Why indeed, Louis.

  57. 57
    wd400 says:

    Reptiles, fish, amphibians, mammals all have distinct defining characteristics. They are definite separate groups. Now add all those transitionals and you don’t have those distinctions any more. All lines are blurred.

    This is almost a perfect explanation of why tree-like evolution leads to distinct groups, despite those groups sharing ancestors.

    Divergent evolution makes moderns groups relatively easy to distinguish, but makes it much harder to see where species closer to the divergence time fit in. (This, of course, is exactly what we observe in the fossil record).

    FWIW, “mammal-like reptiles” are not a natural group if they don’t include mammals. Otherwise they are synapsids, which are sister to modern reptiles.

  58. 58
    Mapou says:

    Joe @55,

    It would seem to me that the blur would eliminate all distinctions within any isolated species and would even prevent speciation altogether. But to tell you the truth, I find it strangely nauseating to be playing the Devil’s advocate for a theory that I regard as no better than superstition. So I’ll just accept this as one more argument against Darwinism to throw into the huge and growing pile.

  59. 59
    Mapou says:

    unwilling:

    Mapou: “One wonders. Why is Zachriel such an arse? And why is he hiding behind a pseudonym like a little wimp?”

    Why indeed, Louis.

    Yes indeed but I sense something weird in your comment. Are you trying to say something to me that escapes my peasant brain?

  60. 60
    Mung says:

    Is Intelligent Design dead? No. It’s just resting.

  61. 61
    Zachriel says:

    Silver Asiatic: If a design exists – one possibility is an immaterial designer. You’d then need to be prepared to explore what that possibility entails.

    Yes, and what are the results of that exploration?

    Mapou: You are agreeing with me that common descent dictates a strictly nested hierarchy. Otherwise, you would not need to add hybridization and convergence to correct an obvious problem in the theory.

    A toy model of divergence would lead to a strict nested hierarchy, however, the actual theory posits additional mechanisms, such as hybridization and convergence. As these have been part of the theory since Darwin proposed it, arguing otherwise is to argue a strawman.

    Mapou: Hybridization does not explain the kind of lateral design inheritance we see in nature

    You would have to be specific.

    Mapou: and convergence is pseudoscientific BS on the face of it.

    Certainly not on its face. Indeed, there is substantial evidence for convergence.

    SteRusJon: The very point of Harry’s challenge was to emphasize that the only item you can put on the first list is life which ID does not agree belongs there.

    And the only item on the second list are human artifacts.

    alter-H: a list of functionally complex phenomena constructed from digitally stored assembly instructions, excluding life, where each item on this list is known to have come about without human agency being a causal factor.

    {}

    SteRusJon: If you were to engage, you might have to concede the point to Harry.

    If you mean ignoring a fundamental finding of biology is conceding the point, then point to Harry.

  62. 62
    Querius says:

    Anyone else notice the irony when something as fundamental as a few flakes knocked off a split rock demonstrates an anthropogenic tool, while the hand that presumably held it was the product of chance and utility, backed up by a nearly infinite number of parallel universes to assure an unfailing fountain of time and chance.

    It’s a wonder then that these universes couldn’t also supply stone tools, artifacts, and entire cities of stone manufactured by the same forces that conjured DNA, cell walls, mitochondria, and mitosis!

    -Q

  63. 63
    harry says:

    Zachriel,

    If, as you admit, we can recognize something is an artifact by its similarity and differences with known artifacts and non-artifacts, then it is significant that life, unlike phenomena arrived at mindlessly and accidentally, consists of digital-information-based nanotechnology. It is also significant that every instance of phenomena the functional complexity of which is arrived at via digitally stored assembly instructions has intelligent agency as a causal factor in its coming into being. It is obvious that you simply don’t want to believe that life was the result of intelligent agency, but what is the scientific evidence that functionally complex phenomena that come into being via digitally stored instructions can do so without intelligent agency being a causal factor in that happening? There is a plethora of evidence that that happens via intelligent agency, and none whatsoever that it happens otherwise.

  64. 64
    ppolish says:

    “It’s a wonder then that these universes couldn’t also supply stone tools, artifacts, and entire cities of stone manufactured by the same forces that conjured DNA, cell walls, mitochondria, and mitosis!”

    They ARE the same forces, Querious. And where did the forces come from? Oops? No lol, in the beginning was the Word. The Logos. Quite awesome really. Really:)

  65. 65
    ppolish says:

    Querious, I missed the irony you were pointing out. I see it now:) Thanks.

  66. 66
    Querius says:

    Yes. The new mechanism might be known as Ad infinitum ex nihilo. 😉

    -Q

  67. 67
    groovamos says:

    Roy: non-experts, particularly ones who are not only familiar with neither evolutionary theory nor logic, are also incurably biased to the point that a real-time video event of evolution in action would not be sufficient evidence to convince them.

    Many thanks my man, for explaining to the world that we must bow to a ‘discipline’ created for and by those disciplinarians lucky enough to get a PhD but arrogant enough to presume immunity from criticisms from other disciplinarians. Thanks to you sir for indicating that secondary school has had negligible success familiarizing folks with “evolutionary theory” thus being either a waste of resources or indoctrination.

    And last of all thank you for the opportunity to point out “that a real-time video event of evolution in action would not be sufficient evidence” by any stretch to prove statistical independence of all so-called “random mutations”.

  68. 68
    Seversky says:

    Silver Asiatic @ 45

    Seversky

    When we observe Stonehenge we see specified, ordered complexity. We infer design.

    No, what we see is a structure of dressed stones that look like other human stonework and structures that we don’t observe occurring in nature. People recognized that long before we thought of concepts like “specified, ordered complexity” or CSI or FIASCO or whatever. Paley made the same point. Even if the person strolling across the heath had never seen a watch before, he’d think it was designed because he recognized cogs and springs and knew they didn’t grow on trees. We don’t have to sit down and calculate the “complex, specified information” content of an object before we can recognize design. We seem to rely on a kind of pattern-matching

    When we observe software or human literature, we see obvious indicators of intelligent input in the design.

    Again, because we’ve seen them before and we’ve never observed them to occur naturally.

    When we observe the specified complexity of protein folds, of life itself (and therefore the improbability of its origin), of the fine-tuned constants in the universe that support life on earth, or the mathematical symmetries and ordered processes in the universe … you conclude “there is no evidence of design”.

    No, I say we can’t see protein folds or fundamental constants or the origins of universes. So pattern-matching is of no help as far as Intelligent Design is concerned.

    What ID proponents try to do is estimate the probabilities of such phenomena and come up with such huge numbers that they argue that they could not possibly be the product of natural processes.

    I point out that I am a unique structure of uncounted trillions of sub-atomic particles. The odds against precisely that pattern of matter and energy coming into existence at this point in space and this point in time, given all the possible configurations, must be astronomical. Must I be designed, therefore? Well, no, I’m pretty sure I came about through certain well-known natural processes just like the more than seven billion other hugely improbable matter-energy matrices that populate the planet at this time. Hugely improbable stuff happens quite a lot.

    Ok, understood. You see no evidence of design. ID is about exploring and presenting that evidence. You, however, find none, or find none of it convincing.

    I see the same evidence as you but I don’t find it compels the conclusion that only an Intelligent Designer can explain it

    However, to then say “let’s forget about what the ID project is about (evidence of design) and now just tell me who the designer is and what he/she/it did and how it was accomplished”, doesn’t make much sense.

    The IDM is more than welcome to pursue research into the detection of design. Nobody is trying to stop them. But the fact remains – and there is no way around it – even if you uncovered the fingerprint of Intelligent Design in nature, which would undeniably be a great discovery, it still would not tell us how it was all done which is precisely what you are demanding science should do and which you are accusing biology of failing to do miserably. Well, I’m sorry, but that’s not how it works. You may be satisfied with knowing who did it but I’m not. Even if we knew there was a designer it still doesn’t tell us the ‘how’ and the ‘why’ and those are big problems both philosophically and scientifically.

    If a design exists – one possibility is an immaterial designer. You’d then need to be prepared to explore what that possibility entails.

    Okay, let’s consider what is entailed by an immaterial designer. If it is neither matter nor energy nor any combination of same then what is it? Take away all matter and all energy, whether at the macrocosmic or the quantum level and, as far as we know, there would literally be nothing left. And, as others have pointed out, you can’t get something out of nothing and that includes design.

  69. 69
    Robert Byers says:

    first they said it was irrelevant then they said it died years ago and dead again.
    What does this guy know? if its not dead should he retire?
    Did he contribute intellectually to deasding ID?
    What were his killer points?
    This is the quality of the opposition?? Yup!!

  70. 70
    Querius says:

    Seversky asked

    Okay, let’s consider what is entailed by an immaterial designer. If it is neither matter nor energy nor any combination of same then what is it? Take away all matter and all energy, whether at the macrocosmic or the quantum level and, as far as we know, there would literally be nothing left. And, as others have pointed out, you can’t get something out of nothing and that includes design.

    The cause for the universe must originate outside the universe that it causes.

    Curiously, most people don’t agonize over the existence of the multiverse as much as you apparently agonize over the existence of God.

    Just sayin’.

    -Q

  71. 71
    Andre says:

    If I’D was dead why are our interlocutors so adamant in trying to convince us? In a universe that has no reason for its existence why are they trying to use reason to deny reason? I find their eagerness and enthusiasm to keep hanging out here amusing. Are they perhaps trying to convince themselves?

  72. 72
    Andre says:

    Then I have to ask, why are they choosing to come and save us? There is no free will and if they are in fact correct they have no reason to save us in any case because what are they saving us from?

  73. 73
    truthbringer says:

    “If I’D was dead why are our interlocutors so adamant in trying to convince us?”

    Probably because IDers are oblivious to or enjoy the stench and your “interlocutors” are repulsed by IDers trying to shove the rotting corpse of religion into everyone’s life.

    “Then I have to ask, why are they choosing to come and save us?”

    It’s not so much that your “interlocutors” want to save IDers as it is wanting to save civilization, freedom, education, science, etc., from oppressive, destructive, theocratic control.

  74. 74
    Andre says:

    Truthbringer

    Why does it matter? If your worldview is true then it means nothing in any case how will getting rid of religion stop the sun from engulfing the solar system when it becomes a red dwarf? How will that stop the moon from pulling away from the earth and how will that stop a tsunami from killing 200 000 people?

  75. 75
    truthbringer says:

    Andre, your irrelevant, diversionary, ridiculous tactics and assertions won’t work on me.

  76. 76
    Joe says:

    Reptiles, fish, amphibians, mammals all have distinct defining characteristics. They are definite separate groups. Now add all those transitionals and you don’t have those distinctions any more. All lines are blurred.

    wd400:

    This is almost a perfect explanation of why tree-like evolution leads to distinct groups, despite those groups sharing ancestors.

    Not even close. There is no way that explanation can produce distinct groups.

    Divergent evolution makes moderns groups relatively easy to distinguish, but makes it much harder to see where species closer to the divergence time fit in. (This, of course, is exactly what we observe in the fossil record).

    It wouldn’t if all the transitionals had to be accounted for.

    FWIW, “mammal-like reptiles” are not a natural group if they don’t include mammals. Otherwise they are synapsids, which are sister to modern reptiles.

    Mammal-like reptiles should be a natural group as they occurred naturally via descent with modification.

    Darwin, Mayr, Denton and Wagner all say that evolutionism does not produce a nested hierarchy. They actually provide the arguments and reasoning why this is so. And no one can produce any arguments to the contrary.

  77. 77
    Joe says:

    It’s not so much that your “interlocutors” want to save IDers as it is wanting to save civilization, freedom, education, science, etc.

    You don’t even know what science is and you aren’t even civilized.

  78. 78
    Joe says:

    Seversky:

    What ID proponents try to do is estimate the probabilities of such phenomena and come up with such huge numbers that they argue that they could not possibly be the product of natural processes.

    Imbecile. We use probabilities for the simple reason that your position has NOTHING else to go by. No models, no predictions, no entailments- nothing.

  79. 79
    Silver Asiatic says:

    Silver Asiatic: If [you accept that] a design exists – one possibility is an immaterial designer. You’d then need to be prepared to explore what that possibility entails.

    Zach: Yes, and what are the results of that exploration?

    You don’t accept that there is intelligent design – so you haven’t done the next level explorations.

  80. 80
    Andre says:

    Truthbringer….

    Hit a never there hey…. Don’t really care what you think it won’t save the universe anyway.

  81. 81
    Silver Asiatic says:

    Seversky

    No, what we see is a structure of dressed stones that look like other human stonework and structures that we don’t observe occurring in nature.

    We don’t see anything that looks exactly like Stonehenge. So, we make an inference – it looks like other intelligently designed structures, therefore it probably was intelligently designed. We don’t see such things being produced by natural causes.

    People recognized that long before we thought of concepts like “specified, ordered complexity” or CSI or FIASCO or whatever.

    People recognized and explained intelligent design in nature long before the Discovery Institute existed. The need to explain obvious indicators of design in the language of complex specified order only arose because people were blinded by scientism and simply denied that there was any evidence of design in nature.

    Paley made the same point. Even if the person strolling across the heath had never seen a watch before, he’d think it was designed because he recognized cogs and springs and knew they didn’t grow on trees.

    Even if a person had never seen the operations of a high-tech production output, he’d know the cell was designed because he recognizes machinery carrying out precise, complex functions (as animations of cellular functions show). People recognize this without the need to measure probabilities and CSI. The idea that such things could be created by blind, unguided, unintelligent processes is as absurd as thinking Paley’s watch was created in the same way.

    We don’t have to sit down and calculate the “complex, specified information” content of an object before we can recognize design.

    As above, I fully agree. Unfortunately, some people demand that everything must be reduced to measurable quantities. Thus, the obvious design-inference that anybody with common sense can see, must be rendered as quantities of CSI and then calculated as a probability measure.

    We seem to rely on a kind of pattern-matching

    Exactly. We are familiar with several coded, symbolic languages. Morse Code, Fortran, English language, hieroglyphics. Even bird calls or dolphin sounds follow patterns. SETI looks for patterns as indicators of intelligent design. We see complex functional coded language driving cell processes.

    Pattern matching.

    Again, because we’ve seen them before and we’ve never observed them to occur naturally.

    We do see languages “occuring naturally” – I note your choice of terms there. ID is not about “occurrences” but about the “origin” of those occurrences. We don’t see coded languages being produced by natural causes.

    No, I say we can’t see protein folds or fundamental constants or the origins of universes. So pattern-matching is of no help as far as Intelligent Design is concerned.

    I don’t understand this. Pattern matching is matching a model with what is observed. Again, SETI does not know what languages it might find. But it pattern-matches various observed values with what is known about language or communication. OOL studies do the same thing. We don’t see the origin of life on earth, but we match the pattern of what is modeled with what is observed.

    We don’t see the origin of a universe but we match it with intelligently designed models and recognize evidence that the constants and symmetries look like what is designed, not what is produced by blind, unintelligent, unguided causes.

    What ID proponents try to do is estimate the probabilities of such phenomena and come up with such huge numbers that they argue that they could not possibly be the product of natural processes.

    That’s why we see scientists coming up with multiverse speculations. I don’t understand why you have a problem with this. Take a look at Robert Shapiro’s (not an IDist at all) comment cited in this OP:

    But suppose you took Scrabble sets, or any word game sets, blocks with letters, containing every language on Earth, and you heap them together and you then took a scoop and you scooped into that heap, and you flung it out on the lawn there, and the letters fell into a line which contained the words “To be or not to be, that is the question,” that is roughly the odds of an RNA molecule, given no feedback — and there would be no feedback, because it wouldn’t be functional until it attained a certain length and could copy itself — appearing on the Earth.

    It’s pretty simple. Pattern matching – take some scrabble letters, scatter them and then just think about the odds. You don’t even have to calculate them.

    I point out that I am a unique structure of uncounted trillions of sub-atomic particles. The odds against precisely that pattern of matter and energy coming into existence at this point in space and this point in time, given all the possible configurations, must be astronomical.

    Ok, I think you’re cheating a little here. Your use of the term ‘unique’ then followed by ‘the odds against precisely that pattern’ is not the issue. But let’s put it this way, if evolution had to explain every organism as being totally unique, the question of “the variety of life on earth” is vastly more difficult to explain than merely “the variety of species” on earth.

    Well, no, I’m pretty sure I came about through certain well-known natural processes just like the more than seven billion other hugely improbable matter-energy matrices that populate the planet at this time. Hugely improbable stuff happens quite a lot.

    As above, you move from being ‘unique’ to being ‘just like more than seven billion’. It’s not improbable that human beings will give birth to other human beings. It is, however, improbable that an unguided, unintelligent process will give rise to a rational intelligence. That’s what the materialist position struggles to explain.

    I see the same evidence as you but I don’t find it compels the conclusion that only an Intelligent Designer can explain it

    Yes, you don’t see evidence of intelligent design in what is observed. You think natural causes are sufficient to explain it. But because of that, there’s no reason to discuss the nature of the designer with you. You don’t accept that a designer exists.

    The IDM is more than welcome to pursue research into the detection of design.

    Thank you! 🙂

    Nobody is trying to stop them.

    Well, with a few exceptions, but I’m grateful for friendly opponents when we can find them.

    But the fact remains – and there is no way around it – even if you uncovered the fingerprint of Intelligent Design in nature, which would undeniably be a great discovery, it still would not tell us how it was all done

    Nobody denies that. If SETI found clear evidence of the transmission of a language, it would not tell us who sent it.

    which is precisely what you are demanding science should do

    ID is a scientific project and has its own limitations built in. We don’t demand that evolutionists explain origin of life. It’s a different discipline.

    But I don’t understand what ID is demanding that science should do. If there is a claim that materialism explains everything in the universe, then every demand that can be made must be made of materialism. If science claims it can explain everything in the universe (which materialist-science does) then what shouldn’t be demanded of that claim?

    and which you are accusing biology of failing to do miserably.

    We see the claims of evolutionary biology – an explanation of the development of entire biosphere on earth. We also see how that science fails miserably.

    Even if we knew there was a designer it still doesn’t tell us the ‘how’ and the ‘why’ and those are big problems both philosophically and scientifically.

    You’d have to take the first step (which is a big one) however, before making any progress on the second and third steps. If a designer doesn’t exist, then ‘how the designer did it’ is meaningless. If you’re not convinced of the empirical evidence for the existence of design, how can you evaluate the possible nature of the designer (which is a different branch of study anyway — as you mention, requiring philosophy and science)?

    Okay, let’s consider what is entailed by an immaterial designer. If it is neither matter nor energy nor any combination of same then what is it?

    Let’s consider what is meant by ‘immaterial’ and how to explain the ‘whatness’ of it.

    Take away all matter and all energy, whether at the macrocosmic or the quantum level and, as far as we know, there would literally be nothing left.

    What is the material quantity of a thought? A dream or imagination? How do you measure it? Where, precisely in space are thoughts located? Where do they go after you think them. Where is the matter and energy that explains the meaning of the term “dog”? What are the physical dimensions of the definition of that term? How do you take away the matter and energy of the rules of logic? Of the beauty of a sunrise? What do you have left when you only have “a concept” or “a devotion”?

    There are lots of immaterial things we encounter and use every day. People generally don’t have a big problem with this. What is a problem, and what I find very rare, is the idea that everything is reducible to matter and energy.

    And, as others have pointed out, you can’t get something out of nothing and that includes design.

    Where is the matter and energy that produces human design? I guess some people think it’s in the brain somewhere.

    For classical theists (like myself), matter and design are less real than ‘being itself’. Matter and energy are potential being, with various levels of capability and fulfillment. ‘Being itself’ is what gives matter and energy existence. And being itself is immaterial — it’s the substance of everything that exists.

  82. 82
    Zachriel says:

    harry: we can recognize something is an artifact by its similarity and differences with known artifacts and non-artifacts, then it is significant that life, unlike phenomena arrived at mindlessly and accidentally, consists of digital-information-based nanotechnology.

    Life looks nothing like human artifacts. When we trace the origin of organisms, they aren’t constructed by an external agent, human or otherwise. They reproduce.

    harry: what is the scientific evidence that functionally complex phenomena that come into being via digitally stored instructions can do so without intelligent agency being a causal factor in that happening?

    It’s called the Theory of Evolution. It was originally proposed by Charles Darwin in 1858, but the science has advanced considerably since then. Today, it is the foundational theory of biology.

    If you want specifics, you might start with the evidence for common descent.

    Silver Asiatic: You don’t accept that there is intelligent design – so you haven’t done the next level explorations.

    We’re asking what the ID community has discovered in terms of scientific evidence concerning the designer.

  83. 83
    Axel says:

    Surely, it is no longer an open question, now that it has been discovered that energy reduces to information.

    With information now mathematically established as the primordial quiddity of the material universe, it is no longer possible to sanely question its intelligent design – or, indeed, the precedence of mind/consciousness over matter, surely already proven by multiple other quantum discoveries, in any case.

    People are just not dying off quickly enough, it seems, for new discoveries and their implications to be accepted.

  84. 84
    Zachriel says:

    Silver Asiatic: We don’t see anything that looks exactly like Stonehenge. So, we make an inference – it looks like other intelligently designed structures, therefore it probably was intelligently designed.

    It looks like other stone structures built by a peculiar species of tool-using ape known to inhabit the planet in question. We can then take this initial hypothesis and test it by looking for evidence of those peculiar apes in the specific area and time of the construction of Stonehenge.
    http://news.nationalgeographic.....ent-radar/

  85. 85
    Silver Asiatic says:

    Z

    It looks like other stone structures built by a peculiar species of tool-using ape known to inhabit the planet in question.

    We know that unintelligent, unguided natural processes cannot create similar looking structures. We can’t test that because modelling an unguided process requires intelligently designed guidance.

  86. 86
    harry says:

    Zachriel @82

    Life looks nothing like human artifacts.

    You haven’t look closely enough. Don Johnson, with a Ph.D. in both chemistry and computer science, on cellular technology and communications:


    For functional communication (including controls) to occur, both sender and receiver of each communication step must know the communication protocol and how to handle the message. In each cell, there are multiple OSs, multiple programming languages, encoding/decoding hardware and software, specialized communications systems, error detection and correction mechanisms, specialized input/output channels for organelle control and feedback, and a variety of specialized “devices” to accomplish the tasks of life. The author can attest that these concepts are not trivial since many were fundamental to his second Ph.D. thesis research.

    The challenge for an undirected origin of such a cybernetic complex interacting computer system is the need to demonstrate that the rules, laws, and theories that govern electronic computing systems and information don’t apply to the even more complex digital information systems that are in living organisms. Laws of chemistry and physics, which follow exact statistical, thermodynamic, and spacial laws, are totally inadequate for generating complex functional information or those systems that process that information using prescriptive algorithmic information. Unfortunately, most people investigating origins are unfamiliar with the immensity of the problems, and believe that time, chance, and natural selection can accomplish almost anything.

    It turns out that life is very much like advanced human technology only much more sophisticated.

  87. 87
    Zachriel says:

    Silver Asiatic: We know that unintelligent, unguided natural processes cannot create similar looking structures.

    It’s certainly a conjecture that can be tested. Having evidence of human manufacture, of course, would strengthen that conjecture.

    Silver Asiatic: We can’t test that because modelling an unguided process requires intelligently designed guidance.

    You don’t think we can test whether, for instance, wear marks are consistent with erosion?

    harry: Don Johnson, with a Ph.D. in both chemistry and computer science, on cellular technology and communications:

    And a tropical storm is a water pump.

  88. 88
    Joe says:

    Zachriel:

    We’re asking what the ID community has discovered in terms of scientific evidence concerning the designer.

    ID isn’t about the designer. ID has discovered scientific evidence for intelligent design.

    It’s called the Theory of Evolution.

    Please reference it or shut up. You are pathetic.

    Life looks nothing like human artifacts.

    Motors, pumps, electrical wiring- all human artifacts and present in life.

  89. 89
    Axel says:

    ‘It turns out that life is very much like advanced human technology only much more sophisticated.’

    That’s cos life has got big brain, harry.

  90. 90
    harry says:

    Zachriel @87

    You must not realize that the principles of computer/information science are applicable regardless of the “hardware” being used. Google up “chemical computers” or “biological computers.”

    Again, you simply do not want to believe that intelligent agency was obviously a causal factor in the origin of life. Currently that is the best and only explanation for the emergence of the digital-information-based nanotechnology of which life consists.

    Even if somehow the emergence of life was built into the Big Bang and was inevitable, and is eventually explained by yet to be discovered laws of physics, that would only be overwhelming evidence that the Big Bang was intelligently designed.

    There is a supremely intelligent primary reality. A “Who” not a “what.” Get used to it.

  91. 91
    Zachriel says:

    harry: You must not realize that the principles of computer/information science are applicable regardless of the “hardware” being used.

    So are water pumps.

    harry: Again, you simply do not want to believe that intelligent agency was obviously a causal factor in the origin of life.

    It’s not a matter of “want”, but the lack of evidence for intelligent design, and strong evidence supporting evolution from common ancestors.

  92. 92
    Silver Asiatic says:

    Z

    You don’t think we can test whether, for instance, wear marks are consistent with erosion?

    You think you can show that natural forces are unguided?

  93. 93
    Joe says:

    Zachriel is such an insipid troll that it doesn’t know what evidence is. And obviously it is still a cowardly equivocator.

    Nice job Mr. C.

  94. 94
    velikovskys says:

    SA:
    ID is a scientific project and has its own limitations built in.

    For legal reasons not scientific.

    We don’t demand that evolutionists explain origin of life.

    Really? You read the Vj ‘s last post?

    But I don’t understand what ID is demanding that science should do

    That unless TOE can provide an exact step by step path process that results in the present biosphere the hypothesis that an unknown designer with unknown abilities at an unknown time somehow designed something is a better explanation.

    If there is a claim that materialism explains everything in the universe, then every demand that can be made must be made of materialism

    That is not the claim of the TOE, you just moved the goal posts.

    If science claims it can explain everything in the universe (which materialist-science does) then what shouldn’t be demanded of that claim?

    Science does not claim that it can explain everything, the scientific method is limited to the naturally entailed.

    Please explain how immaterialist science works, how exactly does the immaterial interact with the material world would be a good start, as you say if you make a claim what shouldn’t be demanded of that claim.

  95. 95
    wd400 says:

    Joe, you are horribly wrong about this, but nothing in your history of posting here suggests you are capable of changing your mind. So, I won’t waste note of my time on your misunderstandings.

  96. 96
    Joe says:

    wd400, Unlike you I can actually make my case. Darwin, Mayr, Denton and Wagner all agree with me. You cannot find anything that agrees with you. So stuff it.

  97. 97
    Joe says:

    vel is clueless- hey vel evolution has its own limitations built in. For example it does not talk about the OoL. Is that for legal reasons too or are you just an imbecile?

  98. 98
    velikovskys says:

    SA:

    You think you can show natural forces are unguided

    Of course not and that is why science is limited , but if they are guided then lots of innocent children are dead in Nepal because of the Guider.

  99. 99
    Timaeus says:

    wd400 (95):

    Talk about the pot calling the kettle black! When have you ever changed your mind on this site? When have any of your atheist friends here ever changed their mind? When has Nick Matzke ever retracted any claim here? When has rvb8? When has Seversky? When has Aurelio Smith? Etc. Among the atheist blogging community, dogmatism reigns supreme.

  100. 100
    wd400 says:

    Tim,

    I’ll change my mind when someone provides convincing evidence that I am wrong. When I’ve had details wrong, misunderstood a post or hastily messed up calculations I’ve admitted my errors.

    Joe is very definately wrong about this topic. If you want to see a typical defense of the idiotic check out the tail end of this thread.

    In the current thread Joe is denying that trees make nested hierarchies. That’s about the same as denying triangles have three sides, but given his past performance there seems little chance he’ll change his mind. So, as I say, I wont waste my time trying.

  101. 101
    Joe says:

    wd400- Just because a nested hierarchy can be depicted as a branching pattern, ie a tree, that does not mean that all trees form a nested hierarchy.

    AGAIN, Darwin, Mayr, Denton and Wagner have all supported what I am saying. Evolution is just too messy to produce nested hierarchies, which are pristine.

    Nested hierarchies demand a direction of additive and immutable defining characteristics. That is how they maintain the essential summativity.

    Also the US Army is a nested hierarchy and it has absolutely nothing to do with descent with modification.

    So no, why should I change my mind when I am so obviously correct?

  102. 102
    Joe says:

    Extinction has only defined the groups: it has by no means made them; for if every form which has ever lived on this earth were suddenly to reappear, though it would be quite impossible to give definitions by which each group could be distinguished, still a natural classification, or at least a natural arrangement, would be possible.- Charles Darwin chapter 14

    and

    There is another stringent condition which must be satisfied if a hierarchic pattern is to result as the end product of an evolutionary process: no ancestral forms can be permitted to survive. This can be seen by examining the tree diagram on page 135. If any of the ancestors X, Y, or Z, or if any of the hypothetical transitional connecting species stationed on the main branches of the tree, had survived and had therefore to be included in the classification scheme, the distinctness of the divisions would be blurred by intermediate or partially inclusive classes and what remained of the hierarchic pattern would be highly disordered.- Denton, “Evolution: A Theory in Crisis” page 136 (X, Y and Z are hypothetical parental node populations)

    and

    The goals of scientists like Linnaeus and Cuvier- to organize the chaos of life’s diversity- are much easier to achieve if each species has a Platonic essence that distinguishes it from all others, in the same way that the absence of legs and eyelids is essential to snakes and distinguishes it from other reptiles. In this Platonic worldview, the task of naturalists is to find the essence of each species. Actually, that understates the case: In an essentialist world, the essence really is the species. Contrast this with an ever-changing evolving world, where species incessantly spew forth new species that can blend with each other. The snake Eupodophis from the late Cretaceous period, which had rudimentary legs, and the glass lizard, which is alive today and lacks legs, are just two of many witnesses to the blurry boundaries of species. Evolution’s messy world is anathema to the clear, pristine order essentialism craves. It is thus no accident that Plato and his essentialism became the “great antihero of evolutionism,” as the twentieth century zoologist Ernst Mayr called it.- Andreas Wagner, “Arrival of the Fittest”, pages 9-10

  103. 103
    Joe says:

    From A Summary of the Principles of Hierarchy Theory:

    Nested and non-nested hierarchies: nested hierarchies involve levels which consist of, and contain, lower levels. Non-nested hierarchies are more general in that the requirement of containment of lower levels is relaxed. For example, an army consists of a collection of soldiers and is made up of them. Thus an army is a nested hierarchy. On the other hand, the general at the top of a military command does not consist of his soldiers and so the military command is a non-nested hierarchy with regard to the soldiers in the army. Pecking orders and a food chains are also non-nested hierarchies.

    For example in the nested hierarchy of living organisms we have the animal kingdom.

    To be placed in the animal kingdom an organism must have all of the criteria of an animal.

    For example:

    All members of the Animalia are multicellular (eukaryotes), and all are heterotrophs (that is, they rely directly or indirectly on other organisms for their nourishment). Most ingest food and digest it in an internal cavity.

    Animal cells lack the rigid cell walls that characterize plant cells. The bodies of most animals (all except sponges) are made up of cells organized into tissues, each tissue specialized to some degree to perform specific functions.

    The next level (after kingdom) contain the phyla. Phyla have all the characteristics of the kingdom PLUS other criteria.

    For example one phylum under the Kingdom Animalia, is Chordata.

    Chordates have all the characteristics of the Kingdom PLUS the following:

    Chordates are defined as organisms that possess a structure called a notochord, at least during some part of their development. The notochord is a rod that extends most of the length of the body when it is fully developed. Lying dorsal to the gut but ventral to the central nervous system, it stiffens the body and acts as support during locomotion. Other characteristics shared by chordates include the following (from Hickman and Roberts, 1994):

    bilateral symmetry
    segmented body, including segmented muscles
    three germ layers and a well-developed coelom.
    single, dorsal, hollow nerve cord, usually with an enlarged anterior end (brain)
    tail projecting beyond (posterior to) the anus at some stage of development
    pharyngeal pouches present at some stage of development
    ventral heart, with dorsal and ventral blood vessels and a closed blood system
    complete digestive system
    bony or cartilaginous endoskeleton usually present.

    The next level is the class. All classes have the criteria of the kingdom, plus all the criteria of its phylum PLUS the criteria of its class.

    This is important because it shows there is a direction- one of additive characteristics.

    Yet evolution does NOT have a direction. Characteristics can be lost as well as gained. And characteristics can remain stable.

  104. 104
    JimFit says:

    Seversky

    you said

    Even if we allow that a good case against evolution had been made, so what? The failure of evolution wouldn’t mean that ID ‘wins’ by default. As I will continue to point out, proposing a ‘who” does not answer the question of ‘how’, which is what you are demanding of evolutionary biology and what it is trying to address.

    For me Evolution is Deterministic and that makes it a predictable process and therefor obvious. I don’t understand why atheists use Evolution to remove a Creator when the Creator was the Ultimate Cause of the Universe and God didn’t had to interpret to the process of Evolution to prove His intelligence, if He did such a thing He would be an ignorant God.

    Lets say that i throw you a rock on the head, you will not blame the physics or the rock, you will blame my will to hit you, but will precedes physics, first i had the will, then my neurons fired, then my hands raised, then i catch a rock, then i aimed, then the physics took place and then you felt the pain. See? The only difference that Theists with Atheists have is intention or chance.

    God did it is the same as Infinity did it, you cannot claim that an eternal chain of past physical events is better explanation than a God because if the chain of causes and effects is past eternal by definition it cannot be learned ever. How can you grasp something that is preceded always by something else? Don’t worry, physical events are not past eternal because everything physical began to exist and that demands a transcendent ultimate cause. I think it can be shown that only Consciousness is transcendent and that’s because observation precedes everything, when we grasp something automatically we put our consciousness prior to what we observe.

    how is postulating an Intelligent Designer or Uncaused First Cause (UFC)any better than an postulating an uncaused universe or multiverse?

    Simple, because the Multiverse ALSO demands a fine tuning and a beginning. Proposing a Multiverse as an answer to our Universe is like saying “The sky is blue because the sky is blue”, also i fail to understand how chance ever explains anything. Something that happened by chance it still has a cause, if i shake a box of legos and accidentally create the Eiffel tower there would be still a cause, ME, i shake the box, i drove this “chance”.

    Even if we allow that a good case against evolution had been made, so what? The failure of evolution wouldn’t mean that ID ‘wins’ by default. As I will continue to point out, proposing a ‘who” does not answer the question of ‘how’, which is what you are demanding of evolutionary biology and what it is trying to address.

    Wrong Wrong Wrong, God didn’t need a reason, he created us out of unconditional love, that’s the point of Christianity, to love everyone without caring if he was bad with you or if he gave you first something. If God needed a reason to create us he would be an imperfect God and that would make him a human. You must always care about How but don’t mess How with Why.

    You also said

    I point out that I am a unique structure of uncounted trillions of sub-atomic particles. The odds against precisely that pattern of matter and energy coming into existence at this point in space and this point in time, given all the possible configurations, must be astronomical. Must I be designed, therefore? Well, no, I’m pretty sure I came about through certain well-known natural processes just like the more than seven billion other hugely improbable matter-energy matrices that populate the planet at this time. Hugely improbable stuff happens quite a lot.

    The problem with this view is that Nature is designed as well, atoms were designed as well and so on, structure demands intelligence. To have a pattern first you must have something that was pre-determined by something prior to it but this chain of events cannot be past eternal and demands an ultimate cause. You also talk about configuration, configuration means again intelligence because its a synonym with purpose, something cannot be arranged by itself, it needs a cause of configuration but still this cause cannot follow an eternal past chain of causes and effects. Nothing can’t create anything because Nothing is the definition of randomness, something random is something that isn’t determined by anything nor it determines something, such a thing can “exist” only in a State of Nothingness where the absence of everything let randomness to exist undetermined by anything.

  105. 105
    Silver Asiatic says:

    vel

    Of course not and that is why science is limited , but if they are guided then lots of innocent children are dead in Nepal because of the Guider.

    I detect some anger or hurt here. It’s good to check our biases at times. You were trained and raised as a Christian – so you import those assumptions into a materialist view. There aren’t any innocent children in materialism. The forces that cause an earthquake have as much right and justification to exist as do any biological organisms or chemical compounds.

    I’m going to suggest that it’s something about God that is the real issue in your thoughts.

  106. 106
    velikovskys says:

    Joe:

    vel is clueless- hey vel evolution has its own limitations built in.For example it does not talk about the OoL

    True, neither does ID. So that seems a wash.

    Is that for legal reasons too or are you just an imbecile?

    Neither nor

  107. 107
    Joe says:

    vel, ID is all about the OoL.

  108. 108
    Mapou says:

    truhhater:

    It’s not so much that your “interlocutors” want to save IDers as it is wanting to save civilization, freedom, education, science, etc., from oppressive, destructive, theocratic control.

    Pot calling the kettle black. The materialist paradigm is the most pseudoscientific, destructive, totalitarian and oppressive religion of them all. But it will soon come to an end.

  109. 109
    Andre says:

    I’m rather tired of the following statement

    “There is no evidence for intelligent design”

    Ladies and gentleman please allow me to introduce to you exhibit A:

    The Ball and Socket Joint

    http://www.innerbody.com/image_skel07/skel34.html

    That is pretty darn incredible if you think chance and time did it…. but you know what makes the case for it being a design even better? The fact that the system also makes its own grease…..

    Hyaluronic Acid

    http://hbmag.com/hyaluronic-ac.....al-grease/

    Look I know there are people that pray, hope and wish that design is not real, but no matter how much you pray, hope or wish it away the evidence for design is not an illusion it is real and there is zip that you lot can do to change that, unless of course you show us how such a system can build and grease itself…..

    Good luck

  110. 110
    Zachriel says:

    Silver Asiatic:You think you can show that natural forces are unguided?

    What we can show, as with any scientific claim, is that observations are consistent with the hypothesis, in this case, whether a phenomenon is consistent with specified natural forces. You can always suppose little angels guide a falling object to the ground, even though the trajectory is consistent with the law of gravity.

  111. 111
    Andre says:

    Zachriel @110…..

    Waffle, Waffle, Waffle, and then some more Waffle.

    Show us how nothing can make something please……

  112. 112
    velikovskys says:

    Joe:

    Id is all about the OoL

    Saying you are “all about OoL” and having an explanation are two different things.

  113. 113
    Joe says:

    Zachriel’s Ghost:

    Waffles evolved from pancakes. You have to understand the history…

    🙂

  114. 114
    Joe says:

    vel- The explanation is that life was intelligently designed for a purpose. The evidence shows that our place in the universe was designed for scientific discovery.

  115. 115
    Mung says:

    T:

    Among the atheist blogging community, dogmatism reigns supreme.

    Evolutionary Dogmatics. The Scientific Theology of the 19th Century lives on.

  116. 116
    Mapou says:

    EVERYTHING is evidence for intelligent design. From lowly quarks and photons to electrons, protons and neutrons. The fact that there are huge numbers of particles with identical properties is evidence for intelligent design. The fact that the particles have precisely calculated properties is evidence for intelligent design.

    Now what can one say about living organisms whose designs are orders of magnitude more complex and specified than elementary particles?

  117. 117
    velikovskys says:

    SA:
    I detect some anger or hurt here.

    Then what you are detecting is you not me. Since I don’t believe the gods cause earthquakes who is there to be angry with,bad luck? I am not making the argument that bad things happen therefore there is no God.

    It’s good to check our biases at times.

    Yes,all beliefs are subjective

    You were trained and raised as a Christian – so you import those assumptions into a materialist view.

    Mostly I was taught to use reason and avoid dogmatic thinking. Neither principles seem exclusive to Christianity.

    There aren’t any innocent children in materialism.

    “Innocence (or guiltlessness) is a term used to indicate a lack of guilt, with respect to any kind of crime, or wrongdoing. In a legal context, innocence refers to the lack of legal guilt of an individual, with respect to a crime.”

    Nothing there that seems counter to the belief in the material world

    The forces that cause an earthquake have as much right and justification to exist as do any biological organisms or chemical compounds.

    A materialist might believe without those forces life would not exist in the present form, true. That living on top of a tectonic active area is both beautiful and dangerous.

    I’m going to suggest that it’s something about God that is the real issue in your thoughts.

    It is your thoughts which I am interested in, if your belief is the God guides natural forces then earthquakes are a deliberate action of God. Then you are left with believing one year olds deserve to be buried and suffocated or it is part of God’s plan or some other alternative. I was curious how you reconciled that.

  118. 118
    Joe says:

    The belief would be that God designed the natural forces. He gave us the ability to understand them and live in safe zones. We choose to live in dangerous areas.

  119. 119
    velikovskys says:

    Joe:
    vel- The explanation is that life was intelligently designed for a purpose. The evidence shows that our place in the universe was designed for scientific discovery.

    How,what purpose, whose intelligence? For a vast period on the existence of life on earth there was no scientific discovery, how come if that is the purpose of the vastness of space? Designer working by the hour?

  120. 120
    Joe says:

    vel:

    How,what purpose, whose intelligence?

    We don’t even know how Nan Madol was built nor whose intelligence was involved. Those are all separate questions from ID.

    For a vast period on the existence of life on earth there was no scientific discovery, how come if that is the purpose of the vastness of space?

    1- You don’t know that
    2- Terraforming
    3- The vastness is required for longevity

  121. 121
    Yarrgonaut says:

    I think that discussion of the evidence is great and all, but it’s not necessarily indicative of the success of the “movement”. Generally speaking, I think the movement is not very healthy. Its best aspect is that it seems to have a small group of very committed researchers. But while ID researchers were busy being boy scouts, Darwinists were networking and playing political hardball. Most ID websites seem to be dead links, and it seems that the early slew of publication has slown a bit. Maybe I just don’t see this because it takes place behind-the-scenes, but I would like to see some networking, and some independent research groups popping up here and there. Current ID figureheads are taking on way too much if they’re trying to churn out enough publications on their own. I think the ID movement could benefit a lot from some delegation and decentralization.

  122. 122
    Mapou says:

    Since most Christians, Jews and Muslims support ID, saying that ID is dead is wishful thinking at best and a sign of desperation at worst.

  123. 123
    ppolish says:

    Yarrgonaut, ID isn’t a “movement” as much as a growing body of evidence. “Suprises” and realizations of ID are increasing. Getting harder and harder to cleanse “design language” out of new research. Won’t be long until the “if you can’t beat them, join them” kicks in:) I mean ID is true. Truth is pretty powerful, even in Science

  124. 124
    harry says:

    zachriel @91

    harry: Again, you simply do not want to believe that intelligent agency was obviously a causal factor in the origin of life.

    zachriel: It’s not a matter of “want”, but the lack of evidence for intelligent design, and strong evidence supporting evolution from common ancestors.

    Strong evidence supporting evolution from common ancestors, if that is indeed the case, would have nothing to do with the origin of the first single-celled reproducing life form. There is no evidence that scenarios where functionally complex phenomena constructed from digitally stored assembly instructions ever come about mindlessly and accidentally. All the evidence indicates that that only happens with the involvement of an intelligent agent. The notion that a scenario where significant functional complexity constructed from digitally stored information can come about mindlessly and accidentally is what lacks evidence. There is no evidence for that whatsoever.

  125. 125
    Zachriel says:

    harry: Strong evidence supporting evolution from common ancestors, if that is indeed the case, would have nothing to do with the origin of the first single-celled reproducing life form.

    The evidence indicates that life diversified from a last common population of unicellular organisms.

    harry: There is no evidence that scenarios where functionally complex phenomena constructed from digitally stored assembly instructions ever come about mindlessly and accidentally.

    While evolutionary theory doesn’t explain the origin of life, it does show how complexity can arise from primitive origins.

  126. 126
    harry says:

    zachriel @125

    While evolutionary theory doesn’t explain the origin of life, it does show how complexity can arise from primitive origins.

    No it doesn’t. Reproductive capacity and metabolism require significant functional complexity — both of which had to already be present in that first single-celled, reproducing life form.

    There are no such things as “simple” or “primitive” metabolism and reproduction. If there were, other systems that powered themselves from available resources and made copies of themselves would abound. Yet there is only life that does that. It is not like science routinely builds such systems; modern science simply doesn’t know how to do that, and even if it did, it wouldn’t be able to explain how what they had accomplished could ever happen mindlessly and accidentally.

    All Darwin pointed out was what we already knew from centuries of dog breeding: that within a kind, there is a great, but still finite, capacity for adaptation. Dogs were bred into everything from Chihuahuas to Saint Bernards, but always into another kind of dog — never into cats. That is because the information to build a cat just isn’t present in the canine genome.

    Evolutionary theory definitely does not show how complexity can arise from primitive origins, although it does indeed pretend to do that.

  127. 127
    Zachriel says:

    harry: Reproductive capacity and metabolism require significant functional complexity — both of which had to already be present in that first single-celled, reproducing life form.

    Surely, a bird is more complex than a unicellular organism. Evolution shows how additional complexity can occur.

    harry: There are no such things as “simple” or “primitive” metabolism and reproduction.

    Primitive does not mean simple. Primitive is the correct term for the unicellular ancestor of modern organisms.

    harry: It is not like science routinely builds such systems; modern science simply doesn’t know how to do that

    So much for the analogy with human artifacts.

    harry: All Darwin pointed out was what we already knew from centuries of dog breeding: that within a kind, there is a great, but still finite, capacity for adaptation.

    The diversity in dogs was not there in the ancestral species. Genetic changes were required.

    harry: Dogs were bred into everything from Chihuahuas to Saint Bernards, but always into another kind of dog — never into cats.

    Wolves were bred into a variety of domestic dogs. Cats did not evolve from wolves or dogs, but do share a common ancestor with them.

  128. 128
    Andre says:

    Zachriel

    Would you consider evidence that complex is becoming more simple?”

  129. 129
    Zachriel says:

    Andre: Would you consider evidence that complex is becoming more simple?”

    The evolution of complexity is certainly not unidirectional, if that is what you mean.

  130. 130
    Andre says:

    Zachriel

    So no matter what Darwinian evolution is true? Understood.

  131. 131
    Zachriel says:

    Andre: So no matter what Darwinian evolution is true?

    No. Not every possible world is consistent with evolution.

    Evolution means that new organisms and traits are modifications of existing organisms and traits. If there is an increase in complexity, it has to build in a generally incremental fashion.

  132. 132
    Mung says:

    Zachriel: Primitive does not mean simple. Primitive is the correct term for the unicellular ancestor of modern organisms.

    LoL.

    In that case you’re original statement is just nonsense.

    Zachriels, please ask yourselves to stop insulting us.

  133. 133
    Joe says:

    Zachriel:

    Cats did not evolve from wolves or dogs, but do share a common ancestor with them.

    Unfortunately for Z there isn’t any evidence to support tat tripe.

    Surely, a bird is more complex than a unicellular organism.

    Yes, so what? Unicellular organisms cannot evolve into birds.

    Evolution means that new organisms and traits are modifications of existing organisms and traits.

    Evolution means a change in allele frequency over time.

  134. 134
    Zachriel says:

    Mung: In that case you’re original statement is just nonsense.

    Z: While evolutionary theory doesn’t explain the origin of life, it does show how complexity can arise from primitive origins.

    The statement seems quite clear. We have primitive unicellular organisms which evolve into more complex forms over time.

  135. 135
    Joe says:

    What happened to wd400?

  136. 136
    Joe says:

    What happened to wd400? Looks like wd400 ran away once he realized that I was right wrt nested hierarchies.

  137. 137
    velikovskys says:

    Joe:
    vel:

    How,what purpose, whose intelligence?

    We don’t even know how Nan Madol was built nor whose intelligence was involved. Those are all separate questions from ID.

    Since you claimed that it had a purpose and what that purpose was , I just wondered how you knew.

    For a vast period on the existence of life on earth there was no scientific discovery, how come if that is the purpose of the vastness of space?

    1- You don’t know that

    Certainly on earth,scientific discovery tells us that is true.

    2- Terraforming

    That sounds like an answer separate from ID, why was terraforming necessary,why not just design it like you need to suit you purpose? Sounds inefficient

    3- The vastness is required for longevity

    Curious, why is longevity related to size?

  138. 138
    velikovskys says:

    Joe:

    What happened to wd400? Looks like wd400 ran away once he realized that I was right wrt nested hierarchies.

    Maybe he posted an offensive link.

  139. 139
    Silver Asiatic says:

    vel

    It is your thoughts which I am interested in, if your belief is the God guides natural forces then earthquakes are a deliberate action of God. Then you are left with believing one year olds deserve to be buried and suffocated or it is part of God’s plan or some other alternative. I was curious how you reconciled that.

    I appreciate your interest in my thoughts about God and suffering. We share a similar education – I was Jesuit-educated also, so I know you’re familiar with the topic.
    For myself, I don’t try to explain God’s actions unless the person first understands who God is – the nature of God.
    You might remember from theology – “begin with the end in mind”. The ‘end’ in this case, is the purpose, goal, fulfillment and final destiny of life.

    So, if you start with the four last things: Death, Judgement, Heaven, Hell. Then the nature of God, the purpose of life – – and work backwards to individual events, ilke an earthquake. You can have something by which to judge suffering and loss.

    I’ll add, you’re probably familiar with the lives of the saints, and you’ll find a lot there. St. Francis, for example, suffered the stigmata for most of his adult life.

    Also, when trying to learn about God, it’s important to pray for insight. God will show you the meaning of things to a greater or lesser extent, beyond what you can do on your own.

    As for one year olds ‘deserving to be buried’ etc., not all the suffering on earth we encounter is due to something we did to deserve it. From the Christian perspective, Christ was innocent, but was crucified.

    In any case, it’s a big, complex topic that really requires an understanding of God. Everything belongs to God. He is the inventor of all of it — every life, every bit of joy or suffering, it’s his gift.

  140. 140
    wd400 says:

    Just not wasting my time trying to correct your misunderstandings, Joe.

  141. 141
    velikovskys says:

    wd400:

    Just not wasting my time trying to correct your misunderstandings, Joe.

    Sorry wd, no offense to you meant.

  142. 142
    Joe says:

    wd400 is a pathetic coward. All the misunderstandings of nested hierarchies are yours.

    I made my case and proved my point. wd400 has nothing that can rebut what I said never mine refute it.

  143. 143
    Joe says:

    vel:

    Since you claimed that it had a purpose and what that purpose was , I just wondered how you knew.

    Science.

    Certainly on earth,scientific discovery tells us that is true.

    Actually it doesn’t.

    That sounds like an answer separate from ID, why was terraforming necessary,why not just design it like you need to suit you purpose?

    It isn’t separate from ID and terraforming is necessary because magic is not allowed.

    Curious, why is longevity related to size?

    Science tells us why.

  144. 144
    Joe says:

    Zachriel:

    We have primitive unicellular organisms which evolve into more complex forms over time.

    No, don’t have such a thing. Your imagination means nothing.

  145. 145
    Mung says:

    Let me spell it out for you Zachriel:

    Surely, a bird is less primitive than a unicellular organism. Evolution shows how primitive things can become less primitive.

    Less Primitive does not mean more simple. More Primitive does not mean less complex.

    While evolutionary theory doesn’t explain the origin of life, it does show how later things come after earlier things.

    Well color me enlightened!

    You’re spouting nonsense. You claim primitive doesn’t mean simple but you’re using the word as if that’s exactly what it means. So you’re contradicting yourself.

  146. 146
    Andre says:

    Zachriel

    Where is this evidence? I’m very interested in it please provide it.

  147. 147
    harry says:

    harry: Reproductive capacity and metabolism require significant functional complexity — both of which had to already be present in that first single-celled, reproducing life form.

    Zachriel: Surely, a bird is more complex than a unicellular organism. Evolution shows how additional complexity can occur.

    No it doesn’t. Significant functional complexity never comes about mindlessly and accidentally. When it does come about through intelligent agency, we know from experience that mindless, accidental modifications to the system almost always have a negative impact on its functionality. The infinitesimally small percentage of such modifications that would happen to enhance functionality cannot deter the inevitable complete destruction of all functionality that an ongoing series of mindless, accidental modifications will bring about, even if the extremely rare, functionality enhancing, mindless modifications are somehow “selected” when that functionality includes reproduction.

    harry: There are no such things as “simple” or “primitive” metabolism and reproduction.

    Zachriel: Primitive does not mean simple. Primitive is the correct term for the unicellular ancestor of modern organisms.

    So, evolution shows how complexity can arise from what was already complex from the beginning? So what?

    harry: It is not like science routinely builds such systems; modern science simply doesn’t know how to do that

    Zachriel: So much for the analogy with human artifacts.

    Human artifacts exhibiting significant functional complexity, and the complete non-existence of evidence that significant functional complexity arises mindlessly, indicates that the astounding functional complexity of the nanotechnology of life did not arise mindlessly.

    harry: All Darwin pointed out was what we already knew from centuries of dog breeding: that within a kind, there is a great, but still finite, capacity for adaptation.

    Zachriel: The diversity in dogs was not there in the ancestral species. Genetic changes were required.

    Right. The canine genome had built into it an adaptability necessary for adjustments to changing environments (which is evidence of a brilliant design). The great extent of this adjustability was demonstrated by dog breeders. The canine genome does not contain the assembly instructions for building anything but canines, which was also demonstrated by dog breeders.

    harry: Dogs were bred into everything from Chihuahuas to Saint Bernards, but always into another kind of dog — never into cats

    Zachriel: Wolves were bred into a variety of domestic dogs. Cats did not evolve from wolves or dogs, but do share a common ancestor with them.

    That cats and dogs evolved from a common ancestor is your assertion, one that is made without any demonstration that macro-evolution is possible, and in spite of the fact that all the evidence indicates that the genome of a given kind, while allowing for adaptation, imposes limits on it that restrict it to only reproducing its own kind. Again, this is because the instructions for the construction of another “kind” are simply not present, and a series of mindless, accidental modifications to the existing instructions is overwhelmingly more likely to destroy the ability to reproduce altogether rather than transform dogs into cats or cows into whales.

  148. 148
    Zachriel says:

    Mung: Surely, a bird is less primitive than a unicellular organism.

    It’s less primitive, that is, more derived, than the unicellular organism from which it evolved.

    Mung: Less Primitive does not mean more simple. More Primitive does not mean less complex.

    primitive, of, or belonging to, an early time in the very ancient past

    Mung: While evolutionary theory doesn’t explain the origin of life, it does show how later things come after earlier things.

    That’s correct.

    Andre: Where is this evidence?

    Your comments had concerned themselves with the posited theory of evolution. What evidence are you interested in discussing?

    harry: No it doesn’t. Significant functional complexity never comes about mindlessly and accidentally.

    All you are doing is repeating your claim.

    harry: So, evolution shows how complexity can arise from what was already complex from the beginning? So what?

    Complexity is not a binary condition. The most recent common ancestor was certainly complex, but not as complex as many multicellular organisms.

    harry: Human artifacts exhibiting significant functional complexity, and the complete non-existence of evidence that significant functional complexity arises mindlessly …

    Actually, there’s significant evidence of evolution. Start with the evidence for common descent, then we can look at historical cases, if you like.

    harry: The canine genome had built into it an adaptability necessary for adjustments to changing environments (which is evidence of a brilliant design).

    Of course there was the latent capability to evolve. Dogs also share a common ancestor with cats, and that ancestor had the latent capability to evolve. The common ancestor of mammals had the latent capability to evolve. And so on.

    harry: That cats and dogs evolved from a common ancestor is your assertion,

    Well, start with the nested hierarchy and the fossil succession. Concerning the latter, we see a progression over millions of years from unicellular organisms to bilaterians to chordates to vertebrates to gnathostomates to land vertebrates to amniotes to dinosaurs to birds, to consider just a single lineage.

  149. 149
    Joe says:

    Zachriel:

    Well, start with the nested hierarchy

    The nested hierarchy has nothing to do with common descent you ignorant putz.

    and the fossil succession.

    That shows fish-> tetrapods -> fishapods.

    Nice own goal.

  150. 150
    Joe says:

    Zachriel:

    Your comments had concerned themselves with the posited theory of evolution. What evidence are you interested in discussing?

    Please reference this “posited theory of evolution” so we can all see exactly what it entails. Or stop talking about it as if one actually exists.

  151. 151
    harry says:

    Zachriel,

    The universal and uniform experience of mankind is that matter does not mindlessly and accidentally assemble itself into significant functional complexity. All matter does on its own is to assume a more likely state according to the laws of physics. A reproducing, single-celled life form is far from being one of those likely states.

    Yet one had to be assembled before biological evolution could even begin. The problem with that initial assembly happening mindlessly and accidentally is that we now know that such a state is so unlikely that it was virtually impossible for it to have been arrived at that way even when given the probabilistic resources of the entire Universe to work with. One place the specific mathematical calculations that demonstrate this can be found is Stephen C. Meyer’s book Signature in the Cell. If one thinks those calculations are way, way off, one must remember that all the probabilistic resources there really were to work with were those available on planet Earth, an infinitesimal portion of those provided by the entire Universe. I don’t believe they are, but those calculations can afford to be way, way off and still be overwhelmingly compelling.

    If it can be shown that 13.8 billion years and a Universe of matter and energy were insufficient probabilistic resources in a manner that is convincing to most people who grasp the calculations, then it can be assumed that the probabilistic resources available on planet Earth alone were definitely not going to allow that first, reproducing single-celled life form to be arrived at mindlessly and accidentally.

    Yet it arrived. How do we explain that? Intelligence is a reality and known to be a causal factor in many phenomena coming about. We call these artifacts because it is obvious they wouldn’t have come about without intelligent agency. It is then entirely legitimate for science to consider intelligent agency as a causal factor in the appearance of a given phenomenon, and it does just that it many instances without controversy — unless the phenomenon being considered is life.

    Why is that? Most people, most of the time, would agree that a scenario where intricate machinery is assembled according to digitally stored instructions simply couldn’t have come about without the involvement of intelligent agency. The creation of such a scenario is obviously beyond the capabilities of chance in combination with the laws of physics. Such a scenario is an artifact, not a naturally occurring phenomenon. It is definitely not a scenario matter is going to assemble itself into as it inexorably tends to assume a more likely state.

    If we were talking about a corporate automated factory there would be no controversy. Yet we are talking about an automated factory consisting of far more functional complexity than anything constructed by modern science — it is just that this factory resides in the cell. Do you suppose the real issue is the implications for atheism of the fact that life has been found to be an artifact in terms of intelligent agency obviously being a necessary causal factor in its emergence?

  152. 152
    Zachriel says:

    harry: The universal and uniform experience of mankind is that matter does not mindlessly and accidentally assemble itself into significant functional complexity.

    The universal and uniform experience of mankind is that the Earth is fixed and that the Sun revolves around it.

    harry: All matter does on its own is to assume a more likely state according to the laws of physics.

    While overall entropy increases, local decreases in entropy not only can occur, but often occur.

    harry: A reproducing, single-celled life form is far from being one of those likely states.

    So is a quartz crystal.

  153. 153
    velikovskys says:

    Joe:

    Science

    Science tells you the purpose of the universe is science, how?

    Actually it doesn’t.

    No actually it does.

    It isn’t separate from ID and terraforming is necessary because magic is not allowed.

    No Joe, terraforming is the ” how” the design was implemented ,It is the separate question.Creating a habitable earth is magic but creating the universe and the laws of nature from nothing is not?

    By the way, ID does not disallow magic, ID can only detect design not how it happened.

    Science tells us why.

    Size matters?

  154. 154
    Joe says:

    velikovskys:

    Science tells you the purpose of the universe is science, how?

    It is all covered in “The Privileged Planet”

    No actually it does.

    No, as science cannot tell us how the earth was formed so it cannot tell us its age.

    No Joe, terraforming is the ” how” the design was implemented ,It is the separate question.

    And it is answered.

    Creating a habitable earth is magic but creating the universe and the laws of nature from nothing is not?

    That doesn’t follow from what was said.

    By the way, ID does not disallow magic, ID can only detect design not how it happened.

    Science doesn’t allow magic.

    Size matters?

    When it comes to how long a universe can last without intervention, yes.

  155. 155
    velikovskys says:

    By the way, ID does not disallow magic, ID can only detect design not how it happened.

    Joe:
    Science doesn’t allow magic

    Sorry about your bad luck, ID only detects design not how, that is a separate question.

  156. 156
    Joe says:

    Yes, you are sorry. ID doesn’t prevent anyone from talking about the “how” and it is an ID research program.

  157. 157
    harry says:

    harry: The universal and uniform experience of mankind is that matter does not mindlessly and accidentally assemble itself into significant functional complexity.

    Zachriel: The universal and uniform experience of mankind is that the Earth is fixed and that the Sun revolves around it.

    We have very good reasons to believe that the sun doesn’t actually revolve around the Earth. We have no reason at all to believe that matter mindlessly and accidentally assembles itself into ultra-sophisticated, digital information based nanotechnology the functional complexity of which is light years beyond our own.

    harry: All matter does on its own is to assume a more likely state according to the laws of physics.

    Zachriel: While overall entropy increases, local decreases in entropy not only can occur, but often occur.

    Tornados will occasionally drive a nail into a board, creating less entropy than when the nail was not driven into a board. To conclude that a local decrease in entropy explains the mindless and accidental creation of a scenario where functionally complex machinery is assembled from digitally stored instructions is like concluding that tornados must be capable of building houses because tornados occasionally drive nails into boards. Overall, in spite of local decreases in entropy, matter inexorably tends towards a more likely state, not assemble itself into nanotechnology far more sophisticated than our own.

    harry: A reproducing, single-celled life form is far from being one of those likely states.

    Zachriel: So is a quartz crystal.

    The laws of physics applied to the appropriate material environment will make the formation of a quartz crystal inevitable. There is no material environment upon which the mindless application of the laws of physics will make the emergence of digital information based nanotechnology inevitable. That happening requires an additional causal factor: intelligent agency.

  158. 158
    Zachriel says:

    harry: We have very good reasons to believe that the sun doesn’t actually revolve around the Earth.

    Your previous argument was based on the “universal and uniform experience of mankind”. Turns out that many scientific findings are contrary to common experience.

    harry: We have no reason at all to believe that matter mindlessly and accidentally assembles itself into ultra-sophisticated, digital information based nanotechnology the functional complexity of which is light years beyond our own.

    After dispensing with your argument, you repeat it.

    harry: Tornados will occasionally drive a nail into a board, creating less entropy than when the nail was not driven into a board.

    A nail driven into a board increases entropy in the board due to the breaking of the molecular bonds in the wood fibre. The rest of your comment merely repeats your claim, again.

    harry: The laws of physics applied to the appropriate material environment will make the formation of a quartz crystal inevitable.

    That’s right. Work can create otherwise improbable states. So your argument from probability can be dispensed with, as well.

  159. 159
    harry says:

    harry: We have very good reasons to believe that the sun doesn’t actually revolve around the Earth.

    Zachriel: Your previous argument was based on the “universal and uniform experience of mankind”. Turns out that many scientific findings are contrary to common experience.

    So you have rejected the value of common experience and worry that gravity might stop working? Do you have all your belongings fastened down so they won’t float away just in case that happens? Don’t blame me for asking. After all, you sound like you believe the universal and uniform experience of mankind is of little value. Pardon my sarcasm. You know as well as I do that the universal and uniform experience of mankind is a sure guide nearly all the time and that it is foolish to disregard it.

    harry: We have no reason at all to believe that matter mindlessly and accidentally assembles itself into ultra-sophisticated, digital information based nanotechnology the functional complexity of which is light years beyond our own.

    Zachriel: After dispensing with your argument, you repeat it.

    I didn’t dispense with my argument. Let me repeat it again in another way: Why should anyone believe that matter can mindlessly and accidentally assemble itself into ultra-sophisticated, digital information based nanotechnology the functional complexity of which is light years beyond our own? I know why atheists want to believe that. I know that science at its worst argues that “You should believe that because the ‘experts’ believe that.” But what I am after is some reason to believe that based on more than the “a tornado drove a nail into a board once so tornados can build houses” argument. What I am after is some example, excluding that of life itself, of course, where matter mindlessly and accidentally assembles itself into significant functional complexity, that would give me a reason based on evidence to consider the proposition that matter is capable of assembling itself into digital-information based nanotechnology.

    harry: Tornados will occasionally drive a nail into a board, creating less entropy than when the nail was not driven into a board.

    Zachriel: A nail driven into a board increases entropy in the board due to the breaking of the molecular bonds in the wood fibre. …

    LOL! That’s funny. OK. OK. At the macroscopic level there is less entropy.

    Seriously: Your nitpicking creates a distraction, but does not provide substantial responses, and it is obvious the nitpicking is a cover for not having anything substantial to respond with.

    harry: The laws of physics applied to the appropriate material environment will make the formation of a quartz crystal inevitable.

    Zachriel: That’s right. Work can create otherwise improbable states. …

    Right. And tornados do occasionally drive nails into boards, but that doesn’t mean they can construct houses.

  160. 160
    Zachriel says:

    harry: So you have rejected the value of common experience and worry that gravity might stop working?

    The “universal and uniform experience of mankind” is that the Earth is fixed.

    harry: You know as well as I do that the universal and uniform experience of mankind is a sure guide nearly all the time and that it is foolish to disregard it.

    In fact, many, if not most, scientific findings are contrary to common experience. If they were common experience, we wouldn’t need science to help us untangle the facts.

    harry: I didn’t dispense with my argument.

    We dispensed with your argument, but you repeated it anyway. Your contention was that “universal and uniform experience of mankind” was sufficient to constitute scientific evidence, when it is clear that common experience is limited to human-scale domains.

    harry: At the macroscopic level there is less entropy.

    Thermodynamic entropy is determined by available microstates.

    harry: Why should anyone believe that matter can mindlessly and accidentally assemble itself into ultra-sophisticated, digital information based nanotechnology the functional complexity of which is light years beyond our own?

    Let’s start with the evidence for common descent, which provides the historical context for understanding evolutionary processes.

  161. 161
    harry says:

    Zachriel,

    Why should anyone believe that matter can mindlessly and accidentally assemble itself into ultra-sophisticated, digital information based nanotechnology the functional complexity of which is light years beyond our own? Common descent has nothing to do with it. That had to have happened before there could be that first descendent.

  162. 162
    Joe says:

    Zachriel:

    The “universal and uniform experience of mankind” is that the Earth is fixed.

    That is incorrect.

    In fact, many, if not most, scientific findings are contrary to common experience.

    Such as?

    Your contention was that “universal and uniform experience of mankind” was sufficient to constitute scientific evidence,

    It is as that leads to knowledge of cause and effect relationships.

    Let’s start with the evidence for common descent,

    OK go ahead, we have been waiting. What is this alleged evidence you speak of?

  163. 163
    Zachriel says:

    harry: Common descent has nothing to do with it. That had to have happened before there could be that first descendent.

    Okay. You’re interested in abiogenesis. That’s fine, so you agree that once there are primitive replicators, then additional levels of complexity can evolve? It’s important because many theories of abiogenesis include periods of quasi-replication.

    While there’s no complete theory of abiogenesis, research has revealed some tantalizing clues, including self-replicating molecules, as well as replicating vesicles. You might also check out Szostak Lab.
    http://molbio.mgh.harvard.edu/szostakweb/

  164. 164
    Joe says:

    Self-replicating molecules is a far cry from biological reproduction. There aren’t any tantalizing clues for abiogenesis, just a massive need for it.

  165. 165
    harry says:

    Replication by itself can do nothing but eventually burn itself out when the resources that allow for it are depleted. The extremely unlikely, precision environment that would allow for such replication would inevitably disintegrate into a far more likely state — one that doesn’t allow for such replication to take place. This is why such replication always requires an intelligently designed laboratory and isn’t found in nature as a persistent, naturally occurring scenario.

    Besides that, life is much more than just replication. Metabolism is absolutely necessary. Why? Something has to sustain the unit that replicates so it can replicate again. Metabolism does that. Without metabolism, if a first unit replicates and then ceases functioning, and that is all its descendant can do, the population would never increase to more than “1.”

    Metabolism is complex. Replication of a unit capable of metabolism then becomes very complex. The extensive assembly instructions required to build another unit capable of metabolism and reproduction have to be preserved somehow as well as the machinery to utilize those instructions. All of this has to be assembled before there can be a descendant that will carry on. Without any one of these components there cannot be functional life.

    And you can’t ever get all those components assembled and integrated without intelligent agency. Why? Because there is no reason for the machinery to utilize the assembly instructions to evolve until there is functional information to utilize. And there is no way for the functional information to evolve until there is machinery to utilize it. An intelligent agent has to put the information in place, including the instructions to build the machinery to utilize the information, and then put the first instance of the utilizing machinery in place. It is painfully obvious that is the only way such a system can get started.

  166. 166
    velikovskys says:

    Joe:
    Yes, you are sorry.

    For you, Joe

    ID doesn’t prevent anyone from talking about the “how” and it is an ID research program.

    And yet no one does,the only ” how ” anyone talks about are those of the ToE.The fact remains, ” 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.

    the ” Theory of ID ” does not exclude magic if caused by an intelligence.

  167. 167
    Joe says:

    vel:

    And yet no one does

    I do and I just did.

    anyone talks about are those of the ToE.

    Please reference/ link to this ToE.

    the ” Theory of ID ” does not exclude magic if caused by an intelligence.

    The ToE requires magic, just to make it appear!

  168. 168
    Zachriel says:

    harry: Replication by itself can do nothing but eventually burn itself out when the resources that allow for it are depleted.

    Replication allows for evolution.

    harry: Besides that, life is much more than just replication. Metabolism is absolutely necessary. Why? Something has to sustain the unit that replicates so it can replicate again.

    RNA replication contradicts your argument.

    harry: And you can’t ever get all those components assembled and integrated without intelligent agency. Why? Because there is no reason for the machinery to utilize the assembly instructions to evolve until there is functional information to utilize. And there is no way for the functional information to evolve until there is machinery to utilize it.

    RNA can act as both information carrier and enzyme.

  169. 169
    velikovskys says:

    Joe:

    I do and I just did.

    You speculated that the designer choose to terraform the earth over a long period of time in order to realize his purpose of scientific discovery. How could that be falsified? Is terraforming the only design choice, why does a designer did care about scientific discovery. You seem to be claiming you know things about the designer, how?

    The ToE requires magic, just to make it appear!

    Good choice, change the the subject back to the ToE, there is a reference for you.

  170. 170
    Joe says:

    You speculated that the designer choose to terraform the earth over a long period of time in order to realize his purpose of scientific discovery.

    The purpose of a universe that is open to scientific discovery. And in order to do that the design has to play by the rules too.

    Falsify by it modeling cosmic collisions bringing all the necessary factors together to account for our existence. Start with a testable hypothesis.

    All I know is what the evidence demonstrates. And it is all laid out in “The Privileged Planet”- there are just too many just-so conditions that are required.

    And YOU brought up the ToE. I just wanted you to eat it and you did. Nice job

  171. 171
    Joe says:

    Earth to Zachriel- Replicating RNAs just produce more RNAs. They will never produce anything else. You lose, again, as usual.

  172. 172
    harry says:

    Zachriel @ 168

    RNA can act as both information carrier and enzyme.

    Self-replicating systems of RNA molecules are not found in nature. In the laboratory it has been demonstrated that air pressure can drive nails into boards. Is it then reasonable to conclude that tornados CAN construct houses? At least tornados driving nails into boards has been been found to occasionally occur naturally, which is more than we can say for self-replicating systems of RNA molecules.

  173. 173
    Zachriel says:

    harry: Self-replicating systems of RNA molecules are not found in nature.

    No, but RNA catalysts ARE found in nature. Self-replicating RNA and replicating vesicles is proof of principle, and once you have replication, you have evolution (something you avoided discussing). As we already pointed out, there is no complete theory of abiogenesis. On the other hand, there doesn’t seem to be any intrinsic barrier.

  174. 174
    Joe says:

    Zachriel:

    No, but RNA catalysts are found in nature.

    So are cars and computers yet we know that nature didn’t produce them.

    Self-replicating RNA and replicating vesicles is proof of principle.

    What principle?

    On the other hand, there doesn’t seem to be any intrinsic barrier.

    There are huge barriers to nature producing life. Obviously you are ignorant of biology.

  175. 175
    EugeneS says:

    Zachriel #8,

    “In any case, we would recognize it as an artifact by its similarity and differences with known artifacts and non-artifacts.”

    Spot on. That’s what ID is all about. What remains to acknowledge is that bio-systems have essential characteristics of organized systems (or complex artifacts for that matter).

    As regards the upper bound on time complexity of Darwinian evolution, I fully agree. If it were a lower bound that would be another mortal blow to Darwinism from this perspective. Mind you, it is dead anyway…

    However, I strongly disagree with you on the oracle. Environment cannot be such an oracle. Environment does not care, nor does it have any intentions, foresight, inclination, desire, the ability to choose from among future, potential functions, the ability to make decisions or choose using pragmatic criteria between physically indistinguishable equilibria.

    An oracle in this context is something/somebody that has the above abilities. Chaitin was such an oracle himself in his computational experiments. Computability is a pragmatic criterion. An oracle must have a memory with previous experiences of solving similar problems, and it must have the ability to compare the problem at hand with what it had in the past. As soon as memory is required, we are talking about semiosis. Systems with memory cannot be exhaustively described in terms of corpuscular motion alone. Semiotic state systems are irreducible to just physics/chemistry.

  176. 176
    Zachriel says:

    EugeneS: Spot on. That’s what ID is all about.

    As pointed out above, that is sufficient for a hypothesis. Then we test the hypothesis by determining the causal links to the posited art and artisan.

    EugeneS: Environment does not care, nor does it have any intentions, foresight, inclination, desire, the ability to choose from among future, potential functions,

    It doesn’t have to. There are simple examples of evolution that doesn’t require foresight.

    EugeneS: the ability to make decisions

    “Decisions” are made through natural selection among variations.

    EugeneS: or choose using pragmatic criteria between physically indistinguishable equilibria.

    You seem to be talking about a look-ahead. Generally, evolution doesn’t look ahead, so if two paths are equally likely, evolution may choose one or the other, or both.

  177. 177
    harry says:

    Zachriel @173

    RNA catalysts ARE found in nature. Self-replicating RNA and replicating vesicles is proof of principle

    The principles demonstrated in highly contrived laboratory experiments do not in any way make it realistic to think matter can mindlessly and accidentally assemble itself into digital-information based, self-replicating nanotechnology the functional complexity of which is light years beyond our own. Again, demonstrating in a laboratory that air pressure can drive a nail into a board does not make plausible the notion that tornados might accidentally construct houses.

    once you have replication, you have evolution (something you avoided discussing)

    Once you have replication, you do NOT have evolution. Think about it. Once the functional complexity is somehow arrived at that replication requires, what is the first copying error going to do? Break the ability to replicate in the defective copy, that’s what. If there are no copying errors, then evolution isn’t possible since it depends on copying errors that happen to create a functional advantage. If there are copying errors in a primitive replication process, they are far, far more likely to simply destroy the ability to replicate in the descendant than they are to somehow accidentally create a functional advantage in it. Anybody who writes software knows that randomly altering, adding or deleting bytes in various locations in an executable is NOT going to add new features to the software, it is going to decrease or completely destroy functionality.

    And how does replication create information? If the contents of memory in some precursor to the DNA molecule can be altered by copying errors, can functional contents ever be arrived that way? No. There is no such thing as an advantageous change to memory that isn’t and can’t be utilized. (The cellular machinery to utilize it has to evolve first, which can’t happen until the memory contains functional information, which can’t happen until there is machinery to utilize the memory, which can’t happen …) One arrangement of the contents of such memory is just as useless as another. In fact, the replication of the contents of useless memory is an energy-wasting disadvantage. That being the case, there is no way for the contents of a primitive digital information storage device to evolve into the assembly instructions for intricate cellular machinery.

    As we already pointed out, there is no complete theory of abiogenesis. On the other hand, there doesn’t seem to be any intrinsic barrier.

    Remember the cartoon where one scientist is commenting on the equations written on a chalk board by another, and he says to him “I think you should be more explicit here in step two,” as he points to the phrase “Then a miracle occurs” in the middle of the equations? Well, move that phrase all the way to the left and change it to, “First a miracle occurs,” and the cartoon could be about evolutionary theory.

    Atheistic science seeks to explain how the most astounding instance of functional complexity known to us came about mindlessly and accidentally through an undirected, purposeless process, and it can’t even explain how it was possible for that process to get started. This isn’t making an argument that is flawed because it begins with faulty premises, it is making an argument with no premise at all. If one wants to prove a mindless process is responsible for something, but one can’t even demonstrate that it was possible for that process to get started, one is not really doing science. Abiogenesis, and the theories of mindless, accidental evolution that depend on it, will go down in history as the alchemy of this age.

    For that matter, before one insists that ultra-sophisticated, digital-information-based, self-replicating nanotechnology came about mindlessly and accidentally, one should know at least one way to create such technology intentionally. We don’t know how to create functional machinery that also manufactures other instances of itself from available resources. If modern science doesn’t yet know how to do that intentionally, how can it be so sure it can happen accidentally?

  178. 178
    Mung says:

    Zachriel consists of multiple personalities, so it’s not always a simple matter to know which of them is lying. As a general rule, they are all lying.

    Zachriels:

    Self-replicating RNA and replicating vesicles is proof of principle, and once you have replication, you have evolution (something you avoided discussing).

    Lie.

  179. 179
    Querius says:

    Nicely stated, harry and Mung!

    Here’s something for your entertainment . . .

    A stone is split in half.

    It’s not the first or last stone, but it has several flakes broken off that could indicate an intelligent agent acting on it for a specified purpose.

    But is it? Could it have rolled off a steep cliff, split, and then bounced off of other stones at the bottom in a rhythm dictated by the gravitational constant, its kinetic energy, angular momentum, and axis of rotation in a plane parallel to the earth and perpendicular to its direction of travel. Millions of stones have fallen from high places onto other stones over billions of years. There is a small but finite chance that this stone is entirely natural. However, there are other, similar stones that have been used as hand axes discovered in a context that makes them very likely to have been designed for a specified purpose that this one is also intelligently designed by a hominid.

    Copper and tin ore is collected and melted together into an alloy of a specified range of proportions. It is poured into a mold that has a shape optimized for utility, and there is little doubt that this was the work of Homo sapiens because the tool falls well within the range of other tools created by humans.

    A geographically isolated aboriginal finds debris from the space shuttle Challenger. The aboriginal concludes that it’s a rare natural mineral that’s been split at cleavage planes into a rectangular prism and also notices that the object displays desert varnish on the side that must have been facing the sun.

    A team of researchers discover how DNA methylation marks are erased in PGCs by conversion to hydroxymethylation, a process that results in dilution through cell division, resetting the genes for the next generation. The biochemical complexity for this process, taken in context, is a billion billion billion billion billion, billion, BILLION times more complex than the rock, the axe, or the heat tile.

    An ideologically blinded contributor to Uncommon Descent throws a magician’s cape of deep time over the process, and then adamantly pronounces that this phenomenal complexity is entirely due to a natural, common, and even inevitable cascade of development and, unlike the rock, the axe, and the heat tile, without any trace of intelligence.

    A stone is split in half and a cell is split in half.

    Go figure.

    -Q

  180. 180
    Mung says:

    Zachriels’ lies can be modeled by a probability distribution.

    They are all lying. That Zachriel is a liar is no stretch.

  181. 181
    Dionisio says:

    Querius @179

    The biochemical complexity for this process, taken in context, is a billion billion billion billion billion, billion, BILLION times more complex than…

    The informational complexity is much higher than your ‘huge’ number, my friend. 🙂

    Actually, can it be measured exactly?

    Check these recent examples (just taken out of the research oven):

    http://www.uncommondescent.com.....ent-562199

    http://www.uncommondescent.com.....ent-562200

    Have a good weekend!

  182. 182
    Zachriel says:

    harry: The principles demonstrated in highly contrived laboratory experiments do not in any way make it realistic to think matter can mindlessly and accidentally assemble itself into digital-information based, self-replicating nanotechnology the functional complexity of which is light years beyond our own.

    It answers this objection: molecules can’t self-replicate.

    harry: Once you have replication, you do NOT have evolution. Think about it. Once the functional complexity is somehow arrived at that replication requires, what is the first copying error going to do?

    What’s observed is that some mutations increase the rate of replication.

    harry: Anybody who writes software knows that randomly altering, adding or deleting bytes in various locations in an executable is NOT going to add new features to the software, it is going to decrease or completely destroy functionality.

    Except that enzymes are far more flexible in their sequences than human software.

    harry: If the contents of memory in some precursor to the DNA molecule can be altered by copying errors, can functional contents ever be arrived that way?

    The posited precursor is RNA replicators, which already contains information.

    harry: Remember the cartoon where one scientist is commenting on the equations written on a chalk board by another, and he says to him “I think you should be more explicit here in step two,” as he points to the phrase “Then a miracle occurs” in the middle of the equations? Well, move that phrase all the way to the left and change it to, “First a miracle occurs,” and the cartoon could be about evolutionary theory.

    There’s a difference between not knowing whether such a pathway exists (our position), and claiming that such a pathway can’t exist (your position). Your claim is just “It’s too complicated to have happened.” The claim is fallacious.

    Querius: The biochemical complexity for this process, taken in context, is a billion billion billion billion billion, billion, BILLION times more complex than the rock, the axe, or the heat tile.

    This is beyond harry’s argument, which concerns abiogenesis, and not evolved complexity.

  183. 183
    harry says:

    There’s a difference between not knowing whether such a pathway exists (our position), and claiming that such a pathway can’t exist (your position). Your claim is just “It’s too complicated to have happened.” The claim is fallacious.

    There’s a difference between not knowing whether a laptop PC could come about mindlessly and accidentally, and claiming that such a pathway doesn’t exist. How would one arrive at the conclusion that no such pathway exists? Math. There is a finite amount of probabilistic resources and time to work with. Given an infinite amount of time and probabilistic resources anything and everything will eventually happen. Science used to think that was the case. Science was wrong.

    It was providential that we discovered that life consisted of digital-information-based nanotechnology shortly after our own technology had advanced to the point that we would understand that that is what it was. Everybody knows technology does not come about accidentally, so that discovery even further confirmed theism, which was already very reasonable. That providential timing wasn’t for the sake of theists.

  184. 184
    Zachriel says:

    harry: There’s a difference between not knowing whether a laptop PC could come about mindlessly and accidentally, and claiming that such a pathway doesn’t exist. Math.

    Actually, we have significant scientific evidence that electronic computers are designed and manufactured by a peculiar species of ape. Mystery solved!

  185. 185
    Joe says:

    Zachriel:

    Actually, we have significant scientific evidence that electronic computers are designed and manufactured by a peculiar species of ape.

    Zachriel you may be an ape but please speak for yourself.

    The posited precursor is RNA replicators, which already contains information.

    Posited but never tested.

  186. 186
    Joe says:

    Zachriel:

    “Decisions” are made through natural selection among variations.

    Whatever is good enough gets to survive. And whatever is good enough all depends. And they wonder why we say natural selection is impotent.

  187. 187
    EugeneS says:

    Zac,

    You seem to disregard the fact that in order for evolution to even start, there must already be something working. These biological functions must be the result of intelligent causation for the reasons I listed in my previous post.

    Evolution does not choose between what can become a function in future. Function and its variations must already be present for evolution to even start. Moreover, evolution cannot produce even a single new sophisticated function (like a new organ, tissue, system of organs, body plan) by the same reasoning. It can only tinker already existing functionality. Even to duplicate a gene requires highly sophisticated cellular machinery. I know you fully realize that a single biological function is nowhere near ‘simple’.

    Rephrasing a famous quote, nothing in biology makes sense without intelligent causation. Mere bifurcations (or ‘forks’ between potential branches of development) and genuine decision making/control that takes place in all living organisms are not to be confused.

    Failing to acknowledge that organisms are programmed to make bona fide decisions is equivalent to watching the game of chess and interpreting it as merely mechanical motion of the pieces. That is a valid description, fair enough. But that is critically insufficient if one wants to develop an adequate understanding of what life is and how it is different from non-living matter.

  188. 188
    Zachriel says:

    EugeneS: These biological functions must be the result of intelligent causation for the reasons I listed in my previous post.

    Your reason was that the environment has no foresight. We responded by pointing out that there are simple examples of organisms evolving to adapt to the environment; hence, your argument is flawed.

    EugeneS: Function and its variations must already be present for evolution to even start.

    There has to be replication for evolution, but a particular function can arise through evolutionary processes.

    EugeneS: It can only tinker already existing functionality.

    Tinkering with already existing functionality can create new functions. Fins can become legs can become wings.

  189. 189
    Querius says:

    EugeneS @ 187,

    Brilliant!

    You seem to disregard the fact that in order for evolution to even start, there must already be something working. These biological functions must be the result of intelligent causation for the reasons I listed in my previous post.

    Exactly! Z inadvertently admitted as much when he dismissed the analogous simulation of spontaneous evolution in software—the biochemical resources and control codes must already be present. To lay all hope on replicating molecules flexible enough to create life is conjuring a miracle along the line of “If I only were a rich man.”

    The rest of your post was pithy and spot on!

    -Q

  190. 190
    Zachriel says:

    Querius: To lay all hope on replicating molecules flexible enough to create life is conjuring a miracle along the line of “If I only were a rich man.”

    We know that random RNA sequences can have biological function, and that contrived RNA sequences can replicate. This doesn’t demonstrate RNA-first, but the hypothesis certainly can’t be excluded based solely on fallacious reasoning.

  191. 191
    Querius says:

    Zachriel @ 190

    This is a reasonable response and my answer is intended to be gentle.

    The molecules currently associated with life are fragile and need to be protected somehow, perhaps in Oparin’s coacervates or perhaps in Graham Cairns-Smith’s clay matrices (which I seem to remember was rejected at the time primarily due to a similarity with Genesis). The problem only gets worse with size. Virus capsids are interesting for this reason, but are likely evolved or devolved from ancestral forms.

    What some materialists have come to understand is that the math doesn’t work out. So they are looking for more time and more chance, which is why the multiverse hypothesis is also attractive to them. (Whether the multiverse is a religio-philosophical proposition or a scientific hypothesis is a matter of debate among physicists.)

    More specifically, what I’d be looking for is

    (a) an additional organizing mechanism that can do better at anticipating requirements than chance alone.
    (b) an assumption that current life is highly optimized, and that a plausible OOL scenario requires different molecules as a type of information “scaffolding.”
    (c ) clues that animals evolved indirectly through the agency of fast reproducing and mutating bacteria, or their ancestral forms—that animal evolution is predicated on a symbiotic relationship between gut bacteria and their hosts.
    (d) clues that viruses represent a parasitic optimization of the earliest cells with the advantage that they can mutate much faster than other forms of life.
    (e) clues that the “tree of life” is an illusion due to multiple random extinctions, which might be able to explain in part the large gaps, apparently shared DNA between disparate genomes, living fossils, and out-of-place fossils.

    However . . .

    The origin of the universe—how something that’s fine-tuned for life came into existence from absolutely nothing—requires the intervention of an external agency. Quantum fluctuations and chance both require time, and before the Big Bang, time did not exist, and thus neither did chance. I’d suggest that the OOL was due to that same external agency.

    The poem at the beginning of the gospel of John, which was possibly written by Lazarus, starts out like this:

    In the beginning was the Word*, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God.
    All things came into being through Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being.
    In Him was life, and the life was the Light of men. The Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it.
    – John 1:1-5, NASB

    * The Greek word is Logos in Greek, which means a word, to reason, plan, etc. from which we get the word logic.

    -Q

  192. 192
    Zachriel says:

    Querius: The problem only gets worse with size.

    Once replication begins, other features can evolve normally.

    Querius: So they are looking for more time and more chance, which is why the multiverse hypothesis is also attractive to them.

    The multiverse is not a reasonable hypothesis for abiogenesis. Abiogenesis has to be explainable within the parameters of this universe.

    Querius: (a) an additional organizing mechanism that can do better at anticipating requirements than chance alone.

    Yes, it’s called chemistry.

    Querius: (b) an assumption that current life is highly optimized, and that a plausible OOL scenario requires different molecules as a type of information “scaffolding.”

    RNA has been proposed, but there are other possible scenarios.

    Querius: (c ) clues that animals evolved indirectly through the agency of fast reproducing and mutating bacteria, or their ancestral forms—that animal evolution is predicated on a symbiotic relationship between gut bacteria and their hosts.

    That’s a question in evolutionary biology, not abiogenesis.

    Querius: (d) clues that viruses represent a parasitic optimization of the earliest cells with the advantage that they can mutate much faster than other forms of life.

    There was probably little or no distinction between viruses and other replicators in primordial life.

    Querius: (e) clues that the “tree of life” is an illusion due to multiple random extinctions, which might be able to explain in part the large gaps, apparently shared DNA between disparate genomes, living fossils, and out-of-place fossils.

    While extinction is necessary to explain the observed pattern, it is not sufficient. Only branching descent fits the evidence, which includes not just the nested hierarchy, but the fossil succession.

  193. 193
    Joe says:

    Zachriel, shut up. Linnaean taxonomy is the observed nested hierarchy in biology and it has NOTHING to do with branching descent. The US Army is a nested hierarchy and it has nothing to do with branching descent.

    Evolutionists are so dim that they think that just because a nested hierarchy can be depicted as a branching descent pattern that all branching descent patterns are nested hierarchies. That is either ignorance or dishonesty.

  194. 194
    Joe says:

    Fins can become legs can become wings.

    Stop taking LSD and that won’t happen.

  195. 195
    Mung says:

    Evolutionists are so dim that they think that just because a nested hierarchy can be depicted as a branching descent pattern that all branching descent patterns are nested hierarchies.

    That’s right. All you we have to do is ignore the non-nested stuff.

    The US Army is a nested hierarchy and it has nothing to do with branching descent.

    Sure it does. The US Army is a branch of the US Military.

  196. 196
    Mung says:

    Zachriel:

    RNA has been proposed, but there are other possible scenarios.

    You don’ know if they are possible or not. You’re just making stuff up.

  197. 197
    Joe says:

    All you we have to do is ignore the non-nested stuff.

    99% extinct so easy to do.

    The US Army is a branch of the US Military.

    And Deion Branch played for the Patriots and US military personnel are Patriots.

  198. 198
    harry says:

    Zachriel,

    Zachriel: There’s a difference between not knowing whether such a pathway exists (our position), and claiming that such a pathway can’t exist (your position). Your claim is just “It’s too complicated to have happened.” The claim is fallacious.

    harry: There’s a difference between not knowing whether a laptop PC could come about mindlessly and accidentally, and claiming that such a pathway doesn’t exist. How would one arrive at the conclusion that no such pathway exists? Math. There is a finite amount of probabilistic resources and time to work with. Given an infinite amount of time and probabilistic resources anything and everything will eventually happen. Science used to think that was the case. Science was wrong.

    Zachriel: Actually, we have significant scientific evidence that electronic computers are designed and manufactured by a peculiar species of ape. Mystery solved!

    A laptop PC consists of very crude technology relative to that of a single-celled, reproducing life form. Do you think a laptop PC is just “too complicated” for matter to accidentally assemble itself into one? If you don’t, then that reveals a naiveté on your part regarding technology. If you do believe matter couldn’t accidentally assemble itself into a laptop PC, then you should understand that it is even less likely that matter would accidentally assemble itself into the far more complex nanotechnology of life. So, which is it?

  199. 199
    Querius says:

    Zachriel @ 192

    Querius: The problem only gets worse with size.

    Once replication begins, other features can evolve normally.

    No, because the larger molecule breaks too easily. You need something like a capsid or a cell wall.

    Querius: So they are looking for more time and more chance, which is why the multiverse hypothesis is also attractive to them.

    The multiverse is not a reasonable hypothesis for abiogenesis. Abiogenesis has to be explainable within the parameters of this universe.

    This happens to be a version of the Weak Anthropic Principle extended to universes precisely because the chances are too small and the time available too short. Perhaps that’s why Francis Crick abandoned a terrestrial OOL to propose panspermia.

    Querius: (a) an additional organizing mechanism that can do better at anticipating requirements than chance alone.

    Yes, it’s called chemistry.

    Funny that you should mention chemistry. If you watch the first 42 minutes of this video, you will never be the same.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CB3ZmLatcUI

    RNA has been proposed, but there are other possible scenarios.

    Indeed. Otherwise, you would be admitting that RNA has not evolved at all.

    That’s a question in evolutionary biology, not abiogenesis.

    Yes.

    There was probably little or no distinction between viruses and other replicators in primordial life.

    Agreed, except these would have been ancestral viruses very different from most of those we see today.

    Only branching descent fits the evidence, which includes not just the nested hierarchy, but the fossil succession.

    But that’s the problem. It doesn’t always match up the way we expect–and it’s the exceptions that drive scientific progress.

    -Q

  200. 200
    Zachriel says:

    Mung: All you we have to do is ignore the non-nested stuff.

    No. As Darwin pointed out, the anomalies are important evidence of other processes, such as natural selection.

    Mung: You don’ know if they are possible or not.

    That’s right. Abiogenesis is obscure. However, we do know that RNA can act as both memory and enzyme, which eliminates one major objection.

    harry: Do you think a laptop PC is just “too complicated” for matter to accidentally assemble itself into one?

    Asked and answered. We have significant scientific evidence that electronic computers are designed and manufactured by a peculiar species of ape. Mystery solved!

    Querius: No, because the larger molecule breaks too easily.

    That is certainly an issue, but the claim was that abiogenesis was impossible, not that we don’t have a working theory. In any case, primitive vesicles can apparently self-assemble.

    Querius: This happens to be a version of the Weak Anthropic Principle extended to universes precisely because the chances are too small and the time available too short.

    That solves the problem of universes where conditions are not conducive to organic chemistry, but given organic chemistry, most scientists believe that life is the result of natural processes, and not some cosmic accident.

    Querius: Otherwise, you would be admitting that RNA has not evolved at all.

    Not sure what you mean by that. RNA has certainly evolved. That’s a primary evidence of RNA World.

    Querius: Agreed, except these would have been ancestral viruses very different from most of those we see today.

    Sure. They evolved.

    Querius: But that’s the problem. It doesn’t always match up the way we expect–and it’s the exceptions that drive scientific progress

    Fine and dandy. But you actually have to propose a testable hypothesis. Someone somewhere somewhen somemiracle isn’t a valid scientific hypothesis.

  201. 201
    harry says:

    Zachriel,

    Your refusal to tell me whether you think it would be possible for a laptop PC to come about mindlessly and accidentally by simply asserting that we know how laptop PCs come about (Duh!) is very revealing and speaks louder than your words.

  202. 202
    Zachriel says:

    harry: Your refusal to tell me whether you think it would be possible for a laptop PC to come about mindlessly and accidentally by simply asserting that we know how laptop PCs come about (Duh!) is very revealing and speaks louder than your words.

    As PCs don’t generally reproduce, then there is no known natural process by which they would spontaneously assemble.

    Of course, you ignore how science actually works. We might hypothesize that computers spontaneously assemble, but then find that we can find no evidence of such. We might hypothesize that a peculiar species of aminote manufactures them, and, in this case, find actual evidence.
    http://static.guim.co.uk/sys-i.....11;007.jpg

    It’s only by testing a hypothesis that we can gain any certainty in a conclusion.

  203. 203
    EugeneS says:

    Querius,

    Thanks a lot! All evolutionists have is a very old cracked vinyl record. Nothing of this old stuff holds any more. ‘Fins can become legs or wings’; that is all they have really.

  204. 204
    EugeneS says:

    Zac,

    Computer viruses DO reproduce. Do you think that your argument equally well applies to computer viruses?

    “It’s only by testing a hypothesis that we can gain any certainty in a conclusion.”

    If only you could hear yourself…

  205. 205
    Zachriel says:

    EugeneS: Computer viruses DO reproduce. Do you think that your argument equally well applies to computer viruses?

    Computer viruses are generally too fragile and mutate too slowly to evolve.

  206. 206
    EugeneS says:

    Zac,

    A totally artificial environment where we can tweak things and presumably see how code evolves (to the extend it does) without having to think about hostile factors, and to think that it isn’t good enough for evolution… What is good enough for evolution then? Do you think that the real environment will be any friendlier? This is totally untenable.

    “It is only by testing a hypothesis that we can gain any certainty in a conclusion.”

  207. 207
    Zachriel says:

    EugeneS: A totally artificial environment where we can tweak things and see how they evolve without thinking about hostile factors, and to think that it isn’t good enough for evolution…

    Have no idea to what you are referring. Do you mean evolutionary algorithms? Generally, most replicators don’t survive or leave descendants.

  208. 208
    harry says:

    Zachriel,

    As PCs don’t generally reproduce, then there is no known natural process by which they would spontaneously assemble.

    Exactly. On the pre-life Earth, as inanimate matter doesn’t “generally reproduce,” there is no known natural process by which matter could have “spontaneously assembled” itself into that first metabolizing, self-replicating life form.

    If you are going to just assume that somehow an environment was accidentally arrived at that actually allowed for non-metabolizing, replicating chemical units to form, and just assume that that environment persisted in this extremely unlikely state, and just assume it not only persisted but was also able to continue to provide the resources for such replication long enough for such units to evolve into that first unit capable of both reproduction and metabolism, and then just assume that that environment altered itself as required such that it could sustain metabolism as well as reproduction — if you are going to just assume all that — then you might as well just assume that an automated factory that produced laptop PCs also could have been arrived at accidentally on the pre-life Earth. That was more likely to happen accidentally than the arrival and maintenance of the precision environment required to bring about the digital-information-based nanotechnology of which that first single-celled, reproducing life form consisted. After all, a laptop PC, besides consisting of crude technology relative to that of the nanotechnology of life, doesn’t have to have built into it the means to manufacture more instances of itself.

  209. 209
    Zachriel says:

    harry: On the pre-life Earth, as inanimate matter doesn’t “generally reproduce,” there is no known natural process by which matter could “spontaneously assemble” itself into that first metabolizing, self-replicating life form.

    While there’s no complete theory of abiogenesis, complex molecules do self-assemble, and there are tentative ideas of how the first replicator might have formed. We know that life didn’t always exist, but appeared soon after liquid water formed on the primordial Earth, then evolved into the myriad organisms seen today.

    You can put your designer in the gap, but abiogenetic research has had some successes, while the notion of design has been scientifically sterile.

  210. 210
    Zachriel says:

    harry: the digital-information-based nanotechnology of which that first single-celled, reproducing life form consisted.

    No one knows how complicated the first replicator might have been, or what conditions might be involved.

  211. 211
    Joe says:

    Archaeology is a designer of the gaps argument. So is forensic science. 🙄

    Evos are so clueless.

  212. 212
    Joe says:

    Zachriel:

    But you actually have to propose a testable hypothesis.

    ID has, unguided evolution has not.

  213. 213
    harry says:

    Zachriel,

    While there’s no complete theory of abiogenesis …

    That is another way of saying “Matter accidentally assembling itself into life is so unimaginable and so unlikely, that we can’t even put together a theory as to how that might have happened.” That I can agree with.

    complex molecules do self-assemble

    Right. And tornados do occasionally drive nails into boards. That doesn’t mean tornados can construct houses. Nor does a complex molecule indicate that matter can assemble itself into digital-information-based, self-replicating nanotechnology.

    You can put your designer in the gap, but abiogenetic research has had some successes, while the notion of design has been scientifically sterile.

    There is overwhelming evidence that significant functional complexity simply does not come about mindlessly and accidentally. For every instance of a phenomenon exhibiting it, intelligent agency has been found to have been a causal factor in that phenomenon coming into being. So there is every reason to assume that the emergence of the most functionally complex phenomenon known to us — life — also had intelligent agency as a causal factor. There is no evidence whatsoever that significant functional complexity ever comes about mindlessly and accidentally. What is proving to be sterile is the notion of “junk” DNA.

    No one knows how complicated the first replicator might have been, or what conditions might be involved.

    What we do know is that anything that might in some way be construed to be similar to that first primitive replication does not occur naturally; it only happens in the intelligently designed environment of a laboratory. Now, there is a clue for you.

  214. 214
    Zachriel says:

    harry: That is another way of saying “Matter accidentally assembling itself into life is so unimaginable and so unlikely, that we can’t even put together a theory as to how that might have happened.”

    No. The hypothesis is that abiogenesis is a result of natural processes.

    Zachriel: complex molecules do self-assemble

    harry: Right. And tornados do occasionally drive nails into boards.

    The difference is that complex molecules spontaneously assemble in a wide variety of conditions.

    harry: Nor does a complex molecule indicate that matter can assemble itself into digital-information-based, self-replicating nanotechnology.

    It undermines the claim that complex structures can’t spontaneously assemble.

    harry: There is overwhelming evidence that significant functional complexity simply does not come about mindlessly and accidentally.

    Abiogenesis posits situations where this is not the case.

    harry: For every instance of a phenomenon exhibiting it, intelligent agency has been found to have been a causal factor in that phenomenon coming into being.

    You mean humans, and excluding life.

  215. 215
    Querius says:

    Zachriel @ 200,

    While there’s no complete theory of abiogenesis, complex molecules do self-assemble, and there are tentative ideas of how the first replicator might have formed.

    You didn’t watch the video, did you?

    Dr. Tour designs and creates molecules and nano technology. He’s looking for anyone that’s willing to explain to him how this self assembly required for evolution or abiogenesis is possible. Are you willing to take up his challenge?

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CB3ZmLatcUI

    The difference between “complex molecules do assemble” and “a miracle happened” is only in the name. Do you believe that if someone shakes the 1-2 million parts in a modern jet aircraft for a billion years that it will completely self assemble? Not just two or three pieces that soon fall apart again. You need a mechanic with a plan. Not to mention that the complexity of jet aircraft is trivial compared to that required for the simplest living cell.

    most scientists believe that life is the result of natural processes, and not some cosmic accident.

    Chance is a natural process. Sometimes it’s referred to as a “mutation.” I suppose you think that the Big Bang is also a natural process. Nature didn’t exist before the Big Bang. Nothing material existed.

    RNA has certainly evolved. That’s a primary evidence of RNA World.

    A presumption is not evidence.

    -Q

  216. 216
    Zachriel says:

    Querius: He’s looking for anyone that’s willing to explain to him how this self assembly required for evolution or abiogenesis is possible.

    Evolution is well-supported. No one has a complete theory of abiogenesis.

    Querius: The difference between “complex molecules do assemble” and “a miracle happened” is only in the name.

    That is incorrect. Complex molecules, including amino acids, spontaneously assemble in a wide variety of environments.

    Querius: A presumption is not evidence.

    As stated, evolution is well-supported.

  217. 217
    Querius says:

    EugeneS @ 205,

    ‘Fins can become legs or wings’; that is all they have really.

    Or vice versa. While some scientists might call this something like “Incremental locomotor adaptation to changing environmental stressors,” everyone else would call something like this “a miracle.”

    The problem is that the same evidence and type of speculative presumptions that can produce a whale from a bear can produce a motorcycle from a cat as long as the incentive is great enough.

    That the evidence is weak or non-existent means that they must use peer pressure, indoctrination, marginalization, and courts of law to impose their antiquated 19th-century theory on modern science.

    -Q

  218. 218
    Zachriel says:

    Querius: While some scientists might call this something like “Incremental locomotor adaptation to changing environmental stressors,” everyone else would call something like this “a miracle.”

    Actually, it’s called evolution by natural selection.

    Querius: The problem is that the same evidence and type of speculative presumptions that can produce a whale from a bear can produce a motorcycle from a cat as long as the incentive is great enough.

    Motorcycles don’t reproduce.

  219. 219
    franklin says:

    Querius

    Dr. Tour designs and creates molecules and nano technology. He’s looking for anyone that’s willing to explain to him how this self assembly required for evolution or abiogenesis is possible. Are you willing to take up his challenge?

    Dr. Matzke has offered to meet the challenge but Dr. Tour folded once it was stipulated that the meeting was to be recorded to protect both participants from potential misrepresentation of the conversations content/coontext. Too much transparency for him, I guess.

  220. 220
    Querius says:

    Zachriel @ 216,

    Evolution is well-supported. No one has a complete theory of abiogenesis.

    Evolution is supported by vast quantities of speculation, presupposition, presumptions brandished as evidence, selective interpretation, and hyperbole. The same strata that hold fossils of extinct organisms also hold fossils of contemporary organisms. “Living fossils” also falsify the theory of evolution. strata are also inverted when the order of the fossils in them is inconvenient.

    No one has a complete theory of abiogenesis that everyone can agree on as the Accepted Narrative.

    That is incorrect. Complex molecules, including amino acids, spontaneously assemble in a wide variety of environments.

    And jet aircraft spontaneously assemble on runways all over the world.

    You still can’t bring yourself to watch the first 40 minutes of Dr. Tour’s presentation, can you.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CB3ZmLatcUI

    There’s simply to much at stake, right?

    -Q

  221. 221
    bornagain77 says:

    Funny, according to a recent talk I heard Dr. Tour give, Matzke (although he does not mention him by name) failed to follow through on his promise to at least send him some literature on how evolution is suppose to work.

    Does Science Make Faith Obsolete? James Tour – video – March 9, 2015 (talk given February 18, 2015 – 30:20 minute mark – he publicly asks Darwinists to explain macro-evolution to him)
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=CB3ZmLatcUI#t=1827

    Franklin, perhaps you would like to take the ball up where Matzke failed and show us how unguided material processes can build sophisticated molecular machines?

    Calling Nick Matzke’s literature bluff on molecular machines – DonaldM UD blogger – April 2013
    Excerpt: So now, 10 years later in 2006 Matzke and Pallen come along with this review article. The interesting thing about this article is that, despite all the hand waving claims about all these dozens if not hundreds of peer reviewed research studies showing how evolution built a flagellum, Matzke and Pallen didn’t have a single such reference in their bibliography. Nor did they reference any such study in the article. Rather, the article went into great lengths to explain how a researcher might go about conducting a study to show how evolution could have produced the system. Well, if all those articles and studies were already there, why not just point them all out? In shorty, the entire article was a tacit admission that Behe had been right all along.
    Fast forward to now and Andre’s question directed to Matzke. We’re now some 17 years after Behe’s book came out where he made that famous claim. And, no surprise, there still is not a single peer reviewed research study that provides the Darwinian explanation for a bacterial flagellum (or any of the other irreducibly complex biological systems Behe mentioned in the book). We’re almost 7 years after the Matzke & Pallen article. So where are all these research studies? There’s been ample time for someone to do something in this regard.
    Matzke will not answer the question because there is no answer he can give…no peer reviewed research study he can reference, other than the usual literature bluffing he’s done in the past.
    http://www.uncommondescent.com.....ent-453291

  222. 222
    Querius says:

    Zachriel @ 218,

    Actually, it’s called evolution by natural selection.

    Or just “Evolution” for short since natural selection is no longer exactly the current narrative. “Evolution” is the pseudo-scientific goop that’s thickly slathered over everything to explain anything and predict nothing except in retrospect. It’s been the biggest hindrance to scientific progress in the biological and behavioral sciences in 100 years or more.

    Motorcycles don’t reproduce.

    Of course they do. They must have. We see evidence of motorcycle evolution in junk yards all over the world. The fact that no one has actually seen them reproduce shouldn’t be the slightest hindrance to any true-believing Darwinist since they constantly exhibit this kind of blind faith regarding evolution!

    -Q

  223. 223
    Querius says:

    bornagain77 @ 221,

    Nicely stated.

    I think Dr. Matzke is afraid of Jim Tour. And Dr. Tour simply wants a private conversation as he’s had with a number of other scientists rather than to hold a formal debate.

    -Q

  224. 224
    Querius says:

    It’s been great.

    It’s a beautiful day and I think I’ll go out and engage in one of my favorite sports now. That’ll also give Zachriel time to think of a comeback to the evidence for motorcycle evolution as an analogy for Darwinism. I suppose he could watch Dr. Tour’s presentation, but I suspect that would be asking too much. 😉

    -Q

  225. 225
    franklin says:

    BA77

    Funny, according to a recent talk I heard Dr. Tour give, Matzke (although he does not mention him by name) failed to follow through on his promise to at least send him some literature on how evolution is suppose to work.

    you, of course, can link to this alleged promise?

    I am sure that Dr.tour also failed to mention how heso quickly backed away from Dr. Matzke’s offer to take up his challenge once it was apparent the meeting would be recorded. Pretty cowardly after all his huffing and puffing about his challenge……and really funny as well in that sad sort of way..

    Querius

    I think Dr. Matzke is afraid of Jim Tour. And Dr. Tour simply wants a private conversation as he’s had with a number of other scientists rather than to hold a formal debate.

    having a conversation recorded does not constitute a debate. It is simply a recording of what is said and by whom. considering that Jim tour quickly backed away from Dr. Matzke’s offer it hardly makes any sense to believe it was Dr. Matzke who was afraid…..especially given that the entire affair would have been recorded for all to see and hear.d That, apparently, was to much for Jim Tour to risk.

  226. 226
    Zachriel says:

    Querius: The same strata that hold fossils of extinct organisms also hold fossils of contemporary organisms.

    The undisturbed strata that hold T. Rex do not hold humans.

    Querius: “Living fossils” also falsify the theory of evolution.

    There’s nothing in the theory of evolution which is contradicted by stasis.

    Querius: strata are also inverted when the order of the fossils in them is inconvenient.

    So it’s not only the evolutionary biologists that have it wrong, but the geologists.

    Querius: Or just “Evolution” for short since natural selection is no longer exactly the current narrative.

    No. Evolution by natural selection was the correct term.

    Querius: You still can’t bring yourself to watch the first 40 minutes of Dr. Tour’s presentation, can you.

    Too long. If it is written down, we may take a look at it.

  227. 227
    harry says:

    harry: That is another way of saying “Matter accidentally assembling itself into life is so unimaginable and so unlikely, that we can’t even put together a theory as to how that might have happened.”

    Zachriel: No. The hypothesis is that abiogenesis is a result of natural processes.

    Which is as reasonable as the hypothesis that some houses might have been constructed by tornados.

    Zachriel: complex molecules do self-assemble

    harry: Right. And tornados do occasionally drive nails into boards.

    Zachriel: The difference is that complex molecules spontaneously assemble in a wide variety of conditions.

    Complex molecules are much farther from digital-information-based, self-replicating nanotechnology than a nail driven into a board by a tornado is from a house constructed by a tornado.


    harry: Nor does a complex molecule indicate that matter can assemble itself into digital-information-based, self-replicating nanotechnology.

    Zachriel: It undermines the claim that complex structures can’t spontaneously assemble.

    Tornados driving nails into boards undermines the claim that tornados can’t construct houses.

    harry: There is overwhelming evidence that significant functional complexity simply does not come about mindlessly and accidentally.

    Zachriel: Abiogenesis posits situations where this is not the case.

    One can posit situations where tornados construct houses.

    harry: For every instance of a phenomenon exhibiting it, intelligent agency has been found to have been a causal factor in that phenomenon coming into being.

    Zachriel: You mean humans, and excluding life.

    It should by now be needless to say explicitly with each comment one makes that whether the emergence of life could have happened without the involvement of intelligent agency is the question being considered.

  228. 228
    Querius says:

    Zachriel,

    You are so wrong . . .

    Z: The undisturbed strata that hold T. Rex do not hold humans.

    That’s not what I said. Speaking of Triassic, Jurassic, and Cretaceous strata, “We found fossilized examples from every major invertebrate animal phylum living today including: arthropods (insects, crustaceans etc.), shellfish, echinoderms (starfish, crinoids, brittle stars, etc.), corals, sponges, and segmented worms (earthworms, marine worms).” – Dr. Carl Werner

    Z: There’s nothing in the theory of evolution which is contradicted by stasis.

    There’s nothing in the theory of evolution which is contradicted by ANY discovery because the theory is not falsifiable. “Stasis” isn’t possible over presumed dozens of millions of years of climate and environmental change.

    Z: So it’s not only the evolutionary biologists that have it wrong, but the geologists.

    The evolutionary biologists cite geologists and the geologists cite evolutionary biologists. Take your pick.

    Z: No. Evolution by natural selection was the correct term.

    Wrong again! The latest version of the Theory of Evolution is defined as
    “The neutral theory of molecular evolution holds that at the molecular level most evolutionary changes and most of the variation within and between species is not caused by natural selection but by random drift of mutant alleles that are neutral.” (emphasis added)

    Z:Too long. If it is written down, we may take a look at it.

    Lol. We? Oh come on. Are you really resorting to the majestic plural or do you have a tapeworm?

    Ok, start at 27:25.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CB3ZmLatcUI

    In case you doubt James Tour’s academic credentials, which include over 500 published research papers, you can review them here:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/James_Tour

    -Q

  229. 229
    Querius says:

    harry @ 227,

    Complex molecules are much farther from digital-information-based, self-replicating nanotechnology than a nail driven into a board by a tornado is from a house constructed by a tornado.

    Beautifully stated though likely lost on someone who would assume that a jet aircraft with 2-3 million parts can spontaneously and inevitably assemble itself on a runway, or who has trouble understanding the ridiculousness of extrapolating a house being built by a tornado simply because a tornado has been observed to drive a nail into a board.

    Still we can try. 😉

    -Q

  230. 230
    Joe says:

    franklin:

    Dr. Matzke has offered to meet the challenge

    Matzke is a bluffing loser. If he had something he would get it published.

  231. 231
    Dionisio says:

    Querius and harry,

    The problem is not to show how you transition from a fin to a leg. That’s difficult in and by itself, but that’s not the real issue. The real money is in describing how you modify the spatiotemporal instructions stored in the zygote or appearing gradually, so that, at the right time, organogenesis and morphogenesis direct every cell to become what they have to be functionally and somehow put them at the right location, either through migration or local replication.
    I personally don’t care much about the OOL debate, which I consider senseless at this point, at least until researchers can provide an exact description of the actual processes occurring within the biological systems.
    Looking at the overwhelming flood of data coming out of research these days, one could easily see that such an exact detailed description is not around the corner yet. For every outstanding question that gets answered, several new questions are raised.
    These are fascinating times to read serious biological research papers.
    Let’s keep looking forward to reading future research papers that will shed more light on the elaborate molecular and cellular choreographies orchestrated within the biological systems.
    You may search for “mystery” in this blog, then select the thread titled by News “Mystery at the heart of life” and see the myriad of paper references that are posted there. The same can be done by searching for “third way” to see another thread that was started by News, which is full of interesting research papers.
    In both cases note that the overwhelming majority of references reveal that we are not there yet. Much closer than ever, but still far from it. Until then, senseless OOL debates are a waste of time, imho.

  232. 232
    Zachriel says:

    harry: Which is as reasonable as the hypothesis that some houses might have been constructed by tornados.

    Handwaving. We know that complex molecules can spontaneously assemble. We know that lipid vesicles can spontaneously assemble.

    harry: Complex molecules are much farther from digital-information-based, self-replicating nanotechnology than a nail driven into a board by a tornado is from a house constructed by a tornado.

    We don’t know how simple the first replicator might have been. We do know that the complexity of extant life evolved from more primitive forms.

    harry: Tornados driving nails into boards undermines the claim that tornados can’t construct houses.

    There is no mechanism by which tornadoes would construct houses. There are mechanisms by which complex molecular structures form spontaneously.

    harry: One can posit situations where tornados construct houses.

    One can posit most anything. The tornado hypothesis has led to no new scientific insights, and we have substantial evidence of how house are constructed. The abiogenesis hypothesis has led to significant new insights, and evolutionary theory shows how complexity can evolve from more primitive forms.

    Querius: That’s not what I said.

    You said, “The same strata that hold fossils of extinct organisms also hold fossils of contemporary organisms.”

    Querius: Speaking of Triassic, Jurassic, and Cretaceous strata, “We found fossilized examples from every major invertebrate animal phylum living today including: arthropods (insects, crustaceans etc.), shellfish, echinoderms (starfish, crinoids, brittle stars, etc.), corals, sponges, and segmented worms (earthworms, marine worms).”

    Ah, so when you said, ” The same strata that hold fossils of extinct organisms also hold fossils of contemporary organisms.”, you meant of the same phylum, not the same organisms. Sure. The major phylum have been around a long time. That’s the nature of phylogeny.

    Querius: There’s nothing in the theory of evolution which is contradicted by ANY discovery because the theory is not falsifiable.

    Sure it is. There’s always the canonical rabbit in the Precambrian. Or a human riding a T. Rex.

    Querius: “Stasis” isn’t possible over presumed dozens of millions of years of climate and environmental change.

    Of course it is. Generalist forms tend to persist. Specialist forms tend to either evolve or go extinct. Even for taxa that persist, the extant species are not the same species as their distant ancestor.

    Querius: The evolutionary biologists cite geologists and the geologists cite evolutionary biologists.

    Yes, that’s one of the strengths of the scientific method; scientists in different fields using different methods verifying findings in related fields. Should we ask the astronomers about the age of the Earth?

    Querius: Wrong again! The latest version of the Theory of Evolution is defined as
    “The neutral theory of molecular evolution holds that at the molecular level most evolutionary changes and most of the variation within and between species is not caused by natural selection but by random drift of mutant alleles that are neutral.” (emphasis added)

    We weren’t discussing molecular evolution but morphological evolution. By the way, even if most molecular evolution is neutral, it doesn’t mean that adaptation isn’t spurred by natural selection. Just ask a neutralist.

    Dionisio: The real money is in describing how you modify the spatiotemporal instructions stored in the zygote or appearing gradually, so that, at the right time, organogenesis and morphogenesis direct every cell to become what they have to be functionally and somehow put them at the right location, either through migration or local replication.

    Funny thing about that. There’s an entire field of study called evolutionary embryology.

  233. 233
    Dionisio says:

    #232 Zachriel

    Funny thing about that. There’s an entire field of study called evolutionary embryology.

    Yes, I know that. But, at least as far as I’m aware of, they have not passed the fundamental “where’s the beef?” and “show me the money!” tests.

    Perhaps heading in that direction, but not there yet… 🙂

    Please, let me know if you want to present any specific case for review here. I’ll be more than glad to look at it.
    Thanks.

  234. 234
    harry says:

    Zachriel,

    Enough of your drawing mountainous, extremely dubious conclusions from infinitesimal molehills of evidence. Instead, starting with the pre-Life Earth, explain to us why such a thing as a digital-information storage device would evolve through an undirected, mindless, natural process.

    Such a process couldn’t have known ahead of time that a device containing the assembly instructions for the intricate cellular machinery required for metabolism and for the reproduction of a complex metabolizing unit would be absolutely necessary along with cellular machinery to utilize that information; it couldn’t seek a goal of any kind, or even know such a thing as life might come about, or know or want anything at all.

    Granting you that your extremely far-fetched replication scenario has actually somehow begun and persists, but before a digital-information storage device existed, and before cellular machinery existed to utilize the contents of the memory of such a device, what was the series of selectable functional advantages that would incrementally construct such a memory device or the machinery to utilize its contents? It appears there would be no functional advantage whatsoever until the memory device was built and the contents of its memory populated with functional information, and the machinery existed to utilize that information. Or does all that just automatically happen somehow simply because it is required to happen by theories proposing that undirected, mindless processes accidentally assembled digital-information-based, self-replicating nanotechnology the functional complexity of which is light years beyond our own?

  235. 235
    Zachriel says:

    harry: Instead, starting with the pre-Life Earth, explain to us why such a thing as a digital-information storage device would evolve through an undirected, mindless, natural process.

    One theory is that primitive nucleotide sequences isolated in vesicles formed the first cells, but no one know how life began.

    harry: Such a process couldn’t have known ahead of time that a device containing the assembly instructions for the intricate cellular machinery required for metabolism and for the reproduction of a complex metabolizing unit would be absolutely necessary along with cellular machinery to utilize that information; it couldn’t seek a goal of any kind, or even know such a thing as life might come about, or know or want anything at all.

    The intricacy you claim may not have existed in the first replicators. As pointed out already, RNA can act as both the memory and the enzyme.

  236. 236
    Joe says:

    Zachriel:

    There’s an entire field of study called evolutionary embryology.

    Unfortunately evolutionists don’t have an explanation for embryos.

    As pointed out already, RNA can act as both the memory and the enzyme.

    So what? There isn’t any evidence for a RNA world, so you lose.

  237. 237
    harry says:

    Dionisio @231,

    I enjoy discussing OOL with Zachriel. Is that reason enough to continue? ;o)

  238. 238
    harry says:

    Querius @229,

    Beautifully stated …

    Thanks. I don’t mind if I don’t convince the person to whom I am responding. I am thinking of readers who will never post anything when I attempt to make a point. And I am grateful to whoever the “devil’s advocate” happens to be who keeps the discussion going.

  239. 239
    harry says:

    Zachriel,

    Again, there was a time when no digital-information storage device existed on planet Earth. Starting there, and given some kind of replication scenario in which an undirected evolutionary process could begin which would (not that I think this is possible) eventually produce that first, single-celled, reproducing life form, what is the series of selectable advantages that would incrementally construct a digital-information storage device? How could there be any advantage provided by it at all until such a device was constructed and populated with functional information, and the machinery existed to utilize that information?

  240. 240
    Zachriel says:

    harry: Starting there, and given some kind of replication scenario in which an undirected evolutionary process could begin which would (not that I think this is possible) eventually produce that first, single-celled, reproducing life form, what is the series of selectable advantages that would incrementally construct a digital-information storage device?

    No one knows at this point, but life may have started with replicating molecules, which is the “digital-information storage device”.

  241. 241
    Dionisio says:

    harry @237 @238

    In both comments you’ve presented convincing arguments to continue your discussion. 🙂

    I lack the knowledge, patience and communication skills required to get involved in that kind of debates.

    I’ve read some of your comments in this blog and liked them. Keep writing!

    These days I’m busy working on a time-consuming project, which is not considered difficult by most standards, but it is very challenging for me.

    Sometimes I take time off to recharge my “batteries”. Then I stop by this blog and share a few interesting research references with nice people like you, who I’m sure could enjoy reading some of them, even if you have read them somewhere else before.

    Have a good week.

  242. 242
    Querius says:

    Harry @ 238,

    Thanks. I don’t mind if I don’t convince the person to whom I am responding. I am thinking of readers who will never post anything when I attempt to make a point. And I am grateful to whoever the “devil’s advocate” happens to be who keeps the discussion going.

    Same here. But it’s actually too easy. We never get real evidence, simply bald assertions.

    I’m still waiting for Z to refute the evolution of a motorcycle from a cat, explain whether his us of “we” was a a majestic plural or an acknowledgment of his hosting a tapeworm, how a jet aircraft that’s profoundly simpler than a living cell could spontaneously assemble itself, how he can’t bring himself to watch a short video by a widely acknowledged and widely cited expert on synthetic organic chemistry, and so on. I’m not holding my breath. 😉

    When presented with evidence of modern organisms being found in Triassic, Jurassic, and Cretaceous strata, Z misunderstands the evidence and ignores that they are MODERN organisms.

    Dionisio @ 241,

    I lack the knowledge, patience and communication skills required to get involved in that kind of debates.

    Yeah, I know what you mean. For all we know, we’re debating with a ‘bot. Turing would be proud. 😉

    I personally don’t care much about the OOL debate, which I consider senseless at this point, at least until researchers can provide an exact description of the actual processes occurring within the biological systems.

    Yes, it’s sort of like debating with a medieval alchemist who insists that lead most certainly can be turned into gold if they could only find the right recipe. It’s fun at first, but after a while, it gets tiresome.

    Let’s keep looking forward to reading future research papers that will shed more light on the elaborate molecular and cellular choreographies orchestrated within the biological systems.

    Yes, I agree. There are far too many exciting developments–James Tour mentions some of them–to bother much more with trying to pry someone off the HMS Beagle.

    All the best,

    -Q

  243. 243
    Zachriel says:

    Querius: When presented with evidence of modern organisms being found in Triassic, Jurassic, and Cretaceous strata, Z misunderstands the evidence and ignores that they are MODERN organisms.

    You didn’t provided evidence. You provided a quote concerning “every major invertebrate animal phylum living today”. No one doubts that there were sponges and worms in the Jurassic just as there are today.

  244. 244
    EugeneS says:

    Zachriel,

    I think that for a mutually fruitful conversation one need to trust intellectual honesty of the other party. I can’t say I have that trust any more, to be honest. I will no longer waste your time with my questions.

  245. 245
    Zachriel says:

    EugeneS: I think that for a mutually fruitful conversation one need to trust intellectual honesty of the other party.

    That’s the difference between us. We assume you are honestly representing your position. But suit yourself.

    EugeneS: A totally artificial environment where we can tweak things and see how they evolve without thinking about hostile factors, and to think that it isn’t good enough for evolution… What is good enough for evolution then? Do you think that the real environment will be any friendlier? This is totally untenable.

    The vast majority of replicators in evolutionary algorithms either die or leave no descendants. It’s brutal out there.

  246. 246
    Zachriel says:

    Just double-checked a simple example, Weasel. Only one member of the population survives each generation. The survivor is then cloned with mutation to fill the available space. The amount of destruction, then, depends on the population size and how long the simulation lasts. With a mutation rate of 5%, and a population of 50, it usually takes 100 generations or so to reach fixation. That means 49*100 = 4900 individuals leave no progeny, to end up with just one that utters “Methinks it is like a weasel.”

    If anything, selection is generally much stricter in evolutionary algorithms. Nature can deal with giga-genomes and giga-populations reproducing simultaneously for giga-years. On the other hand, computer simulations are limited by computational resources and sequential processing, as well as the limited attention span of their human overlords.

  247. 247
    Joe says:

    Zachriel:

    The vast majority of replicators in evolutionary algorithms either die or leave no descendants.

    That is how selection works. Are you really that dim that you didn’t realize that?

  248. 248
    Joe says:

    Zachriel:

    That’s the difference between us. We assume you are honestly representing your position.

    And we know that you do not honestly represent your position.

  249. 249
    harry says:

    Zachriel,

    harry: Starting there, and given some kind of replication scenario in which an undirected evolutionary process could begin which would (not that I think this is possible) eventually produce that first, single-celled, reproducing life form, what is the series of selectable advantages that would incrementally construct a digital-information storage device?

    Zachriel: No one knows at this point, but life may have started with replicating molecules, which is the “digital-information storage device”.

    You realize that a digital-information storage device was absolutely essential, right? The complex protein machines that make metabolism and reproduction possible weren’t going to just fall into place. The extensive assembly instructions for them had to be stored somewhere. Why should a macromolecule like DNA, with its capacity to store digital information, come about at all? No such molecule was possible without carbon. No other element is capable of forming molecules as large and complex as carbon based molecules. But how likely was carbon? Interestingly, carbon wasn’t produced by the Big Bang but was only formed afterwards in dying stars.

    There couldn’t have been life without a digital-information storage device. There couldn’t have been a digital-information storage device without carbon. There couldn’t have been carbon without stars. Not only all that, but the precision of the “ingredients” and the “recipe” for “cooking up” some carbon in a star is such that renowned astrophysicist Fred Hoyle remarked that:

    A common sense interpretation of the facts suggests that a superintellect has monkeyed with physics, as well as with chemistry and biology, and that there are no blind forces worth speaking about in nature. The numbers one calculates from the facts seem to me so overwhelming as to put this conclusion almost beyond question.

    I realize Hoyle’s remark is old news and makes no difference at all to hardened atheists who have heard it a hundred times before. But here is the interesting thing to me: As amazing and unlikely as the emergence of a digital-information storage device was, its existence would have been all for naught without the contents of its memory being populated with massive quantities of functional information, i.e., the assembly instructions for the complex machinery that makes metabolism and the reproduction of a functionally complex metabolizing unit possible. How did that digital-information storage device come to contain that information? Do you have any idea how that could have happened mindlessly and accidentally?

  250. 250
    EugeneS says:

    Harry,

    Excellent stuff. Data + processor MUST have come about at once together for neither data nor the processor makes any sense one without the other.

    The cycle DNA-RNA-protein is irreducibly complex as the constituents critically need one another. All this RNA world rubbish is just for moving the goal posts. There is no sequential path from simple to complex as regards life. Life must have started complex already.

    Digital storage is another piece of evidence for intelligence behind it all as it is the only means to make sure that the information losses are minimized over a noisy channel. It is actually close to the theoretical ideal energy-efficiency-wise. The difference between the ideal and the actual system is there in order to safe-guard its proper functioning from thermal noise.

    Programs are ubiquitous in the biosphere, not only being the basis of replication. Biosystems are essentially pre-programmed persistent decision making systems.

    That all is remarkable evidence of the awesome engineering work of the Author of our lives.

  251. 251
    Carpathian says:

    EugeneS:

    Data + processor MUST have come about at once together for neither data nor the processor makes any sense one without the other.

    When looking at human processor designs we can see that is not the case.

    The earliest computers were mechanical calculators and had no data or even data storage capability yet could add and subtract.

    In our history of design, the processor came first followed by the data.

  252. 252
    Joe says:

    The earliest computers were mechanical calculators and had no data or even data storage capability yet could add and subtract.

    So the numbers they could add and subtract aren’t/ weren’t data? And we stored the data- sometimes using punch cards or magnetic tape. Other times we just wrote it down.

  253. 253
    Zachriel says:

    harry: You realize that a digital-information storage device was absolutely essential, right?

    The RNA replicator IS the “digital-information storage”.

  254. 254
    Upright BiPed says:

    not even wrong

  255. 255
    Mung says:

    doesn’t matter. it sounds good.

  256. 256
    EugeneS says:

    Carpathian,

    Main CPU is in our heads ), the abacus was the first step in us redelegating the processing to a device. Nonetheless, data has no meaning without the processor and vice versa.

    What kind of storage medium is used is secondary to the requirement for some storage medium to be available. Once storage is used, inevitably there is a representation and read-write operations involved.

    Can you think of all that in inanimate nature? I.e. is there such a complex as ‘data + processor + storage + IO’ all in one persistent self-replicating system used for a reliably detectable pragmatic purpose?

  257. 257
    Querius says:

    Dionisio said back in 181, to which I forgot to respond:

    The informational complexity is much higher than your ‘huge’ number, my friend. 🙂

    You’re right, of course. My only defense is that I got tired of typing “billion” in the Sagan tradition. 🙂

    Thank you for the links.

    -Q

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