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On Gritting Your Teeth and Sticking to a Narrative

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An anti-ID commenter who goes by MatSpirit has been active in these pages for well over a year, during which time he has posted scores of comments in the comboxes of dozens of OPs.  This particular statement in one of his comments caught my eye:

If I understand correctly, the ID story is that some unidentified, undetectable supernatural agent acting at a time and place unknown arranged matter into patterns that are living creatures.

*palm forehead*

It is just staggering to me that someone can spend so much time and effort debating ID and still not have the first idea about the fundamentals of the theory.

I understand what is going on here, of course.  Like many of our opponents MatSpirit had a pre-conceived idea of what ID is about before he came to these pages, and nothing — not facts, not logic, not reason –will ever shake that idea.  You can explain the fundamentals of ID to a brick wall 1,000 times, and you can explain the fundamentals of ID to someone like MatSpirit 1,000 times, and it will have an identical effect – that is to say, none at all.

You see, MatSpirit has a narrative.  And the narrative must be maintained at all costs.

UPDATE

I invite readers to skip down to comment 30.  You will see that MatSpirit continues to grit his teeth and stick to his narrative even after it has been pointed out that is what he is doing.  It is really quite amazing.

 

 

 

 

183 Replies to “On Gritting Your Teeth and Sticking to a Narrative

  1. 1
    mk says:

    hi everyone. i had an interesting discussion with dr joshua about the vitellogenin pseudogene and other id stuff in the biologos forum here:

    https://discourse.biologos.org/t/my-id-challenge/4944/506

    humans have genes for feathers development. so according to evolution logic we need to conclude that human evolved from bird. worth a discussion.

  2. 2
    Mung says:

    It’s nice to think that MatSpirit posts here because he knows he’s ignorant about ID and wants to do something about it.

  3. 3
    kairosfocus says:

    MatSpirit,

    I suggest scroll up and look under the resources tab.

    Further, NWE has a useful summary: http://www.newworldencyclopedi.....ent_design

    (Of course, this assumes you are not projecting a grand conspiracy narrative; which projection should itself be a clue that something has gone wrong. If that is what you are doing, FYI we do not need ID to believe in God if we do — not all design thinkers, theorists, supporters or friendly critics do. More can be said, but this is a first step.)

    KF

  4. 4
    Seversky says:

    I thought Phillip E Johnson, one of the founding fathers of the movement, had made it clear what Intelligent Design was about:

    This [the intelligent design movement] isn’t really, and never has been, a debate about science, it’s about religion and philosophy.

    If we understand our own times, we will know that we should affirm the reality of God by challenging the domination of materialism and naturalism in the world of the mind. With the assistance of many friends I have developed a strategy for doing this. … We call our strategy the “wedge.”

    The Intelligent Design movement starts with the recognition that “In the beginning was the Word,” and “In the beginning God created.” Establishing that point isn’t enough, but it is absolutely essential to the rest of the gospel message

    We are removing the most important cultural roadblock to accepting the role of God as creator.

    The subject is not just the theory of evolution, the subject is the reality of God.

    Our strategy has been to change the subject a bit so that we can get the issue of intelligent design, which really means the reality of God, before the academic world and into the schools.

    That doesn’t seem to leave much doubt about who the Designer is meant to be.

  5. 5
    kairosfocus says:

    Seversky,

    Waaay off base (and again, please simply scroll up for starters on say the Dembski snippet as a first example).

    There is a philosophical issue at stake, the de facto imposition of a priori evolutionary materialism on science and its methods illustrated by ever so many cases in point.

    But the pivotal issue is quite simple: demonstrate a credible, empirically observed case where blind chance and/or mechanical necessity create functionally specific complex organisation and associated information beyond 500 – 1,000 bits and the key inductive premise of design theory collapses.

    That’s the key test.

    On a trillion cases in point, the empirically observed, analytically plausible source of such organisation and complex information is design.

    Your credible counter-example is: __________________ .

    Absent such, cherry picked cites and the like are little more than strawman caricature arguments.

    As for the red herring, who is/(are) the designer(s), the best answer to such is that from the first modern technical argument regarding the world of life, it has been freely acknowledged that something like a molecular nanotech lab could in principle suffice. Where issues of an extracosmic designer definitely come up is the other main domain, fine tuning of the physics of the observed cosmos. As say Sir Fred Hoyle, a lifelong agnostic, openly discussed.

    The design inference is so patently an empirical matter up against an entrenched ideology, that turnabout tactics to make it seem otherwise are perhaps inevitable.

    KF

  6. 6
    kairosfocus says:

    PS: NWE, introductory remarks:

    Intelligent design (ID) is the view that it is possible to infer from empirical evidence that “certain features of the universe and of living things are best explained by an intelligent cause, not an undirected process such as natural selection” [1] Intelligent design cannot be inferred from complexity alone, since complex patterns often happen by chance. ID focuses on just those sorts of complex patterns that in human experience are produced by a mind that conceives and executes a plan. According to adherents, intelligent design can be detected in the natural laws and structure of the cosmos; it also can be detected in at least some features of living things.

    Greater clarity on the topic may be gained from a discussion of what ID is not considered to be by its leading theorists. Intelligent design generally is not defined the same as creationism, with proponents maintaining that ID relies on scientific evidence rather than on Scripture or religious doctrines. ID makes no claims about biblical chronology, and technically a person does not have to believe in God to infer intelligent design in nature. As a theory, ID also does not specify the identity or nature of the designer, so it is not the same as natural theology, which reasons from nature to the existence and attributes of God. ID does not claim that all species of living things were created in their present forms, and it does not claim to provide a complete account of the history of the universe or of living things.

    ID also is not considered by its theorists to be an “argument from ignorance”; that is, intelligent design is not to be inferred simply on the basis that the cause of something is unknown (any more than a person accused of willful intent can be convicted without evidence). According to various adherents, ID does not claim that design must be optimal; something may be intelligently designed even if it is flawed (as are many objects made by humans).

    ID may be considered to consist only of the minimal assertion that it is possible to infer from empirical evidence that some features of the natural world are best explained by an intelligent agent. It conflicts with views claiming that there is no real design in the cosmos (e.g., materialistic philosophy) or in living things (e.g., Darwinian evolution) or that design, though real, is undetectable (e.g., some forms of theistic evolution). Because of such conflicts, ID has generated considerable controversy.

  7. 7
    Barry Arrington says:

    Seversky,

    Will Provine wrote:

    Naturalistic evolution has clear consequences that Charles Darwin understood perfectly. 1) No gods worth having exist; 2) no life after death exists; 3) no ultimate foundation for ethics exists; 4) no ultimate meaning in life exists; and 5) human free will is nonexistent

    According to your logic, since one prominent evolutionist cashed out some possible religious implications of naturalistic evolution, naturalistic evolution is an inherently religious enterprise. Right?

    Let the special pleading commence:

  8. 8
    goodusername says:

    It conflicts with views claiming that there is no real design in the cosmos (e.g., materialistic philosophy)

    Materialism isn’t opposed to design, only supernatural design.

  9. 9
    kairosfocus says:

    GUN,

    actually, it is. Though, that is usually implicit, by way of decisively undermining responsible, rational freedom. (And yes, that points to self-referential absurdity.)

    Let us see a first issue from John Gray, a British academic and writer, in his Straw Dogs (2002), pp. 26 – 27:

    Modern humanism is the faith that through science humankind can know the truth – and so be free. But if Darwin’s theory of natural selection is true this is impossible. The human mind serves evolutionary success, not truth. To think otherwise is to resurrect the pre-Darwinian error that humans are different from all other animals.

    and:

    [O]nly someone miraculously ignorant of history could believe that competition among ideas could result in the triumph of truth. Certainly ideas compete with one another but the winners are normally those with power and human folly on their side. Truth has no systematic evolutionary advantage over error.

    Undermining freedom and truth, with unanswered self-referential implications.

    Reppert goes to the core issue:

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

    Real design requires responsible, rational freedom.

    Of course, designs are as common as sentences.

    KF

    PS: Design theory is about empirically observable, inductively credible signs of design as relevant causal factor. The ontology of the designer(s) is a separate issue. However, bio life on earth could be accounted for by a molecular nanotech lab, which is not the case for a cosmos fine tuned for such life.

  10. 10
    goodusername says:

    KF,

    PS: Design theory is about empirically observable, inductively credible signs of design as relevant causal factor. The ontology of the designer(s) is a separate issue. However, bio life on earth could be accounted for by a molecular nanotech lab, which is not the case for a cosmos fine tuned for such life.

    It’s certainly easier to imagine aliens creating life using technology than it is for a universe, but such ideas have been proposed (aliens in another universe messing with initial conditions of a black hole to create a new universe, etc. Perhaps Elon Musk’s idea is another example? Although I’m not sure if I understand what he’s proposing.)

  11. 11
    kairosfocus says:

    GUN, show us how you get to a fine tuned universe of our scale through manipulating a black hole [with what general sort of technology], please — including setting up the laws and parameters of its physics. KF

  12. 12
    Origenes says:

    Matspirit: If I understand correctly, the ID story is that some unidentified, undetectable supernatural agent acting at a time and place unknown arranged matter into patterns that are living creatures.

    ID makes no claim about the source of intelligence. ID does not claim that it is “unidentified”, “undetectable” and/or “supernatural”.
    Moreover ID is compatible with embodied intelligence.
    Let’s assume that the intelligence ID refers to stems from a material brain. Also here it is proper to distinguish between what a material brain can produce and what raw materials can produce. As in, a material brain can intelligently design an IPhone but raw materials and chance cannot. As in, a material brain can produce CSI, but raw materials and chance cannot.

    So, if life on earth can only be explained by intelligent design, then one must conclude that somehow a material brain has produced it. And if the universe is shown to be intelligently designed, then one must conclude that somehow a material brain has produced it.

    WJMurray: there is a theory by a rather prominent physicist (John Wheeler) that humans did design life and actually the universe.

    Well, there you have it.

  13. 13
    goodusername says:

    KF,

    GUN, show us how you get to a fine tuned universe of our scale through manipulating a black hole [with what general sort of technology], please — including setting up the laws and parameters of its physics. KF

    Why? Obviously, I don’t know. I’m not suggesting that it’s actually possible. I only said that I’ve seen such ideas proposed.

    My point is: Materialism isn’t opposed to design, only supernatural design.

    If Hawking or Dawkins says that they now believe that our universe was created by aliens from another universe by artificially creating and manipulating a black hole, while I’d find that odd, I wouldn’t take that to mean that they are no longer materialists.

  14. 14
    kairosfocus says:

    GUN, the issues with the claims you made are still there. KF.

  15. 15
    goodusername says:

    GUN, the issues with the claims you made are still there. KF.

    What issues?

  16. 16
  17. 17
    ppolish says:

    “Materialism isn’t opposed to design” – goodusername.

    You mean “appearance of design” don’t you? Materialists don’t have a problem with appearance of design.

  18. 18
    goodusername says:

    ppolish,

    You mean “appearance of design” don’t you? Materialists don’t have a problem with appearance of design.

    I’m pretty sure that you won’t find a materialist that doesn’t believe that there’s lots of things designed all around us.

  19. 19
    goodusername says:

    KF,

    The only thing remotely relevant to the discussion in 9 is the PS, which I addressed in 10, and which you responded by asking – for some reason – the details of how the aliens would accomplish the feat.

    So I don’t know what issues you’re speaking of. Unless you’re seriously suggesting that a materialist can’t claim that aliens created this universe (even though some have); or maybe you’re claiming that if someone claims that aliens created our universe that that means they are no longer a materialist (which would be news to them, and me). Or maybe you’re claiming something else, I can’t really make it out.

    Again, if Hawking proposes that aliens created our universe using advanced technology, would that mean he’s not a materialist, even if he doesn’t know the details of how they did it?

    I’m pretty sure you’d answer “no”, which brings up another question, why are you arguing this?

  20. 20
    Origenes says:

    Goodusername #13, #18

    Goodusername: Materialism isn’t opposed to design, only supernatural design.

    So why is it that materialists don’t embrace ID — see #12?

  21. 21
    ppolish says:

    You believe in natural design but not supernatural design, goodusername. Is that fair?

  22. 22
    goodusername says:

    Origenes,

    So why is it that materialists don’t embrace ID — see #12?

    Well, the great majority of ID proponents propose ideas that are opposed to Darwinism. The great majority of materialists believe that Darwinism explains the history of life on Earth, so obviously they’re not going to embrace such ideas.

    I don’t necessarily see anything opposed to materialism, per se, in your description of ID (if I understand it correctly) although that doesn’t necessarily mean that materialists will embrace it.

    Many descriptions of ID, however, claim that it is opposed to materialism and that ID is an alternative. (See, for instance, the About page on this site.)

    Materialism isn’t inherently against the belief that life, or even the universe, was designed – although there would obviously be an issue with the proposal that life or the universe was supernaturally created by a God.

    See, for example, this idea from the astrophysicist John Gribbin:
    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/new.....verse.html

    Would you say that John Gribbin is an ID proponent? I’m not sure how most ID proponents would respond to that question.

  23. 23
    goodusername says:

    ppolish,

    You believe in natural design but not supernatural design, goodusername. Is that fair?

    Yes

  24. 24
    kairosfocus says:

    GUN, nope, materialism undermines real intelligence, a pivotal issue. KF

  25. 25

    @goodusername

    If you believe in natural design, and that the mechanism of design is choosing, then what natural thing is it which makes the decision turn out the way it does?

    Be as specific as you can.

    According to creationism the only possible way to answer this question is by choosing the answer.

  26. 26
    goodusername says:

    If you believe in natural design, and that the mechanism of design is choosing, then what natural thing is it which makes the decision turn out the way it does?

    Good question, I don’t know.

  27. 27

    @goodusername

    We are already embarked in life, and we already have established a way to deal with this issue in daily life.

    That way is to choose the answer to the question as to what it is, and have a class of words specifically devoted to dealing with this issue, which are the subjective words. Love, hate, fear, courage, God, spirit, soul, these terms all function in that way. Love chooses which way the decision turns out, and the question whether or not it is real is answered by choosing the answer. So one believes the love is real, choosing the opinion by expression of emotion with free will.

  28. 28
    Mung says:

    Apparently materialists can detect natural design but they cannot detect supernatural design. One wonders then how they tell the difference.

  29. 29
    ppolish says:

    Goodusername, the universe John Gibbons describes is intelligently designed. Intelligent design is the foundation of any of the “universe is a simulation” arguments. Guided intelligent design. Guided by designer. Simulated Universes don’t arise by chance. That would be silly. Oops lol.

  30. 30
    MatSpirit says:

    Barry, I wish you’d contacted me before starting this thread because it might have saved you some embarrassment. Read that message again. I wasn’t describing the principles of ID. Eric and I were discussing how life got started. In a previous message, I gave the leading scientific hypothesis, that a small self replicating molecule formed randomly aND evolution provided the rset of the jn formation of life. (I’ll be writing more about how in the Gobsmackingly-stupid-things-atheists-say-example thread,) Eric replied and then I quoted Eric and replied:

    Eric: “Well, that is quite a story – from the alleged, hypothetical, never-before-seen self-replicating molecule, to the claim that extrinsic information would just “evolve” naturally.”

    Mat: “If I understand correctly, the ID story is that some unidentified, undetectable supernatural agent acting at a time and place unknown arranged matter into patterns that are living creatures. For some reason, He made an inordinately large percentage of the animals that are big enough to be seen with the naked eye beetles. Every organism he originally made is extinct now, but new ones (also made by Him) have replaced them. About half of the organisms He made, including the malaria organism which preys mainly on children, make their living by killing and eating the other half of the organisms He made. Most curious of all, this supernatural being did His work in such a way as to make it look like evolution did it.”

    Now what part of that do you disagree with?

    UD Editors: *Palm Forehead* Even after it has been pointed out, you persist in your error. Do please take some time to familiarize yourself with ID theory. KF has provided your some help above.

    ID still does officially claim the Intelligant Designer is unknown, you know. True, you’ve all relaxed a bit about it since that craven church-going Republican judge in Dover labeled ID a religious belief and barred it from the schools and this place does read a lot like it should have the word “ministry” in its title sometimes, but the official ID line is still that they don’t know the identity or characteristics of the Designer.

    As far as I know, I’D doesn’t claim to have a designer detector, either. You look for signs of intelligence in the designs, but you can’t inspect the Designer directly.

    I don’t see how you could object to the “supernatural” either since you insist there’s more to the world than the natural.

    ID definitely doesn’t know where life started and when is ambiguous. Something certainly happened 3-4 billion years ago when the first life appeared and some IDists say that was the only time because of preloading. Still, an awful lot of top ID theorists seem to suspect there was some designing going on in the Cambrian explosion and maybe at other key points in time. But not so often as to support the Theistic Evolutionists, of course. Anyway, I don’t think you can really complain about my unknown time comment, at least without a lot more research.

    Arranging matter into patterns that are living creatures is just creating life. I’m sure you credit the Designer with the Construction too.

    That leaves the inordinate numbers of beetles, every species the Designer built (actually the vast majority of ALL the species that ever existed) being extinct, half the creatures on earth making their livings eating the other half and the children killing malaria parasite. I don’t think you can object to those examples because they are all true.

    The really odd thing is that these things are about what you’d expect from evolution and don’t present any moral problems for mindless evolution.

    But if you really think that this world was designed by an Intelligent Designer, a lot of embarrassing questions open up about that Designer’s common sense and morals.

    Like I say, I wish you had contacted me before posting this thread. I would have counseled you to read it again, ALL of it, think about it some and then maybe save some embarassment.

  31. 31
    Origenes says:

    Matspirit: Most curious of all, this supernatural being did His work in such a way as to make it look like evolution did it.

    For what it is worth, Dawkins disagrees with you:
    “Biology is the study of complicated things that give the appearance of having been designed for a purpose”

    “It could be that at some earlier time, somewhere in the universe, a civilization evolved by probably some kind of Darwinian means to a very, very high level of technology— and designed a form of life that they seeded onto perhaps this planet. … And I suppose it’s possible that you might find evidence for that if you look at the details of biochemistry, molecular biology, you might find a signature of some sort of designer.”

  32. 32
    MatSpirit says:

    “Will Provine wrote:

    Naturalistic evolution has clear consequences that Charles Darwin understood perfectly. 1) No gods worth having exist; 2) no life after death exists; 3) no ultimate foundation for ethics exists; 4) no ultimate meaning in life exists; and 5) human free will is nonexistent”

    He was wrong about 3 and 5.

  33. 33
    MatSpirit says:

    Origenes, yes, we find malaria parasites that look like they were especially designed to kill humans, especially children, but we expect that from the normal evolutionary arms races where the prey have to become better and better at evading predators and predators have to keep up with them or go extinct.

    An Intelligent Designer should be able to come up with something better than this, especially if He’s omniscient and omnipotent.

  34. 34
    Origenes says:

    Matspirit: An Intelligent Designer should be able to come up with something better than this, especially if He’s omniscient and omnipotent.

    Unlike ID, you are making assumptions about the designer. As Dawkins pointed out (see #31), the designers could be alien scientists.

  35. 35
    Origenes says:

    Goodusername: Materialism isn’t inherently against the belief that life, or even the universe, was designed – although there would obviously be an issue with the proposal that life or the universe was supernaturally created by a God.

    See, for example, this idea from the astrophysicist John Gribbin:
    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/new.....verse.html

    Would you say that John Gribbin is an ID proponent? I’m not sure how most ID proponents would respond to that question.

    Obviously wrt a designed universe John Gribbin is an ID proponent.

    Gribbin: The great British astronomer Fred Hoyle suggested that the laws of physics were so uniquely conducive to human existence that the universe must be “a put-up job”. I believe he was right: the universe was indeed set up to provide a home for life, … It isn’t that man was created in God’s image – rather that our universe was created, more or less, in the image of its designers.

    However his theory seems to rule out that life is designed:

    John Gribbin: Crucially, though, it would not be possible in any of these cases – even at the most advanced level – for the designers to interfere with the baby universes once they had formed. From the moment of its own Big Bang, each universe would be on its own.

    So, it seems that Gribbin’s theory is incompatible with life being designed. Although … maybe —just maybe— a universe can be front-loaded with information about life.

  36. 36
    Charles says:

    Barry Arrington:

    The problem is structural. It isn’t going to change. You/we are arguing, best case, with intellectually dishonest people (against whom one can sharpen one’s arguments albeit with diminishing returns), or worst case (e.g. MatSpirit) with intellectual adolescents whose entire intellectual experience is predicated and reinforced (dulled) by their uniformed, uncritical, intellectually adolescent, like-minded peers.

    They are like children who when caught by their mothers with cookie crumbs on their lips and hands, blame the dog, because blaming the dog works with their adolescent friends and they have no clue as to how many levels higher their mother operates.

    It is entertaining to a point, but like sitcom reruns, we all know the punch lines and the laugh track just doesn’t get it done in heavy rotation.

    UD needs a better class of loser.

  37. 37
    MatSpirit says:

    Origenes @ 334

    Matspirit: An Intelligent Designer should be able to come up with something better than this, especially if He’s omniscient and omnipotent.

    Origenes: Unlike ID, you are making assumptions about the designer. As Dawkins pointed out (see #31), the designers could be alien scientists.

    To quote that great ID philosopher, Denyse O’Leary, wake up and smell the coffee!

    What’s the name of your faction? INTELLIGENT design. Not stupid, brainless design, INTELLIGENT design! ID makes a HUGE assumption about the designer. They say he is INTELLIGENT. ID is so certain of that assumption, so proud of that assumption, that they put it in their title. INTELLIGENT design.

    So why doesn’t your INTELLIGENT designer come up with a design that is obviously better than unintelligent, mindless evolution.

    If you want to join ID, you have to put a huge pair of blinders on first. Blinders so big they won’t even allow you to see the first word in your title, let alone think about its consequences.

  38. 38

    It’s because evolution scientists don’t do subjectivity that they lack sincerity, honesty, truthfulness, fairness.

    Only debates between creationists are of real interest.

  39. 39
    Origenes says:

    Matspirit: What’s the name of your faction? INTELLIGENT design. Not stupid, brainless design, INTELLIGENT design!

    Your argument (see #33) boils down to the claim that designing a malaria parasite is “stupid, brainless design” and does not require intelligence. Why do you think that is the case? The last time I checked contemporary science is not able to construct one.
    Those alien scientists are far ahead of us.

  40. 40
    MatSpirit says:

    My point is more along the lines of, “If a malaria parasite is designed by evolution then common sense (It is bad policy to kill children.) and morality don’t enter the equation since they are only possible for intelligent entities. An earthquake or tornado might be tragic, but you wouldn’t call them stupid or immoral.

    But ID says that an intelligent entity DID design life, so WTF?

  41. 41
    bill cole says:

    MatSpirit

    But ID says that an intelligent entity DID design life, so WTF?

    Your point is valid. Lots of unanswered questions on the why and how of the design.

    At the same time the genome is a sequence, an obvious product of design.

    At the core of RNA processing is alternative splicing of exons which sequences exons, strings of RNA, again an obvious product of design.

  42. 42

    MatSpirit:

    Just because you don’t like what a designed object does or is used for doesn’t change the fact it was designed. Understanding the motivation for any design is not an aspect of design detection.

  43. 43
    Origenes says:

    Matspirit: But ID says that an intelligent entity DID design life, so WTF?

    Well perhaps those alien scientists are not all nice guys. Or perhaps we don’t understand their plan. One thing is for sure: they are technologically far ahead of us.

  44. 44
    MatSpirit says:

    Eric: “Well, that is quite a story – from the alleged, hypothetical, never-before-seen self-replicating molecule, to the claim that extrinsic information would just “evolve” naturally.”

    Mat: “If I understand correctly, the ID story is that some unidentified, undetectable supernatural agent acting at a time and place unknown arranged matter into patterns that are living creatures. For some reason, He made an inordinately large percentage of the animals that are big enough to be seen with the naked eye beetles. Every organism he originally made is extinct now, but new ones (also made by Him) have replaced them. About half of the organisms He made, including the malaria organism which preys mainly on children, make their living by killing and eating the other half of the organisms He made. Most curious of all, this supernatural being did His work in such a way as to make it look like evolution did it.”

    Now what part of that do you disagree with?

    UD Editors: *Palm Forehead* Even after it has been pointed out, you persist in your error. Do please take some time to familiarize yourself with ID theory. KF has provided your some help above.

    Barry, could you be so kind as to actually point out their errors you think I’m making? What part of what I wrote conflicts with what part of ID theory?

    Are you saying that the Intelligent designer didn’t actually create life? I doubt that.

    Are you saying that the majority of all animals big enough to see are not beetles?

    Are you saying that all the early species are not extinct today, along with the vast majority of all species that have ever lived?

    Are you denying that half the organisms today make their living by killing and eating other organisms?

    Are you denying Michael Behe when he says the Intelligent Designer designed the malaria virus?

    If you don’t want to talk about it (I understand), could you at least indicate which of the above violates the principles of ID?

    I ask these questions mainly to give you a chance to get out of the embarrassing situation you’ve put yourself in. To someone who hasn’t drunk the ID Koolaid, it looks like a couple of sentences I wrote caught your eye and instead of reading the context to see what I meant, you rushed into print with a really bad quote mine.

    If you can at least show the readers which principles of ID I’ve missunderstood, it will help vindicate you. Just repeating your claim makes it look like you’ve dug yourself into a hole and can’t get out.

  45. 45
    Origenes says:

    Matspirit,

    MS: If I understand correctly, the ID story is that some unidentified, undetectable supernatural agent acting at a time and place unknown arranged matter into patterns that are living creatures.

    What part of “ID makes no claim about the designer” — except for intelligence — do you not understand? ‘No claim’ is incompatible with “unidentified”, “undetectable” and “supernatural”.

    MS: For some reason, He made an inordinately large percentage of the animals that are big enough to be seen with the naked eye beetles.

    ID does not refer to the designer as “He” and does not make such grand claims about what the designer has done. Rather ID holds that “there are tell-tale features of living systems and the universe that are best explained by an intelligent cause” — Bill Cole mentions some of them in #41.

    MS: Every organism he originally made is extinct now, but new ones (also made by Him) have replaced them.

    Are you referring to the countless transitional organisms, assumed by evolutionary theory, whose fossils have never been actually found?

    MS: About half of the organisms He made, including the malaria organism which preys mainly on children, make their living by killing and eating the other half of the organisms He made.

    Even if true, this is theological and not an argument against ID.

    MS: Most curious of all, this supernatural being did His work in such a way as to make it look like evolution did it.”

    Nope, it looks overwhelmingly designed. See Dawkins #31.

    MS: Now what part of that do you disagree with?

    All of it.

  46. 46

    @Matspirit or any atheist

    Can you explain to me how you can be so intellectually dead so as to ignore the reality and relevance of freedom in the universe?

    It is very clear that economy, society, politics, is all about the logic of freedom, that things can turn out several different ways. How can you be disinterested in what feedom in the universe is actually doing, how things are decided?

    Is the freedom in the universe only like tossing salad, jostling the atoms about here and there? Or would there also be more sophisticated ways of deciding than that? The organisms look designed…..so…..why wouldn’t there be more sophisticated ways of deciding? What about the freedom at the start of the universe? Would it be much, or little? If you look and think, you can get insight into the issue.

    Again, what’s with atheists being completely intellectually dead?

  47. 47
    harry says:

    MatSpirit,

    ID rightly acknowledges a fact scientific observation only confirms: that phenomena exhibiting significant functional complexity only come about via intelligent agency. Intelligence is a known reality. Therefore true science includes it among the considered causal factors in a given phenomenon coming into being when that phenomenon exhibits significant functional complexity.

    On the other hand, science perverted by atheism refuses to acknowledge the obvious in order to protect blind-faith-based atheism. It abandons true science’s relentless objectivity and religious/philosophical neutrality. It is afraid to simply admit that the only plausible explanation for the most functionally complex phenomenon known to us — life — is currently intelligent agency. It inserts silly religious arguments like the ones your posts are filled with instead of discussing the origin of life in strictly scientific terms.

  48. 48
    MatSpirit says:

    Origenes @ 45

    What part of “ID makes no claim about the designer” — except for intelligence — do you not understand? ‘No claim’ is incompatible with “unidentified”, “undetectable” and “supernatural”.

    No claim!? Are you saying that ID doesn’t claim that the Intelligent Designer designed life? Then what’s He doing with his time, watching TV? If your Designer didn’t create life then why do you study life looking for patterns that would indicate intelligent design?
    I think you’d better fess up and admit that your Designer designed life and then face up to the problems that result. If any intelligent entity really designed life as we see it then there are a heck of a lot of questions to be answered, both moral and general “What the … why did He do THAT!?”

    ID does not refer to the designer as “He” and does not make such grand claims about what the designer has done.

    Well it certainly should. It’s painfully obvious glancing through the articles on this site that you believe the Intelligent Designer is the Christian God and it is the convention to capitalize He, Him and His when speaking of Him. Failure to do so when writing to a Christian is insulting, if nOT actually blasphemous. Likewise, convention says references to Him should be masculine.

    I know ID insists the Designer is not God, but we know that this was just to help ID sneak into the schools. It never fooled anyone and it certainly didn’t fool Conservative Republican Church-Going Judge Jones in Dover. The cat’s out of the bag now, so why don’t you just admit it and get on with your arguing? It would help your cause because saying “The Designer’s not God” is so obviously not what you believe that it hurts your credibility.

    Are you referring to the countless transitional organisms, assumed by evolutionary theory, whose fossils have never been actually found?

    I know this is received wisdom in YEC and ID circles, but when I go to http://humanorigins.si.edu/evidence/human-fossils which is run by the Smithsonium, I see over a hundred human fossils, mostly skulls, and most of them sure look intermediate between apes and modern humans to me. The rest of paleontology seems to agree, but perhaps you just know more than they do. Mrs. O’Leary seems to think those academic toffs are all part of a grand conspiracy, living high off the tax payer’s money and telling systematic lies to hurt Christianity while snickering into their effete tea cups at the good people of this world, but others think she’s off her meds.

    MS: About half of the organisms He made, including the malaria organism which preys mainly on children, make their living by killing and eating the other half of the organisms He made.

    Even if true, this is theological and not an argument against ID.

    Theological? I thought the ID line was that the designer was NOT God! If so, where do you get Theological from? Either way, if your Intelligent Designer made the malaria organism, He’s got a lot of explaining to do.

  49. 49
    MatSpirit says:

    Harry: “ID rightly acknowledges a fact scientific observation only confirms: that phenomena exhibiting significant functional complexity only come about via intelligent agency.”

    ID ignores evolution when it says only intelligent agency can generate functional complexity. The main reason for doing so seems to be that they don’t see how evolution could do that.

    Science regularly includes human intelligence as a causal factor when humans are present, but humans certainly werent around at any time from 4 billion BC ’till maybe 30,000 years ago. They certaibly didn’t make life on earth!

    If you want science to consider your Designer as the cause of life four billion years ago, then give us some good reasons to think He exists and was around back then.

  50. 50
    Seversky says:

    kairosfocus @ 5

    Waaay off base (and again, please simply scroll up for starters on say the Dembski snippet as a first example).

    Are you repudiating Johnson’s characterization of the purpose of the ID movement?

    There is a philosophical issue at stake, the de facto imposition of a priori evolutionary materialism on science and its methods illustrated by ever so many cases in point.

    Yes, there is a philosophical issue at stake. Should religious beliefs be imposed on science?

    But the pivotal issue is quite simple: demonstrate a credible, empirically observed case where blind chance and/or mechanical necessity create functionally specific complex organisation and associated information beyond 500 – 1,000 bits and the key inductive premise of design theory collapses.

    That’s the key test.

    No, even if what you suggest were demonstrated, it would not necessarily rule out a designer.

    On a trillion cases in point, the empirically observed, analytically plausible source of such organisation and complex information is design.

    The only designers for which we have good evidence are human beings. But we are not capable at this time of designing most of what we observe. If there is some much more advanced designer and he/she/it want to remain hidden, you’re going to have a very hard time proving it.

    Absent such, cherry picked cites and the like are little more than strawman caricature arguments.

    Yes, they are cherry-picked quotes, following in the fine tradition of your very own BA77. Once again, are you saying they no longer represent what ID is all about?

    The design inference is so patently an empirical matter up against an entrenched ideology, that turnabout tactics to make it seem otherwise are perhaps inevitable.

    The design inference is just that, an inference with little empirical support. It’s also an inference to a ‘who’ not the ‘how’ you are criticizing biology for failing to provide in sufficient detail.

  51. 51
    MatSpirit says:

    mohammadnursyamsu @ 46

    I don’t think anything real stops us from having free will. I know some people do, but I’m not one of them. Explaining why will take a while and I’ll probably publish it on the Gobsmackingly-stupid-things-atheists-say-example thread because it came up there first.

  52. 52
    Seversky says:

    Barry Arrington @ 7

    Seversky,

    Will Provine wrote:

    Naturalistic evolution has clear consequences that Charles Darwin understood perfectly. 1) No gods worth having exist; 2) no life after death exists; 3) no ultimate foundation for ethics exists; 4) no ultimate meaning in life exists; and 5) human free will is nonexistent

    According to your logic, since one prominent evolutionist cashed out some possible religious implications of naturalistic evolution, naturalistic evolution is an inherently religious enterprise. Right?

    Johnson clearly stated that ID, as he conceived it, has a religious purpose. Darwin made no such claim for the theory of evolution. Provine’s claims concerning the religious implications of the theory don’t change that.

  53. 53
    bill cole says:

    MatSpirit

    No claim!? Are you saying that ID doesn’t claim that the Intelligent Designer designed life? Then what’s He doing with his time, watching TV? If your Designer didn’t create life then why do you study life looking for patterns that would indicate intelligent design?
    I think you’d better fess up and admit that your Designer designed life and then face up to the problems that result. If any intelligent entity really designed life as we see it then there are a heck of a lot of questions to be answered, both moral and general “What the … why did He do THAT!?”

    Origenes very articulately explained what the inference of ID is. You proceed to create a straw man argument. There is a political ID movement as there is a political evolutionists movement both have desire to influence world views.
    This is not ID the scientific inference. If you separate the politics in your mind I think you will understand the scientific inference. Turns out Barry was absolutely right to call out you’re misunderstanding.

  54. 54
    john_a_designer says:

    Having participated in on-line discussions like these for ten years I have decided that trying to interact with interlocutors like MatSpirit serves more to enable bad behavior than to effect any kind of honest or meaningful dialogue. Nevertheless, for what it is worth, I suppose his presence here does demonstrate the moral and intellectual bankruptcy of the typical on-line atheist. It’s tragic that people like him are either too frightened or too contemptuous to engage in an honest exchange of ideas. Someone grasping at straws to create caricatures and straw-men is not my idea of honest dialogue or debate.

  55. 55
    MatSpirit says:

    Bill Cole @53: “Origenes very articulately explained what the inference of ID is.”

    Actually, I just went over all his messages and all he said about the inference of ID is that the Designer could be an intelligent alien. I don’t dispute that.

    What I said was not about who or what the Designer is. My point is that whatever the Designer is, if He is responsible for life on earth, then He created an inordinate number of beetles, a system where half the organisms kill and eat the other half and an especially nasty microorganism that kills about a million children a year.

    Again, the point is not about who or what the Designer is. That doesn’t matter. God, space alien, no matter.

    My point is that whatever the Designer turns out to be, if He’s intelligent and made life like this deliberately then he makes ISIS look like pikers.

    On the other hand, if the Designer is an unintelligent natural process then its like an earthquake or typhoon. There’s literally no one to blame.

  56. 56
    MatSpirit says:

    john-a-designer, I’m going to put you in the column headed, “No defense, but thinks his opponent is a poopie head.”

    If you come up with any kind of defense, I’ll answer it, but I have no time for childish name calling.

  57. 57
    harry says:

    MatSpirit @49

    ID ignores evolution when it says only intelligent agency can generate functional complexity. The main reason for doing so seems to be that they don’t see how evolution could do that.

    Your remark is begging the question — a logical fallacy. Whether the origin of life and evolution could have come about mindlessly and accidentally is the question under consideration.

    Science regularly includes human intelligence as a causal factor when humans are present, but humans certainly werent around at any time from 4 billion BC ’till maybe 30,000 years ago. They certaibly didn’t make life on earth!

    True science has the objectivity to consider intelligence as a reality in itself. There may be instances of rational intelligence outside of humanity. (If not, what was the purpose of SETI?) If intelligent agency was clearly a causal factor in a phenomenon coming about because it exhibits significant functional complexity, then true, objective science admits that fact, regardless of its religious/philosophical implications in a given instance.

    If you want science to consider your Designer as the cause of life four billion years ago, then give us some good reasons to think He exists and was around back then.

    The identity of the intelligent agent is a separate question. The fact remains that there are no instances of significant functional complexity emerging mindlessly and accidentally. This appears to be the case with law-like certainty and consistency. Life exhibits functional complexity light years beyond our own technology. Intelligent agency must have been a causal factor in life coming about. There is no evidence to support any other conclusion.

  58. 58
    Tim says:

    MatSpirit:

    My point is that whatever the Designer turns out to be, if He’s intelligent and made life like this deliberately then he makes ISIS look like pikers.

    On the other hand, if the Designer is an unintelligent natural process then its like an earthquake or typhoon. There’s literally no one to blame.

    MS, I have read this thread with some care and although I rarely get drawn into these discussions your comments are such unblushingly examples of, well what?, bad faith? I simply couldn’t help it. So, Allow me:

    First, although the intelligent designer may be consonant with the God of Biblical Christianity that doesn’t mean that any such claim is being made as a part of ID theory. The question is simply left open. Try to understand that.
    Second, supposing that the designer is the God of Biblical Christianity (see that? “supposing”), your next move seems to be a rather odd biological argument from evil. This is why I mentioned bad faith on your part. For if we are “supposing”, then we are in the realm of philosophy, not biology. The false dilemma you have set up goes like this: God, as designer of all life (including plasmodium falciparum), is responsible for all pain suffering and death. Anyone with even a partial understanding of basic logic can tell you that such an “argument”, (technically, I suppose it is not more than an assertion), is laughable. Try to understand that. If you are having any trouble, I direct your attention to an unhappy little happenstance called The Fall.

    Third and finally, it does no good to argue against my invocation of the Fall just because it is a religious idea as if religious ideas couldn’t have actual biological implications. Try to understand that.

    To recap:
    1. ID theory makes no religious claims even though many who support ID theory are theists.
    2. Living things die. The fact that we suffer death does not mean that God designed us to merely die. In other words, our current suffering is not necessarily God’s fault even if He is the designer.
    3. Other explanations for death in the world exist that do not abrogate the existence of God.

    Until you demonstrate authentic engagement with these three truths, you will make no progress. It is no excuse that a strictly naturalistic approach to dealing with these facts is a nonstarter. Deal with it.

  59. 59
    Origenes says:

    Matspirit,

    MS: No claim!? Are you saying that ID doesn’t claim that the Intelligent Designer designed life?

    ID only claims that certain aspects of reality are best explained by intelligent design. That’s all. ID doesn’t provide us with a coherent creation story.

    MS: Then what’s He doing with his time, watching TV?

    ID does not claim that the designer is still alive or even that the designer is a person. Like I said, ID makes no claim about the designer.

    MS: If your Designer didn’t create life then why do you study life looking for patterns that would indicate intelligent design?

    Well, maybe life came about mindlessly and the designer only created certain aspects of life. Like I said, ID does not provide us with a coherent creation story.

    MS: I think you’d better fess up and admit that your Designer designed life and then face up to the problems that result.

    The moral problems? ID does not concern itself with moral problems.

    MS: If any intelligent entity really designed life as we see it then there are a heck of a lot of questions to be answered, both moral and general “What the … why did He do THAT!?”

    That’s not a question that ID can answer.
    Eric Anderson put it eloquently:

    ID is not an attempt to answer all questions. It is a limited inquiry into whether something was designed. Questions about who, why, how, when are all interesting second-order questions that can be asked only after an inference to design is drawn. You may want, deeply in your heart of hearts, for ID to answer all of those questions. But that is a failure of your expectations, not ID itself.

  60. 60
    bornagain77 says:

    Tim at 58, nice response!

    The ‘argument from evil’, that atheists are so fond of using, is amazing to me because it is as if the atheist who uses it is completely ignorant of Christianity’s primary claim that we live in a fallen world.

    It is as if atheists are, Theologically, presupposing that we should be in heaven already and that any thing that goes against that presupposition of perfection, like say the fact that there is death in the world, is to be considered an argument against God.

    That is just bizarre!

    Christianity is built on the fact that we live in a fallen world where death exists.

    If no death existed, how in blue blazes could Christ ever defeat death?

    Christ’s resurrection from the dead as an atonement for our sin, i.e. Christ’s victory over death and sin, is the central doctrine of Christianity.

    Since Christian theology is certainly not the atheist’s strong suit, perhaps the atheist should move on to empirical science? Oh wait, never mind, science is built upon Theistic, even Christian, presuppositions about the rationality of the universe and our ability to comprehend it. Oh well, perhaps atheists should take up basket weaving instead of science and Theology?

  61. 61
    harry says:

    bornagain77 @60

    Oh well, perhaps atheists should take up basket weaving instead of science and Theology?

    Either that or navel gazing.

  62. 62
    john_a_designer says:

    This may come as a surprise to many of the ID commenters here but I am actually a skeptic of the so-called scientific theory of ID. Let’s be honest even some of ID’s main proponents don’t think ID is ready for prime-time. The Discovery Institute, for example, as a matter of official policy is not pushing to get ID taught in the public schools, because ID is not yet sufficiently established as a theory. On the other hand, I am not opposed to ID proponents trying to develop ID as a scientific theory. Furthermore, as a theist I certainly accept small letter i small letter d, id as a basis for natural theology. However, that is all a discussion for another time.

    The point I’d like to make here, as a friendly critic, is that (like a hypothetical fair minded non-theist) I have to begin by sorting out the differences between the tentative scientific theory of ID and the arguments for design from a philosophical/ theological perspective of design. It’s not that difficult! It amazes me that the atheist trolls and drive-bys that show up here are apparently incapable of making that distinction. Is it because they are that stupid or is it because there is something else?

  63. 63
    bill cole says:

    MatSpirit

    On the other hand, if the Designer is an unintelligent natural process then its like an earthquake or typhoon. There’s literally no one to blame.

    While this may be appealing philosophically, it is not what the evidence inside our cells and at the basic core of matter is telling us. The idea that random processes selected for fitness can create functional sequences is almost certainly the worst scientific idea anyone has ever had.

  64. 64

    @jonh_a_designer

    There is a deeply psychological reason why people are stupid about design. There is enormous pressure in society from school, work, government, and your own ideals, to “do your best”. This pressure drives people to conceive of choosing in terms of sorting out the best result.

    This is quite a useless definition of choosing for science, because what is “best” is a matter of opinion.

    That is the underlaying reason why people are stupid about design, the reason the wiki on free will is a mess of contradictory points of view, and why intelligent design theory is very difficult to get going.

  65. 65
    Origenes says:

    john_a_designer: Let’s be honest even some of ID’s main proponents don’t think ID is ready for prime-time. The Discovery Institute, for example, as a matter of official policy is not pushing to get ID taught in the public schools, because ID is not yet sufficiently established as a theory.

    John, can you provide a quote? I found this :

    Discovery Institute:
    As a matter of public policy, Discovery Institute opposes any effort to require the teaching of intelligent design by school districts or state boards of education. Attempts to mandate teaching about intelligent design only politicize the theory and will hinder fair and open discussion of the merits of the theory among scholars and within the scientific community. Furthermore, most teachers at the present time do not know enough about intelligent design to teach about it accurately and objectively.

  66. 66

    But students are already taught the difference between fact and opinion, and this helps tremendously in understanding intelligent design theory.

    As the distinction material v spiritual, created v creator, is implicit in the distinction between fact and opinion.

  67. 67
    bill cole says:

    John

    This may come as a surprise to many of the ID commenters here but I am actually a skeptic of the so-called scientific theory of ID. Let’s be honest even some of ID’s main proponents don’t think ID is ready for prime-time.

    I agree with this point, because ID in an inference argument and not a theory. There is currently not a mechanism that explains the “how”. Evolution has always been an inference argument as most of the historical sciences. Darwin argued against creation as the competing hypothesis. I became interested in evolution and ID when I realized the genome was a sequence and that macroevolution was an untested inference. It amazes me the gap that exists between the general publics understanding and the real status of the science.

    All this being said, I think ID is the best inference for what we are observing at the cellular level.

  68. 68
    bornagain77 says:

    I believe that DI supports teaching the strengths and WEAKNESSES of Darwinian evolution.

    Currently, in most states in the USA, only a one sided view of Darwinian evolution is presented to impressionable young minds.

    This is not good science, and in fact is indoctrination, since, as every commenter here knows, the scientific weaknesses of Darwinian evolution are prolific.

    For starters, it does not really even qualify as a testable science since it does not even have a clearly defined mathematical basis to test against as other overarching theories of science have. i.e. Unlike the law of gravity, there is no known ‘law of evolution’ in the physical universe. Moreover, even where Darwinian evolution can be rigorously tested against its general claims it fails anyway. (Behe’s Edge of Evolution)

    Dubitable Darwin? Why Some Smart, Nonreligious People Doubt the Theory of Evolution By John Horgan on July 6, 2010
    Excerpt: Early in his career, the philosopher Karl Popper ,, called evolution via natural selection “almost a tautology” and “not a testable scientific theory but a metaphysical research program.” Attacked for these criticisms, Popper took them back (in approx 1978). But when I interviewed him in 1992, he blurted out that he still found Darwin’s theory dissatisfying. “One ought to look for alternatives!” Popper exclaimed, banging his kitchen table.
    http://blogs.scientificamerica.....evolution/

    Deeper into the Royal Society Evolution Paradigm Shift Meeting – 02/08/2016
    Suzan Mazur: Peter Saunders in his interview comments to me said that neo-Darwinism is not a theory, it’s a paradigm and the reason it’s not a theory is that it’s not falsifiable.
    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/.....84812.html

    Peter Saunders
    Co-Director, Institute of Science in Society, London; Emeritus professor of Applied Mathematics, King’s College London.
    Peter Saunders has been applying mathematics in biology for over 40 years, in microbiology and physiology as well as in development and evolution. He has been a critic of neo-Darwinism for almost as long.
    http://www.thethirdwayofevolut.....r-saunders

    WHAT SCIENTIFIC IDEA IS READY FOR RETIREMENT? Evolution is True – Roger Highfield – January 2014
    Excerpt:,,, Whatever the case, those universal truths—’laws’—that physicists and chemists all rely upon appear relatively absent from biology.
    Little seems to have changed from a decade ago when the late and great John Maynard Smith wrote a chapter on evolutionary game theory for a book on the most powerful equations of science: his contribution did not include a single equation.
    http://www.edge.org/response-detail/25468

    “It is our contention that if ‘random’ is given a serious and crucial interpretation from a probabilistic point of view, the randomness postulate is highly implausible and that an adequate scientific theory of evolution must await the discovery and elucidation of new natural laws—physical, physico-chemical, and biological.”
    Murray Eden, “Inadequacies of Neo-Darwinian Evolution as a Scientific Theory,” Mathematical Challenges to the Neo-Darwinian Interpretation of Evolution, editors Paul S. Moorhead and Martin M. Kaplan, June 1967, p. 109.

    The Evolution of Ernst: Interview with Ernst Mayr – 2004
    Excerpt: biology (Darwinian Evolution) differs from the physical sciences in that in the physical sciences, all theories, I don’t know exceptions so I think it’s probably a safe statement, all theories are based somehow or other on natural laws. In biology, as several other people have shown, and I totally agree with them, there are no natural laws in biology corresponding to the natural laws of the physical sciences.,,,
    And so that’s what I do in this book. I show that the theoretical basis, you might call it, or I prefer to call it the philosophy of biology, has a totally different basis than the theories of physics.
    http://www.scientificamerican......-ernst-in/

  69. 69
    Andre says:

    John

    I really liked your post. Honesty is the best policy. As for the atheist. The issue for them is not evidence. They see it the know it’s there but the flat out refuse it because they simply so not want to entertain the idea that one day they might have to account for themselves.

  70. 70
    Origenes says:

    Andre: John I really liked your post. Honesty is the best policy.

    I would like to be honest as well, but I do hold that ID is science. It cannot be the case that SETI qualifies as science, but ID does not. It cannot be the case that evolutionary theory qualifies as science (see #68), but ID does not.

    Bill Cole: I agree with this point, because ID in an inference argument and not a theory. There is currently not a mechanism that explains the “how”.

    Do you mean “how” design is implemented in the universe and life?

  71. 71

    I agree with this point, because ID in an inference argument and not a theory. There is currently not a mechanism that explains the “how”.

    There wasn’t a mechanism for the “how” of evolution when Darwin proposed it, either. There wasn’t a mechanism for the “how” of gravitational attraction when Newton proposed it. There is no theory for “how” any so-called universal constant or force affects phenomena the way it does. Science does not ultimately tell us “how” anything occurs; it only describes those occurrences and attempts to characterize them.

    Evolution is characterized as non-intelligent via assertions of “random” mutation and “natural” selection. It is certain as valid a scientific characterization to say “intelligntly directed” mutation and selection. The mechanisms would be the same, except in one case no intelligent direction is needed and in the other it is required.

    Finding out how intelligence achieved it’s goals is only an investigation that can ensue after it has been first determined that an artifact or phenomena requires ID as at least part of its explanation.

  72. 72
    bill cole says:

    WJM

    There wasn’t a mechanism for the “how” of evolution when Darwin proposed it, either. There wasn’t a mechanism for the “how” of gravitational attraction when Newton proposed it. There is no theory for “how” any so-called universal constant or force affects phenomena the way it does. Science does not ultimately tell us “how” anything occurs; it only describes those occurrences and attempts to characterize them.

    Science can tell us the how by a mathematical model and experimentation to validate the model. This is certainly true with both Einsteins and Newtons versions of gravitational theory. Both these theories can be validated using the scientific method.

    Evolution on the other hand does not have a working mathematical model. Dawkins tried to create one in the blind watchmaker with the Weasel program but it required a target(having the target gene sequence to compare to the random trial) to finish. Michael Lynch also created a model but it was limited to adaptions of less then 5 mission critical mutations. The generation of new genetic sequences has also never been experimentally validated. So it remains an inference argument with ID as a competing hypothesis.

    Here is a paper on Darwin’s use of inference to the best explanation to argue the merits of natural selection vs creationism.

    W.H. Newton-Smith (ed) A Companion to the Philosophy of Science (Blackwell, 2000) 184-193.
    Inference to the Best Explanation PETER LIPTON

  73. 73
    Andre says:

    Origenes

    I agree with you of course, and I consider it a valid scientific enterprise. But I always appreciate it when people speak honestly about how they feel about something.

    There are days when I wonder if we are wrong and then the very next day we find lens technology better than ours in eyes and it assures me we that we are not.

  74. 74

    Bill Cole said:

    Science can tell us the how by a mathematical model and experimentation to validate the model.

    No, Bill. Mathematical models do not tell us how. They describe and predict.

    This is certainly true with both Einsteins and Newtons versions of gravitational theory. Both these theories can be validated using the scientific method.

    That you have a description (model) which can offer accurate predictions doesn’t mean you have answered how those predictable effects are actually instantiated in phenomena.

  75. 75
    bornagain77 says:

    WJM and Bill, if I may, I found this article to be very insightful in regards to causality. It turns out that the Theist actually has a much stronger claim in regards to agent causality being ‘scientific’ than the atheists does for blind causality being ‘scientific’:

    A Professor’s Journey out of Nihilism: Why I am not an Atheist – University of Wyoming – J. Budziszewski
    Excerpt page12: “There were two great holes in the argument about the irrelevance of God. The first is that in order to attack free will, I supposed that I understood cause and effect; I supposed causation to be less mysterious than volition.
    If anything, it is the other way around. I can perceive a logical connection between premises and valid conclusions. I can perceive at least a rational connection between my willing to do something and my doing it. But between the apple and the earth, I can perceive no connection at all. Why does the apple fall? We don’t know. “But there is gravity,” you say. No, “gravity” is merely the name of the phenomenon, not its explanation. “But there are laws of gravity,” you say. No, the “laws” are not its explanation either; they are merely a more precise description of the thing to be explained, which remains as mysterious as before. For just this reason, philosophers of science are shy of the term “laws”; they prefer “lawlike regularities.” To call the equations of gravity “laws” and speak of the apple as “obeying” them is to speak as though, like the traffic laws, the “laws” of gravity are addressed to rational agents capable of conforming their wills to the command. This is cheating, because it makes mechanical causality (the more opaque of the two phenomena) seem like volition (the less). In my own way of thinking the cheating was even graver, because I attacked the less opaque in the name of the more.
    The other hole in my reasoning was cruder. If my imprisonment in a blind causality made my reasoning so unreliable that I couldn’t trust my beliefs, then by the same token I shouldn’t have trusted my beliefs about imprisonment in a blind causality. But in that case I had no business denying free will in the first place.”
    http://www.undergroundthomist......theist.pdf

    Agent Causality (of Theists) vs. The self refuting Blind Causality (of Atheists) – video
    https://www.facebook.com/philip.cunningham.73/videos/vb.100000088262100/1118356054843993/?type=2&theater

    That agent causality has much greater explanatory power in science than the blind causality of atheists is made evident by the fact that atheists cannot do science in the first place without improperly invoking agent causality where it ought not be invoked. CS Lewis himself noted this illegitimate use of agency in description:

    “to say that a stone falls to earth because it’s obeying a law, makes it a man and even a citizen”
    – CS Lewis

    In fact, a major problem with Darwinian explanations is how to describe the complexities of life without illegitimately using terminology that invokes agency,,,

    The ‘Mental Cell’: Let’s Loosen Up Biological Thinking! – Stephen L. Talbott – September 9, 2014
    Excerpt: Many biologists are content to dismiss the problem with hand-waving: “When we wield the language of agency, we are speaking metaphorically, and we could just as well, if less conveniently, abandon the metaphors”.
    Yet no scientist or philosopher has shown how this shift of language could be effected. And the fact of the matter is just obvious: the biologist who is not investigating how the organism achieves something in a well-directed way is not yet doing biology, as opposed to physics or chemistry. Is this in turn just hand-waving? Let the reader inclined to think so take up a challenge: pose a single topic for biological research, doing so in language that avoids all implication of agency, cognition, and purposiveness1.
    One reason this cannot be done is clear enough: molecular biology — the discipline that was finally going to reduce life unreservedly to mindless mechanism — is now posing its own severe challenges. In this era of Big Data, the message from every side concerns previously unimagined complexity, incessant cross-talk and intertwining pathways, wildly unexpected genomic performances, dynamic conformational changes involving proteins and their cooperative or antagonistic binding partners, pervasive multifunctionality, intricately directed behavior somehow arising from the interaction of countless players in interpenetrating networks, and opposite effects by the same molecules in slightly different contexts. The picture at the molecular level begins to look as lively and organic — and thoughtful — as life itself.
    http://natureinstitute.org/txt.....ell_23.htm

    Denying the Signature: Functional Information Is the Fact to Be Explained – Stephen C. Meyer – November 19, 2015
    Excerpt: historian of biology Timothy Lenoir observes, “Teleological thinking has been steadfastly resisted by modern biology. And yet in nearly every area of research, biologists are hard pressed to find language that does not impute purposiveness to living forms.”2
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....01021.html

    To make matters all the more puzzling is that, despite the fact that Darwinists improperly invoke agency all the time in their descriptions of biological systems, Darwinists, and academia in general, refuse to admit to their very own agent causality which they witness first hand. Dr. Craig Hazen, in the following video at the 12:26 minute mark, relates how he performed, for an audience full of academics at a college, a ‘miracle’ simply by raising his arm,,

    The Intersection of Science and Religion – Craig Hazen, PhD – video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?f.....qlE#t=746s

  76. 76
    john_a_designer says:

    Origenes @ 70,

    Here are a couple of quotes from Michael Egnors SETI article:

    One is struck by SETI supporters’ speculative extravagance. The most cogent critique of SETI, in my view, is that it is akin to an article of faith. There is absolutely no evidence for the existence of extraterrestrial life.

    I agree with Dr. Egnor up to this point. To repeat, ”There is absolutely no evidence for the existence of extraterrestrial life.” In other words, there is no empirical data to study or analyze. (Actually, I think ID is in a somewhat better position here.)

    Egnor continues,

    SETI is surely a shot in the dark, perhaps literally, but I do believe that it is a worthwhile scientific venture. Methodologically it is certainly science, even good science.

    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....14741.html

    How so? I don’t see how you can do science with zero empirical data. Angels and unicorns have as much possibility of existing as ET’s but no one (except maybe a few kooks) is suggesting that we can study them scientifically. Don’t get me wrong. I’d love it if we discovered extraterrestrial intelligent life. However, Egnor’s opinion strikes me as a non-sequitur.

    I agree ID at present is in pretty much in the same position as is SETI. However, to be considered a science it first must make a key discovery. In my opinion, neither SETI nor ID has so far crossed that threshold.

    I do think ID as a pre-scientific paradigm can possibly (indeed already has) raise(d) some interesting questions. And I also think ID has the potential of spawning genuinely scientific hypotheses and theories. (Notice how I worded that.)

    For example, if we discovered clear evidence of genetic pre-programming that would lead more or less directly from prokaryote to eukaryote and then on to multi-cellular evolution. This would be hard, if not impossible, to explain by Darwinian or any other naturalistic kind of evolution. There is some suggestion of this already but it has been dismissed as anomalous or just curious by Darwinian group think. I’m surprise that ID researchers aren’t looking more seriously into this. Maybe they are and I just haven’t heard about it.

  77. 77
    bornagain77 says:

    In regards to SETI and Agent Causality, (two birds with one stone)

    Do You Like SETI? Fine, Then Let’s Dump Methodological Naturalism – Paul Nelson – September 24, 2014
    Excerpt: “Epistemology — how we know — and ontology — what exists — are both affected by methodological naturalism (MN). If we say, “We cannot know that a mind caused x,” laying down an epistemological boundary defined by MN, then our ontology comprising real causes for x won’t include minds.
    MN entails an ontology in which minds are the consequence of physics, and thus, can only be placeholders for a more detailed causal account in which physics is the only (ultimate) actor. You didn’t write your email to me. Physics did, and informed (the illusion of) you of that event after the fact.
    “That’s crazy,” you reply, “I certainly did write my email.” Okay, then — to what does the pronoun “I” in that sentence refer?
    Your personal agency; your mind. Are you supernatural?,,,
    You are certainly an intelligent cause, however, and your intelligence does not collapse into physics. (If it does collapse — i.e., can be reduced without explanatory loss — we haven’t the faintest idea how, which amounts to the same thing.) To explain the effects you bring about in the world — such as your email, a real pattern — we must refer to you as a unique agent.,,,
    some feature of “intelligence” must be irreducible to physics, because otherwise we’re back to physics versus physics, and there’s nothing for SETI to look for.”,,,
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....90071.html

    And although Dr. Nelson alluded to writing an e-mail, (i.e. creating information), to tie his ‘personal agent’ argument into intelligent design, Dr. Nelson’s ‘personal agent’ argument can easily be amended to any action that ‘you’, as a personal agent, choose to take:

    “You didn’t write your email to me. Physics did, and informed the illusion of you of that event after the fact.”

    “You didn’t open the door. Physics did, and informed the illusion of you of that event after the fact.”

    “You didn’t raise your hand. Physics did, and informed the illusion you of that event after the fact.”

    “You didn’t etc.. etc.. etc… Physics did, and informed the illusion of you of that event after the fact.”

    Human consciousness is much more than mere brain activity, – Mark Vernon – 18 June 2011
    However, “If you think the brain is a machine then you are committed to saying that composing a sublime poem is as involuntary an activity as having an epileptic fit. …the nature of consciousness being a tremendous mystery.”
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/comm.....n-activity

  78. 78
    Origenes says:

    john_a_designer @ 76

    JD: I agree with Dr. Egnor up to this point. To repeat, ”There is absolutely no evidence for the existence of extraterrestrial life.” In other words, there is no empirical data to study or analyze. (Actually, I think ID is in a somewhat better position here.)

    “Somewhat” is a gross understatement.

    JD: Egnor continues,

    SETI is surely a shot in the dark, perhaps literally, but I do believe that it is a worthwhile scientific venture. Methodologically it is certainly science, even good science.

    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....14741.html

    How so? I don’t see how you can do science with zero empirical data.

    I think you are conflating ‘science’ with ‘successful science’. SETI puts up an hypothesis and looks for evidence. So far they have been unsuccessful in finding supportive evidence, but what is unscientific about it?

    JD: … Egnor’s opinion strikes me as a non-sequitur.

    What is unscientific about SETI’s methodology? That is what Egnor is talking about.

    JD: I agree ID at present is in pretty much in the same position as is SETI.

    Excusez moi monsieur! Egnor puts it eloquently:

    In the past century, we have discovered intracellular structure and artifacts that, had the analogues of this computer code and intricate nanotechnology been discovered in space rather than in the cell, would have led to the obvious inference to intelligent design and would have been considered mankind’s seminal scientific discovery.

  79. 79
    bill cole says:

    WJM

    “Science can tell us the how by a mathematical model and experimentation to validate the model.”
    No, Bill. Mathematical models do not tell us how. They describe and predict.

    “This is certainly true with both Einsteins and Newtons versions of gravitational theory. Both these theories can be validated using the scientific method.”

    That you have a description (model) which can offer accurate predictions doesn’t mean you have answered how those predictable effects are actually instantiated in phenomena.

    -All good points, thanks
    -Do you agree that there is a difference between a scientific inference and a testable hypothesis?

  80. 80
    bill cole says:

    Bornagain77
    The video is great, thanks 🙂

  81. 81
    MatSpirit says:

    Boy, you get a night’s sleep and do some work and the com box fills to overflowing.

    Harry @ 57: “True science has the objectivity to consider intelligence as a reality in itself. There may be instances of rational intelligence outside of humanity. (If not, what was the purpose of SETI?)”

    And who runs SETI? Certainly nobody from ID. Science is perfectly ok with intelligence as a reality in itself. SETI is a scientific program to search for intelligence. ID is a failed religious attempt to get one faction’s theology taught in public schools, at taxpayer’s expense, as science . It didn’t work.

    MS: “If you want science to consider your Designer as the cause of life four billion years ago, then give us some good reasons to think He exists and was around back then.”

    H: “The identity of the intelligent agent is a separate question. The fact remains that there are no instances of significant functional complexity emerging mindlessly and accidentally.”

    I don’t care about any alleged designer’s identity. I asked for some good reasons to think He exists and was around back then. ID has failed miserably at this. The fact that ID denies evolution’s ability to generate functional complexity is only evidence of ID’s vacuity.

    Tim @ 58: “God, as designer of all life (including plasmodium falciparum), is responsible for all pain suffering and death. Anyone with even a partial understanding of basic logic can tell you that such an “argument”, (technically, I suppose it is not more than an assertion), is laughable.”

    Tim, I don’t know where you live, but around here you are legally required to put a fence around your swimming pool to keep children from falling in and drowning. Even though swimming pools are desirable things, you are legally (and morally) required to protect the public from any dangers that might pose. If you, as an intelligent agent, don’t build that fence, you’ll be in legal trouble. If you don’t build that fence and a child drowns in your pool, you’ll go to prison.

    On the other hand, if you are caught releasing anopheles mosquitoes loaded with malaria, they’ll hang you as a terrorist.

    ID says that an intelligent agent designed malaria and mosquitos and released them both.

    Origenes @ 59: “ID does not concern itself with moral problems.”

    You should start.

    bornagain77 @ 60: “The ‘argument from evil’, that atheists are so fond of using, is amazing to me because it is as if the atheist who uses it is completely ignorant of Christianity’s primary claim that we live in a fallen world.”

    Statements like this, which are very common on UD, show why ID should just drop the pretense that it’s not a religious apologetic. You look like such liars when you don’t and statements like this pop out. Honestly, you can be religious and do science at the same time. For gosh sakes, the Pope owns a fine observatory!

    C’mon. All we’re asking you to do is drop a pretense that’s failed. You’ll feel so much better if you do. WWJD?

    ba77: “It is as if atheists are, Theologically, presupposing that we should be in heaven already and that any thing that goes against that presupposition of perfection, like say the fact that there is death in the world, is to be considered an argument against God.”

    We would just like you to take Michael Behe seriously and consider the moral status of someone who releases malaria on the world. You know how we’d feel about a human who did this, how do you think we should feel about an intelligent agent who not only released malaria into the world, but invented it?

    ba77:

    Christianity is built on the fact that we live in a fallen world where death exists.

    If no death existed, how in blue blazes could Christ ever defeat death?

    No comment.

    john-a-designer @ 62: “The point I’d like to make here, as a friendly critic, is that (like a hypothetical fair minded non-theist) I have to begin by sorting out the differences between the tentative scientific theory of ID and the arguments for design from a philosophical/ theological perspective of design. It’s not that difficult! It amazes me that the atheist trolls and drive-bys that show up here are apparently incapable of making that distinction. Is it because they are that stupid or is it because there is something else?”

    One thing to consider is that ID has been at it for well over a decade and has utterly failed to even start to make a scientific case for ID. We’ve had politics, poorly concealed theology and lunacy like ba77’s comments just above galore, but nothing in the way of science. I think the world is justified in making a decision on ID’s prospects of ever developing a scientific theory.

    bill cole @ 63: MS: “On the other hand, if the Designer is an unintelligent natural process then its like an earthquake or typhoon. There’s literally no one to blame.”

    BC: “While this may be appealing philosophically, it is not what the evidence inside our cells and at the basic core of matter is telling us. The idea that random processes selected for fitness can create functional sequences is almost certainly the worst scientific idea anyone has ever had.”

    Actual scientists, the people who devote years of their lives learning science and actually doing science, disagree. The people who say evolution is the worst idea ever overwhelmingly tend to be lay people who don’t know much about what they’re condemning. A lot of them, such as Denyse O’Leary, seem to dislike the whole field of science and spend most of their days hunting for scraps of muddled information that will destroy science once and for all and put those arrogant toffs in their place. I don’t condemn her for this because she’s provided us with so much entertainment.

  82. 82
    bornagain77 says:

    MatSpirit, a friendly suggestion, as an insult hurling atheistic troll on a ID site, perhaps instead of embarrassing yourself in the subjects of science and theology, two subjects you have clearly shown yourself to be out of your depth in, you should take up Basket Weaving or navel gazing? 🙂

    Here, I’ll even get you started:

    Basket Weaving 101 – video
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mvO5gQ-LT7w

    Navel Gazing 101
    http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-Vk37...../navel.png

  83. 83
    es58 says:

    Matspirit were the ovens in auschwitz designed? We’re their designers intelligent?

  84. 84
    bill cole says:

    MatSpirit

    In plain English, a meeting November 7 – 9 that explores dumping Darwinism in favour of a more-evidence-based approach to evolution

    From Royal Society:

    Overview
    Scientific discussion meeting organised in partnership with the British Academy by Professor Denis Noble CBE FMedSci FRS, Professor Nancy Cartwright, Professor Sir Patrick Bateson FRS, Professor John Dupré and Professor Kevin Laland.

    Developments in evolutionary biology and adjacent fields have produced calls for revision of the standard theory of evolution, although the issues involved remain hotly contested. This meeting will present these developments and arguments in a form that will encourage cross-disciplinary discussion and, in particular, involve the humanities and social sciences in order to provide further analytical perspectives and explore the social and philosophical implications.

    Were you aware of this? Look like evolutionary skepticism among real live scientists. Have you heard of the third way? Have you ever looked at this theory critically yourself?

  85. 85
    MatSpirit says:

    es58 @ 83

    Matspirit were the ovens in auschwitz designed? We’re their designers intelligent?

    I’m assuming you have a reason for that post and I’m hoping you tell us what it was.

    My answer would be, “Yes” to both questions.

    My question would be, “Were the intelligent agents who designed them evil?”

    Additional questions might include, “If the Designers just designed them, knowing what they were to be used for, but didn’t operate them themselves, were they evil?”

    Of course, if the Designer had the powers of the Christian God, including the ability to see the future, that last question would not apply.

  86. 86
    MatSpirit says:

    Bill Cole @ 84: “Were you aware of this? Look like evolutionary skepticism among real live scientists.”

    There is? I thought science was a conspiracy of elitist toffs suckling on the government teat while living high off the hog on the taxpayer’s money, pausing occasionally to persecute some poor Christian who dares to question the party line. Wonder where I got that idea?

    BC: “Have you heard of the third way? Have you ever looked at this theory critically yourself?”

    Vaguely. I’ve seen some chatter about it here and a few other references to it. I think Susan Mazur is into it. I’ve read a couple of her pieces and watched one or two of her interviews and wasn’t impressed with them.

    I just Googled “third way” and found http://www.thethirdwayofevolution.com/ whose front page says,

    … neo darwinism invokes a set of unsupported assumptions about the accidental nature of hereditary variation. Neo-Darwinism ignores important rapid evolutionary processes such as symbiogenesis, horizontal DNA transfer, action of mobile DNA and epigenetic modifications. Moreover, some Neo-Darwinists have elevated Natural Selection into a unique creative force that solves all the difficult evolutionary problems without a real empirical basis…

     
    I’ve heard of Dennis Noble and I’ve read a bit of him online. I haven’t heard of the others.

    I’m curious to know why ID would get excited with this. Evolution has absorbed symbiogenesis, horizontal DNA transfer, and epigenetic modifications. I’m not sure what “action of mobile DNA” means unless they mean jumping genes.

    They’re all part of modern evolutionary theory, along with Mendelian genetics and dozens of other things Darwin never knew about. I’ve learned about them all from science books, magazines and on line sources.

    Just what does ID expect from this conference?

  87. 87
    Cabal says:

    If no death existed, how in blue blazes could Christ ever defeat death?
    Maybe I don’t read the Bible as KF does. The way I read it, Jesus died, Christ arose. Shouldn’t we follow Jesus, die and rise again as Christ, isn’t that what St. Poul hints at with his references to “Christ in Me”?
    That is, a spiritual detah and resurrection, to cast of fetters and stuff that is preventing you from living the life of a “saint”, so to speak?

    There is a huge problem with literalism, and if we study the literature of the time before Constantine put an end to the debate, there was much controversy within the religious population in the region. The Qumran sect, the Dead Sea scrolls, the Gnostics that had to be silenced – the history of early Christianity is so many-faceted. I don’t think we should overlook the episode with the “Doubting Thomas”. It points to something strange with the resurrection: Was the resurrected a real person, or a spirit, a ghost: the Christ of St. Paul’s?

  88. 88
    Origenes says:

    MatSpirit:

    Origenes @ 59: “ID does not concern itself with moral problems.”

    You should start.

    Which moral problems should be addressed? Note that ID is compatible with every kind of intelligence imaginable and with every intention behind the design imaginable.
    I would not know where to start. Do you?
    Moreover, whatever the outcome of these moral investigations, it won’t change the fact that design has been inferred. IOWs moral questions are second-order questions.
    Suppose we come to the conclusion that those alien computers, who designed life on earth, are “evil”. It won’t change the fact that life on earth is designed. So, what is the import?

    Allow me to post the Eric Anderson quote one more time, because you seem to have missed it:

    ID is not an attempt to answer all questions. It is a limited inquiry into whether something was designed. Questions about who, why, how, when are all interesting second-order questions that can be asked only after an inference to design is drawn. You may want, deeply in your heart of hearts, for ID to answer all of those questions. But that is a failure of your expectations, not ID itself.

  89. 89

    MatSpirit @86:

    There is? I thought science was a conspiracy of elitist toffs suckling on the government teat while living high off the hog on the taxpayer’s money, pausing occasionally to persecute some poor Christian who dares to question the party line. Wonder where I got that idea?

    Probably where you seem to get most of your ideas about that which you argue against: inventions of your own imagination maintained by willful ignorance in the face of continued correction.

    What difference do you think it makes to ID theory if the designer of life turned out to be evil?

  90. 90
    john_a_designer says:

    WJM points out to MatSpirit, that “most of your ideas about that which you argue against [are] inventions of your own imagination maintained by willful ignorance in the face of continued correction.”

    I would suggest that “willful ignorance” rather than dispassionate and honest reasoning is the basis of the typical internet atheist’s worldview.

    Some 2000 years ago the Apostle Paul wrote, 18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. 19 For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. 20 For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse. (Romans 1:18-20)

    Paul is agreeing here that the problem is not just ignorance but willful ignorance; not just ignorance of the mind but ignorance of the heart and soul brought on by sin and unrighteousness. One of our interlocutors here said recently that some of his fellow atheists feel insulted when we (Christians) describe them as sinners. However, they misunderstand. We are not talking about them; we are talking about us. We are being bluntly honest and saying that this is true of the whole human race, which includes them and ourselves. Are you unwilling to face the truth about yourself? Even though I try not to be, I am a selfish person (a sinner.) Do you think of yourself as a selfish or unselfish person? If you think of yourself as unselfish, are you completely or perfectly unselfish? Is the world better with more selfish people or less? How about people recognizing their own selfishness and trying to be less selfish. Would that make the world a better place? I think it would. I don’t see how anyone could think otherwise.

  91. 91

    Surely everyone recognizes by now that Matt is a trained parrot, who has no intention whatsoever in engaging any evidence that challenges his belief system. He is incapable of it, as has been clearly demonstrated.

  92. 92
    Phinehas says:

    es58: Matspirit were the ovens in auschwitz designed? We’re their designers intelligent?

    MatSpirit: I’m assuming you have a reason for that post and I’m hoping you tell us what it was.

    My answer would be, “Yes” to both questions.

    So why is malaria evidence that biological life wasn’t designed? Or wasn’t designed intelligently?

  93. 93
    bill cole says:

    MatSpirit

    They’re all part of modern evolutionary theory, along with Mendelian genetics and dozens of other things Darwin never knew about. I’ve learned about them all from science books, magazines and on line sources.

    Just what does ID expect from this conference?

    For me ID is a scientific inference that is an alternative to evolutionary theory. The ID inference exists because there is not a well established mechanism that can be modeled to explain how evolutionary transitions occur. The third way is a group of scientists that are trying to discover a mechanism. A book that explains some of these alternatives is Evolution a view from the 21st century by James Shapiro.

    The reason ID as an inference has credibility with me is because of the evidence of design in complex cellular micro machines like the Ribosome, ATP Synthase, the nuclear pore complex, and the spliceosome.

    Designing the DNA sequences so these machines can be made every time the cell divides is well beyond mans capability. How they arrived is one of the great mysteries of all of science.

    Try do separate in your mind the political movement of ID from the scientific inference.

  94. 94
    MatSpirit says:

    Origenes @ 88: “Which moral problems should be addressed?”

    The problem that ID believes that Plasmodium falciparum, the microorganism that causes malaria, and the Anopheles mosquito that spreads it to babies, was deliberately created, but can’t seem to understand what that implies about the designer – terrorist’s morals. Or even thinks it’s worth commenting on.

    Just imagine the outrage you’d feel if an ISIS terrorist was caught planting infected Anopheles mosquitos in a Florida swamp? And yet it doesn’t seem to be a problem for ID.

    It’s curious though, that so many people in this thread respond to criticism of the Designer by defending the Christian God. Hey guys, you’re letting the cat out of the bag. Also, if the Designer is not God, then those arguments don’t apply.

    I do have a little good news – or at least less bad news. Wikipedia says malaria only killed about 660,000 people in 2010 and only two thirds of them were babies.

  95. 95
    MatSpirit says:

    William J Murray @ 89

    MatSpirit @86:

    There is? I thought science was a conspiracy of elitist toffs suckling on the government teat while living high off the hog on the taxpayer’s money, pausing occasionally to persecute some poor Christian who dares to question the party line. Wonder where I got that idea?

    Probably where you seem to get most of your ideas about that which you argue against: inventions of your own imagination maintained by willful ignorance in the face of continued correction.

    MS: No, I think I get most of them from posts marked “News”.

    What difference do you think it makes to ID theory if the designer of life turned out to be evil?

    Well, if the Designer is evil and the designer is the Christian God, then you’re probably actually worshipping the Devil. I mean, what other evil supernatural characters are there? I’ve read in the Bible that the Devil is very very clever and wouldn’t impersonating God be a fiendishly clever trick?

    Also, since ISIS also worships the God of Abraham, that would explain a lot about their behavior.

  96. 96

    MatSpirit said:

    MS: No, I think I get most of them from posts marked “News”.

    I doubt that. It’s pretty obvious you came in here with a lot of misconceptions you seem unwilling to give up.

    Well, if the Designer is evil and the designer is the Christian God, then you’re probably actually worshipping the Devil. I mean, what other evil supernatural characters are there? I’ve read in the Bible that the Devil is very very clever and wouldn’t impersonating God be a fiendishly clever trick?

    First: I’m not a Christian. I’ve never read the Bible.

    Second: You haven’t answered the question: if the designer is evil, what difference does it make to the theory that some phenomena were designed?

    Also, since ISIS also worships the God of Abraham, that would explain a lot about their behavior.

    Actually, I don’t think you’re arguing in good faith. I think it just tickles you to act like a bratty teenager online.

  97. 97

    It’s curious though, that so many people in this thread respond to criticism of the Designer by defending the Christian God. Hey guys, you’re letting the cat out of the bag. Also, if the Designer is not God, then those arguments don’t apply.

    So, basically MatSpirit is admitting here to being a troll.

  98. 98
    MatSpirit says:

    john-a-Designer @ 90

    Paul, like Upright Biped @ 91, is not refuting anyone’s arguments or making any of his own. He’s just calling people poopie heads. That’s kindergarten level “argument”.

  99. 99
    MatSpirit says:

    Phinehas @92:

    es58: Matspirit were the ovens in auschwitz designed? We’re their designers intelligent?

    MatSpirit: I’m assuming you have a reason for that post and I’m hoping you tell us what it was.

    My answer would be, “Yes” to both questions.

    So why is malaria evidence that biological life wasn’t designed? Or wasn’t designed intelligently?

    It’s not. It’s evidence that the Designer is either very nasty or something mindless like evolution.

  100. 100
    Origenes says:

    MatSpirit: The problem that ID believes that Plasmodium falciparum, the microorganism that causes malaria, and the Anopheles mosquito that spreads it to babies, was deliberately created …

    You keep saying this, but can you actually point to ID research in support of your statement?
    Note that ID modestly claims that certain aspects of life are best explained by intelligent design. This should not be conflated with the claim all aspects of life are best explained by design.

  101. 101

    Upright Biped @ 91, is not refuting anyone’s arguments or making any of his own.

    Matt, every time I’ve tried to engage you, you go off into the weeds and engage nothing. If you’d like to truly engage, then say so. We can start with the last time I tried to engage you — do you understand the physical distinction between the actual semantic information involved in biology and your conception of “physical” information? If so, then why do you insist on conflating them?

  102. 102
    MatSpirit says:

    Bill Cole @ 93: “For me ID is a scientific inference that is an alternative to evolutionary theory.”

    To me it looks like ID spends most of its time trying to discredit evolution. Bill Dembski tries to discredit it with math, Steven Meyers tries to discredit it with geology and by not understanding what information is or how a disk drive works (see my messages in the Gobsmackingly thread) and Michael Behe tries to discredit it with irreducible complexity.

    Frankly, none of them has done very well, the outside world ignores them and the Discovery Institute has let Dembski go.

    BC: “The ID inference exists because there is not a well established mechanism that can be modeled to explain how evolutionary transitions occur.”

    It would be more accurate to say there’s not a well established mechanism that ID accepts. The scientific world doesn’t seem to have that problem, the tax sucking toffs.

    BC: “The third way is a group of scientists that are trying to discover a mechanism. A book that explains some of these alternatives is Evolution a view from the 21st century by James Shapiro.”

    I’ve got that book. I didn’t see anything all that impressive in it. Why don’t you give me his strongest argument or some page numbers in the book where Shapiro gives them and I’ll re-read it. Multiple page numbers are fine.

    BC: “The reason ID as an inference has credibility with me is because of the evidence of design in complex cellular micro machines like the Ribosome, ATP Synthase, the nuclear pore complex, and the spliceosome.”

    In other words, you think evolution is discredited.

    BC: “Designing the DNA sequences so these machines can be made every time the cell divides is well beyond mans capability. How they arrived is one of the great mysteries of all of science.”

    I agree that it’s beyond man’s capability. But then molecular biology only goes back to the 50s. That’s 66 years. I’m sure we’ll be building organisms from scratch by 2082.

    Meanwhile, ID continues to use the fact that humans can design as evidence that an unknown and undetected designer is responsible for life – while very much not wanting to talk about the moral implications of such design.

    BC: “Try do separate in your mind the political movement of ID from the scientific inference.”

    Easy.

  103. 103
    MatSpirit says:

    Origenes @100

    OrigenesJune 29, 2016 at 5:49 pm

    MatSpirit: The problem that ID believes that Plasmodium falciparum, the microorganism that causes malaria, and the Anopheles mosquito that spreads it to babies, was deliberately created …

    You keep saying this, but can you actually point to ID research in support of your statement?

    From The Edge of Evolution by Michael J Behe

    “WHEN BAD THINGS HAPPEN TO GOOD PEOPLE

    Here’s something to ponder long and hard: Malaria was intentionally designed. The molecular machinery with which the parasite invades red blood cells is an exquisitely purposeful arrangement of parts. C-Eve’s children died in her arms partly because an intelligent agent deliberately made malaria, or at least something very similar to it. What sort of designer is that? What sort of “fine-tuning” leads to untold human misery? To countless mothers mourning countless children? Did a hateful, malign being make intelligent life in order to torture it? One who relishes cries of pain?”

  104. 104
    Daniel King says:

    Origenes@88:

    Note that ID is compatible with every kind of intelligence imaginable and with every intention behind the design imaginable.

    If it is compatible with everything, what good is it?

  105. 105
    MatSpirit says:

    Upright BiPed @ 101June 29, 2016 at 6:09 pm

    Upright Biped @ 91, is not refuting anyone’s arguments or making any of his own.

    Matt, every time I’ve tried to engage you, you go off into the weeds and engage nothing. If you’d like to truly engage, then say so. We can start with the last time I tried to engage you — do you understand the physical distinction between the actual semantic information involved in biology and your conception of “physical” information? If so, then why do you insist on conflating them?

    Sorry Upright, but that conversation is on the Godsmackingly Stupid thread. Barry grabbed a (probably inadvertent) quote mine from that thread and hijacked it over to here. After I discover this thread (some thirty messages in) I pretty much had to respond.

    I want to get back to the Gobsmackingly thread, but as you can see, I’m way too busy here for the moment. As soon as things calm down, I’ll return to Gobsmackingly, but I’m having to reply to too many messages here to do that just now. I definitely do not want to add messages about information to the flood.

  106. 106

    Matt, no need to worry, either thread can accommodate you if you’ve decided to finally engage. Since you think the extant translation apparatus was built up from your conception of non-translated “physical” information over time, I’d like to ask you about whatever organization that you think existed just prior to the extant system. Did that system have to have the capacity to specify the extant system it was the predecessor of? If so, how it accomplish that?

  107. 107
    bornagain77 says:

    MS at 99, being the troll that he is, states:

    Or: So why is malaria evidence that biological life wasn’t designed? Or wasn’t designed intelligently?
    MS: It’s not (evidence that it was not Intelligently Designed). It’s evidence that the Designer is either very nasty or something mindless like evolution.

    Apart from the fact that MS is self admittedly making a specific Theological argument against the Christian God in particular (see his earlier posts), and is not making a specific scientific argument against Intelligent Design in particular, it turns out that Malaria, as well as the Bubonic Plague, Ebola, AIDS, and Smallpox actually present strong scientific evidence against neo-Darwinian claims, as well as providing fairly strong scientific evidence for the Judeo-Christian claim that we live in a fallen world.
    All of those diseases that were listed were, as far as I can tell, originally created benign and only recently became pathogenic due to genetic entropy. Which is exactly as would be held in the Judeo-Christian worldview as a starting presupposition,,

    Setting a Molecular Clock for Malaria Parasites – July 8, 2010
    Excerpt: “Malaria parasites undoubtedly were relatively benign for most of that history (in humans), becoming a major disease only after the origins of agriculture and dense human populations,” said Ricklefs.
    http://www.nsf.gov/news/news_s....._id=117259

    Genome sequencing of chimpanzee malaria parasites reveals possible pathways of adaptation to human hosts – 18 July 2014
    In summary,,, homologues are found in all Plasmodium species, implying a universal and ancient role in the relationship between Plasmodium parasites and their vertebrate hosts.
    There are 568 rif genes in P. reichenowi and only 185 in P. falciparum, with the number of pseudogenes differing by a similar ratio (49 and 27, respectively; Table 2 and Fig. 2b). The number of stevor genes is also higher in P. reichenowi (66) than in P. falciparum (42). Successful colonization of humans is therefore clearly possible with a much reduced repertoire of these two important multigene families.
    http://www.nature.com/ncomms/2.....s5754.html

    As well, like malaria, a Genetic study now shows that bubonic plague (Black Death) was caused by loss of genes and streamlining of a non-pathogenic bacteria. In other words, the disease was caused by ‘genetic entropy’:

    The independent evolution of harmful organisms from one bacterial family – April 21, 2014
    Excerpt: For the first time, researchers have studied the Black Death bacterium’s entire family tree to fully understand how some of the family members evolve to become harmful.,,
    “Before this study, there was uncertainty about what path these species took to become pathogenic: had they split from a shared common pathogenic ancestor? Or had they evolved independently”,,,
    By examining the whole genomes of both the pathogenic and non-pathogenic species, they were able to determine that many of the metabolic functions, lost by the pathogenic species, were ancestral. These functions were probably important for growth in a range of niches, and have been lost rather than gained in specific family lines in the Yersinia family.
    “We commonly think bacteria must gain genes to allow them to become pathogens. However, we now know that the loss of genes and the streamlining of the pathogen’s metabolic capabilities are key features in the evolution of these disease-causing bacteria,”
    http://phys.org/news/2014-04-p.....erial.html

    As well, in the following study the researchers speculate that Ebola plays a beneficial role in its original host

    Bats and Viruses: Friend or Foe? – 2013
    Viral RNA specific to both Ebola and Marburg has been identified in a number of fruit bat species from Gabon and Democratic Republic of Congo,,,
    ,,,bats generally harbour viruses with no clinical signs of disease.,,,
    it seems unlikely that bats’ ability to asymptomatically carry viruses is a recently acquired trait.,,,
    Do Viruses Benefit the Host?
    The fact that bats harbour such a large number of viruses poses an important question: do these viruses provide any benefit to the host?,,,
    It seems plausible that some of the viruses that bats harbour may have oncolytic properties that confer antitumor activity to the host.,,,
    http://www.plospathogens.org/a.....at.1003651

    As well the AIDS virus is found to be non-pathogenetic in its original host.

    “the AIDS virus originated relatively recently, as a mutation from SIV, the simian immuno-deficiency virus. According to Wikipedia, this virus was also benign in its original form:.. Unlike HIV-1 and HIV-2 infections in humans, SIV infections in their natural hosts appear in many cases to be non-pathogenic. Extensive studies in sooty mangabeys have established that SIVsmm infection does not cause any disease in these animals, despite high levels of circulating virus.”
    http://www.uncommondescent.com.....ent-448372

    The history of smallpox is much less well understood, but it appears that smallpox has also been benign for most of its history, like all the other diseases listed, and only recently became pathogenic:

    On the origins of smallpox – where and when did variola virus emerge? – March 2011
    Excerpt: Smallpox-like skin lesions have been observed on Egyptian mummies dating from as far back as 1580 B.C yet there is no mention of the disease at all in the Old or New testaments nor even the Hippocratic texts. There was some mention of a smallpox-like disease in China and India as early as 1500 B.C but the only unmistakable description can be found from the 4th century A.D in China. Interestingly there was no mention of smallpox in the American continents nor in sub-Saharan Africa prior to European exploration.,,,
    http://ruleof6ix.fieldofscienc.....-when.html

    Thus contrary to the claims of a ‘evil designer’, the fact of the matter is that there is strong evidence to believe that the pathogens were originally benign, even beneficial, and only fairly recently became pathogenic due to genetic entropy.

    And it is also very good that genetic entropy is true. Sanford has shown that the destructive effects of pathogens on humans are fairly quickly modulated by information loss.

    Evolution and the Ebola Virus: Pacing a Small Cage – Michael Behe – October 24, 2014
    Excerpt: The high rate of mutation of Ebola is similar to what John Sanford has demonstrated for the H1N1 virus that caused the influenza pandemic after World War I. He makes a compelling case that the accumulating mutations there were degradatory could not be eliminated easily by selection, and eventually caused the virus’s extinction in 2009.
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....90621.html

  108. 108
    bornagain77 says:

    Also of note, although most people think bacteria and viruses are almost always harmful to humans, in reality we are very much dependent on bacteria and viruses for our survival:

    NIH Human Microbiome Project defines normal bacterial makeup of the body – June 13, 2012
    Excerpt: Microbes inhabit just about every part of the human body, living on the skin, in the gut, and up the nose. Sometimes they cause sickness, but most of the time, microorganisms live in harmony with their human hosts, providing vital functions essential for human survival.
    http://www.nih.gov/news/health.....gri-13.htm

    We are living in a bacterial world, and it’s impacting us more than previously thought – February 15, 2013
    Excerpt: We often associate bacteria with disease-causing “germs” or pathogens, and bacteria are responsible for many diseases,,, But bacteria do many good things, too, and the recent research underlines the fact that animal life would not be the same without them.,,,
    I am,, convinced that the number of beneficial microbes, even very necessary microbes, is much, much greater than the number of pathogens.
    http://phys.org/news/2013-02-b.....tml#ajTabs

    The Microbial Engines That Drive Earth’s Biogeochemical Cycles – Falkowski 2008
    Excerpt: Microbial life can easily live without us; we, however, cannot survive without the global catalysis and environmental transformations it provides.
    Paul G. Falkowski – Professor Geological Sciences – Rutgers
    http://www.genetics.iastate.edu/delong1.pdf

    (Bacteriophage) Viruses in the gut protect from infection – 20 May 2013
    Excerpt: Barr and his colleagues,, show that animal mucus — whether from humans, fish or corals — is loaded with bacteria-killing viruses called phages. These protect their hosts from infection by destroying incoming bacteria. In return, the phages are exposed to a steady torrent of microbes in which to reproduce. “It’s a unique form of symbiosis, between animals and viruses,” says Rotem Sorek, a microbial geneticist ,,
    “It’s groundbreaking,” adds Frederic Bushman, a microbiologist ,, “The idea that phage can be viewed as part of the innate immune system is original and exciting.’
    http://www.nature.com/news/vir.....on-1.13023

    Moreover, it interesting that MS would pick on malaria in particular to try to make his case against Christianity, (I would say to make his case against ID but MS admits that his beef is with Christianity in particular and not with ID), because Malaria happens to be the particular bug that empirically confirmed, in the lab, Behe’s 1 in 10^20 ‘Edge of Evolution’ to be true.

    Diverse mutational pathways converge on saturable chloroquine transport via the malaria parasite’s chloroquine resistance transporter – Robert L. Summers – March 17, 2014
    Abstract: Mutations in the chloroquine resistance transporter (PfCRT) are the primary determinant of chloroquine (CQ) resistance in the malaria parasite Plasmodium falciparum. A number of distinct PfCRT haplotypes, containing between 4 and 10 mutations, have given rise to CQ resistance in different parts of the world. Here we present a detailed molecular analysis of the number of mutations (and the order of addition) required to confer CQ transport activity upon the PfCRT as well as a kinetic characterization of diverse forms of PfCRT. We measured the ability of more than 100 variants of PfCRT to transport CQ when expressed at the surface of Xenopus laevis oocytes. Multiple mutational pathways led to saturable CQ transport via PfCRT, but these could be separated into two main lineages. Moreover, the attainment of full activity followed a rigid process in which mutations had to be added in a specific order to avoid reductions in CQ transport activity. A minimum of two mutations sufficed for (low) CQ transport activity, and as few as four conferred full activity. The finding that diverse PfCRT variants are all limited in their capacity to transport CQ suggests that resistance could be overcome by reoptimizing the CQ dosage.
    http://www.pnas.org/content/ea.....1322965111

    Kenneth Miller Steps on Darwin’s Achilles Heel – Michael Behe – January 17, 2015
    Excerpt: Enter Achilles and his heel. It turns out that the odds are much better for atovaquone resistance because only one particular malaria mutation is required for resistance. The odds are astronomical for chloroquine because a minimum of two particular malaria mutations are required for resistance. Just one mutation won’t do it. For Darwinism, that is the troublesome significance of Summers et al.: “The findings presented here reveal that the minimum requirement for (low) CQ transport activity … is two mutations.”
    Darwinism is hounded relentlessly by an unshakeable limitation: if it has to skip even a single tiny step — that is, if an evolutionary pathway includes a deleterious or even neutral mutation — then the probability of finding the pathway by random mutation decreases exponentially. If even a few more unselected mutations are needed, the likelihood rapidly fades away.,,,
    So what should we conclude from all this? Miller grants for purposes of discussion that the likelihood of developing a new protein binding site is 1 in 10^20. Now, suppose that, in order to acquire some new, useful property, not just one but two new protein-binding sites had to develop. In that case the odds would be the multiple of the two separate events — about 1 in 10^40, which is somewhat more than the number of cells that have existed on earth in the history of life. That seems like a reasonable place to set the likely limit to Darwinism, to draw the edge of evolution.
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....92771.html

    Michael Behe – Observed (1 in 10^20) Edge of Evolution – video – Lecture delivered in April 2015 at Colorado School of Mines
    25:56 minute quote – “This is not an argument anymore that Darwinism cannot make complex functional systems; it is an observation that it does not.”
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9svV8wNUqvA

    “The immediate, most important implication is that complexes with more than two different binding sites-ones that require three or more proteins-are beyond the edge of evolution, past what is biologically reasonable to expect Darwinian evolution to have accomplished in all of life in all of the billion-year history of the world. The reasoning is straightforward. The odds of getting two independent things right are the multiple of the odds of getting each right by itself. So, other things being equal, the likelihood of developing two binding sites in a protein complex would be the square of the probability for getting one: a double CCC, 10^20 times 10^20, which is 10^40. There have likely been fewer than 10^40 cells in the world in the last 4 billion years, so the odds are against a single event of this variety in the history of life. It is biologically unreasonable.”
    – Michael Behe – The Edge of Evolution – page 146

  109. 109
    bornagain77 says:

    Frankly, it is very good that there is a strict limit to what evolution can create, (Behe: 2 protein/protein binding site limit; Edge of Evolution), since it allows us to develop drug treatments that are beyond the capacity of Darwinian processes to overcome:

    Guide of the Perplexed: A Quick Reprise of The Edge of Evolution – Michael Behe – August 20, 2014
    Excerpt: If there were a second drug with the efficacy of chloroquine which had always been administered in combination with it (but worked by a different mechanism), resistance to the combination would be expected to arise with a frequency in the neighborhood of 1 in 10^40 — a medical triumph.
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....89161.html

    The multiple drug cocktail that has been so effective in controlling HIV uses much the same strategy of being beyond the ‘edge of evolution’ that Dr. Behe has elucidated:

    When taking any single drug, it is fairly likely that some mutant virus in the patient might happen to be resistant, survive the onslaught, and spawn a resistant lineage.
    But the probability that the patient hosts a mutant virus that happens to be resistant to several different drugs at the same time is much lower.,,,
    it “costs” a pest or pathogen to be resistant to a pesticide or drug. If you place resistant and non-resistant organisms in head-to-head competition in the absence of the pesticide or drug, the non-resistant organisms generally win.,,,
    This therapy has shown early, promising results — it may not eliminate HIV, but it could keep patients’ virus loads low for a long time, slowing progression of the disease.
    http://evolution.berkeley.edu/.....edicine_04

    Thus all in all, since MS, for whatever severely misguided reason, concentrated on the Theological argument against Christianity instead of concentrating on the science at hand, MS tactic has backfired on him since the pathogen was shown to be originally benign (and most likely originally beneficial) ,, and, as well, the science, from malaria itself no less, shows Darwinian evolution to be grossly inadequate as an explanation for why all life exists on Earth.

    Prediction: MS will, most likely, ignore all this crushing evidence against his position and move on to the next subject that he thinks he can get away with trolling on. But alas, no one, save for Darwinists themselves of course, has ever accused Darwinists of being reasonable.

  110. 110
    bill cole says:

    MatSpirit

    In other words, you think evolution is discredited.

    Yes, i do not think there is a credible testable hypothesis in any part of current evolutionary concepts. Because the genome is a sequence, the current hypothesis for new information is almost certainly wrong. Regarding James Shapiro and his book, I think he is trying and NGE is an interesting concept with real evidence including DNA repair but probably not the answer to the mystery of the origin of new genetic sequences.

  111. 111
    Origenes says:

    Matspirit @103,

    Talking about quote mining ….
    What Behe does here is arguing (philosophically) against Darwin’s idea that design does not exist because of alleged evilness and/or incompetence of the designer:

    Behe:

    Here’s something to ponder long and hard: Malaria was intentionally designed. The molecular machinery with which the parasite invades red blood cells is an exquisitely purposeful arrangement of parts…

    Did a hateful, malign being make intelligent life in order to torture it? One who relishes cries of pain?

    Maybe. Maybe not. A torrent of pain indisputably swirls through the world – not only the world of humans but also the world of sentient animal life as well. Yet just as undeniably, much that is good graces nature. Many children die, yet many other thrive. Some people languish, but others savor full lives. Does one outweigh the other? If so, which outweighs which? Or are pleasure and pain, good and evil, incommensurable? Are viruses and parasites part of some brilliant, as-yet-unappreciated economy of nature, or do they reflect the bungling of an incompetent, fallible designer?

    Whether on balance one thinks life was a worthwhile project or not – whether the designer of life was a dope, a demon, or a deity – that’s a topic on which opinions over the millennia have differed considerably. Each argument has some merit. Of the many possible opinions, only one is really indefensible, the one held by Darwin…. He decided – based on squeamishness – that no designer existed. Maybe the designer isn’t all that beneficent or omnipotent. Science can’t answer questions like that. But denying design merely because it can cause terrible pain is a failure.
    (2007, pp. 237-239.)
    [my emphasis]

  112. 112
    MatSpirit says:

    Upright Biped @ 106: “Matt, no need to worry, either thread can accommodate you if you’ve decided to finally engage.”

    It’s not a matter of space, it’s a matter of time. I’ve posted 21 messages in this thread in two days. I can hardly ignore the thread after Barry has singled me out and I’ve got at least a dozen people asking me questians.

    I don’t take answering the questions lightly. I read each post carefully to make sure I know what is being said. I write replies in enough detail to explain the point I’m making. I try to write accurately and do a lot of googling to check my memory. That all takes time. Most of my spare time, in fact.

    Some people (not me) think that Barry pulls this singling out stunt whenever he sees an ID commenter losing badly, but I follow the old “Never attribute to malice …” saying.

    UB: “Since you think the extant translation apparatus was built up from your conception of non-translated “physical” information over time, I’d like to ask you about whatever organization that you think existed just prior to the extant system. Did that system have to have the capacity to specify the extant system it was the predecessor of? If so, how it accomplish that?”

    Give me some fossils covering the period where the present system formed and I’ll tell you.

    That’s an excellent debate tactic, by the way. Ask your opponent a question neither side can answer (For instance, exactly how and when did the Designer create life?) and then make sure everybody knows he can’t answer the question. Most people will overlook the nonanswers from ID. It won’t even occur to them. IDists themselves often get irate that you should even ask them.

    Anyhow, I found a very nice article on this subject at
    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK6360/

    It’s called Origin and Evolution of DNA and DNA Replication Machineries by Forterre P, Filée J and Myllykallio(sic) H. No idea who they are, but it’s published by the National Institute of Health and its Copyright © 2000-2013, so it should be fairly representative of current thinking.

    I’ve only skimmed through the first few pages, but their best guess is that RNA came first. They don’t say exactly why, but I know it’s ubiquitous in life today and you will very often find complex functions carried out by proteins which have short stretches of RNA built into them which do the actual work. The protein just holds the RNA in the right spot.

    They think DNA evolved from RNA because the two are almost identical:

    Origin of DNA

    DNA can be considered as a modified form of RNA, since the “normal” ribose sugar in RNA is reduced into deoxyribose in DNA, whereas the “simple” base uracil is methylated into thymidine. In modern cells, the DNA precursors (the four deoxyribonucleoties, dNTPs) are produced by reduction of ribonucleotides di- or triphosphate by ribonucleotide reductases (fig. 1). The synthesis of DNA building blocks from RNA precursors is a major argument in favor of RNA preceding DNA in evolution. The direct prebiotic origin of is theoretically plausible (from acetaldehyde and glyceraldehyde-5-phosphate) but highly unlikely, considering that evolution, as stated by F. Jacob, works like a tinkerer, not an engineer.

    It goes on, but I’ll let you read it yourself since it’s 1:30 am.

    For reasons alluded to above, I won’t ask you if ID has anything equivalent to even this little bit on how the Designer did his designing.

  113. 113
    Origenes says:

    Daniel King: If it [ID] is compatible with everything, what good is it?

    ID does identify neither the designer nor its intentions, but is able to show that intelligent design is the best explanation for certain aspects of reality. No more and no less.

  114. 114

    #112

    Now that you’ve got your “let me google sumpthin’ to say” out of the way, perhaps you can bring yourself to actually contemplate the issues.

    You’ve suggested that some prior organization morphed into the extant translation apparatus. So I’ve asked the question: Was whatever proposed organization that preceded the extant translation apparatus required to specify the extant apparatus?

    One of the perplexing issues with the extant apparatus (as clearly noted by materialists) is that the complexity required for the actual translation of information is simply too complex to have arisen together. Koonin suggests that an unlimited number of universes will be required if a coupled translation system is to appear as a matter of stochastic processes. However, it is specifically the ability to translate an informational medium that enables the system with its capacity to specify its product.

    So, I am asking: did the proposed prior system have to specify the current system or not? And if it did, then how did it do it?

  115. 115
    Eric Anderson says:

    MatSpirit @112:

    Oh, good. A literature bluff, coupled with this:

    For reasons alluded to above, I won’t ask you if ID has anything equivalent to even this little bit on how the Designer did his designing.

    Why do you think ID must answer the how of design? Either you misunderstand the design inference or you are just unwilling to consider the different domains. It is your theory that is fully naturalistic and materialistic. You must have a physical mechanism that can, by itself, explain what we see in biology. No naturalistic mechanism, no naturalistic story.

    In contrast, ID is not a mechanistic theory. No doubt you would like ID to be a mechanistic theory (since that is all you think exists), but that is a failure of your expectations, not a failure of ID.

  116. 116

    Mattspirit wrote: how the Designer did his designing

    Choosing is the mechanism of creation. The DNA, RNA etc., the main structure of biology, has the same mathematical ordering as physics. And basically mathematics itself has the same ordering.

    By Rowlands and Hill
    https://lh6.googleusercontent.com/-lviaXRsJy3U/U7VOfQG0dEI/AAAAAAAAAH8/kUUbWfYlb7cIIoo_i2e8teo29HOcyYw0ACL0B/w500-h418-no/rewrite.png

    So DNA is neither evolved, nor created much. I mean it is created, but there aren’t very many options available beyond it existing and it not existing. This is more a function of structural necessity or likelyhood, than either evolution or creation.

  117. 117
    Origenes says:

    Eric Anderson @115,

    Thank you for your post, which draws attention to an important issue wrt our understanding of ID: design is not mechanistic. Even some commenters sympathetic to ID hold that this is a problem for the scientific status of ID — see john_a_designer #62 and Bill Cole post #67.
    If I understand you correctly, you are pointing out that intelligence transcends any mechanistic explanation. If so, that makes perfect sense to me.
    There is no mechanism that explains the design of the IPhone, the Mona Lisa, Hamlet or even this simple post. Ultimately intelligence stems from freedom. And freedom is the opposite of mechanism. The day we model freedom by a blind mechanism is the day that freedom and rationality ends.

  118. 118
    Daniel King says:

    Origenes:

    ID does identify neither the designer nor its intentions, but is able to show that intelligent design is the best explanation for certain aspects of reality. No more and no less.

    Thank you for your frank reply.

    But is that it? You say ID is the best explanation, but has no entailments. That would make it worthless scientifically, wouldn’t it?

  119. 119

    @Origenes

    Plainly choosing is the mechanism of creation, and actually it is possible to evidence how things are chosen.

    It is solely agency of a decision which logic dictates cannot be evidenced, which is why we have subjectivity to deal with agency.

  120. 120
    Tim says:

    And Barry . . . he just laughs because he titled the OP.
    MatSpirit@55

    What I said was not about who or what the Designer is. My point is that whatever the Designer is, if He is responsible for life on earth, then He created an inordinate number of beetles, a system where half the organisms kill and eat the other half and an especially nasty microorganism that kills about a million children a year.

    Here MS provides us with a false dilemma. Be aware that this is no quote mine from me. It a common theme presented by Matspirit throughout this thread. At 58 I caution him on this, but after a good night’s rest, he doubles down with an anecdote about swimming pools. Again, laughable.

    ((Just as an aside, in some parts of the USA, it is true that not providing fencing around pools leaves people open to prosecution in the event of a child’s accidental drowning death, I can tell you who is not prosecuted, the designer of the pool and especially people who design the fencing which was absent. A wrong as a privation of good, hm, how Augustinian.))

    Anyway, I had suggested that he engage with three truths, but he refused. As I read further I see that concerning another topic, UprightBiped has picked up on MatSpirit’s insistence on the conflation of two ideas.

    MS, take my advice; admit UB is correct, that you have unnecessarily conflated those two types of information.

    Unfortunately, it is too late. Here is MatSpirit later:

    I don’t take answering the questions lightly. I read each post carefully to make sure I know what is being said. I write replies in enough detail to explain the point I’m making.

    Unfortunately, MS added:

    The problem that ID believes that Plasmodium falciparum, the microorganism that causes malaria, and the Anopheles mosquito that spreads it to babies, was deliberately created, but can’t seem to understand what that implies about the designer – terrorist’s morals. Or even thinks it’s worth commenting on.

    We don’t think it worth commenting on because we do not conflate the two . . . I know, I know, I know, you can’t conceive of a supernatural concept of humanity’s sin, or fallen-ness that would actually physically affect other living things. Too bad for you, it leaves you in an awkward position of arguing a point that nobody will address because they won’t concede what is at once your only premise, assertion and conclusion.

    And again, Barry . . . he just laughs because he titled the OP.

  121. 121
    MatSpirit says:

    Origenes @ 111:

    Talking about quote mining ….
    What Behe does here is arguing (philosophically) against Darwin’s idea that design does not exist because of alleged evilness and/or incompetence of the designer:

    I think it’s much more likely that after pointing out something that is obvious, but deeply discomforting to his ID/religious readers, Behe threw them a bone with a gratuitous slap at Darwin.

    It’s probably wrong to boot. Figuring out that a putative God is evil is no reason not to believe that god exists. Far from it, the evil entities are the ones you have to watch out for. They’re likely to hurt you and pretending they don’t exist is no help at all. Fearing an evil God is perfectly appropriate, denying its existence is folly.

    If Darwin was an athiest, I think it was because by the mid 19th century God was getting pretty redundant. Newton took away His need to regulate the heavens; thunder, lightning, earthquakes, plagues and apoplexy were known to have secular causes and life itself was pretty clearly non-magical. Now evolution had taken away the design and production of earth’s living creatures. There wasn’t much for God to do.

    Things have gotten worse since then in that we don’t need Him to create the universe any more. I suppose you could say God created the chaotic low information meta universe ours probably popped out of, but since you’re forced to say that God didn’t have a maker, you might as well cut out the middle man and say the meta universe has always existed. It’s simpler and more likely.

  122. 122
    MatSpirit says:

    William J Murray @ 96: “First: I’m not a Christian. I’ve never read the Bible.”

    Sorry for calling you one.

    WJM: “Second: You haven’t answered the question: if the designer is evil, what difference does it make to the theory that some phenomena were designed?”

    None whatsoever. See my answer to Origenes right above.

  123. 123
    MatSpirit says:

    William J Murray @ 97

    MatSpirit: It’s curious though, that so many people in this thread respond to criticism of the Designer by defending the Christian God. Hey guys, you’re letting the cat out of the bag. Also, if the Designer is not God, then those arguments don’t apply.

    So, basically MatSpirit is admitting here to being a troll.

    What’s your definition of a troll? One who points out an unpleasant fact?

  124. 124
    Mung says:

    MatSpirit: Sorry for calling you one.

    Why not apologize for being a bigot while you’re in the mood to admit personal failures?

  125. 125

    Maybe Matspirit is not deliberately trolling, it is just that he is a materialist, and so he pays no attention to subjective things like honesty, fairness, truthfulness, sincerity.

  126. 126
    es58 says:

    MatSpirit: “how the Designer did his designing”
    Why does it matter? I see a page with a sentence on it. Do I need to know if it was made with a dot matrix printer, type writer, laser printer, a talented scribe, etc to know that the sentence was designed?

  127. 127
    MatSpirit says:

    Upright Biped @ 114

    Now that you’ve got your “let me google sumpthin’ to say” out of the way, perhaps you can bring yourself to actually contemplate the issues.

    I take it then that you didn’t bother to read what I found for you. Well, maybe the authors are just a bunch of toffs guzzling taxpayer money and telling lies to support the Great Satan, or something. From an ID standpoint, not reading is probably a good strategy. If you carefully avoid learning anything that might challenge your theories, then your theories will never be challenged.

    One of the perplexing issues with the extant apparatus (as clearly noted by materialists) is that the complexity required for the actual translation of information is simply too complex to have arisen together.

    Really? And how do you know that? Have you got some fossils of earliest life you’re holding out on us? Have you searched all of the available rocks from that period for sub-microscopic molecular sized life and found them empty and then suddenly come across a single modern bacteria in all its glory? I think not.

    Or maybe you have a deep background in biology, chemistry and evolution with special knowlege of some unclimbable hill evolution is incapable of surmounting to produce the modern cell? Probably not.

    Or maybe you’re an ID enthusiast, steadfastly avoiding any knowledge that might sway your a priori OPINION that evolution is incapable of creating modern life. I think that’s the situation and I will give your OPINION all of the consideration it has earned.

    Koonin suggests that an unlimited number of universes will be required if a coupled translation system is to appear as a matter of stochastic processes.

    Eugene Koonin is a biologist specializing in evolutionary and computational biology. He’s not an Origin Of Life researcher and his idea that we need multiple universes to explain the STOCHASTIC production of DNA life had everybody who IS in the OOL field sucking in their breath and wondering what was on about.

    His idea that the first modern cell was created in one go by chance (that’s what stochastic means in this context, after all) hit the OOL community with a soft plop, sank into the swamp and was never seen again.

    The ID community, on the other hand, was delighted to find any real life scientist they agreed with, even if he was from outside the OOL field and his peers thought he was nuts. They have kept his name alive ever since. It would be interesting to know about what his opinion of ID is and how he feels about this adulation, but he doesn’t talk about it very much. Perhaps the toffs are threatening his grants?

    So, I am asking: did the proposed prior system have to specify the current system or not? And if it did, then how did it do it?

    This must be what, “Written in jello.” means. WHAT “prior system”? WHAT “curent system”? OOL probably took several million years to go from the first replicator, whatever it was, to modern DNA based systems. Do you want every step described in detail? How would you know if my description was right if you don’t know what any system prior to the DNA system was like?

    Give us some fossils.

  128. 128
    MatSpirit says:

    Eric Anderson @ 115

    Oh, good. A literature bluff…

    You didn’t read it either, did you? Keep those opinions safe.

    …coupled with this:

    For reasons alluded to above, I won’t ask you if ID has anything equivalent to even this little bit on how the Designer did his designing.

    Why do you think ID must answer the how of design? Either you misunderstand the design inference or you are just unwilling to consider the different domains.

    Translation: “They’re asking us for facts to back up our opinions! We don’t need FACTS! We have THEORIES that prove evolution couldn’t do it and we just KNOW we’re right!

    It’s like objective morality! You just KNOW!

    It is your theory that is fully naturalistic and materialistic. You must have a physical mechanism that can, by itself, explain what we see in biology. No naturalistic mechanism, no naturalistic story.

    Now listen closely because this is important.

    (1) Life exists. You can see it, touch it, measure it, weigh it and it will bite you if you don’t watch out.

    (2) Life didn’t always exist. Everybody agrees about that.

    Therefore

    (3) There must have been a time when life first appeared.

    (4) There are at least two explanations for how life appeared.

    (5) The evolutionists are willing to tell you how that happened AND provide evidence on how, why, when and where.

    (6) ID just says some kind of designer created life some way at some time and in some place. For some reason we don’t have to tell you anything about how it happened, when it happened, where it happened or anything else about it because we’re ID.

    In the words of Nero Wolfe, Pfui!

    In contrast, ID is not a mechanistic theory.

    Eric, Dembski is no longer a part of ID. The Discovery Institute let him go. He has left the building.

    “ID is not a mechanistic theory, and it’s not ID’s task to match your pathetic level of detail in telling mechanistic stories,” is no longer operative.

  129. 129

    I take it then that you didn’t bother to read what I found for you.

    I read it several years ago. The question I asked has to do with the known (fully described) structure and function of the translation apparatus, not speculation as to its origins. You might have picked up this clear distinction if you had not avoided the previous paper I suggested to you. Frankly, the question I asked of you is really not that difficult. You have stated that a system existed prior to the extant system. I asked if the prior system had to specify the existing system. This one simple question seems to overwhelm you.

    Well, maybe the authors are just a bunch of toffs guzzling taxpayer money and telling lies to support the Great Satan

    You once again appear to be incapable of not indulging yourself. You clearly don’t need me for that.

  130. 130
    Origenes says:

    Daniel King #118,

    DK:

    Origenes:
    ID does identify neither the designer nor its intentions, but is able to show that intelligent design is the best explanation for certain aspects of reality. No more and no less.

    Thank you for your frank reply.
    But is that it? You say ID is the best explanation, but has no entailments. That would make it worthless scientifically, wouldn’t it?

    Suppose that, during the first exploration of one of Jupiter’s moons a human research team finds an extremely heavy artifact, 10 miles diameter and firmly attached to the surface of the moon. Upon investigation ‘intelligent design’ comes out as the best explanation for the coming into existence of this artifact — however neither the designer nor its intentions can be identified.
    Given this context, in what sense has the inference to design “no entailments” and it what sense is it “scientifically worthless”?

  131. 131

    @Origenes

    Your fantasy scenario is besides the point. We can see intelligent design by people occurring in the present. Intelligent design theory must also be capable to describe how people design stuff. So your idea that intelligent design theory can just disregard how designing works, is a nonsense.

  132. 132
    Origenes says:

    Mohammad @131

    The design inference is not about how things are designed. “How” is a second-order question that can be asked only after an inference to design is drawn — after ID has finished its job.

    Besides I’m not sure that I understand your argument. Are you saying that by describing how people design stuff we can arrive at a general mechanism of design, which we then can extrapolate to other areas? For example, by observing human designers, we can understand how life and the universe was designed?
    If that’s your idea, it seems highly unlikely to me. Similarly one cannot extrapolate from animal design (by beavers, ants, spiders) to human design.
    The best we can do is say that intelligence is involved.

  133. 133
    Daniel King says:

    Origenes@130

    Suppose that, during the first exploration of one of Jupiter’s moons a human research team finds an extremely heavy artifact, 10 miles diameter and firmly attached to the surface of the moon. Upon investigation ‘intelligent design’ comes out as the best explanation for the coming into existence of this artifact — however neither the designer nor its intentions can be identified.
    Given this context, in what sense has the inference to design “no entailments” and it what sense is it “scientifically worthless”?

    Hi, Origenes.

    Here’s what I mean by entailment: “An entailment is a deduction or implication, that is, something that follows logically from or is implied by something else.”

    You ask “in what sense has the inference to design ‘no entailments…?” in reference to an imaginary scenario that resembles an anthropological investigation. Your question implies that you’ve specified some entailments of the “inference to design,” but I don’t see any in your post.

    It’s one thing to “infer” something, it’s another to follow up on that tentative conclusion and test its entailments. If an inference can’t be tested, “what good is it?” Surely the investigators in your scenario wouldn’t stop at an inference to design without considering alternative hypotheses (inferences) and investigating further.

  134. 134
    Origenes says:

    Daniel King

    DK: You ask “in what sense has the inference to design ‘no entailments…?” in reference to an imaginary scenario that resembles an anthropological investigation. Your question implies that you’ve specified some entailments of the “inference to design,” but I don’t see any in your post.

    Aren’t the entailments of the inference to design in my scenario not obvious enough? A hint: ppl will feel very excited and surprised.

    DK: It’s one thing to “infer” something, it’s another to follow up on that tentative conclusion and test its entailments.

    Well, go for it. What is stopping you?

    DK: If an inference can’t be tested, “what good is it?” Surely the investigators in your scenario wouldn’t stop at an inference to design without considering alternative hypotheses (inferences) and investigating further.

    The inference is the result of testing. Alternative explanatory hypothesis have already been considered, as part of the design inference.
    Surely further investigation, based on the design inference, is possible. But that’s not part of the design inference.

  135. 135
    bill cole says:

    MatSpirit

    (5) The evolutionists are willing to tell you how that happened AND provide evidence on how, why, when and where.

    (6) ID just says some kind of designer created life some way at some time and in some place. For some reason we don’t have to tell you anything about how it happened, when it happened, where it happened or anything else about it because we’re ID.

    There you have it. We are stuck between and abstract explanation and a bad explanation. All things being equal I would choose the abstract explanation over a bad one.

  136. 136

    It’s one thing to “infer” something, it’s another to follow up on that tentative conclusion and test its entailments.

    It has been inferred for ages (by such observations as the extraordinary matching of discrete parts) that life was the product of an intelligence. Later, the inference grew with the application of additional knowledge. And in the age of molecular biology and information theory, we are able to demonstrate that the encoding of polymers inside the living cell is a semiotic system that demonstrates an exclusive set of physical conditions not found anywhere else in the cosmos but in the use of recorded language and mathematics – two universal correlates of intelligence. Physicists who study such systems have flatly affirmed (in peer-review) that the two systems (genetic encoding and human language) are fundamentally unique among all other physical systems known to science.

    So now what? Are you prepared to acknowledge that a universal correlate of intelligence is physically demonstrated in the organization of the living cell?

    Of course not.

    Heave that goalpost on your back. The materialists that come here to berate ID prove every day that their positions have nothing to do with science, and nothing to do with evidence.

    But the evidence remains.

    Biosemiosis.org
    .

  137. 137
    Daniel King says:

    Aren’t the entailments of the inference to design in my scenario not obvious enough? A hint: ppl will feel very excited and surprised.

    Not obvious. What do persons’ reactions to an observation have to do with testing the design inference?

    Well, go for it. What is stopping you?

    Are you teasing me? It’s not my job to test the entailments of your hypothesis. What’s stopping you? Hint: You know that your hypothesis is not testable. That’s why you say that further testing is not required to move forward from the inference:

    Surely further investigation, based on the design inference, is possible. But that’s not part of the design inference.

    Exactly. The design inference is not empirically testable. If it were, somebody in the ID movement would be working on it. The ID community is perfectly content with the inference, full stop.

  138. 138
    Daniel King says:

    Upright BiPed:

    Physicists who study such systems have flatly affirmed (in peer-review) that the two systems (genetic encoding and human language) are fundamentally unique among all other physical systems known to science.

    Citations, please.

    And do those physicists opine that those two systems exhibit “a universal correlate of intelligence”?

  139. 139
    bill cole says:

    Daniel King

    Exactly. The design inference is not empirically testable. If it were, somebody in the ID movement would be working on it. The ID community is perfectly content with the inference, full stop.

    Historical sciences are not generally testable. We cannot test two specie’s splitting from a common ancestor or the emergence of the first eukaryotic cell. Looking inside the cell we see molecular machines that resemble designed human machines the ribosome, ATP synthase, the spliceosome etc. The machines are built from DNA blueprints made of ordered sequences of nucleotides. The design inference is a way to rationally explain their origin and function. The random chance to get better and get selected inference is not a good explanation in my opinion. Do you know any mechanism in nature that can organize 150k nucleotides so it can produce a spliceosome?

  140. 140

    DK,

    A semiotic system is identifiable by the properties of its organization, where a representational medium controls a dynamic process. For an object to function as a representational medium it has to be established as one within a local system. A physicist would talk about this in terms of a ”cut” that “separates energy-degenerate, rate-independent genetic symbols from the rate-dependent dynamics of construction that they control.” The cell accomplishes this cut by separating the establishment of the code from the reading of the codons — i.e. the anticodon-to-amino acid association is spatially and temporally isolated from the codon-to-anticodon association. This is general knowledge. The organization of the system thereby establishes a discontinuity in the process, allowing an alphabet of rate-independent permutations to control rate-based dynamics. In turn, this enables an open-ended potential of referents (outcomes), making life and evolution possible.

    Since I cannot do any better a job of explaining it than the original authors, I can only point you to the Bibliography on Biosemiosis.org, and suggest you read Howard Pattee, a highly-esteemed physicist who studied symbol systems for five decades, and has been publishing these findings since at least 1967.

    Biosemiotics is the study of all forms of signification and communication. It recognizes that life is distinguished from the nonliving world by its dependence on signs and symbols. However, of the innumerable examples of pattern recognition, recording, signaling, and communication throughout all levels of living organizations only two clear examples of open-ended, creative language systems exist, the genetic language and natural languages.

    (…)

    The fact remains that there is little evidence for the existence of any general-purpose languages other than the genes and natural languages; and there is no persuasive model of how a continuous dynamics could evolve into a general-purpose discrete coded symbol system. In fact, that is the reason the origin of life and the origin of language remain great mysteries.

    – H.H. Pattee

  141. 141
    Origenes says:

    Daniel King: The design inference is not empirically testable.

    Why do you think so? Suppose that archeologists find something similar to Stonehenge and infer design. Now what is stopping them from doing further investigation? What’s stopping them from e.g. looking for more clues of design?
    Or in the case of my scenario #130, why do you think that there cannot be empirical follow-up investigation that can validate (or invalidate) the design inference.
    Can you elaborate please?

  142. 142
    MatSpirit says:

    Upright Biped, I owe you an apology. I completely misunderstood your question. You originally wrote,

    “I’d like to ask you about whatever organization that you think existed just prior to the extant system,” and I thought you were making one of those “Spell out every step in the evolution of X or evolution is disproved!” demands that are so frequent.

    I then misunderstood you when you wrote right after that, “Did that system have to have the capacity to specify the extant system it was the predecessor of? If so, how it accomplish that?”

    That was my fault and I’m sorry. You’re actually asking about evolutionary theory, not long lost information, and I can answer that.

    Your second statement’s syntax is a little confusing, but assuming you’re asking if the penultimate system was able to completely specify the ultimate system, and how did it do it, the answers are, “Yes” and

    By being a working, living system that has a genome with 99.99999+% of the features of the ultimate system, and then copying that genome into the next generation with one mutation that adds the missing feature.

    As an illustration, think of a cell where DNA is copied into RNA which makes proteins that copy DNA. Suppose that cell uses every amino acid modern cells use except one is missing. A single mutation while copying that DNA into the next generation adds that last amino acid to the mix and Shazam!, the modern cell has evolved.

    That’s how evolution works. You always have a population of working, reproducing organisms. That’s your base.

    Then you take just one of those organisms, make a small change to its DNA as it’s reproducing, and let the new cell try to make a living with its new DNA.

    If it survives and copies itself, you now have a new line of cells with a new pattern in their DNA. This new pattern constitutes new information. You used to have one genome that could successfully run a cell, now you have two. And both the original generation and the new one are stable bases for further evolution.

    If the new pattern can’t run the new cell, it dies, the DNA pattern disappears, and all the cells in the original generation soldier on.

    That, in a nutshell, is how evolution creates information, preserves it and adds it to the genome.

  143. 143
    bill cole says:

    MatSpirit

    If it survives and copies itself, you now have a new line of cells with a new pattern in their DNA. This new pattern constitutes new information. You used to have one genome that could successfully run a cell, now you have two. And both the original generation and the new one are stable bases for further evolution.

    If the new pattern can’t run the new cell, it dies, the DNA pattern disappears, and all the cells in the original generation soldier on.

    That, in a nutshell, is how evolution creates information, preserves it and adds it to the genome.

    If the sequential space of the genome was not almost infinite then this story might have a chance but random mutational change through almost infinite sequential space always leads to garbage.

    Dawkins tried to solve this in the blind watchmaker but required a target so all he showed is if you know the final sequence and can compare random change to it you will eventually get there.

    But…if you know the sequence up front just insert it directly into the genome 🙂

  144. 144
    Daniel King says:

    Origenes@141:

    Suppose that archeologists find something similar to Stonehenge and infer design. Now what is stopping them from doing further investigation? What’s stopping them from e.g. looking for more clues of design?

    Nothing. By the same token, what is stopping them from looking for clues of a non-design origin? Why should “design” be the only possibility worth pursuing?

    Frankly, Origenes, you seem to have a closed mind.

  145. 145
    Daniel King says:

    Upright BiPed:

    Thank you for your reply.

    I am familiar with the genetic code, and many of the references in your list that pertain to it.

    I’m more interested in whatever documentation you can provide about who, besides yourself, promotes the idea that human language and genetic coding exhibit “a universal correlate of intelligence.”

    Thanks

  146. 146
    Mung says:

    Hi Troll!

    Oh, and Upright BiPed did not make the claim that you attribute to him. Bad Troll! Bad!

  147. 147
    Mung says:

    When trolls grit their teeth do their teeth fall out? Is the stench emitted by a talking troll due to poor dental hygiene, or something else entirely?

  148. 148
    Daniel King says:

    THIS IS YOUR FINAL WARNING, MUNG.

    GET BACK ON YOUR MEDS, ASAP!

  149. 149
    kairosfocus says:

    DK, patently, code is inherently an expression of language. Denial of same fact on your part does not constitute a sound reason to dismiss or ignore such a patently inconvenient fact on our part. If you dispute the fact, kindly give us a case where complex code and algorithms expressed in such code beyond 500 – 1,000 bits have been observed to be created by blind chance and/or mechanical necessity (transmission does not count, nor does error correction per same): _____________ . Until and unless you can show such, we are inductively entitled to go with the trillion member base of observations . . . start with the Internet . . . that consistently shows that code and algorithms expressed in such, whether source or object, are reliable signs of intelligent design as cause. Where, posts in this thread are self-referential cases in point. KF

  150. 150
    Mung says:

    My meds consist of logic, reasoning and truth. I come here to UD for a daily dose. I feel rightly outraged when I see people trying to contaminate my meds with their BS.

    The argument Upright BiPed is making is about a semiotic system, it’s not about the genetic code.

    You, Danial King, are a troll. Today would be a good day for you to declare your independence.

  151. 151
    Daniel King says:

    The argument Upright BiPed is making is about a semiotic system, it’s not about the genetic code.

    Mung, if your reading comprehension came anywhere near the level of your blind anger, you would have perused the reading list that Upright offered to me, rife with references to the genetic code. And you would have devoted some contemplation to withholding hostile judgment.

    Upright doesn’t need you to impersonate him.

    You are the troll, the fox who smells his own stink.

  152. 152
    es58 says:

    I directed this to MatSpirit, but, open it to anyone who can help: thanks: : “how the Designer did his designing”
    Why does it matter? I see a page with a sentence on it. Do I need to know if it was made with a dot matrix printer, type writer, laser printer, a talented scribe, etc to know that the sentence was designed?

  153. 153

    DK, not surprisingly, you are ignoring physical evidence in favor of maneuvering a rhetorical response. The title of this thread is apropos.

    I did not make any claims (one way or another) about whom else “promotes the idea that language and genetic coding exhibit a universal correlate of intelligence”. I made a claim that genetic encoding and language exhibit unique physical conditions found nowhere else in the cosmos. Here is what I actually said:

    the encoding of polymers inside the living cell is a semiotic system that demonstrates an exclusive set of physical conditions not found anywhere else in the cosmos but in the use of recorded language and mathematics – two universal correlates of intelligence.

    So I made an empirical claim and added a parenthetical statement, which I presented as a fact. Both my empirical claim and my parenthetical statement are subject to validation by physical evidence, but you do not seem to be too interested in that evidence. However, I am.

    As for my empirical claim (that genetic encoding shares the same physical conditions as language), we can walk though the evidence if you’d like. Frankly, it’s all going to boil down to the basic structural observations of the genetic system. These are all very well-described in the literature, and are not even controversial. Also, I have already offered you the substantial writings of a physicist who has published extensively on this specific subject for half a century, and who is even (for whatever it’s worth) on the other side of the metaphysical fence. We can question his observations if you like, but we won’t get far. His observations are based on knowledge that is (again) fully described and non-controversial. This is one of the things that builds confidence in the observations. No one questions whether or not the anticodon-to-amino acid association is spatially and temporally separate from the codon-to-anticodon association. No one questions whether or not the arrangement of bases in a codon has a spatial orientation, or that it is rate-independent (energy-degenerate). These types of observations make the system uniquely identifiable to a physicist. If you, or anyone else, is just now coming to realize this fact, then that is fine.

    So, if you had asked your question about my actual empirical claim, then I have answered your question. Pattee makes a convincing case, which he has been publishing since the late 1960s. And he is not alone.

    This leaves only the validity of my parenthetical statement in question. Is the use of recorded language and mathematics two universal correlates of intelligence, or not? I don’t think the question warrants much of a response. The capacity to scribble out the mathematical equations of our physical world, and fill up our libraries with books, are universally known to be a demonstration of intelligence.

    I recognize that these facts put you in the position of seeking a rhetorical response (where logic and the realities of physical evidence have failed you). But let’s not be hasty — let’s instead take your question by it’s horn: Who promotes the idea that both genetic coding and human language demonstrate intelligence?. That would be virtually every ID proponent you might encounter. In fact, many have been saying so for years, even without actually knowing or fully appreciating the semiotic observations. This only strengthens their inference. You see, in contrast to your position, logic and physical evidence have not failed them.

  154. 154
    Daniel King says:

    Is the use of recorded language and mathematics two universal correlates of intelligence, or not? I don’t think the question warrants much of a response. The capacity to scribble out the mathematical equations of our physical world, and fill up our libraries with books, are universally known to be a demonstration of intelligence.

    Yes, Upright, those are well known and experienced activities of human beings. I understand that you promote the idea that such human activities somehow can be analogized to the organic chemistry of the genetic code. That’s all well and good, one can analogize until the cows come home. But what follows?

    If I’ve misunderstood, please correct me.

  155. 155
    Mung says:

    Daniel King: If I’ve misunderstood, please correct me.

    You’ve been corrected at least twice now.

    Daniel King: Upright doesn’t need you to impersonate him.

    I see you are not incapable of speaking the truth.

    But his post confirms that I was right and you were wrong.

    Troll.

  156. 156

    DK,

    Yes, Upright, those are well known and experienced activities of human beings.

    Yes they are. Humans are intelligent, and their activities in this domain can be exclusively identified by the physical organization required for those activities to occur.

    I understand that you promote the idea that such human activities somehow can be analogized to the organic chemistry of the genetic code. That’s all well and good, one can analogize until the cows come home.

    DK, you couldn’t be any more obvious. It’s the position you’re in here. You must dismiss physical evidence (and universal experience) because it doesn’t comport to your ideological preferences.

    But what follows?

    If you ignore physical evidence, it doesn’t matter. I suppose you can put the goalpost down.

    🙂

  157. 157
    Daniel King says:

    Upright BiPed:

    DK, you couldn’t be any more obvious. It’s the position you’re in here. You must dismiss physical evidence (and universal experience) because it doesn’t comport to your ideological preferences.

    So you say. Your claim is that the “organization of the living cell” is a “universal correlate of intelligence.” (your post 136)

    Let’s assume that what I’ve quoted means something. What then? Where do you go from there? How can we determine the nature of that intelligence? Animal, vegetable, or mineral? You’ve been marketing this stuff for years. Is that your only product, or do you have a research program? How’s that been going? So far, nobody in the real world has been buying it.

    Or is that it? You’ve made your claim and you’re satisfied?

    Have you noticed that closed issues don’t exist in science?

  158. 158

    Your claim is that the “organization of the living cell” is a “universal correlate of intelligence.”

    Here again is what I said:

    the encoding of polymers inside the living cell is a semiotic system that demonstrates an exclusive set of physical conditions not found anywhere else in the cosmos but in the use of recorded language and mathematics – two universal correlates of intelligence.

    That’s the second time you’ve attempted to make “adjustments” to what I’ve said, and it’s the second time I’ve had to repeat my words. It’s a bad sign because it represents only rhetoric. You originally suggested that ID should test any entailments associated with the design inference. In turn, I brought a specific set of entailments to your attention. Yet, in neither of your responses have you shown the slightest interest in questioning those entailments. Instead, you want to dismiss them outright, without the need to engage any pesky details — a fine scientific tradition, right?

  159. 159
    Daniel King says:

    Upright BiPed:

    You originally suggested that ID should test any entailments associated with the design inference. In turn, I brought a specific set of entailments to your attention. Yet, in neither of your responses have you shown the slightest interest in questioning those entailments.

    My apologies, UB, but I’ve reviewed this thread and I can’t find any entailments of the design inference that you’ve cited. Would you assist me?

    And while you’re at it, does your semiotic argument have any entailments?

  160. 160
    Mung says:

    Hi Troll!

    If you really want to apologize stop misrepresenting others.

  161. 161
    Daniel King says:

    Hi Mung.

    Have you thought about getting a life?

    And while you’re at it, what were those entailments?

  162. 162
    Mung says:

    Hi Troll!

    Your idea of “getting a life” is probably different from my idea of getting a life. I have life, you don’t.

    But you can change.

  163. 163

    DK.

    My apologies, UB, but I’ve reviewed this thread and I can’t find any entailments of the design inference.

    Would you assist me?

    Sure.
    Here is my post (up-thread) from last Saturday:

    =========================

    DK,

    A semiotic system is identifiable by the properties of its organization, where a representational medium controls a dynamic process. For an object to function as a representational medium it has to be established as one within a local system. A physicist would talk about this in terms of a ”cut” that “separates energy-degenerate, rate-independent genetic symbols from the rate-dependent dynamics of construction that they control.” The cell accomplishes this cut by separating the establishment of the code from the reading of the codons — i.e. the anticodon-to-amino acid association is spatially and temporally isolated from the codon-to-anticodon association. This is general knowledge. The organization of the system thereby establishes a discontinuity in the process, allowing an alphabet of rate-independent permutations to control rate-based dynamics. In turn, this enables an open-ended potential of referents (outcomes), making life and evolution possible.

    Since I cannot do any better a job of explaining it than the original authors, I can only point you to the Bibliography on Biosemiosis.org, and suggest you read Howard Pattee, a highly-esteemed physicist who studied symbol systems for five decades, and has been publishing these findings since at least 1967.

    Biosemiotics is the study of all forms of signification and communication. It recognizes that life is distinguished from the nonliving world by its dependence on signs and symbols. However, of the innumerable examples of pattern recognition, recording, signaling, and communication throughout all levels of living organizations only two clear examples of open-ended, creative language systems exist, the genetic language and natural languages.

    (…)

    The fact remains that there is little evidence for the existence of any general-purpose languages other than the genes and natural languages; and there is no persuasive model of how a continuous dynamics could evolve into a general-purpose discrete coded symbol system. In fact, that is the reason the origin of life and the origin of language remain great mysteries.

    – H.H. Pattee

    ==============================

    Your response was to sidestep the evidence (saying you were already familiar with it) and sought a rhetorical position instead.

  164. 164
    Daniel King says:

    Hi UB,

    Thank you for your kind response, but I may be physically or psychologically blind, because I don’t see any “entailments” in your post.

    Maybe you don’t know what entailments are. I’ll repeat:

    “An entailment is a deduction or implication, that is, something that follows logically from or is implied by something else.”

    The scientific significance of entailments is that they pose questions that can be investigated in order to test an hypothesis.

    Have you devised any tests of your biosemiotic hypothesis? Are any such tests conceivable?

    Your response was to sidestep the evidence (saying you were already familiar with it) and sought a rhetorical position instead.

    This kind of ad hominem attack on the honesty of your interlocutor is pointless. It’s no substitute for clear argument.

  165. 165
    MatSpirit says:

    Upright Biped @ 163

    Pattee

    Biosemiotics is the study of all forms of signification and communication. It recognizes that life is distinguished from the nonliving world by its dependence on signs and symbols.

    Correction: MODERN EVOLVED life is distinguished from the nonliving world by its dependence on signs and symbols.

    The first living things are believed to have reproduced directly without benefit of DNA or any kind of genetic code.

  166. 166
    MatSpirit says:

    es58 @ 152

    I directed this to MatSpirit, but, open it to anyone who can help: thanks: : “how the Designer did his designing”
    Why does it matter? I see a page with a sentence on it. Do I need to know if it was made with a dot matrix printer, type writer, laser printer, a talented scribe, etc to know that the sentence was designed?

    You know the sentence was designed because you are familiar with humans and their work and recognize the sentence as being similar to those produced by humans.

    When you look at an organism you know that it wasn’t designed by a human, so your inference is invalid.

    Worse, you ignore an old and very well attested theory of evolution, which DOES account for your observations, and instead pursue a will-of-the-wisp theory that says an unknown Intelligent Designer did it at a time and place unknown to us via an unknown process.

  167. 167
    es58 says:

    Matspirit:

    You know the sentence was designed because you are familiar with humans and their work and recognize the sentence as being similar to those produced by humans.

    If I, as the first human to step on a planet outside our solar system, found a woven piece of cotton cloth, would I be justified in inferring it was a product of intent?

  168. 168
    Mung says:

    Daniel King:

    This kind of ad hominem attack on the honesty of your interlocutor is pointless. It’s no substitute for clear argument.

    Hi Troll!

  169. 169
    Mung says:

    Daniel King:

    Have you devised any tests of your biosemiotic hypothesis? Are any such tests conceivable?

    Are you even capable of stating the “biosemiotic hypothesis”?

    My money is on no, you can’t. Troll.

  170. 170

    DK,

    I may be physically or psychologically blind, because I don’t see any “entailments” in your post.

    An entailment is a necessary consequence of something; it is useful in a scientific sense if it is a measurable consequence of something.

    Intelligent beings are capable of arranging matter in a very unique and specific organization, whereby a rate-independent representational medium is organized to provide control over rate-based dynamics. Such an organization can be uniquely identified through physical measurement, and can only be identified in recorded language, mathematics, and in the genetic code. This fact is documented in the scientific literature, but the knowledge represented by this is irrelevant to you because you refuse to engage it. Your only goal is to avoid the implications.

    Thus, you continue (over and over again) to seek a rhetorical position while steadfastly refusing to engage the evidence itself:

    who, besides yourself, promotes the idea … activities of human beings … can somehow can be analogized to the organic chemistry … one can analogize until the cows come home … How can we determine the nature of that intelligence … Animal, vegetable, or mineral? … You’ve been marketing this stuff for years … is that your only product … nobody in the real world has been buying it … You’ve made your claim and you’re satisfied … Maybe you don’t know what entailments are.

    …yet the facts remain.

  171. 171

    Biosemiotics is the study of all forms of signification and communication. It recognizes that life is distinguished from the nonliving world by its dependence on signs and symbols. – H.H. Pattee

    Correction: MODERN EVOLVED life is distinguished from the nonliving world by its dependence on signs and symbols. The first living things are believed to have reproduced directly without benefit of DNA or any kind of genetic code.

    I’m sure Howard Pattee will be crushed to find out that there are people who assume their conclusions about the origin of life.

    Perhaps in his mere five decades of research on the subject he noticed that high-capacity information processing systems (the kind required to start the cell cycle) are not determined by the surface properties of the molecules that make up the system.

    And what about you? You say “MODERN EVOLVED life is distinguished from the nonliving world by its dependence on signs and symbols”. Has it occurred to you yet that you still have it backwards? Darwinian evolution requires specification and heredity to accomplish RV+NS. (If A requires B for A to exist, then A cannot be the source of B). Obviously, you’ll need to completely ignore how nature specifies objects in the natural world. It is your only hope of defending your position. How does that feel Mr. Empiricism?

    — on a separate note: Have you noticed your staunch belief in an unidentified event, that occurred at an unknown point in time, using undetectable physical processes? It seems like I saw you saying something negative about such things at the top of this page. 🙂

  172. 172

    Are you even capable of stating the “biosemiotic hypothesis”?

    I have my doubts as well.

  173. 173
    Daniel King says:

    Above, I posed two questions to UB:

    Have you devised any tests of your biosemiotic hypothesis? Are any such tests conceivable?

    What I got in reply was bluster.

    I take that as “no” to both questions.

    …yet the facts remain.

    …to be investigated and explained further.

  174. 174
    Daniel King says:

    It’s almost as if you have no scientific training at all.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bU6m5UqLx9M

  175. 175
    Mung says:

    It’s almost as if you are incapable of stating the biosemiotic hypothesis.

  176. 176
    MatSpirit says:

    Es58 @ 167

    If I, as the first human to step on a planet outside our solar system, found a woven piece of cotton cloth, would I be justified in inferring it was a product of intent?

    Sure, humans have been weaving cotton and other materials for thousands of years. Intentionally, for the most part. On the other hand, no unintelligent process has ever been found that interweaves threads that regularly in such a simple pattern. This includes not finding such woven cotton in any living thing. So you would be justified in thinking your woven cotton was an artifact.

  177. 177
    Mung says:

    MatSpirit:

    …no unintelligent process has ever been found that interweaves threads that regularly in such a simple pattern.

    Why is cotton (and other materials) the only exception?

  178. 178
    MatSpirit says:

    Upright Biped @ 171

    Perhaps in his mere five decades of research on the subject he noticed that high-capacity information processing systems (the kind required to start the cell cycle) are not determined by the surface properties of the molecules that make up the system.

    If you don’t think that the actions of proteins are determined by their shapes (in other words, the 3-D positions of the atoms that make them) and the surface properties of those atoms (the chemical bonds they can make, the electrostatic attractions and repulsions they make, etc) then please tell us what does.

    Has it occurred to you yet that you still have it backwards? Darwinian evolution requires specification and heredity to accomplish RV+NS.

    But it doesnt need DNA to get them. Imagine a polymer made of ten small molecules strung together like beads on a string. Let each of those ten small molecules attract an identical molecule to its side. Let those ten new molecules join together into a second polymer chain. Let the chain break off. The original polymer has made an exact copy of itself. It has reproduced itself. That’s all we ask for the first living thing. And it’s done it without DNA.

    The pattern of the original ten small molecules is a specification. It specifies a polymer that can reproduce itself.

    The new polymer is identical to its parent. That’s heredity.

    You can have specification and heredity directly without intermediate signs and symbols.</strong, DNA, RNA and their supporting hardware can speed reproduction up immensely, make it more accurate and more flexible, but simple life copies it's own structure directly without using those intermediates.

    — on a separate note: Have you noticed your staunch belief in an unidentified event, that occurred at an unknown point in time, using undetectable physical processes? It seems like I saw you saying something negative about such things at the top of this page. 

    The event is identified: the appearance of the first living thing. The time is hard to tell, but we know it was after the surface of the earth solidified and long before the first unambjguous fossil cells are found. The physical processes that made first life work are eminently detectable. We’re talking ordinary molecular processes here. The problem is that we have no samples to examine.

    That’s what science knows. Anything ID knows, it cribbed from science because ID does basically no research.

  179. 179
    es58 says:

    MatSpirit:

    ” you … recognize the sentence as being similar to those produced by humans.”

    Can you be more precise about this quality you refer to: “similar to those produced by humans”? How similar is similar? Is “similar” somehow quantifiable. The cotton cloth wasn’t made by humans, but it’s similar “enough” to be considered something I would have the ability to recognize was designed. But, somewhere along this continuum, I’m unable to recognize that any aspect of the cell has this same quality, because…? why?

    Also, as to your suggestion that we already have a theory that explains it, well, that’s an interesting assertion, which simply remains to be demonstrated. Once it is, you’d be correct.

  180. 180

    DK at #173 and #174,

    Above, I posed two questions to UB:

    Have you devised any tests of your biosemiotic hypothesis? Are any such tests conceivable?

    What I got in reply was bluster.

    Daniel, you seem to have a problem conceptualizing what is at hand. I encourage you to try harder, so that you don’t follow irrelevant questions with mere insults. You’ve already deflected any conversation or clarification of evidence (saying that you are up-to-date on the info). Likewise, you say you’ve been watching me make this argument “for years”. Given these things, it’s a wonder why your questions are so far removed from the actual issues? It is almost as if you have no familiarity at all.

    Let me ask you a question that might help you focus. What exactly do you think is the subject of the test you’re fixated on?

    Are you suggesting we dig up Alan Turing and test the need for a symbol system expressive enough to describe an interpreter for itself? Are you wanting to test von Neumann’s mathematical structure of self-replication, or the validity of Crick’s adapter hypothesis? Are you uncertain whether or not the anticodon-to-amino acid association is isolated from the codon-to-anticodon association? Are you wanting to test Pattee’s epistemic cut between rate-independent control and rate-based dynamics? Are you wondering if amino acids can be derived from the spatial orientation of nucleobases? Are you wanting to know if Nirenberg had to demonstrate the code in order to discover it? Shall I go on, or have you got the point yet? There is no observation that I am making that is even controversial; the observations that are important to my argument are generally considered settled science.

    The outstanding question is if genetic language and natural language require the same physical conditions in order to function. Not only is a test for that question provided on my website, but the answer to the question is already part of the scientific record – put there (repeatedly) by eminently well-trained researchers working within their specialties.

    So let us cut to the chase. You cannot find fault with the physical observations made in the argument, nor with the rationale. This leaves you with nothing to do but dig around for some rhetorical spin, move the goalposts, and wrap things up by slinging insults. This is the result when you have no intention whatsoever of acknowledging the physical evidence — which is exactly what I talked about at the very start of this conversation. At least you’re consistent.

  181. 181
    MatSpirit says:

    Upright Biped @ 180: “Daniel, you seem to have a problem conceptualizing what is at hand.”

    I don’t think the problem is on his end. You seem to have gone off the rails very early on. This is the second paragraph on biosemiosis.org:

    Whichever theory one follows, there is one thing that all people can be certain of. Prior to the organization of the first heterogeneous living cell, unique physical conditions had to arise to make that organization possible. These conditions enable the translation of recorded information into physical effects. They are brought about by the presence of two sets of objects operating in a very special system. To organize the first living cell, one set of objects must encode the information in a series of representations, and the other set of objects must specify what is being represented. This is how a “recipe” for the cell can exist in a universe where no object inherently means (represents or specifies) any other object. It requires both a representation and the means to interpret it.

    See my message 178. “Representation” and “translation” are not required for life and current OOL theory doesn’t suppose they existed in the First Living Thing. Representation and translation are much faster and more flexible than direct copying and once direct copy organisms began to evolve it they dominated and replaced the old system. But representation and translation systems weren’t possible until direct copying life evolved them.

    None of this should be a surprise to anybody, it’s not exactly a secret. But the “no life without representation and translation” theory does have one big thing going for it from an ID/creationist viewpoint: it makes OOL look impossibly difficult.

  182. 182
    MatSpirit says:

    Barry has hijacked the thread again. Now we’re on the “That’s Gotta Hurt” thread.

  183. 183
    Mung says:

    …it makes OOL look impossibly difficult.

    What we’re looking for is a theory that makes OOL possibly undifficult.

    Do you have one? Does DK? No? Sad, truly sad.

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