Intelligent Design

Of coin-tosses, expectation, materialistic question-begging and forfeit of credibility by materialists

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Yesterday, I crossed a Rubicon, for cause, on seeing the refusal to stop from enabling denial and correct and deal with slander on the part of even the most genteel of the current wave of critics.

It is time to face what we are dealing with squarely: ideologues on the attack.  (Now, in a wave of TSZ denizens back here at UD and hoping to swarm down, twist into pretzels, ridicule and dismiss the basic case for design.)

coin-flip
Flipping a coin . . . is it fair? (Cr: Making Near Future Predictions, fair use)

Sal C has been the most prolific recent contributor at UD, and a pivotal case he has put forth is the discovery of a box of five hundred coins, all heads.

What is the best explanation?

The talking point gymnastics to avoid the obvious conclusion that have been going on for a while now, have been sadly instructive on the mindset of the committed ideological materialist and that of his or her fellow travellers.

(For those who came in 30 years or so late, “fellow travellers” is a term of art that described those who made common cause with the outright Marxists, on one argument or motive or another. I will not cite Lenin’s less polite term for such.  The term, fellow traveller, is of obviously broader applicability and relevance today.)

Now, I intervened just now in a thread that further follows up on the coin tossing exercise and wish to headline the comment:

_____________

>> I observe:

NR, at 5: >> Biological organisms do not look designed >>

The above clip and the wider thread provide a good example of the sort of polarisation and refusal to examine matters squarely on the merits that too often characterises objectors to design theory.

coin_prob_percent
A plot of typical patterns of coin tossing, showing the overwhelming trend for the average percent of H’s to move to the mean, as a percentage even as the absolute difference between H and T will diverge across time.  (Credit: problemgambling.ca, fair use)

In the case of coin tossing, all heads, all tails, alternating H and T, etc. are all obvious patterns that are simply describable (i.e. without in effect quoting the strings). Such patterns can be assigned a set of special zones, Z = {z1, z2, z3 . . . zn} of one or more outcomes, in the space of possibilities, W.

Thus is effected a partition of the configuration space.

It is quite obvious that |W| >> |Z|, overwhelmingly so; let us symbolise this |W| >> . . . > |Z|.

Now, we put forth the Bernoulli-Laplace indifference assumption that is relevant here through the stipulation of a fair coin. (We can examine symmetry etc of a coin, or do frequency tests to see that such will for practical purposes be close enough. It is not hard to see that unless a coin is outrageously biased, the assumption is reasonable. [BTW, this implies that it is formally possible that if a fair coin is tossed 500 times, it is logically possible that it will be all heads. But that is not the pivotal point.])

When we do an exercise of tossing, we are in fact doing a sample of W, in which the partition that a given outcome, si in S [the set of possible samples], comes from, will be dominated by relative statistical weight. S is of course such that |S| >> . . . > |W|. That is, there are far more ways to sample from W in a string of actual samples s1, s2, . . . sn, than there are number of configs in W.

(This is where the Marks-Dembski search for a search challenge, S4S, comes in. Sampling the samplings can be a bigger task than sampling the set of possibilities.)

Where, now, we have a needle in haystack problem that on the gamut of the solar system [our practical universe for chemical level atomic interactions], the number of samples that is possible as an actual exercise is overwhelmingly smaller than S, and indeed than W.

Under these circumstances, we take a sample si, 500 tosses.

The balance of the partitions is such that by all but certainty, we will find a cluster of H & T in no particular order, close to 250 H: 250 T. The farther away one gets from that balance, the less likely it will be, through the sharp peaked-ness of the binomial distribution of fair coin tosses.

Under these circumstances, we have no good reason to expect to see a special pattern like 500 H, etc. Indeed, such a unique and highly noticeable config will predictably — with rather high reliability — not be observed once on the gamut of the observed solar system, even were the solar system dedicated to doing nothing but tossing coins for its lifespan.

That is chance manifest in coin tossing is not a plausible account for 500 H, or the equivalent, a line of 500 coins in a tray all H’s.

However, if we were now to come upon a tray with 500 coins, all H’s, we can very plausibly account for it on a known, empirically grounded causal pattern: intelligent designers exist and have been known to set highly contingent systems to special values suited to their purposes.

Indeed, such are the only empirically warranted sources.

Where, for instance we are just such intelligences.

So, the reasonable person coming on a tray of 500 coins in a row, all H, will infer that per best empirically warranted explanation, design is the credible cause. (And that person will infer the same if a coin tossing exercises presented as fair coin tossing, does the equivalent. We can reliably know that design is involved without knowing the mechanism.)

Nor does this change if the discoverer did not see the event happening. That is, from a highly contingent outcome that does not fit chance very well but does fit design well, one may properly infer design as explanation.

Indeed, that pattern of a specific, recognisable pattern utterly unlikely by chance but by no means inherently unlikely to the point of dismissal by design, is a plausible sign of design as best causal explanation.

The same would obtain if instead of 500 H etc, we discovered that the coins were in a pattern that spelled out, using ASCII code, remarks in English or object code for a computer, etc. In this case, the pattern is recognised as a functionally specific, complex one.

Why then, do we see such violent opposition to inferring design on FSCO/I etc in non-toy cases?

Obviously, because objectors are making or are implying the a priori stipulation (often unacknowledged, sometimes unrecognised) that it is practically certain that no designer is POSSIBLE at the point in question.

For under such a circumstance, chance is the only reasonable candidate left to account for high contingency. (Mechanical necessity does not lead to high contingency.)

So, we see why there is a strong appearance of design, and we see why there is a reluctance or even violently hostile refusal to accept that that appearance can indeed be a good reason to accept that on the inductively reliable sign FSCO/I and related analysis, design is the best causal explanation.

In short, we are back to the problem of materialist ideology dressed up in a lab coat.

I think the time has more than come to expose that, and to highlight the problems with a priori materialism as a worldview, whether it is dressed up in a lab coat or not.

We can start with Haldane’s challenge:

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

This and other related challenges (cf here on in context) render evolutionary materialism so implausible as a worldview that we may safely dismiss it. Never mind how it loves to dress up in a lab coat and shale the coat at us as if to frighten us.

So, the reasonable person, in the face of such evidence, will accept the credibility of the sign — FSCO/I — and the possibility of design that such a strong and empirically grounded appearance points to.

But, notoriously, ideologues are not reasonable persons.

For further illustration, observe above the attempt to divert the discussion into definitions of what an intelligent and especially a conscious intelligent agent is.

Spoken of course, by a conscious intelligent agent who is refusing to accept that the billions of us on the ground are examples of what intelligent designers are. Nope, until you can give a precising definition acceptable to him [i.e. inevitably, consistent with evolutionary materialism — which implies or even denies that such agency is possible leading to self referential absurdity . . . ], he is unwilling to accept the testimony of his own experience and observation.

I call that a breach of common sense and self referential incoherence.>>

____________

The point is, the credibility of materialist ideologues is fatally undermined by their closed-minded demand to conform to unreasonable a prioris. Lewontin’s notorious cat- out- of- the- bag statement in NYRB, January 1997 is emblematic:

. . . . the problem is to get [the public] to reject irrational and supernatural explanations of the world, the demons that exist only in their imaginations, and to accept a social and intellectual apparatus, Science, as the only begetter of truth [[–> NB: this is a knowledge claim about knowledge and its possible sources, i.e. it is a claim in philosophy not science; it is thus self-refuting]. . . .

[T]he practices of science provide the surest method of putting us in contact with physical reality, and that, in contrast, the demon-haunted world rests on a set of beliefs and behaviors that fail every reasonable test  [[–> i.e. an assertion that tellingly reveals a hostile mindset, not a warranted claim] . . . .

It is not that the methods and institutions of science somehow compel us to accept a material explanation of the phenomenal world, but, on the contrary, that we are forced by our a priori adherence to material causes [[–> another major begging of the question . . . ] to create an apparatus of investigation and a set of concepts that produce material explanations, no matter how counter-intuitive, no matter how mystifying to the uninitiated. Moreover, that materialism is absolute [[–> i.e. here we see the fallacious, indoctrinated, ideological, closed mind . . . ], for we cannot allow a Divine Foot in the door. [“Billions and Billions of Demons,” NYRB, January 9, 1997. Bold emphasis and notes added. of course, it is a commonplace materialist talking point to dismiss such a cite as “quote mining. I suggest that if you are tempted to believe that convenient dismissal, kindly cf the linked, where you will see the more extensive cite and notes.]

No wonder, in November that year, ID thinker Philip Johnson rebutted:

For scientific materialists the materialism comes first; the science comes thereafter. [[Emphasis original] We might more accurately term them “materialists employing science.” And if materialism is true, then some materialistic theory of evolution has to be true simply as a matter of logical deduction, regardless of the evidence. That theory will necessarily be at least roughly like neo-Darwinism, in that it will have to involve some combination of random changes and law-like processes capable of producing complicated organisms that (in Dawkins’ words) “give the appearance of having been designed for a purpose.”
. . . .   The debate about creation and evolution is not deadlocked . . . Biblical literalism is not the issue. The issue is whether materialism and rationality are the same thing. Darwinism is based on an a priori commitment to materialism, not on a philosophically neutral assessment of the evidence. Separate the philosophy from the science, and the proud tower collapses. [[Emphasis added.] [[The Unraveling of Scientific Materialism, First Things, 77 (Nov. 1997), pp. 22 – 25.]

Too often, such ideological closed-mindedness and question-begging multiplied by a propensity to be unreasonable, ruthless and even nihilistic or at least to be an enabler going along with such ruthlessness.

Which ends up back at the point that when — not if, such an utterly incoherent system is simply not sustainable, and is so damaging to the moral stability of a society that it will inevitably self-destruct [cf. Plato’s warning here, given 2,350 years ago]  — such materialism lies utterly defeated and on the ash-heap of history, there will come a day of reckoning for the enablers, who will need to take a tour of their shame and explain or at least ponder why they went along with the inexcusable.

Hence the ugly but important significance of the following picture in which, shortly after its liberation, American troops forced citizens of nearby Wiemar to tour Buchenwald so that  the people of Germany who went along as enablers with what was done in the name of their nation by utterly nihilistic men they allowed to rule over them, could not ever deny the truth of their shame thereafter:

Buchenwald01
A tour of shame at Buchenwald, showing here the sad, shocking but iconic moment when a woman from the nearby city of Wiemar could not but avert her eyes in horror and shame for what nihilistic men — enabled by the passivity of the German people in the face of the rise of an obviously destructive ideology since 1932 — had done in the name of her now forever tainted nation

It is time to heed Francis Schaeffer in his turn of the 1980’s series, Whatever Happened to the Human Race, an expose of the implications and agendas of evolutionary materialist secular humanism that was ever so much derided and dismissed at the time, but across time has proved to be dead on target even as we now have reached the threshold of post-birth abortion and other nihilistic horrors:

embedded by Embedded Video

YouTube Direkt

And, likewise, we need to heed a preview of the tour of shame to come, Expelled by Ben Stein:

embedded by Embedded Video

YouTube Direkt

Finally, we need to pause and listen to Weikart’s warning from history in this lecture:

embedded by Embedded Video

YouTube Direkt

Yes, I know, these things are shocking, painful, even offensive to the genteel; who are too often to be found in enabling denial of the patent facts and will be prone to blame the messenger instead of deal with the problem.

However, as a descendant of slaves who is concerned for our civilisation’s trends in our time, I must speak. Even as the horrors of the slave ship and the plantation had to be painfully, even shockingly exposed two centuries and more past.

I must ask you, what genteel people sipping their slave-sugared tea 200 years ago,  thought of images like this:

African_woman_slave_trade
An African captive about to be whipped on a slave-trade ship, revealing the depravity of ruthless men able to do as they please with those in their power (CR: Wiki)

Sometimes, the key issues at stake in a given day are not nice and pretty, and some ugly things need to be faced, if horrors of the magnitude of the century just past are to be averted in this new Millennium. END

156 Replies to “Of coin-tosses, expectation, materialistic question-begging and forfeit of credibility by materialists

  1. 1
    Alan Fox says:

    Good grief, man, you’re at it again. What on Earth have photos of Buchenwald and an illustration of a slave being whipped got to do with coin tossing?

    I begin to seriously wonder whether you are quite right in the head, G!

    Mr Fox, this is an inexcusable ad hominem and underscores your ideology- driven lack of credibility. Had you bothered to read, you would have seen exactly what is going on. KF

  2. 2
    JWTruthInLove says:

    @AF:
    Pleace be considerate. He’s still in shock from the latest DOMA decision which supports the “radical homosexualist agenda”.

    Actually, JWT, I have hardly paid any attention to that, it was predictable that something much like that would happen, given trends. It is the trends that are dangerously destructive and need to be addressed, especially the enabling behaviour that refuses to see what is going on. And that starts with being in insistent denial of something that can be shown mathematically, the limits of chance and necessity in the case of even so simple a toy example as tossed coins. If design objectors are in insistent denial on THAT, what will they be willing to acknowledge? And what does this say to their credibility when they try to deny what nihilists are doing in the name of their cause? (Hence, the tour of shame issue.) KF

  3. 3
    Mark Frank says:

    KF – are you really unable to see the irony of starting off with a complaint that Lizzie has not deleted a comment that points out that like yourself the Nazi’s disapproved of homosexuality and finishing with what is almost a call to arms against “evolutionary materialists” comparing them with the worst actions of the Nazis and slavers?

    MF: This is a turnabout accusation on your part [a propaganda tactic forever associated with a certain movement form 70 – 85 years ago that shall be otherwise not identified here], intended to manipulate onlookers to imagine that there is an immoral equivalency at work, or at minimum confusing them about what is at stake. I was willfully associated with Nazism by invidious association, by commenters on TSZ. EL et al refused to acknowledge what is being done — indeed were caught out in false denial of directly demonstrated truth, and so indulge enabling behaviour. The enabling behaviour and willful denial of truth are further underscored by the case of a mathematically demonstrated point on the tossing of coins that illustrates the difference between what chance and necessity can do and what choice can do. If there is willful denial on such a matter by playing red herring and strawman games, what will there be any willingness to acknowledge much less reasonably address? KF

  4. 4
    Graham2 says:

    Bugger, I was about to raise the DOMA issue myself.

    Look out KF, the gays are coming for you.

    G2, for cause you have been requested never to comment in threads I own. FYI, the above shows that there is little or no connexion to the recent headlined court ruling and constitutional over-reach; that is just a ho-hum predictable consequence of what was going on. This is a sign of how far we have moved apart on the watershed now dividing our civilisation. All I will say on such is that those who start a cultural rift have themselves to blame for its consequences, and to willfully say that those who question the ill-considered twisting of a foundational social institution into what is simply indefensible are now being scapegoated and stereotyped by projection of hate in the teeth of abundant evidence that there is a serious issue of prudence much less principle at stake. BTW, that is the exact tactic of trying to push into a boat with Nazis, that was indulged at TSZ and then first denied by its owner, then now she has attempted to pretend that it can be justified. So mow, kindly leave this thread until you can find the decency to apologise and make amends G2. Good day. KF.

  5. 5
    kairosfocus says:

    Red herrings, led away to strawmen, duly pummelled. Predictable. As noted. KF

  6. 6

    Kairosfocus:

    I see no “false equivalence” between a series of posts that imply that I and my fellow posters at TSZ are “enablers” comparable to those who turned a blind eye to slavery and genocide, and posts that imply that your homophobia has something in common with racism.

    They seem to me equivalent, and I would no more censor your views were they to be posted on TSZ than I will censor the views of those who consider your condemnation of homosexuality to be equivalent to racism.

    There is nothing immoral about pointing out views that you think to be wrong. I think your views on homosexuality are wrong. You think mine are.

    Fine. Fortunately we live in a region cyberspace where views are not suppressed. I won’t make my little corner part of the other region.

    And what this has to do with coin-tossing, goodness only knows.

    Clearly, if you came across a box with all the heads turned upwards, the obvious conclusion is that someone carefully laid them all heads.

    I would be utterly astonished if anyone were to argue otherwise, and I don’t see anywhere that anyone has.

    You are seeing bogeymen where none exist KF. Please calm down.

  7. 7
    Barry Arrington says:

    For those, like Alan Fox, who can’t be bothered to read and absorb the point of KF’s post before commenting on it, let me boil it down:

    Certain materialists commenting on this site are suffering from DDS (Darwinist Derangement Syndrome), which causes them to say things like “500 heads in a row is perfectly consistent with the chance hypothesis.”

    When a significant segment of a society has succumbed to ideological closed-mindedness and question-begging multiplied by a propensity to be unreasonable, ruthless and nihilistic, should we have cause for concern?

    Yes, history teaches us, definitely yes.

  8. 8
    Jerad says:

    Why then, do we see such violent opposition to inferring design on FSCO/I etc in non-toy cases?

    Obviously, because objectors are making or are implying the a priori stipulation (often unacknowledged, sometimes unrecognised) that it is practically certain that no designer is POSSIBLE at the point in question.

    Uh huh. How about we first try and exhaust all known causes of such things like human intervention, some kind of bias in the system and chance since none of those require the assumption of an unknown agent? Design may be a known cause but it takes an agent which you can’t just magic into existence. Where is the confirmatory evidence?

    It is the trends that are dangerously destructive and need to be addressed, especially the enabling behaviour that refuses to see what is going on. And that starts with being in insistent denial of something that can be shown mathematically, the limits of chance and necessity in the case of even so simple a toy example as tossed coins.

    But you haven’t shown the limits of chance. In fact, your argument implies that a seemingly random series of Hs and Ts when interpreted as a binary code that then translates into a legible English phrase is more likely than getting all Hs or all Ts!!

    The enabling behaviour and willful denial of truth are further underscored by the case of a mathematically demonstrated point on the tossing of coins that illustrates the difference between what chance and necessity can do and what choice can do.

    Too bad you can’t find a mathematical error in what we’re saying. Oh well.

    This is a sign of how far we have moved apart on the watershed now dividing our civilisation. All I will say on such is that those who start a cultural rift have themselves to blame for its consequences, and to willfully say that those who question the ill-considered twisting of a foundational social institution into what is simply indefensible are now being scapegoated and stereotyped by projection of hate in the teeth of abundant evidence that there is a serious issue of prudence much less principle at stake.

    And you’re not stereotyping anyone at all are you. Noooooooooo.

    Barry, Sal, Denyse, Donald . . . are you sanctioning this behaviour? Your names on on this blog (unlike KF’s), are you willing to be associated with this?

  9. 9
    Jerad says:

    Certain materialists commenting on this site are suffering from DDS (Darwinist Derangement Syndrome), which causes them to say things like “500 heads in a row is perfectly consistent with the chance hypothesis.”

    It happens to be true but we never said it wasn’t hideously improbable.

    When a significant segment of a society has succumbed to ideological closed-mindedness and question-begging multiplied by a propensity to be unreasonable, ruthless and nihilistic, should we have cause for concern?

    You mean like denying known mathematical truths or well established science? I know some people like that.

  10. 10
    Joe says:

    Jerad:

    It happens to be true but we never said it wasn’t hideously improbable.

    No, it isn’t true. 500 heads in a row is not perfectly consistent with any chance hypothesis.

    You mean like denying known mathematical truths or well established science?

    That is what you guys do.

  11. 11
    Joe says:

    Jerad:

    Design may be a known cause but it takes an agent which you can’t just magic into existence. Where is the confirmatory evidence?

    The design is the evidence.

    But you haven’t shown the limits of chance.

    You haven’t shown anything. And science can only allow so much luck.

  12. 12
    kairosfocus says:

    F/N: I see Dr Liddle has decided to more specifically resort to ad hominems including manufactured labels: IRRATIONAL FEAR of homosexuality.

    (FYI I am neither being irrational nor fearful, I am pointing out serious and longstanding principled concerns, that these have to be pejoratively labelled to stereotype and dismiss speaks volumes, volumes with horrific historical echoes as I have pointed out. Your denial does not undo the well warranted relevance of lessons from history we are in the process of refusing to learn.)

    She is now seeking to defend the notion that principled objection to homosexualisation of marriage under false colour of law and its likely impacts on our civilisation — already patently deleterious — is morally equivalent to Nazism.

    So, we see a further reason to see why such ideologues have lost all credibility.

    Sad, but at this point not unexpected.

    Now, can we see someone willing to at least face the facts on tossing 500 coins?

    KF

  13. 13
    Gregory says:

    If I were to start challenging ‘materialist worldview,’ coin-tossing certainly wouldn’t be my chosen starting point. That it is for a small section of the little-‘big tent’ of IDism says something on its own.

    Is KF suggesting that his preferred ideological alternative to ‘materialism’ is ‘designism’ or ‘probabilism’ (given that the ‘idealism’ alternative of the past doesn’t seem to count as an opposite anymore)?

    “evolutionary materialist secular humanism”

    Well, there are religious humanists and supporters of theistic evolution who are not ‘materialists’ who likewise responsibly and intelligently reject IDT qua ‘theory’. There isn’t one of them afaik, though they constitute the vast majority among the Abrahamic religions, that speaks at UD. So it is convenient for KF to continue with his ‘culture warring’ against an exaggerated opponent that could never really convince him anyway to turn away from what is more important than anything in the realm of science to him: his religious worldview.

    And if KF’s religious worldview has *NOTHING* to do with the supposed ‘Intelligent Agent’ that IDT requires, then there’s not much of a different diagnosis to conclude other than IDDS (probably everyone here can figure the acronym out, as Barry spells it out above).

  14. 14

    Barry:

    Certain materialists commenting on this site are suffering from DDS (Darwinist Derangement Syndrome), which causes them to say things like “500 heads in a row is perfectly consistent with the chance hypothesis.”

    Let me address your comment that it is “deranged” to say that “500 heads in a row is perfectly consistent with the chance hypothesis”.

    Nothing in the Laws of Physics that prevents 500 Heads being tossed. This is an uncontentious statement. Coin tosses are independent of previous tosses, and so there is no reduced likelihood of throwing another Head after 499 tosses than after 1.

    But I’m sure you don’t disagree with this.

    The issue is whether we look at it as you, as a lawyer, would, or as a physicist would.

    If you, as a lawyer, saw someone toss 500 heads, you would conclude that it was inconsistent with the conclusion that the person had a fair coin. You’d make a watertight case for the prosecution.

    And you’d be absolutely right, and no-one would disagree with you.

    But if a physicist came along and saw the 500 heads being tossed, she might say: But there is nothing about this sequence that is inconsistent with the Laws of Physics.

    This statement would also be perfectly true.

    Neither of you would be deranged, although in my view the subsequent argument would be, and was, because the simple truth is that:

    Inconsistent with the conclusion that the coin was fair

    is a different statement than

    Inconsistent with the laws of physics.

    500 Heads is perfectly consistent with the laws of physics but inconsistent with the conclusion that fair coin-tossing is more likely than something else (e.g. design).

    And you can easily formalise that conclusion using Bayes theorem, as I demonstrated (also posted here, but I’ve lost track of which thread).

    This really is a storm in a teacup. IMO, it’s time we just sat down together and drank the tea.

  15. 15

    KF:

    She is now seeking to defend the notion that principled objection to homosexualisation of marriage under false colour of law and its likely impacts on our civilisation — already patently deleterious — is morally equivalent to Nazism.

    No. I. Am. Not.

    I’m saying that comparing anti-homosexuality to racism is morally equivalent to comparing materialism to the enablers of slavery and racism.

    The fact that your objection to anti-homosexuality is “principled” makes no difference. So is my objection to your stance.

    We are both entitled to our views, and at my blog we are both enabled to express them. That will not change.

  16. 16
    kairosfocus says:

    I need to ask, what part of so rare in the config space that with all but certainty an outcome is reliably unobservable [on a set of considerations and a model that are actually used in grounding statistical thermodynamics and thus the statistical form of the 2nd law of thermodynamics, in a famous introduction by L K Nash . . . ], on chance plus necessity, is so hard to acknowledge? And, if there is an unwillingness to face something so blatant, do we have any reason to trust the opinions of objectors to design on any number of further subjects? KF

  17. 17
    kairosfocus says:

    Dr Liddle, that is a turnabout false accusation, in a context where you explicitly and in a headlined blog post denied in the teeth of actual fact, what you were harbouring at your blog, invidious comparison with Nazism, in a context where there is no legitimate comparison between millennia-old, and currently seriously artriculated legitimate principled objection to a rash policy and to behaviour that is objectively disordered, undermining of life expectancy, and now distorting of foundational cultural institutions for social stability and nazism. For shame! KF

  18. 18

    KF

    I need to ask, what part of so rare in the config space that with all but certainty an outcome is reliably unobservable [on a set of considerations and a model that are actually used in grounding statistical thermodynamics and thus the statistical form of the 2nd law of thermodynamics, in a famous introduction by L K Nash . . . ], on chance plus necessity, is so hard to acknowledge?

    Absolutely nothing. If you have two possible explanations, and one is more probable than the other, you adopt the more probable one. Nobody disagrees with this. As I said, you can formalise it using Bayes Rule, and probably by other means as well.

    But that is not the same as saying that 500 Heads is inconsistent with the Laws of Physics. That statement is incorrect. 500 Heads is perfectly consistent with the Laws of Physics.

    And, if there is an unwillingness to face something so blatant, do we have any reason to trust the opinions of objectors to design on any number of further subjects? KF

    There is no such unwillingness KF. Nobody has said that if we saw 500 Heads we would NOT conclude, with virtual certainty (whch is as good as it gets in empirical science), that something other than fair coins, fairly tossed, had been going on.

  19. 19

    Dr Liddle, that is a turnabout false accusation, in a context where you explicitly and in a headlined blog post denied in the teeth of actual fact, what you were harbouring at your blog, invidious comparison with Nazism, in a context where there is no legitimate comparison between millennia-old, and currently seriously artriculated legitimate principled objection to a rash policy and to behaviour that is objectively disordered, undermining of life expectancy, and now distorting of foundational cultural institutions for social stability and nazism. For shame! KF

    KF, slavery is millenia-old and even biblically sanctioned. That gives it no intrinsic moral legitimacy, as I am sure you will agree. Nor, I contend, does the fact that the vilification of homesexuals is millenia old and biblically sanctioned give it any intrinsic moral legitimacy either.

  20. 20
    scordova says:

    This really is a storm in a teacup. IMO, it’s time we just sat down together and drank the tea.

    I can drink tea with you and with other ID critics, but not certain others.

    Where all this began was an uncharitable and wrong interpretation of an innocuous comment that should have been uncontroversial.

    I originally said:

    We can make an alternative mathematical argument that says if coins are all heads they are sufficiently inconsistent with the Binomial Distribution for randomly tossed coins,

    That is correct as it stand because I said inconsistent with Binomial Distribution, that connotes inconsistent with expectation. There might be some excuse for not reading it correctly, but it would still be a misreading to get the statement twisted the way it was.

    I could have said:

    We can make an alternative mathematical argument that says if coins are all heads they are sufficiently inconsistent with expectation for randomly tossed coins,

    But I don’t know even if I said that whether that would have gotten twisted. Instead, over at TSZ eigenstate implicitly raised a strawman argument, and implicitly insinuated I was arguing all fair coins heads had more probability than any other specific sequence. I never said that, and in fact said the opposite in the original thread over a month ago in the comment section.

    See:
    http://www.uncommondescent.com.....ent-455100

    Either way, he misread what I said, and attributed his misreading to my supposed sloppy thinking. I take great exception to that, further he equivocated what I meant and thus made a strawman argument. I’m not saying he’s dishonest, but some critics are so bent on disagreeing, that they seem to reflexively find the least charitable interpretation or worse imagine something that wasn’t said because Darwin forbid, they might actually be seen publicly agreeing with a creationist.

    The result of eigenstate’s equivocation, he ends up making a stupid sounding claim:

    if you have 500 flips of a fair coin that all come up heads, given your qualification (“fair coin”), that is outcome is perfectly consistent with fair coins,

    That’s the price one pays for equivocating a common sense statement on my part into some idiosyncratic abnormal rendering of what I said. The result is something that sounds absurd. If one is going to knockdown a strawman, at least knock down a strawman and not your own credibility.

    KeithS supports the equivocation with mostly vacuous statement to try to make a stupid sounding argument sound almost respectable:

    Every specific outcome — including all heads — is
    consistent with the physics of fair coins.

    which basically says: “every possible outcome is consistent with what is possible”. Which says nothing!

    The result of the equivocation is a stupid sounding attempt to knockdown a strawman, but it’s not the strawman who gets knocked down, it eigenstate and then KeithS and others.

    I’m not saying my critics are necessarily dishonest, they do seem biased and bent on saving face at all costs and discrediting creationists at all costs even when they speak on what ought to be non-controversial matters.

    I disagree with Kairos Focus on one point, he said their behavior is sad, perhaps I have a twisted sense of humor, but I find it quite entertaining.

  21. 21
    scordova says:

    Correction

    and implicitly insinuated I was arguing all fair coins heads had more probability than any other specific sequence. I never said that, and in fact said the opposite in the original thread over a month ago in the comment section.

    I meant to say less. My dyslexia.

  22. 22
    JDH says:

    Lizzie said,

    Nothing in the Laws of Physics that prevents 500 Heads being tossed. This is an uncontentious statement.

    I heartily disagree. Physics is not a study of what could possibly happen, it is about what does happen. Put another way…

    “The Laws of Physics” are not about what could possibly be observed.

    “The Laws of Physics” are about what is observed.

    Like all sciences, Physics is about what is statistically significant enough to be observed. Not about what is so rare that it would never be observed during the time of the existence of the universe.

    If you have objections to this, please realize that all the “Laws of Physics” you so adore, are, because of Quantum Mechanics, statistical observations only.

  23. 23
    LarTanner says:

    Barry,

    When a significant segment of a society has succumbed to ideological closed-mindedness and question-begging multiplied by a propensity to be unreasonable, ruthless and nihilistic, should we have cause for concern?

    Yes, Barry. Yes, exactly.

  24. 24

    I heartily disagree. Physics is not a study of what could possibly happen, it is about what does happen. Put another way…

    “The Laws of Physics” are not about what could possibly be observed.
    JDH

    “The Laws of Physics” are about what is observed.

    Like all sciences, Physics is about what is statistically significant enough to be observed. Not about what is so rare that it would never be observed during the time of the existence of the universe.

    If you have objections to this, please realize that all the “Laws of Physics” you so adore, are, because of Quantum Mechanics, statistical observations only.

    Before I respond to this, I want to make it absolutely clear that I entirely agree that faced with an actual series of 500 (or even 20) Heads, claimed to be tossed fairly with a fair coin, I would call foul.

    In other words, I agree that it is totally valid to reject “fair coin, fairly tossed” in favour of “something fishy going on”. So what follows is NOT a sly dig at the Design Inference. Indeed I myself (see link above) have suggested a formalisation of the Design Inference, using Bayes, which delivers an a posteriori probability of Something Fishy at a probability of virtually unity.

    So, having got rid of that baggage, let me explain what I mean:

    There are many natural processes in which what happens next is dependent on what went before. The result is that if we observe a time series of such data, they will be strongly autocorrelated. For example, an oscillator will produce something like a sine wave in which the value of each observation is strongly predicted by the value of the previous observation.

    There are also natural processes in which the longer something stays in State A, the more likely it is to switch to State B. Clouds are like this, on a fitfully sunny day. The longer you’ve been shivering in your wet swimsuit, the sooner you are likely to be able to shed your towel and put on your sun hat.

    But let’s take tossed coins. The point of tossing coins is that each toss is supposed to be completely independent of the previous toss.

    This means that there is no physical reason why, having tossed 10 heads, the next toss is more likely to be Tails than after 1 Head. This is NOT true of the clouds above, where having endured 1 minute of shivering, you are more likely to have to spend the next minute shivering, than if you have already spent 10 minute shivering.

    A better example might be earthquakes – the longer it’s been since the last one, the more likely you are to get one in the next year.

    So when people say “there’s no law of physics that prevents 500 tosses” they are saying that there is no physical reason that makes Tails increasingly likely as the number of Heads already tossed grows. They simply mean that the tosses are independent and that the physical forces governing the toss do not change as a function of the previous results. There is no physical force that biases the coin toss more towards Tails as the number of Heads already thrown increases.

    That is all. And that is simply true.

  25. 25

    oops, the first three lines above are, obviously, JDH’s words.

  26. 26
    owendw says:

    Lizzie:
    “Nothing in the Laws of Physics that prevents 500 Heads being tossed. This is an uncontentious statement.”

    Wouldn’t it also be uncontentious to say that no laws of physics would be broken if suddenly, without provocation, all of the molecules in a small room ended up on one side of the room; or would it conflict with the laws of physics to say that a burst of radio waves from space turned out to represent the first 1000 prime numbers? In the latter case, if you insisted that, since it’s possible according to the laws of physics, therefore it’s reasonable to conclude that there’s no intelligent life beyond the earth, I do believe you would be exiled to some far off place where you could contemplate your errors and meanwhile do no further harm to the scientific enterprise.

  27. 27

    Sal said above:

    That is correct as it stand because I said inconsistent with Binomial Distribution, that connotes inconsistent with expectation.

    Actually, I’d say the Binomial Distribution is largely irrelevant. A point that eigenstate made, correctly, is that alternating HTHTHTHTHTHTHT… would just as justifiably raise suspicion (indeed I’d be just as confident of rejecting “chance”) as all Heads. Yet it’s perfectly in line with the expected distribution under the Binomial Theorem, which doesn’t tell us anything about the expected sequences only about the expected ratios

    The only sense in which the Binomial Theorem is relevant is because it tells us that there are simply MORE possible sequences with similar numbers of Heads and Tails than sequences with extreme H:T ratios. So clearly getting one of the former is much more probabable than getting one of the latter.

    But any small subset of sequences, however defined, should arouse our suspicions. This was the whole point of Dembski’s Specification paper. If someone threw the same sequence twice, we should be just as suspicious, even if the sequences looked completely as expected under the binomial theorem, than if we threw all Heads. Similarly if we threw the ascending prime numbers in binary, or a repeating sequence, or the Da Vinci Code. Anything, in other words that is Special is a tiny subset of the total, and totally outnumbered by Non-Special sequences. So any Special sequence should make us call foul.

    And the reason is that it is not the sequence it itself that is either “random” or “non-random” – it is the process 10 Heads is perfectly random series, if it was thrown randomly. If the 10 Heads were laid in a line, it wouldn’t be. Similarly HTTHHHHTHH is a random series if it was generated by random tosses. In fact it wasn’t – I chose it quite carefully to “look” random.

    In other words randomness is not the property of a pattern, it’s the property of a process. I know we all agree with this (after all, it’s the process we are trying to infer) but it’s worth reminding ourselves.

  28. 28

    Wouldn’t it also be uncontentious to say that no laws of physics would be broken if suddenly, without provocation, all of the molecules in a small room ended up on one side of the room; or would it conflict with the laws of physics to say that a burst of radio waves from space turned out to represent the first 1000 prime numbers?

    That’s an excellent point – I should have said “physical law” rather than the “Laws of Physics” – after all we do have Gas Laws in physics! So yes, I accept that emendation, and if that’s the sense of “Laws of Physics” JDH meant, then I agree with him. I guess I was thinking of the fundamental physical forces, rather than human-made “laws”, which are essentially reliable rules-of-thumb rather than fundamental truths about the world. No physical law is violated by a 500th Head. Gravity does not have to push instead of pull 🙂

    In the latter case, if you insisted that, since it’s possible according to the laws of physics, therefore it’s reasonable to conclude that there’s no intelligent life beyond the earth, I do believe you would be exiled to some far off place where you could contemplate your errors and meanwhile do no further harm to the scientific enterprise.

    Absolutely. It would be a quite unreasonable inference. As I’ve said many times, I’d be perfectly happy with a 5 sigma result, I don’t need 22. Because something is possible doesn’t mean that it’s the most likely explanation.

  29. 29
    owendw says:

    Elizabeth @28:
    Thanks – I wrote my comment before I had a chance to read your post @27 – I appreciate your additional explanation and I am relieved to know that, at least in your case, I can safely continue to read your posts without fear of DDS contamination. Not so confident about some of the others . . .

  30. 30

    Thanks owendw 🙂

    But remember I’m an atheist materialist Darwinist who thinks that Dembski’s Specification paper is fundamentally flawed!

    So you might like to keep the HazMat suit on hand anyway.

  31. 31
    owendw says:

    Elizabeth @30:

    And I’m not . . . but I don’t expect ever to live in a world where we all agree on these basic issues, nor would I wish to – there’s so much more to learn from people that are doing their best to demolish one’s core beliefs (as long as the battle is joined with pens/keyboards and not swords). So HazMat suit or no – I’m not the least afraid of you Elizabeth. 🙂

  32. 32
    scordova says:

    Actually, I’d say the Binomial Distribution is largely irrelevant.

    Largely, but not totally. It was helpful to show the chance hypothesis in specialized cases could be rejected without CSI. That was my point. Hence the discussion was simplified to bare bones that everyone could understand if they were willing.

    One result was KeithS got on a crusade to make me confess this creed:

    if you have 500 flips of a fair coin that all come up heads, that outcome is perfectly consistent with fair coins

    in effect he wants me to interpret what I said the way he wants not the way I intended it. Where is the reasonableness in that?

    No Dice KeithS. I will not burn incense to that creed. It sounds stupid at best and it is stupid at worst.

  33. 33
    keiths says:

    Sal,

    It amazes me that you want to keep this discussion going, since it reflects so poorly on you.

    You make yet another dishonest accusation against eigenstate:

    Either way, he misread what I said, and attributed his misreading to my supposed sloppy thinking.

    No. Here’s what eigenstate actually wrote (bolding mine):

    Maybe that’s just sloppily written, but if you have 500 flips of a fair coin that all come up heads, given your qualification (“fair coin”), that is outcome is perfectly consistent with fair coins, and as an instance of the ensemble of outcomes that make up any statistical distribution you want to review.

    That is, physics is just as plausibly the driver for “all heads” as ANY OTHER SPECIFIC OUTCOME.

    You must have been trying to make a different point than how this came out. Are you trying to contrast an “all heads” outcome as a matter of chance with a competing hypothesis that the coins are “not fair” after all, as you stated they were, and that human or other interference has “rigged” the outcome?

    He didn’t accuse you of sloppy thinking, he accused you (correctly) of sloppy writing.

    And reading the last paragraph, it is absolutely clear that he did not misrepresent your position.

    Do you withdraw your false accusation?

  34. 34
    keiths says:

    Sal,

    Another false accusation:

    One result was KeithS got on a crusade to make me confess this creed:

    All I’ve ever asked is for you to acknowledge that you were incorrect to challenge eigenstate, and to withdraw your false accusations against him and me.

    in effect he wants me to interpret what I said the way he wants not the way I intended it.

    No. I don’t care how you interpret it, and I’ve never asked you to change your interpretation. I’ve asked you to withdraw your false accusation against eigenstate.

    What eigenstate wrote is correct. Read it again — it’s in my preceding comment. And unlike you, I didn’t quotemine him.

  35. 35
    scordova says:

    KeithS,

    Irrespective of what I say, I don’t withdraw what you assented to:

    if you have 500 flips of a fair coin that all come up heads, that outcome is perfectly consistent with fair coins

    You said you agree with it, you swear by it so much you don’t seem happy until I confess it.

    I just want to make sure the readers know your take on the things. I’d think, if you are so insistent I and others agree with you, you wouldn’t be embarrassed that I repeat exactly what it is you want people to subscribe to.

    I suspect in your heart you know it is a stupid sounding statement. You accuse me of writing poorly, but well, you can’t even object to obviously far worse writing and distortion by eigenstate.

    I admit mistakes, even if I lose face. You on the other hand, seem eager to project infallibility when debating creationists. The result, you go around at UD demanding I essentially agree with this stupid sounding statement:

    if you have 500 flips of a fair coin that all come up heads, that outcome is perfectly consistent with fair coins

    No Dice, or should I say, “No Coins” KeithS. It will follow you around at UD from now on. Personally, I hope you never back down from it. UD is getting too much enjoyable mileage out of it as you can see.

  36. 36

    Sal:

    Largely, but not totally. It was helpful to show the chance hypothesis in specialized cases could be rejected without CSI. That was my point.

    Fair enough.

    I do think we all misunderstood you as implying that the fair coins were tossed. Given that we now know that you meant they could have been laid down by some other method, then your original statement was OK. It’s just that having specified “fair coins” it seemed odd that you were saying we should infer shenanigans. You seemed to have ruled shenanigans a priori.

    But it turns out there’s more than one way to skin a shenanigan.

  37. 37
    Jerad says:

    KF:

    Now, can we see someone willing to at least face the facts on tossing 500 coins?

    We have been. You just disagree with us.

    I second what Elizabeth says about coin tossing. Please listen. Objectively.

    KF:

    I need to ask, what part of so rare in the config space that with all but certainty an outcome is reliably unobservable [on a set of considerations and a model that are actually used in grounding statistical thermodynamics and thus the statistical form of the 2nd law of thermodynamics, in a famous introduction by L K Nash . . . ], on chance plus necessity, is so hard to acknowledge? And, if there is an unwillingness to face something so blatant, do we have any reason to trust the opinions of objectors to design on any number of further subjects?

    You really must learn to be more succinct. I don’t see why you’re casting aspersions on our ability to evaluate other issues just because we disagree with you on this one. You are prejudging us, blatantly.

    Elizabeth:

    Absolutely nothing. If you have two possible explanations, and one is more probable than the other, you adopt the more probable one. Nobody disagrees with this. As I said, you can formalise it using Bayes Rule, and probably by other means as well.

    But that is not the same as saying that 500 Heads is inconsistent with the Laws of Physics. That statement is incorrect. 500 Heads is perfectly consistent with the Laws of Physics.

    Very nicely put.

    Sal:

    That is correct as it stand because I said inconsistent with Binomial Distribution, that connotes inconsistent with expectation. There might be some excuse for not reading it correctly, but it would still be a misreading to get the statement twisted the way it was.

    Why not use terms as there are agreed upon in the mathematical community? Inconsistent does not mean what you are trying to say it means.

    That’s the price one pays for equivocating a common sense statement on my part into some idiosyncratic abnormal rendering of what I said. The result is something that sounds absurd. If one is going to knockdown a strawman, at least knock down a strawman and not your own credibility.

    You make mathematical statements and use terms in a way not common to the mathematical community and when you get told off you blame us?

    JDH:

    I heartily disagree. Physics is not a study of what could possibly happen, it is about what does happen.

    You mean like quantum mechanics and Shroedinger’s cat? Have you observed quantum tunnelling recently? Or gravity waves? Found any black holes in the hardware store? Got a stock of dark mass in your garage?

    Physics is about modelling the universe. The better models match more data and have greater predictive power.

    Elizabeth:

    Before I respond to this, I want to make it absolutely clear that I entirely agree that faced with an actual series of 500 (or even 20) Heads, claimed to be tossed fairly with a fair coin, I would call foul.

    And we would try very, very, very hard to find an explanation before ascribing chance.

    owendw:

    Wouldn’t it also be uncontentious to say that no laws of physics would be broken if suddenly, without provocation, all of the molecules in a small room ended up on one side of the room;

    It could happen but there are lots of forces and effects conspiring against it. The improbability is much greater than getting 500 heads in a row.

    or would it conflict with the laws of physics to say that a burst of radio waves from space turned out to represent the first 1000 prime numbers?

    I assume you mean in sequence. Since there is no known formula which can predict the occurrence of the ‘next’ prime number then I think that event would be almost guaranteed to indicate an intelligent signal. I could be wrong. Maybe tomorrow someone will find a complicated algorithm and a natural process which mimics it. I doubt it but if they do I’ll alter my view accordingly.

    In the latter case, if you insisted that, since it’s possible according to the laws of physics, therefore it’s reasonable to conclude that there’s no intelligent life beyond the earth, I do believe you would be exiled to some far off place where you could contemplate your errors and meanwhile do no further harm to the scientific enterprise.

    I don’t think you can prove a negative. Even if we can explain every single signal we get as some naturally occurring event that cannot be proof that there are other intelligent beings in the universe. On the other hand . . . where are there? Fermi’s famous question.

  38. 38
    scordova says:

    It’s just that having specified “fair coins” it seemed odd that you were saying we should infer shenanigans. You seemed to have ruled shenanigans a priori.

    To that end, when there are open ended questions (such as in biology), I wrote it is more formally defensible to argument:
    Resemblance of Design instead of Intelligent Design, even if ID might be the best explanation to some of us, I’ve decided it’s pointless to draw conclusions about causation for others. I leave that to them. I can however argue forcefully something is analogous to what humans might view as designed. Not even Dawkins would dispute the resemblance.

    The coin example was there to convey the strength of a resemblance argument. Whether ID was the cause of that resemblance I leave for another discussion since its pointless for me to draw conclusions for people, I let them make up their mind on such a touchy matter.

    This also leads to the resemblance of design argument in homochirality in biology. We don’t need CSI to argue for the resemblance of design.

    If indeed homochiral biology cannot spontaneously emerge, neither chance nor chemistry alone will account for it. I won’t insist formally ID is the reason for life (even though you know that’s what I believe). I can however demonstrate that from what we know, homochrality is inconsistent with the chance hypothesis and other considerations from chemistry.

    It can in principle be falsified by a new discovery about chemistry, but it still is a major problem because homochiral polymers have a half-life, just like a box of coins that started out all head and then is subject to perturbation, it will converge on expectation of randomized patterns.

    A more delicate problem is describing architectures or designs resistant to future discoveries of physics and chemistry. That is the subject of another post. But the homochirality problem, though not airtight, is still a nasty problem for OOL, and it also has bearing on the dating of the geological column.

  39. 39
    keiths says:

    Sal,

    I just want to make sure the readers know your take on the things. I’d think, if you are so insistent I and others agree with you…

    I’m not insisting that you (or anyone else) agree with me. I’m asking you to withdraw your false accusations against eigenstate and me.

    …you wouldn’t be embarrassed that I repeat exactly what it is you want people to subscribe to.

    Why would you assume I’m embarrassed? I’ve been stating all along that I agree with what eigenstate wrote. He’s right.

    I maintain, and have never said otherwise, that:

    1. Every sequence is equiprobable.
    2. ‘All heads’ is consistent with the physics of fair coins, as is every other sequence.
    3. Getting all heads is a reason for suspicion.

    Meanwhile, you have a lot to be embarrassed about:

    a) sloppy writing,
    b) quotemining eigenstate,
    c) writing an OP to ridicule eigenstate, but having it boomerang on you,
    d) making multiple false accusations against eigenstate and me.

    If you want to keep drawing attention to those embarrassing facts, be my guest.

  40. 40
    Jerad says:

    Sal:

    I suspect in your heart you know it is a stupid sounding statement. You accuse me of writing poorly, but well, you can’t even object to obviously far worse writing and distortion by eigenstate.

    I agree that getting 500 heads in 500 tosses of a fair coin is consistent with the idea of a fair coin, with the rules of mathematics and the laws of physics. That particular outcome is just as likely (or unlikely) as any other specified sequence or 500 Hs and Ts. We expect to get a mix of Hs and Ts fairly close to 250 of each but there is nothing to prevent getting 500 Hs. Or 500 Ts. Or HTHTHTHT . . . . Or HHHTTTHHHTTT . . . . Or a sequence that when converted to 0s and 1s and interpreted as ASCII text turns out to be the beginning of a quote from Shakespeare.

    IF the coin and the tossing process are fair then all outcomes are equally likely.

    You have backed yourself into a mathematical corner. You are trying desperately to salvage some credibility out of the situation. But no one can prove what we’ve been saying is incorrect. You’re trying to obscure the issue by saying what you said wasn’t interpreted correctly. It’s up to you to use mathematical jargon correctly when you’re making mathematical statements.

  41. 41
    keiths says:

    Lizzie to Sal:

    Given that we now know that you meant they could have been laid down by some other method, then your original statement was OK. It’s just that having specified “fair coins” it seemed odd that you were saying we should infer shenanigans.

    His meaning was OK, but his statement was sloppily written.

    Which is exactly what eigenstate said.

  42. 42

    Consider the pattern below:

    H H T H T T T T T T H H H T T H T H T H T H T H T H 46%
    H H T H T T T T T T H H T T H T H H H H T H T H T H 50%
    H T T T T T T T T H H T T H H T H H H H T H T H T H 46%
    H T T T T T T T T H H T T H H T H H H H T H T H H H 50%
    H T T T T T T T T H H T T H T T H H H H H T T H H H 46%
    H T T T T T T T T H H T T H T T H H H H H T H H H H 50%
    H T T T T T T T T H H T T H T T H H H H H T H H H H 50%
    H T T T T T T T T H H T T H T T H H H H H T H H H H 50%
    H T T T T T T T T H H T T H T H H H H H H T H H H H 54%
    H T T T T T T T T H H T T H T H H H H H H T H H H H 54%
    H T T T T T T T H H H T T H T H H H H H H T H H H H 58%
    H T T T T T T T H H H T T H H H H H H H H T H H H H 62%
    H T T T T T T H H H H T H H H H H H H H H T H H H H 69%
    H T T T T T T H H H H H H H H H H H H H H T H H H H 73%
    H T T T T T T H H H H H H H H H H H H H H T H H H H 73%
    H T T T T T T H H H H H H H H H H H H H H T H H H H 73%
    H T T T T T T H H H H H H H H H H H H H T T H H H H 69%
    H T T T T T T H H H H H H H H H H H H H T H H H H H 73%
    H T T T T T H H H H H H H H H H H H H T H H H H H H 77%
    H T T T T T H H H H H H H H H H H H H T H H H H H H 77%
    H T T T T H H H H H H H H H H H H H H T H H H H H H 81%
    H T T T H H H H H H H H H H H H H H H T H H H H H H 85%
    H T T T H H H H H H H H H H H H H H T T H H H H H H 81%
    H T T H H H H H H H H H H H H H H H T T H H H H H H 85%
    H T H H H H H H H H H H H H H H H H T T H H H H H H 88%
    H T H H H H H H H H H H H H H H H H T T H H H H H H 88%
    H T H H H H H H H H H H H H H H H H T T H H H H H H 88%
    H T H H H H H H H H H H H H H H H H T T H H H H H H 88%
    H T H H H H H H H H H H H H H H H T T T H H H H H H 85%
    H T H H H H H H H H H H H H H H H T T T H H H H H H 85%
    H T H H H H H H H H H H H H H H H T T T H H H H H H 85%
    H T H H H H H H H H H H H H H H T T T T H H H H H H 81%
    T T H H H H H H H H H H H H H T T T T T H H H H H H 73%
    T T H H H H H H H H H H H H H T T T T T H H H H H H 73%
    T T H H H H H H H H H H H H H T T T T T H H H H H H 73%
    T T H H H H H H H H H H H H H T T T T T H H H H H H 73%
    T T H H H H H H H H H H H H H T T T T T H H H H H H 73%
    T H H H H H H H H H H H H H T T T T T T H H H H H H 73%
    H H H H H H H H H H H H H H T T T T T T H H H H H H 77%
    H H H H H H H H H H H H H H T T T T T H H H H H H H 81%
    H H H H H H H H H H H H H H T T T T T H H H H H H H 81%
    H H H H H H H H H H H H H T T T T T T H H H H H H H 77%
    H H H H H H H H H H H H H T T T T T T H H H H H H H 77%
    H H H H H H H H H H H H H T T T T T H H H H H H H H 81%
    H H H H H H H H H H H H H T T T T T H H H H H H H H 81%
    H H H H H H H H H H H H H T T T T T H H H H H H H H 81%
    H H H H H H H H H H H H H T T T T T H H H H H H H H 81%
    H H H H H H H H H H H H H T T T T T H H H H H H H H 81%
    H H H H H H H H H H H H H T T T T T H H H H H H H H 81%
    H H H H H H H H H H H H T T T T T T H H H H H H H H 77%
    H H H H H H H H H H H H T T T T T H H H H H H H H H 81%
    H H H H H H H H H H H H T T T T T H H H H H H H H H 81%
    H H H H H H H H H H H H T T T T H H H H H H H H H H 85%
    H H H H H H H H H H H H T T T T H H H H H H H H H H 85%
    H H H H H H H H H H H H T T T T H H H H H H H H H H 85%
    H H H H H H H H H H H H T T T T H H H H H H H H H H 85%
    H H H H H H H H H H H H T T T T H H H H H H H H H H 85%
    H H H H H H H H H H H H T T T T H H H H H H H H H H 85%
    H H H H H H H H H H H H T T T T H H H H H H H H H H 85%
    H H H H H H H H H H H T T T T T H H H H H H H H H H 81%
    H H H H H H H H H H T T T T T T H H H H H H H H H H 77%
    H H H H H H H H H T T T T T T T H H H H H H H H H H 73%
    H H H H H H H H H T T T T T T T H H H H H H H H H H 73%
    H H H H H H H H H T T T T T T T H H H H H H H H H H 73%
    H H H H H H H H H T T T T T T T H H H H H H H H H H 73%
    H H H H H H H H H T T T T T T T H H H H H H H H H H 73%
    H H H H H H H H H T T T T T T T H H H H H H H H H H 73%
    H H H H H H H H H T T T T T T T H H H H H H H H H H 73%
    H H H H H H H H H T T T T T T T H H H H H H H H H H 73%
    H H H H H H H H H T T T T T T T H H H H H H H H H H 73%
    H H H H H H H H H T T T T T T T H H H H H H H H H H 73%
    H H H H H H H H H T T T T T T T H H H H H H H H H H 73%
    H H H H H H H H H T T T T T T T H H H H H H H H H H 73%
    H H H H H H H H H T T T T T T T H H H H H H H H H H 73%
    H H H H H H H H H T T T T T T T H H H H H H H H H H 73%
    H H H H H H H H T T T T T T T T H H H H H H H H H H 69%
    H H H H H H H H T T T T T T T T H H H H H H H H H H 69%
    H H H H H H H T T T T T T T T H H H H H H H H H H H 69%
    H H H H H H T T T T T T T T T H H H H H H H H H H H 65%
    H H H H H H T T T T T T T T H H H H H H H H H H H H 69%
    H H H H H T T T T T T T T T H H H H H H H H H H H H 65%
    H H H H H T T T T T T T T T H H H H H H H H H H H H 65%
    H H H H H T T T T T T T T T H H H H H H H H H H H H 65%
    H H H H H T T T T T T T T T H H H H H H H H H H H H 65%
    H H H H H T T T T T T T T T H H H H H H H H H H H H 65%
    H H H H H T T T T T T T T T H H H H H H H H H H H H 65%
    H H H H H T T T T T T T T T H H H H H H H H H H H H 65%
    H H H H H T T T T T T T T H H H H H H H H H H H H H 69%
    H H H H H T T T T T T T H H H H H H H H H H H H H H 73%
    H H H H H T T T T T T H H H H H H H H H H H H H H H 77%
    H H H H H T T T T T T H H H H H H H H H H H H H H H 77%
    H H H H H T T T T T T H H H H H H H H H H H H H H H 77%
    H H H H T T T T T T T H H H H H H H H H H H H H H H 73%
    H H H T T T T T T T T H H H H H H H H H H H H H H H 69%
    H H H T T T T T T T H H H H H H H H H H H H H H H H 73%
    H H H T T T T T T H H H H H H H H H H H H H H H H H 77%
    H H H T T T T T T H H H H H H H H H H H H H H H H H 77%
    H H H T T T T T T H H H H H H H H H H H H H H H H H 77%
    H H T T T T T T T H H H H H H H H H H H H H H H H H 73%
    H H T T T T T T T H H H H H H H H H H H H H H H H H 73%
    H H T T T T T T T H H H H H H H H H H H H H H H H H 73%
    H H T T T T T T H H H H H H H H H H H H H H H H H H 77%
    H H T T T T T T H H H H H H H H H H H H H H H H H H 77%
    H T T T T T T H H H H H H H H H H H H H H H H H H H 77%
    H T T T T T T H H H H H H H H H H H H H H H H H H H 77%
    H T T T T T H H H H H H H H H H H H H H H H H H H H 81%
    H T T T T T H H H H H H H H H H H H H H H H H H H H 81%
    H T T T T H H H H H H H H H H H H H H H H H H H H H 85%
    T T T T T H H H H H H H H H H H H H H H H H H H H H 81%
    T T T T T H H H H H H H H H H H H H H H H H H H H H 81%
    T T T T H H H H H H H H H H H H H H H H H H H H H H 85%
    T T T T H H H H H H H H H H H H H H H H H H H H H H 85%
    T T T T H H H H H H H H H H H H H H H H H H H H H H 85%
    T T T H H H H H H H H H H H H H H H H H H H H H H H 88%
    T T T H H H H H H H H H H H H H H H H H H H H H H H 88%
    T T T H H H H H H H H H H H H H H H H H H H H H H H 88%
    T T T H H H H H H H H H H H H H H H H H H H H H H H 88%
    T T T H H H H H H H H H H H H H H H H H H H H H H H 88%
    T T T H H H H H H H H H H H H H H H H H H H H H H H 88%
    T T T H H H H H H H H H H H H H H H H H H H H H H H 88%
    T T H H H H H H H H H H H H H H H H H H H H H H H H 92%
    T T H H H H H H H H H H H H H H H H H H H H H H H H 92%
    T T H H H H H H H H H H H H H H H H H H H H H H H H 92%
    T H H H H H H H H H H H H H H H H H H H H H H H H H 96%
    T H H H H H H H H H H H H H H H H H H H H H H H H H 96%
    T H H H H H H H H H H H H H H H H H H H H H H H H H 96%
    T H H H H H H H H H H H H H H H H H H H H H H H H H 96%
    T H H H H H H H H H H H H H H H H H H H H H H H H H 96%
    T H H H H H H H H H H H H H H H H H H H H H H H H H 96%
    T H H H H H H H H H H H H H H H H H H H H H H H H H 96%
    H H H H H H H H H H H H H H H H H H H H H H H H H H 100%

    The first row is a randomly generated string of Hs and Ts, using the formula in Excel: if(rand()<0.5,”H”,”T”).
    In the next row, each cell contains the formula

    =IF(RAND()<0.5,[Cell Above],IF(RAND()<0.5,[Cell Above and to the Right],[Cell Above)). The last cell simply repeats the cell above (as the Cell Above and to the Right is empty).

    This is a very crude model of random drift in a self-replicating population. The odds on a cell cloning itself is 50%, with a 50% chance of “mating” with the neighbouring cell and producing an offspring that is either like itself, or like its mate. The end cell has no choice but to clone itself (it can find no mate).

    As you can see, H rapidly goes to fixation, and we get all H.

    This proves nothing about coin tosses; however it does demonstrate that given some crude form of self-replication, even if the starting population has a random distribution of Hs and Ts, random walk alone ensures that the distribution rapidly diverges from that expected under the binomial distribution. The percentages in the last column are the percentage of Hs in that row.

  43. 43
    kairosfocus says:

    F/N:

    It is interesting to see how the twisting and turning continues.

    Apparently, some objectors are unaware of the roots of statistical thermodynamics in the statistics of observable distributions.

    Such as the second law.

    I must repeat, that if such objectors are unwilling to acknowledge the significance of something that can be directly and relatively easily shown [500 coins is in the end a toy example illustrative of the FSCI threshold], we have an excellent explanation indeed for why they are as they are in response to other cases.

    It is therefore plain that we are not here dealing with reasonable objections but ideological party lines that will be clung to despite evidence and reason.

    Now, I need to speak in brief to something that is not directly on the primary focus of this web, but is unfortunately for the moment entangled by virtue of slanders that have been promoted by those who sought to taint.

    When it comes to the issue of enabling behaviour for such tainting, we have outright denials of demonstrated facts, and attempts to twist principled objection into alleged irrational fear alleged to be tantamount to racism.

    (I trust those who make such claims to a black man are aware that unlike what is quite evident for racial characteristics, there is no good and seriously justifiable grounds for imagining that sexual habituation and related behaviours are irreversibly genetically instamped. Indeed, had they taken the time to simply pause and read the opening chapters here — linked any number of times and willfully ignored in an unseemly rush to party-line judgement, they would have found telling information regarding age of entry upon/leaving — yes, LEAVING (another politically inconvenient fact . . . many people do materially modify such behaviours) — behaviour patterns, urban vs rural incidence, the modern Western, Greek and Melanesian patterns as well as population incidence from effectively nil to effectively compulsory for periods of life, that all speak strongly against that notion that has become in the main an article of faith and assumed on media reports and advocacy talking points presented in the name of education. Similarly, there are properly extremely serious concerns about impacts of actions now in progress under false colour of law [another point of parallel to plantation chattel slavery and the Atlantic slave trade that pivoted on kidnapping etc . . . ], on marriage, family, sexual identity and social stability, where in the end one of the tests in the categorical imperative is that immoral behaviour, as it becomes widespread is chaotic and destructive. But no, in sickening arrogance it is supposed or insinuated that no-one who objects can be any different from a Nazi. And the turnabout accusation game is sooo easy, no need to actually investigate and examine, self reflect and find out if those ignorant, stupid, insane or wicked devils who dare object to the latest fashionable politically correct talking points might just have a principled, informed reason for concern. The self-congratulatory stereotyping and scapegoating behaviour I am seeing makes me sick — and predictably (apparently ignorant of WHO championed the turnabout tactic 70 – 85 years ago) — there will be a twist about similar to the cheap shot by LT above. More on him later. I have seen such ideological overconfidence and blind partyline tactics decades ago, and they are no less ugly this time around.)

    When it comes to LT’s cheap turnabout shot, that reflects his failure to notice that we actually have taken considerable effort to SHOW the willful blindness to first principles of right reason and to something as blatant as the 500 coins example.

    So, when we turn from such a case and draw out the wider empirically warranted inference on FSCO/I as sign we now know how to understand that the objections are rooted in ideological posturing, not any serious working through of inductive logic and warrant.

    One who shuts eyes to something as blatant as 500 coins all H (rushing off to strawmen), has no credibility as an objector.

    Our problem as a civilisation is that we are now in large part putty in the hands of ruthless ideologues of the ilk of Hunter and Madsen, here — as was linked already and also ignored in a rush to ill informed party-line judgement.

    Don’t get me into quoting in extenso.

    BA’s summary is dead on and we need to ask serious things about those whose first resort is to without warrant push those who dare question into the same boat as Nazis, with no good reason.

    Such speak loudest volumes on their intents and attitudes.

    I suggest it is time to think again and ask if you are living in a modern Plato’s Cave and are confusing artful shadow shows for reality.

    (Ask yourself why the denizens of the cave turned on those who sought to help them.)

    KF

  44. 44
    kairosfocus says:

    F/N: Does Dr Liddle understand the difference in percentage scale of fluctuations to be expected from 20 – 30 tosses of a coin and 500 – 1,000? Also, does she understand the difference between an intelligently imposed algorithm and a random walk filtered by needing to be FSCO/I to have FIRST viability? (As in first get to the shores of an island of function on accessible search resources.) It seems not. Yet another strawman. KF

  45. 45

    Kairosfocus:

    F/N: Does Dr Liddle understand the difference in percentage scale of fluctuations to be expected from 20 – 30 tosses of a coin and 500 – 1,000?

    Fluctuations in what? Do you mean in the standard deviation of the percentages of Heads?

    Yes. I have spent more time than I care to think about computing the margins of error on percentage data.

    Also, does she understand the difference between an intelligently imposed algorithm and a random walk filtered by needing to be FSCO/I to have FIRST viability? (As in first get to the shores of an island of function on accessible search resources.)

    I find this almost impossible to parse, but if you mean that in order for Darwinian processes to begin, you first need a Darwinian-capable self-replicator, yes.

    It seems not. Yet another strawman. KF

    It seems that indeed you are attacking a strawman KF. You certainly have not attacked any claim I have actually made.

  46. 46

    To clarify: When I said; “It seems that indeed you are attacking a strawman KF. You certainly have not attacked any claim I have actually made” I was referring to claims about coin tosses.

    I will say no more about the other matter.

  47. 47
    bpragmatic says:

    E. Liddle,

    I am really curious. Somewhere along the line, I think that it was said that you are, or were, a “brain surgeon”? I was wondering how it is you are spending so much time on your the blogs championing the causes of a self described ” atheist materialist Darwinist”. Unless maybe you are retired? Are you getting paid for your involvement? If so, I can’t help but wonder where the money is coming from. Where is it coming from, if that is the case?

    This forum is apparently funded by the Discovery Institute. That seems to be a common complaint by a lot of “neo-darwinist” people commenting here. That it is getting funding from a “right winged” organization, whatever that is. And it is “polically motivated”.

    I have got to be honest. I rarely can read through all of your posts. From my perspective, that is admittedly on the side of some sort of puposeful design perspective, it seems you will often change or confuse the spirit of the subject at hand. Then interject information, that may indeed, have logical grounding in some form or another, but seems to detract from the obvious course and or intent of the original discussion.

    You also project what seems to me, to be a certain brand of arrogance that couches itself in a kind of “holier than thou” type of expressive motif. As if to say, “you ignorant people, I know a lot more that you do. In fact I know enough to demonstrate that you are wrong and I am right”.

    Admittedly, these are just my impressions, and may not be accurate.

    So my impressions lead me to other questions. What is your background in the chemical sciences? Chemistry, bio-chemistry, organic chemistry. Do you have a background in OOL research? What are your credemtials when claiming to be able to assess probabilities concerning, what one might describe as, the “science” (philosophy) of the “evolution” of self-replicating molecules. How can you demostrate that, even given such a precursor, this can lead to what we observe today in living organisms, including human life and conciousness? Demonstrate how close we are to being able to make any kind of a correlation, scientifically, between a self-replicating molecule and living systems existing today.

  48. 48
    computerist says:

    Dr. Liddle has made a very explicit statement that self-replication + heritable variation is all that is required to generate all subsequent life forms (which in ID terms translates into generating and sustaining FCSI). This statement simply re-iterates the Darwinian model of RM’s & NS since RM’s & NS assume self-replication + heritable variation from the onset.
    Now as far as I can tell, there isn’t any specific test that has been performed which has demonstrated this claim to be true. If that’s the case then why should Darwinian Evolution be taken seriously by anyone in the world right now?

  49. 49

    Computerist @48:

    This statement simply re-iterates the Darwinian model of RM’s & NS since RM’s & NS assume self-replication + heritable variation from the onset.

    This is an extremely important observation. What we are treated to are restatements of the theory, whether in prose or in silico. All the supposed demonstrations of the power of genetic algorithms (hypotheticals, Avida, and the like) essentially amount to “Assume Darwinian evolution is true, then we can show . . .”

  50. 50
    computerist says:

    @49, yes absolutely.

  51. 51
    JDH says:

    Two little replies:

    1. Jerad, – Physics is about what is observed ( even if the observations are limited to just seeing the effect of one unobserved object on an observed object ), not what I personally observe.

    2. Lizzie – You do realize of course that your above pattern @42 is not very interesting because it only had one answer it could ever give. After a certain number of trials, every cell would match the cell in the far right column. There is no other possible answer, the only thing in doubt is how long it took to become all “H”. The design of the algorithm dictated that no “T” could ever move to the right. This was not a random walk, it was a steady progression of a ratchet algorithm which could only produce all “H”. The result was dictated by the assumptions:

    1. The right hand column is an H.
    2. A cell can only become itself or what is to its right.

    The end result was baked into the algorithm which is designed to end up with all results matching the result in the right hand column.

    If you doubt me try the same problem with the seed value of all “T”s and one “H” in the right most column. You will again end up with all “H”.

    In fact, since the problem with all T’s and one H in the right most column, only has at most one cell that can possibly change in the next generation ( the cell just to the left of the leftmost H ) it is very simple to compute the expected number of generations until we end up with all H’s. I don’t know what you were trying to illustrate, but this example illustrates nothing.

  52. 52
    Jerad says:

    KF:

    Similarly, there are properly extremely serious concerns about impacts of actions now in progress under false colour of law [another point of parallel to plantation chattel slavery and the Atlantic slave trade that pivoted on kidnapping etc . . . ], on marriage, family, sexual identity and social stability, where in the end one of the tests in the categorical imperative is that immoral behaviour, as it becomes widespread is chaotic and destructive.

    Homosexuality is immoral? Because it says so in a book?

    When it comes to LT’s cheap turnabout shot, that reflects his failure to notice that we actually have taken considerable effort to SHOW the willful blindness to first principles of right reason and to something as blatant as the 500 coins example.

    Who is LT? There was only one commenter with the initials LT but his post was only one sentence long.

    So, when we turn from such a case and draw out the wider empirically warranted inference on FSCO/I as sign we now know how to understand that the objections are rooted in ideological posturing, not any serious working through of inductive logic and warrant.

    One who shuts eyes to something as blatant as 500 coins all H (rushing off to strawmen), has no credibility as an objector.

    Our problem as a civilisation is that we are now in large part putty in the hands of ruthless ideologues of the ilk of Hunter and Madsen, here — as was linked already and also ignored in a rush to ill informed party-line judgement.

    We disagree with you and so were part of the rising tide of wretched ideology that threatens to swamp civilisation in immorality, is that it?

    I’m sorry but is the owner of this blog happy with such ranting? Are all the others with posting privileges willing to be associated with this? What is the moderation policy these days? Can’t I disagree with someone for valid mathematical reasons and not have my intelligence, ideology and morals questioned?

  53. 53
    keiths says:

    Eric:

    All the supposed demonstrations of the power of genetic algorithms (hypotheticals, Avida, and the like) essentially amount to “Assume Darwinian evolution is true, then we can show . . .”

    Eric,

    You are missing the point of Avida and similar programs. They are not intended to establish the truth of biological evolution. To succeed at that, they would have to be extremely detailed and accurate models of ecology, biology, chemistry and even physics.

    The goal is far more modest. These programs demonstrate that Darwinian processes have the ability to generate adaptations, and they provide a convenient and simplified environment in which to study the process through which that happens.

    So of course these programs assume the prerequisites of Darwinian evolution: inheritance with random mutation and natural selection. Without those, you don’t have a Darwinian process, and if you don’t have a Darwinian process, you can’t very well study it!

    ID proponents (at least the sane ones) accept the reality of inheritance, random mutation and natural selection — after all, who would be silly enough to deny that those happen? So there is no doubt, even among IDers, that Darwinian evolution exists in nature. The question is whether it is powerful enough to explain what we observe.

    Avida and other similar programs show that Darwinian evolution is quite powerful.

  54. 54
    kairosfocus says:

    Jerad:

    It seems you have been exposed to just one side of a major issue with serious potential for the future of our civilisation. Your dismissal of what you think is an appeal to authority by reading a book, reflects that.

    (I have given sources with substance on facts to be examined and evaluated, not dismissed apparently sight unseen like you just did. The very lack of response to serious concerns on merits is revealing. Now, at least try to understand what happens when you see that sort of unresponsiveness joined to a context of unwarranted, atmosphere poisoning projection of base motivation and trying to push one into the same boat as Nazis: hostile stereotyping, demonising and scapegoating. Do you have any idea as to just how many warning flags on ideological agendas and cultist/radical type mentalities you and others have tripped? [And BTW, a side-note: the typical monolithic stories you and your ilk seem to have been told on the attitude of Nazism to homosexuality tell only one side of a much more complex story rooted in the “Spartan” mentality of a significant slice of German Militarism. As this blog is not on homosexualism and issues conected to it, I will only point, just as I have already pointed to the need to examine some facts on the manifestations of the relevant behaviours that are ever so much not on the usual shadow shows projected for our “benefit.” I have already commented in brief on the distorted view we have of Hitler’s aggression and who paid the major price. A balanced picture would better reflect and give a higher prominence to well past 20 mn Russians, and about 5 mn Poles, which includes not only half the Holocaust but another 2 mn non-Jewish (i.e. overwhelmingly Catholic) Poles. There is also some evidence of an intent to do a Holodomor on a grand scale in the conquered regions of Russia [I use “Russia” loosely — forgive this, Ukrainians and Belorussians, etc], by confiscating food at harvest and leaving the population of the conquered regions of Russia to starve. Such a more balanced view would also include the fore runners, the Rape of Belgium in the first World War (noting in passing that this is where Hitler served) and the treatment of the Namibians even earlier than that. The Holocaust did not just appear out of nowhere without antecedents and trends, some of which were evident tot he discerning like Heine, a full century before it happened, as his famous prophetic warning tells us in no uncertain terms.])

    Do you — for just one instance — know what the categorical imperative is, and why one of its forms is that behaviours that if they were to be universalised would end in chaos, are immoral?

    Did you take even a moment to read up what that principle is before commenting against it as though what is going on is that those who don’t think like you read books instead of watching shadow shows [such as talking heads in the secular humanist media or as alleged sages in lecture halls with the power of the grade and the early career or further study recommendation]? (How does the shoe pinch when it is on the other foot? Do you not see that serious rethinking based on actual examination of balancing evidence including that which is pointedly not being headlined, is indicated?

    (Have you acquainted yourself with the strategy of Messrs Hunter and Madsen which was already linked on, before commenting adversely? Does the strategy not sound ever so familiar to a pattern of projection and talking points int eh usual shadow shows passed off as news, serious commentary and views?)

    Do you not see how you come across as projecting the reflection of a Plato’s Cave mentality that imagines all it needs is to know the handy shadow show put up for benefit of the denizens to know what to think and how to react?

    Do you really know why a great many people of principle and concern ask pointed questions concerning the current push to create laws and policies that homosexualise pivotal institutions in our civilisation such as marriage? [Actually, that cannot be done, all that can be done is to break down the institution of marriage by imposing something under false colour of law that will undermine it. And you will be shocked to learn that for many radical homosexualists that is in fact their declared agenda. You also need to understand that many radical secularists and statists have long hoped to atomise society by breaking down natural and longstanding institutions that could conceivably be centres of pivotal loyalty other than the state, with of course the family as one such. To all such I reply, that there are some things that simply do not belong to Caesar and if he wants to seize control and make such over in his image, he is a usurper and tyrant.]

    Do I need to go on to distinguish the concepts, genuine natural and civil liberty from license?

    KF

  55. 55
    kairosfocus says:

    KS:

    Avida and other similar programs show that Darwinian evolution is quite powerful.

    Nope, they show that intelligently designed algorithms executed on intelligently designed machines will do what hey were designed to do.

    They also show that for many people, seeing something on a computer is unduly impressive.

    GIGO, no computer programs or results therefrom are better than their inputs such as data, algorithms, and underlying assumptions and intentions.

    KF

  56. 56
    Alan Fox says:

    I’m sorry but is the owner of this blog happy with such ranting?

    I recall something posted elsewhere by Barry that would suggest he is.

    PS @ Barry

    Indeed I didn’t bother to read KF’s post.[So you accused someone of insanity without bothering to look at why he said what he said, KF] As I have remarked before, life’s too short and on past form he neither says anything new or different, neither does he appear capable of giving critical comments a fair reading. [In short, more projection and ad hominems to excuse making a nasty personal attack without bothering to investigate facts. KF]

    PPS @ Kairosfocus

    Ad hominem is a rhetorical fallacy. I am not addressing your argument which is apparently about coin tossing. I am merely pointing out that including the illustrations you did in your OP makes you appear, well, barmy. [That’s it, three strikes and you’re out. KF] I just thought you ought to know.

    ______

    You ought to know the verdict you have earned by your willfully insistent incivility and just plain want of broughtupcy. You have not even bothered to investigate and read before dismissing someone as mad twice. SHAME ON YOU. Note here below on your instruction to leave this thread and any threads I own until and unless you can find the decency to apologise. Good day, Mr Fox. KF]

  57. 57
    kairosfocus says:

    Dr Liddle:

    You have been commenting adversely on ID for a couple of years now, at least in and around UD.

    Why is it that after so much time and effort you seem to be unable or unwilling to understand or accurately describe basic ID concepts such as the implications of isolated zones of interest in a much larger config space with the limits on search resources imposed by the 10^57 atoms, 10^-14 s/ chem ionic rxn time and about 10^17 s as reasonably available time?

    I choose this case, as it is relevant to body plan level evolution on earth, and it is directly relevant to the point of the 500 coin toy example in the OP and elsewhere.

    I have long summed up the basic message: you are looking at the equivalent of sampling one straw sized sample from a cubical haystack as thick as our Galaxy, ~ 1,000 light years. The only reasonable expectation on such a search per sampling theory, is that it will reliably reflect the vast bulk of the set of possible configs, W. So even were such a haystack to be superposed on our galactic neighbourhood, blind chance and mechanical necessity as search mechanisms would be predictably futile.

    It is no accident that typical discussions of Darwinian evolution start within an island of function and talk about hill-climbing in such an island. Begged, is the real question repeatedly posed by design theory, getting to such an island of function by blind mechanisms. Where in the real case we are looking at increments of 10 – 100+ mn bases to get to body plans, dozens of times over.

    We need not elaborate on how repeatedly you have also shown an inability or unwillingness to accurately grasp the force of the related design inference filter. Once we are in highly contingent situations like this, mechanical necessity does not account for the phenomena. Of the two empirically warranted causes of highly contingent outcomes, chance is here frustrated by teh sampling theory challenge, and without first function, the hoped for ratchet of incremental progress by improved performance on random chance and differential reproductive success is not relevant. There is no function much less differential function, to deal with, until you have already found the shores of an island of function.

    Where, we can easily see that in W, the vast majority of possible configs of relevant parts will be non-functional given that function here relies on close and correct coupling of specific, well-matched interacting parts.

    Please, think again. And while you are at it, you need to understand that this is simply a further front in the loss of credibility occasioned by continued harbouring of slander on your part at your blog.

    There is a regional saying to the effect that the harbourer is as bad as the perpetrator, that I think you need to ponder.

    In that context, attempts to try to twist about the concerns on your repeated strawman tactics, ring decidedly hollow.

    (And you would be well advised to heed the points highlighted by JDH which extend the issues I highlighted. Start with, until you begin with realistic scales beyond the threshold of the search challenge that has been highlighted, 500 – 1,000 bits, you are inherently setting up a strawman target; your search begins in a target zone that has been intelligently selected, and wanders by virtue of hill-climbing algorithm within an island of function, the issue to be explained is getting to islands of function, as your side keeps on refusing to address. Next, percent fluctuations in coin tossing are scaled to the size of the sample as the graph in the OP shows; where you start with a 4% from mean variation. Next, intelligently designed hill climbing, ratcheting algorithms do not show the needed search for islands of function in wide config spaces dominated by non-function. And more. The attempted rhetorical turnabout — and do you recall just WHO notoriously favoured this as a propaganda tactic 70 – 85 years ago? — fails.)

    Good day, madam.

    KF

  58. 58
    kairosfocus says:

    Mr Fox:

    You were warned and have resorted in the teeth of warning that you were to cease from ad hominem accusations of insanity. (You have obviously failed to bother to think as to why the issues outlined are relevant. And, you were one of the gang of three involved in the original accusations. You have now reached your limit.)

    You will leave this thread until and unless you can learn to apologise for such nastiness as you have persisted in, and you will not post in any further threads I own until you do so.

    Good day.

    KF

  59. 59
    Jerad says:

    KF:

    I find your slippery slope argument to be fear mongering homophobia. And you seem to think that anyone who disagrees with you can be wholesale grouped with those you think are trying to destroy civilisation.

    The most stable, safe, progressive societies in Europe espouse many of the moral stances you find deplorable. Their populations are looked after and well educated. And many of the people living there cannot understand why certain benefits should be extended only to those who have a sexual orientation the same as theirs.

  60. 60
    keiths says:

    kairosfocus:

    …the current push to create laws and policies that homosexualise pivotal institutions in our civilisation such as marriage?

    Lol. Having a bad DOMA/Prop 8 week, KF?

    Marriage isn’t being “homosexualized”. It’s still legal for straights to marry.

    Do I need to go on to distinguish the concepts, genuine natural and civil liberty from license?

    No.

    Nope, they [Avida and similar programs] show that intelligently designed algorithms executed on intelligently designed machines will do what hey were designed to do.

    Any correct program does that. What’s special about Avida is that it implements inheritance, random variation, and selection — the ingredients of a Darwinian process — and it shows that Darwinian processes can produce complex adaptations.

    The question for ID proponents isn’t whether Darwinian evolution happens in nature. They know that it does, because inheritance, random mutation and natural selection all happen, and if you have those, you have Darwinian evolution. IDers don’t deny microevolution, after all.

    The only question is whether the evolution that happens in nature is as powerful as the evolution that happens in Avida and other programs. IDers want to show that it isn’t, but that depends on modeling the specifics of ecology, biology, chemistry, physics, and fitness landscapes.

    They also need to explain why we should accept ID when unguided evolution fits the evidence so much better.

  61. 61
    kairosfocus says:

    Jerad:

    You have simply shown your domination by ideological posturing, through resort to silly, accusation loaded name calling instead of investigating facts and relevant concerns.

    And BTW, to be concerned about policies before they are implemented and insist on serious discussion of where things will end up and whether the proposals are well grounded is not a fallacy.

    The resort to accusations of slippery slopes without actually examining evidence, in a world in which there really are slippery slopes is not wise.

    Indeed, failure to address deliberation on issues and facts before deciding on major and potentially disastrous points, it reflects lemming- like, rush over the cliff with the crowd behaviour.

    BTW, have you thought through the implications of the Hunter- Madsen manipulation strategy as already was linked on? And not just on one particular topic? (You give little or no sign of that.)

    And no, I do not hold that anyone who disagrees with me is therefore out to destroy civilisation, that’s silly.

    I am saying instead that when one is acting under colour of law and policy in ways that affect truly foundational institutions such as marriage, family and sexual identity, one had better get one’s ducks in a row first. And, on actually investigating — have you even bothered to see what the distinction of say Melanesian from Greek from current Western patterns are? or incidence in populations etc etc? There is just no evidence coming from you of actually taking matters of fact and concern seriously — my findings are that the policies we are embarking on as a civilisation are predictably disastrous.

    Which, historically, is no great surprise, the overwhelming evidence of history is that civilisations, states and institutions have a very strong tendency to self-destruct through what some have aptly called the march of folly.

    Or have you not learned the two main lessons history teaches? First, that those who refuse to learn from it, are doomed to repeat the worst chapters, and that by and large we refuse so to learn?

    Thus, we see the familiar cycle of sacrifice and success leading to arrogance and folly, thence suicidal policies and thence disaster.

    In the 1930’s, we nearly destroyed our civilisation by refusing to adequately prepare and gird ourselves to address aggression. Across the Cold war, economic and geostrategic folly were a marked feature of policy in many countries, latterly joined by refusal to admit error and rescue that was not deserved that led to victory across the 1980’s led by leadership who were opposed and caricatured by the smugly comfortable and shallow every step of the way.

    In the past 20 years, from what I have seen, much the same is happening.

    Indeed, it is shocking how superficially the public in too many democratic polities makes major political decisions. 9But then, the fickleness of the crowd or mob was always a major concern on democracies, that is why the framers of modern representational democracy sought to put in stabilising mechanisms such as Constitutions, separation of powers, bills of rights, checks and balances etc etc. Problem is, such are being subverted in our day by the rise of a new demagoguery that now uses the powers of dark science to manipulate at an unprecedented level of effectiveness. Disaster, horrific disaster predictably looms ahead. And already the vultures are gathering and circling for the anticipated feast.)

    And it is in that wider context that I look on and shake my head at just how prone we are to the march of folly.

    And don’t get me started on the problem of political messianism and the wider notion of the state as saviour.

    For cause, I am quite pessimistic over the state of our civilisation, but that is not because I have any silly notion that if you disagree with me — what an ill-informed notion that this is about ego instead of doing one’s homework before holding strong opinions on a major matter — you are destroying civilisation,

    No, I did my homework and the report is that the trends, on many dimensions, are bad, utterly unsustainable.

    The constant, radical agenda driven manipulation of public, policy and law, and of institutions, is jut one manifestation of it.

    And you need to know that one of my areas of professional focus is exactly sustainable development oriented policy.

    It is my business, literally, to study what is going on, and the report is bad, very bad. The prognosis is that our civilisation is heading for a crash, bigtime. And far too many are benumbed and besotted, unwilling to attend to signs before it is too late.

    But then, Machiavelli did warn that our tendency is to not see things until they are too obvious to deny, so that political disasters are as hectic fever, at the first easy to cure but hard to diagnose, then when at length it is obvious it is too late to cure.

    Our civilisation has passed a watershed and — as is so commonly seen when folly is on the march — is in no mood to reconsider, so just the passage of time is now against us. For, a watershed has acting forces that if left to themselves will wedge what was initially close together ever more far apart, leading to breakdown of ability to reconcile in the face of mounting threats.

    Have you studied the story of France in the 1930’s, in the run up to May 10, 1940?

    It is instructive on what happens when a society becomes ever more polarised with wedge issues and toxic rhetoric, and is so taken up with internal squabbling that it cannot see clearly as to what is looming up on the horizon.

    Ah, but we are ever so prone to agree with Henry Ford that history is bunk.

    “Dwell on the past, you lose an eye. Forget the past and you lose both your eyes.” Russian proverb.

    “Understand the past, act in the present, build the future.” ANC motto.

    Good day.

    KF

  62. 62
    kairosfocus says:

    KS:

    Stow the ever so handy talking points for a moment (eve wondered WHY they are ever so handy, in an era dominated by men who study the power of advertising? . . . ) and THINK.

    Start with the little toy example of 500 coins and why, reliably we would not on the gamut of he solar system, by blind chance tossing ever arrive at 500 H’s as an outcome.

    That is where it begins.

    And so far we are seeing a fail coming out the starting gates.

    Good day.

    KF

  63. 63
    keiths says:

    KF,

    Stow the ever so handy talking points for a moment…

    And so far we are seeing a fail coming out the starting gates.

    Indeed we are.

    You’ve failed to comprehend that the probability of flipping all heads is tiny, but not zero.

    You’ve failed to answer my points regarding Avida.

    And you’ve failed to recognize how breathtakingly ironic it is for you, of all people, to complain about “talking points”.

    Lewontin
    strawman soaked in oil of ad hominem and ignited to cloud, poison and polarise the atmosphere
    Alcibiades
    please do better
    Alinskyite

    …ad nauseam.

  64. 64

    keiths:

    The goal is far more modest. These programs demonstrate that Darwinian processes have the ability to generate adaptations, and they provide a convenient and simplified environment in which to study the process through which that happens.

    AVIDA does something else, which is extremely important. All the functions that confer increased reproductive success to the organism (enable it to gain more energy) are Irreducibly Complex – don’t work if one part is removed. Not only that, but the pathways to some functions were deeply ID – required many non-advantageous precursors, including some quite steeply deleterious ones.

    So it is disproof-of-concept that if a thing is IC it can’t evolve. It may still be true that some things can’t evolve (wheels in multicellular organisms, for instance), but it does show that showing that a thing is IC is not prima facie evidence that it cannot evolve.

  65. 65
    keiths says:

    KF,

    Would you like to try your hand at defending the concept of the immaterial soul? BA77 and Joe aren’t doing so well at it.

    I’m sure they would appreciate some help.

  66. 66

    Dr. Liddle has made a very explicit statement that self-replication + heritable variation is all that is required to generate all subsequent life forms (which in ID terms translates into generating and sustaining FCSI). This statement simply re-iterates the Darwinian model of RM’s & NS since RM’s & NS assume self-replication + heritable variation from the onset.

    No. I have said, many times, that self-replication with heritable variance in reproductive success will result in the most successfully reproducing variants becoming more prevalent.

    This is actually simply logic, and in can be readily demonstrated using a computer model.

    I did not say it that “all subsequent life forms” will necessarily be generated if these things are in place – I don’t even know what that would mean. In a very simple environment, the population might move straight to a maximum and remain unchanged thereafter.

    Diversification will happen if the environment is rich an dynamic in resources and threats, which the real environment is.

  67. 67

    The first paragraph above is from computerist at 48.

    Not sure what happened to my blockquote tags!

  68. 68

    bpragmatic:

    I am really curious. Somewhere along the line, I think that it was said that you are, or were, a “brain surgeon”? I was wondering how it is you are spending so much time on your the blogs championing the causes of a self described ” atheist materialist Darwinist”. Unless maybe you are retired? Are you getting paid for your involvement? If so, I can’t help but wonder where the money is coming from. Where is it coming from, if that is the case?

    I am not a brain surgeon, bpragmatic. I am a cognitive neuroscientist. And I am not championing any cause. I like discussing things, and I’m interested in why people think the things they do and whether their arguments make sense.

    And if you want to know where I get the time, I’d invite you to look my pile of unwashed laundry and my kitchen sink. But it’s not a pretty sight.

  69. 69
    scordova says:

    I explored the practical and philosophical implications of expectation values in this thread:

    Holy Rollers, Pascal’s Wager, If ID is wrong it was an honest mistake

  70. 70
    kairosfocus says:

    KS:

    With all due respect, it is obvious you have not bothered to simply read with attention and respect for accuracy, truth and fairness, what I have actually said:

    You’ve failed to comprehend that the probability of flipping all heads is tiny, but not zero.

    That is not a point at issue at all, but it has been the hook that ever so many objectors have sought to hang a strawman from.

    The best corrective is to excerpt my argument in the OP, which in turn is a headlining of an argument made elsewhere for emphasis and it is similar to arguments presented by several others up to and including Professor Sewell.

    Indeed, it is close indeed to the definition of CSI in Dembski’s NFL on p. 144.

    That is, there is no excuse whatsoever to caricature the actual point being made as above:

    In the case of coin tossing, all heads, all tails, alternating H and T, etc. are all obvious patterns that are simply describable (i.e. without in effect quoting the strings). Such patterns can be assigned a set of special zones, Z = {z1, z2, z3 . . . zn} of one or more outcomes, in the space of possibilities, W.

    Thus is effected a partition of the configuration space.

    It is quite obvious that |W| >> |Z|, overwhelmingly so; let us symbolise this |W| >> . . . > |Z|.

    Now, we put forth the Bernoulli-Laplace indifference assumption that is relevant here through the stipulation of a fair coin. (We can examine symmetry etc of a coin, or do frequency tests to see that such will for practical purposes be close enough. It is not hard to see that unless a coin is outrageously biased, the assumption is reasonable. [BTW, this implies that it is formally possible that if a fair coin is tossed 500 times, it is logically possible that it will be all heads. But that is not the pivotal point.])

    When we do an exercise of tossing, we are in fact doing a sample of W, in which the partition that a given outcome, si in S [the set of possible samples], comes from, will be dominated by relative statistical weight. S is of course such that |S| >> . . . > |W|. That is, there are far more ways to sample from W in a string of actual samples s1, s2, . . . sn, than there are number of configs in W.

    (This is where the Marks-Dembski search for a search challenge, S4S, comes in. Sampling the samplings can be a bigger task than sampling the set of possibilities.)

    Where, now, we have a needle in haystack problem that on the gamut of the solar system [our practical universe for chemical level atomic interactions], the number of samples that is possible as an actual exercise is overwhelmingly smaller than S, and indeed than W.

    Under these circumstances, we take a sample si, 500 tosses.

    The balance of the partitions is such that by all but certainty, we will find a cluster of H & T in no particular order, close to 250 H: 250 T. The farther away one gets from that balance, the less likely it will be, through the sharp peaked-ness of the binomial distribution of fair coin tosses.

    Under these circumstances, we have no good reason to expect to see a special pattern like 500 H, etc. Indeed, such a unique and highly noticeable config will predictably — with rather high reliability — not be observed once on the gamut of the observed solar system, even were the solar system dedicated to doing nothing but tossing coins for its lifespan.

    That is chance manifest in coin tossing is not a plausible account for 500 H, or the equivalent, a line of 500 coins in a tray all H’s.

    However, if we were now to come upon a tray with 500 coins, all H’s, we can very plausibly account for it on a known, empirically grounded causal pattern: intelligent designers exist and have been known to set highly contingent systems to special values suited to their purposes.

    Indeed, such are the only empirically warranted sources.

    Where, for instance we are just such intelligences.

    So, the reasonable person coming on a tray of 500 coins in a row, all H, will infer that per best empirically warranted explanation, design is the credible cause. (And that person will infer the same if a coin tossing exercises presented as fair coin tossing, does the equivalent. We can reliably know that design is involved without knowing the mechanism.)

    Nor does this change if the discoverer did not see the event happening. That is, from a highly contingent outcome that does not fit chance very well but does fit design well, one may properly infer design as explanation.

    Indeed, that pattern of a specific, recognisable pattern utterly unlikely by chance but by no means inherently unlikely to the point of dismissal by design, is a plausible sign of design as best causal explanation.

    The same would obtain if instead of 500 H etc, we discovered that the coins were in a pattern that spelled out, using ASCII code, remarks in English or object code for a computer, etc. In this case, the pattern is recognised as a functionally specific, complex one.

    Why then, do we see such violent opposition to inferring design on FSCO/I etc in non-toy cases?

    Obviously, because objectors are making or are implying the a priori stipulation (often unacknowledged, sometimes unrecognised) that it is practically certain that no designer is POSSIBLE at the point in question.

    For under such a circumstance, chance is the only reasonable candidate left to account for high contingency. (Mechanical necessity does not lead to high contingency.)

    So, we see why there is a strong appearance of design, and we see why there is a reluctance or even violently hostile refusal to accept that that appearance can indeed be a good reason to accept that on the inductively reliable sign FSCO/I and related analysis, design is the best causal explanation.

    In short, we are back to the problem of materialist ideology dressed up in a lab coat.

    Which, is where Lewontin’s cat out of the bag statement cited in the OP and the four other major cases cited and commented on with it including the US NAS and NSTA are highly relevant to understanding the ideological captivity of science and formal as well as informal science education in our day.

    And, perhaps you have not noticed, but the rhetorical pattern of red herring distractors, led away to strawmen caricatures soaked in ad hominems and set alight to polarise, cloud and poison the atmosphere is a strongly marked pattern of too many evolutionary materialism advocates, one that reflects exactly the rhetorical and agitation rules advocated by Saul Alinski, whose tactics are exactly what has come to dominate far too much of discussion in our day. It is highly significant as a lesson from history that Plato in The Laws Bk X anticipated what would happen based on the case of Alcibiades and co.

    In that context, it is highly significant that you tried to twist about my point that there is a too common pattern of drumbeat repetition of false and fallacious talking points pushed by evolutionary materialism advocates and fellow travellers, into a dismissal as obviously false or irrelevant, arguments I freely acknowledge making over and over BECAUSE THEY ARE WELL WARRANTED AND ARE ROUTINELY IGNORED BY THOSE WHO DO OR SHOULD KNOW BETTER.

    I am sure by now that you know that the twisted about, turnspeech accusation or insinuation [especially in the form of pretending that that which was true of that movement was so for others — usually falsely] was a favourite ploy of a certain unlamented movement from 85 – 70 years ago and especially its two chief propagandists.

    Now, as for Avida, ev et al, going all the way back to Dawkins’ Weasel, I have not given a detailed critique above, you know that such is not germane to the major issues in this thread, and that more than adequate critiques are to be found elsewhere.

    I confined myself to two things, first pointing out that they all beg the question, being intelligently defined algorithms executed on equally intelligently designed machines that start within an island of function where the problem is to arrive at such islands of function in the spaces W, on samples si that are so relatively tiny that we have no reason to expect any such up to the gamut of resources of solar system or observed cosmos, to hit anything but the overwhelming bulk partition, non-function. And, in that context, if an objector is unwilling to face the patent, openly argued, explained and stated outcome of the 500 coins exercise, we have grounds for no confidence in such a party having sufficient of an open mind to be led by evidence and reason on any further matter.

    It is in that wider context that I have had occasion to speak to the march of folly, to the tendency to abuse those who do not toe the fashionable materialist party line, and that of too many to be enablers by denial and passivity. Which brings us full circle to the relevance of key cases from history on where when the horror was defeated, there was a forced tour of shame — classically that by the people of Wiemar of Buchenwald as is captured in the iconic photo in the OP. It is also where it is highly relevant that the expose of slave ship and slave plantation conditions materially contributed to the breaking of the trade then of the institution itself.

    As a classic on this, after the 1831 uprising in Jamaica which was brutally put down, including an attempt to hang dissenter missionaries as instigators, and the burning of 13 dissenter chapels, one of the missionaries — who by rights SHOULD be a national hero of Jamaica — William Knibb went to England ant told the truth to the public of England, especially the marginalised but electorally important Dissenters [in the midst of a major political ferment in England] — what “their brethren” in Jamaica were suffering. None were able to successfully refute his testimony and evidence, and when the report of the burning of chapels arrived it led to the train of political events that ended in legal, gradual abolition in 1834 – 38.

    Yes, a tour of shame is very important, and I am confident that the three videos embedded in the OP are a beginning. (Notice, onlookers, just how silent objectors have been on the substance in those videos.)

    So, KS, I put it to you that you need to think again.

    KF

  71. 71
    scordova says:

    You’ve failed to comprehend that the probability of flipping all heads is tiny, but not zero.

    I think everyone accepts that. A better way of framing the argument is whether its an outcome worth betting on.

    From a gambling stand point, one would wager on the chance outcome unless the payoff justified it, and even then, that presumes one will have enough trials of this game to rely on the convergence to expectation. For example, in casino gambling, just because a gambler has a 3% advantage over the house in a bet, it is ill advised he wager his life savings, and the case of 500 coins it’s even more true because the “casino” the “house” has a

    1 – [(2^500-1)/(2^500)] = 99.9999999999999999999999…..%

    edge over the player. It’s not a favorable wager. There is actually a whole discipline of Kelly fraction and risk management to size ones wagers to avoid gambler’s ruin but that a whole nother topic!

    And curiously, in the case of Darwinian evolution, there isn’t any payoff anyway if the chance hypothesis (or the Darwinian variation thereof) is correct. On a philosophical grounds and at a personal level, it’s dubious that so many people stake their lives and reputations on Darwinian evolution being correct. There is no payoff, imho.

    The atheist agnostic Bertrand Russell said it well:

    Such, in outline, but even more purposeless, more void of meaning, is the world which Science presents for our belief. Amid such a world, if anywhere, our ideals henceforward must find a home. That man is the product of causes which had no prevision of the end they were achieving; that his origin, his growth, his hopes and fears, his loves and his beliefs, are but the outcome of accidental collocations of atoms; that no fire, no heroism, no intensity of thought and feeling, can preserve an individual life beyond the grave; that all the labours of the ages, all the devotion, all the inspiration, all the noonday brightness of human genius, are destined to extinction in the vast death of the solar system, and that the whole temple of Man’s achievement must inevitably be buried beneath the debris of a universe in ruins — all these things, if not quite beyond dispute, are yet so nearly certain, that no philosophy which rejects them can hope to stand.

    I’m grateful Darwinists show up and debate us. It’s beneficial to ID proponents that we have our ideas vetted, but what benefit is it to Darwinists to debate us. Why are the stakes so big for you guys as if your souls depended on it.

    For many ID proponents, the stake are high in that some believe in eternal life and God, but given the payoff is zero for Darwinists at the personal level if Darwin was right, why waste trying to disprove ID. It is not a rational wager, imho. You’re time in otherwords, doesn’t seem well invested in this debate unless of course you really enjoy the tortures of shouting matches.

  72. 72
    scordova says:

    Correction, I think the house edge formula should be

    [1 – [(2^500-1)/(2^500)]] – [(2^500-1)/(2^500) = 99.9999999999999999999999…..%

    which given the large numbers is almost a moot point!

  73. 73
    kairosfocus says:

    SC: Too many objectors are betting on hopes of advantage in the system, but may be forgetting that they might just be in a Plato’s Cave of a sort, playing a game in the face of easily accessible evidence that there is much more to reality than that. KF

  74. 74
    Joe says:

    LoL! keiths links to his oft-refuted tripe pertaining to unguided evolution!

    keiths can’t even produce a testable hypothesis for unguided evolution, let alone provide positive evidence for it.

    BTW AVIDA is NOTHING like darwinian evolution. And it does NOT demonstrate IC systems can evolve via darwinian mechanisms.

    Elizabeth, keiths and the rest of the darwinian faithful are lying if they say it does,

  75. 75
    kairosfocus says:

    F/N: I see where, elsewhere AF — after eight years of hanging around UD — is asking what relevance the 500 coin type exercise has to the design inference and to macroevo etc.

    That after eight years he cannot seem to understand the implications of sampling blindly from a needle in a haystack space, speaks volumes. (Maybe, he has so convinced himself that design thinkers can only be one of more of ignorant, stupid, INSANE — cf. above — or wicked, that he has not paid serious attention.)

    Of course the matter starts in the warm little pond or the like where from chemicals and physical forces that are blind, one needs to plausibly account for OOL of life or the Darwinist tree of life has no root. The FSCO/I in life as seen and as analysed, makes this a first uncrossed gap that for a long time now has not been cogently and sufficiently addressed.

    Info gap, not 500 bits, but much bigger, credibly 100k – 1 Mn bits.

    And after that, to get to the islands of function for complex life forms with new body plans looks like 10 – 100+ mn bits each. Equally unbridged.

    Where for every bit past 500, the scale of the info space DOUBLES. Just moving to 501 bits means that the size of the figurative haystack for a solar system level search moves to 1,260 LY on the side, not just 1,000. 502 bits requires 1,590 LY on the side, 503 requires 2,000 LY on the side and so forth.

    Where in each case, we are sampling — per the resources of the solar system applied across its lifespan — the equivalent of a one straw sized sample.

    In short the challenge of blind search is not being processed seriously by design objectors.

    Which is the heart of the design inference issue.

    It is precisely because of the search challenge that blind chance and mechanical necessity are not credible explanations of FSCO/I, whether for OOL or OO body plans or OO a tray of 500 coins all H, etc, that we note the relevance of the only empirically warranted source of such, design.

    KF

  76. 76
    scordova says:

    Kairos Focus,

    What does “F/N” mean?

    Sal

    FOOTNOTE, KF

  77. 77
    Joe says:

    Elizabeth:

    So it is disproof-of-concept that if a thing is IC it can’t evolve.

    That isn’t what IC says. IC says it could not evolve via blind and undirected chemical processes, ie darwinian processes.

    The problem here is Lizzie doesn’t understand ID and she surely does not understand what is being debated.

  78. 78
    Joe says:

    keiths:

    These programs demonstrate that Darwinian processes have the ability to generate adaptations, and they provide a convenient and simplified environment in which to study the process through which that happens.

    No, keiths. Those programs do NOT demonstrate that darwinian proceses have any ability at all. Those programs have nothing to do with darwinian processes.

    Evos are such dishonest people. They have no place to talk about morals…

  79. 79

    For many ID proponents, the stake are high in that some believe in eternal life and God, but given the payoff is zero for Darwinists at the personal level if Darwin was right, why waste trying to disprove ID. It is not a rational wager, imho. You’re time in otherwords, doesn’t seem well invested in this debate unless of course you really enjoy the tortures of shouting matches.

    That’s because they’re really expressing other psychological issues, IMO.

  80. 80
    Joe says:

    Strange that when AVIDA is given realistic parameters nothing IC evolves.

    1- Avida “organisms” are far too simple to be considered anything like a biological organism

    2- Avida organisms “evolve” via unreasonable parameters:

    The effects of low-impact mutations in digital organisms

    Chase W. Nelson and John C. Sanford

    Theoretical Biology and Medical Modelling, 2011, 8:9 | doi:10.1186/1742-4682-8-9

    Abstract:

    Background: Avida is a computer program that performs evolution experiments with digital organisms. Previous work has used the program to study the evolutionary origin of complex features, namely logic operations, but has consistently used extremely large mutational fitness effects. The present study uses Avida to better understand the role of low-impact mutations in evolution.

    Results:

    When mutational fitness effects were approximately 0.075 or less, no new logic operations evolved, and those that had previously evolved were lost. When fitness effects were approximately 0.2, only half of the operations evolved, reflecting a threshold for selection breakdown. In contrast, when Avida’s default fitness effects were used, all operations routinely evolved to high frequencies and fitness increased by an average of 20 million in only 10,000 generations.

    Conclusions:

    Avidian organisms evolve new logic operations only when mutations producing them are assigned high-impact fitness effects. Furthermore, purifying selection cannot protect operations with low-impact benefits from mutational deterioration. These results suggest that selection breaks down for low-impact mutations below a certain fitness effect, the selection threshold. Experiments using biologically relevant parameter settings show the tendency for increasing genetic load to lead to loss of biological functionality. An understanding of such genetic deterioration is relevant to human disease, and may be applicable to the control of pathogens by use of lethal mutagenesis.

    Whoopsie….

  81. 81
    kairosfocus says:

    F/N some links on AVIDA (from a search at UD and onward links):

    1: David Tyler

    2: Robert Marks

    3: Nelson and Sanford

    No 3 has already been cited. Let me cite no 1:
    ____________
    >> Inevitably, all simulation models have simplified the system being investigated. This is not, in itself, a problem as long as validation work is undertaken to establish what features in the simulated system can be mapped against the real-world system. So, for example, “key terms such as nucleotide, gene, heritability, selection, and fertility lack a clear equivalent in the software” (p.8). This can be OK, but users must not imagine an equivalence when none exists. Validation work to establish application areas is therefore both relevant and essential.

    One problem with Avida has been the high values assigned to beneficial mutation rates and fitness effects.

    “Previous experiments using Avida have studied the evolutionary emergence of complex features resulting from high-impact beneficial mutations. Avida’s default settings provide mutational fitness effects of 1.0-31.0 for beneficial mutations that give rise to certain computational operations [. . .]. However, fitness effects this large are extremely rare in nature.” (p.3)

    Avida is constructed according to the Darwinian paradigm. The software is designed so that variations appear using mechanisms of mutation and natural selection. Avida assigns a high proportion of the digital genome to functionless code. Just as Darwinists imagine happens in the real world, so Avida has a genome much of which can be disturbed without disrupting fitness, but which is also capable of experiencing mutations that result in functionality. We now know that this is not a valid representation of the real world. The authors indicate that 85% of the Avida genome is initially benign, but it has the potential to contrinbute to fitness after certain mutations occur. However, as more and more functions are found for junk DNA, this aspect of Avida’s design appears increasingly anachronistic.

    “Mutations randomly substitute, insert, or delete single instructions in an Avidian genome, drawing upon 26 available instructions defined in the software. The ancestral genome devotes about 15 instructions to the essential replication code, while the remaining 85 positions are occupied by benign no-operation instructions, analogous to inert “junk DNA” that can be used as raw material for evolutionary tinkering.” (p.3)

    Although the software has been developed with Darwinian mechanisms in mind, the use of more realistic parameters needs attention – principally fitness effects and the proportion of advantageous mutations. The results reported by the authors do not confirm that Darwinian mechanisms can deliver the transformations that Darwinists claim. The problem with gradual incremental evolution is that small advantages are not selected naturally and do not become dominant in the population. Avida assumes and implements a scheme in which complex features can be built step-wise. Whether this is true for biological organisms is another question entirely.

    “We observed that, when fitness effects in Avida are small, all advantageous logic operations are lost. Though digital organisms are peculiar in that they can survive such a loss, these data confirm that the accumulation of slightly deleterious mutations can lead to decreasing biological functionality and potentially eventual extinction. Because deleterious mutations are much more common than advantageous mutations in most systems studied, reduction in the efficacy of selection imposes strong directionality on evolution by favoring the fixation of deleterious mutations. The conditions under which fitness recovery may be possible should be studied more thoroughly using computational approaches.” (p.12)

    The most far-reaching conclusion relates to adaptation. “Plausible” adaptation accounts are pervasive in the literature of Darwinism (see here and here) but few of them are supported by empirical evidence. The Avida findings imply that “plausible” only means “realistic” when mutational fitness effects are large. With only marginal benefits, it is far more likely that “plausible” scenarios turn into “adaptationist just-so-stories”.

    “In contrast to Avida’s default settings, most mutations in biological organisms are low-impact, and this class of mutations may dominate evolutionary change. When Avida is used with more realistic mutational fitness effects, it demonstrates a clear selection threshold. Mutations that influence fitness by approximately 20% or less come to be dominated by random genetic drift. Mutations that affect fitness by 7.5 – 10.0% or less are entirely invisible to selection in this system. These results provide evidence that low-impact mutations can present a substantial barrier to progressive evolution by natural selection. Understanding mutation is of primary importance, as selection depends on the mutational production of new genotypes. Numerous changes that would be beneficial may nevertheless fail to occur because mutation cannot produce them in the time available. Further, it is important for biologists to realistically appraise what selection can and cannot do under various circumstances. Selection may neither be necessary nor sufficient to explain numerous genomic or cellular features of complex organisms.” (p.13) >>
    ____________

    Marks’ video will also be well worth watching. DV, I will add it in an original post “soon.”

    KF

    PS: Pardon use of edit feature to write a comment in two stages.

  82. 82
    scordova says:

    unless of course you really enjoy the tortures of shouting matches.

    Here is a video of a Darwinist arguing with (presumably) a Creationist. The Creationist simply held up a sign that said: “It’s easy to be an atheist if you don’t think about where everything came from”. The Darwinist obviously was getting high on shouting matches. Even one way shouting matches.

    WARNING Some Vulgarity:

    http://youtu.be/XBVefn6e5-A

    Does that remind you of some of tone of debate as evidenced in Larry Moran’s site, PandasThumb, Pharyngula, and other sites? 🙂

    HT Mike GENE

  83. 83
    kairosfocus says:

    PPS: Dollar to a doughnut, that the default values were knowingly set to give the outcomes that were desired, regardless of the empirical evidence that pointed to how unrealistic such values were.

  84. 84
    scordova says:

    PPS: Dollar to a doughnut, that the default values were knowingly set to give the outcomes that were desired, regardless of the empirical evidence that pointed to how unrealistic such values were.

    Sorry to be anal but given the price of a doughnut is about 80 cents today, if its price rises above one dollar, that expectation value of that wager will no longer be favorable in the future. 🙂 Just a caution, that’s all, but I agree with the point you’re trying to make.

  85. 85
    kairosfocus says:

    F/N: I see KS is trying to divert the thread to a discussion of the immaterial soul. Sounds like a distraction effort, which tells us something about the balance of the above on the merits. Of course, what evolutionary materialists need to ground is the reality of both mind and morals that makes us a knowing, morally governed creature. Cf here on, the result of looking at this topic is that evolutionary materialism is self referentially incoherent and necessarily false, never mind how it likes to dress up in a lab coat and shake it at us. KF

  86. 86
    keiths says:

    KF,

    I’m not trying to divert the thread. I’m inviting you to join the other thread, where bornagain77 and Joe are trying unsuccessfully to defend the notion of an immaterial soul against the evidence from observations of split-brain patients.

    Are you up to the challenge?

    It’s interesting that while fools rush in, the more intelligent IDers seem to be avoiding the topic. As you would say, that speaks volumes about their lack of confidence.

    Are you confident in your ability to reconcile the soul with the facts regarding split-brain patients?

  87. 87
    keiths says:

    KF,

    My beef was with the way you phrased this:

    Start with the little toy example of 500 coins and why, reliably we would not on the gamut of he solar system, by blind chance tossing ever arrive at 500 H’s as an outcome.

    To say that we “reliably would not ever arrive at 500 H’s” sure sounds like a statement of impossibility to me.

    But of course it’s not impossible; just very, very unlikely.

    I think the problem originates in Dembski’s introduction of the “universal probability bound.” Its name, and the way it is calculated, invite readers to conclude that events beyond the bound are impossible.

    In reality, the UPB is mostly arbitrary. It just needs to be small enough that people, upon seeing an event that falls beyond it, will not be satisified with the explanation “that was just a fluke.” It is always possible that it was due to pure chance, but if the possibility is remote enough, people will look for alternative explanations (including evolution and design).

  88. 88
    Joe says:

    keiths is still confused. I never tried to defend an immaterial soul. I just easily refuted his feeble-minded attempt at refuting the premise of an immaterial soul.

  89. 89
    Jerad says:

    Now, we put forth the Bernoulli-Laplace indifference assumption that is relevant here through the stipulation of a fair coin. (We can examine symmetry etc of a coin, or do frequency tests to see that such will for practical purposes be close enough. It is not hard to see that unless a coin is outrageously biased, the assumption is reasonable. [BTW, this implies that it is formally possible that if a fair coin is tossed 500 times, it is logically possible that it will be all heads. But that is not the pivotal point.])

    When we do an exercise of tossing, we are in fact doing a sample of W, in which the partition that a given outcome, si in S [the set of possible samples], comes from, will be dominated by relative statistical weight. S is of course such that |S| >> . . . > |W|. That is, there are far more ways to sample from W in a string of actual samples s1, s2, . . . sn, than there are number of configs in W.

    (This is where the Marks-Dembski search for a search challenge, S4S, comes in. Sampling the samplings can be a bigger task than sampling the set of possibilities.)

    Where, now, we have a needle in haystack problem that on the gamut of the solar system [our practical universe for chemical level atomic interactions], the number of samples that is possible as an actual exercise is overwhelmingly smaller than S, and indeed than W.

    Why is it so hard just to say things simply and clearly?

    Under these circumstances, we have no good reason to expect to see a special pattern like 500 H, etc. Indeed, such a unique and highly noticeable config will predictably — with rather high reliability — not be observed once on the gamut of the observed solar system, even were the solar system dedicated to doing nothing but tossing coins for its lifespan.

    That is chance manifest in coin tossing is not a plausible account for 500 H, or the equivalent, a line of 500 coins in a tray all H’s.

    But it could happen. You’ve said nothing which precludes that. And, more importantly, there is no reason to ascribe such an occurrence to anything other than dumb luck, chance, which does not require the supposition of some undefined, unspecified and otherwise undetected intelligent agent.

    It’s not a matter of saying no designer is possible but rather looking at the explanation which includes the fewest unproven assumptions.

    And, perhaps you have not noticed, but the rhetorical pattern of red herring distractors, led away to strawmen caricatures soaked in ad hominems and set alight to polarise, cloud and poison the atmosphere is a strongly marked pattern of too many evolutionary materialism advocates, one that reflects exactly the rhetorical and agitation rules advocated by Saul Alinski, whose tactics are exactly what has come to dominate far too much of discussion in our day. It is highly significant as a lesson from history that Plato in The Laws Bk X anticipated what would happen based on the case of Alcibiades and co.

    Oh dear, feeling a bit under pressure are we? You still seem to think that your view is an all-or-nothing situation. We’re with your or against you in all ways.

    I am sure by now that you know that the twisted about, turnspeech accusation or insinuation [especially in the form of pretending that that which was true of that movement was so for others — usually falsely] was a favourite ploy of a certain unlamented movement from 85 – 70 years ago and especially its two chief propagandists.

    Sigh. We disagree with you so we’re some kind of evil.

    It is in that wider context that I have had occasion to speak to the march of folly, to the tendency to abuse those who do not toe the fashionable materialist party line, and that of too many to be enablers by denial and passivity. Which brings us full circle to the relevance of key cases from history on where when the horror was defeated, there was a forced tour of shame — classically that by the people of Wiemar of Buchenwald as is captured in the iconic photo in the OP. It is also where it is highly relevant that the expose of slave ship and slave plantation conditions materially contributed to the breaking of the trade then of the institution itself

    I think you’re equating us ID-denialists with people who allowed the holocaust. I could be wrong but that is a blatant, non-sensical and insulting charge.

    Of course the matter starts in the warm little pond or the like where from chemicals and physical forces that are blind, one needs to plausibly account for OOL of life or the Darwinist tree of life has no root. The FSCO/I in life as seen and as analysed, makes this a first uncrossed gap that for a long time now has not been cogently and sufficiently addressed.

    Info gap, not 500 bits, but much bigger, credibly 100k – 1 Mn bits.

    And after that, to get to the islands of function for complex life forms with new body plans looks like 10 – 100+ mn bits each. Equally unbridged.

    Where for every bit past 500, the scale of the info space DOUBLES. Just moving to 501 bits means that the size of the figurative haystack for a solar system level search moves to 1,260 LY on the side, not just 1,000. 502 bits requires 1,590 LY on the side, 503 requires 2,000 LY on the side and so forth.

    Where in each case, we are sampling — per the resources of the solar system applied across its lifespan — the equivalent of a one straw sized sample.

    Hard to even find a complete sentence in that. Let alone a coherent concept.

    Sal, are you really in agreement with this? Seriously? Don’t you think your own credibility is at stake here?

  90. 90

    Keiths @53:

    The goal is far more modest. These programs demonstrate that Darwinian processes have the ability to generate adaptations, and they provide a convenient and simplified environment in which to study the process through which that happens.

    So of course these programs assume the prerequisites of Darwinian evolution: inheritance with random mutation and natural selection. Without those, you don’t have a Darwinian process, and if you don’t have a Darwinian process, you can’t very well study it!

    ID proponents (at least the sane ones) accept the reality of inheritance, random mutation and natural selection — after all, who would be silly enough to deny that those happen? So there is no doubt, even among IDers, that Darwinian evolution exists in nature. The question is whether it is powerful enough to explain what we observe.

    I’m well aware of that. And I agree with you that one key question is indeed whether Darwinian processes are powerful enough to explain what we observe. But there is another critical question. Namely, do the Darwinian processes programmed in the computer actually, in reality represent anything resembling the real world.

    Everyone agrees that if sight successive steps from A to Z exist, and if each step along the way is easily traversable, and if each step confers a survival advantage, and if each step is carefully rewarded along the way, and if we have enough organisms, and if we have enough time, then you can get from A to Z. And the fact that I can construct something through such a process that ends up having multiple inter-related parts, each of which is required for the final function is not a surprise. Shoot, I can build you the Space Shuttle using that approach. That is not even in dispute.

    So statements like Elizabeth’s @64 are simply wrong. The question is not whether such a process, with all its assumptions, can produce something. Everyone knows it can.

    The question is whether such a process exists in the real world. No genetic algorithm has answered that question, and until they simulate, with at least some level of fidelity, real-world processes, the entire effort is an exercise in irrelevance.

    Notably, with the oft-cited Avida study (in Nature, if memory serves), the authors acknowledged that if the program required a couple of parts to come along simultaneously that their digital organisms never “evolved” the final goal. That was precisely Behe’s point. He argues there is good reason to believe that — in reality, not in silico — there are molecular machines that require multiple parts to come along at once and that such machines are not amenable to a Darwinian process.

    Ironically, then, the main result from the Avida study (at least the result that didn’t assume away all the key issues) confirmed Behe’s suspicion. Avida most certainly doesn’t prove that Darwinian processes can build the amazing things we see in biology.

    Avida and other similar programs show that Darwinian evolution is quite powerful.

    The certainly don’t. What they show is that if you assume away all the challenging and relevant issues you can get some interesting things.

    Just as importantly, they show that if you let a little reality intrude, they don’t do much of anything interesting.

  91. 91
    kairosfocus says:

    KS:

    Not interested in other threads, and the linked highlights the problems with mind and morality that evo mat faces.

    In fact it self-refutes.

    Second, it is indeed the case that reliably, with all but certainty, on the gamut of the solar system, we would not arrive at the 500 H even if we were to convert the solar system into a giant, ultrafast [Chem rxn speed] coin tossing machine. Picking, blindly, a one straw sized sample from a cubical haystack 1,000 light years on the side is not a way to ever be confident of getting anything but the overwhelming bulk.

    And, that is the optimistic case with every atom in the solar system every 10^-14 s as an observer for 10^17 s.

    There are somethings that are simply nor plausibly observable, that are reliably unobservable based on blind chance and/or me3chanical necessity.

    Those same things are routinely produced by intelligence and indeed are inductively explored to be only and strongly associated with intelligent action. That gives us an epistemic right to treat them as reliable signs — as opposed to whatever may be abstractly logically possible.

    The presence of something like a tray full of 500 coins all H, is a sign of design, and so, more broadly is FSCO/I.

    In short, a sensible person, on seeing such a sign would reasonably and for good cause infer to design as material cause, which trends to come with an entity capable of designing.

    KF

  92. 92
    kairosfocus says:

    jerad:

    1: cf the just above.

    2: Your remarks about fewest assumptions and the like are a disguised, self-congratulatory way for you to assert that you believe a designer at the relevant point in time and place was IMPOSSIBLE.

    3: I assure you, that is a tough claim to ground. And it is an approach that is inconsistent with a LOT of science.

    4: A sensible view, instead, is that something like FSCO/I is an inductively well demonstrated sign of design, and so if we see it, it is reasonable, however provisionally, to infer design as best empirically grounded explanation.

    5: That is, a reliable sign of design is evidence of design, whether or not it is perfect and beyond dispute evidence of design. (For instance that is close indeed to the basis on which we accept the 2nd law of thermodynamics: provisional but tested and found reliable inductive generalisation.)

    KF

    PS: have you actually read the OP with any reasonable care and attention? You will find that there is a very specific context of dealing with denial of abuses by nihilists rooted in amoral worldviews [there are three whole movies on the subject embedded in the OP], by passivity, that is the context of the issue on tours of shame, and that the case of informing people about the horrific realities of the slave trade — there is more, on things like throwing slaves to the sharks in the ocean and more, much more — was a major part of awakening the conscience of the British people to abolish the slave trade and to abolish the slave system after that. Those are the sort of things that are at stake when you begin to resort to slanderously associateing people with Nazis, the exact context for the OP. (I will bet you did not read the onward link on the incident at TSZ, and the further incident of enabling behaviour for such slander by blatantly false denial that what happened, happened. FYI, when you start pushing people into the same boats with Nazis, you are declaring open season on them, and I am not going to quietly accept that sort of bullying and defamation — the Jews of Germany made that mistake 80 years ago, and paid a bitter price. So, now you need to ask yourself to what extent your own behaviour just above turns into enabling.) And believe you me there are serious matters at stake today with the ongoing rise of evolutionary materialism as a culturally domineering — yes I mean just that — worldview.

  93. 93
    keiths says:

    KF,

    Not interested in other threads…

    You’re interested in lots of other threads, KF. The reason you (and your fellow commenters) are not interested in that one is that you know you would lose the debate. Only Joe and BA77, who don’t know any better, are persisting.

    …and the linked highlights the problems with mind and morality that evo mat faces.

    In fact it self-refutes.

    “Evo mat” doesn’t self-refute, but even if it did, that wouldn’t solve your problem. Your position isn’t merely the denial of “evo mat”. You positively believe in an immaterial soul, and so your problem is to reconcile that belief with the evidence from split-brain patients.

    It’s amazing to me that so many people here at UD believe in the immaterial soul, yet none of you can defend it against the split-brain evidence.

    Doesn’t that bother you?

    Second, it is indeed the case that reliably, with all but certainty, on the gamut of the solar system, we would not arrive at the 500 H even if we were to convert the solar system into a giant, ultrafast [Chem rxn speed] coin tossing machine. Picking, blindly, a one straw sized sample from a cubical haystack 1,000 light years on the side is not a way to ever be confident of getting anything but the overwhelming bulk.

    It’s good to see that you’ve backed off from your original statement, which was:

    Start with the little toy example of 500 coins and why, reliably we would not on the gamut of he solar system, by blind chance tossing ever arrive at 500 H’s as an outcome. [emphasis mine]

    Your original statement is wrong, but your revised version is better.

    The presence of something like a tray full of 500 coins all H, is a sign of design, and so, more broadly is FSCO/I.

    Only if non-chance, non-design hypotheses are unlikely. That’s the problem with Sal’s homochirality argument. He thinks that if he rules out pure chance, then design is the only remaining possibility. It’s not, of course. He also needs to consider the possibility that homochirality is the result of evolution (or some other non-chance, non-design mechanism). If he could demonstrate that the probability of ‘homochirality by evolution’ is as low as the probability of ‘homochirality by pure chance’, then he might have a case.

    He hasn’t done so, and I don’t believe he can. Until he does, his homochirality argument fails.

  94. 94
    scordova says:

    Jerad asked,

    Sal, are you really in agreement with this?

    I read by I can’t always understand what is being said.

    Seriously? Don’t you think your own credibility is at stake here?

    I have no reputation worth defending. I’m at UD and TSZ to learn and refine my thoughts. My essays and comments are a public diary of my thought process.

    I occasionally like having my ideas challenged and debated. This isn’t a website where immutable pronouncements are made, it’s a place to put forward ideas have them debated, improved, and occasionally thrown out.

  95. 95
    Jerad says:

    Second, it is indeed the case that reliably, with all but certainty, on the gamut of the solar system, we would not arrive at the 500 H even if we were to convert the solar system into a giant, ultrafast [Chem rxn speed] coin tossing machine. Picking, blindly, a one straw sized sample from a cubical haystack 1,000 light years on the side is not a way to ever be confident of getting anything but the overwhelming bulk.

    Look, it’s a simple situation, its it possible or not. Cast aside all the flowery language. Is it possible?

    Your remarks about fewest assumptions and the like are a disguised, self-congratulatory way for you to assert that you believe a designer at the relevant point in time and place was IMPOSSIBLE.

    Which shows how little you understand my approach. And so it goes.

    That is, a reliable sign of design is evidence of design, whether or not it is perfect and beyond dispute evidence of design. (For instance that is close indeed to the basis on which we accept the 2nd law of thermodynamics: provisional but tested and found reliable inductive generalisation.)

    What you find reliable others will dispute. Along with the notion that sign of design is evidence of design. And WTF does it have to do with the 2nd law of thermodynamics? And your last sentence, dude, that’s just random.

    You will find that there is a very specific context of dealing with denial of abuses by nihilists rooted in amoral worldviews [there are three whole movies on the subject embedded in the OP], by passivity, that is the context of the issue on tours of shame, and that the case of informing people about the horrific realities of the slave trade — there is more, on things like throwing slaves to the sharks in the ocean and more, much more — was a major part of awakening the conscience of the British people to abolish the slave trade and to abolish the slave system after that.

    Good lord. Can anyone make sense of this?

    Those are the sort of things that are at stake when you begin to resort to slanderously associateing people with Nazis, the exact context for the OP. (I will bet you did not read the onward link on the incident at TSZ, and the further incident of enabling behaviour for such slander by blatantly false denial that what happened, happened. FYI, when you start pushing people into the same boats with Nazis, you are declaring open season on them, and I am not going to quietly accept that sort of bullying and defamation — the Jews of Germany made that mistake 80 years ago, and paid a bitter price. So, now you need to ask yourself to what extent your own behaviour just above turns into enabling.) And believe you me there are serious matters at stake today with the ongoing rise of evolutionary materialism as a culturally domineering — yes I mean just that — worldview.

    The Jews of Germany made what mistake 80 years ago? Really? You are going to stand by that claim? They are complicit in their demise? Really? They could have done something differently and prevented the holocaust. Is that what you’re claiming?

    You best think long and hard about such a claim. Really long and hard.

    Sal, Barry, Denyse, Donald . . Are you standing by this? Are you supporting this stance? Your names are on this blog. And you will be associated with this stance unless you say otherwise.

  96. 96
    Jerad says:

    Sal:

    I read by I can’t always understand what is being said.

    What does that mean? Are you in support of what KF posts or not?

  97. 97
    scordova says:

    Are you in support of what KF posts or not?

    Not always. You can see we oppose each other on occasion. As far as the content of this thread, the coin stuff pertains to me. I agree with the conclusion of improbability and suggested it also better framed in terms of expectation and wagering.

    The other stuff I have nothing to say. I support Kairos Focus speaking his mind. As far as it hurting my reputation, I’d glady go down with KF as my brother in disrepute even if I don’t agree with what he says.

  98. 98
    Jerad says:

    I agree with the conclusion of improbability and suggested it also better framed in terms of expectation and wagering.

    Meaning what exactly?

    The other stuff I have nothing to say. I support Kairos Focus speaking his mind. As far as it hurting my reputation, I’d glady go down with KF as my brother in disrepute even if I don’t agree with what he says.

    Lets see what everyone else thinks then. Since you have nothing to say about it.

  99. 99
    scordova says:

    Meaning what exactly?

    This:
    http://www.uncommondescent.com.....ent-460082

  100. 100
    kairosfocus says:

    KS: You are being rude and demanding, in a context where it is obvious that I have a real life living which has its own demands. In addition, you have ignored, the link I have pointed you to. I happened by and saw your behaviour, marginally worse than Jerad’s. So the taking of time to comment. KF

    PS: Jerad, if you do not know about the mistaken silence of Jews in the face of propaganda in the 1930’s, you need to first check out why there is an ADL and then ask yourself if you know enough to be seriously talking in this thread. I have no more time.

  101. 101
    keiths says:

    KF:

    You are being rude and demanding, in a context where it is obvious that I have a real life living which has its own demands.

    I haven’t demanded anything. I’ve invited you to comment on that thread:

    KF,

    Would you like to try your hand at defending the concept of the immaterial soul? BA77 and Joe aren’t doing so well at it.

    I’m sure they would appreciate some help.

    And:

    I’m inviting you to join the other thread, where bornagain77 and Joe are trying unsuccessfully to defend the notion of an immaterial soul against the evidence from observations of split-brain patients.

    You first claimed that you weren’t interested, and now you claim to be too busy. I don’t believe you, and I doubt the onlookers do, either. How plausible is it that the extraordinarily verbose KF doesn’t have time to participate in a thread?

    In addition, you have ignored, the link I have pointed you to.

    I followed the link, but there’s nothing there about split-brain patients. You haven’t addressed the issue.

    I happened by and saw your behaviour, marginally worse than Jerad’s. So the taking of time to comment.

    Because otherwise you’re much too busy to comment at UD, right? 😀 Will you still be too busy tomorrow? I can wait until Monday, if that’s more convenient.

    As I said:

    It’s amazing to me that so many people here at UD believe in the immaterial soul, yet none of you can defend it against the split-brain evidence.

    Doesn’t that bother you?

  102. 102
    bpragmatic says:

    47

    bpragmaticJune 28, 2013 at 8:56 pm

    E. Liddle,

    I am really curious. Somewhere along the line, I think that it was said that you are, or were, a “brain surgeon”? I was wondering how it is you are spending so much time on your the blogs championing the causes of a self described ” atheist materialist Darwinist”. Unless maybe you are retired? Are you getting paid for your involvement? If so, I can’t help but wonder where the money is coming from. Where is it coming from, if that is the case?

    This forum is apparently funded by the Discovery Institute. That seems to be a common complaint by a lot of “neo-darwinist” people commenting here. That it is getting funding from a “right winged” organization, whatever that is. And it is “polically motivated”.

    I have got to be honest. I rarely can read through all of your posts. From my perspective, that is admittedly on the side of some sort of puposeful design perspective, it seems you will often change or confuse the spirit of the subject at hand. Then interject information, that may indeed, have logical grounding in some form or another, but seems to detract from the obvious course and or intent of the original discussion.

    You also project what seems to me, to be a certain brand of arrogance that couches itself in a kind of “holier than thou” type of expressive motif. As if to say, “you ignorant people, I know a lot more that you do. In fact I know enough to demonstrate that you are wrong and I am right”.

    Admittedly, these are just my impressions, and may not be accurate.

    So my impressions lead me to other questions. What is your background in the chemical sciences? Chemistry, bio-chemistry, organic chemistry. Do you have a background in OOL research? What are your credemtials when claiming to be able to assess probabilities concerning, what one might describe as, the “science” (philosophy) of the “evolution” of self-replicating molecules. How can you demostrate that, even given such a precursor, this can lead to what we observe today in living organisms, including human life and conciousness? Demonstrate how close we are to being able to make any kind of a correlation, scientifically, between a self-replicating molecule and living systems existing today.

    Your response:

    “bpragmatic:
    I am really curious. Somewhere along the line, I think that it was said that you are, or were, a “brain surgeon”? I was wondering how it is you are spending so much time on your the blogs championing the causes of a self described ” atheist materialist Darwinist”. Unless maybe you are retired? Are you getting paid for your involvement? If so, I can’t help but wonder where the money is coming from. Where is it coming from, if that is the case?

    I am not a brain surgeon, bpragmatic. I am a cognitive neuroscientist. And I am not championing any cause. I like discussing things, and I’m interested in why people think the things they do and whether their arguments make sense.

    And if you want to know where I get the time, I’d invite you to look my pile of unwashed laundry and my kitchen sink. But it’s not a pretty sight”.

    Elizabeth, thanks for clarifying that. However, am still interested answers to the rest of the questions. Knowing you are able to understand those. And looking forward to your response.

  103. 103
    kairosfocus says:

    SC:

    Indeed, we do not agree 100% on any number of issues. This goes to show that our common status as design thinkers is not an indoctrinated, partyline position.

    I am aware that you favour the expectations approach.

    I favour the partition of the config space approach, and the instructive metaphor of searching for a needle in a haystack. I am sure you hear the echoes of stat mech in that.

    What KS, Jerad and others seem fixated on is that any state is formally possible on blind search multiplied by the point that under the circumstances any one state is as improbable as any other. So, they wish to suggest or insinuate that ho hum someone must win the lottery and we should have no surprise that bang it is the 500 H’s state.

    Rubbish.

    The pivotal point is that lotteries are DESIGNED to be won, by making the likelihood of success commensurate with the search resources (ticket sales) available. By contrast, the 500-coin case config space of 2^500 ~ 3.27 * 10^150 possibilities so greatly exceeds the number of search opportunities in our practical universe for atomic-level interactions that the comparison is to a single straw sized sample being blindly drawn from a cubical haystack 1,000 Light Years across, comparably thick as our galaxy. If such were superposed on our galactic neighbourhood, since star systems are on average several LY apart, the overwhelming bulk would be straw. Even under circumstances like that, with all but certainty, a blind search of such scope with all but certainty, i.e. with high reliability tantamount to practical certainty, would pick up only straw.

    And in our case the calculable probability of 500 H is 1 in 3.27 * 10^150, which is practically zero, being by your calc 22 SD away from the mean of a sharply peaked distribution. The formal probability is tantamount to utter implausibility of blind chance as a reasonable explanation of seeing 500 H is a tray.

    The obvious and highly plausible alternative causal inference is choice contingency, not chance. One backed up by a great many examples on this and other cases of FSCO/I. The highly reliable inductive inference on seeing a case that is like this of an event e from one of the utterly unrepresentative special zones zi in W, on a sample sj too small to make blind chance a plausible explanation is that something other than chance has been at work, namely choice. Indeed, if we were to stipulate that Dr Liddle’s coin string algorithm were extended to 500 coins and that the rightmost is a head, we would see this as a case where by intelligently directed choice, we transform an initial perhaps at-random config into all H’s.

    In short, we have yet another case on how the only empirically warranted, analytically plausible explanation for FSCO/I is design. That is, FSCO/I is a highly reliable sign of choice contingency as cause.

    Why then is there such a fixation on the logically possible but physically, sampling principles implausible case?

    Because of a determination never to concede that in cases that objectors to design theory wish to dismiss, the presence of FSCO/I is a reliable sign of design as cause. This translates into an unwillingness to concede the possibility of a designer at relevant points.

    Indeed, into a refusal to accept in this case an otherwise uncontroversial principle of investigations in historical and particular origins science. Namely, that on seeing traces from the unobserved past T = {t1, t2, . . . tn}, one compares to relevant candidate causal forces and circumstances in the present {c1, c2 . . . cm}, and observes that if a certain case ck best produces effects {ek1, ek2, . . . ekr} such that there is a high and materially superior correlation between {t1, t2, . . . tn}, and {ek1, ek2, . . . ekr}, then ck is the best causal explanation of T. That is, I have here cited the Newtonian uniformity principle that was (imperfectly) applied by Lyell, Darwin and others.

    The refusal to accept the same logic as evidence when where it points — choice contingency — does not sit well with the materialist a prioris commonly imposed on empirical investigations of the past of origins plainly manifests the sort of ideologically driven question begging selective hyperskepticism that Lewontin as cited in the OP exemplifies.

    In short, the refusal to be led by evidence and analysis in the toy case in view reveals for one and all to see, the underlying materialist or fellow traveller ideology wrapped in a lab coat.

    It is in that context that there is an attempt to pretend that the error is on our part, and this is too often multiplied by ptojection of alleged theistic, theocratic motivations that are cast in the same light as Nazism. Which is ad hominem and well poisoning leading to demonisation and scapegoating. In fact, it is a declaration of open season, as can be seen in the repeated misbehaviour of AF above, who chose to make false insinuations of insanity on my part.

    Somehow, he did not seem to want to recognise that when his fellow TSZ denizen chose to drag in an unrelated topic and pretend that there are no principled reasons for questioning the ongoing homosexualisation of our civilisation, pry trying to push me in the same boat as Nazis, the lines of incivility and slander were passed. Just so, the case where Dr Liddle proceeded to headline a false assertion that her blog was not harbouring such slander — in the teeth of web snapshots, citations and links — shows enabling behaviour for incivility. And the proper response to such is to draw the lesson from tours of shame on similar cases of established incivility.

    Of course, I do not expect ideologues unwilling to concede the significance of the 500 H’s exercise to acknowledge anything else that does not sit well with their agendas, but we can allow the public looking on to see what is going on.

    And it is obvious that it is fear of exposure that is motivating some of the tactics in the thread and elsewhere.

    So, the correct response is to highlight what is going on, hence the three videos embedded above that the objectors evidently are unable to cogently answer when they may be seen in concert. (When Expelled could be treated in isolation it was one thing, but when right next to it we have Schaeffer’s expose — confirmed to be an all too accurate prediction of what has played out since 1980 — of the worldview roots and Weikart’s historical tracing of antecedents, that’s another story.)

    It is high time to wake up and act.

    Maybe at least somewhat of the worst consequences of the cultural continental divide we have allowed to drive a wdge across our civilisation can just possibly be averted. IF, some on the other side are able to wake up to the reality of the sort of nihilism they are beginning to enable, before it is too late.

    And that is why I have graphically highlighted reminders of the degree of depravity nihilists feeling a cultural license to do as they please can descend into. The time to avert such horrors is before they happen, while they seem to be so remote as to be ridiculous. Surely, a “compromise” can be struck?

    It turns out that, predictably, compromises with sufficiently machiavelian nihilists will be used by them as the thin edge opening for a wedge to push through their ruthless agendas, especially if they think they can stereotype, smear, marginalise and demonise likely centres of objection.

    Hitler, for instance came to power as a part of a compromise deal, with the notion that with the limits placed on the Nazis, there was little to fear. One Reichstag fire later, that fell apart.

    (And yes, I accept that that was a black swan event where a half mad dutch youth set fire to it for reasons that can make no sense. But Hitler and cronies were experts in the arts of not letting a crisis go to waste, and were able to set up scapegoats and panic culture and leaders alike that a Bolshevik coup was in prospect — the twist-about, turn-speech false accusation in a classic case. On the strength of that panic, Hitler was able to gain the Nietzsahean superman political saviour status and get practically absolute powers: there was a coup indeed, only, by the National Socialist [yes, socialist] German Workers Party. The rest is sad and bloody history.)

    Resemblance to ever so many possibilities and trends in our day is no coincidence.

    so, let me close by warning based on Niemoller’s famous poetic summary of the slice at a time scapegoating tactic and how it led Germany down the road to Hell:

    First they came for the communists,
    and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a communist.

    Then they came for the socialists,
    and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a socialist.

    Then they came for the trade unionists,
    and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a trade unionist.

    Then they came for the Jews,
    and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a Jew.

    Then they came for the Catholics,
    and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a Catholic.

    Then they came for me,
    and there was no one left to speak for me.

    We have been warned.

    The issue is, will we learn a lesson from Machiavelli?

    Yes, paraphrasing some opening remarks in The Prince: political disorders are like hectic fever. At the first, hard to diagnose and easy to cure, By the time, however, when the course of the disease is obvious to all, it is far too late to cure.

    He of course meant it as a part of his justification for a power elite to use influence and power bases to manipulate and dominate the generally dumb public of sheeple.

    We need to invert it by creating a widespread, growing awareness of what is going on and a critical mass of reformers, before it becomes utterly too late. (And already, the price to be paid will be stiff. We are already being falsely scapegoated as Nazis.)

    This is a time we need genuine shepherds, not wolves in shepherds’ clothing.

    KF

  104. 104
    kairosfocus says:

    PS: I see onward attempts to divert on split brains (already addressed here at UD recently — the interpretation being pushed is strained amd exaggerated, IIRC, under normal circumstances the people in question function in unified ways, i.e. we see here a processing problem . . . ) and the like. I simply point out that this is not the thread for such a discussion and that for me I have long since addressed mind-brain issues on the Smith, two-tier controller model here on in context. There is nothing in this latest that cannot be accounted for on confusion through situational malfunction of the I/O in the loop processor. In addition, I find that evolutionary materialism advocates routinely duck the force of the fatal self referential incoherence in the heart of their system, and the linked problem of no worldview foundation IS capable of bearing the weight of OUGHT.

    FAIR WARNING: I will come down hard on further thread diversion efforts. I have already warned KS on thread diversion, and see he is insistent on hiding threadjacking attempts under euphemisms. Sorry, wasn’t born yesterday, I have already answered the wider issue as linked, and I have quite enough on my hands in the real world situations I face. If KS et al are unwilling to face the self referential absurdity and amorality of their favoured view that is their problem, not mine — save insofar as that opens the door of invitation to nihilists. And so far as I can see the Smith architecture is a sufficiently useful framework that gives room for all I need.

  105. 105
    keiths says:

    KF,

    PS: I see onward attempts to divert on split brains…

    No, KF. I am not trying to divert the thread. I invited you to comment on another thread, but you insist on responding here, even when talking about brains and souls!

    FAIR WARNING: I will come down hard on further thread diversion efforts. I have already warned KS on thread diversion, and see he is insistent on hiding threadjacking attempts under euphemisms.

    Are you warming up “Mr. Leathers? Get over yourself, KF.

    THAT’S IT. Onlookers, a reasonable comment was twisted by the foul into vile slander in fever swamp sites. KS continues his thread jacking. He is asked to leave this thread and others I own. He was patently aware that he does not come back to UD under any presumption of innocence. His repeated misbehaviour here goes beyond the pale and he too is out. KF

  106. 106
    Jerad says:

    And in our case the calculable probability of 500 H is 1 in 3.27 * 10^150, which is practically zero, being by your calc 22 SD away from the mean of a sharply peaked distribution. The formal probability is tantamount to utter implausibility of blind chance as a reasonable explanation of seeing 500 H is a tray.

    And any other particular outcome has the same probability. And obviously classes of outcomes have a greater probability of being ‘hit’.

    Why then is there such a fixation on the logically possible but physically, sampling principles implausible case?

    Because you keep saying it’s not a sensible explanation for the event and want to skip to design.

    Because of a determination never to concede that in cases that objectors to design theory wish to dismiss, the presence of FSCO/I is a reliable sign of design as cause. This translates into an unwillingness to concede the possibility of a designer at relevant points.

    And I thought you were supposed to exhaust all other possible explanations first. Like chance. Which you’ve admitted is possible.

    I’ll not address your cultural fear mongering.

  107. 107
    Jerad says:

    Every possible sequence of 500 Hs and Ts is equally likely. We all agree. The probability of getting any particular sequence is 1/2^500. We all agree.

    Flip a coin 500 times, you will get one of those sequences that had a 1 in 2^500 chance of coming up. A seemingly impossible chance occurrence. And yet . . . it happened. It happens every time you flip a fair coin 500 times. You get an incredibly unlikely outcome. Every time.

    If you ‘measure’ the possible outcomes in some way, say the number of heads in the sequence, then you’re most likely to get a result between +/- 3 standard deviations of the ‘norm’. Of course. If you use a different ‘measure’ then you get a different ‘norm’. Your measure could be Shannon information. What’s the norm then? What’s the standard deviation? Your measure could be the number of HHs you get. Your measure could be the number of HTHs you get. Your measure could be the longest unbroken sequence of Hs you get.

    But no matter what outcome you get under whatever measure you chose each possible outcome is equally likely. And while our pattern seeking brains might find one or another sequence disturbing or noteworthy they are all the same mathematically. There is no need of a design inference once you’re sure there is no bias in the system.

    Chance happens. And requires no special pleading or invocation of an unknown, undefined, unobserved agent.

  108. 108

    Eric:

    So statements like Elizabeth’s @64 are simply wrong. The question is not whether such a process, with all its assumptions, can produce something. Everyone knows it can.

    I think my statement is correct, Eric. We did not know, prior to Avida, that IC structures could evolve, or evolve by deeply IC pathways. Behe’s case was that such structures could not in principle evolve, not that they could not evolve in biology. Hence his famous mousetrap analogy. His claim was that if something could not function with any of its parts missing, it could not evolve by Darwinian means, because it would require non-selectable precursors. This claim, he later conceded, is not in fact true, because precursors can selected for a different reason; and precursors can also be more complex rather than less (e.g. an arch). So co-option and scaffolding, respectively, are arguments against Behe’s original case. However, he then changed his definition of IC to refer to a pathway rather than a function, and said that a function could not evolved if the necessary precursor pathways involved many non-selectable (non-advantageous) steps – and defined IC pathways of Degree N, where N is the number of non-selectable steps.

    AVIDA showed that both IC structures could evolve by Darwinian mechanisms, and that structures could evolve via deeply IC pathways, including quite severelydeleteriousprecursors. Thus Behe’s principle was falsified by AVIDA.

    However:

    The question is whether such a process exists in the real world. No genetic algorithm has answered that question, and until they simulate, with at least some level of fidelity, real-world processes, the entire effort is an exercise in irrelevance.

    That is a quite separate question – a different set of goalposts. It may well be true that some features observed in nature could not have evolved. But what AVIDA showed is that we cannot simply look at a feature, observe that it is IC or that the precursor pathway must have been deeply IC, and conclude it could not have evolved. AVIDA demonstrated that Behe’s criteria don’t work. That doesn’t mean that there are no such criteria. It’s just that you can’t base the ID case on Behe’s IC.

    Notably, with the oft-cited Avida study (in Nature, if memory serves), the authors acknowledged that if the program required a couple of parts to come along simultaneously that their digital organisms never “evolved” the final goal. That was precisely Behe’s point. He argues there is good reason to believe that — in reality, not in silico — there are molecular machines that require multiple parts to come along at once and that such machines are not amenable to a Darwinian process.

    Could you provide a direct quotation, Eric? I think you may have misread or misremembered. I agree that it was precisely Behe’s point. And it was precisely that point that I understood as being refuted. And I have looked at the paper very closely, and indeed, played with AVIDA.

    The most difficult-to-evolve function, “equ”, required many parts to be in place simultaneously to work. Obviously their is no requirement that they “come along” simultaneously – the point is that there may be no advantage to any one alone, so no reason for it to hang around once it is there. In other words “equ” is IC by Behe’s mousetrap definition – it only works if all the components are in place. If any one is missing, there is no function. Furthermore, many of those parts, and combinations of parts, are at best non-advantageous, and at worst actually deleterious. In all the runs I have seen, “equ” only evolved subsequent to a mutation that resulted in a steep drop in fitness. In other words, not only was it IC, it was only evolvable in by a pathway that was not only deeply IC but a pathway that actually involved a substantially deleterious step. It should also be noted that the function (performing the logic function “equ”) could be achieved in ways – there was no single “solution”, just as in life, what is (or is postulated to be) selected is not a particular design, but a solution that works.

    So I think you are mistaken here, Eric. Of course AVIDA does not prove that certain biological features evolved. What it does show is that the Behe’s IC argument is not a good argument against the evolution of IC features or evolution via IC pathways.

  109. 109

    bpragmatic

    This forum is apparently funded by the Discovery Institute. That seems to be a common complaint by a lot of “neo-darwinist” people commenting here. That it is getting funding from a “right winged” organization, whatever that is. And it is “polically motivated”.

    Well, it’s not my complaint. I don’t think it’s true, is it? I think it’s run by Barry and funded by the ads.

    I could be wrong. It wouldn’t bother me. I think it would be good to have a publically accessible forum run by the DI.

    I have got to be honest. I rarely can read through all of your posts. From my perspective, that is admittedly on the side of some sort of puposeful design perspective, it seems you will often change or confuse the spirit of the subject at hand. Then interject information, that may indeed, have logical grounding in some form or another, but seems to detract from the obvious course and or intent of the original discussion.

    That’s probably true. What frustrates me about a lot of ID vs Evolution discussions is that people talk past each other, and misunderstand each other’s positions, or make assumptions that, in my view, beg the very question at issue. But I can see how that must look like irrelevance at time – I guess from my PoV, it’s the fact that my point is regarded as “irrelevant” that is the problem!

    You also project what seems to me, to be a certain brand of arrogance that couches itself in a kind of “holier than thou” type of expressive motif. As if to say, “you ignorant people, I know a lot more that you do. In fact I know enough to demonstrate that you are wrong and I am right”.

    Well, it’s not intentional, but I guess arrogance never is. I will try harder to make it clear that I am not trying to argue from authority, but to explain (and argue for!) my position.

    Admittedly, these are just my impressions, and may not be accurate.

    So my impressions lead me to other questions. What is your background in the chemical sciences? Chemistry, bio-chemistry, organic chemistry. Do you have a background in OOL research? What are your credemtials when claiming to be able to assess probabilities concerning, what one might describe as, the “science” (philosophy) of the “evolution” of self-replicating molecules. How can you demostrate that, even given such a precursor, this can lead to what we observe today in living organisms, including human life and conciousness? Demonstrate how close we are to being able to make any kind of a correlation, scientifically, between a self-replicating molecule and living systems existing today.

    I have a scientific training, including training and expertise in probability and statistics. I teach quantitative methodology at post-graduate level. My background is in systems neuroscience, not chemistry. I do not do OoL research. I do not think that it is possible to demonstrate that a Designer was not required to produce Life and consciousness. I do think it is possible to uncover mechanisms by which it might have done. My own hunch is that if there is a Designer, the Designer brought into existence a world in which conscious life would evolve through its own laws, and would therefore not be detectable from within that world. But I do not rule out an interventionist Designer. I simply see no need to posit one.

    I hope that makes my position clearer 🙂

    Cheers

    Lizzie

  110. 110
    kairosfocus says:

    Jerad:

    This is amazing, tellingly revealing:

    106: any other particular outcome has the same probability. And obviously classes of outcomes have a greater probability of being ‘hit’ . . . . you keep saying it’s not a sensible explanation for the event and want to skip to design.

    107: Chance happens. And requires no special pleading or invocation of an unknown, undefined, unobserved agent.

    With all due respect, it is quite evident from the just above that you are simply looking for straws to clutch at in hopes they will save your a priori exclusion of reasonable explanatory possibilities from sinking.

    The matter is quite simple save to those determined not to see it. Some “lotteries” are practically speaking unwinnable on blind chance, and this is one of them.

    Yes, if we toss coins, it must have some one outcome or another, where any one outcome is improbable. What is NOT improbable — it is the overwhelming bulk of the distribution — is that the sheer statistical weight of the dominant cluster will tell: a near 250H:250T distribution in no particular special order such as HTHT . . . or ASCII code etc. It is no surprise to see such an expected result, but we should be highly suspicious if there is a possibility of design and we see the sort of deeply isolated outcome from one of the special zones listed and mentioned above.

    A reasonable person would acknowledge that, but it is a good test of cognitive bias on this matter that there will be bitter ender resistance to anything that smacks of evidence pointing where they would not go.

    As for the remark from 107, you have in effect decided to do one of two things: (a) rule out inferences to not- directly- observed entities inferred on inference to best explanation on signs (including circumstantial evidence in law), or (b) you are indulging in selective hyperskepticism.

    Since I have no doubt that you believe in electrons, the general picture of the deep past in biology, geology and cosmology commonly presented as scientific, and the like, it is patent that the problem is B. Where it does not suit you, you have no intention to accept any cumulative case that points where you would not go.

    To such, I simply repeat, FSCO/I is a well tested — billions of cases — and empirically reliable sign of design. As with the second law of thermodynamics, it is now the objector who carries the burden to show cause by way of empirically observed counter example. The toy case being analysed in this thread and elsewhere is actually supportive, showing through a concrete example, why the generalisation that we can infer on sign from FSCO/I to design as best causal explanation works.

    Instead of the twistabout cited, the wiser stance is that the evidence of say digital code and organised execution machinery in the living cell points to design as best explanation.

    Of course, you seem to be hinting at the false and loaded strawman dichotomy: natural vs supernatural cause. This is false (as by now you should long since know), the inference is to causal process, not to specific agent responsible. A better dichotomy is natural causal factors working by blind chance and or mechanical necessity vs the ART-ificial, leaving characteristic traces. This has been on the table since at least Plato in The Laws Bk X, where he contrasted accident and necessity of nature with art.

    In short, that TWEREDUN comes before and is distinct from WHODUNIT. In the case of the world of cell based life, as has been repeatedly pointed out, in principle a molecular nanotech lab some generations beyond Venter et al would be adequate.

    When we turn to the fine tuned nature of the observed cosmos that sets up a venue in which C-chemistry, aqueous medium, cell based life on terrestrial planets is possible, that points to design by an entity capable of building a cosmos, one set up for cell based life.

    The unwillingness to acknowledge the actual case being made for design but to instead play at strawman games, is further revealing of the underlying ideological mindset.

    As for your label and dismiss tactic on alleged cultural fear mongering, I simply retort that fools rush in where angels fear to tread.

    That is, we had better pay serious attention to the historically known vulnerabilities of democratic self-government or we will end up enabling wickedness by making the same blunders over and over. In this case, in context you are enabling slander — something that is linked in the very first sentence of the OP.

    I hope you will at least ponder that.

    Good day

    KF

  111. 111
    kairosfocus says:

    Dr Liddle, with all due respect, the other side to that story, and a material part of the OP above (cf. first sentence, also here), is that you also operate an objecting blog in which you are currently hosting slander by invidious association with Nazism, and where you in a headlined article blandly denied same in the teeth of ample opportunity to know better and do better. In addition, you have tried to defend the slander, now that it is undeniable. Olive branch rhetoric, in that context, rings decidedly hollow when the false accusations and insinuations you have harboured and enabled continue to do their fell work. Frankly, that comes across much as the being offended at seeing exposes of what the slave trade was actually like, while sipping slave produced sweeteners in tea and eating same in baked goodies. There is no moral equivalency here that you can “moderate” you are a part of the problem. Kindly face it and fix it. KF

  112. 112

    The Darwinists are only interested in making the point that it is possible to flip 500 coins and get heads, and that it is possible for Darwinian processes to generate what we see in biology.

    Yes, it is all possible. It is also possible that the road in front of your car, via massive happenstance quantum fluctuation, turn into purple taffee. It’s not impossible; there is no law of physics that would prevent it. It’s possible that your neighbor won 15 lotteries in a row by chance. It’s possible that many different parts of a finely tuned machine were generated by chance, for other reasons, for other uses, and somehow by chance became fitted together over time, each step selectably advantageous, until an entirely new machine that does something entirely different is built, functions, and provides an advantage.

    There is no physical law that prevents such things from occurring, and for those desperate to cling to a particular worldview, bare possibility is all that is necessary to ignore the blatantly obvious.

  113. 113
    kairosfocus says:

    PS: Onlookers should find Abel on the universal plausibility bound, here, helpful and a tonic in the face of the sort of chance posturing we see above. KF

  114. 114
    kairosfocus says:

    PPS: Let’s clip a few juicy snippets from Abel:
    ________

    >> at some point our reluctance to exclude any possibility becomes stultifying to operational science [10]. Falsification is critical to narrowing down the list of serious possibilities [11]. Almost all hypotheses are possible. Few of them wind up being helpful and scientifically productive. Just because a hypothesis is possible should not grant that hypothesis scientific respectability. More attention to the concept of “infeasibility” has been suggested [12]. Millions of dollars in astrobiology grant money have been wasted on scenarios that are possible, but plausibly bankrupt. The question for scientific methodology should not be, “Is this scenario possible?” The question should be, “Is this possibility a plausible scientific hypothesis?” One chance in 10200 is theoretically possible, but given maximum cosmic probabilistic resources, such a possibility is hardly plausible. With funding resources rapidly drying up, science needs a foundational principle by which to falsify a myriad of theoretical possibilities that are not worthy of serious scientific consideration and modeling.

    Proving a theory is considered technically unachievable [11]. Few bench scientists realize that falsification has also been shown by philosophers of science to be at best technically suspect [13]. Nevertheless, operational science has no choice but to proceed primarily by a process of elimination through practical falsification of competing models and theories. >>

    >> Great care must be taken at this point, especially given the many non intuitive aspects of scientifically addressable reality. But operational science must proceed on the basis of best-thus-far tentative knowledge. The human epistemological problem is quite real. But we cannot allow it to paralyze scientific inquiry.

    If it is true that we cannot know anything for certain, then we have all the more reason to proceed on the basis of the greatest “plausibility of belief” [15-19]. If human mental constructions cannot be equated with objective reality, we are all the more justified in pursuing the greatest likelihood of correspondence of our knowledge to the object of that knowledge–presumed ontological being itself. Can we prove that objectivity exists outside of our minds? No. Does that establish that objectivity does not exist outside of our minds? No again. Science makes its best progress based on the axioms that 1) an objective reality independent of our minds does exist, and 2) scientists’ collective knowledge can progressively correspond to that objective reality. The human epistemological problem is kept in its proper place through a) double-blind studies, b) groups of independent investigators all repeating the same experiment, c) prediction fulfillments, and d) the application of pristine logic (taking linguistic fuzziness into account), and e) the competition of various human ideas for best correspondence to repeated independent observations. >>

    >> Combinatorial imaginings and hypothetical scenarios can be endlessly argued simply on the grounds that they are theoretically possible. But there is a point beyond which arguing the plausibility of an absurdly low probability becomes operationally counterproductive. That point can actually be quantified for universal application to all fields of science, not just astrobiology. Quantification of a UPM and application of the UPP inequality test to that specific UPM provides for definitive, unequivocal falsification of scientifically unhelpful and functionally useless hypotheses. When the UPP is violated, declaring falsification of that highly implausible notion is just as justified as the firm commitment we make to any mathematical axiom or physical “law” of motion. >>

    >> To be able to definitively falsify ridiculously implausible hypotheses, we need first a Universal Plausibility Metric (UPM) to assign a numerical plausibility value to each proposed hypothetical scenario. Second, a Universal Plausibility Principle (UPP) inequality is needed as plausibility bound of this measurement for falsification evaluation. We need a cut-off point beyond which no extremely low probability scenario can be considered a “scientifically respectable” possibility. What is needed more than a probability bound is a plausibility bound. Any “possibility” that exceeds the ability of its probabilistic resources to generate should immediately be considered a “functional non possibility,” and therefore an implausible scenario. While it may not be a theoretically absolute impossibility, if it exceeds its probabilistic resources, it is a gross understatement to declare that such a proposed scenario is simply not worth the expenditure of serious scientific consideration, pursuit, and resources. . . .

    Since approximately 1017 seconds have elapsed since the Big Bang, we factor that total time into the following calculations of quantum perspective probabilistic resource measures. Note that the difference between the age of the earth and the age of the cosmos is only a factor of 3. A factor of 3 is rather negligible at the high order of magnitude of 1017 seconds since the Big Bang (versus age of the earth). Thus, 1017 seconds is used for all three astronomical subsets:

    [universe 10^140

    galaxy 10^127
    solar system 10^117
    earth 10^102]

    These above limits of probabilistic resources exist within the only known universe that we can repeatedly observe–the only universe that is scientifically addressable. Wild metaphysical claims of an infinite number of cosmoses may be fine for cosmological imagination, religious belief, or superstition. But such conjecturing has no place in hard science. Such claims cannot be empirically investigated, and they certainly cannot be falsified. They violate Ockham’s (Occam’s) Razor [40]. No prediction fulfillments are realizable. They are therefore nothing more than blind beliefs that are totally inappropriate in peer-reviewed scientific literature. Such cosmological conjectures are far closer to metaphysical or philosophic enterprises than they are to bench science.

    From a more classical perspective at the level of ordinary molecular/chemical reactions, we will again provide metrics first for the entire universe (u) followed by three astronomical subsets, our galaxy (g), our solar system (s) and earth (e).

    The classical molecular/chemical perspective makes two primary changes from the quantum perspective. With the classical perspective, the number of atoms rather than the number of protons, neutrons and electrons is used. In addition, the total number of classical chemical reactions that could have taken place since the Big Bang is used rather than transitions related to cubic light-Planck’s. The shortest time any transition requires before a chemical reaction can take place is 10 femtoseconds [41-46]. A femtosecond is 10-15 seconds. Complete chemical reactions, however, rarely take place faster than the picosecond range (10-12 secs). Most biochemical reactions, even with highly sophisticated enzymatic catalysis, take place no faster than the nano (10-9) and usually the micro (10-6) range. To be exceedingly generous (perhaps overly permissive of the capabilities of the chance hypothesis), we shall use 100 femtoseconds as the shortest chemical reaction time. 100 femtoseconds is 10-13 seconds. Thus 1013 simple and fastest chemical reactions could conceivably take place per second in the best of theoretical pipe-dream scenarios. The four c?A measures are as follows:

    [universe: 10^106
    galaxy 10^96
    solar system 10^85
    earth 10^70] >>

    ___________

    The devastating contrast to the line of well chance is enough talking points above, is illuminating.

    KF

  115. 115

    If bare possibility is enough to satisfy a Darwinist or materialists that 500 heads in row is sufficiently explained by chance, then there is no evidence that can be presented that can change their minds about either the fine-tuning of the universe or about Darwinistic evolutionary “explanations”.

    There will always be enough chance, for them, to fill in the gaps.

    PREZACTLY, that is exactly why, a priori, the want to redefine science — in their minds tantamount to knowledge in naturalistic terms. Question-begging on the grand scale imposed on science, sci ed and popularisation. When people realise the ideologisation and where it is going a la Plato’s warning, there is going to be a huge blow-up, bang goes credibility. These ideologues are playing with a fire they don’t dream of what it will do if unchecked. But then, that is what James 3 is all about. KF

  116. 116
    Joe says:

    Elizabeth:

    Behe’s case was that such structures could not in principle evolve, not that they could not evolve in biology.

    That is incorrect. Dr Behe point was IC could not evolve via blind and undirected processes.

    It appears that you know less about ID then you do about darwiniam.

    AVIDA showed that both IC structures could evolve by Darwinian mechanisms…

    No, it did not as AVIDA does not mimic darwinian processes.

    Thus Behe’s principle was falsified by AVIDA.

    Only to the willfully ignorant.

    So here we have Lizzie, clueless about ID and clueless about darwinism, thinking that she can opine on both.

    AVIDA, of course, was deconstructed above in the thread. The parameters chosen were picked to create an utterly false impression of success, and by loading in NAND gates — ANY digital logic entity can be built up from NANDS (or alternatively NORs) — and the incremental reward of toy-scale increments relative to what body plans would need, the whole was designed to give a misleading impression, just like Weasel. Frankly, it is a set-up, or maybe stronger language would be needed, let’s say that a stock promoter who tried a stunt like this would be headed for the Big House. And to think they got away with this in Judge Jones’ court room . . . have a look at Dr Marks’ video for more on this. KF

  117. 117
    Joe says:

    And Lizzie talks about herself:

    What frustrates me about a lot of ID vs Evolution discussions is that people talk past each other, and misunderstand each other’s positions, or make assumptions that, in my view, beg the very question at issue.

    That is Lizzie- she doesn’t understand ID. She doesn’t understand darwinism and she always makes assumptions that beg the question.

    Now I know she will say, again, that it is I who doesn’t understand darwinism. However I have supported everything I have said about darwinism with valid references. OTOH she uses herself to support what she sez.

  118. 118
    Axel says:

    Wow! In a nutshell – your #112, William. You left out the catch-all multiverse. But sometimes, labour-intensive is better.

    I got a bit lost with your finely-tuned machine, but I felt better for having read it; as the purple-coloured taffe captured my imagination. Oddly enough, they are not hyperbolical at all, are they? A universe is something else, as they say (with all due deference to a multiverse that might have ears and be listening).

  119. 119
    Joe says:

    Jerad:

    Every possible sequence of 500 Hs and Ts is equally likely. We all agree.

    No, Jerad, that is false. The odds of getting some pattern is exactly 1 and it won’t be all H not all T.

  120. 120
    Axel says:

    Another killer post, your #115, William! (Sorry if this getting to sound sycophantic)

    It’s more pithy and amusing, though, without the last brief sentence, since the fact that it’s 100% true detracts from the illusion of its mordantly satirical flavour.

    It reminds me of a journalist’s elliptical response to the base, zany vilification of Martin Luther King by a certain American socialite. It went something like this:

    ‘Evidently, nothing can now tarnish the reputation of (socialite).’ Again, doubtless perfectly factual, albeit on a more ‘folk’ level.

  121. 121
    scordova says:

    If bare possibility is enough to satisfy a Darwinist or materialists that 500 heads in row is sufficiently explained by chance, then there is no evidence that can be presented that can change their minds about either the fine-tuning of the universe or about Darwinistic evolutionary “explanations”.

    There will always be enough chance, for them, to fill in the gaps.

    That sort of reasoning might be adequate for some Darwinists, but for some ID-ists (myself included) it may feel uncomfortable that there is formally a remote possibility for the chance hypothesis being true.

    In my time at the blackjack tables, I’ve seen unfavorable 2 sigma deviations from expectation with distressing regularity, sometimes a 3 sigma event. I’ve had colleagues who had a 4 sigma losing streak. The vaunted Massachusetts Institute of Technology Blackjack Team was once in the red for 9 months. I estimated that was probably a 2.5 sigma event.

    In the skilled gambling community (we call ourselves Advantage Players or APs), we all know in a group of a few thousand of us, one of us poor chaps is going to get clocked with a 3 or more sigma losing streak….thus the chance hypothesis lingers in our minds as well.

    Rather than saying the possibility of chance as a solution is absurd, I realized, if I framed it in terms of reasonable wagers and payoffs, Design was a better bet than Darwin. When I realized that, Design became clearly the better bet. I found peace on the matter in that way. In view of all the uncertainties, and lack of absolute knowledge, I at least knew I was making the best bet given what I knew.

    Hence I wrote:
    http://www.uncommondescent.com.....t-mistake/

  122. 122
    Axel says:

    ‘formally’ (a remote possibility) is still the operative words, Salvatore. Would a 4 sigma losing streak be even remotely in the same ballpark as the fine-tuning of the universe, Sal?

    It’s not entirely a rhetorical question, as my impression concerning matters I know next to nothing about wouldn’t necessarily be so. But one nought of the multiple odds against a random fine-tuning of the universe for every subatomic particle in the universe, indeed, more, sounds to me ‘way out there, man’, as an old hippie might say. Maybe. Maybe, you uneasiness, an intuitive fear, is not well-grounded here.

  123. 123
    keiths says:

    SNIP — I instructed you by warning and you responded by alluding to a particularly nasty slander. I hope I do not need to tell you further that you have long since worn out any welcome you may have had. I will leave this for you as a way you may return: have the decency to apologise and amend your ways. Shame on you! GEM of TKI

  124. 124
    kairosfocus says:

    SC: Yup, 3 and 4 or 5 sigma events are not unheard of. A 22 sigma (per your own calc) is a different kettle of fish. The soft roadblock of being so deeply isolated in a config space that realistic samples are all but certain to miss a relevant zone, is as real as any other. And even if those odds were beat once or twice that would be one thing. Just to get to first life, we are looking at getting the right cluster of wins against odds longer than 500H, dozens to hundreds of times over. That is one case where the notion of a chance contingency driven process falls apart — no wonder this is dead in OOL work. And, the other naturalistic appeal, blind mechanical necessity or a ratchet of the two run into on the first want of contingency and on the other both the scale of required functionally specific complexity and the fact that the required reproduction is entangled in the problem. The only credible, empirically grounded explanation for so much FSCO/I is design. And once design is at the root of the tree of life there can be no good reason to exclude it thereafter. No wonder the UD Darwin essay challenge is not seriously answered after nine months and counting. KF

  125. 125
    scordova says:

    Maybe, you uneasiness, an intuitive fear, is not well-grounded here.

    Perhaps. I’m a Doubting Thomas by nature. But what I try not to do is make bad wagers. 🙂 Darwinism, Multiverses, non-Existence of God? I wouldn’t bet on that. Clearly I’m casting my lot (pun intended) with the Intelligent Designer.

  126. 126
    Jerad says:

    With all due respect, it is quite evident from the just above that you are simply looking for straws to clutch at in hopes they will save your a priori exclusion of reasonable explanatory possibilities from sinking.

    If you can find any mathematical fault with what I’m saying please say so.

    Yes, if we toss coins, it must have some one outcome or another, where any one outcome is improbable. What is NOT improbable — it is the overwhelming bulk of the distribution — is that the sheer statistical weight of the dominant cluster will tell: a near 250H:250T distribution in no particular special order such as HTHT . . . or ASCII code etc. It is no surprise to see such an expected result, but we should be highly suspicious if there is a possibility of design and we see the sort of deeply isolated outcome from one of the special zones listed and mentioned above.

    I agreed that you would expect a random mix of approximately half Hs and half Ts. But why are you so convinced by a fluke result of all head which you admit is possible?

    As for the remark from 107, you have in effect decided to do one of two things: (a) rule out inferences to not- directly- observed entities inferred on inference to best explanation on signs (including circumstantial evidence in law), or (b) you are indulging in selective hyperskepticism.

    I just don’t see the need to invoke agents which have not been proven to exist. That’s not hyperskepticism, that’s just being pragmatic.

    Since I have no doubt that you believe in electrons, the general picture of the deep past in biology, geology and cosmology commonly presented as scientific, and the like, it is patent that the problem is B. Where it does not suit you, you have no intention to accept any cumulative case that points where you would not go.

    What do electrons have to do with it? Again, I have no problem with a designer but I need a lot better evidence than getting 500 heads in a row, an outcome which is perfectly well explained by chance. Why is your acceptance of design at such a low threshold? We’re talking about something truly amazing and miraculous I trust. I’d want to be damn sure. Like not just being improbable but being impossible based on the laws of physics as we understand them.

    To such, I simply repeat, FSCO/I is a well tested — billions of cases — and empirically reliable sign of design. As with the second law of thermodynamics, it is now the objector who carries the burden to show cause by way of empirically observed counter example. The toy case being analysed in this thread and elsewhere is actually supportive, showing through a concrete example, why the generalisation that we can infer on sign from FSCO/I to design as best causal explanation works.

    But you need to show that you can detect design dependably and repeatedly. Will you accept a challenge? I have one in mind.

    Instead of the twistabout cited, the wiser stance is that the evidence of say digital code and organised execution machinery in the living cell points to design as best explanation.

    Just because you find it a more parsimonious explanation doesn’t make it so. You assume something you don’t need to assume.

    The Darwinists are only interested in making the point that it is possible to flip 500 coins and get heads, and that it is possible for Darwinian processes to generate what we see in biology.

    Well, that a concession of sorts.

    There is no physical law that prevents such things from occurring, and for those desperate to cling to a particular worldview, bare possibility is all that is necessary to ignore the blatantly obvious.

    But we shouldn’t assume agents without absolutely having to do so correct?

    If bare possibility is enough to satisfy a Darwinist or materialists that 500 heads in row is sufficiently explained by chance, then there is no evidence that can be presented that can change their minds about either the fine-tuning of the universe or about Darwinistic evolutionary “explanations”.

    Now I call strawman on this. We never said we would just ‘accept’ chance without first being damn sure there was no bias in the system. You guys focus on the possible end result without considering the process because you don’t like the fact that we don’t see the need for design IN THIS PARTICULAR CASE. Suggest something else, show me a situation.

    Every possible sequence of 500 Hs and Ts is equally likely. We all agree.

    No, Jerad, that is false. The odds of getting some pattern is exactly 1 and it won’t be all H not all T.

    You know, one thing that bothers me about this forum is that some of the ID supporters will not bother to correct their fellows when they get something wrong. Dr Sewell, Sal, Donald, Denyse? If you don’t point out when one of your prolific commentators is wrong it just looks like you are unable to distinguish good arguments from bad ones.

    That sort of reasoning might be adequate for some Darwinists, but for some ID-ists (myself included) it may feel uncomfortable that there is formally a remote possibility for the chance hypothesis being true.

    Heaven forbid anyone should have to accept something that is uncomfortable or against their beliefs.

    Rather than saying the possibility of chance as a solution is absurd, I realized, if I framed it in terms of reasonable wagers and payoffs, Design was a better bet than Darwin. When I realized that, Design became clearly the better bet. I found peace on the matter in that way. In view of all the uncertainties, and lack of absolute knowledge, I at least knew I was making the best bet given what I knew.

    I’d probably make the same bets at you would. But I do so because of the mathematics. And the science.

    Will you help me correct some of your co-ID proponents in their misunderstandings of the mathematics?

  127. 127
    bpragmatic says:

    “I hope that makes my position clearer 🙂

    Cheers

    Lizzie”

    Yes it does Lizzy. Thanks for going through the effort to respond to my post! I understand your points of view better now and will try to keep all of that in mind when following your posts.

    (p.s., Please do not let those dishes go too long. Hard telling what might evolve in the sink. LOL!)

  128. 128

    William:

    If bare possibility is enough to satisfy a Darwinist or materialists that 500 heads in row is sufficiently explained by chance, then there is no evidence that can be presented that can change their minds about either the fine-tuning of the universe or about Darwinistic evolutionary “explanations”.

    There will always be enough chance, for them, to fill in the gaps.

    Can you cite a single “Darwinist or materialist” who has calimed that 500 heads is “sufficiently explained by chance” (whatever that is supposed to mean).

    Has any poster said anything other than the equivalent of: almost any other explanation is more likely?

    If so, please link to the post.

    If not, please retract your generalisation.

  129. 129

    William

    The Darwinists are only interested in making the point that it is possible to flip 500 coins and get heads, and that it is possible for Darwinian processes to generate what we see in biology.

    This is simply not true, William. You must be reading a different blog from the one I am reading.

    Firstly: Every “Darwinist” I have read who has claimed (perfectly accurately, and uncontentiously) that flipping 500 Heads is just as possible as flipping any other sequence as also made the point that almost any other explanation would be more likely.

    Secondly: Darwinian processes are not “chance”, and in coin flips. To say that Darwinian evolution is a plausible explanation for the diversity of life is nothing like saying that chance is a plausible explanation for a sequence of 500 coin flips.

    Yes, it is all possible. It is also possible that the road in front of your car, via massive happenstance quantum fluctuation, turn into purple taffee. It’s not impossible; there is no law of physics that would prevent it. It’s possible that your neighbor won 15 lotteries in a row by chance. It’s possible that many different parts of a finely tuned machine were generated by chance, for other reasons, for other uses, and somehow by chance became fitted together over time, each step selectably advantageous, until an entirely new machine that does something entirely different is built, functions, and provides an advantage.

    There is no physical law that prevents such things from occurring, and for those desperate to cling to a particular worldview, bare possibility is all that is necessary to ignore the blatantly obvious.

    Darwinian evolution is not a coin flip, William.

    This conversation becomes increasingly bizarre.

    Somehow, making the perfectly uncontentious point that 500 Heads are possible has been taken as the Mark of Cain, and anyone making that point is assumed also to be saying that this means that Darwinian evolution is as plausible an explanation of the diversity of life as flipping 500 Heads.

    I can only think that this is because the magic number “500” has entered ID mythology as a kind of shibboleth, so that anyone who expresses the view that a 500 bit event is possible is considered terminally gullible and/or so committed to Materialism that they will say that black is white rather than consider that anything other than chance is responsible for anything.

    Nothing could be further from the truth.

    Quite apart from anything else, I’ve said several times, and I’m sure others would agree, that 500 bits (22 sigma)is way too conservative an alpha criterion (i.e. the threshold for rejecting a null). I’d be suspicious at 3, and highly confident at 5. The problems with CSI aren’t with the 500 bit threshold.

    You could lower it to 5, and it would still be a flawed measure, for the blindingly simple reason that Darwinian evolution is not a chance hypothesis.

    You can’t slide a razorblade between what “Darwinists” think about the probability of 500 Heads being tossed fairly with a fair coin and what ID proponents think.

    It’s a phoney war.

  130. 130

    A lot of loose talk is going on in this talk about “22 sigma events” and “5 sigma events” etc.

    There is no such thing.

    What those sigmas are doing is telling you how likely an event is under some null hypothesis.

    And so, to claim that X is a “22 sigma event” only make sense if you also specify the null. And you’d reject that null.

    With coin tosses, and roulette it’s very easy to compute the null, because it’s intrinsic to the assumptions of the game.

    Computing the null for a complex non-linear process is another kettle of fish entirely.

    So to talk about a protein being “22 sigma”, therefore design, is meaningless. It’s 22 sigma under what null?

    Durston and Abel’s null is simply random draw. That’s fine, because they don’t actually infer Design from their 500+ bits.

    As they shouldn’t because “random draw” does not equal “non-design”.

    Nobody in evolutionary science is suggesting that proteins appeared by a process of “random draw”.

    If you want to show that a protein was designed, it is not sufficient to show that it did not result from “random draw”.

    And that’s why null hypothesis testing doesn’t work for making a Design inference. You need to use something else.

  131. 131
    kairosfocus says:

    Jerad:

    At this point, I am operating on the conclusion on evidence that you are locked into an ideological system.

    I just briefly note that electrons are classic cases of invisible entities in physics, which you did not seem to know. Your methodological assumptions need considerable adjustments that I do not expect at this point.

    However, this I must note on:

    Well, that a concession of sorts.

    Why do you come across as unable to read with comprehension what is in the OP?

    To date you show no sign of being able to understand the difference between the logically possible and the empirically observable on relative statistical weights.

    I will simply repeat that it is logically, physically possible for all the O2 molecules in the room where you are to rush to one end and stay there for some minutes.

    But such a spontaneous undoing of diffusion processes is not reasonably observable. Reliably, concentration will reflect the overwhelming bulk of configs, mixed.

    Your life literally depends on it.

    I don’t know if that will help you begin to understand what has been pointed out all along.

    KF

  132. 132
    kairosfocus says:

    Dr Liddle:

    You are simply wrong.

    The terms just above make a lot of sense to anyone familiar with statistical process control. A process can have a modal or mean value and it can have a pattern of deviations within 1, 2, 3 etc sigma bands. Where for bell type distributions, the frequency patterns on being in bands tell us a lot, including runs etc.

    And I could keep going, just it would make no sense, I have lost all confidence in your credibility. Which, is driven by your slander- enabling behaviour and denials as I have pointed out.

    Good day madam,

    KF

  133. 133
    wd400 says:

    KF,

    Do want to address the substance of Elizabeth’s comment? It’s true, isn’t it, that a “x sigma” result describes how far away from a given expectation that result is? So we need to define the the expectation.

    That’s easy for random uncorrelated throws of a fair coin. But evolution isn’t at all like that – being massively parallel and an approximately markov process.

  134. 134

    KF:

    Dr Liddle:

    You are simply wrong.

    The terms just above make a lot of sense to anyone familiar with statistical process control. A process can have a modal or mean value and it can have a pattern of deviations within 1, 2, 3 etc sigma bands.

    Correction:

    The results from a process can have a mean value and a pattern of deviations. This matters.

    Where for bell type distributions, the frequency patterns on being in bands tell us a lot, including runs etc.

    Yes, they tell us a lot about the process that produced the distribution.

    And if the observed data are unlikely under the postulated process, we can reject the possiblity that the postulated process generated the data.

    But you have to be clear what process you are rejecting. Nobody claims that biological organisms are the result of the kind of process that tosses fair coins fairly.

    So rejecting “Darwinian” processes in favor of Design is not warranted unless you have modelled the expected distribution of the data under Darwinian processes.

    Modelling the expected distribution under some kind of process in which each “draw” is independent from prior “draws” is clearly not a model of Darwinian processes.

    And so rejecting Darwinian processes for, say, a functional protein because it is unlikely under independent random draw, is a non-sequitur. It would be like concluding “car accident” as the explanation for “broken leg” just because you had rejected “fell off roof”.

  135. 135

    By the way, KF, I reject null hypotheses for a living, more or less.

    And in order to reject a null I take enormous pains to generate the expected distribution of my data under the null I am hoping to reject. This often means time-consuming Monte Carlo simulations, as often the distribution under the null is not a nice neat standard distribution from a text book. And with non-linear feedback processes, it is especially important to simulate the results under the null, because there is no way of computing them analytically.

    And the results are often surprising. For instance, something that looked like a low-frequency oscillator turned out to be indistinguishable from the output of a poisson process.

    Inadequate modelling of the null is major cause of spurious inferences in science.

  136. 136
    bpragmatic says:

    E. Liddle said:

    “Modelling the expected distribution under some kind of process in which each “draw” is independent from prior “draws” is clearly not a model of Darwinian processes.”

    I don’t believe that in the OOL phase of “evolution”, the laws of physics and chemistry (darwinian processes are beholding to) would be anywhere near as charitable to the material formation requirements as would “independent draws” as you seem to imply with the above statement.

    In fact I would propose that there is a clear cut scientific case for asserting that some sort of guiding intelligence is required to overcome the IMPOSSIBILITY of certain component relationships from developing guideded purely by the laws of physics and chemical reactions.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2CnZ3n8I5b8
    See beginning at the 32:32 mark.

  137. 137
    bpragmatic says:

    Sorry, See beginning at about the 31:31 mark instead of the 32:32 mark indicated above. That is if you do not want to start at the beginning of a recent debate (May of this year) between Darwinist philosopher Michael Ruse and biochemist Fuzale Rana of Reasons To Believe regarding the origins of life.

  138. 138

    Elizabeth @108:

    We did not know, prior to Avida, that IC structures could evolve, or evolve by deeply IC pathways. Behe’s case was that such structures could not in principle evolve, not that they could not evolve in biology.

    I am not sure why you keep insisting on misrepresenting Behe, notwithstanding numerous corrections issued to you on this point. Here is what Behe actually said:

    “Even if a system is irreducibly complex (and thus cannot have been produced directly), however, one can not definitively rule out the possibility of an indirect, circuitous route. As the complexity of an interacting system increases, though, the likelihood of such an indirect route drops precipitously. And as the number of unexplained, irreducibly complex biological systems increases, our confidence that Darwin’s criterion of failure has been met skyrockets toward the maximum that science allows.”

    A number of ID critics have substituted their own interpretation of Behe’s point in their efforts to refute strawman versions of his argument. Your statement above is clearly one of those misinterpretations and strawmen. I would like to think it is inadvertent, but you have been corrected before, so it is unclear why you continue to misrepresent Behe’s position.

    Furthermore, even if Behe had said what you claim he said, he has certainly said a great deal more since then in responding to critics and clarifying his viewpoint. Thus, even those who are intent on misunderstanding him have no excuse.

    AVIDA showed that both IC structures could evolve by Darwinian mechanisms, and that structures could evolve via deeply IC pathways, including quite severely deleterious precursors. Thus Behe’s principle was falsified by AVIDA.

    Avida showed that if you assume all the key factors and put in place a highly simplified scenario an indirect pathway to an end function could be achieved. Big deal. No-one disputes that. And Behe specifically stated from the outset – contra your false assertion – that we could not rule out indirect pathways. His point is that such indirect pathways become more and more unlikely as the complexity and inter-connected functionality increases. Behe was most certainly not falsified.

    Indeed, one ironic result from Avida is that the population didn’t evolve the final EQU goal when only the final goal was rewarded, confirming and underscoring Behe’s very point about irreducible complexity.

    It may well be true that some features observed in nature could not have evolved. But what AVIDA showed is that we cannot simply look at a feature, observe that it is IC or that the precursor pathway must have been deeply IC, and conclude it could not have evolved.

    Agreed. As a matter of pure possibility, sure. But we already knew that. Behe acknowledged it back in 1996 in his original book. And we didn’t need Avida to tell us this.

    AVIDA demonstrated that Behe’s criteria don’t work. That doesn’t mean that there are no such criteria. It’s just that you can’t base the ID case on Behe’s IC.

    Wrong, as discussed above. Avida demonstrated no such thing. If anything, it supported Behe.

    [Eric]
    Notably, with the oft-cited Avida study (in Nature, if memory serves), the authors acknowledged that if the program required a couple of parts to come along simultaneously that their digital organisms never “evolved” the final goal. That was precisely Behe’s point. He argues there is good reason to believe that — in reality, not in silico — there are molecular machines that require multiple parts to come along at once and that such machines are not amenable to a Darwinian process.

    [Elizabeth]
    Could you provide a direct quotation, Eric? I think you may have misread or misremembered. I agree that it was precisely Behe’s point. And it was precisely that point that I understood as being refuted. And I have looked at the paper very closely, and indeed, played with AVIDA.

    I found the quote I was thinking of. The Avida authors stated: “At the other extreme, 50 populations evolved in an environment where only EQU was rewarded, and no simpler function yielded energy. We expected that EQU would evolve much less often because selection would not preserve the simpler functions that provide foundations to build more complex features. Indeed, none of these populations evolved EQU, a highly significant difference from the fraction that did so in the reward-all environment (P less than 4.3 £ 1029, Fisher’s exact test).” This occurred even though those populations tested more genotypes, on average, than the “reward-based” environments.

    Of course AVIDA does not prove that certain biological features evolved.

    Agreed. Indeed, it cannot in principle in its current state. However, if we could get to the point where in silico environments at least approximate with reasonable fidelity the real world, we might be able to learn (even to your satisfaction, I would hope) whether a Darwinian process has any hope of functioning in the real world. That was Behe’s original point, and it still stands.

    What it does show is that the Behe’s IC argument is not a good argument against the evolution of IC features or evolution via IC pathways.

    No. Again, you are misunderstanding Behe’s point. Behe’s argument is evidentiary in nature, not based on sheer logical possibility.

  139. 139
    scordova says:

    By the way, KF, I reject null hypotheses for a living, more or less.

    And in order to reject a null I take enormous pains to generate the expected distribution of my data under the null I am hoping to reject. This often means time-consuming Monte Carlo simulations, as often the distribution under the null is not a nice neat standard distribution from a text book. And with non-linear feedback processes, it is especially important to simulate the results under the null, because there is no way of computing them analytically.

    And the results are often surprising. For instance, something that looked like a low-frequency oscillator turned out to be indistinguishable from the output of a poisson process.

    Inadequate modelling of the null is major cause of spurious inferences in science.

    I’m not a statistician like you or Mark Frank, but can some (not all) the major claims of Darwinian evolution be falsified through the means you practice?

    If the claims can’t be tested even in principle, that would be bothersome.

  140. 140

    I am not sure why you keep insisting on misrepresenting Behe, notwithstanding numerous corrections issued to you on this point. Here is what Behe actually said:

    “Even if a system is irreducibly complex (and thus cannot have been produced directly), however, one can not definitively rule out the possibility of an indirect, circuitous route. As the complexity of an interacting system increases, though, the likelihood of such an indirect route drops precipitously. And as the number of unexplained, irreducibly complex biological systems increases, our confidence that Darwin’s criterion of failure has been met skyrockets toward the maximum that science allows.”

    That is a fair point, and you are of course correct.

    Behe writes, a few paragraphs earlier:

    “What type of biological system could not be formed by “numerous successive slight modification”?

    Well, for starters, a system that is irreducibly complex. by irreducibly complex I mean a single system composed of several well-matched, interacting parts that contribute to the basic function, wherein the renival of any of the parts causes the system to effectively cease functioning.”

    This is directly falsified by the evolution of all the functions in AVIDA (all of which are IC), and especially EQU which is the most complex.

    However I accept that Behe does qualify this statement, in the passage you cite, a few paragraphs later, although his statement: “As the complexity of an interacting system increases, though, the likelihood of such an indirect route drops precipitously” is mere assertion, not argument, and he does not develop this argument in Darwin’s Black Box.

    He does, however, develop it later in a response to critics, where he gives an alternative “evolutionay” second definition of IC:

    “An irreducibly complex evolutionary pathway is one that contains one or more unselected steps (that is, one or more necessary-but-unselected mutations). The degree of irreducible complexity is the number of unselected steps in the pathway.”

    But he still does not present any argument that the the more complexly interacting an IC structure is, the greater the degree of IC pathway required to reach it. Instead, he, in my view, shoots his own argument in the foot, by assigning the property IC to the pathway not the structure, and merely assuming, that two must be correlated. There is no reason to make this assumption, and, with double irony, your own point below demonstrates its falsity. You wrote:

    Indeed, one ironic result from Avida is that the population didn’t evolve the final EQU goal when only the final goal was rewarded, confirming and underscoring Behe’s very point about irreducible complexity.

    There is nothing “ironic” about this result! Nobody, least of all Darwin, thought a complex structure could evolve if no precursor offered any reproductive advantage!

    The whole point of Darwin’s idea was that IF precursors offer reproductive advantage, complex features can evolve! What the AVIDA study shows here is that the evolvability of EQU is not an intrinsic property of EQU, but of the fitness landscape in which it sits.

    In other words, whether or not EQU evolved was not a function of the complexity of EQU, but of the fitness landscape in which it sits. If EQU is a single butte on a flat plain it won’t evolve. If it is on a summit in a landscape of rolling hills, it does, even if the only route to the summit must cross a fairly deep ravine.

    Behe originally thought that an structure could be diagnosed as “Irreducibly Complex” if it failed to function if any part was removed. Then he said that a pathway was IC to degree N if it contained unselected steps. AVIDA shows that IC structures readily evolve, and that structures evolve via deeply IC pathways. So we are left with the question: Is the interactive complexity of an IC structures correlated with the IC degree of the required to reach it, as Behe asserts?

    I agree that this question is not directly addressed by AVIDA, but the fact that EQU reliably evolved in a landscape with other beneficial functions, by a very great number of different pathways, all of which were deeply IC tells us that you can’t look at a structure and say “this could not have evolved because it is highly IC”. That alone is not a criterion for unevolvability. What might be, but is far more difficult, if not impossible, to determine, is whether the only possible paths to it were too deeply IC for “evolution” to cross.

    It may be worth making a simple mathematical point that is often forgotten (as revealed in expressions like “parts must come together simultaneously”):

    Let’s say that some complex function Y is disabled unless parts X1, X2…XN) are present.

    If a precursor to Y (say function X1 ) is selectable that means that it, by definition, confers increased reproductive success on the organism in which it appears de novo. This means that many more organisms with feature X1 will be born. This in turn increases the probabilistic resources as Dembski would say, i.e. the number of opportunites for another feature, say X2, also required by Y, to occur in an organisms already possessed of X1, is increased, simply because lots of organisms now have X2. X2 might perform a different function to X1 and to Y, but still be selectable. Or it may not. But if it appears de novo in a viable X1-bearing organism, it still has a decent chance of propagating by drift. And so again, the number of X1 + X2 bearing organisms can become quite large.

    And so on. The fewer parts of Y (X1: XN) that confer advantage in some context earlier in the evolutionary history, the less chance Y has of evolving, but that is not a function of Y itself, but a function of its parts within the “fitness lancscape”. If X1: XN can never confer any reproductive advantage, Y won’t evolve (as when only EQU was advantageous). But at least some of X1: XN are sometimes part of some less complex but advantageous function, then it can.

    And that is what AVIDA showed. Many different forms of the EQU function evolved, by many different pathways, all quite deeply IC, and all, IIRC, involving at least one steeply deleterious step. In other words, at least one crucial part was actually disadvantageous when added to the parts already present. It isn’t a “hill climbing” algorithm, but a true Darwinian one, in which advantageious functions can be reached via deleterious steps.

    This is why the coin-tossing example is so misleading. Once one part is in place, and advantageous, the number of opportunities for a second part by definition grow exponentially. The steps are NOT independent, as they are in a series of coin tosses.

    And this is why Behe’s statement: “As the complexity of an interacting system increases, though, the likelihood of such an indirect route drops precipitously” is unsupported. And I have never seen it supported. That’s probably why I forgot it!

  141. 141

    scordova:

    I’m not a statistician like you or Mark Frank, but can some (not all) the major claims of Darwinian evolution be falsified through the means you practice?

    If the claims can’t be tested even in principle, that would be bothersome.

    They can be tested, but only if they can be operationalised as a computable null distribution. That’s not the usual way of going about null hypothesis testing – we do not usually set up our study hypothesis as the null! In fact null hypothesis is a deeply problematic approach anyway, although it is still the workhorse of scientific methodology.

    You just have to be very careful the inferences you make from a rejected null.

    (btw, I’m not a statistician either, but I do use statistics professionally, and consult with statisticians when necessary)

  142. 142

    I should have written:

    “They can be tested, but only falsified as null hypothesis if they can be operationalised as a computable null distribution.”

    They can be (probabilistically) falsified in other ways, though, for instance using Bayesian methods, in which two competing hypotheses can be compared.

  143. 143
    kairosfocus says:

    Dr Liddle:

    I find it interesting that you found it necessary to go all over the ball park to try to dismiss the problem of blind/chance sampling of a bell-type population with limited resources and the increasing unlikelihood of OBSERVING farther and farther skirt outliers under those circumstances.

    This is in fact right at the heart of the darts and charts exercise I have discussed so many times. It may surprise you that this has industrial applications in which the pop patterns of a controlled process are characterised and observations of output are used and actually plotted on charts to spot runs or drift or broadened scatter that would be showing the process getting out of control. That is, the darts and chart exercise is not just a pipe dream notion.

    In any case, it stands on its own merits. Set up a bell distribution chart on a bristol board backed by a bagasse board or the like, and mark the mean then 1/2 or 1 SD wide stripes to either side, , up to 5 or so SD to the side should be enough. (And yes the skirts here would be awfully thin, approximate as needed — lesson no 1! [Onlookers, at 5 SD out the actual height of a normal curve is about 3 * 10^-6 of its peak, so if the peak is 1 m high we are looking at about the thickness of a bacterium here]).

    Then, drop darts from a height where the scatter would be fairly uniform. Say, 30 – 100 times. The likelihood of getting a hole will of course be proportionate to area, more or less [we cannot drop darts in a perfectly random, perfectly even pattern but this is just to get an idea; let us idealise for argument, to make the point clear].

    It is obvious that we will see far more hits in the bulk near the peak than in the far skirts. Indeed, it is highly unlikely that on that sort of sample scale we will get any hits in say the 4 – 5 SD band. Which was the point at issue.

    And on the narrower point where you dismissed the idea of a 4-sigma event as reasonable terminology [what I intervened on], the meaning in terms of darts and charts should be obvious: 4 – 5 SD out from the mean, beyond would be a 5 sigma and so forth.

    This also illustrates by a simple example a natural zone of interest or special zone, here in the far skirt of a distribution. Precisely because it is utterly unlikely to be captured in a sample of reasonable scale, it illustrates the problem of needles in haystacks.

    In the case of the 500 H coin toss, we are at the extremum of the distribution, and the “cell” of interest is 1 in 3.27 *10^150 of the space of possibilities, 22 SD away from the mean (of a binomial distribution).

    This is the context in which a maximum sample on the gamut of the solar system’s resources, would be as 1 straw sized sample to a cubical haystack 1,000 LY on the side. if such were superposed on our galactic neighbourhood, the overwhelming bulk would be straw and nothing else, i.e. the formally possible outcome of 500H, is empirically, practically unobservable. An empirical as opposed to a logical impossibility, on blind sampling.

    It just is not credibly reachable by any process dependent on blind chance sampling.

    That needle in haystack challenge is why fixation on the formal possibility is serving as a strawman distractor on the matter. By focussing on one point, a formal possibility, the much more material point, that we are dealing with sampling with finite resources that do not allow us to expect reasonably to catch tiny and deeply isolated zones of interest, is being missed.

    And, the design thinkers who have emphasised that empirical sampling point have been misrepresented over and over again tot he point whee the misrepresentation is now culpable. If it is repeated, I have to now treat it as a willful fallacy intended to distort, distract and confuse.

    Don’t ever forget, you have forfeited the benefit of the doubt due to harbouring, denying and then when denial was impossible, trying to defend an outrageous slander. the harbourer is worse than the perp.

    WD 400, you next.

    KF

  144. 144

    KF:

    Thank you for your response, but it simply does not address my point. I have no problem in agreeing with you that certain processes produce certain distributions of data reliably, and that therefore, if we have an observation that falls in the far tails of the distribution for a particular process, we can reject that process as a likely cause of that observation.

    What I am saying is that unless you can produce the expected distribution of data under the null of Darwinian evolution you do not know whether a given observation is in the tails of it or not, and therefore you cannot reject “Darwinian evolution” as a null.

    And no-where do I see you constructing such a null distribution.

    You talk of the probability distribution of the results of dart shots, coin-tosses, and looking for needles in haystacks, but not of the results of Darwinian evolution. That’s the distribution you need to try to compute if that’s the null you want to test.

  145. 145
    kairosfocus says:

    WD400, re:

    Do want to address the substance of Elizabeth’s comment? It’s true, isn’t it, that a “x sigma” result describes how far away from a given expectation that result is? So we need to define the the expectation.

    That’s easy for random uncorrelated throws of a fair coin. But evolution isn’t at all like that – being massively parallel and an approximately markov process.

    First, it should be obvious that the expected value of a sample of a bell curve, the typical value, is its mean, or at least its median [this being the 50th percentile] but as the distributions are symmetric they are equal. That is why averages are important.

    And, the darts and charts exercise should suffice to show what I am getting at on sampling a config space blindly.

    Now, you have injected an onward issue, presumably darwinian evolution, as a challenge to the whole process.

    Let’s clarify; [neo-] darwinian evo is supposed to be about how:

    chance variation [CV] + differential reproductive success [DRS] –> descent with modification [DWM], presumed unlimited:

    CV + DRS –> DWM

    DRS, however, is a subtracter of information thought to originate in CV, leading to a shift in population, DWM. That is, DRS is not a SOURCE of info, it is an exit sink for info, removing it from the environment by way of extinction of less favoured varieties [Darwin spoke in terms of races].

    So, we are back to chance sampling of a space of possibilities as the proposed root of variation. CHANCE is being expected to incrementally write the software of life, filtered by DRS that subtracts some of the chance-based info. (We can use the idea of genetic mutation through random processes uncorrelated with success as a proxy for the clusters that are tossed up these days, up to 47 on last chance I noted.)

    That variation and filtering obviously happens in a population that is already functional and capable of reproducing.

    So, OOL, the root of the tree of life, is unexplained. But no roots, no shoots or anything beyond. The physics and chemistry of warm ponds is maximally unfavourable to the formation of FSCO/I rich structures in a network of functional organisation. The only observed source for FSCO/I is design. Design is at the table from the root of the tree of life on, save to those who lock it our through holding to or going along with a priori materialism imposed on science.

    That is important, as is the observation that by its very nature FSCO/I locks us down to narrow zones in a space of possible configs of a given cluster of components. Indeed, that is the underlying point of the 500H exercise, which illustrates this in a toy example.

    Now, WD 400, evidently you have not seriously pondered the point of the threshold of complexity used in the design filter plausibility threshold analysis, 500 bits or 1,000 bits. Otherwise, you would not have tried to emphasise the parallel nature of the search process as though it had not long since been more than reckoned with.

    What is envisioned by design thinkers is that the elements of a config space have at least 500 bits worth of possibilities. To see how this is deducible, think as to how any 3-d object can be represented as a cluster of nodes and arcs, with perhaps orientation of nodes also important. AutoCAD or the like show how this can be represented as a string of memory locations with a suitable structure. That is, analysis on bit strings is WLOG.

    The complexity threshold is then set on the number of possibilities for the 10^57 atoms of our solar system, EACH making a new search in the config space of a string of 500 bits every 10^-14s, the peak rate for chemical rxns, for 10^17s, a reasonable estimate for time since solar system formation. (Cf the clips from Abel’s paper on the universal plausibility bound above.)

    You don’t get more generously parallel than that.

    (In practice, for life forms in populations on earth, you would be more looking at something like the irradiation of cells, leading to ionisation of water molecules and interference of such activated molecules with DNA molecules or the like, a much smaller parallel sample. So sorry, the sample we are discussing is far too generously parallel if anything.)

    And having made such a generous sample, the result is that we are looking at, after 10^17 s, a sample of the space of 500 bits that stands as picking one straw sized sample blindly from a cubical haystack 1,000 light years across; about as thick as our galaxy. In short, we are tossing in effect one dart at the haystack.

    Sampling theory tells us the result, without need to go into elaborate expectation and probability models, simply off the sheer balance of statistical weights. To see how that happens, imagine the haystack superposed on our galactic neighbourhood in which star systems are several LY apart on average, and stars are much smaller than 1 LY in size on average. Such a sample on such a space would with all but certainty, pick up straw. For the same reason why the darts and charts exercise above would have a big problem getting a 4 SD – 5 SD event. Namely, relative statistical weight counts, heavily.

    Where also, it bears repeating that by the necessities of functionally specific complex organisation of components in a system, the proportion of functional configs is going to be a very small fraction of possible configs. That is why the sort of irradiation we see described is liable to lead to cell death or derangement, in relatively low dose cases to trigger cancer. (Radiation physics is a depressing subject, and leads to gallows humour about how you can spot the physics students on the dorms: they glow in the dark, usually faintly blue.)

    So, we naturally see the result that is empirically warranted: observed evolution is mircro-evo, and mostly consists in loss of function that is not fatal and for some strange reason will confer a survival advantage in a deprived environment. Insects on islands losing wings so they don’t blow out to sea is a cited example, but the prevalence of mosquitoes, flies, termites [fly for a mode in their life cycle] and fire ants [an invasive species that has a flying mode] on islands in the Caribbean shows that flying insects can do well thank you. Sickle cell is a classic. There was a recent case on Tom Cod in the Hudson, and the like.

    There is no good evidence that incremental variation within an island of function is capable of bridging islands of function, starting with moving from first life to the cluster of major multicellular body plans.

    OOL requires 100 – 1 mn bits of new info, and body plans 10 – 100 mbits. This, from patterns in genomes.

    Every additional bit beyond 500 DOUBLES the config space. if 500 bits is unsearchable on our solar system scope, 1,000 is much more so on the scope of the observed cosmos. 100,000 bits disposes of a config space of order 9.99 *10^30,102 possibilities.

    The notion that blind chance and or mechanical necessity assembled the components of cell based life under any plausible scenario, is ludicrous.

    Even if, for argument, we assumed that there is a huge continent of possible life forms beyond the first life [for which there is much evidence to the contrary], traversible incrementally by a branching tree pattern, the pop genetics to fix the required number of mutations on the scope in question, dozens of times to hundreds of times over, would be prohibitive on the available resources.

    macroevo is an unjust6ified extrapolation of observed micro evo.

    As for AVIDA, it is a trick as was outlined above already.

    In a nutshell, EVERY logic function can be done by a NAND, including not only combinational but sequential circuits. (Indeed it used to be a system design step to convert the system designed on more intuitive and-or-not to NANDs as 7400’s were cheap and fast.)

    By rewarding incremental steps and setting s suitably low information increment threshold, with parameters set well beyond what would be empirically warranted, the appearance of evo is made to happen.

    A stock promoter who did the like would be sitting in gaol for fraud, not celebrated as proving his case at Dover.

    Effective as rhetoric and/or as confirmation bias support in an ideologically charged climate that begs questions from definition of science on up, not so good as actually warranting what was claimed.

    KF

  146. 146

    Important point:

    Incremental steps were not rewarded in AVIDA. However, the fitness landscape included some simpler functions that conferred increased reproductive success. These were ALL separated by non-advantageous “steps”. I don’t think any two functions were adjacent on the fitness landscape, and many were separated not only by “unrewarded” steps but by actually deleterious steps.

  147. 147
    Joe says:

    Importasnt point:

    AVIDA doesn’t have anything to do with darwinian evolution.

  148. 148
    kairosfocus says:

    Dr Liddle:

    First,the basic issue is on the 500H distribution, which turns out to be pivotal.

    To red herring away to something else without acknowledigng the point on the basic case is not reasonable behaviour. Just as to pretend that slander was not present on your blog then when to try to justify it in the thread above, were not reasonable.

    Next, if you will note the discussion in response to WD400 just above, who tried the same red herring trick, you will see that the issue is that darwinian evo is a case of:

    CV + DRS –> DWM.

    But DRS subtracts info, sot he issue is CV as creator of info, incrementally. That is multiplied by the issues of fixing and then further increments to pops hundreds or thousands of times over to make body plans requiring 10 – 100+ mn base pair increments of info. Where in teh case of say humans vs chimps event eh outdated 2% difference estimate shows that we are at 10’s of mns of base pairs to be explained in 6 MY or so. No go. Beyond lies the biggie, that the requisites of complex functional specificity imply a BIG jump in config space to move from one form that works to another, across an intervening sea of non-function obviously unbridgeable by incremental CV and DRS as there is no R at all for that. At most darwinian evo is a limited micro-evo theory within islands of function. And AVIDA inadvertently shows just that, its unreasonably probable advantageous change steps rewarded by unrealistic increments are small. In short, we need a theory that handles 250 – 500 base pair jumps in complexity [about the size of both a reasonable protein and that of a reasonable regulatory programming block], which we do not have.

    (This has actually been pointed out to you previously and adequately discussed, so yo0u are here resorting to another unreasonable tactic, insistence on recirculating a point already reasonably answered, ad nauseum — as though drumbeat repetition will convert error into truth. This sinks your credibility even further.)

    KF

  149. 149
    kairosfocus says:

    Dr Liddle: The energy fed back to intermediate steps is a reward. Notice what happened when there was none of this, only the XNOR was rewarded, it failed to work. KF

  150. 150
    Joe says:

    Important point #2:

    Behe’s argument is that darwinian processes cannot produce IC. And AVIDA does not represent darwinian processes. Lizzie is either lying or willfully ignorant.

  151. 151
    kairosfocus says:

    F/N: On a run and seeing I forgot to do something requiting a fair bit of writing, will have to do so fast within an hour, so I just note that the notion of non functional sections mutating freely then coming back into play with 250 – 500+ BP of info is facing bridging gaps by pure unfiltered chance that are beyond the capacity of our solar system’s resources much less the earth’s biosphere. KF

  152. 152

    Lizzie is either lying or willfully ignorant.

    Alternatively, Joe is wrong. It wouldn’t be unknown.

  153. 153

    Dr Liddle: The energy fed back to intermediate steps is a reward.

    OK, if you want to use that word for an advantageous step, fine. But not all intermediate steps between functions were rewarded. Only those that actually performed a logic function were rewarded. These were separated by many unrewarded, and indeed “penalized” steps.

    Do you acknowledge this?

    Notice what happened when there was none of this, only the XNOR was rewarded, it failed to work. KF

    Of course. If there were NO intermediate forms that had increased fitness, EQU did not evolve. But that doesn’t mean that when some were, ALL were. They weren’t. As I recall, only about eight logic functions increased fitness. The vast majority of intermediate steps did not result in new rewarded functions, and some resulted in loss of function. In fact some necessary steps to EQU resulted in loss of function, atlhough this was sometimes subsequently regained.

    Are you under the mistaken impression that landscapes in which EQU evolved consisted of a “reward” (increased fitness) for every single step between the starter population and EQU?

    If so, that might explain the problem.

    Re your 148:

    1. I have already said that I have no more to say to you on the subject of the alleged “slander”.

    2. I simply cannot parse the rest of your post. I appreciate that it was written in haste, but I find it incomprehensible. I do not know what most of your abbreviations mean.

  154. 154
    Joe says:

    Earth to Elizabeth BS Liddle:

    I have supported what I say about darwinian evolution with actual references. OTOH you have never supported anything you have said wrt darwinian evolution.

    And it definitely is known that you are wrong and have been in the past also.

  155. 155
    scordova says:

    They can be tested, but only if they can be operationalised as a computable null distribution. That’s not the usual way of going about null hypothesis testing – we do not usually set up our study hypothesis as the null! In fact null hypothesis is a deeply problematic approach anyway, although it is still the workhorse of scientific methodology.

    You just have to be very careful the inferences you make from a rejected null.

    (btw, I’m not a statistician either, but I do use statistics professionally, and consult with statisticians when necessary)

    Elizabeth,

    Thank you very much for your response. This is related to a post I’m working on. Thank you!

    Sal

  156. 156
    wd400 says:

    KF,

    That all sounds very much luck a long and elaborate retelling of Hoyle’s 747 argument veiled in a bit of pseudo-maths. If you wanted to say something meaningful You’d need to show evidence that “islands of function” are not connected by passable troughs in the fitness landscape and you’d need to consider how many other configurations would be just as functional as those that we see now. And most importantly you’d need to include some conception of how evolution works before you could declared some result or other to be any number of standard deviations away form an expectation.

    (As Elizabeth noted, for one example, in a population of 500 individuals with two alleles “H” and “T”, it’s extremely improbable a random draw of 500 gametes would create a new population with all “H”s or all “T”s, but in the long run that outcome is inevitable and happens in only a few generations thanks entirely to chance)

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