Design inference Intelligent Design

Kirk Durston offers a scientific method for design detection

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Can this definition be applied in practice?

– Design application: the application of intelligence to first principles in physics to produce a desired effect (e.g., a smartphone).

– Design derivation: the reverse engineering of a complex effect back to first principles of physics for the purpose of discovering the design process and application (e.g., one company or country reverse-engineering the technology of another company or country).

– Design detection: the analysis of effects to determine which required intelligence to produce and which could be produced by nature (e.g., searching for the acoustic signature of a submarine amidst the natural background noise of the ocean).

From the three categories noted above, a possible definition of intelligent design can be formulated as follows:

“Intelligent design: an effect that required an intelligent mind to produce.”


Kirk Durston, “A Scientific Method for Design Detection” at Evolution News and Science Today

See also: Kirk Durston: What do we do when Darwinism looks less like science all the time

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33 Replies to “Kirk Durston offers a scientific method for design detection

  1. 1
    polistra says:

    This seems inadequate. We already have a nice logical test for the necessity of design, in the form of Which First situations. In any aspect of life, from cells to tissues to individuals, there are trillions of Which First problems, where structure 1 would be totally useless and meaningless without Structure 2, and simultaneously Structure 2 would be meaningless and unnecessary without Structure 1. Neither could have arisen randomly on its own without the other being there first.

    Simply looking for “an effect” doesn’t work even in the given example. Natural ocean noises (pre-life) include things like volcanic bubbles, which can exhibit a non-periodic pattern. Distinguishing volcanic bubbles from sonar bleeps would be impossible by “basic physics”.

  2. 2
    ScuzzaMan says:

    The problem is that we already know that many aspects of our existence cannot possibly be formed by nature. The chirality of organic molecules present in all life here is flatly impossible by purely natural means, yet this has no effect on the unbeliever.
    Jesus himself testified of this reality when he said “if they hear not Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded, though one rose from the dead.
    This refusal to acknowledge the realities shown to them by their own philosophy, this rejection of irrefutable truths demonstrated to them by their own preferred method of determining truth, is not symptomatic of a missing method for detecting design.
    It is symptomatic of a far more serious malady that their philosophy convinces them does not even exist.

  3. 3
    Fasteddious says:

    The proposed definition does indeed seem inadequate. Firstly, the “effect” is not the “design”, but the result of the design being then produced; E.g., the fossil record is not ID, but ID is the theory that explains the fossil record. One could also quibble that something obviously created by a mind need not necessarily be designed; E.g. a pile of junk. Finally is “intelligent mind” redundant? Can you have a mind (in the ID sense) without intelligence? Can you have intelligence without a mind? I guess it depends on how those two words are defined.

  4. 4
    Brother Brian says:

    Any “design detection” method that doesn’t include either the mechanisms used to realize the design, or an understanding of the limitations of the designer, is doomed to failure.

    Cue ET with some pointless insult, but no counter argument.

  5. 5
    kairosfocus says:

    BB, fail. All that is required is to observe the presence of functionally specific complex organisation and associated information, FSCO/I. On a base of trillions of cases, we know such is only seen to come from intelligently directed configuration. Further, analysis of configuration spaces of 10^150 or 10^301 possibilities or more shows that the atomic resources of the sol system or the observed cosmos are overwhelmed on a blind search approach. So, we confidently, routinely recognise cases of design on such. For example no one proposes random text generation as a credible cause of web pages, which are far less sophisticated than DNA. KF

    PS: There are many things we do not understand how they came to be, but readily recognise as designed.

  6. 6
    Brother Brian says:

    KF

    BB, fail. All that is required is to observe the presence of functionally specific complex organisation and associated information, FSCO/I.

    Fail. Your trillions of examples are comparing it to human intelligence and it’s products. The ID argument is largely based on statistics and probability. Yet, comparing it all to human examples involves zero degrees of freedom. In statistical terms, that means that the test has zero power. In short, the inference based on these statistics and probabilities has no validity.

  7. 7
    Brother Brian says:

    KF

    Further, analysis of configuration spaces of 10^150 or 10^301 possibilities or more shows that the atomic resources of the sol system or the observed cosmos are overwhelmed on a blind search approach.

    Those probabilities are based on the assumption that the end product was the goal. It wasn’t. Was the unique person that is you (including your genetic makeup) the goal? No. Your parents got frisky one night (or one afternoon under the bleachers) and bumped uglies. You were the result. Were you the goal? No. What was the probability of a person being born with your unique genetic make up. Extremely low. What was the probability that you were born? 1.

    You are arguing statistics after the fact but evolution deals with statistics before the fact.

  8. 8
    Brother Brian says:

    Using BA77 parlance, further to this:

    Probabilities in the evolution sense do come into play in that evolution can only work on existing variation. Only time can provide more variation.

    Much in the same way that ET can only respond with the same parroted catch phrases and insults. On occasion he can vary them (probably due to random mutation) but the changes are limited by the IQ of ET. Baby steps for baby minds. 🙂

  9. 9
    ET says:

    Brother Brian:

    Any “design detection” method that doesn’t include either the mechanisms used to realize the design, or an understanding of the limitations of the designer, is doomed to failure.

    And yet both reality and science tell us that the ONLY possible way to make any determination about the specific process(es) used or the designer is by first determining design exists and then studying it and all relevant evidence.

    In other words once again Brother Brian proves it is ignorant with respect to scientific investigation.

    How do we know that the ancients were capable, ie their limitations, of building the pyramids, Stonehenge, the Antikythera mechanism, etc.? Because they left those artifacts behind. Only after years and years of studying these artifacts have we been able to figure out the how. And these are all artifacts we should be able to replicate.

    So design detection does NOT require knowledge of the specific process(es) used. Nor does it require knowledge of the designer. Those all come well after design has been determined to exist and it has been studied.

    You have you be completely scientifically illiterate to say that design detection requires “mechanisms used to realize the design, or an understanding of the limitations of the designer”. We don’t even do that with archaeology or forensic science

  10. 10
    ET says:

    Brother Brian:

    Those probabilities are based on the assumption that the end product was the goal.

    No, it doesn’t. And without the probability argument you have nothing. Your side doesn’t have a methodology to test its claims. All you have are your belligerent and ignorant attacks on science and ID.

    I understand why you lash out at me. I prove that you are an ignorant troll on a daily basis. You are an insult. Deal with it.

  11. 11
    ET says:

    Brother Brian:

    The ID argument is largely based on statistics and probability.

    No, it isn’t. ID is based on our knowledge of cause and effect relationships. We use stats and probabilities to show that your side has nothing. If you had some actual science and evidence we would address that.

  12. 12
    SmartAZ says:

    “– Design detection: the analysis of effects to determine which required intelligence to produce and which could be produced by nature (e.g., searching for the acoustic signature of a submarine amidst the natural background noise of the ocean).”

    That is a poorly chosen example. Sweden almost went to war with Russia because they kept hearing the unique sounds of submarines trying to run silently. The sounds were produced by fish farts.
    https://nowiknow.com/fishing-for-trouble/

  13. 13
    kairosfocus says:

    BB,

    The attempted turnabout projection also fails.

    Next, notice that I do NOT resort to a probabilistic calculation but very specifically spoke to blind, needles- in- a- haystack search challenge.

    You have claimed to be a chemist so you know that 10^12 – 14 or 15 interatomic interactions per second is generous. You know too that ~98% of mass of sol system is locked up in Sol, mostly H, so baseline of 10^57 available atoms is generous. 10^17 s is an over estimate of sol sys age. Bring together and number of atomic observations of say trays of 500 coins flipped at random that are feasible is ~ 10^(57 + 14 + 17) = 10^88. 500 coins are capable of 3.27*10^150 possible configurations. In short, the scope of feasible blind search is negligible relative to the scope of possibilities, rendering blind search utterly implausible as a means to find islands of function. The observed cosmos takes us to 10^80 atoms and so 1,000 bits and 1.07*10^301 possibilities is even more overwhelming.

    Let me add, Islands of function obtain because FSCO/I requires multiple, properly sized, correctly arranged and coupled parts to achieve relevant function. A classic case is a 6500 c3 fishing reel; or, you could consider a mechanical watch. In Ch 2 of his Nat Theol, Paley extended this to a self-replicating, time keeping watch. He anticipated von Neumann’s kinematic self replicator by nearly 150 years and greatly exceeded Darwin in the latter’s description of the OoL challenge. Which, is the pivotal case.

    If you don’t like coins, we could readily speak of atoms in a paramagnetic substance as my Mandl uses to start stat thermodynamics. (L K Nash uses the binomial distribution, which is applicable.)

    The point is, ANY 3-d config can be reduced to a string of Y/N queries in some description language, cf. AutoCAD etc. Thus, analysis on 500 element binary strings is WLOG.

    This analysis then explains readily why the observation obtains: trillions of cases of observed creation of FSCO/I, all by intelligently directed configuration, nil by blind search mechanisms.

    Your doubling down on the long since (and repeatedly corrected) oh it’s HUMAN designers talk point reveals that you are simply unresponsive to correction. A typical fault produced by ideological indoctrination.

    FTR, we are contingent creatures and cannot exhaust possible intelligences. Where, our having brains etc in cybernetic loops only gets us to computational substrates, such cannot credibly explain rational, intuitive, insightful, inferential thought (and linked actions).

    I again clip Reppert as summarising why aptly:

    . . . let us suppose that brain state A [–> notice, state of a wetware, electrochemically operated computational substrate], which is token identical to the thought that all men are mortal, and brain state B, which is token identical to the thought that Socrates is a man, together cause the belief [–> concious, perceptual state or disposition] that Socrates is mortal. It isn’t enough for rational inference that these events be those beliefs, it is also necessary that the causal transaction be in virtue of the content of those thoughts . . . [But] if naturalism is true, then the propositional content is irrelevant to the causal transaction that produces the conclusion, and [so] we do not have a case of rational inference. In rational inference, as Lewis puts it, one thought causes another thought not by being, but by being seen to be, the ground for it. But causal transactions in the brain occur in virtue of the brain’s being in a particular type of state that is relevant to physical causal transactions.

    Your answer to Reppert is: ___________ and your justification for that answer is: _________ with reason why such a computational substrate’s output rises above GIGO being _________ . (Failing a solid answer to all three, we have every good reason to conclude that your talking point fails.)

    In further response, I again point to the Smith model of a cybernetic loop with a two-tier controller. The upper tier allows for consideration of what I have suggested as a 5th dimension, non algorithmic supervisory oracle interacting with the brain etc as in the loop i/o controller, perhaps using quantum influences [given the pivotal nature of that theory]. This builds on adaptive controller theory.

    That is, we exemplify intelligence that is embodied, we do not exhaust possibilities for intelligence as an archetype. Which allows us to inductively infer to intelligence rather than to humans. And besides, we see cases of non-human intelligences doing designs adapted to circumstances, e.g. beaver dams. (This case was explored here at UD years ago.)

    In short, brains or other computational substrates based on components that are interacting computationally do not explain rational intelligence. Nor does architecture. Nor does software (including bases of stored, coded “knowledge”).

    Added, we can note how random text generation exercises have managed to get to 19 – 24 ASCII characters, about 10^100 short as a factor of the 72 characters that are equivalent to a 500 bit threshold, and much more short of the 143 characters for 1,000 bits.

    So, we have a trillion-member observational base of intelligently directed configuration as known adequate CAUSE (notice the key word) of FSCO/I and nil cases of such from blind mechanisms. We have a search challenge analysis that helps us understand why.

    Going further, if you wish to suggest that reproduction makes a material difference, we put on the table that this is a cell-based mechanism. The cell uses in effect a von Neumann kinematic self replicator which is based on FSCO/I and coded information. Both of which are antecedent to cell based life. Accordingly, the attempted escape begs the question at stake.

    Yet more, since 1953 we have demonstrated that coded, 4-state algorithmic information is central to the operations and replication of the living cell. Codes imply LANGUAGE and algorithms imply GOAL-DIRECTED-ACTION. Language is a strong signature of intelligent action, as is goal-directed behaviour.

    These and further lines of evidence strongly sustain an inference to design of life, design of major body plans and key features of life forms, as well as specifically design of our own human body plan and capabilities to use language based intelligence.

    The need for a supervisory oracle going beyond what computational substrates can do to account for morally governed rationality further extends the point. Indeed, it points to the credibility of a classic (and now deeply unfashionable) entity: the soul.

    Prediction: most likely, evaded rhetorically yet again. Please prove me wrong by making a cogent response.

    KF

  14. 14
    Brother Brian says:

    KF

    Next, notice that I do NOT resort to a probabilistic calculation but very specifically spoke to blind, needles- in- a- haystack search challenge.

    Followed by an argument based on statistics and probability.

  15. 15
    ET says:

    Followed by an argument based on statistics and probability.

    Definitely NOT a cogent response

  16. 16
    ET says:

    Anyone who has done any investigating knows that we don’t even ask about the who or the how until AFTER (intelligent) design has been detected. That alone proves that Brother Brian doesn’t know what it is talking about when it says that we need one of those to detect (intelligent) design.

  17. 17
    ET says:

    Yes Intelligent Design is both testable and potentially falsifiable:

    ID is based on three premises and the inference that follows (DeWolf et al., Darwinism, Design and Public Education, pg. 92):

    1) High information content (or specified complexity) and irreducible complexity constitute strong indicators or hallmarks of (past) intelligent design.

    2) Biological systems have a high information content (or specified complexity) and utilize subsystems that manifest irreducible complexity.

    3) Naturalistic mechanisms or undirected causes do not suffice to explain the origin of information (specified complexity) or irreducible complexity.

    4) Therefore, intelligent design constitutes the best explanations for the origin of information and irreducible complexity in biological systems.

    There you have it- to falsify Intelligent Design all one has to do is demonstrate that natural selection can produce irreducibly complex biological systems.

    As Dr Behe said:

    Now, one can’t have it both ways. One can’t say both that ID is unfalsifiable (or untestable) and that there is evidence against it. Either it is unfalsifiable and floats serenely beyond experimental reproach, or it can be criticized on the basis of our observations and is therefore testable. The fact that critical reviewers advance scientific arguments against ID (whether successfully or not) shows that intelligent design is indeed falsifiable.

    In fact, my argument for intelligent design is open to direct experimental rebuttal. Here is a thought experiment that makes the point clear. In Darwin’s Black Box (Behe 1996) I claimed that the bacterial flagellum was irreducibly complex and so required deliberate intelligent design. The flip side of this claim is that the flagellum can’t be produced by natural selection acting on random mutation, or any other unintelligent process. To falsify such a claim, a scientist could go into the laboratory, place a bacterial species lacking a flagellum under some selective pressure (for mobility, say), grow it for ten thousand generations, and see if a flagellum–or any equally complex system–was produced. If that happened, my claims would be neatly disproven.(1)

    How about Professor Coyne’s concern that, if one system were shown to be the result of natural selection, proponents of ID could just claim that some other system was designed? I think the objection has little force. If natural selection were shown to be capable of producing a system of a certain degree of complexity, then the assumption would be that it could produce any other system of an equal or lesser degree of complexity. If Coyne demonstrated that the flagellum (which requires approximately forty gene products) could be produced by selection, I would be rather foolish to then assert that the blood clotting system (which consists of about twenty proteins) required intelligent design.

    Let’s turn the tables and ask, how could one falsify the claim that, say, the bacterial flagellum was produced by Darwinian processes?

    The criteria for inferring design in biology is, as Michael J. Behe, Professor of Biochemistry at Lehigh University, puts it in his book Darwin ‘ s Black Box: “Our ability to be confident of the design of the cilium or intracellular transport rests on the same principles to be confident of the design of anything: the ordering of separate components to achieve an identifiable function that depends sharply on the components.” That is the positive case.

    And to falsify ID all one has to do is demonstrate that blind and mindless processes are up to the task.

  18. 18
    kairosfocus says:

    BB, search challenge is a plausibility, not a probability issue: blind search that reduces to negligible search-fraction is not a plausible approach. I suggest you read Abel here. KF

  19. 19
    Brother Brian says:

    Scuzzman

    The chirality of organic molecules present in all life here is flatly impossible by purely natural means, yet this has no effect on the unbeliever.

    Noorduin et al (2008): Emergence of a Single Solid Chiral State from a Nearly Racemic Amino Acid Derivative.

  20. 20
    ET says:

    It’s a safe bet that Brother Brian did not read the paper he referenced. And it is very telling that he didn’t offer anything but the title, author and date.

  21. 21
    Nonlin.org says:

    Design is much more than “functional information”, as exemplified by art.
    Here is a much better ‘design detection method: http://nonlin.org/intelligent-design/

  22. 22
    Latemarch says:

    BB@19 and ET @20:
    Who knew that Darwin’s warm little pond had molar concentrations of Methanol and Methycyanide? Not to mention DBU (1,8-Diazabicyclo[5.4.0]undec-7-ene) and a vacuum oven.

  23. 23
    Axel says:

    ‘This refusal to acknowledge the realities shown to them by their own philosophy, this rejection of irrefutable truths demonstrated to them by their own preferred method of determining truth, is not symptomatic of a missing method for detecting design.
    It is symptomatic of a far more serious malady that their philosophy convinces them does not even exist.’

    ScuzzaMan, you have really hit the nail on the head, there, haven’t you? I often express my admiration for the patience of the people on here (whose sanity, by the way, makes their intellectual accrediations meaningful), beacuse of their endless patience as they refute the insensate burblings (that would disgrace a any child – perhaps the truest of intellectuals [Emperor’s suit], however inchoate their own personal intellectual development) of the numbskull, atheist, ‘science hangers-on’, trolls who seem to turn up here like a tag-team, churned, as it were.

    Aldous Huxley made a very clear disticntion between the analytical, worldly intelligence and the integrative, spiritual intelligence. Unless the former bases himself on the latter, its possessor will be seen to purposely choose to blindfold himself to the greater context, where, alone, common-sense resides.

    In order to earn their daily bread they choose the life of the myrmidon, ever more deficient in their intellectual integrity, the closer their betters drag them kicking and squealing towards ultimate truth, which is Spirit, intensely personal, even making personal demands !

  24. 24
    Axel says:

    There is either intelligent design or unintelligent design, although the latter is a manifest oxymoron (I would suggest, rather, an ‘oxycretin’). No discernibly-sophisticated configuration is ‘unintelligently designed’, since, at the molecular level, even a common pebble, worn by wind and wave, is sophisticated. And what magic of randomness made possible the amazingly-variegated appearance of just the raw materials of nature, from simply different configurations of the same basic atoms ?

    What is the ‘mysterious force’ that Planck referred to, which holds the particles around an atom in their orbit ? Did that come about by random chance. Is it really ‘material’, just ‘hiding its light under a bushel’?

    By the way, the Bible is based on voluntarism, isn’t it? We know what we want to know. Where our treasure is there also will our hearts be.’

  25. 25
    Seversky says:

    We know design exists to some extent in the Universe because we do it. We infer design where what we observe looks like what we design and because we don’t routinely observe it as the product of natural processes. That is the lesson of Paley’s watch analogy.

    We can also infer, following John Stuart Mill, that evidence of design is evidence of the limits of the knowledge and powers of the designer. If you believe you see design in Nature then it might be evidence of the handiwork of some alien intelligence but not of the Christian or any other all-knowing and all-powerful deity.

    So, when you are looking for evidence of Intelligent Design other than what we have done, you are looking for Non-Human Intelligent Design (NHID)

    When you try to infer the presence of NHID based on the improbability of the observed phenomenon having arisen through natural processes you must first be able to identify all possible natural processes that may have given rise to it in order to exclude them. This we cannot do at this time. We simply do not know enough.

    And while estimates of the extreme improbability of a complex organ or organism having popped de novo into existence in one step from random, inanimate chemicals is mildly interesting, it is largely irrelevant because that is not what the theory of evolution claims. If you can define all the possible evolutionary pathways of small, incremental steps that might have led to the complex modern organ or organism and estimate their relative probabilities then you might be on to something. Until then, good luck.

  26. 26
    ET says:

    Seversky:

    When you try to infer the presence of NHID based on the improbability of the observed phenomenon having arisen through natural processes you must first be able to identify all possible natural processes that may have given rise to it in order to exclude them.

    We do NOT do that. And no, we do not have to eliminate all possible natural processes.

    Look, it is up to you and yours to present a POSITIVE case for your side’s claims and it is obvious that you cannot. That you refuse to understand that just exposes your agenda.

  27. 27
    ET says:

    Thanks to Brother Brian we can safely say that any “design detection” method that requires one to include either the mechanisms used to realize the design, or an understanding of the limitations of the designer, is doomed to failure.

  28. 28

    .
    So, if a design proponent invokes our universal experience of encoded information in his or her analysis of the gene system, they “must first be able to identify all possible natural processes that may have given rise to it in order to exclude them.”

    Oh the specter of another clown; making this hapless claim while simultaneously wrapping themselves in the flags of science and reason.

    “We simply do not know enough.”

    Living things were clearly (and persuasively) predicted to be encoded description-based replicators. It was later verified that, indeed, living things are encoded description-based replicators. So we know (for instance) that living things are encoded description-based replicators.

    But, you can’t even get to an encoded description, Seversky. You can’t even get on first base.

    You can’t take any element of matter (or any combination thereof), applying any dynamical properties whatsoever (i.e. the laws of motion, thermodynamics, relativity, quantum woo, etc), and provide a single coherent pathway from dynamics to a semantically-closed encoded description.

    You can’t do it, and neither can anyone else. You have nothing.

    In other words, you’ve set the bar so low for your own beliefs that literally anything whatsoever will suffice. And yet (lol) you claim that your intellectual opponents must forego our universal scientific experience, and must instead, test the unlimited combinations of every element of matter in the universe in order to produce a valid argument against your beliefs.

    You’ve been pulling this crap for years on this board Sev – attempting to sell these fabricated rules of reasoning merely as a means to hide your empty basket. And it’s certainly not just you. Another similarly-needy poster on this thread requires that human beings first give up their observations of intelligent design in order to make claims about intelligent design.

    Such is the despair among you in your war on reason.

    Perhaps you could set a lofty goal for yourself — to not do any more damage to science than you’ve already done. Since science and reason are just a gloss (and don’t actually matter to your beliefs) perhaps you could just let them go, and then you could just go on believing in your imaginary world without dragging down our intellectual institutions in the real world.

    When donkeys fly, right?

    🙂

  29. 29
    Seversky says:

    Upright BiPed @ 28

    So, if a design proponent invokes our universal experience of encoded information in his or her analysis of the gene system, they “must first be able to identify all possible natural processes that may have given rise to it in order to exclude them.”

    What “universal experience of encoded information” are you talking about? Human science only uncovered DNA and began to unravel the genetic code a few decades ago.

    And if you are not proposing humanity as the designer then we are talking about alien or extraterrestrial intelligences of whom we know nothing, not even if they exist. Thus, in order to infer the existence of some NHID (Non-Human Intelligent Designer), you must first be able to rule out human beings and natural processes as the cause of some alleged designed phenomenon.

    Living things were clearly (and persuasively) predicted to be encoded description-based replicators. It was later verified that, indeed, living things are encoded description-based replicators. So we know (for instance) that living things are encoded description-based replicators.

    We all understand now that for any replicator to replicate it will require the materials from which to replicate itself, a model or description of itself and the means by which that description can be applied to the material to effect a fully-functioning copy of itself. We have yet to design a fully autonomous replicator although that may not be too far in our future. The only replicators of which we have any knowledge are the living creatures on this planet. We’re fairly sure we did not design them. We have no evidence of any extraterrestrial intelligences that could have designed them. If no intelligence was responsible then they must have come about as a result of natural processes. It’s also quite true that we don’t know how natural processes could have led to what we see now. In other words, as I wrote, we simply don’t know enough yet to decide the matter one way or the other. You’re fully entitled to believe what you want but I see no necessity to share that belief.

    You can’t take any element of matter (or any combination thereof), applying any dynamical properties whatsoever (i.e. the laws of motion, thermodynamics, relativity, quantum woo, etc), and provide a single coherent pathway from dynamics to a semantically-closed encoded description.

    You can’t do it, and neither can anyone else. You have nothing.

    We don’t know the origins of life but we make no claim to omniscience. There is almost certainly a great deal out there that we do not yet know. But the fact that we do not know of something does not mean it does not exist. It means we don’t know and that includes you. For the present, we will just have to live with our ignorance.

    You’ve been pulling this crap for years on this board Sev – attempting to sell these fabricated rules of reasoning merely as a means to hide your empty basket. And it’s certainly not just you.

    I don’t claim to have all the answers and the only honest position to take when you don’t know is to admit you don’t know. I understand how important their religious beliefs are to some here but, if what I write here has any purpose, it is as a counterpoint to the certainty that some here plainly need but which is, in my view, unwarranted.

    Perhaps you could set a lofty goal for yourself — to not do any more damage to science than you’ve already done. Since science and reason are just a gloss (and don’t actually matter to your beliefs) perhaps you could just let them go, and then you could just go on believing in your imaginary world without dragging down our intellectual institutions in the real world.

    I’m flattered but I doubt that, unlike Intelligent Design, I have the power to harm science in the slightest.

  30. 30
    ET says:

    Human science only uncovered DNA and began to unravel the genetic code a few decades ago.

    So what? That doesn’t stop us from having ” universal experience of encoded information”.

    And if you are not proposing humanity as the designer then we are talking about alien or extraterrestrial intelligences of whom we know nothing, not even if they exist.

    The DESIGN says they at least existed. How do we know the ancients could design the Antikythera mechanism? Because they left it behind.. That is how it goes.

    Thus, in order to infer the existence of some NHID (Non-Human Intelligent Designer), you must first be able to rule out human beings and natural processes as the cause of some alleged designed phenomenon.

    We have. NEXT.

    Seversky and its ilk don’t have any answers. And they are harming science by promoting materialism as science.

    If you want to refute the design inference come up with a viable alternative- meaning figure out a scenario and how to scientifically test it. The pathetic level of drivel from the likes of brother brian and Seversky, while entertaining, are just a meaningless waste of bandwidth.

  31. 31
    ET says:

    If no intelligence was responsible then they must have come about as a result of natural processes.

    When you devise a way to scientifically test that claim, you will be the first. And until then you will have nothing but hope and a ton promissory notes.

  32. 32

    .
    Seversky at 29,

    >>> What “universal experience of encoded information” are you talking about?

    Pretending not to know (or be aware of) significant, well-known, and well documented facts about the subject matter — those that permeate the subject (in one way or another) on both sides of the question — is nothing but a baiting maneuver. It’s a flank. It takes up space, and does little else. Or — if you actually know nothing about how the universal observations in science impact your position, then perhaps you should vacate the subject completely until you can do some study. Typically the way to tell one instance from the other (the con from the ignorant) is to see what else accompanies the question. If it comes off as irrelevant justifications for sailing along without addressing the universal experience, then you’ll know it’s the former.

    >>> Human science only uncovered DNA and began to unravel the genetic code a few decades ago.

    Cha-ching — a plea to ignore our universal experience of encoded information, and focus instead on the so-dramatic (yet completely irrelevant) fact that we elucidated the gene system only half a century ago. Peirce and von Neumann (after Turing) described what certainly must be true about the gene (in the 1860s and 1940’s respectively), and then Crick, Watson, Brenner, Hoagland, Zamecnik, Nirenberg, and Khorana, etc (in the 1950s and 60s) found exactly what was previously described as logically and physically necessary. Additionally, dozens of secular scientists from von Neumann to Turing to Polanyi to Pattee to Yockey to R. Shapiro to Barbieri (and on and on and on, including dozens of lesser known researchers from a range of disciplines including biology, physics, control theory, artificial life, and the information sciences) contributed years of research and insights into the necessary formal and physical properties of the system. Is this the point where you’re expecting us all to stop in our tracks and ponder if the way in which a ‘gene specifies a protein’ isn’t already settled science; or that it hasn’t been settled for decades on end? Are we also expected to simply ignore the fact that the central problems that most OoL researchers are trying to overcome are exactly those well-documented necessary conditions? Are we obligated as well to ignore the intellectual history of the problem? In 1953, (in the 56 days between the time Crick and Watson had discovered the encoded memory-carrying structure of DNA and their subsequent announcement of the discovery), the Nobel laureate Sidney Brenner (who had been told of their discovery) traveled to England in order to meet the duo even before their historic announcement. He later said that when he walked into their lab and saw the Watson/Crick model of DNA for the first time, he said “I knew”. He later stated that he had already been thinking about von Neumann’s analysis, and said ”I knew”. Are we supposed to ignore all of this as well? Isn’t it a fact that your arguments actually prosper from exactly this kind of selective ignorance, and isn’t it also a fact that this is exactly why you continually sell ignorance on these forums?

    (The remainder of your reply is just more of the same, so forgive me if I don’t spend any additional time on it.)

    >>> I’m flattered but I doubt that … I have the power to harm science in the slightest

    Oh, don’t be so modest, Sev. You state yourself how needed you are in these discussions. You are a dutiful minion in the broadcast selling of fear and ignorance over facts and reason. Over the course of years, tens upon tens of thousands of onlookers have read your words. You may certainly be a great brother, friend, neighbor, and colleague, but on these forums you damage science and reason virtually every time you open your mouth.

  33. 33
    kairosfocus says:

    Sev, as we are patently contingent beings, we cannot exhaust possibilities for designers. Where also, we can see (as Reppert so aptly sumarised and long before him Leibniz) that computation on a substrate is not rational inference driven by insight into meaning. Instead, it is a GIGO-limited dynamic-stochastic process that moves inputs to outputs based on blindly causal — not semantic — signal processing. The intelligence involved (per experience) comes from designed organisation of hardware and design of software. Intelligence based on rational insight is not accounted for on our brains, and so again we have no good reason to confine this archetype to ourselves. In this context, there is strong evidence of intelligently directed configuration antecedent to cell based life: massive coded information and associated execution machinery in the cell. Likewise, in the fine tuning of the observed cosmos that sets up C-chem, aqueous medium, terrestrial planet, cell based life. KF

    PS: To refresh your memory, Reppert:

    . . . let us suppose that brain state A [–> notice, state of a wetware, electrochemically operated computational substrate], which is token identical to the thought that all men are mortal, and brain state B, which is token identical to the thought that Socrates is a man, together cause the belief [–> concious, perceptual state or disposition] that Socrates is mortal. It isn’t enough for rational inference that these events be those beliefs, it is also necessary that the causal transaction be in virtue of the content of those thoughts . . . [But] if naturalism is true, then the propositional content is irrelevant to the causal transaction that produces the conclusion, and [so] we do not have a case of rational inference. In rational inference, as Lewis puts it, one thought causes another thought not by being, but by being seen to be, the ground for it. But causal transactions in the brain occur in virtue of the brain’s being in a particular type of state that is relevant to physical causal transactions.

    Similarly, Haldane:

    “It seems to me immensely unlikely that mind is a mere by-product of matter. For if my mental processes are determined wholly by the motions of atoms in my brain I have no reason to suppose that my beliefs are true. They may be sound chemically, but that does not make them sound logically. And hence I have no reason for supposing my brain to be composed of atoms. In order to escape from this necessity of sawing away the branch on which I am sitting, so to speak, I am compelled to believe that mind is not wholly conditioned by matter.” [“When I am dead,” in Possible Worlds: And Other Essays [1927], Chatto and Windus: London, 1932, reprint, p.209. (NB: DI Fellow, Nancy Pearcey brings this right up to date (HT: ENV) in a current book, Finding Truth.)]

    With Leibniz:

    It must be confessed, however, that perception, and that which depends upon it, are inexplicable by mechanical causes, that is to say, by figures and motions. Supposing that there were a machine whose structure produced thought, sensation, and perception, we could conceive of it as increased in size with the same proportions until one was able to enter into its interior, as he would into a mill. Now, on going into it he would find only pieces working upon one another, but never would he find anything to explain perception [i.e. abstract conception]. It is accordingly in the simple substance [–> the inherently unified monad], and not in the compound [–> composite made up from independently existing parts] nor in a machine [–> composite entity with function based on mechanical and/or stochastic interactions not insight, understanding, conceptualising, inferring based on meaning etc] that the perception is to be sought .

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