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Quote of the Day — John Kenneth Galbraith

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JKG“Foresight is an imperfect thing — all prevision in economics is imperfect. And, even more serious, the economist in high office is under a strong personal and political compulsion to predict wrongly. That is partly because of the temptation to predict what is wanted, and it is better, not worse, economic performance that is always wanted.” –John Kenneth Galbraith, MONEY (1975), pp. 269-70.

This quote is relevant to the ID debate. People in high scientific office, whether in the straight-up secular world or in evangelical educational circles, would look bad if they were seen as endorsing a grand scientific theory, for which they are on record as saying that this theory contributes to science’s caché, that ends up being thoroughly discredited (as ID is doing to Darwinian evolution). If we substitute for “prediction” in the Galbraith quote the idea of “betting on” or “backing,” then it becomes clear why the main incentives for those in high scientific office are to “bet on” or “back” Darwinism and attack ID.

The reason an unknown human language can't be decrypted from a bare text is because human language isn't metaphorical, as linguists such has Lakoff and Johnson have apparently attempted to aver. Rather, it's symbolic. Outside of common usage, there is no independent connection between the word "cat" and the furry critter that it designates. Which makes language, at its root, first and foremost nominal. Superimposed upon which -- even verbs are nominal, in that the verbalization of the fact that the "cat runs" ushers in the abstract participle of "running" of which many things are capable. Which in turn ushers all kinds of capabilities for depicting abstractions verbally. Metaphor comes in a little bit further down the road. From what I've seen, the best work along these lines is coming out of developmental psychology, not linguistics. jstanley01
Kyrilluk: You misunderstand what ID theory does. It's purpose is to discover when intelligent design is the most reasonable explanation for the existence of some phenomenon. It does not and never has claimed to be able to decrypt coded messages or determine whether they are indeed coded messages or not. The Voynich Manuscript is clearly a product of intelligent design. One doesn't need ID theory to conclude that it did not arise spontaneously through natural law or random occurrences. Whether the text is meaningful or meaningless is irrelevant to that conclusion. Bruce David
Born Again, We may disagree when it comes to the truth of Christian dogma, but I couldn't agree more with your last post regarding Darwinism. It's a very impressive catalog of scientific evidence. Bruce David
A challenge for Kyrilluk; Can you use the process of Random Variation and Natural Selection to produce any molecular machine whatsoever? If a neo-Darwinist were able to show how these machines, which surpass man-made machines in engineering parameters, could come about by purely 'natural' (Darwinian) processes, it would go a long way towards establishing evolution's scientific legitimacy in the first place, especially for the grandiose claims it makes for all of life in the face of all contrary evidence!. notes; Astonishingly, actual motors, which far surpass man-made motors in 'engineering parameters', are now being found inside 'simple cells'. Articles and Videos on Molecular Motors http://docs.google.com/Doc?docid=0AYmaSrBPNEmGZGM4ejY3d3pfMzlkNjYydmRkZw&hl=en Michael Behe - Life Reeks Of Design - 2010 - video http://www.metacafe.com/watch/5066181 And in spite of the fact of finding molecular motors permeating the simplest of bacterial life, there are no detailed Darwinian accounts for the evolution of even one such motor or system. "There are no detailed Darwinian accounts for the evolution of any fundamental biochemical or cellular system only a variety of wishful speculations. It is remarkable that Darwinism is accepted as a satisfactory explanation of such a vast subject." James Shapiro - Molecular Biologist The following expert doesn't even hide his very unscientific preconceived philosophical bias against intelligent design,,, ‘We should reject, as a matter of principle, the substitution of intelligent design for the dialogue of chance and necessity,,, Yet at the same time the same expert readily admits that neo-Darwinism has ZERO evidence for the chance and necessity of material processes producing any cellular system whatsoever,,, ,,,we must concede that there are presently no detailed Darwinian accounts of the evolution of any biochemical or cellular system, only a variety of wishful speculations.’ Franklin M. Harold,* 2001. The way of the cell: molecules, organisms and the order of life, Oxford University Press, New York, p. 205. *Professor Emeritus of Biochemistry, Colorado State University, USA Michael Behe - No Scientific Literature For Evolution of Any Irreducibly Complex Molecular Machines http://www.metacafe.com/watch/5302950/ “The response I have received from repeating Behe's claim about the evolutionary literature, which simply brings out the point being made implicitly by many others, such as Chris Dutton and so on, is that I obviously have not read the right books. There are, I am sure, evolutionists who have described how the transitions in question could have occurred.” And he continues, “When I ask in which books I can find these discussions, however, I either get no answer or else some titles that, upon examination, do not, in fact, contain the promised accounts. That such accounts exist seems to be something that is widely known, but I have yet to encounter anyone who knows where they exist.” David Ray Griffin - retired professor of philosophy of religion and theology What I find very persuasive, to the suggestion that the universe was designed with life in mind, is that physicists find many processes in a cell operate at the 'near optimal' capacities allowed in any physical system: William Bialek - Professor Of Physics - Princeton University: Excerpt: "A central theme in my research is an appreciation for how well things “work” in biological systems. It is, after all, some notion of functional behavior that distinguishes life from inanimate matter, and it is a challenge to quantify this functionality in a language that parallels our characterization of other physical systems. Strikingly, when we do this (and there are not so many cases where it has been done!), the performance of biological systems often approaches some limits set by basic physical principles. While it is popular to view biological mechanisms as an historical record of evolutionary and developmental compromises, these observations on functional performance point toward a very different view of life as having selected a set of near optimal mechanisms for its most crucial tasks.,,,The idea of performance near the physical limits crosses many levels of biological organization, from single molecules to cells to perception and learning in the brain,,,," http://www.princeton.edu/~wbialek/wbialek.html The main problem, for the secular model of neo-Darwinian evolution to overcome, is that no one has ever seen purely material processes generate functional 'prescriptive' information. The Capabilities of Chaos and Complexity: David L. Abel - Null Hypothesis For Information Generation - 2009 To focus the scientific community’s attention on its own tendencies toward overzealous metaphysical imagination bordering on “wish-fulfillment,” we propose the following readily falsifiable null hypothesis, and invite rigorous experimental attempts to falsify it: "Physicodynamics cannot spontaneously traverse The Cybernetic Cut: physicodynamics alone cannot organize itself into formally functional systems requiring algorithmic optimization, computational halting, and circuit integration." A single exception of non trivial, unaided spontaneous optimization of formal function by truly natural process would falsify this null hypothesis. http://www.mdpi.com/1422-0067/10/1/247/pdf Can We Falsify Any Of The Following Null Hypothesis (For Information Generation) 1) Mathematical Logic 2) Algorithmic Optimization 3) Cybernetic Programming 4) Computational Halting 5) Integrated Circuits 6) Organization (e.g. homeostatic optimization far from equilibrium) 7) Material Symbol Systems (e.g. genetics) 8) Any Goal Oriented bona fide system 9) Language 10) Formal function of any kind 11) Utilitarian work http://mdpi.com/1422-0067/10/1/247/ag The Law of Physicodynamic Insufficiency - Dr David L. Abel - November 2010 Excerpt: “If decision-node programming selections are made randomly or by law rather than with purposeful intent, no non-trivial (sophisticated) function will spontaneously arise.”,,, After ten years of continual republication of the null hypothesis with appeals for falsification, no falsification has been provided. The time has come to extend this null hypothesis into a formal scientific prediction: “No non trivial algorithmic/computational utility will ever arise from chance and/or necessity alone.” http://www.scitopics.com/The_Law_of_Physicodynamic_Insufficiency.html The GS (genetic selection) Principle – David L. Abel – 2009 Excerpt: Stunningly, information has been shown not to increase in the coding regions of DNA with evolution. Mutations do not produce increased information. Mira et al (65) showed that the amount of coding in DNA actually decreases with evolution of bacterial genomes, not increases. This paper parallels Petrov’s papers starting with (66) showing a net DNA loss with Drosophila evolution (67). Konopka (68) found strong evidence against the contention of Subba Rao et al (69, 70) that information increases with mutations. The information content of the coding regions in DNA does not tend to increase with evolution as hypothesized. Konopka also found Shannon complexity not to be a suitable indicator of evolutionary progress over a wide range of evolving genes. Konopka’s work applies Shannon theory to known functional text. Kok et al. (71) also found that information does not increase in DNA with evolution. As with Konopka, this finding is in the context of the change in mere Shannon uncertainty. The latter is a far more forgiving definition of information than that required for prescriptive information (PI) (21, 22, 33, 72). It is all the more significant that mutations do not program increased PI. Prescriptive information either instructs or directly produces formal function. No increase in Shannon or Prescriptive information occurs in duplication. What the above papers show is that not even variation of the duplication produces new information, not even Shannon “information.” http://www.scitopics.com/The_GS_Principle_The_Genetic_Selection_Principle.html Dr. Don Johnson explains the difference between Shannon Information and Prescriptive Information, as well as explaining 'the cybernetic cut', in this following Podcast: Programming of Life - Dr. Donald Johnson interviewed by Casey Luskin - audio podcast http://www.idthefuture.com/2010/11/programming_of_life.html bornagain77
K: It is quite obvious that the manuscript contains complex, specified information, starting with paintings of plants, with fanciful figures in them. And, that would hold even if the text strings are nonsense phrases. The further facts of being made of an expensive material and being of a considerable length, possibly 272 pp, and credibly dating to the 1400's, suggests information that is meaningful in the cyphertext. Vellum and ink are not cheap, and many months of skilled work would have had to go into the composition. But, to decode is not a step of design theory but of cryptanalysis. GEM of TKI kairosfocus
A challenge for W. Dembski: Can he use Specified Complexity theory to decrypt Voynich Manuscript or at least to say if it's a hoax with random letters or if the text has a meaning? If a I.D theorist were to decrypt this manuscript, it would go a long way to get ID to be accepted as a valid scientific theory. Kyrilluk
That said, I am still quite certain that there will be a scientific revolution in biological origins, and that ID will ultimately be accepted by the scientific community. I believe this because I believe that the truth always prevails eventually. And I believe that this revolution will be accompanied by a new birth of spirituality in American and the world. Bruce David
I just finished reading Darwin on Trial. In it, he casts the revolution in science thinking precipitated by Darwin in Khunian terms: it was a paradigm shift of the kind explored by Kuhn in his classic, The Structure of Scientific Revolutions. My take on what's happening right now in biology is that we are in the middle of just such a revolution as Kuhn described. However, the crisis cuts much deeper than usual. When Einstein and quantum physics overthrew Newtonian mechanics, for example, the paradigms that had to be adjusted had to do with the nature of the physical universe, but they didn't threaten the basic scientific idea that there are laws that govern the workings of the physical universe and that it is the job of science to reveal them. This crisis however, goes all the way to the core of the beliefs held by most Darwinists regarding the fundamental nature of reality itself. In Darwin on Trial, Johnson left open the possibility, at least, that the fundamental tenet of Darwinism, that natural, unguided processes are responsible for the existence and all the immense variety of life, might be true. His major point in that regard was (at least in my reading of it) was that supporting scientific evidence simply isn't there. In the intervening time since publication of that book, however (and even before, with Denton's Evolution, a Theory in Crisis), the theory has been effectively destroyed from a scientific perspective by Behe, Wells, Dembski, Axe, Meyer, J.C. Sanford, and others. The problem for Darwinists and indeed any scientific materialists, is that there exists no replacement theory that allows them to maintain the position that all of reality is physical and that science is the vehicle by which it is understood. The ONLY viable replacement theory is ID, and although ID proponents make it quite clear that ID makes no statement whatsoever regarding the nature of the designer, it is pretty well understood by all concerned that ID introduces an element of the non-physical into the nature of reality, and that something destroys the philosophical foundation upon which the edifice of their metaphysics has been constructed. This is threatening in all kinds of ways. It is threatening in the way described by Dr. Dembski in this post, it is threatening to their position of the guardians of truth in the modern world, it is threatening to their livelihoods (grants, etc.), they feel threatened that it will result in a revitalized Christianity that will suppress scientific and other freedoms, and perhaps most importantly, it is threatening to their very identities as intellectual beings. I believe that this is the reason that the resistance not only to ID but to the slightest criticism of Darwinism is so fierce and implacable. They are fighting for their very lives (or at least it feels that way). Bruce David
People in high scientific office, whether in the straight-up secular world or in evangelical educational circles, would look bad if they were seen as endorsing a grand scientific theory, for which they are on record as saying that this theory contributes to science’s caché, that ends up being thoroughly discredited (as ID is doing to Darwinian evolution). If we substitute for “prediction” in the Galbraith quote the idea of “betting on” or “backing,” then it becomes clear why the main incentives for those in high scientific office are to “bet on” or “back” Darwinism and attack ID.
Heh. This observation reminds me of David Berlinski's promo video for his book The Devil's Delusion. In which he explicates the agreement found among biologists about the truth of the Darwinian theory by saying:
...the fact that the biologists are uniformly in agreement about this issue could as well be explained by some solid Marxist interpretation of their economic interests.
Rofl. jstanley01

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