Intelligent Design

Larry Moran commits the genetic fallacy

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Professor Larry Moran’s latest post on Sandwalk criticizes Jonathan McLatchie for claiming that Intelligent Design is a legitimate scientific investigation. On the contrary, declares Moran, Intelligent Design is a movement whose members are motivated by a desire to discredit materialism and defend their belief in a Creator. 99% of ID activities, he claims, are attacks on evolution, rather than attempts to scientifically identify which objects were designed. Moran respects McLatchie for his solid grasp of evolutionary biology, but regards him as having “fallen in to the trap of deceiving himself about his true motives.”

But even if Professor Moran’s characterization of the motives of ID proponents were entirely correct, it would be utterly irrelevant. The reason is that science is a methodology – a point highlighted by McLatchie in a recent video on Uncommon Descent. As McClatchie aptly puts it:

“Well, I think Intelligent Design certainly is a science, because it’s based on the standard principles of scientific methodology, with respect to the past: it’s basically an historical abductive method, which is the methodology employed even by Charles Darwin, in his formulation of the theory of evolution by natural selection. Charles Darwin, of course, was influenced by the work of the famed nineteenth century geologist Charles Lyell, in his Principles of Geology, where Charles Lyell basically insisted that … if you want to explain events in the remote past, one should let one’s present experience of cause and effect guide one’s search for the best explanation. So I would argue Intelligent Design is a science by virtue of the fact that it’s … predicated upon historical standard scientific principles.”

Because science is defined by its methodology, any attempt to discredit a field such as Intelligent Design by casting aspersions on the motives of its leading practitioners completely misses the point. No matter what their motives might be, the only question which is germane in this context is: do Intelligent Design researchers follow a proper scientific methodology, and do ID proponents support their arguments by appealing to that methodology? The answer to this question should be obvious to anyone who has read works such as Darwin’s Black Box, The Edge of Evolution, Signature in the Cell and Darwin’s Doubt. Intelligent Design researchers and advocates commonly appeal to empirical probabilities (which can be measured in the laboratory), mathematical calculations (about what chance and/or necessity can accomplish), and abductive reasoning about historical events (such as the Cambrian explosion) which bear the hallmarks of design.

In his endeavor to smear the reputation of Intelligent Design as a discipline, Professor Moran commits the genetic fallacy, which can be defined as the attempt to “discredit or support a claim or an argument because of its origin (genesis) when such an appeal to origins is irrelevant” (Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy, article Fallacies). Moran tries to discredit the claims of the ID movement by arguing that these claims have their origin in the religious motivations of their leading proponents. However, the appeal to origins is irrelevant because it is methodology, not motivation, which determines what counts as good or bad science.

When Moran writes that “it’s just a bald-faced lie to claim that Intelligent Design Creationists are motivated by a genuine scientific search for evidence of design,” he is engaging in propaganda, by portraying scientists as dispassionate researchers who are totally devoid of personal motives in their research. This is nonsense. The question of whether life on Earth was designed or not is one which we are all, to some degree, motivated to either accept or reject, on temperamental grounds. Nevertheless, most of us are capable of putting our feelings aside when we have to.

I suspect that many evolutionary biologists are not only skeptical of God’s existence, but actually don’t want there to be a God. In particular, they may feel nauseated by the idea of a Being who produced human beings by a bloody, messy process such as evolution, killing billions and billions of animals in the process. But even if a visceral opposition to the notion of a Deity were the driving force animating their research, it would in no way invalidate that research. The only thing that could undermine these scientists’ work would be poor methodology.

Creationism, on the other hand, makes no attempt to follow a scientific methodology in arriving at its conclusions. In creationism, the conclusions are dictated by the Bible, and what it says trumps any scientific findings which may point to a contrary conclusion. Hence it is highly misleading of Professor Moran to argue that Intelligent Design is no different from creationism, because its main goal is simply “to provide scientific justification for the belief in a creator god.” Intelligent Design, unlike creationism, has no “higher authority” which can dictate the scientific conclusions it reaches.

As for Professor Moran’s claim that Intelligent Design proponents’ focus is primarily aimed at discrediting unguided evolution rather than building a positive case for design, I can only reply that a design inference in ID can only be made after other explanations have been ruled out, so as a matter of necessity, much of what ID researchers do will be negative, and aimed at eliminating conventional explanations, before any positive conclusion can be reached that a given object was designed.

I shall stop here, and throw the discussion open to readers. What do you think?

130 Replies to “Larry Moran commits the genetic fallacy

  1. 1
    mike1962 says:

    Moran: “On the contrary, declares Moran, Intelligent Design is a movement whose members are motivated by a desire to discredit materialism and defend their belief in a Creator. “

    So if a lot of Darwinists are motivated by their atheism, materialism, or other ism, does that mean Darwinism is not a valid scientific pursuit?

    “99% of ID activities, he claims, are attacks on evolution”

    Negative arguments are essential to science. Attacks on a theory are good, proper, and entirely scientific. And, historically, extremely fruitful. Only an ideologue does not try to debunk his/her pet theories. Falsification of one’s darlings is an essential part of science. Why does this matter? And how is ID affected by negative arguments against Darwinism? Because it stands to reason that the less likely the blind, naturalistic, a-telic, Darwinian narrative is, the more likely that intelligent agency was involved. They are two sides of the same coin. One cannot be scientific and other not.

  2. 2
    bFast says:

    “99% of ID activities, he claims, are attacks on evolution, rather than attempts to scientifically identify which objects were designed.”

    Oh, contraire, monsieur, 99% of ID activities are attacks on evolution, this is true. However, these attacks normally take the form of “this object over here (flagellum, information, etc.) have the hallmarks of design, and cannot have occurred via the RM+NS mechanisms. Ie, we believe that we have scientifically identified specific objects that were designed.

    I beleive the expression, “well there is that” comes to mind.

  3. 3
    Axel says:

    ‘Moran respects McLatchie for his solid grasp of evolutionary biology, but regards him as having “fallen in to the trap of deceiving himself about his true motives.”

    Did Moran use the ‘scientific method’ to arrive at that conclusion concerning McLatchie’s motives, I wonder?

    Here is a very fundamental a corrective to Moran’s materialism – must be 80 years old now, if a day:

    http://www.christiantoday.com/...../67710.htm

  4. 4
    sean samis says:

    Certainly on the face of it, Professor Moran’s complaint is harsh. Whether it’s actually a genetic fallacy or not is not significant; it seems more of an ad hominem to me. But that’s a small point, it is harsh.

    That however, does not make it wrong.

    It’s a common mistake (a fallacy?) to regard every comment by a scientist as needing to model the methodology. Science is an activity that humans engage in; one need not follow the methodology in every aspect of their lives.

    Moran’s comments seem clearly to be about the general behavior of intelligent design creationists; they are not put forward as the results of an scientific effort. Judging non-scientific comments by the standards of science is as inappropriate as judging a waltz “scientifically”. “Was that Promenade into a Left-Turning Box supported by the evidence?

    And on this site, it is common to see intelligent design creationists utilize very similar comments about their opponents. What is fair for one is fair for all.

    You ask a pair of questions (rhetorically?):

    … do Intelligent Design researchers follow a proper scientific methodology, and do ID proponents support their arguments by appealing to that methodology?

    Questions:

    Can you cite research by ID researchers (about ID) which has been published in peer-reviewed journals and replicated and verified by others, including non-ID researchers?

    What kind of experiments can an ID researcher do? Other than poke holes in evolution, what kind of experiment advances the idea of an intelligent designer? How would a skeptic verify the results?

    It’s not clear to me what your phrase “support their arguments by appealing to that methodology” means. If someone supports their arguments by appealing to the results of a scientific experiment, that’s support from the evidence; what an “appeal to the methodology” means is opaque to me.

    sean s.

  5. 5
    bFast says:

    sean samis, “Can you cite research by ID researchers (about ID) which has been published in peer-reviewed journals and replicated and verified by others, including non-ID researchers?”

    This sounds like the “you aren’t legitimate because you haven’t been published — you haven’t been published because you are not legitimate” trap. The scientific world is determined to keep ID outside the fold.

    sean samis, “What kind of experiments can an ID researcher do? Other than poke holes in evolution, what kind of experiment advances the idea of an intelligent designer? How would a skeptic verify the results?” Specific experiments establishing what exactly evolution can do was well documented in “The Edge of Evolution”. A recently published experiment by a non-IDer has hooted and hollered about how it produced a positive result — only to demonstrate that it lived with Behe’s defined “Edge of Evolution”.

  6. 6
    mike1962 says:

    “What kind of experiments can an [sic] ID researcher do? Other than poke holes in evolution, what kind of experiment advances the idea of an intelligent designer?”

    All biological research is both Darwinian research and ID research, since they are two sides of the same coin. Poking holes in pet theories is a vital part of science. Instead of attacking ID proponents, you should be thanking them.

  7. 7
    StuartHarris says:

    Do any ID proponents make a genetic fallacy like, “Richard Dawkins is an atheist activist, therefore his arguments in supporting a belief in Darwinism are wrong”?

  8. 8
    Mung says:

    He probably thought he was committing the genius fallacy.

  9. 9
    Popperian says:

    First, strangely absent are substantial quotes from Moran.

    From the post…

    There are some ID proponents who attempt to do what Jonathan McLatchie describes. The most notable is Bill Dembski who claims to have developed a method to distinguish things that are designed from things that arose naturally. His schtick is information theory and computer science. Nobody believes that Bill Dembski can actually tell whether bacterial flagella were designed or evolved and his arguments have been thoroughly dissected and refuted by experts in the field of information science.

    This seems to be a valid criticism of the supposedly scientific component of ID. Namely, Dembiski’s method of detection has been severely criticized in the very field he appeals to: Information theory and computer science.

    Second..

    But even if Professor Moran’s characterization of the motives of ID proponents were entirely correct, it would be utterly irrelevant. The reason is that science is a methodology – a point highlighted by McLatchie in a recent video on Unommon Descent.

    Science is about explaining phenomena. However, as Moran points out, not only is ID’s detection method highly questionable, at best. It’s simply uninterested in actually explaining biological complicity in any significant way. IOW, it’s a response to the idea that there can be an explanation in a meaningful sense. Not only does it not add to the explanation, but ID’s designer is employed as a means to deny that we can make genuine progress on the issue. And that’s where the motivation comes into play.

    If ID was genuinely driven by the science, it would put forth more than a method that supposedly shows a theory that is so fundamental and explains so much about biology happens to be merely “wrong”, without explaining even more of the same phenomena significantly better.

    That seems to be what Moran means when he calls ID an attack on a theory theists find objectionable, not science.

    Under ID, we’re limited to making “progress” about what is supposed designed (though identification), but can make no significant progress about the designer itself, the origin of the knowledge that actually brings about the concrete features that organisms exhibit, etc. That limitation would come as no surprise if theory was motivated on the belief that a inexplicable mind in an inexplicable realm was the designer.

  10. 10
    beau says:

    Questions:

    Can you cite research by ID researchers (about ID) which has been published in peer-reviewed journals and replicated and verified by others, including non-ID researchers?

    What kind of experiments can an ID researcher do? Other than poke holes in evolution, what kind of experiment advances the idea of an intelligent designer? How would a skeptic verify the results?

    It’s not clear to me what your phrase “support their arguments by appealing to that methodology” means. If someone supports their arguments by appealing to the results of a scientific experiment, that’s support from the evidence; what an “appeal to the methodology” means is opaque to me.

    Sean, apply the same question to Moran. I don’t know if you read his blog but he does the exact same thing he accuses the ID movement of doing. He takes the works of others and picks it apart to fit his position. He may be right, I’m not qualified to say but it’s strange none the less.

  11. 11
    REW says:

    The Genetic fallacy may be useful as a logical principle but its useless in any real world discussion. The genetic fallacy would be relevant in a situation where we had an almost infinite amount of time to research and assess a truth claim ourselves. Then the origin of that claim wouldn’t matter. But our time is always limited so we need to assess the truth claim in terms of the reliability of the sources of that claim and we need to weigh it all against our present understanding of the world.
    When Moran says ‘don’t believe McLatchie or the IDers because they have a religious bias’ he’s essentially saying you can ignore their potential bias and spend the next 10 years researching evolution and ID and come to your own conclusion or you can take a shortcut and realize that IDers have a strong religious bias which effects how they interpret scientific info. We know that religious bias will do this- people with PhDs in geology from Harvard will claim the earth is 10,000 years old.
    Of course, we cant stop there. We need to asses whether Moran himself has a bias in how he interprets scientific info and how he assesses bias in others.

  12. 12
    ppolish says:

    I had to look up “genetic fallacy”. At first I thought it meant “liars gene”. But it turns out it is “gene” as in Genesis. Learn something new every day. Or week, whatever.

    Let’s all say a prayer for University Students who are learning TONS every day. Extra prayers for Dr. Larry’s students.

  13. 13
    Eric Anderson says:

    Popperian @9:

    Namely, Dembiski’s method of detection has been severely criticized in the very field he appeals to: Information theory and computer science.

    Severely criticized in what sense? In the same sense that ID is vilified by people who cannot countenance any possibility of real design in the universe? Name-calling, vague complaints, failure to understand Dembski’s argument or to address the real issues . . . in that sense?

    Or do you mean to say that someone has actually demonstrated that the concept of design detection by complex specified information is unsound? I am certainly not aware of any such demonstration. Apparently the folks at SETI, archaeologists, forensic scientists and other investigators are also unaware of such a demonstration. We would all very much like to know.

    Or maybe you are simply referring to some quibble about terminology, or minor skirmishes around the edges, or a general claim (on wholly unwarranted bases) that design detection, while perfectly fine in other realms, is unacceptable in biology?

    “Severely criticized” by people who don’t, or won’t, understand the issues? Sure. We deal with that every day.

  14. 14
    Robert Byers says:

    Exceelent case that methodolgy trumps any previous motivations.
    In the movie MY COUSIN VINNEY it doesn’t matter that the lawyer was related and knew the boys were innocent. he proved it by methodology of evidence gathering.
    The fact that mankind believes in God/genesis is not a reason to be suspicious or insistent that the methodology was compromised.
    Its irrelevant.
    Truly/
    besides I say evolutionists and others have a previous conviction the bible is not true, evolution is true, maybe God is not true.
    Yet I don’t know it compromises research.
    Yet we are all influenced by bias.

    Larry Moran doesn’t say no ID folks do science, just bad or wrong science, but still its mostly motivated by conclusions made already.
    Not accurate.
    PLUS ID, this video guys, say YEC is motivated by conclusions. NO> YEC does science also in its criticisms of the other side. JUst in our assertions do we have a witness.
    Everybody watch it.

  15. 15
    Steve says:

    Likewise REW, we can safely ignore the work of many scientists since their atheistic worldview prevents them from doing research that might impact their assumptions.

    This is likely why there is such a dearth of revolutionary ideas and discoveries in biology.

    We’ve got the likes of Coyne, Moran, PZMyers, et al holding the keys. And they are not anytime soon gonna do any research that would potentially upset the no-intelligence-allowed meme they hold so dear.

    Heck, they have probably melted down the keys and boobytrapped their cyber labs (i assume their real labs were packed up ages ago) just in case.

    Ah, but you know what they say about revolutions. Just need to wait for father time to make the requisite personnel changes.

    The Genetic fallacy may be useful as a logical principle but its useless in any real world discussion. The genetic fallacy would be relevant in a situation where we had an almost infinite amount of time to research and assess a truth claim ourselves. Then the origin of that claim wouldn’t matter. But our time is always limited so we need to assess the truth claim in terms of the reliability of the sources of that claim and we need to weigh it all against our present understanding of the world.
    When Moran says ‘don’t believe McLatchie or the IDers because they have a religious bias’ he’s essentially saying you can ignore their potential bias and spend the next 10 years researching evolution and ID and come to your own conclusion or you can take a shortcut and realize that IDers have a strong religious bias which effects how they interpret scientific info. We know that religious bias will do this- people with PhDs in geology from Harvard will claim the earth is 10,000 years old.
    Of course, we cant stop there. We need to asses whether Moran himself has a bias in how he interprets scientific info and how he assesses bias in others.

  16. 16
    Virgil Cain says:

    Too funny- Moran seems to be as scientifically illiterate as the average evo. He doesn’t understand that science mandates that all design inferences pass the tests laid down by Newton, Occam and parsimony. Heck the explanatory filter even lays it out for him, step-by-step!

    Earth to Larry Moran- ID would fade away if you could actually step up and provide evidence for the claims made by evolutionism, namely that the diversity of life and life itself can be accounted for by purely materialistic processes. IOW find some support for your position and stop whining.

  17. 17
    bornagain says:

    Since ID uses the same method of science that Charles Darwin himself used, then if ID is not a proper method of science then neither is Darwinism.

    Stephen Meyer – What is the Scientific Basis Of Intelligent Design? (the same scientific basis as Charles Darwin himself used, i.e. ‘presently acting cause known to produce the effect in question’, i.e. abductive reasoning) – video (1:45 minute mark)
    https://youtu.be/u8CE70cCDc8?t=104

    While cogent inductive reasoning requires that the evidence that might shed light on the subject be fairly complete, whether positive or negative, abductive reasoning is characterized by lack of completeness, either in the evidence, or in the explanation, or both.

    Moreover, as far as inductive reasoning is concerned, ID is, without question, far more ‘complete’ in its reasoning from the evidence, and in its conclusion that only intelligence can produce non-trivial information, since intelligence has, in fact, been the ONLY cause ever observed to produce non-trivial information:

    Information Enigma – (Where did the information come from) – video
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aA-FcnLsF1g

    Moreover, it is the height of hypocrisy for Dr. Moran to claim that ID advocates operate primarily from Theistic biases when the fact of the matter is that, since Darwinism has no real time empirical evidence to back up its claims, Darwinism itself would collapse as a theory in science without its faulty Theistic biases that underpin the claims made by its proponents.
    Darwinism, much contrary to what Dr. Moran and other Darwinists may want to believe, is one of the most theologically entangled sciences going:

    Charles Darwin, Theologian: Major New Article on Darwin’s Use of Theology in the Origin of Species – May 2011
    Excerpt: The Origin supplies abundant evidence of theology in action; as Dilley observes:
    I have argued that, in the first edition of the Origin, Darwin drew upon at least the following positiva theological claims in his case for descent with modification (and against special creation):

    1. Human beings are not justified in believing that God creates in ways analogous to the intellectual powers of the human mind.
    2. A God who is free to create as He wishes would create new biological limbs de novo rather than from a common pattern.
    3. A respectable deity would create biological structures in accord with a human conception of the ‘simplest mode’ to accomplish the functions of these structures.
    4. God would only create the minimum structure required for a given part’s function.
    5. God does not provide false empirical information about the origins of organisms.
    6. God impressed the laws of nature on matter.
    7. God directly created the first ‘primordial’ life.
    8. God did not perform miracles within organic history subsequent to the creation of the first life.
    9. A ‘distant’ God is not morally culpable for natural pain and suffering.
    10. The God of special creation, who allegedly performed miracles in organic history, is not plausible given the presence of natural pain and suffering.
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....46391.html

    Charles Darwin’s use of theology in the Origin of Species – STEPHEN DILLEY
    Abstract
    This essay examines Darwin’s positiva (or positive) use of theology in the first edition of the Origin of Species in three steps. First, the essay analyses the Origin’s theological language about God’s accessibility, honesty, methods of creating, relationship to natural laws and lack of responsibility for natural suffering; the essay contends that Darwin utilized positiva theology in order to help justify (and inform) descent with modification and to attack special creation. Second, the essay offers critical analysis of this theology, drawing in part on Darwin’s mature ruminations to suggest that, from an epistemic point of view, the Origin’s positiva theology manifests several internal tensions. Finally, the essay reflects on the relative epistemic importance of positiva theology in the Origin’s overall case for evolution. The essay concludes that this theology served as a handmaiden and accomplice to Darwin’s science.
    http://journals.cambridge.org/.....741100032X

    Methodological Naturalism: A Rule That No One Needs or Obeys – Paul Nelson – September 22, 2014
    Excerpt: It is a little-remarked but nonetheless deeply significant irony that evolutionary biology is the most theologically entangled science going. Open a book like Jerry Coyne’s Why Evolution is True (2009) or John Avise’s Inside the Human Genome (2010), and the theology leaps off the page. A wise creator, say Coyne, Avise, and many other evolutionary biologists, would not have made this or that structure; therefore, the structure evolved by undirected processes. Coyne and Avise, like many other evolutionary theorists going back to Darwin himself, make numerous “God-wouldn’t-have-done-it-that-way” arguments, thus predicating their arguments for the creative power of natural selection and random mutation on implicit theological assumptions about the character of God and what such an agent (if He existed) would or would not be likely to do.,,,
    ,,,with respect to one of the most famous texts in 20th-century biology, Theodosius Dobzhansky’s essay “Nothing in biology makes sense except in the light of evolution” (1973).
    Although its title is widely cited as an aphorism, the text of Dobzhansky’s essay is rarely read. It is, in fact, a theological treatise. As Dilley (2013, p. 774) observes:
    “Strikingly, all seven of Dobzhansky’s arguments hinge upon claims about God’s nature, actions, purposes, or duties. In fact, without God-talk, the geneticist’s arguments for evolution are logically invalid. In short, theology is essential to Dobzhansky’s arguments.”,,
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....89971.html

    Nothing in biology makes sense except in light of theology? – Dilley S. – 2013
    Abstract
    This essay analyzes Theodosius Dobzhansky’s famous article, “Nothing in Biology Makes Sense Except in the Light of Evolution,” in which he presents some of his best arguments for evolution. I contend that all of Dobzhansky’s arguments hinge upon sectarian claims about God’s nature, actions, purposes, or duties. Moreover, Dobzhansky’s theology manifests several tensions, both in the epistemic justification of his theological claims and in their collective coherence. I note that other prominent biologists–such as Mayr, Dawkins, Eldredge, Ayala, de Beer, Futuyma, and Gould–also use theology-laden arguments. I recommend increased analysis of the justification, complexity, and coherence of this theology.
    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23890740

    Of supplemental note: The reason why Darwinism ‘gets away’ with being considered a science, all the while being very dependent on its faulty theological presumptions, is that in order to ‘do science’ in the first place, Theology must be assumed on some level.
    In other words, it is simply impossible to do science without assuming, on some level, that the universe is rational in its basis, i.e. intelligible, and that we have rational minds that are able to grasp that underlying rationality, intelligibility, of the universe.
    In other words, even atheists themselves cannot possibly rid themselves of ‘design thinking’ if they want to practice science properly:

    Design Thinking Is Hardwired in the Human Brain. How Come? – October 17, 2012
    Excerpt: “Even Professional Scientists Are Compelled to See Purpose in Nature, Psychologists Find.” The article describes a test by Boston University’s psychology department, in which researchers found that “despite years of scientific training, even professional chemists, geologists, and physicists from major universities such as Harvard, MIT, and Yale cannot escape a deep-seated belief that natural phenomena exist for a purpose” ,,,
    Most interesting, though, are the questions begged by this research. One is whether it is even possible to purge teleology from explanation.
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....65381.html

    Simply put, theological presuppositions permeate scientific thought. For a brief overview of how deep Theological thinking goes in science, here is a neat quote from William Murray (a man who has a gift for reducing very complex subjects into easy to understand sentences):

    “virtually all of science proceeds as if ID is true – it seeks elegant and efficient models; it reverse engineers biological systems; it describes evolution in teleological terms; it refers to natural forces and laws as if there is some kind of prescriptive agency guiding matter and energy; it assumes that the nature of the universe and human comprehensive capacity have some sort of truthful, factual correspondence.”
    William J Murray

  18. 18
    bFast says:

    Virgil Cain, “Earth to Larry Moran- ID would fade away if you could actually step up and provide evidence for the claims made by evolutionism, namely that the diversity of life and life itself can be accounted for by purely materialistic processes. IOW find some support for your position and stop whining.”

    YES! YES!

    But Larry’s like, “But I solved it, neutral theory explains it all. If you only understood neutral theory, you’ld know that materialistic processes are tooootally adequate.”

  19. 19
    Popperian says:

    BA77

    Moreover, as far as inductive reasoning is concerned, ID is, without question, far more ‘complete’ in its reasoning from the evidence, and in its conclusion that only intelligence can produce non-trivial information, since intelligence has, in fact, been the ONLY cause ever observed to produce non-trivial information:

    Why don’t you start out by explaining how intelligence creates non-trivial information, then point out how biological Darwinism does not fit that explanation. Please be specific.

  20. 20
    Virgil Cain says:

    Larry Moran couldn’t stand to be corrected so he had to lie and then ban me.

    Life is good…

  21. 21
    bFast says:

    Popperian, “Why don’t you start out by explaining how intelligence creates non-trivial information”

    Um, the sentence, “Why don’t you start out by explaining how intelligence creates non-trivial information” contains non-trivial information. Please explain what force of nature produced it.

  22. 22
    bornagain says:

    Popperian, exhibit A, your own post!

    and no I will not answer your idiocy any further

    edit: Thanks bFast, did not see your post before I posted, or else I would not have bothered to answer Pop’s usual inanity.

  23. 23
    bFast says:

    BA77, thanks for the vocabulary lesson. I looked at this word inane, and thought it might be a typo — you know, mutation. ‘Seemed to be a simple deletion error from insane. I checked it out however, turns out it is a truly appropriate term for the circumstances. ‘Seems that even apparent simple mutations can be intelligently designed events.

  24. 24
    Sebestyen says:

    Why don’t you start out by explaining how intelligence creates non-trivial information, then point out how biological Darwinism does not fit that explanation. Please be specific.

    Let me give you an example: Intelligence creating non-trivial information is to biological Darwinism what making a Hollywood movie is to watching the movie with some image noise from a bad TV reception.

    Sebestyen

  25. 25
    J-Mac says:

    Sometimes, I wonder, whether Robert Brainless and Larry Moron went to the same LD school. After reading their posts, I have very little doubt. Please correct me if I’m wrong…..

  26. 26
    Virgil Cain says:

    bFast and bornagain- They have an innate ability to be inane. They may well be insane. 😉

  27. 27
    vjtorley says:

    Hi everyone,

    I see that Larry Moran has responded to me in a new post at http://sandwalk.blogspot.jp/20.....llacy.html . Here’s what I wrote in reply, in a comment to his post:

    Hi Professor Moran,

    You write: “ID proponents can’t argue that evolutionary biologists are motivated by a belief in materialism and atheism then turn around and accuse me of committing the genetic fallacy.”

    I agree. I would also agree that when members of the ID movement attack evolution because it’s atheistic and materialistic, their arguments have no scientific merit, regardless of whatever other merits they might have.

    You also write: “Every member of your movement is a creationist and they were creationists BEFORE they ever heard of using intelligent design to try and make their beliefs look scientific.1 They reached the conclusion first—creator gods exist—and then they tried to construct a rationalization based on bad science.”

    This is nonsense. Mike Behe attended a parochial (Catholic) school where he was taught that evolution was simply God’s way of making living things. He has no theological axe to grind against Darwinism. Richard Sternberg (who prefers to describe himself as a Pythagorean rather than as an Intelligent Design advocate) is a Catholic who attends Mass, but he adds: “I would call myself a believer with a lot of questions, about everything. I’m in the postmodern predicament.” Anthony Flew, the most famous atheist of the 20th century (whose work I studied while doing philosophy at university) was converted to belief in an Aristotelian God (but not a personal Deity, let alone the God of the Bible), by the arguments of “American [intelligent] design theorists” in 2004. And what about atheist Fred Hoyle, who was so impressed by the evidence of carbon’s fine-tuning that he wrote: “A commonsense interpretation of the facts suggests a super-intellect has monkeyed with physics as well as with chemistry and biology, and that there are no blind forces worth speaking about in nature”? Finally, even you acknowledge that ID advocate David Berlinski is an agnostic.

    You reproach me for failing to mention your acknowledgement that “some of the things done under the umbrella of ID are science (but bad science),” but you temper that compliment by adding that “99% of ID activities are attacks on evolution,” rather than legitimate science. In my book, someone who says that Intelligent Design is 1% science is basically no different from someone who says it isn’t science at all.

    In any case, if you’re going to say that books such as “Darwin’s Black Box”, “The Edge of Evolution”, “Signature in the Cell” and “Darwin’s Doubt” aren’t science, then here’s a question for you: why were they all reviewed in numerous science journals?

    You make a big to-do about the Wedge Document for its declared aim of overthrowing scientific materialism, but I can name no less than 21 Nobel scientists who vocally opposed materialism, from Pierre Curie to John Eccles: See http://www.angelfire.com/linux.....kfour.html . Many of these scientists were also human exceptionalists.

    Finally, if you concede that “ID proponents do try to use scientific methodology to to answer questions about biology” then you cannot consistently maintain that Intelligent Design is a movement rather than a scientific discipline.

    END of comment

  28. 28
    StephenB says:

    Moran refutes himself:

    ID proponents do try to use scientific methodology to to answer questions about biology. They just don’t do it very well and their answers are wrong.

    First, Moran says that ID doesn’t do science. Then, when he is called on it, he says ID does do science–but not very well. Does Moran know anything about logic and the law of non-contradiction? It appears not.

  29. 29
    bornagain says:

    To echo what I already stated in post 17, it is the height of hypocrisy for Dr. Moran to claim that ID advocates operate primarily from Theistic biases when the fact of the matter is that, since Darwinism has no real time empirical evidence to back up its claims, Darwinism itself would collapse as a theory in science without the faulty Theistic biases that underpin the claims made by its proponents.

    To further highlight the ‘peer reviewed’ fact that Darwinism is heavily reliant on bad theological argumentation, (see post 17 starting 1/3 of the way down the post for references), here are a few more examples of Darwinian theology in action:

    In this following video Dr. William Lane Craig is surprised to find that evolutionary biologist Dr. Ayala uses the theological argument of ‘bad design’ to support Darwinian evolution and invites him to present empirical evidence, any positive evidence at all, that Darwinian evolution can do what he claims it can:

    Refuting The Myth Of ‘Bad Design’ vs. Intelligent Design – William Lane Craig – video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uIzdieauxZg

    At about the 55:00 minute mark in the following video, Phillip Johnson sums up his, in my opinion, excellent lecture by noting that the refutation of his book, ‘Darwin On Trial’, in the Journal Nature, the most prestigious science journal in the world, was a theological argument about what God would and would not do and therefore Darwinism must be true, and the critique from Nature was not a refutation based on any substantiating scientific evidence for Darwinism that one would expect to be brought forth in such a prestigious venue:

    Darwinism On Trial (Phillip E. Johnson) – lecture video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gwj9h9Zx6Mw

    In fact, in the twisted world of Darwinian reasoning, Dr. John Avise used the fact that mutations are overwhelmingly detrimental, which is actually a VERY powerful scientific argument against Darwinian evolution, as a theological argument for Darwinism since, apparently according to Darwinian theology, God would never allow such things as detrimental mutations to happen:

    It Is Unfathomable That a Loving Higher Intelligence Created the Species – Cornelius Hunter – June 2012
    Excerpt: “Approximately 0.1% of humans who survive to birth carry a duplicon-related disability, meaning that several million people worldwide currently are afflicted by this particular subcategory of inborn metabolic errors. Many more afflicted individuals probably die in utero before their conditions are diagnosed. Clearly, humanity bears a substantial health burden from duplicon-mediated genomic malfunctions. This inescapable empirical truth is as understandable in the light of mechanistic genetic operations as it is unfathomable as the act of a loving higher intelligence. [112]”
    – Dr. John Avise – “Inside The Human Genome: A Case For Non-Intelligent Design”
    (Dr. Cornelius Hunter goes on to comment)
    “There you have it. Evil exists and a loving higher intelligence wouldn’t have done it that way.” –
    http://darwins-god.blogspot.co.....it-is.html

    “Another compilation of gene lesions responsible for inherited diseases is the web-based Human Gene Mutation Database (HGMD). Recent versions of HGMD describe more than 75,000 different disease causing mutations identified to date in Homo-sapiens.”
    John C. Avise – Inside the Human Genome: A Case for Non-Intelligent Design – Pg. 57

    I went to the mutation database website cited by John Avise and found this updated number:

    Mutation total (as of June 27, 2015) – 166,768 disease causing mutations
    http://www.hgmd.cf.ac.uk/ac/

    Contrary to what Dr. Avise and other Darwinists may believe, such an overwhelming rate of detrimental mutations is NOT a point of scientific evidence in favor of Darwinism!
    In fact, such an overwhelming rate of detrimental mutations is a very powerful scientific argument against Darwinian claims. That this fact would even have to be pointed out to Darwinists is a sad testimony to how warped Darwinian thinking, i.e. theology, truly is in regards to the actual science at hand.

    Of supplemental note, it is interesting to note the negative form of argumentation that Darwinism itself takes.
    Self evident ‘Design’ was overwhelmingly accepted as true during Darwin’s day.
    In fact, the claim of Darwin, and of his modern day followers, is that unguided material processes can produce the ‘appearance of design’ in living organisms.
    Dr. Behe quotes Richard Dawkins in the following video, from page 1 of one of Dawkins’s book “The Blind Watchmaker’, as saying ‘biology is the study of complicated things that give the appearance of having been designed for a purpose’:

    Michael Behe – Life Reeks Of Design – video
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hdh-YcNYThY

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

    Contrary to what Dawkins, Moran, and other Darwinian atheists may believe, this was, and is, clearly a negative form of argument against design.
    Here are several more quotes from Darwinists along the same line of negative argumentation against the ‘appearance of design’

    “The real core of Darwinism,, is the theory of natural selection. This theory is so important for Darwinian because it permits the explanation of adaption, the ‘design’ of the natural theologian, by natural means.”
    Ernst Mayr

    “design without a designer”
    Francisco Ayala

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

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

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

    i.e. The main purpose of Darwinian evolution in the beginning, and always has been, to ‘explain away’ the overwhelming ‘appearance of design’ in life!
    Thus the next time someone tries to tell you that Intelligent Design is just a negative argument against evolution (as Moran is currently trying to do), remind them that it is, in fact, evolution which started out as, and still is, a negative argument against the overwhelming ‘appearance of design’ which is pervasive in nature.
    Indeed the ‘appearance of design’ in life, due to advances in our understanding of the cell, is orders of magnitude more apparent than it was in Darwin’s day, or even than it was just a few short decades ago.

    For one small instance of the astonishing complexity, i.e. design, currently being discovered in life, the protein making machine, i.e. the Ribosome, of the cell is found to operate very similar to a CPU of an electronic computer:

    Dichotomy in the definition of prescriptive information suggests both prescribed data and prescribed algorithms: biosemiotics applications in genomic systems – 2012
    David J D’Onofrio1*, David L Abel2* and Donald E Johnson3
    Excerpt: The DNA polynucleotide molecule consists of a linear sequence of nucleotides, each representing a biological placeholder of adenine (A), cytosine (C), thymine (T) and guanine (G). This quaternary system is analogous to the base two binary scheme native to computational systems. As such, the polynucleotide sequence represents the lowest level of coded information expressed as a form of machine code. Since machine code (and/or micro code) is the lowest form of compiled computer programs, it represents the most primitive level of programming language.,,,
    An operational analysis of the ribosome has revealed that this molecular machine with all of its parts follows an order of operations to produce a protein product. This order of operations has been detailed in a step-by-step process that has been observed to be self-executable. The ribosome operation has been proposed to be algorithmic (Ralgorithm) because it has been shown to contain a step-by-step process flow allowing for decision control, iterative branching and halting capability. The R-algorithm contains logical structures of linear sequencing, branch and conditional control. All of these features at a minimum meet the definition of an algorithm and when combined with the data from the mRNA, satisfy the rule that Algorithm = data + control. Remembering that mere constraints cannot serve as bona fide formal controls, we therefore conclude that the ribosome is a physical instantiation of an algorithm.,,,
    The correlation between linguistic properties examined and implemented using Automata theory give us a formalistic tool to study the language and grammar of biological systems in a similar manner to how we study computational cybernetic systems. These examples define a dichotomy in the definition of Prescriptive Information. We therefore suggest that the term Prescriptive Information (PI) be subdivided into two categories: 1) Prescriptive data and 2) Prescribed (executing) algorithm.
    It is interesting to note that the CPU of an electronic computer is an instance of a prescriptive algorithm instantiated into an electronic circuit, whereas the software under execution is read and processed by the CPU to prescribe the program’s desired output. Both hardware and software are prescriptive.
    http://www.tbiomed.com/content.....82-9-8.pdf

    As well, the arrangement of ribosomes within the cell is nothing less than stunning

    Endoplasmic Reticulum: Scientists Image ‘Parking Garage’ Helix Structure in Protein-Making Factory – July 2013
    Excerpt: The endoplasmic reticulum (ER) is the protein-making factory within cells consisting of tightly stacked sheets of membrane studded with the molecules (ribosome machines) that make proteins. In a study published July 18th by Cell Press in the journal Cell, researchers have refined a new microscopy imaging method to visualize exactly how the ER sheets are stacked, revealing that the 3D structure of the sheets resembles a parking garage with helical ramps connecting the different levels. This structure allows for the dense packing of ER sheets, maximizing the amount of space available for protein synthesis within the small confines of a cell.
    “The geometry of the ER is so complex that its details have never been fully described, even now, 60 years after its discovery,” says study author Mark Terasaki of the University of Connecticut Health Center. “Our findings are likely to lead to new insights into the functioning of this important organelle.”,,,
    ,, this “parking garage” structure optimizes the dense packing of ER sheets and thus maximizes the number of protein-synthesizing molecules called ribosomes within the restricted space of a cell. When a cell needs to secrete more proteins, it can reduce the distances between sheets to pack even more membrane into the same space. Think of it as a parking garage that can add more levels as it gets full.,,,
    http://www.sciencedaily.com/re.....130617.htm

    Seeing as Darwinists have no clue, much less any empirical evidence showing, how such fantastic integrated complexity could have possibly come about by unguided material processes, then clearly it is time for biological science to rightly return to the default assumption of Design that it had originally started out with prior to the negative impact that Darwin’s book had on biological science.

    i.e. the ‘appearance of design’ is a failed negative argument!

  30. 30
    Barry Arrington says:

    SB @ 28:

    Larry is just spouting the same contradictory line they’ve taken for decades now:

    1. ID is not science because it is not falsifiable.
    2. And not only that; it has been falsified.

  31. 31
    sean samis says:

    A few more comments on the OP:

    It references

    abductive reasoning about historical events (such as the Cambrian explosion) which bear the hallmarks of design.

    What, specifically are the “hallmarks of design”? I googled the phrase and discovered a bunch of books; but nowhere are the hallmarks listed or defined. I don’t want to have to buy a book to find this out, and if these are scientifically established hallmarks, why are they only available for a price?

    I can find the laws of physics on the web for free, I can find laws of chemistry there; heck, I can find the Laws of Robotics there and they are pure fiction. But not the “hallmarks of design”?

    What actually are the hallmarks of design?

    … a design inference in ID can only be made after other explanations have been ruled out, so as a matter of necessity, much of what ID researchers do will be negative, and aimed at eliminating conventional explanations, before any positive conclusion can be reached that a given object was designed.

    As necessary as it may be, the problem with this approach is that even after “conventional explanations” have been ruled out, that does not establish design, it merely rules out the “conventional explanations”.

    Add to that the fact that, to rule out an explanation (conventional or otherwise) requires one to make assumptions about how that explanation works. Ruling out that “explanation” only rules out the assumptions made. That is historically risky. The idea of space as a medium, as a “material” in some very broad sense was proposed to explain the wave nature of light. That explanation was “ruled out” by the famous Michelson–Morley experiments. But then it was revived by Relativity, and given even more importance by Cosmological Expansion.

    The explanation that complexity can arise naturally is something that is itself so complex that simplifying assumptions are common; “ruling” them out does not rule out the concept, only the assumptions.

    Establishing design requires ruling out any natural origin of complexity. This requires ruling out every reasonably possible natural route which, given the huge number of possible routes, is a daunting task. This is why scientists find it wiser to focus on finding the routes that do work instead of trying to make broad generalizations along the lines of “you can’t get here from there”.

    Unless there is POSITIVE research that IDers can do, ID will remain at most provisional, an explanation of last resort; Without positive research, it can NEVER be a “best” explanation

    sean s.

  32. 32
    sean samis says:

    bFast @5:

    I asked:

    Can you cite research by ID researchers (about ID) which has been published in peer-reviewed journals and replicated and verified by others, including non-ID researchers?

    You replied:

    This sounds like the “you aren’t legitimate because you haven’t been published — you haven’t been published because you are not legitimate” trap. The scientific world is determined to keep ID outside the fold.

    In other words, No. Can you cite research by ID researchers (about ID) which has been submitted for publication in peer-reviewed journals and denied publishing just because they didn’t like the results?

    Here’s something an IDer could do: test the “improbability” argument by calculating how long it should take to spontaneously generate amino acids in the Miller-Urey experiment, then run the experiment under closely controlled and documented conditions an see if the prediction matches the product.

    Has any IDer done that?

    sean s.

  33. 33
    sean samis says:

    StuartHarris @7:

    Do any ID proponents make a genetic fallacy like, “Richard Dawkins is an atheist activist, therefore his arguments in supporting a belief in Darwinism are wrong”?

    I don’t know if that specific statement has been made, but those of us who comment on this site and reject intelligent design creationism (however you choose to name it) get that kind of comment frequently. Barry Arrington, kairosfocus, and recently William J Murray have said the like about me.

    sean s.

  34. 34
    Virgil Cain says:

    sean samis- There isn’t any blind watchmaker evolutionary research. There aren’t any papers that support blind watchmaker evolution. There aren’t any models that support unguided evolution.

    That said there are plenty of papers that support ID- for example all papers on ATP synthase, and the genetic code provide support for ID.

    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.

    Those are the core concepts of ID and to falsify Intelligent Design all one has to do is demonstrate that natural selection can produce irreducibly complex biological systems.

  35. 35
    bFast says:

    sean samis (33), “I don’t know if that specific statement has been made, but those of us who comment on this site and reject intelligent design creationism (however you choose to name it) get that kind of comment frequently.”

    Um, please check this statement out: “One way is Creationism that depends upon intervention by a divine Creator. That is clearly unscientific because it brings an arbitrary supernatural force into the evolution process.” ( thethirdwayofevolution.com ) It is this “you are wrong because your position is dis-permitted” that we IDers rile against. Our position is not considered, but is dismissed on philosophical grounds alone.

    Are you saying that we IDers dismiss naturalistic evolution on philosophical grounds alone, if so, please provide me with a quotable example.

  36. 36
    bFast says:

    sean samis (32), “Can you cite research by ID researchers (about ID) which has been submitted for publication in peer-reviewed journals and denied publishing just because they didn’t like the results?”

    See: http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....02968.html
    Catch the links to the congressional report in the article.
    In summary:
    “The congressional report bluntly states: The staff investigation has uncovered compelling evidence that Dr. Sternberg’s civil and constitutional rights were violated by Smithsonian officials.”

    This shows an example of what happens when a reviewer authorizes an ID supporting paper to get published. Hearing about those rejected is a little harder to come by.

  37. 37
    sean samis says:

    Virgil Cain @34:

    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.

    High: How high is significant? What is the metric?

    Specified complexity”: How is that distinguished from other forms of complexity? This appears to be circular: calling something “specified” asserts that something “specified” the complexity, therefore something created the complexity.

    Irreducible complexity: How is it established that some complexity cannot be “reduced”? How is irreducibility distinguished from reducible complexity which has naturally shed redundant aspects that contributed to its origin?

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

    This one is entirely dependent on 1). It can be ignored until doubts about 1) are resolved. As above, the term “specified complexity” is self-serving.

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

    …do not suffice to explain”: How exactly is that assertion distinguished from the VERY DIFFERENT statement: “we don’t yet know how natural processes could produce this complexity.” Your assertion cannot be known to be true unless the latter statement has been thoroughly researched, which it has not.

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

    This conclusion is dependent on resolving issues with both 1) and 3). Those remain open questions, making intelligent design AT MOST a provisional explanation, and an explanation of last resort which has significant implications (see below).

    Those are the core concepts of ID and to falsify Intelligent Design all one has to do is demonstrate that natural selection can produce irreducibly complex biological systems.

    To cast doubt on intelligent design, all one has to do is demonstrate the unanswered questions that it is based on; that I’ve just done.

    ID could be true, but it could also be false. Since it is not directly testable, scientists have no option but to treat it as it is: a last resort.

    Because ID is an explanation of last resort, that means that the only logical kind of ID is THEISTIC ID. “Non-theistic” ID will be excluded by the same evidence that excludes natural/materialistic origins.

    Since there is no other option, scientists must continue to test materialistic, natural explanations until there is no reasonable possibility of their verification. We are not at that point yet.

    Intelligent design creationists seem to want scientists “throw in the towel”, to forfeit the game; it is not strange that scientists refuse to do so.

    sean s.

  38. 38
    Zachriel says:

    bFast: “The congressional report bluntly states: The staff investigation has uncovered compelling evidence that Dr. Sternberg’s civil and constitutional rights were violated by Smithsonian officials.”

    It was not a congressional report, and never read into the official record. It was a staff report prepared for an individual member of Congress, Mark Souder.

    As for peer review, Sternberg acted as his own editor, saying “As managing editor it was my prerogative to choose the editor who would work directly on the paper, and as I was best qualified among the editors I chose myself.” The publisher disagreed, and says this was not proper.

  39. 39
    Andre says:

    Sean Samis ignores everything Francis Crick said about specified complexity. Does Sean Samis have an agenda? I’ll bet on it.

  40. 40
    Andre says:

    Tell you what Sean Samis, you find a natural process that can create a message with specified complexity like this message to you and ID will be abandoned. Good luck.

  41. 41
    Andre says:

    So Sean Samis thinks Stone Henge is theistic ID?

  42. 42
    Virgil Cain says:

    san samis- all of your questions have been answered in the ID literature.

    ID is testable and we have said how to test it.

    Point 3 above could be easily refuted if you and yours could just step up and provide the evidence to refute it. Whining isn’t going to help.

    The problem is no one knows how to test the claim that natural selection can produce biological specification. It cannot be modeled.

    Do you think that archaeology is just geology throwing in the towel?

  43. 43
    Andre says:

    Virgil Cain

    Yes how do we test unguided processes? Is it even testable? One can only speculate on unguided which is exactly what unguided evolution is a speculation that has become a religion to stupid people.

  44. 44
    sean samis says:

    bFast @35:

    …please check this statement out: “One way is Creationism that depends upon intervention by a divine Creator. That is clearly unscientific because it brings an arbitrary supernatural force into the evolution process.” ( thethirdwayofevolution.com ) It is this “you are wrong because your position is dis-permitted” that we IDers rile against. Our position is not considered, but is dismissed on philosophical grounds alone.

    This is not philosophy. Deities are not permitted in the scientific method for purely practical reasons: there’s no way to experiment on them. Deities can never be scientifically tested. That does not make appeals to deities false, but it does make them unscientific.

    I think Zachriel dealt adequately with your #36.

    sean s.

  45. 45
    sean samis says:

    Andre #39:

    Sean Samis ignores everything Francis Crick said about specified complexity.

    We’re talking about science here. “Proofs from Authority” (i.e. Francis Crick’s opinions) are irrelevant.

    Does Sean Samis have an agenda? I’ll bet on it.

    Of course I do; EVERYONE ON THIS SITE HAS AN AGENDA; THE SITE ITSELF HAS AN AGENDA. You have an agenda, Andre.

    My agenda: 1) Defend what I believe the facts to be, and 2) Be open to the possibility I will learn something new.

    @40:

    …find a natural process that can create a message with specified complexity like this message to you and ID will be abandoned.

    You’re comparing apples and bananas. Biological complexity is categorically different from language.

    @41:

    So Sean Samis thinks Stone Henge [sic] is theistic ID?

    We are long past talking about man-made things. Intelligent design creationism is not about Stonehenge.

    @43:

    …how do we test unguided processes? Is it even testable? One can only speculate…

    We test unguided processes all the time. That’s science 101.

    For novel processes, we speculate and then we test our speculations. This is pretty standard science. Nothing new here.

    sean s.

  46. 46
    sean samis says:

    Virgil Cain @42:

    Point 3 above could be easily refuted if you and yours could just step up and provide the evidence to refute it. … The problem is no one knows how to test the claim that natural selection can produce biological specification. It cannot be modeled.

    Is the statement “we don’t yet know how natural processes could produce this complexity” beyond your reading level?

    Or is the belief that ”human knowledge is now complete” a core concept of Creationism? If it is, then that core concept is violated regularly.

    One can test natural biological development by identifying natural processes that lead to it. That’s what scientists are up to these days.

    Do you think that archaeology is just geology throwing in the towel?

    No. We are long past talking about man-made things. Intelligent design creationism is not about Stonehenge.

    We know humans exist and are capable of making things which archeologists attribute to them.

    As for your “intelligent designer”, we have no evidence they even exist. We don’t know what they are capable of. We don’t know that we need them anyway.

    sean s.

  47. 47
    Virgil Cain says:

    sean samis:

    Is the statement “we don’t yet know how natural processes could produce this complexity” beyond your reading level?

    No, it isn’t a response. We don’t know how natural processes could produce Stonehenge because there isn’t any way they can.

    We know humans exist and are capable of making things which archeologists attribute to them.

    LoL! We only know they were capable because of what they left behind for us to study.

    As for your “intelligent designer”, we have no evidence they even exist.

    The evidence for Intelligent Design says at least one did exist.

    We don’t know what they are capable of.

    We know what designers are capable of by the designs they leave behind.

    We don’t know that we need them anyway.

    We have no idea how to test the claim that blind and undirected processes can produce living organisms. We do have a way to test to see if intelligent design exists.

  48. 48
  49. 49
    sean samis says:

    Virgil Cain @47:

    We don’t know how natural processes could produce Stonehenge because there isn’t any way they can.

    We’re long past talking about Stonehenge. The concern is not about Stonehenge, it’s about the origin of life itself.

    We only know they were capable because of what they left behind for us to study.

    And because we know we could do the same things with the tools these ancient humans probably had.

    The evidence for Intelligent Design says at least one did exist.

    Yes; Humans. None others have left evidence we know about.

    We know what designers are capable of by the designs they leave behind.

    Only if you know these things were designed.

    The question is whether life is designed or not.
    We don’t know that life was designed.
    We don’t know that life must have been designed.
    We don’t know there was any designer around to design life.

    We have no idea how to test the claim that blind and undirected processes can produce living organisms. …

    Sure we do. We speculate on what processes could do this and then test our speculations. That’s basic science.

    … We do have a way to test to see if intelligent design exists.

    No one disputes that humans “intelligently design” things. The question is whether life was “intelligently designed” by a designer we neither know, or know we need to know. We have no way to test that.

    sean s.

  50. 50
    Virgil Cain says:

    saen samis:

    The concern is not about Stonehenge, it’s about the origin of life itself.

    If blind and undirected processes can’t produce Stonehenge then what makes you think they can create something much more intricate and complex?

    And because we know we could do the same things with the tools these ancient humans probably had.

    We have no idea what tools they probably had to cut granite and huge stones.

    None others have left evidence we know about.

    The genetic code is such evidence. living organisms are such evidence. All of then factors required to make this a habitable planet is such evidence.

    And guess what? Your position can’t even start to explain them.

    We speculate on what processes could do this and then test our speculations. That’s basic science.

    Then why hasn’t anyone done so?

    The question is whether life was “intelligently designed” by a designer we neither know, or know we need to know. We have no way to test that.

    And yet we have said exactly how to test and potentially falsify that claim.

    Why do you think your ignorance means something?

  51. 51
    sean samis says:

    Virgil Cain @50:

    … what makes you think they [natural processes] can create something much more intricate and complex [than Stonehenge]?

    I think they can because I don’t have any evidence they cannot, nor any evidence of something/someone else to attribute them to. Nor has sufficient research been done to exclude natural processes.

    We have no idea what tools they probably had to cut granite and huge stones.

    Actually, we do. If you are unfamiliar with research done on how Stonehenge was built, then you aren’t even trying.

    The genetic code is such evidence. living organisms are such evidence. All of then [sic] factors required to make this a habitable planet is such evidence.

    … only if you ASSUME all that was designed. But that assumption is not evidence, and does not transform uncertainty into evidence.

    And guess what? Your position can’t even start to explain them.

    We have started. The problem is that we’re not done and you are impatient.

    The habitability of the Earth is no great mystery.

    Then why hasn’t anyone done so?

    It’s being worked on every day. Sorry all the biologists aren’t checking in with you every day, giving you status updates and all…

    And yet we have said exactly how to test and potentially falsify that claim.

    … and the “how” you said is not actually valid.

    Why do you think your ignorance means something?

    Because it does mean something.
    It means I’m a normal human: there are things none of us know.
    Human knowledge is not complete.
    Is that so shocking?

    sean s.

  52. 52
    Virgil Cain says:

    sean samis:

    I think they can because I don’t have any evidence they cannot,

    And yet you don’t have any evidence that they can and that is what science requires. You don’t even have a way to test the claim.

    Actually, we do. If you are unfamiliar with research done on how Stonehenge was built, then you aren’t even trying.

    Unfortunately for you I am very familiar with it. We don’t know what tools they used to gut the stones.

    The genetic code is such evidence. living organisms are such evidence. All of the factors required to make this a habitable planet is such evidence.

    … only if you ASSUME all that was designed.

    Wrong again- no such assumption required. All that is required is knowledge of cause and effect relationships. And the fact that there isn’t any alternative scientific explanation.

    We have started.

    That’s your opinion.

    The habitability of the Earth is no great mystery.

    And yet your position cannot explain it.

    It’s being worked on every day.

    More opinion. That isn’t evidence.

    … and the “how” you said is not actually valid.

    Of course it is valid. It is how science operates.

    BTW, your ignorance doesn’t mean anything beyond you are ignorant.

  53. 53
    sean samis says:

    Virgil Cain @52:

    And yet you don’t have any evidence that they can and that is what science requires. You don’t even have a way to test the claim.

    Science requires evidence that natural forces can create life only when a scientist claims to know HOW it happened. We’re not there yet.

    Science does not require evidence that natural forces can create life when we’re still researching the topic. At this point, all science requires is the possibility, not the certainty. There’s no evidence that natural forces are completely unable to create life.

    Science DOES require evidence that natural forces CANNOT create life whenever someone claims they know it’s not possible. You makes such a claim, but have no evidence of impossibility which is what science requires of you.

    And as I’ve written several times: the claim is easily testable: speculate and test the speculation. Science 101.

    You want to put the conclusion first, and the experiments second. That’s not how science works.

    We don’t know what tools they used to gut [sic] the stones.

    But we do know the kinds of tools and techniques they could have used. We do know what some of their choices were, and those are sufficient. We know what to look for to further our knowledge. No magic or deities are required.

    All that is required is knowledge of cause and effect relationships. And the fact that there isn’t any alternative scientific explanation.

    Ah yes, but there is an alternative scientific explanation. You don’t agree with it, but it is there. And it is causal and testable, your explanation is not testable (and only optionally causal).

    That’s your opinion.

    Really? Tsk. As the contrary is your opinion.

    And yet your position cannot explain it. [the habitability of the Earth]

    Sure we can. It’s habitable because it’s within the habitability zone of our star (Sol).

    More opinion. That isn’t evidence.

    It’s just a fact.

    Of course it is valid. It is how science operates.

    Science does not require conclusions before experiments.
    Science does not conclude something is impossible on a doubt.
    Science does not regard unknowns as known.
    Science does not regard ignorance as knowledge
    Science does not treat assumptions as facts.
    Science waits for the results. As long as it takes.

    BTW, your ignorance doesn’t mean anything beyond you are ignorant.

    My ignorance means I can’t conclude something if I am ignorant of the facts.
    And I know my ignorance is not unusual. Everyone is ignorant of something. Yes, even you.

    So OUR ignorance means WE can’t conclude something if WE ARE ALL ignorant of the facts.

    It is creationists who conclude that their ignorance proves their beliefs are right.

    sean s.

  54. 54
    Virgil Cain says:

    sean samis:

    Science requires evidence that natural forces can create life only when a scientist claims to know HOW it happened.

    Fair enough. Then there is no reason to keep discussions of ID out of science classrooms.

    Science DOES require evidence that natural forces CANNOT create life whenever someone claims they know it’s not possible.

    That is found in the fact that no one even knows how to test such a thing. There aren’t any models, no hypotheses, nothing. AND it matches the design criteria.

    And as I’ve written several times: the claim is easily testable: speculate and test the speculation. Science 101.

    Yes it is and yet your position doesn’t do that. All we get are promissory notes that the answer will be found some time in the future.

    You want to put the conclusion first, and the experiments second.

    LoL! You don’t get to tell me what i want. That is a sure sign of desperation.

    But we do know the kinds of tools and techniques they could have used.

    Not really.

    Ah yes, but there is an alternative scientific explanation.

    Such as?

    It’s habitable because it’s within the habitability zone of our star (Sol).

    Exactly as I said. Your position cannot explain it.

    Science does not require conclusions before experiments.

    Who said otherwise?

    Science does not conclude something is impossible on a doubt.

    Who said otherwise?

    Science does not regard unknowns as known.
    Science does not regard ignorance as knowledge

    Your position relies on ignorance.

    Science does not treat assumptions as facts.

    Your position does

    Science waits for the results. As long as it takes.

    The science of today does not nor cannot wait for what the science of tomorrow may or may not uncover.

    Science is tentative. It thrives on the fact that the science of tomorrow can either refute or confirm the science of today.

  55. 55
    sean samis says:

    Virgil Cain @54:

    Then there is no reason to keep discussions of ID out of science classrooms.

    There’s no reason to discuss ID in science classrooms because there’s no science behind it.

    …no one even knows how to test such a thing. There aren’t any models, no hypotheses, nothing.

    As I’ve written several times: the claims are easily testable: speculate and test the speculation. Science 101. There are scientists doing this work every day. There are models and hypotheses.

    … AND it matches the design criteria.

    The design criteria” are so vague as to be meaningless. You struggle to disentangle the origin of life from Stonehenge.

    And as I’ve written several times: the claim is easily testable: speculate and test the speculation. Science 101.

    Yes it is and yet your position doesn’t do that. …

    There are scientists working on this every day.

    … All we get are promissory notes that the answer will be found some time in the future.

    And all we get from creationist is past-due notices. As if the clock had run out on us. Science does not work that way. Science waits for the results. As long as it takes.

    Science makes no promises; the expectation of new learning is based on science’s HISTORY, on its past record. The things science has learned in my lifetime are considerable.

    Science solves puzzles, it has done so in the past; continues to do so now, and will do so in the future as long as anti-science does not obstruct it.

    You want to put the conclusion first, and the experiments second.

    LoL! You don’t get to tell me what i want.

    I do get to tell you what it is you have been asking others for. Anyone can do that. If that’s not what you want, then stop asking for it; stop requiring it. Stop telling me that natural causes cannot create life before we’ve actually demonstrated that fact (if ever.)

    But we do know the kinds of tools and techniques they could have used.

    Not really.

    We do.

    Ah yes, but there is an alternative scientific explanation.

    Such as?

    Evolution. You’ll want to study it; you seem unfamiliar with it.

    It’s habitable because it’s within the habitability zone of our star (Sol).

    Exactly as I said. Your position cannot explain it.

    That is the explanation. The habitability zone of any star is generally a function of its brightness. Any planet orbiting in that zone is habitable.

    Science does not require conclusions before experiments.

    Who said otherwise?

    Well, then, you’ll have to take back your statements about “promissory notes” and that “The science of today does not nor cannot wait for what the science of tomorrow may or may not uncover.” In brief, you write that the “science of today” should issue conclusions without waiting on experiments yet to be done. You write that science requires conclusions before experiments. If you didn’t mean that then you’ll need to reconsider some of your past comments.

    Science does not conclude something is impossible on a doubt.

    Who said otherwise?

    Well, then, you’ll have to take back any claim that life cannot come from natural causes on account of doubts about the possibility.

    Previously you wrote that ID is validated by the “fact that there isn’t any alternative scientific explanation.” But of course there is an alternative, but you doubt it. You doubt natural causes can produce life; therefore you write that natural causes cannot produce life. You’ve concluded that something is impossible on a doubt.

    Your position relies on ignorance.

    No. My position ACKNOWLEDGES ignorance. Ignorance cannot be remedied unless it is acknowledged.

    Science does not treat assumptions as facts.

    Your position does

    No. I’ve treated no assumptions as facts.

    Science waits for the results. As long as it takes.

    The science of today does not nor cannot wait for what the science of tomorrow may or may not uncover.

    Science is tentative. It thrives on the fact that the science of tomorrow can either refute or confirm the science of today.

    Your two sentences are contradictory. If science is tentative (I agree) then the “science of today” must wait on the “science of tomorrow”. The “science of today” does not declare as fact something that is not yet proven; to do so would be in no way “tentative”.

    And to be clear, science does not declare that life is the product of natural processes; it declares that natural processes are the only explanation that science can study. I’ve written this before: attributing life to an intelligent designer is UNSCIENTIFIC. It could be true, but it cannot be science because it cannot be tested.

    sean s.

  56. 56
    Virgil Cain says:

    sean samis:

    There’s no reason to discuss ID in science classrooms because there’s no science behind it.

    How would you know? ID can be tested and potentially falsified. No one knows how to test unguided evolution.

    As I’ve written several times: the claims are easily testable: speculate and test the speculation. Science 101. There are scientists doing this work every day. There are models and hypotheses.

    You are lying as there aren’t any models that pertain to unguided evolution

    “The design criteria” are so vague as to be meaningless. You struggle to disentangle the origin of life from Stonehenge.

    Again if natural processes cannot explain something as relatively simple as Stonehenge then it doesn’t have a chance at explaining life.

    The design criteria is very clear:

    1- Eliminate necessity and chance

    2- The criteria for inferring design in biology is, as Michael J. Behe, Professor of Biochemistry at Leheigh 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.”

    We do.

    Bluff called- what tools did they use to cut all of the stones.

    Evolution. You’ll want to study it; you seem unfamiliar with it.

    Your equivocation is duly noted. ID is not anti-evolution. You seem to be ignorant of what is being debated. Typical

    That is the explanation. The habitability zone of any star is generally a function of its brightness. Any planet orbiting in that zone is habitable.

    Your position’s “explanation” for that is “it just happened that way”. There are so many factors that are required to make a planet and system like ours that it is beyond insane to think it was all due to cosmic collisions.

    Well, then, you’ll have to take back any claim that life cannot come from natural causes on account of doubts about the possibility.

    I said that on account there isn’t any evidence for such a thing nor any way to test the claim.

    Well, then, you’ll have to take back your statements about “promissory notes” and that “The science of today does not nor cannot wait for what the science of tomorrow may or may not uncover.” In brief, you write that the “science of today” should issue conclusions without waiting on experiments yet to be done. You write that science requires conclusions before experiments. If you didn’t mean that then you’ll need to reconsider some of your past comments.

    The experiments should have been done by now. The fact is no one will ever do any experiments to try to show the efficacy of unguided evolution. It’s a useless research heuristic.

    Your two sentences are contradictory. If science is tentative (I agree) then the “science of today” must wait on the “science of tomorrow”.

    LoL! Science is tentative exactly because it doesn’t wait.

    And to be clear, science does not declare that life is the product of natural processes; it declares that natural processes are the only explanation that science can study.

    the design is natural and as such can be studied. ID is about the design and not the designer

  57. 57
    sean samis says:

    Virgil Cain @56:

    ID can be tested and potentially falsified.

    But only by studying naturally occurring life. Even then, ID cannot be falsified, it just redefines the role of the Creator.

    Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I’m not sure about the former.” –attributed to Albert Einstein

    You wrote:

    No one knows how to test unguided evolution.

    As I’ve written several times: theories about the natural origin of life are testable: speculate and test the speculation. This is still Science 101. There are scientists doing this work every day. There are models and hypotheses to test.

    You are lying as there aren’t any models that pertain to unguided evolution

    There are. You just need to do your homework.

    Again if natural processes cannot explain something as relatively simple as Stonehenge then it doesn’t have a chance at explaining life.

    Strange as this may sound, our choice is not between a completely designed, ARTIFICIAL universe -or- a natural universe WITH NOTHING ARTIFICIAL IN IT.

    We can have a natural universe with naturally occurring creatures capable of creating ARTIFICIAL things like Stonehenge.

    Stonehenge is man-made; it is ARTIFICIAL. It is categorically different from the origin of life. The ARTIFICIALITY of Stonehenge has no more bearing on the natural origin of life than does the ARTIFICIALITY of a cheeseburger.

    The design criteria is very clear:

    1- Eliminate necessity and chance …

    This is not a “criteria”; it is a vague, unspecified set of criteria.
    What criteria eliminates chance?
    What criteria eliminates necessity without also eliminating causality?

    2- The criteria for inferring design in biology is, as Michael J. Behe, Professor of Biochemistry at Leheigh 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.”

    Again, this is not a “criteria”; it is a vague, unspecified set of criteria.
    What criteria establishes confidence?
    What criteria establishes that the history of the process’s development is totally documented? That there are no lost intermediary steps?
    How do you establish the order of past events such as to exclude any intermediate developments that have been shed over the last billions of years?

    Bluff called- what tools did they use to cut all of the stones [for Stonehenge].

    You misrepresent my statements (see #49, 51, 53, and 55): we know some tools and techniques that were available to them, that they could have used; which is all I claimed.

    Only the people who worked on the site when it was built know what they actually used. And like any big project, most workers probably only know what tools they personally used.

    As for what they could have done:

    http://sciencenetlinks.com/sci.....gineering/
    http://www.history.com/news/so.....nstruction
    https://answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20100318182259AA55BBa
    http://www.bradshawfoundation......uction.php
    http://www.cheops-pyramide.ch/.....tting.html
    http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/l.....tting.html
    etc.

    If you were unaware of these things, then that is PROOF you guard your ignorance zealously.

    ID is not anti-evolution.

    ID is anti-science; evolution is just the primary science it opposes.

    Your position’s “explanation” for that is “it just happened that way”. There are so many factors that are required to make a planet and system like ours that it is beyond insane to think it was all due to cosmic collisions.

    Ah.

    The “explanation” you seek is “why this planet at this star?” The rational answer is “why not?” There are billions of stars with billions of planets developing over billions of years. The odds are not that great against a planet like Earth being formed where it is when it was.

    You want to believe that this planet and this star were chosen to be home to us. You want us to be SPECIAL. That is a nice fantasy, but it ain’t science. It’s not even rational. Where is your evidence of our planet’s SPECIAL CREATION? What criteria did you use to validate it? Assuming you even tried…

    I said that on account there isn’t any evidence for such a thing nor any way to test the claim.

    “there isn’t any evidence” = doubt. There are ways to test this, you just refuse to acknowledge them.

    BTW, here is where I COULD pull a William J Murray on you and demand proof of your “exhaustive search” of the evidence to substantiate your claim that there is no evidence. WJM made that demand of Zachriel recently on another thread here. But of course, that demand is foolish; so I don’t make it of you.

    You DO, however, “conclude something is impossible on a doubt” which you correctly say science does not do.

    The experiments should have been done by now. The fact is no one will ever do any experiments to try to show the efficacy of unguided evolution. It’s a useless research heuristic.

    There is no deadline for science; your past-due notices are invalid.

    Experiments and theoretical work on the natural origins of life have been, are being, and will continue to be done as long as anti-science movements don’t obstruct them.

    LoL! Science is tentative exactly because it doesn’t wait.

    It would be my turn to laugh, but I don’t; willful ignorance is sad, not funny.

    Your nervous laughter aside, science is tentative because it does wait for the facts; because it MUST wait for the facts. Not just scientists: that’s what HONEST PEOPLE MUST do.

    If you think science does not or cannot wait, then again you declare something impossible on a doubt, which you’ve said Science does not do.

    the design is natural and as such can be studied. ID is about the design and not the designer

    Design is, by definition, ARTIFICIAL. It does not matter if the designer was human, a deity, or ET, to design and construct something—ANYTHING—is to make something ARTIFICIAL.

    Naturally occurring phenomena (such as life) are by definition UNDESIGNED.

    Without a designer, design cannot be studied. Design implies intent and forethought, which can only be studied if the designer is studied.

    sean s.

  58. 58
    Virgil Cain says:

    sean samis:

    But only by studying naturally occurring life.

    What does that mean? There isn’t any evidence that nature can produce life from non-living matter and energy.

    theories about the natural origin of life are testable

    Tell us how to test them, then.

    There are. You just need to do your homework.

    Did my homework and that is why I know they don’t exist.

    We can have a natural universe with naturally occurring creatures capable of creating ARTIFICIAL things like Stonehenge.

    That is your unscientific opinion.

    Stonehenge is man-made;

    And we know that because there aren’t any known geological processes that can produce it and it fits the criteria- ie it shows signs of work.

    This is not a “criteria”; it is a vague, unspecified set of criteria.
    What criteria eliminates chance?
    What criteria eliminates necessity without also eliminating causality?

    Knowledge of cause and effect relationships and the ability to test hypotheses.

    Again, this is not a “criteria”; it is a vague, unspecified set of criteria.

    Again all you can do is eny like a little child.

    Archaeology and forensics use the criteria of “work” in determining an artifact or crime. Behe’s criteria is a step above theirs.

    You misrepresent my statements (see #49, 51, 53, and 55): we know some tools and techniques that were available to them, that they could have used; which is all I claimed.

    I asked a specific question pertaining to the cutting of the stones used in Stonehenge. Your statements do not answer that question.

    ID is anti-science; evolution is just the primary science it opposes.

    Coming from an obvious scientifically illiterate that means nothing. What primary science does ID oppose?

    And read “The Privileged Planet” – it says exactly why the earth is designed. And again all your position can say is “it all just happened, man”

    “there isn’t any evidence” = doubt

    There isn’t any evidence means just that.

    Science is tentative exactly because it doesn’t wait.

    It would be my turn to laugh, but I don’t

    Why would you laugh at a fact?

    science is tentative because it does wait for the facts;

    I never said otherwise. Obviously you have other issues.

    If you think science does not or cannot wait,…

    I said the science of today cannot and does not wait for what the science of tomorrow may or may not uncover. Obviously that was too much for you to understand.

    Did Einstein wait to publish his first theory until after a solar eclipse confirmed it?

    Design is, by definition, ARTIFICIAL.

    And it exists in NATURE and because of that it is also NATURAL. My car is artificial but it isn’t supernatural.

    Without a designer, design cannot be studied.

    That is the stupidest thing I have ever heard. As a matter of course design has to be determined before we can ask any questions about the designer. And unless you directly observed the designer or had the designer’s input, the only way to say anything about the designer is by studying the design and all relevant evidence.

  59. 59
    sean samis says:

    Virgil Cain @58:

    I was working through your latest, when I came to something quite amazing. You can only imagine my surprise at seeing the following exchange:

    VC: Science is tentative exactly because it doesn’t wait.

    Me: It would be my turn to laugh, but I don’t

    VC: Why would you laugh at a fact?

    Me: science is tentative because it does wait for the facts;

    VC: I never said otherwise. Obviously you have other issues.

    Me: If you think science does not or cannot wait,…

    VC: I said the science of today cannot and does not wait for what the science of tomorrow may or may not uncover. …

    So in quick succession, you wrote:

    Science is tentative exactly because it doesn’t wait.
    Then:
    I never said otherwise [to “science does wait.”]”
    Then:
    I said the science of today cannot and does not wait for what the science of tomorrow may or may not uncover.

    So you wrote, science does not wait, it does wait, it does not wait.

    Then you wrote:

    … Obviously that was too much for you to understand.

    Obviously it’s too much for you!

    Virgil; Science does not make conclusions without evidence. Science waits on the evidence, as long as it takes. There’s no deadline. Your “past-due notices” are just noise.

    I’ll respond to the rest later if necessary, but this incoherence is too much to pass up on.

    sean s.

  60. 60
    sean samis says:

    Virgil Cain @58:

    Since you’ve chosen to not respond to or even acknowledge my #59, I’ll post my comments to the other parts of your #58.

    There isn’t any evidence that nature can produce life from non-living matter and energy.

    It is not conclusively proven yet, but there is evidence. I know you will not be satisfied until it’s proven. Patience grasshopper!

    Tell us how to test them, [theories about the natural origin of life] then.

    As I’ve written several times: theories about the natural origin of life are testable: speculate and test the speculation. This is still Science 101.

    We can have a natural universe with naturally occurring creatures capable of creating ARTIFICIAL things like Stonehenge.

    That is your unscientific opinion.

    It’s what’s called “logic”.

    And we know that [Stonehenge is man-made] because there aren’t any known geological processes that can produce it and it fits the criteria- ie it shows signs of work.

    … and because we know what creature was available to create it.
    … and because we know what creature could have made it.
    … and because we know what tools and techniques those creatures could have used.

    For the origin of life,
    we don’t know what tools anyone could have used to design or implement life;
    we don’t know what creature could have done so;
    we don’t know if there even was a creature available to do so.

    Knowledge of cause and effect relationships and the ability to test hypotheses.

    That “criteria” does not have even the potential to eliminate either necessity or chance.

    Archaeology and forensics use the criteria of “work” in determining an artifact or crime. Behe’s criteria is a step above theirs.

    Archeology and forensics have a known and capable category of actors (humans) to work from. Creationism does not. Behe’s criteria assumes a deity as the actor.

    I asked a specific question pertaining to the cutting of the stones used in Stonehenge. Your statements do not answer that question.

    I provided numerous references. I leave that specific question to you to study.

    What primary science does ID oppose?

    Biology, Biochemistry, Geology, and Cosmology; maybe others. Its not very friendly to basic logic either, nor empiricism.

    “there isn’t any evidence” = doubt

    There isn’t any evidence means just that.

    Yep. And that means doubt.

    Did Einstein wait to publish his first theory until after a solar eclipse confirmed it?

    Of course not. Like I’ve said many time before, this is how science works: speculation (Einstein’s first theory) followed by testing the speculation (observing a solar eclipse).

    As a matter of course design has to be determined before we can ask any questions about the designer. …

    As a matter of course, design is not inferred if there’s no available designer. If both designed and undesigned explanations are on the table, the one that’s testable is the Best Explanation. With no information at all about the designer, the Best Explanation for life is undesigned. Pretending there’s a designer we’ll find later is not logical until it’s necessary. It’s not yet necessary.

    … And unless you directly observed the designer or had the designer’s input, the only way to say anything about the designer is by studying the design and all relevant evidence.

    Exactly. We cannot even say your designer of life exists except by studying the supposed design. So far, the supposed design tells us only that there’s no information indicating a designer; life is indistinguishable from something naturally occurring.

    On top of that, the only logically possible ID of life is a deity; a non-theistic designer is illogical ESPECIALLY if the only reason we think there’s a designer is that we think natural explanations cannot work. After all: who designed the designer?

    sean s.

  61. 61
    Virgil Cain says:

    sean samis- there isn’t anything to respond to. I am interested in science, not promissory notes. And you have serious issues. For example:

    So you wrote, science does not wait, it does wait, it does not wait.

    Context is important and yet you left it out to make it seem I was saying contradictory things. That is a sign of desperation. And I am sick of people like you so it is better to ignore your spewage than to acknowledge it.

    If you think that life is indistinguishable from something naturally occurring then it is a waste of time talking to you as no evidence will ever change your mind.

    Good luck with that.

  62. 62
  63. 63
    sean samis says:

    Virgil Cain @61:

    Context is important and yet you left it out to make it seem I was saying contradictory things. That is a sign of desperation.

    Taken out of context, huh? Talk about your desperation.

    Here is the precise context:

    In #54 you wrote:

    The science of today does not nor cannot wait for what the science of tomorrow may or may not uncover. Science is tentative. It thrives on the fact that the science of tomorrow can either refute or confirm the science of today.

    In #55 I wrote:

    If science is tentative (I agree) then the “science of today” must wait on the “science of tomorrow”.

    You replied in #56:

    LoL! Science is tentative exactly because it doesn’t wait.

    I replied in #57:

    Your nervous laughter aside, science is tentative because it does wait for the facts; because it MUST wait for the facts. Not just scientists: that’s what HONEST PEOPLE MUST do.

    To which you replied in #58:

    I never said otherwise. Obviously you have other issues.

    Well, actually you said otherwise in #54 and #56

    I see no need to rehash all of #58

    Any neutral and honest review of your comments would conclude I left no context out.

    If there really is some context that makes “science is tentative because it doesn’t wait” consistent with “science is tentative because it does wait” then you’ve subtly hidden it. You could fix that in a single post. But instead you deny the obvious.

    sean s.

  64. 64
    sean samis says:

    Mung @62:

    Who Designed the Designer?: A Rediscovered Path to God’s Existence

    Well, after you’ve read this, you’ll have to get back to us with a book report.

    sean s.

  65. 65
    Virgil Cain says:

    LoL! @ sean samis- You changed the context from science waiting to science not waiting for facts.

    As I said, you obviously have other issues.

  66. 66
    RDFish says:

    We do not know of any “natural” (meaning “outside of human activity”) process that can account for the complex form and function we see in biology.

    ID proposes that the same thing that accounts for human beings’ ability to produce complex machinery – namely intelligence – is also responsible for the existence of the complex machinery we see in biological organisms.

    ID fails to provide any evidence that this hypothesis is true. We have no evidence that any intelligent life form has ever existed anywhere in the universe, and we have no evidence that any non-life form has ever existed that somehow possesses mental abilities.

    ID advocates don’t care that they present no evidence for their hypothesis. They insist that the mere fact that we have no other explanation for the origin of living systems somehow means that their hypothesis is true.

    When pressed on why they think no evidence is required, they answer this: Intelligence is the only known cause of complex form and function, and since there is no other explanation, intelligence ought to be considered the best explanation.

    This reason is specious, because the only known cause of complex machinery is not intelligence per se (per se means “in and of itself”). Rather, the only known cause of complex machinery is human beings.

    What we call “intelligence” is a property of living things; to consider intelligence a thing-in-itself with causal properties apart from the organism displaying intelligent behavior is a fallacy of reification.

    Saying “intelligence” builds complex machines is like saying that “athleticism” wins races, or that “generosity” feeds the poor, or that “talent” writes symphonies, or that “curiosity” reads books. These things are not causes – they do not do act in the world and make things happen. Rather, these things are descriptions of certain aspects of human beings – properties of human beings – and not things that somehow exist independently of human beings.

    Races are won by human beings who run fast, and the poor are fed by human beings who are generous, and symphonies are written by human beings who are talented, and books are read by human beings who are curious, and complex machines are designed by human beings who are intelligent.

    When an anthropologist decides that a shard of pottery is not the result of natural processes, what they are saying is not that “intelligence” created the pottery, but rather than human beings created the pottery. When a forensic scientist decides that someone died as the result of murder, they are not saying that “intelligence” murdered the victim, but rather that a human being did it.

    And yes, if and when SETI researchers ever intercept the sort of signal that they believe would be sent by a technologically advanced civilization of intelligent life forms, they will not conclude that “intelligence” per se was responsible, but rather a technologically advanced civilization of intelligent life forms.

    Not only is it scientifically meaningless to assert that “intelligence” per se was the cause of some observed phenomenon, it isn’t even clear what it means theologically, as Ed Feser points out. Feser notes that there is nothing that theists can say about what divine intelligence has in common with human intelligence, since even theologians hold that they are very different sorts of things.

    There is no science to ID beyond its correct claim that evolutionary theory fails to explain living things.

    Cheers,
    RDFish/AIGuy

  67. 67
    Virgil Cain says:

    Hi RDFish:

    ID fails to provide any evidence that this hypothesis is true.

    ID has provided plenty of evidence this- the design hypothesis- is true. Why do you lie?

    They insist that the mere fact that we have no other explanation for the origin of living systems somehow means that their hypothesis is true.

    The explanatory filter alone refutes that nonsense.

    Not only is it scientifically meaningless to assert that “intelligence” per se was the cause of some observed phenomenon,

    And yet we know that it changes everything.

    cheers,

    Virgil Cain

  68. 68
    asauber says:

    RDFish/AIGuy,

    You repeatedly refer to something something called a human being. Can you scientifically explain what a human being is, because I get the impression you may have an incorrect idea of what a human being is.

    Andrew

  69. 69
    RDFish says:

    Hi Andrew,

    I’ve gotten all sorts of funny counter-arguments to my position here, but yours is a new one: You claim that there is confusion regarding what the term “human being” refers to. I suppose it had to come to this – once a True Believer is backed up against a wall, they will try anything rather than admit that their efforts to co-opt science in service of their religious beliefs are specious.

    In any event, what I mean by “human being” is this: any individual of the genus Homo, especially a member of the species Homo sapiens”.

    Anybody else have a less comical response?

    Cheers,
    RDFish/AIGuy

  70. 70
    sean samis says:

    Virgil Cain @65:

    You changed the context from science waiting to science not waiting for facts.

    No; you wrote that “The science of today does not nor cannot wait for what the science of tomorrow may or may not uncover”, that “Science is tentative exactly because it doesn’t wait.

    I objected, saying that “science is tentative because it does wait for the facts; because it MUST wait for the facts. Not just scientists: that’s what HONEST PEOPLE MUST do.”

    You replied “I never said otherwise.

    I have consistently said science does wait, and must wait for the facts.

    What did you think science was waiting for?
    Tuna?
    Helium?
    Was it unclear to you?

    @67 you wrote to RDFish:

    ID has provided plenty of evidence this- the design hypothesis- is true. Why do you lie?

    He does not lie. The “design hypothesis” is unproven and probably unprovable.

    The explanatory filter alone refutes that nonsense.

    Since the explanatory filter is itself unreliable, it cannot refute anything.

    And yet we know that it changes everything.

    Asserting intelligence may change things, but it is an untestable claim.

    sean s.

  71. 71
    sean samis says:

    asauber @68:

    You wrote to RDFish:

    I get the impression you may have an incorrect idea of what a human being is.

    Please save us the time: please give us the “correct” idea of what a human being is.

    sean s.

  72. 72
    asauber says:

    “In any event, what I mean by “human being” is this: any individual of the genus Homo, especially a member of the species Homo sapiens”.

    This isn’t helpful. I wanted a scientific definition that describes what makes a human being a human being. You’ve given me a classification, not a definition. There’s a difference, smart guy.

    Andrew

  73. 73
    asauber says:

    “Please save us the time: please give us the “correct” idea of what a human being is.”

    RDFish used the term. He needs to tell us what it means.

    Andrew

  74. 74
    RDFish says:

    Hi Andrew,

    I wanted a scientific definition that describes what makes a human being a human being.

    That is precisely what I’ve given, of course. If you don’t believe that biological taxonomic definitions are scientific, let’s agree to disagree on that point 🙂

    Cheers,
    RDFish/AIGuy

  75. 75
    asauber says:

    “That is precisely what I’ve given, of course.”

    No you haven’t. You’ve given me a classification.

    Whenever you are ready to satisfy my request, please do so.

    Andrew

  76. 76
    mike1962 says:

    RDFish: And yes, if and when SETI researchers ever intercept the sort of signal that they believe would be sent by a technologically advanced civilization of intelligent life forms, they will not conclude that “intelligence” per se was responsible, but rather a technologically advanced civilization of intelligent life forms.

    So then, since the DNA/ribosome/protein-synthesis system uses coded information (a criterion of intelligence for SETI http://www.seti.org/faq#obs9) it is reasonable to conclude that a technologically advanced civilization of intelligent life forms designed it?

  77. 77
    Zachriel says:

    asauber: No you haven’t.

    The designation Homo sapiens entails the characteristics that distinguish the species from other organic species. There’s even a type, which happens to be Carl Linnaeus.

  78. 78
    asauber says:

    “the characteristics that distinguish the species”

    Which are?

    Why is it like pulling teeth with you evo-heads answering simple questions?

    Andrew

  79. 79
    RDFish says:

    Hi Andrew,

    Biological taxonomies consist of detailed definitions that describe the inclusion criteria for each species, genus, family, and so on. The definition of Homo is no less clear than for any other genus.

    Again, if you would like to claim you’ve somehow rebutted my argument by denying that scientists can objectively describe what a human being is, by all means let us agree to disagree.

    Cheers,
    RDFish/AIGuy

  80. 80
    RDFish says:

    So far, the only attempt to counter my argument here is that we can’t define what a human being is. That rebuttal is perfectly ridiculous, of course – is there anyone who would actually like to read my argument and debate it?

  81. 81
    asauber says:

    “Biological taxonomies consist of detailed definitions”

    So you gave me the species.

    Now give me the detailed defintion that I asked for to begin with. Can you do it?

    Pulling teeth.

    Andrew

  82. 82
    RDFish says:

    Hi mike1962,

    So then, since the DNA/ribosome/protein-synthesis system uses coded information (a criterion of intelligence for SETI http://www.seti.org/faq#obs9) it is reasonable to conclude that a technologically advanced civilization of intelligent life forms designed it?

    You might hypothesize that, but it’s not a very good hypothesis. First, we have no evidence that such a civilization has ever existed, despite the efforts of SETI. Second, if other life forms existed, it would be simpler to hypothesize that we are simply the descendents of those life forms, rather than the product of some bio-engineering effort. (Francis Crick hypothesized that we are descendents from extra-terrestrial life forms, for example).

    Cheers,
    RDFish/AIGuy

  83. 83
    Zachriel says:

    asauber: Which are?

    In brief, eukaryota, metazoa, bilateria, deuterostomia, chordata, craniata, vertebrata, gnathostomata, sarcopterygii, stegocephalia, amniota, synapsida, therapsida, mammalia, eutheria, primates, catarrhini, hominidae, homo, sapiens, sapiens.

    So, for instance, mammals are characterized by mammary glands, among other traits, as well as the traits of their containing group. That means mammals are also vertebrates, meaning they have a bony spine protecting a nerve cord. As pointed out, there is a type for Homo sapiens, Carl Linnaeus.

  84. 84
    asauber says:

    “So, for instance, mammals are characterized by mammary glands, among other traits”

    So what are the traits/characteristics that distinguish human beings?

    Pull, pull, pull. You’re almost there, Zachy.

    Andrew

  85. 85
    Zachriel says:

    mike1962: So then, since the DNA/ribosome/protein-synthesis system uses coded information (a criterion of intelligence for SETI http://www.seti.org/faq#obs9) it is reasonable to conclude that a technologically advanced civilization of intelligent life forms designed it?

    It’s a conflation of the term “code”. SETI uses code in the sense of a message; while with the genetic code, the code is just a mapping. Now, if you were to find the Bible encoded in the genome, or a hologram of the designer telling us the meaning of existence, then that would constitute a message in the sense used by SETI.

  86. 86
    Virgil Cain says:

    sean samis- See if you can follow along:

    “The science of today does not nor cannot wait for what the science of tomorrow may or may not uncover”, that “Science is tentative exactly because it doesn’t wait.”

    I objected, saying that “science is tentative because it does wait for the facts; because it MUST wait for the facts. Not just scientists: that’s what HONEST PEOPLE MUST do.”

    You replied “I never said otherwise.”

    I never said science doesn’t wait for the facts. The science of today works with the facts it has today. It cannot wait for whatever the facts may be tomorrow because they may not change.

    The “design hypothesis” is unproven and probably unprovable.

    Science isn’t about proof. However the design inference is both testable and potentially falsifiable. ID has stated exactly what those are.

    Since the explanatory filter is itself unreliable, it cannot refute anything.

    The EF is as reliable as the people using it and the data they use. The EF is a process all design inferences must pass to conform with Newton’s four rules of scientific investigation, Occam’s razor and parsimony.

    Also the EF refutes RDFish’s claim that ID is only a negative argument as the decision to infer design is based on the presence of positive evidence, ie a criteria of design.

    Asserting intelligence may change things, but it is an untestable claim.

    And yet we have said exactly how to test it. OTOH materialism is untestable.

  87. 87
    Virgil Cain says:

    Zachriel:

    SETI uses code in the sense of a message; while with the genetic code, the code is just a mapping.

    No, the genetic code is a code in the same way Morse code is a code. mRNA codons represent, ie are symbols for, amino acids. Just because we have mapped the symbols to the products doesn’t mean the process is “just mapping”.

    The message in messenger RNA contains, at a minimum, the instructions for the amino acid sequence it was sent to have produced.

  88. 88
    Virgil Cain says:

    Howdy RDFish:

    I’ve gotten all sorts of funny counter-arguments to my position here,…

    LoL! “Funny” in that you refuse to address the substance that refutes all of your claims. That type of “funny” is the pathetic type of “funny”.

    cheers!
    Virgil Cain

  89. 89
    mike1962 says:

    RDFish: First, we have no evidence that such a civilization has ever existed, despite the efforts of SETI.

    Let me get this straight. You (presumably) agree that coded information is evidence of an intelligent civilization, except that any such evidence found on earth doesn’t count?

    it would be simpler to hypothesize that we are simply the descendents of those life forms, rather than the product of some bio-engineering effort.

    Where did the putative ancestor alien’s DNA/ribosome/protein-synthesis system originate? If coded information is a reasonable pointer to an intelligent civilization of designers, then such a civilization, who cannot be our ancestors, is back there somewhere. If it’s back there somewhere, then the alien-ancestor hypothesis simplifies nothing and is therefore superfluous.

  90. 90
    Zachriel says:

    asauber: So what are the traits/characteristics that distinguish human beings?

    Perhaps you are not from the planet Earth. They think with their meat.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7tScAyNaRdQ

  91. 91
    asauber says:

    “Perhaps you are not from the planet Earth.”

    Perhaps you don’t know how to answer simple questions.

    Zachy, what are we going to do with you? Send you to the Internet Troll halfway house?

    Andrew

  92. 92
    Zachriel says:

    asauber: So what are the traits/characteristics that distinguish human beings?

    We already provided the major characteristics. Humans are a type of deuterostome. Do you have troubles with the distinction between Homo sapiens with other members of Homo?

  93. 93
    Virgil Cain says:

    The cool thing about traits? DNA influences all of them. However being human is neither a trait nor a collection of traits.

  94. 94
    Virgil Cain says:

    Do you have troubles with the distinction between Homo sapiens with other members of Homo?

    According to evolutionism we are all one big family, descended from the same stock.

  95. 95
    asauber says:

    “We already provided the major characteristics.”

    No you didn’t. You provided groups.

    I would like a list of the charcteristics unique to human beings, so I can be reassured that R(eally)D(umb)Fishy knows what he’s talking about.

    So far you haven’t helped me at all. But I’m a patient guy. Please continue not answering.

    On the other hand, you have helped RDFish look like a dunce.

    Andrew

  96. 96
    RDFish says:

    Hi mike1962,

    Let me get this straight. You (presumably) agree that coded information is evidence of an intelligent civilization, except that any such evidence found on earth doesn’t count?

    A transmission of some greeting or message in a narrow-band electro-magnetic signal would be very much what we would expect from a civilization of extra-terrestrial life forms. DNA is not a greeting or message that conveys information from one intelligent life form to another; it is a molecular mapping of amino acid sequences to proteins. Nobody knows how it came to exist.

    RDF: it would be simpler to hypothesize that we are simply the descendents of those life forms, rather than the product of some bio-engineering effort.
    MIKE: Where did the putative ancestor alien’s DNA/ribosome/protein-synthesis system originate?

    Hah! How should I know? Where did your Intelligent Designer come from?

    Cheers,
    RDFish/AIGuy

  97. 97
    Virgil Cain says:

    Hi RDFish:

    DNA is not a greeting or message that conveys information from one intelligent life form to another;

    The genetic code is part of intracellular communication.

    it is a molecular mapping of amino acid sequences to proteins.

    There isn’t any mapping. It is an actual translation system- from the symbols of mRNA codons to the functional proteins, ie specific amino acid sequences.

    Where did your Intelligent Designer come from?

    Hah! How should I know? The evidence for design says there was one.

    cheers,
    Virgil Cain

  98. 98
    mike1962 says:

    RDFish: DNA is not a greeting or message that conveys information from one intelligent life form to another; it is a molecular mapping of amino acid sequences to proteins. Nobody knows how it came to exist.

    I don’t see “greeting” as a requirement in SETI’s criteria. You are adding this as a requirement beyond the presence of coded information. Okie dokie.

    Hah! How should I know? Where did your Intelligent Designer come from?

    SETI are the ones looking for coded information as a sign of intelligent life. You made an argument that the alien-ancestors hypothesis is a simpler and therefore better hypothesis than the alien-designers hypothesis. I debunked your argument on the basis of parsimony. And your response is “hah!”? You don’t see the problem here?

    I notice in your quoting, you clipped out the essence of my rebuttal to your alien-ancestor-is-superior hypothesis. Why?

  99. 99
    RDFish says:

    Hi mike1962,

    RDFish: DNA is not a greeting OR message that conveys information from one intelligent life form to another; it is a molecular mapping of amino acid sequences to proteins. Nobody knows how it came to exist.
    (emphasis added)
    MIKE: I don’t see “greeting” as a requirement in SETI’s criteria. You are adding this as a requirement beyond the presence of coded information. Okie dokie.

    You understand the concept of disjunction, right? Did you miss the “OR” in my statement? I guess so. Anyway a greeting is a type of message obviously.

    Human languages convey arbitrary messages between human beings, by virtue of social conventions regarding both what the words mean and how the words can be combined into sentences. This makes it difficult to imagine how we might decode messages from extra-terrestrials, and also illustrates how different DNA encoding is from natural languages.

    You made an argument that the alien-ancestors hypothesis is a simpler and therefore better hypothesis than the alien-designers hypothesis. I debunked your argument on the basis of parsimony.

    Sorry, I completely missed the part where you debunked my argument on the basis of parsimony or anything else. Once you posit the existence of ET life forms, it becomes simpler to imagine that we are descendents of these life forms than to imagine that they designed our genomes. And besides, there is no evidence of any ET life forms in the first place. So, the hypothesis that ET life forms designed life on Earth is not a good hypothesis.

    I notice in your quoting, you clipped out the essence of my rebuttal to your alien-ancestor-is-superior hypothesis. Why?

    I’ve responded to all of your points. Here is what you said that I didn’t quote, and I will repeat my responses and try to make them as clear as I can:

    If coded information is a reasonable pointer to an intelligent civilization of designers, then such a civilization, who cannot be our ancestors, is back there somewhere.

    You failed to say why this civilization cannot be our ancestors!

    If it’s back there somewhere, then the alien-ancestor hypothesis simplifies nothing and is therefore superfluous.

    If we are the descendents of ET life forms, that explains life on Earth, even though it reveals a further mystery of where those ET life forms came from. If we posit an Intelligent Designer, we are likewise left with a further mystery of where this Designer came from (as well as what the heck is meant by a “Designer” in this context anyway!)

    In any event, once again: Once we posit the life on Earth came from extra-terrestrial life forms, it is indeed simpler to hypothesize mere ancestry rather than advanced bio-engineering. But beyond that, we still have the problem that such things are all merely hypotheses anyway, in need of evidence that one of them may be true. There is none.

    Cheers,
    RDFish/AIGuy

  100. 100
    Virgil Cain says:

    Hi RDFish:

    If we are the descendents of ET life forms, that explains life on Earth, even though it reveals a further mystery of where those ET life forms came from.

    OK. Some people can work on the design and others can try to tackle that.

    The genetic code is evidence that life on earth was designed. We say that with the same confidence we can say Stonehenge was designed- both exhibit signs of work.

    cheers,
    Virgil Cain

  101. 101
    RDFish says:

    Hi Virgil,

    In the (likely vain) hope you will respond in good faith, I’ll address your comment.

    The genetic code is evidence that life on earth was designed. We say that with the same confidence we can say Stonehenge was designed- both exhibit signs of work.

    From your own link, then:

    According to Webster’s Third New International Dictionary, an artifact is “a usually simple object (as a tool or an ornament) showing human workmanship and modification as distinguished from a natural object.” The Oxford English Dictionary defines an artifact (artefact) as “anything made by human art and workmanship; an artificial product.” (emphasis added)

    Further, the meaning of “natural” in this context is: existing in or caused by nature; not made or caused by humankind. (emphasis added)

    Anthropology and forensics are often mentioned by IDers as examples of detecting “design”, when in fact they are detecting human activity. Obviously, when ID talks about detecting “design” they are using the word differently – they don’t mean “human workmanship”.

    The question I am always asking here is very specific: What exactly do you mean when you say “design” in the context of ID?

    If you mean something like “produced by an intelligent agent”, then obviously you need to explain just what that entails. Do you mean, for example, something that is conscious?

    Cheers,
    RDFish/AIGuy

  102. 102
    Virgil Cain says:

    Hi RDFish:

    In the (likely vain) hope you will respond in good faith, I’ll address your comment.

    I am sure that you won’t respond in good faith.

    From your own link, then:

    Further, the meaning of “natural” in this context is: existing in or caused by nature; not made or caused by humankind. (emphasis added)

    Nice quote mine- see I knew you wouldn’t respond in good faith. Thank you.

    Anthropology and forensics are often mentioned by IDers as examples of detecting “design”, when in fact they are detecting human activity.

    They don’t know if it was human or not until after they have studied it and all relevant evidence. Bit that is moot- they are detecting signs of intelligent agency activity, ie signs of work.

    Obviously, when ID talks about detecting “design” they are using the word differently – they don’t mean “human workmanship”.

    We have been over and over this many times:

    1- ID doesn’t say anything about the designer

    2- ID is about the design which entails signs of work.

    The question I am always asking here is very specific: What exactly do you mean when you say “design” in the context of ID?

    Exactly as we have been saying for decades- namely something that nature, operating freely could not produce AND matches the design criteria, namely “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.” (Behe 1996) That is the positive case.

    That is also signs of work.

    If you mean something like “produced by an intelligent agent”, then obviously you need to explain just what that entails.

    And I have told you what that entails, many, many times- intelligence is just the ability to apply knowledge to manipulate nature for a purpose.

    William Dembski says it all in Intelligent Design is NOT Optimal Design:

    But why then place the adjective “intelligent” in front of the noun “design”? Doesn’t design already include the idea of intelligent agency, so that juxtaposing the two becomes an exercise in redundancy? Not at all. Intelligent design needs to be distinguished from apparent design on the one hand and optimal design on the other. Apparent design looks designed but really isn’t. Optimal design is perfect design and hence cannot exist except in an idealized realm (sometimes called a “Platonic heaven”). Apparent and optimal design empty design of all practical significance. 

    Within biology, intelligent design holds that a designing intelligence is indispensable for explaining the specified complexity of living systems. Nevertheless, taken strictly as a scientific theory, intelligent design refuses to speculate about the nature of this designing intelligence. Whereas optimal design demands a perfectionistic, anal-retentive designer who has to get everything just right, intelligent design fits our ordinary experience of design, which is always conditioned by the needs of a situation and therefore always falls short of some idealized global optimum.  

    Obviously, in that context, design would mean: (scroll down to design noun- full definition of design)

    5 a :  an underlying scheme that governs functioning, developing, or unfolding :  patternmotif design

    6 :  the arrangement of elements or details in a product or work of art

    And taken together Intelligent Design would relate to all the definitions of design that are telic in nature.

    The genetic code is such evidence.

  103. 103
    Zachriel says:

    asauber: You provided groups.

    That’s right. And each subgroup inherits the distinguishing properties of its containing group. So humans are a type of deuterostome. That means they are the type of bilateria where the first opening becomes the anus, not to be confused with a protostome where it becomes the mouth.

    Did you need more detail? If so, check a biological encyclopedia for the characteristics of each group. For instance, humans are a type of craniate, meaning they are ‘hard-headed’. (Perhaps you have observed this characteristic in humans.)

  104. 104
    Virgil Cain says:

    Zachriel:

    And each subgroup inherits the distinguishing properties of its containing group.

    Evolution allows for the loss of distinguishing properties. You lose, again.

  105. 105
    Zachriel says:

    asauber: You provided groups.

    You were also provided a species type, Carl Linnaeus.

    ETA: As Linnaeus was buried long ago, if you want a physical type specimen, you could refer to the remains of Edward Drinker Cope. Then again, there are a few extant members of the species you could consider. Did you need a list?

  106. 106
    Virgil Cain says:

    You were also provided a species type, Carl Linnaeus.

    Linnaean taxonomy represents a Common Design based on shared foundational characteristics.

  107. 107
    RDFish says:

    Hi Virgil Cain,

    RDF: Further, the meaning of “natural” in this context is: existing in or caused by nature; not made or caused by humankind. (emphasis added)
    VC: Nice quote mine- see I knew you wouldn’t respond in good faith. Thank you.

    It’s not a quote mine – it is a quote (or two) from the citation that you provided. These really are the common meanings for these words. “Natural” is contrasted with “artificial”, which means “made by human skill; produced by humans”.

    Clearly, the word “natural” in the context of ID cannot mean what the dictionary says it means (“not made or caused by humankind”), because then by definition the cause of the first living organisms would necessarily be called “natural”. These are the dictionary definitions; of course ID can choose to provide technical definitions that differ. I’m simply asking, in the context of ID, what exact meaning these terms (like “designer” or “intelligent agent”) are supposed to have.

    RDF: Anthropology and forensics are often mentioned by IDers as examples of detecting “design”, when in fact they are detecting human activity.
    VC: They don’t know if it was human or not until after they have studied it and all relevant evidence. Bit that is moot- they are detecting signs of intelligent agency activity, ie signs of work.

    No, they are not detecting “intelligent agency” – they are detecting “human beings”. That is why “anthropology” is called “anthropology” – the prefix “anthro” refers to humans. These disciplines do not use the term “intelligent agency”; they study only the activity of human beings as contrasted with all other (“natural”) causes.

    We have been over and over this many times:

    Yes, so let’s both please pay attention to each other is saying and perhaps we can move forward.

    1- ID doesn’t say anything about the designer

    I’m not asking for details about the “identity” of the designer ID says was involved, so you needn’t repeat this. Rather, I am asking what ID means by the term itself.

    Most of these debates founder on miscommunication regarding terms, and the way to mitigate that is to provide clear explanations of what these terms are supposed to mean. You refer to “design” and “designers”, but you fail to explain how those words are being used in ID theory. Can a “designer” be a physical process? Must a “designer” be capable of conscious thought?
    Simply explain what the term is supposed to mean – after all, it is the sole explanatory construct of a theory that purports to scientifically explain a great number of varied phenomena, so it seems reasonable to ask what the word means.

    Exactly as we have been saying for decades- namely something that nature, operating freely…

    And here you simply shuffle the cards by using this word “nature”, which usually means “that which is not made by humans”. If that is what you mean, then you are saying this: “Design is something that cannot be made by that which is not made by humans operating freely”. Obviously that doesn’t make sense, so you must mean something else by “nature” in that sentence. What do you mean?

    And I have told you what that entails, many, many times- intelligence is just the ability to apply knowledge to manipulate nature for a purpose.

    When human beings apply knowledge, they consciously refect on their beliefs, and consciously picture and describe their intentions and plan their actions. Are you saying that ID claims that whatever caused the origin of life did this as well?

    William Dembski says it all in Intelligent Design is NOT Optimal Design:

    Neither of us are talking about issues regarding “optimal design”, so this is not relevant.

    Within biology, intelligent design holds that a designing intelligence is indispensable for explaining the specified complexity of living systems. Nevertheless, taken strictly as a scientific theory, intelligent design refuses to speculate about the nature of this designing intelligence.

    I am not asking ID to speculate about anything – I’m asking what exactly is supposed to be entailed by “intelligence” in this context. You can start by simply clarifying whether or not “intelligence” entails conscious thought – the most fundamental aspect of our human mental experience.

    Whereas optimal design…

    Again, this has nothing to do with our discussion.

    The genetic code is such evidence.

    The genetic code is not evidence of any particular theory; it is in fact the thing that any theory of life origins must explain.

    Cheers,
    RDFish/AIGuy

  108. 108
    Virgil Cain says:

    Hi RDFish, I see that you are not interested in an honest and open discussion. ID has said what it means by “designer”. ID has said what it means by “intelligence”.

    The quote mine exists because it did not reflect the paper’s intent

    The genetic code is evidence for ID for the simple reason that every time we have observed a code and knew its source it was always via some intelligent agency, namely us. Mother nature is not capable of producing codes. We know this via our current knowledge of cause and effect relationships. No one would even know where to start to try to demonstrate mother nature producing codes. There is a 3.1 million dollar award for anyone who can demonstrate such a thing.

    Read Del Ratzsch’s “Nature, Design and Science”, or keep flailing away like you are trying to wave down a plane.

    When human beings apply knowledge, they consciously refect on their beliefs, and consciously picture and describe their intentions and plan their actions.

    That isn’t an argument. It may not even be true.

    cheers,
    Virgil cain

  109. 109
    Virgil Cain says:

    Hi RDFish- The following is from the article on “artifact” that you didn’t read:

    Intentional agency is not limited to human beings.

    Whoopsie…

  110. 110
    RDFish says:

    Hi Virgil Cain,

    I see that you are not interested in an honest and open discussion.

    Actually I am, which is why I am trying to discuss these issues with you without accusations, insults, or sarcasm. I suggest you try to do the same.

    The quote mine exists because it did not reflect the paper’s intent

    The quotes I cited simply reflect the dictionary meaning of the words “natural” and “artificial”, which normally refer to the distinction between man-made artifacts and all other things. Since ID uses the term to mean something other than “man-made”, I am very seriously and politely asking for what meaning ID assigns these words.

    You have provided some definitions, such as that “design” refers to things that could not be produced by “nature operating freely”, and I have pointed out that since “natural” normally means “not artificial”, which means “not man-made”, your clarification doesn’t help. I wait for a response to this point.

    The genetic code is evidence for ID for the simple reason that every time we have observed a code and knew its source it was always via some intelligent agency, namely us.

    Again, the genetic code (and all other complex, functional systems in biology) are what we are attempting to explain. We would like to know what caused these intricate mechanisms to exist. Evolutionists claim that random variation and natural selection account for biological complexity; both you and I reject this explanation. IDists claim that “intelligent agency” accounts for what we observe, but in my view this claim is unscientific because the concept of “intelligent agency” is vague, anthropomorphic, and lacks an empirically grounded meaning in the context of ID.

    Mother nature is not capable of producing codes.

    This anthropomorphic use of metaphor, “Mother Nature”, is likewise not a scientific concept, because there is no empirical method to distinguish what is part of “Mother Nature” and what is not. Again, the term “natural” is usually meant to distinguish human activity from all other causes, but that is not how the word in ID. I am asking (over and over again) for you to explain what the word is supposed to mean in the context of ID.

    We know this via our current knowledge of cause and effect relationships. No one would even know where to start to try to demonstrate mother nature producing codes. There is a 3.1 million dollar award for anyone who can demonstrate such a thing.

    My position is that nobody knows how biological complexity came to exist. Saying that “mother nature” cannot do it is meaningless unless you say what “mother nature” actually refers to and excludes. Likewise saying that “intelligent agency” does it is meaningless until you say what sort of thing besides human beings are included in this category.

    RDF: When human beings apply knowledge, they consciously refect on their beliefs, and consciously picture and describe their intentions and plan their actions.
    VC: That isn’t an argument. It may not even be true.

    What I’m asking for, over and over again, is some specific description of what “intelligent agency” is supposed to entail.

    You have steadfastly refused to answer my simple and clear question: Does ID claim that the “Intelligent Designer” responsible for the origin of life is something capable of conscious thought, or does it not?

    The following is from the article on “artifact” that you didn’t read:

    Intentional agency is not limited to human beings.

    I did read this of course – did you? If so, you know that the article is referring to other sorts of animals, such as New Caledonian crows and chimpanzees. Neither of these species are capable of producing the sort of highly complex mechanisms we observe in human artifacts, or in biological systems, and so I have not mentioned that other terrestrial animals besides human beings are capable of producing artifacts, though it is obviously the case.

    So, in our experience, all complex form and function is produced by human beings and other complex living organisms. And thus the term “natural” would mean “not produced by any living organism” rather than “not produced by humankind”. I don’t see how this helps your position.

    Again, if you would like to attempt to debate this point, simply answer these questions:

    1) What does ID mean by the word “nature” in statements like “nature cannot produce codes”?

    2) Does saying something was “designed” in the context of ID imply that it was produced by something capable of conscious thought?

    Cheers,
    RDFish/AIGuy

  111. 111
    Virgil Cain says:

    Hi RDFish:

    Does ID claim that the “Intelligent Designer” responsible for the origin of life is something capable of conscious thought, or does it not?

    Again, ID doesn’t say anything about the designing intelligence.

    So, in our experience, all complex form and function is produced by human beings and other complex living organisms.

    And again, when it could not have been a human we infer it was some other intentional agency.

    This anthropomorphic use of metaphor, “Mother Nature”, is likewise not a scientific concept, because there is no empirical method to distinguish what is part of “Mother Nature” and what is not.

    And yet we do so all of the time. Archaeology relies on it as does fire investigations, forensics and SETI. Hunters rely on it also.

    1) What does ID mean by the word “nature” in statements like “nature cannot produce codes”?

    Anything in nature that does not include intentional agencies- geological processes, chemical reactions, laws of physics- nature, operating freely as discussed in Del’s book that I referenced.

    It’s all there.

    2) Does saying something was “designed” in the context of ID imply that it was produced by something capable of conscious thought?

    It says what is designed came from the activity of an intentional agency.

  112. 112
    Virgil Cain says:

    So, what does it mean to say “what is designed came from the activity of an intentional agency”?

    1- For one it tells us we are here on purpose- our existence was intentional, which leads to

    2- That we have a purpose other than the mundane

    3- That biology is not reducible to physiochemical reactions and what emerges from them, which leads to

    4- A research program to find this elan vital, along with

    5- Research programs to identify all aspects of the design- the who, what, why, when and hows

    It changes everything to do with how we investigate biology.

  113. 113
    RDFish says:

    Hi Virgil Cain,

    RDF: Does ID claim that the “Intelligent Designer” responsible for the origin of life is something capable of conscious thought, or does it not?
    VC: Again, ID doesn’t say anything about the designing intelligence.

    If ID fails to say something – anything at all – about what it is offering as an explanation of biological complexity, then obviously it is a vacuous theory that just sounds meaningful (in other words, it is specious). ID says that living things are designed, but refuses to say what that means, except that it means it is not the result of any “natural” process. And what does “natural” mean? ID won’t explain that either!

    And again, when it could not have been a human we infer it was some other intentional agency.

    Even though you insist that ID doesn’t say anything about the designer, you are saying something about it right here – that it is “intentional”. In a scientific context, of course, we need to be clear how these attributes can be empirically identified and detected, so we need to be clear on what these terms refer to. So, in ID, does “intentional” imply that something has conscious intentions? If not, what is an “intention” if it is not conscious?

    RDF: This anthropomorphic use of metaphor, “Mother Nature”, is likewise not a scientific concept, because there is no empirical method to distinguish what is part of “Mother Nature” and what is not.
    VC: And yet we do so all of the time.

    Sure – then simply acknowledge it has nothing to do with science, and we’ll have no argument.

    Archaeology relies on it as does fire investigations, forensics and SETI. Hunters rely on it also.

    Again, you can read as many textbooks and papers in archaeology as you’d like, and you will never see mention of this abstract concept of “intelligent agency”, because these disciplines do not distinguish “intelligent agency” in the abstract from the rest of the world the way ID attempts to. Rather, they distinguish the actions of specific, concrete sorts of things (humans, animals, technologically advanced civilizations of extra-terrestrial life forms, and so on).

    I’ve explained this many times but you do not acknowledge what I’ve said – you simply repeat this mistake where you think archeology has defined some category called “intelligent agency” and has some method for detecting them. They do no such thing. They detect human activity, period. Same with forensics. Hunters detect activity of other sorts of animals. SETI looks for civilizations of advanced life forms. Only ID pretends that there is some sort of empirically identifiable category called “intelligent agency” with specific characteristics (although you won’t say what those characteristics are!!).

    3- That biology is not reducible to physiochemical reactions and what emerges from them,

    Are you talking about the origin of organisms, or are you saying that living things themselves are not reducible to physics the way inanimate objects are?

    4- A research program to find this elan vital,

    Ah, apparently you really do mean that you are a vitalist or animist. All right then.

    Cheers,
    RDFish/AIGuy

  114. 114
    Virgil Cain says:

    RDFish:

    If ID fails to say something – anything at all – about what it is offering as an explanation of biological complexity, then obviously it is a vacuous theory that just sounds meaningful (in other words, it is specious).

    ID is about the design and an intentional agency is what is offered.

    And what does “natural” mean? ID won’t explain that either!

    Science explains what is meant by natural.

    Even though you insist that ID doesn’t say anything about the designer, you are saying something about it right here – that it is “intentional”.

    That was in the article that you said you read. I quoted that part, too.

    So, in ID, does “intentional” imply that something has conscious intentions? If not, what is an “intention” if it is not conscious?

    Those are possibilities. There appears to have been a plan as we are not some haphazard result. But this is a result of investigation and not what ID is saying about the designer.

    Sure – then simply acknowledge it has nothing to do with science…

    Seeing it has everything to do with our knowledge of cause and effect relationships, knowledge gained through scientific investigation, it clearly has everything to do with science.

    Again, you can read as many textbooks and papers in archaeology as you’d like, and you will never see mention of this abstract concept of “intelligent agency”

    I just linked to such an article that referred to “intentional agency”.

    Rather, they distinguish the actions of specific, concrete sorts of things (humans, animals, technologically advanced civilizations of extra-terrestrial life forms, and so on).

    That is incorrect. First they determine design exists without any consideration of the designer except the basics- that it can do what nature alone cannot.

    I’ve explained this many times but you do not acknowledge what I’ve said – you simply repeat this mistake where you think archeology has defined some category called “intelligent agency” and has some method for detecting them.

    Your mistake is trying to tell an investigator how to investigate and what he assumes. Archaeology has such a category and has some methodology for detecting their actions.

    They detect human activity, period.

    Except they don’t know if it was humans until they investigate it further.

    OK gotta go- You are wrong about just about everything you have posted.

    cheers,
    Virgil Cain

  115. 115
    Virgil Cain says:

    Hi RDFish:

    Are you talking about the origin of organisms, or are you saying that living things themselves are not reducible to physics the way inanimate objects are?

    Both.

    Ah, apparently you really do mean that you are a vitalist or animist. All right then.

    I accept the fact that there is more to living organisms than what physics, chemistry and emergence can explain.

    cheers,
    Virgil Cain

  116. 116
    Virgil Cain says:

    To be clear- Archaeologists look for signs of work, ie what Del Ratzsch calls counterflow:

    p5 “counterflow refers to things running contrary to what, in the relevant sense, would (or might) have resulted or occurred had nature operated freely.”

    p6 “an artifact is anything embodying counterflow.” Nature, Design and Science

    The same goes for forensic science, SETI and hunters. They find signs of work/ counterflow and they investigate it further to see what intentional agency did it.

    The genetic code embodies counterflow. From there we say the genetic code is an artifact and we know artifacts require artists.

    Skål,
    Virgil Cain

  117. 117
    RDFish says:

    Hi Virgil Cain,

    ID is about the design and an intentional agency is what is offered.

    So the cause that ID offers for living things is “intentional agency”. That’s a little different from what I usually hear, which is “intelligent agency”, but that’s fine. I would just like some clarification regarding what “intentional” means in this context. There is a technical sense of the word used by philosophers of mind, where it means “representing”, as in a symbol that represents something else. There is a more common meaning, where it means “done on purpose”, which is how I believe you are using the word here.

    However, when we “do something on purpose” that means we consciously think about it before we act. Otherwise, if we did something without consciously thinking about it, it would not be intentional. So, when you say ID offers “intentional agency” as its explanation, do you mean something that consciously thinks about what it is going to do? And if that is not what you mean, then what do you mean?

    Science explains what is meant by natural.

    Yes, when scientists use the word “natural” they mean “not the result of human action”. That isn’t what you mean, however. You mean “not the result of intentional agency”, but you refuse to say what you mean by “intentional agency”!

    RDF: So, in ID, does “intentional” imply that something has conscious intentions? If not, what is an “intention” if it is not conscious?
    VC: Those are possibilities.

    Ok, so you appear to be saying that “intentional agency” does not necessarily imply conscious thought. Great, that’s progress. Now I must ask, what specific attributes can ID say that this “intentional agency” that caused life had? How about the ability to learn new skills? To solve novel problems in math or formal logic? To explain its intentions in some general purpose language? Or any other ability – anything at all that human beings have?

    There appears to have been a plan as we are not some haphazard result. But this is a result of investigation and not what ID is saying about the designer.

    The question is what is ID saying about the designer. If the answer is “nothing at all” then ID is saying nothing about what caused living things, and so it is not a scientific theory of origins at all.

    I just linked to such an article that referred to “intentional agency”.

    Yes, and there they were talking about the actions of human beings and other complex animals like crows and chimpanzees.

    RDF: Rather, they distinguish the actions of specific, concrete sorts of things (humans, animals, technologically advanced civilizations of extra-terrestrial life forms, and so on).
    VC: That is incorrect. First they determine design exists without any consideration of the designer except the basics- that it can do what nature alone cannot.

    We disagree about this. I am unable to find any anthropology text that discusses detecting any sort of “intelligent agency” that is not presumed to be a human being. I don’t think you can either. Likewise, hunters look for animals rather than “intentional agents”, and fisherman look for fish rather than “intentional agents”.

    RDF: They detect human activity, period.
    VC: Except they don’t know if it was humans until they investigate it further.

    Please provide one single bit of evidence that backs up this assertion of yours.

    And you forgot this: If anthropologists detect “intentional agents” rather than “humans”, why do they call the discipline “anthropology”? It’s because “anthropology” is defined as “The study of humans, past and present”.

    Here, see for yourself: http://www.americananthro.org/

    RDF: Ah, apparently you really do mean that you are a vitalist or animist. All right then.
    VC: I accept the fact that there is more to living organisms than what physics, chemistry and emergence can explain.

    Everyone agrees with that of course, since we cannot explain every single thing about living organisms! But that is very different from what a vitalist believes, which is that living things have elan vital which is not part of the physical world. Again, you are not clear about what you believe.

    Cheers,
    RDFish/AIGuy

  118. 118
    Virgil Cain says:

    Howdy RDFish:

    So the cause that ID offers for living things is “intentional agency”.

    That is the source, not the cause. First there is a determination of design. Then we can try to figure out the how, ie the actual cause.

    That’s a little different from what I usually hear, which is “intelligent agency”, but that’s fine.

    They are one in the same. Anyone who has actually read what the ID literature says knows this.

    And yes “done on purpose” fits. We can say that because of the evidence.

    ID doesn’t say it, the evidence does.

    Yes, when scientists use the word “natural” they mean “not the result of human action”.

    That is incorrect and is contrary to the link provided.

    I though that you wanted an honest and open discussion?

    You mean “not the result of intentional agency”, but you refuse to say what you mean by “intentional agency”!

    I thought that was covered in the article and by Ratzsch and Dembski.

    Now I must ask, what specific attributes can ID say that this “intentional agency” that caused life had?

    You have some strange obsession with strawman arguments.

    ID doesn’t say anything about the intentional agency other than at least one existed, based on the evidence and our knowledge of cause and effect relationships.

    What we can infer about the designer comes from studying the design and all relevant evidence. That is beyond ID, which is only about the detection and study of design in nature. And that is plenty.

    The question is what is ID saying about the designer. If the answer is “nothing at all” then ID is saying nothing about what caused living things, and so it is not a scientific theory of origins at all.

    Again you prove that you are not interested in an honest discussion. ID doesn’t say anything about the designer for the simple and scientific reason that you do not ask any questions about the designer until you A) determine that design exists and B) study it and all relevant evidence.

    ID says the cause of living living organisms was via intentional agency interaction with nature. Now it is up to science to help fill in the gaps.

    Yes, and there they were talking about the actions of human beings and other complex animals like crows and chimpanzees.

    Right, we have knowledge of what intentional agencies can do with nature and what nature does if left alone.

    I am unable to find any anthropology text that discusses detecting any sort of “intelligent agency” that is not presumed to be a human being.

    Umm science doesn’t presume what it is trying to demonstrate. And again it is irrelevant for the reason provided.

    Please provide one single bit of evidence that backs up this assertion of yours.

    Science 101- you do not assume your conclusion. You have to follow the evidence, not lead it.

    You’re not serious here. I call Poe.

    Everyone agrees with that of course, since we cannot explain every single thing about living organisms!

    And when we can we will know what I said is true with 100% certainty.

    But that is very different from what a vitalist believes, which is that living things have elan vital which is not part of the physical world.

    Information is neither matter nor energy, but it is clear there is something more than information.

    Again, you are not clear about what you believe.

    It seems clear to me that if ID is true that living organisms have something else that all non-living things lack and it is something that neither physics, chemistry nor emergence can explain.

    Skål,
    Virgil Cain

  119. 119
    RDFish says:

    Hi Virgil Cain,

    RDF: So the cause that ID offers for living things is “intentional agency”.
    VC: That is the source, not the cause.

    I’m not sure what you think the difference is there, but can we agree that “intentional agency”, in your view, is the best explanation of the complex form and function we observe in living things? (That is the position of the ID proponents I’ve read such as Dembski and Meyer).

    First there is a determination of design.

    If the answer is yes, then you “conclude design”, which means that some “intentional agency” was necessarily involved, right?

    Then we can try to figure out the how, ie the actual cause.

    No, to explain something we see, we try to figure out the cause – we don’t try to categorize the cause before we know what it is, obviously. If a fisherman sees a ripple on the water, he just wants to know if it’s caused by a fish or not – not whether it’s caused by an “intentional agent”.

    They are one in the same.

    Ah, so in your view, “intelligent” and “intentional” mean the same thing. OK.

    And yes “done on purpose” fits.

    OK, so “intelligent agents” (aka “intentional agents”) are those things that do things on purpose. Is that right?

    RDF: Yes, when scientists use the word “natural” they mean “not the result of human action”.
    VC: That is incorrect and is contrary to the link provided.

    Here are the first definitions I’ve found, and what most people mean by the term:

    oxforddictionaries.com:
    Existing in or caused by nature; not made or caused by humankind

    mirriam-webster.com:
    existing in nature and not made or caused by people
    vocabularty.com:

    dictionary.com:
    natural: existing in or formed by nature (opposed to artificial ):
    artificial: made by human skill; produced by humans (opposed to natural )

    natural describes something that comes from nature, rather than being man-made

    There are many more that say the same thing. But as I already said, you can choose any meaning you’d like for the term, as long as you say it what it is, and that your definition is clear.

    I though that you wanted an honest and open discussion?

    And so I do – don’t you?

    RDF: You mean “not the result of intentional agency”, but you refuse to say what you mean by “intentional agency”!
    VC: I thought that was covered in the article and by Ratzsch and Dembski.

    No of course it isn’t. I have been asking for a concise meaning of that term and you haven’t been able to provide one. Don’t you think that the sole explanatory construct of an important scientific theory that purports to explain so many phenomena ought to have a concise definition?

    RDF: Now I must ask, what specific attributes can ID say that this “intentional agency” that caused life had?
    VC: You have some strange obsession with strawman arguments.

    I don’t appreciate your ad hominem remarks – that is what people do when they feel they are losing a debate. Let’s stick to the issues, OK?

    Now, as far as a “strawman argument”: A “strawman argument” is where one person argues against some position that their opponent does not hold. That is not what is happening here. Rather, what is happening here is that I am asking you what you mean by these terms (such as “intentional”) and you are not providing any answers.

    ID doesn’t say anything about the intentional agency other than at least one existed, based on the evidence and our knowledge of cause and effect relationships.

    If ID does not provide the meaning for this term, how can ID possibly say if one existed or not? Do you think that a gunderplitzen has ever existed? You can’t answer that question until you know what a “gunderplitzen” is. Likewise, you have to say what defines an “intentional agency” before you can say if one existed.

    Again you prove that you are not interested in an honest discussion.

    I assure you I am doing my best to do just that. People disagree about these topics – they are controversial – but some people (like me) are able to debate them respectfully and without constantly calling their opponents intelligence, sanity, or honesty into question. I was hoping you were one of those people.

    It seems clear to me that if ID is true that living organisms have something else that all non-living things lack and it is something that neither physics, chemistry nor emergence can explain.

    Ok, then you are a vitalist.

    In summary, you have been unable to provide clear, empirically grounded meanings for the words you are using to describe ID.

    In particular, you cannot describe how to distinguish an “intentional agent” from everything else, and when you try, you simply run around in a circle: According to you, “intentional agents” are defined by their ability to do things that “nature” cannot do, and “nature” is defined as everything except “intentional agents”!

    Then you say “intentional agents” are those things that “do things on purpose”. But you have also implied that ID cannot conclude that the intelligent designer of life was conscious. Now, I appreciate that – in that you agree both me and with Dembski (but not with Meyer). But when I ask you how something can do something on purpose without being conscious, you fail to answer.

    With any other scientific theory, the terms and claims that comprise the explanation are precisely defined, scrutinized, clarified, tested, and debated. In ID, however, the explanation is vague, ambiguous, different for different people, and ID folks try anything not to actually talk about what the explanation is actually suppoed to be!

    Cheers,
    RDFish/AIGuy

  120. 120
    Virgil Cain says:

    Hi RDFish:

    No, to explain something we see, we try to figure out the cause – we don’t try to categorize the cause before we know what it is, obviously.

    Of course we categorize the cause first. We don’t know how many artifacts came to be but we know they are artifacts. Stonehenge was deemed an artifact long before we figured out how and that is still sketchy and vague. But we know nature didn’t do it. We know because it has signs of counterflow and work.

    If a fisherman sees a ripple on the water, he just wants to know if it’s caused by a fish or not – not whether it’s caused by an “intentional agent”.

    And what do think he does, stick his head under water? He sees a ripple and he knows that certain types of ripples have specific causes. It could be a fish, snake, turtle, beaver, otter, fish, dolphin…

    Here are the first definitions I’ve found, and what most people mean by the term:

    The link I provided on “artifact” is all you need, RDFish. That is what I said and that is what you should be reading. Crows produce artifacts. Termite mounds would not exist were it not for, wait for it, termites. Nature doesn’t just produce termite mounds and the termites move in.

    But as I already said, you can choose any meaning you’d like for the term, as long as you say it what it is, and that your definition is clear.

    What do you think this meant: That is incorrect and is contrary to the link provided.?

    The link says that crows produce artifacts.

    I have been asking for a concise meaning of that term and you haven’t been able to provide one.

    And I know that I have provided one. I know there is one in the article, Del’s book and Dembski also wrote of it. I can’t spoon feed you and digest it for you too.

    I don’t appreciate your ad hominem remarks

    I don’t appreciate your strawmen.

    A “strawman argument” is where one person argues against some position that their opponent does not hold.

    And that is what you are doing. ID is about the detection and study of DESIGN in nature and you are asking about the designer.

    We know the capabilities of designers by what they left behind. We have scientific criteria for making determinations of classes of possible causes.

    But anyway, this article should be good enough for anyone not a complete denialist: artifact

    And the basic definition would be that capable of producing counterflow/ work.

    Also the definition provided days ago works- the one that led us here due to your will to obfuscate rather than understand.

    In summary, you have been unable to provide clear, empirically grounded meanings for the words you are using to describe ID.

    All evidence to the contrary, of course.

    In particular, you cannot describe how to distinguish an “intentional agent” from everything else

    I told you how

    Then you say “intentional agents” are those things that “do things on purpose”. But you have also implied that ID cannot conclude that the intelligent designer of life was conscious.

    You just refuse to learn. That is what makes this so difficult. ID doesn’t have anything to say about the designer other than one existed. WE THE PEOPLE can draw whatever inferences we want based on the evidence. Learn to comprehend what is posted. Your twisting of my words is a sure sign of desperation.

    With any other scientific theory, the terms and claims that comprise the explanation are precisely defined, scrutinized, clarified, tested, and debated.

    And ID has done that. You just either ignore it or twist it.

    And one more time- ID is about identifying and studying design in nature. We have scientific criteria and methodology for determining design exists- yes we can determine is nature is/ was operating freely or if some intentional agency involvement was required. Archaeologists did not say how Stonehenge was built and who built it BEFORE they determined it was an artifact and then studied it and all relevant evidence.

    You have no idea how to conduct an investigation, RDFish.

    It is very telling that you failed to respond to this part of my post: ID doesn’t say anything about the designer for the simple and scientific reason that you do not ask any questions about the designer until you A) determine that design exists and B) study it and all relevant evidence.

    That’s bad form, RDFish. Very bad form.

    Skål,
    Virgil Cain

  121. 121
    RDFish says:

    Hi Virgil Cain,

    First, you skipped some of my responses:

    1) I’m not sure what you think the difference is there [between “cause” and “source”], but can we agree that “intentional agency”, in your view, is the best explanation of the complex form and function we observe in living things? (That is the position of the ID proponents I’ve read such as Dembski and Meyer).

    2) If the answer is yes [you’ve determined “design”], then you “conclude design”, which means that some “intentional agency” was necessarily involved, right?

    Can you answer these questions so that we don’t waste time talking past each other and miscommunicating?

    RDF: No, to explain something we see, we try to figure out the cause – we don’t try to categorize the cause before we know what it is, obviously.
    VC: Of course we categorize the cause first. We don’t know how many artifacts came to be but we know they are artifacts. Stonehenge was deemed an artifact long before we figured out how and that is still sketchy and vague. But we know nature didn’t do it. We know because it has signs of counterflow and work.

    We’ve gone over this too many times now, and I can see you are not going to take my point, so let’s agree to disagree:

    My position: Anthropologists do indeed look for, find, and study the artifacts of human beings, and have do not utilize any sort of abstract concept like “intelligent agency” or “intentional agency” in their methodology.

    Your position: When anthropologists decide they’ve found an artifact, they have no knowledge and make no assumption of what sort of “intelligent agent” might have produced it. Only then do they initiate a second phase of the investigation to understand what sort of intelligent agent may have been involved – human or otherwise (perhaps demons, ghosts, gods, extra-terrestrials, undiscovered terrestrial species, or whatever).

    If you think this is a fair representation of your position, I’ll just file it with other surprising beliefs I’ve encountered on this site. Just one question out of curiosity: Have you ever taken a class in anthropology, or read a book on the subject?

    RDF: If a fisherman sees a ripple on the water, he just wants to know if it’s caused by a fish or not – not whether it’s caused by an “intentional agent”.
    VC: And what do think he does, stick his head under water?

    Have you ever been fishing? No, when you fish you don’t typically stick your head under the water.

    He sees a ripple and he knows that certain types of ripples have specific causes. It could be a fish, snake, turtle, beaver, otter, fish, dolphin…

    Yes, that’s right. And while most fishermen are familiar with all of those animals, I’m certain that only a very few of them have ever encountered the term “intentional agency”.

    You see? Neither fishermen nor hunters have any interest in abstract philosophical notions like “agency” or “intentionality”. Rather, they are interested in finding fish or rabbits or deer or other game animals. They have no concept of nor interest in what generalizations apply to all of these animals and to nothing else; they have no understanding of the inclusion criteria for the category of “intelligent agency”.

    Anthropologists study people, not agents, and forensic experts study people, and SETI researchers look for civilizations of advanced life forms, and fishermen and hunters look for fish and game. None of these people could care less about what an “intentional agent” is.

    The link I provided on “artifact” is all you need, RDFish. That is what I said and that is what you should be reading.

    And I’ve already explained that according to that reference, artifacts are produced by human beings and other complex life forms. And I’ve already explained that only human beings produce artifacts that have the same sort of complex form and function that we see in biological systems, so I hadn’t mentioned animals before. Why are we going over this again?

    Crows produce artifacts. Termite mounds would not exist were it not for, wait for it, termites. Nature doesn’t just produce termite mounds and the termites move in.

    I would say that termites are part of nature. Apparently you disagree. Can you explain why a termite mound is not part of nature? Is it because termite mounds are built by biological organisms, while mountains are built by geological processes?

    The link says that crows produce artifacts.

    Yes, crows do indeed, and chimps, and bees and wasps and beavers and bower birds too. Would you please say what your point is?

    RDF: I have been asking for a concise meaning of that term [“intelligent agency”] and you haven’t been able to provide one.
    VC: And I know that I have provided one. I know there is one in the article, Del’s book and Dembski also wrote of it. I can’t spoon feed you and digest it for you too.

    Rather than arguing about whether or not there is such a definition in this or that book, why not simply provide it? Otherwise it will appear that you are avoiding the question, which is what I believe to be the case.

    RDF: A “strawman argument” is where one person argues against some position that their opponent does not hold.
    VC: And that is what you are doing. ID is about the detection and study of DESIGN in nature and you are asking about the designer.

    First, again, that is simply not what a “strawman” argument is. I am not arguing against some position that you do not hold. Rather, I am asking questions about what your theory is supposed to mean, and you are telling me that you don’t want to talk about it. That doesn’t mean I am building a strawman.

    You think I ought not ask you any questions about what ID says explains the origin of life – even though ID purports to be a theory that explains the origin of life.

    We know the capabilities of designers by what they left behind. We have scientific criteria for making determinations of classes of possible causes.

    This is all untrue. We have no idea what the capabilities of some abstract class of “designers” are. You won’t even answer the simplest questions about what “designers” can do and what they can’t do. And if you refuse to say anything about what “designers” can and can’t do, how can you possibly have scientific criteria regarding what they might “leave behind”?

    But anyway, this article should be good enough for anyone not a complete denialist: artifact

    This article does a fine job regarding what we consider to be artifacts. Throughout the article, the term “agent” and “human” are used interchangeably. For example:

    An agent may simply be playing or experimenting with the materials available to him. The resulting object may show ‘human workmanship and modification’, even if it is not an instance of any previously known artifact type.

    Thus, when people talk about “artifacts”, they are invariably talking about the things that human beings (or other complex terrestrial life forms), and they are not talking about things made by “intentional agency” that are not even living things. We have no way of knowing what such a thing is, or could or could not produce.

    The point I’m trying to make here is this: The Intelligent Designer that ID claims can explain living things could not have been human, nor could it even have been itself a living thing. However, the words that ID uses like “designer” and “intelligent agent” are concepts that are very much anthropomorphic, and so people very commonly associate those concepts with various aspects of human mentality (consciousness, conscious intentions, beliefs and desires, learning and general problem solving abilities, etc).
    However, since we know that whatever created life is something quite radically different from all of the “intelligent agents” in our experience, we have no way of inferring which attributes the Intelligent Designer may have shared with human beings.

    What that all means is that while ID refuses to say anything specific about the Designer, the words that ID uses makes it seem that much more is being claimed than actually can be supported by the facts. And what do the facts tell us? The facts tell us that nothing that we currently know of can explain the origin of life.

    You just refuse to learn. That is what makes this so difficult.

    Believe me: I genuinely feel the exact same way about you. I repeat, clarify, and repeat some more, and you seem completely impervious to what I’m saying.

    ID doesn’t have anything to say about the designer other than one existed.

    This is a perfect example! As I just explained to you in my last post, saying that a “designer” exists means absolutely nothing unless you say something about what the attributes of all “designers” might be!

    Do you think a gunderplitzen has ever existed, VC? Well, do you? Don’t ask me what a gunderplitzen is, or what it can do or can’t do – simply answer the question! This is exactly what you are doing – pretending to establish the existence of something without saying anything about what that thing is!

    It is very telling that you failed to respond to this part of my post: ID doesn’t say anything about the designer for the simple and scientific reason that you do not ask any questions about the designer until you A) determine that design exists and B) study it and all relevant evidence.

    I have read this, and I am answering thusly: It means nothing whatsoever to day you have found “design” unless you say, in clear and empirically grounded terms, what it means to be a “design”.

    To say a design is created by “counterflow” doesn’t help, since “counterflow” is not a testable attribute. To say it was not created by “nature operating freely” doesn’t help, since all you mean by “nature” is “everything excluding intelligent agents”! To say it was created “on purpose” is meaningful for conscious human beings, but not for something that is radically different; what does it mean for something that has no conscious mind to do something “on purpose”?

    You refuse to even respond to these questions, and simply return to “it’s not about the designer, it’s about the design”, which simply dodges the issues at hand.

    Cheers,
    RDFish/AIGuy

  122. 122
    Virgil Cain says:

    Hi RDFish:

    1) I’m not sure what you think the difference is there [between “cause” and “source”], but can we agree that “intentional agency”, in your view, is the best explanation of the complex form and function we observe in living things? (That is the position of the ID proponents I’ve read such as Dembski and Meyer).

    Yes

    2) If the answer is yes [you’ve determined “design”], then you “conclude design”, which means that some “intentional agency” was necessarily involved, right?

    Yes

    We’ve gone over this too many times now, and I can see you are not going to take my point, so let’s agree to disagree:

    Your point is wrong and invalid.

    My position: Anthropologists do indeed look for, find, and study the artifacts of human beings, and have do not utilize any sort of abstract concept like “intelligent agency” or “intentional agency” in their methodology.

    First they find evidence for design and then they try to determine if it was humans or some other species.

    Your position: When anthropologists decide they’ve found an artifact, they have no knowledge and make no assumption of what sort of “intelligent agent” might have produced it.

    That is incorrect. They do not decide it was a human before they determine there is an artifact.

    Have you ever been fishing?

    Yes, but I don’t think that you have.

    Yes, that’s right. And while most fishermen are familiar with all of those animals, I’m certain that only a very few of them have ever encountered the term “intentional agency”.

    I provided a reference that uses that term, so I don’t understand your problem.

    Anthropologists study people

    No, they study what people left behind. That means they have to be able to differentiate between what humans did and what nature did.

    forensic experts study people, and SETI researchers look for civilizations of advanced life forms, and fishermen and hunters look for fish and game.

    Wrong on all counts. Forensics studies the effects of intentional agencies and SETI looks for signs of intentional agencies. Hunters and fishermen look for signs of game, signs that mother nature cannot produce.

    And I’ve already explained that according to that reference, artifacts are produced by human beings and other complex life forms.

    And I have already explained to you that the artifact still exists even if it is from some intentional agency we do not know. If it couldn’t have been a known form of intentional agency then we infer it was an unknown form of intentional agency.

    I would say that termites are part of nature.

    Then so are humans and there aren’t any artifacts. Nature didn’t produce termites so termites are only part of nature in the same sense we are- we both exist in it.

    Rather than arguing about whether or not there is such a definition in this or that book, why not simply provide it?

    Again? An intelligent agency is anything that can produce work or counterflow. Something capable of manipulating nature for a purpose.

    Rather, I am asking questions about what your theory is supposed to mean, and you are telling me that you don’t want to talk about it.

    You are asking questions about the designer when ID is not about the designer.

    We know the capabilities of designers by what they left behind. We have scientific criteria for making determinations of classes of possible causes.

    This is all untrue.

    It is all true and I made my case. You ignored it.

    We have no idea what the capabilities of some abstract class of “designers” are.

    We have entailments for the DESIGN. Once we determine the design exists is says there was a designer with the capability to produce it.

    You won’t even answer the simplest questions about what “designers” can do and what they can’t do.

    We look for signs of work and/ counterflow. That says there was an intentional agency doing something. Then we try to figure out what.

    This article does a fine job regarding what we consider to be artifacts. Throughout the article, the term “agent” and “human” are used interchangeably.

    And AGAIN, if we see the same criteria and know it could not have been humans we say it was via some other intentional agency. and if we don’t know exactly what intentional agency then intentional agency is a good enough stand-in.

    It means nothing whatsoever to day you have found “design” unless you say, in clear and empirically grounded terms, what it means to be a “design”.

    We have said exactly what it means to be a “design”.

    To say a design is created by “counterflow” doesn’t help, since “counterflow” is not a testable attribute.

    The design exhibits counterflow and counterflow and work are both testable attributes. Stonehenge has the attribute of counterflow. All artifacts do.

    To sum up- RDFish doesn’t understand how science operates in that we first have to determine design exists before we ask anything about the designer. Also once we have determined design exists that alone says there was a designer capable of producing it.

    AND to refute ID all one has to do is step up and demonstrate that nature, operating freely is up to the task at hand and Occam’s razor slices ID right off of the table.

    Skål,
    Virgil Cain

  123. 123
    Virgil Cain says:

    How do we know the capabilities of the ancient designers and builders? By studying what they left behind! We know the people of thousands of years ago were capable of producing Stonehenge because they left Stonehenge behind for us to study. We know the ancients were capable of producing the Antikythera mechanism because we found it.

    Skål,
    Virgil Cain

  124. 124
    RDFish says:

    Not everyone who advocates for ID makes arguments as wrongheaded and simpleminded as Virgil Cain.

    On this site, VJTorley has always understood my points and has attempted to address them several times in meaningful ways, although we strongly disagree about the strength of the evidence he cites.

    Bill Dembski agrees with much of what I believe regarding the difficulty in inferring any specific, particular aspects of intelligent design. In particular, Dembski concedes that the evidence does not allow us to infer that conscious intent or purposeful deliberation was involved in the origin of life.

    What Dembski and I disagree about is what, if any, meaning remains for the concept of “intelligent design” once you remove these mentalistic and empirically inaccessible attributes like consciousness? Dembski essentially says that what is left is telos, a notion that I find interesting philosophically precisely because it lacks the mentalistic semantic baggage of words like “intelligence”, “intentionality”, and “design”.

    If “Intelligent Design Theory”, then, was renamed “Telic Biology” then I wouldn’t have this quarrel with it. What is specious about ID theory is that it implies that a human-like (or super-human-like) mind was involved, without actually saying it, and without having the empirical evidence to support it.

    Ed Feser, a respected Catholic philosopher, agrees with this assessment completely, and argues forcefully that ID is mistaken to equate divine intelligence with human intelligence, for they are – theologically speaking – not the same sort of thing at all.

    Virgil tries valiantly to parrot the party line here and sidestep the whole problem with a set of confused, non-empirical, and completely circular definitions for all of the specious terms used in ID. Witness:

    Here are Virgil’s definitions:
    Intentional Agents: Things that produce counterflow
    Counterflow: Things that cannot happen by nature acting freely
    Nature: Everything except the actions of intelligent agents

    See the problem? No? Just do the substutions:

    Intentional Agents: Things that produce [things that cannot happen by nature operating freely]

    Intentional Agents: Things that produce [things that cannot happen by [everything except the actions of intelligent agents] operating freely]

    Intentional Agents: Things that produce [things that can only happen by the actions of intelligent agents operating freely]

    So, what Virgil is actually saying is this:
    Intentional Agents are defined as things that produce things only producable by Intelligent Agents.

    There is no content in any of these definitions. Nothing whatsover is said about what an intelligent agent is, nor what it can or can’t do. It’s just a semantic shell game, each definition referring to the others, with none of them ever referencing empirical observation.

    Aside from the run-around with these circular definitions, Virgil dredged up the comparisons to anthropology, comically insisting that anthropologists are taught to believe that just because they find a road, or a building, or a piece of pottery, they are not to assume it is from a human being. Rather, they must declare the source an “intelligent agent”, and pursue further methods to establish that it was indeed humans responsible.

    His last comment is telling:

    How do we [anthropologists] know the capabilities of the ancient designers and builders?

    The answer, of course, is that we know their capabilities because we know they were human beings, and we know a great deal about human beings. If somehow we knew it was not human beings, we would imagine something very similar to human beings, and we could make informed guesses about their capabilities based on their similarity to us. The less similar the hypothesized designers and builders were to human beings, the less we would be able to guess about their capabilities. And since whatever caused the origin of life was most certainly radically different from any living thing, we are not able to infer anything at all about it. Nothing.

    Cheers,
    RDFish/AIGuy

  125. 125
    Virgil Cain says:

    Hi RDFish:

    Not everyone who advocates for ID makes arguments as wrongheaded and simpleminded as Virgil Cain.

    You say that only because you are ignorant.

    Here are Virgil’s definitions:
    Intentional Agents: Things that produce counterflow
    Counterflow: Things that cannot happen by nature acting freely
    Nature: Everything except the actions of intelligent agents

    The “intelligent agent” part agrees with what I linked to on artifacts. Bit it also truncates my definition, which is bad form.

    Counterflow and work are aspects used by archaeologists, forensic science, SETI and outdoorsmen. Those attributes are how we distinguish natural from artifact.

    And “natural” has always referred to either produced by nature or existing in nature. Clearly the context means “produced by nature, operating freely”.

    Del Ratzsch goes over that in the book RDFish refuses to read.

    And AGAIN, that is how science currently uses those terms. That RDFish can twist what I say is just a sign of its desperation.

    Aside from the run-around with these circular definitions, Virgil dredged up the comparisons to anthropology, comically insisting that anthropologists are taught to believe that just because they find a road, or a building, or a piece of pottery, they are not to assume it is from a human being.

    Pathetic, even for RDFish. I said they determine what made the artifact by first determining it is an artifact and then studying it. They do not presume their conclusion.

    Rather, they must declare the source an “intelligent agent”, and pursue further methods to establish that it was indeed humans responsible.

    Only someone completely ignorant of science would disagree with that.

    How do we [anthropologists] know the capabilities of the ancient designers and builders?

    The answer, of course, is that we know their capabilities because we know they were human beings,

    So if someone told you that the ancients could produce the Antikythera mechanism without actually having the artifact, you would believe them? Only a fool would, so perhaps you would too.

    Without the pyramids we wouldn’t think the ancients could build them. Without Stonehenge we wouldn’t even consider those humans were capable of building it.

    And since whatever caused the origin of life was most certainly radically different from any living thing, we are not able to infer anything at all about it.

    Sure we can but only by studying the design and all relevant evidence. For example some have inferred that the universe was designed for scientific discovery and they present their case. We can see if a design requires attention to detail and plans or if it was just thrown together willy-nilly. We do this through our knowledge of cause and effect relationships.

    To sum up- RDFish doesn’t understand how science operates in that we first have to determine design exists before we ask anything about the designer. Also once we have determined design exists that alone says there was a designer capable of producing it.

    AND to refute ID all one has to do is step up and demonstrate that nature, operating freely is up to the task at hand and Occam’s razor slices ID right off of the table.

    Skål,
    Virgil Cain

  126. 126
    computerist says:

    If one makes a claim for ID based on “it’s designed because it looks/feels designed”, that’s a circular argument and is invalid in my view.
    It would only be valid in the case of instigating initial design investigation on the object/s in question.
    If on the other hand one starts with existing natural processes and mechanisms, evaluates and crosses them off as potential explanatory candidates, one can then infer “design” probabilistically. Design would in this case be defined as “beyond the capabilities of nature operating freely”.

  127. 127
    Virgil Cain says:

    Just to show how absurd RDFish is:

    How do we [anthropologists] know the capabilities of the ancient designers and builders?

    The answer, of course, is that we know their capabilities because we know they were human beings, and we know a great deal about human beings.

    We know humans drive cars and fly planes and jets. According to RDFish “logic” the ancients had cars, planes and jets.

  128. 128
    RDFish says:

    I should have known it would be a waste of time to engage Virgil. I do like to understand what sorts of things people here believe, but folks like Virgil don’t actually have coherent beliefs at all, so there’s no use attempting to decipher them.

    Case in point:

    We know humans drive cars and fly planes and jets. According to RDFish “logic” the ancients had cars, planes and jets.

    No, ancient human beings did not have cars and planes. How do we know they could have learned to drive and pilot airplanes if there were such things? Certainly not because they were “intelligent agents” – because there is nothing that says all intelligent agents are capable of doing anything in particular at all!

    No, the reason is because we know that ancient builders were human beings, and because we know that human beings have the capability to learn new skills, have the sort of hand-eye coordination and dexterity needed to operate cars and planes, have the sort of mental abilities required to learn navigation, and so on.

    I know that few people here make such childlike mistakes, and I know that Virgil is incapable of learning from corrections, but just in case there was some reader who was confused after a quick scan of our discussion, I thought I’d make this last clarification – just to illustrate the depth of confusion that Virgil suffers. Hopefully not too many others here are as addled. I will allow the last word to Virgil, where he will quite certainly spew more of his uncomprehending twaddle.

    Cheers,
    RDFish/AIGuy

  129. 129
    Virgil Cain says:

    Hi RDFish, Yes your tripe is a waste of time with me. And yes you should have known better.

    No, the reason is because we know that ancient builders were human beings, and because we know that human beings have the capability to learn new skills, have the sort of hand-eye coordination and dexterity needed to operate cars and planes, have the sort of mental abilities required to learn navigation, and so on.

    You are projecting the capability of the people of today onto the ancients. But that misses the point entirely.

    First we determine a structure was designed, then we look for a designer. We do not presume it was homo sapiens as that would bias the investigation. We come to that inference from studying it.

    To sum up- RDFish doesn’t understand how science operates in that we first have to determine design exists before we ask anything about the designer. Also once we have determined design exists that alone says there was a designer capable of producing it.

    AND to refute ID all one has to do is step up and demonstrate that nature, operating freely is up to the task at hand and Occam’s razor slices ID right off of the table.

    If someone told you that the ancients could produce the Antikythera mechanism, without actually having the artifact, you would believe them?

    Without the pyramids we wouldn’t think the ancients could build them. Without Stonehenge we wouldn’t even consider those humans were capable of building it.

    Points made and points evaded. I am sure all readers can see that, RDFish.

    Skål,
    Virgil Cain

  130. 130
    Mung says:

    RDFish:

    No, the reason is because we know that ancient builders were human beings, and because we know that human beings have the capability to learn new skills…

    Other animals, however, are really, really dumb and never learn. And the only builders out there are humans.

    Meanwhile, we can learn elsewhere that life is artifact-making. You won’t hear that from RDFish with his human-centric chain of being top of the heap vision.

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