Intelligent Design

Religion And Intelligent Design Theory

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The history of science is – of course – full of theories that have been proposed by people with deep religious or philosophical convictions (including materialism).  These great minds and others around and after them have often opined about the social, philosophical and religious implications of their scientific discoveries or the discoveries and theories of others.  Certain scientific discoveries and theories are often extrapolated into social perspectives and even used to support political agendas. Eugenics, for example, was advocated for and embraced by various Darwinism proponents.

Religion has been brought up several times here at UD and there is no home thread for it to be discussed or debated. I thought I’d provide one for those that wish to engage in such a discussion.  Some here seem to be arguing under the assumption that only those who adhere to some form of Abrahamic faith are IDists; I’m not of any organized religion.   I’ve never even read the Bible or Koran.  I was raised very loosely as a Methodist but at 17 turned to Eastern philosophies, later became a hard-core materialist atheist and maybe 15 or so years ago became something of combination classical and “new age” theist – but those tags can be very misleading due to the nature of my idiosyncratic views.

I was initially drawn to the ID debate not because it was necessary or favorable to my views, but rather because those who made anti-ID arguments were making such laughably bad arguments, and ID proponents made some very reasonable arguments that were met with an openly dismissive hostility that intrigued me.  I’ve actually developed my theistic views in about the same time frame that I’ve been involved in the ID debate, as those on the ID side employed and directed others to more classical arguments about god, existence and the use of logic.  My spiritual views do not require that evolution be guided, so I’m not in this argument to support any worldview a prioris.

Others here have argued that because leading ID advocates have religious views and because they may use ID to pursue a social/political agenda, that in itself disqualifies ID as a legitimate scientific theory.  If I have to tell you how bad this logic is, there’s probably no hope for you. If a Darwinist uses Darwinism as a basis (legitimate or not) for pursuing a Eugenics program where “inferior” people are sterilized, that doesn’t say anything about the theory itself.  The theory of ID, like the theory of Darwinistic evolution,  must be argued on its scientific merits alone and not on the matter of the motivations, religious beliefs, or character of those advocating ID theory or using it for various non-scientific promotions.

Even if (hypothetically) young-earth Christian fundamentalists do plan to use ID via the “Wedge Document” to form a theocratic government and force students to study the Bible, that would have no bearing on whether or not ID itself is a good scientific theory.  Even if all ID advocates are lying hypocrites with dastardly plans to use ID in some horrific social fashion, that is still not a valid argument that ID theory is not scientific.

 

286 Replies to “Religion And Intelligent Design Theory

  1. 1
    Alicia Renard says:

    I can agree with several of the points made by WJM above. Indeed scientific theories, explanations for how a bit of the observed universe works, should be judged on how accurate and useful they are.

    On the other hand, when you say;

    The theory of ID, like the theory of Darwinistic evolution, must be argued on its scientific merits alone…

    there is the implication that there is a scientific theory of ID. Yet, in an earlier thread you appear to confirm that the only issue is whether evolution occurs by guided or unguided processes. Atheists, agnostics and many theists (The Pope and the Dalai Lama among them) seem to accept that observed facts outweigh old dogma and that supernatural claims without material entailments are outside the realm of science (non-overlapping magisteria if you like).

    If you only want to believe there is undetectable guidance going on, you are in the same boat with the Pope and the Dalai Lama.

  2. 2
    groovamos says:

    One of the more entertaining phenomena these days happens when an academic freedom bill passes in a state such as Louisiana and Tennessee. The materialists will come on the blogs and promote opposition to the legislation based not on what the bill actually states but on the supposed motivation of the proponents for the legislation. In other words you are supposed to be persuaded to opposition based on who they are. Which is one of the tools used by this young man: http://www.houstonchronicle.co.....218516.php

  3. 3
    awstar says:

    Atheists, agnostics and many theists (The Pope and the Dalai Lama among them) seem to accept that observed facts outweigh old dogma and that supernatural claims without material entailments are outside the realm of science

    “observed facts” only show either stasis or brokeness/death by random mutations. So maybe old dogma is actually more scientific after all. And the pope should read his Bible and proclaim its truth rather than pontificating made up stuff.

  4. 4

    Alicia Renard said:

    … there is the implication that there is a scientific theory of ID. Yet, in an earlier thread you appear to confirm that the only issue is whether evolution occurs by guided or unguided processes. Atheists, agnostics and many theists (The Pope and the Dalai Lama among them) seem to accept that observed facts outweigh old dogma and that supernatural claims without material entailments are outside the realm of science (non-overlapping magisteria if you like).

    ID makes no supernatural claims. ID only proposes that artifice, or intelligent design, is a scientifically necessary causal agency in the explanation of some artifacts.

    For example we know for an observed fact that this text, a battleship, and a 747 are not sufficiently causally explained by unguided forces; they are explicitly, scientifically known to require the artifice of intelligent, designing agencies (humans).

    If you only want to believe there is undetectable guidance going on, you are in the same boat with the Pope and the Dalai Lama.

    You seem to be confused about what ID does and does not claim. Perhaps you should take the time to familiarize yourself with ID positions on various matters by reading over the faq I’ve directed you to on numerous occasions.

    http://www.uncommondescent.com/faq/

  5. 5
    Alicia Renard says:

    WJM writes:

    ID makes no supernatural claims. ID only proposes that artifice, or intelligent design, is a scientifically necessary causal agency in the explanation of some artifacts.

    This is trivial. In all cases of forensic investigation, only material events and causes are considered. Talking about agency is nebulous. Candidate agents as causes of events are a prerequisite for an explanation of evidence. Calling an event “designed” adds about as much information as calling Alicia Renard intelligent.

    For example we know for an observed fact that this text, a battleship, and a 747 are not sufficiently causally explained by unguided forces; they are explicitly, scientifically known to require the artifice of intelligent, designing agencies (humans).

    Humans, exactly. Humans who are not candidates for the design of life.

    You seem to be confused about what ID does and does not claim. Perhaps you should take the time to familiarize yourself with ID positions on various matters by reading over the faq I’ve directed you to on numerous occasions.

    You are correct I remain unclear about what ID arguments are meant to achieve.

    Indeed you have referred me to the FAQ. Unfortunately, there is no coherent summary of what ID does and does not claim to be found there. There is a list of mostly defunct websites. Copy and paste the best bit from the summary if you think there is something of value lurking there that I have missed.

  6. 6

    Alicia Renard said:

    This is trivial. In all cases of forensic investigation, only material events and causes are considered. Talking about agency is nebulous.

    Trivial? This is an example of what I mean when I say that anti-ID advocates make laughably bad arguments.

    One of the primary aspects of forensic investigation is to determine whether or not an event can be explained via natural/random events or if agency is required. IOW, to determine if a death was by natural causes or murder; or to determine if a fire was accident or natural or deliberately set.

    Candidate agents as causes of events are a prerequisite for an explanation of evidence.

    No, they are not. That would be like saying that a fire inspector must have a suspect in mind before he can reach a conclusion that a fire was deliberately set. You have your cart before the horse. One must first identify an artifact as designed before any investigation into the identity/nature of the designer can begin. This is basic logic.

    Calling an event “designed” adds about as much information as calling Alicia Renard intelligent.

    It’s difficult to imagine otherwise intelligent people that would say such absurd things when it comes to arguing against ID. Identifying an event or an artifact as having been intelligently designed adds so much information that it changes the entire nature of the investigation going forward.

    It would be like saying that a determination that a fire was deliberately set adds no new information to the investigation. It’s just baffling how someone can say such a thing with a straight face.

  7. 7

    Alicia Renard:

    Humans, exactly. Humans who are not candidates for the design of life.

    Says who? That’s exactly what physicist John Wheeler and others have theorized.

    You are correct I remain unclear about what ID arguments are meant to achieve.

    And yet, instead of accepting correction when corrected, you continue to espouse common anti-ID talking points addressed in the Faq.

    Indeed you have referred me to the FAQ. Unfortunately, there is no coherent summary of what ID does and does not claim to be found there. There is a list of mostly defunct websites. Copy and paste the best bit from the summary if you think there is something of value lurking there that I have missed.

    I can only assume you are deliberately being disingenuous. There is no list of websites in the FAQ, and it specifically summarizes what ID does and does not claim. It’s not my job to attempt to educate the willfully ignorant.

    http://www.uncommondescent.com/faq/

  8. 8
    Alicia Renard says:

    http://www.uncommondescent.com/resources/

    As I said a list of mostly defunct websites. Granted there is a similarly incoherent FAQ section too.

  9. 9

    Well, if nothing else, AR, you’ve put to rest the question of whether or not your participation here is anything other than the willfully ignorant, talking-point parroting we’ve come to expect from anti-ID advocates that visit here.

  10. 10
    Splatter says:

    Hi Alicia. If a serious statement of what ID is existed, would you take it seriously?

  11. 11
    congregate says:

    There is no scientific theory of intelligent design as of yet. It is an intuition. Some things look, to some people, as though they were designed. Some things look designed to everyone: 747s, etc.

    How to test this intuition scientifically? Two ways: show the object could not have come about by non-design processes OR show some signature of design.

    Showing something COULD NOT have come about by non-design is proving a negative: very difficult. Behe has tried to prove a edge of evolution, but not many are convinced.
    Given deep time, the paucity of evidence, and the established and plausible (to mainstreamers) capabilities of natural processes, IDers have not been able to prove the negative yet. Of course, given modern satellite surveillance, it may be discovered tomorrow that a designer has released a new species of caribou into the Arctic. That would avoid the paucity of evidence problem. Nobody’s seen a candidate for the designer do anything like that yet though.

    Finding a signature of design is what Dembski seemed to be trying to do with specified complexity and CSI. But the fact that designed things can be anything makes that difficult. you really have to show that non-design can’t do it to make a useful signature of design. And that returns us to the problems of alternative one.

    The religiousness of ID and/or its proponents is indeed irrelevant to its scientific validity. But its lack of scientific validity indicates that those who want to teach it in US public schools are mostly motivated by religion. (WJM may be an exception here).

  12. 12
    Splatter says:

    Congregate – I agree. And I think that ID is a fumbling attempt to get to grips with the intuition of design. Opposition to ID often strikes me as attempting to explain away that intuition – witness endless tiresome variations on the blind watchmaker argument. But that argument is defunct, so we are left where we were before Darwin. The sheer smugness of those that still advance them is enough to cast doubt on their whole system. I don’t think that ID has succeeded in filling the gap – only in reestablishing it. ID is not persuasive to me yet, but those mildly and critically sympathetic to it have the most interesting things to say IMO.

  13. 13

    congregate & splatter,

    Do you actually have something to contribute other rote than anti-ID talking points that are covered in the FAQ?

    http://www.uncommondescent.com/faq/

    It just seems like there are no anti-ID proponents that can even be bothered with actually trying to understand what it is they are arguing against.

    Unless one is going to argue that human intelligent design cannot create artifacts that are otherwise implausible for natural forces/chance, intelligent design is known to exist and is known to generate artifacts that are recognizably distinct from what anything else nature has been seen or is known to plausibly produce.

    To argue otherwise is foolishness. ID is a fact. The computer you are using is evidence of that fact, whether or not biological artifacts are the product of ID.

    The only pertinent question is if a metric has been or can be established to make determinations of ID, and if according to that metric biological features can be determined to be the likely product of ID.

  14. 14
    Splatter says:

    I’m not anti ID. I just don’t find ID convincing when it comes to positing intelligence nebulously as a creative force. Evolution as a creative force is just wrong – and in that sense ID is ahead of the curve.

  15. 15
    congregate says:

    WJM- I don’t see any Q in the FAQ that appears to be responsive to my comments. Can you specify which of those forty or so items do so?

    Obviously you are correct that intelligent design as a category exists. Humans have intelligence and they use it to design things.

    You say the only pertinent question is whether a reliable metric exists. That’s easy to answer. So far IDers Have not been able to come up with any that have been convincing to a scientific audience.

    I think the question of plausibility remains pertinent as well. Obviously also IDers have a higher standard for plausibility with respect to non-design processes than mainstreamers do. IDers also tend to judge plausibility unrealistically. They compare some biological feature with an undifferentiated universe and say well B obviously can’t have come from A. But the mainstream position is not that B came from A, it is that B came from almost B, which came from almost almost B.
    IDers declare that the appearance of some thing is implausible without saying what they think the universe was like before the thing appeared.

  16. 16
    niwrad says:

    Splatter #14

    “I just don’t find ID convincing when it comes to positing intelligence nebulously as a creative force.”

    Intelligence (among many other things) is what is able to create organization. Humans use it routinely. Why do you find it “nebulous”? When you write your comments have you a “nebulous” experience? No. The same, when an engineer designs a machine there is nothing of “nebulous”. ID considers organization and its source, with no nebulousity whatsoever.

  17. 17
    bornagain77 says:

    congregate at 11:

    “There is no scientific theory of intelligent design as of yet.”

    That statement is false. Intelligent Design is based on the exact same method of science that Charles Darwin himself used:

    Stephen Meyer – The Scientific Basis Of Intelligent Design – video
    https://vimeo.com/32148403

    “The central argument of my book is that intelligent design—the activity of a conscious and rational deliberative agent—best explains the origin of the information necessary to produce the first living cell. I argue this because of two things that we know from our uniform and repeated experience, which following Charles Darwin I take to be the basis of all scientific reasoning about the past. First, intelligent agents have demonstrated the capacity to produce large amounts of functionally specified information (especially in a digital form). Second, no undirected chemical process has demonstrated this power. Hence, intelligent design provides the best—most causally adequate—explanation for the origin of the information necessary to produce the first life from simpler non-living chemicals. In other words, intelligent design is the only explanation that cites a cause known to have the capacity to produce the key effect in question.”
    Stephen Meyer – earned his Ph.D. in the History and Philosophy of science from Cambridge University for a dissertation on the history of origin-of-life biology and the methodology of the historical sciences.

    Meyer-Marshall Debate (On the Cambrian Explosion) – Dec. 4, 2013:
    Excerpt: Meyer pointed out that Marshall’s position reversed the requirement of the historical scientific method as pioneered by Darwin and Lyell, both of whom insisted that our present knowledge of cause and effect should constrain our theorizing about the evolutionary past. Meyer said that Marshall’s willingness to jettison that principle reflected his own prior commitment to a materialistic worldview. (Marshall had previously in his review and in the debate, accused Meyer of allowing his theistic perspective and motivation to color his analysis of the evidence.)
    Here’s what Meyer said in reply:
    “Charles is actually revealing that he has some deeper metaphysical commitments of his own. The move he made in the review, where he said “these developmental gene regulatory networks, yes they can’t be perturbed but they must have been perturbed in the past,” what he ends up doing there is he ends up jettisoning basic principles of the historical scientific method where we are enjoined to look for causes now in operation. Since we don’t have causes in operation that can produce the kind of complexity that we need to build a body plan — the informational complexity, the circuitry, etc. — we say well maybe things could have been different in the past. And I think what that [reveals] is a prior commitment to at least methodological materialism.”
    -Stephen Meyer
    http://www.discovery.org/csc/medved/?p=7001

    as to:

    Some things look, to some people, as though they were designed. Some things look designed to everyone: 747s, etc.

    If the threshhold for EVERYONE inferring design is simply surpassing the integrated functional complexity of a 747, then, since the integrated functional complexity in life far exceeds that of a 747, then EVERYONE ought to infer that life was Intelligently designed:

    “To grasp the reality of life as it has been revealed by molecular biology, we must magnify a cell a thousand million times until it is twenty kilometres in diameter and resembles a giant airship large enough to cover a great city like London or New York. What we would then see would be an object of unparalleled complexity and adaptive design. On the surface of the cell we would see millions of openings, like the portholes of a vast space ship, opening and closing to allow a continual stream of materials to flow in and out. If we were to enter one of these openings with find ourselves in a world of supreme technology and bewildering complexity. We would see endless highly organized corridors and conduits branching in every direction away from the perimeter of the cell, some leading to the central memory bank in the nucleus and others to assembly plants and processing units. The nucleus of itself would be a vast spherical chamber more than a kilometer in diameter, resembling a geodesic dome inside of which we would see, all neatly stacked together in ordered arrays, the miles of coiled chains of the DNA molecules. A huge range of products and raw materials would shuttle along all the manifold conduits in a highly ordered fashion to and from all the various assembly plants in the outer regions of the cell.
    We would wonder at the level of control implicit in the movement of so many objects down so many seemingly endless conduits, all in perfect unison. We would see all around us, in every direction we looked, all sorts of robot-like machines. We would notice that the simplest of the functional components of the cell, the protein molecules, were astonishingly, complex pieces of molecular machinery, each one consisting of about three thousand atoms arranged in highly organized 3-D spatial conformation. We would wonder even more as we watched the strangely purposeful activities of these weird molecular machines, particularly when we realized that, despite all our accumulated knowledge of physics and chemistry, the task of designing one such molecular machine – that is one single functional protein molecule – would be completely beyond our capacity at present and will probably not be achieved until at least the beginning of the next century. Yet the life of the cell depends on the integrated activities of thousands, certainly tens, and probably hundreds of thousands of different protein molecules.
    We would see that nearly every feature of our own advanced machines had its analogue in the cell: artificial languages and their decoding systems, memory banks for information storage and retrieval, elegant control systems regulating the automated assembly of parts and components, error fail-safe and proof-reading devices utilized for quality control, assembly processes involving the principle of prefabrication and modular construction. In fact, so deep would be the feeling of deja-vu, so persuasive the analogy, that much of the terminology we would use to describe this fascinating molecular reality would be borrowed from the world of late twentieth-century technology.
    What we would be witnessing would be an object resembling an immense automated factory, a factory larger than a city and carrying out almost as many unique functions as all the manufacturing activities of man on earth. However, it would be a factory which would have one capacity not equalled in any of our own most advanced machines, for it would be capable of replicating its entire structure within a matter of a few hours. To witness such an act at a magnification of one thousand million times would be an awe-inspiring spectacle.
    Michael Denton PhD., Evolution: A Theory In Crisis, pg.328

    as to:

    How to test this intuition scientifically? Two ways: show the object could not have come about by non-design processes OR show some signature of design.
    Showing something COULD NOT have come about by non-design is proving a negative: very difficult. Behe has tried to prove a edge of evolution, but not many are convinced.
    Given deep time, the paucity of evidence, and the established and plausible (to mainstreamers) capabilities of natural processes, IDers have not been able to prove the negative yet.

    Actually, prior to Behe’s, Gauger’s and Axe’s work, Darwinian Evolution has been known to be astronomically unlikely for a long time,,

    HISTORY OF EVOLUTIONARY THEORY – WISTAR DESTROYS EVOLUTION
    Excerpt: A number of mathematicians, familiar with the biological problems, spoke at that 1966 Wistar Institute,, For example, Murray Eden showed that it would be impossible for even a single ordered pair of genes to be produced by DNA mutations in the bacteria, E. coli,—with 5 billion years in which to produce it! His estimate was based on 5 trillion tons of the bacteria covering the planet to a depth of nearly an inch during that 5 billion years. He then explained that,, E. coli contain(s) over a trillion (10^12) bits of data. That is the number 10 followed by 12 zeros. *Eden then showed the mathematical impossibility of protein forming by chance.
    http://www.pathlights.com/ce_e.....hist12.htm

    The Darwinian responce to these astronomical numbers is what is unscientific. The Darwinian responce boils down to this irrational position that Professor Plantinga highlights,,,
    “Darwinism Not Proved Absolutely Impossible Therefore Its True” – Alvin Plantinga – video
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/10285716/

    Also of note, since entropy has a deep connection to ‘time’ (and also to gravity) then appealling to ‘deep time’ only amplifies the problem that Darwinism has with entropy. Deep time does not lessen the problem for Darwinism!

    Entropy Contradicts Darwinism
    https://docs.google.com/document/d/1No_jMMDJDaMsNHdn8CrQnKRgiFDf8CXcqZGn3lSYIZc/edit

    as to:

    Of course, given modern satellite surveillance, it may be discovered tomorrow that a designer has released a new species of caribou into the Arctic. That would avoid the paucity of evidence problem. Nobody’s seen a candidate for the designer do anything like that yet though.

    Although our satellites cannot go back in time and show us God creating a species, our satellites can do the next best thing and go back in time and show us evidence of God creating the entire universe:

    The Known Universe by AMNH – video – (please note the ‘centrality’ of the Earth in the universe at the 3:36 minute mark in the video)
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=17jymDn0W6U

    Here is a still shot of the image at the 3:36 minute mark of the preceding video

    Picture of CMBR
    http://new-universe.org/zenpho.....rams47.jpg

    Quotes of Note:

    The best data we have [concerning the Big Bang] are exactly what I would have predicted, had I nothing to go on but the five books of Moses, the Psalms, the bible as a whole.
    Dr. Arno Penzias, Nobel Laureate in Physics – co-discoverer of the Cosmic Background Radiation – as stated to the New York Times on March 12, 1978

    “Certainly there was something that set it all off,,, I can’t think of a better theory of the origin of the universe to match Genesis”
    Robert Wilson – Nobel laureate – co-discover Cosmic Background Radiation

    “There is no doubt that a parallel exists between the big bang as an event and the Christian notion of creation from nothing.”
    George Smoot – Nobel laureate in 2006 for his work on COBE

    “Now we see how the astronomical evidence supports the biblical view of the origin of the world. The details differ, but the essential elements in the astronomical and biblical accounts of Genesis are the same: the chain of events leading to man commenced suddenly and sharply at a definite moment in time, in a flash of light and energy.”
    Robert Jastrow – Founder of NASA’s Goddard Institute – Pg.15 ‘God and the Astronomers’

  18. 18
    bornagain77 says:

    I’ll skip the next paragragh on Dembski (needs a little clarification),, as to the last paragraph,,

    The religiousness of ID and/or its proponents is indeed irrelevant to its scientific validity. But its lack of scientific validity indicates that those who want to teach it in US public schools are mostly motivated by religion. (WJM may be an exception here).

    Actually, contrary to what you may believe, Intelligent Design is far less reliant on Theological premises than Darwinism is.,,,

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

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

    “Evolution is promoted by its practitioners as more than mere science. Evolution is promulgated as an ideology, a secular religion a full-fledged alternative to Christianity, with meaning and morality. I am an ardent evolutionist and an ex-Christian, but I must admit that in this one complaint, and Mr. Gish is but one of many to make it, the literalists are absolutely right. Evolution is a religion. This was true of evolution in the beginning, and it is true of evolution still today.”
    Ruse, M., How evolution became a religion: creationists correct? Darwinians wrongly mix science with morality, politics, National Post, pp. B1, B3, B7 (May 13, 2000)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Mutation total (as of 2014-05-02) – 148,413
    http://www.hgmd.cf.ac.uk/ac/

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

  19. 19
    Jerad says:

    WJM #4

    For example we know for an observed fact that this text, a battleship, and a 747 are not sufficiently causally explained by unguided forces; they are explicitly, scientifically known to require the artifice of intelligent, designing agencies (humans).

    Those are all inanimate examples. Do you have any examples of living objects or systems that could only have been designed by human intellect?

    I don’t think I’m being overly picky here. I think this is an important distinction.

    We have lots of recorded, observed examples of human design implementation of inanimate objects. How far from that can we extrapolate?

    Can we assume an ancient designer of biological systems from that without any further supporting evidence?

  20. 20
    Splatter says:

    Nirwad: I think that the act of trying to apply out intelligence to something does lead to a range.of nebulous descriptions, because we’re not really sure what that conscious activity constitutes. Is it natural(istic) forces at work, or something more? We know what intelligence is by acquaintance only – that’s half the problem.

    Congregate: the scientific consensus that insists that things have reached this point by random increments is one of those blind watchmaker arguments I mentioned. Dembski and others have buried those. It amazes me that people rest any weight on them.

    Jerad: if it takes human intelligence to design inanimate artifacts, it stands to reason it takes a greater intelligence to create living things, which are more spectacular. But this only holds if we show that human intelligence is more than natural unguided laws at work.

  21. 21

    congregate said:

    You say the only pertinent question is whether a reliable metric exists. That’s easy to answer. So far IDers Have not been able to come up with any that have been convincing to a scientific audience.

    Please note your use of rhetoric, whether intentional or not. Those that came up with the metric are scientists. Perhaps you mean that the metric has not been accepted by the mainstream consensus. That is irrelevant to the argument for or against ID, which is about the merits, not about whether a consensus has been reached on a discerning metric.

    I think the question of plausibility remains pertinent as well. Obviously also IDers have a higher standard for plausibility with respect to non-design processes than mainstreamers do. IDers also tend to judge plausibility unrealistically. They compare some biological feature with an undifferentiated universe and say well B obviously can’t have come from A. But the mainstream position is not that B came from A, it is that B came from almost B, which came from almost almost B.
    IDers declare that the appearance of some thing is implausible without saying what they think the universe was like before the thing appeared.

    I have no idea what part of ID argument you think you are addressing here.

    Jerad said:

    Do you have any examples of living objects or systems that could only have been designed by human intellect?

    Human intellect? This is the kind of game-playing semantics that undermines the capacity for honest debate. Some patterns found in crop circles are obviously not natural. Humans have artificially selected for all kinds of breeds of animals that would quickly disappear if humans were removed from the equation.

    If we found a crop circle pattern etched in stone on a distant world that had never been visited by humans, would you conclude that humans intellect was responsible for the pattern?

    Nonsense. I wish there would be one honest person on the anti-ID side that would just stop the semantic, diversionary obstructionism.

    Intelligent design exists as a causal agency that can produce artifacts qualitatively different from what nature & chance can plausibly produce. Humans have this commodity. If we ran into artifacts generated by intelligent aliens, we would expect to be able to discern them as such.

    If we’re honest, it isn’t a question of if ID exists, or if it can produce qualitatively different kinds of artifacts; it’s just a question of how to go about formally making the distinction.

    Once we’re past that ideological road block, we can start figuring out what the best way would be to make such a determination, which is exactly what IDists have attempted and are attempting to do.

  22. 22
    velikovskys says:

    Wjm:
    Even if (hypothetically) young-earth Christian fundamentalists do plan to use ID via the “Wedge Document” to form a theocratic government and force students to study the Bible, that would have no bearing on whether or not ID itself is a good scientific theory

    True, which makes the argument that The Theory of Evolution leading to genocide and Nazis and eugenics a specious argument as well. Correct?

    Even if all ID advocates are lying hypocrites with dastardly plans to use ID in some horrific social fashion, that is still not a valid argument that ID theory is not scientific.

    You are correct ,that is not why ID is not a scientific theory.

  23. 23

    velikovskys said:

    True, which makes the argument that The Theory of Evolution leading to genocide and Nazis and eugenics a specious argument as well. Correct?

    Specious wrt whether or not the ToE is valid science, yes.

  24. 24
    Seversky says:

    Can there be a scientific research program that investigates the nature of intelligent design, that tries to identify and describe those traits of designed objects which distinguish them from the non-designed, that tries to incorporate that data into diagnostic tools which will enable us to reliably discriminate between nature and artefact, regardless of who the designer might have been? I see no reason why not. Is there such a program? That depends on what you mean by “research program”. Can a movement which commits far more of its resources to advocacy than it does to laboratory or theoretical research be so credited? I think not.

    Is there a Theory of Intelligent Design? Creationist and philosopher Paul Nelson didn’t think so back in 2005:

    Easily the biggest challenge facing the ID community is to develop a full-fledged theory of biological design. We don’t have such a theory right now, and that’s a real problem.

    Has anything really changed since then? Proponents of ID usually characterize it as something like the following:

    The theory of intelligent design holds 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.

    But that is not a theory, it’s a statement of belief. In science, a theory is required both to describe and explain how a phenomenon works. ID is based on analogy. It points to various features of living creatures and argues that they have the appearance of design. Why do they have the appearance of design? Because they look a bit like things that we design and they look so complex that it is inconceivable that they could be the product of unguided, natural processes. In other words, if they aren’t natural they must be artificial. Unfortunately, that is essentially an inference to “who” not “how”. Scientific theories are about “how”.

  25. 25
    Upright BiPed says:

    Mainstream science has already used an operationalized definition of intelligent action in order to conduct valid science. The objections to ID thus far on this thread don’t seem to amount to much more than a double standard.

  26. 26
    Learned Hand says:

    “Mainstream science has already used an operationalized definition of intelligent action in order to conduct valid science.”

    What is it?

  27. 27
    Learned Hand says:

    “Mainstream science has already used an operationalized definition of intelligent action in order to conduct valid science.”

    What is it?

  28. 28

    Your whole article was well said, William J Murray.

  29. 29
    Upright BiPed says:

    LH,

    SETI uses an operational definition based upon our universal experience of both natural and intelligent causes. They operationalize intelligent action as a physical capacity, i.e. “the capacity to send a narrow-band signal detectable from earth”. In using this operational definition, they make a clear distinction between those things that can be explained by natural unguided causes and those things that are a measurable consequence of intelligent action. And should they receive a narrow-band signal of non-terrestrial origin, they will immediately accept it as positive evidence of an intelligent source. Furthermore, this evidence will be accepted without any additional knowledge about the source or characteristics of the intelligence. The presence of a narrow-band signal will, by itself, be considered an unambiguous identification of intelligent action in the cosmos, and will be subject to falsification only if a natural unguided source is shown to be capable of creating the effect.

    ID has the capacity to follow this same accepted methodology to identify intelligent action at the origin of life, but we needn’t kid ourselves — because the evidence would be so sharp and unambiguous, it would never be allowed in mainstream science. It’s just a simple fact that in 2014, science is not prepared to allow ID a test that would be so immediate, and whose results would so clearly and fundamentally illuminate how materialism must assume its conclusion against contrary evidence.

  30. 30
    congregate says:

    BA at 17-
    My first statement was that ID is not a scientific theory. You have argued that it is scientific, but not shown that it is a theory. Seversky at 24 puts my thought more clearly than I did.

    You imply that I suggested that the threshold for inferring design is the integrated functional complexity of a 747. I did not mean to suggest that. In my opinion it is plausible that integrated functional complexity could arise through non-design processes. I think that a mature human being has much more integrated functional complexity than single cell from which it develops, but I don’t see any evidence of any design intervention in the process of development.

    As to Evolution being proven astronomically unlikely by Wistar attendees, their calculations haven’t convinced many people since 1966. I think if they were really plausible the word would have gotten out by now.

    In 17 you point out that our satellites can show us God creating the universe. In 18 you point out that ID is not religious. Okey dokey.

  31. 31
    keith s says:

    Upright Biped:

    …but we needn’t kid ourselves — because the evidence would be so sharp and unambiguous, it would never be allowed in mainstream science. It’s just a simple fact that in 2014, science is not prepared to allow ID a test that would be so immediate, and whose results would so clearly and fundamentally illuminate how materialism must assume its conclusion against contrary evidence.

    That alone earns you 80 points on the Crackpot Index scale:

    34. 40 points for claiming that the “scientific establishment” is engaged in a “conspiracy” to prevent your work from gaining its well-deserved fame, or suchlike.

    36. 40 points for claiming that when your theory is finally appreciated, present-day science will be seen for the sham it truly is.

    PS When is your website coming online?

  32. 32

    Also to Learned Hand:

    “Mainstream science has already used an operationalized definition of intelligent action in order to conduct valid science.”

    What is it?

    Not to brag or self-promote but the answer to what is it is well enough answered by just the mainstream science IDeas getting around from being at places like this and elsewhere:

    http://www.planetsourcecode.co.....8;lngWId=1

    http://intelligencegenerator.blogspot.com/

    I can network with others and sometimes contact through email when I have a model a respected scientist would be genuinely interested in and will without my asking take the time to write back about. It’s all together very valid testable science with an operationalized definition of intelligent cause/action and all the rest ID theory is premised to develop. Such a thing being a noncontroversy in non-Darwinian areas of science might be having more impact than you will ever know, just by the way its good example makes protests against the theory look ridiculous.

  33. 33
    bornagain77 says:

    congregate, if ID is not science, then neither is Darwinian evolution since they both use the exact same scientific method, Dr. Meyer, who has a PhD in exactly this area of study (historical science), is more than qualified to know if they are epistemologically equivalent or not. Quoting Seversky for support of your position is not winning any points with me since I have caught him lying, and playing semantics, many, many, times.

    You are the one who said “everyone believes a 747 is designed”, I merely used your own benchmark to show that a ‘simple cell’ far exceeds that threshold. Too late to back off now.

    If you ‘don’t see any evidence of any design intervention in the process of development’ you have never really looked at development:

    HOW BIOLOGISTS LOST SIGHT OF THE MEANING OF LIFE — AND ARE NOW STARING IT IN THE FACE – Stephen L. Talbott – May 2012
    Excerpt: “If you think air traffic controllers have a tough job guiding planes into major airports or across a crowded continental airspace, consider the challenge facing a human cell trying to position its proteins”. A given cell, he notes, may make more than 10,000 different proteins, and typically contains more than a billion protein molecules at any one time. “Somehow a cell must get all its proteins to their correct destinations — and equally important, keep these molecules out of the wrong places”. And further: “It’s almost as if every mRNA [an intermediate between a gene and a corresponding protein] coming out of the nucleus knows where it’s going” (Travis 2011),,,
    Further, the billion protein molecules in a cell are virtually all capable of interacting with each other to one degree or another; they are subject to getting misfolded or “all balled up with one another”; they are critically modified through the attachment or detachment of molecular subunits, often in rapid order and with immediate implications for changing function; they can wind up inside large-capacity “transport vehicles” headed in any number of directions; they can be sidetracked by diverse processes of degradation and recycling… and so on without end. Yet the coherence of the whole is maintained.
    The question is indeed, then, “How does the organism meaningfully dispose of all its molecules, getting them to the right places and into the right interactions?”
    The same sort of question can be asked of cells, for example in the growing embryo, where literal streams of cells are flowing to their appointed places, differentiating themselves into different types as they go, and adjusting themselves to all sorts of unpredictable perturbations — even to the degree of responding appropriately when a lab technician excises a clump of them from one location in a young embryo and puts them in another, where they may proceed to adapt themselves in an entirely different and proper way to the new environment. It is hard to quibble with the immediate impression that form (which is more idea-like than thing-like) is primary, and the material particulars subsidiary.
    Two systems biologists, one from the Max Delbrück Center for Molecular Medicine in Germany and one from Harvard Medical School, frame one part of the problem this way:
    “The human body is formed by trillions of individual cells. These cells work together with remarkable precision, first forming an adult organism out of a single fertilized egg, and then keeping the organism alive and functional for decades. To achieve this precision, one would assume that each individual cell reacts in a reliable, reproducible way to a given input, faithfully executing the required task. However, a growing number of studies investigating cellular processes on the level of single cells revealed large heterogeneity even among genetically identical cells of the same cell type. (Loewer and Lahav 2011)”,,,
    And then we hear that all this meaningful activity is, somehow, meaningless or a product of meaninglessness. This, I believe, is the real issue troubling the majority of the American populace when they are asked about their belief in evolution. They see one thing and then are told, more or less directly, that they are really seeing its denial. Yet no one has ever explained to them how you get meaning from meaninglessness — a difficult enough task once you realize that we cannot articulate any knowledge of the world at all except in the language of meaning.,,,
    http://www.netfuture.org/2012/May1012_184.html#2

    As with your satellite example, once again I used your very own threshold to show that evidence for God creating something (the entire universe)is available. That was your threshold not mine!, But instead of being honest, you turn it around and sneer that ID is ‘religious’,, That was your Threshold not mine. Moreover you ignored the fact I pointed out that Darwinism itself is built upon (faulty) Theological premises. i.e. Darwinism is ‘RELIGIOUS”

    congregate, color me unimpressed with the honesty and integrity you’ve displayed thus far.

    but so be it, it is you who will have to give account to God for your actions and words, not I. All I can do is hope and pray that you become more honest to the evidence and to yourself.

  34. 34
    congregate says:

    WJM at 21-

    Please forgive me for allowing rhetoric to slip into my internet commenting. What metric are you referring to, and what scientist came up with it? Several candidates have been describe here at UD, I think. Whichever you are referring to, it has not only not been accepted by the mainstream consensus, it has not been accepted by even a tiny portion of working scientists. Is there a metric that any two IDers can agree on? In the last sentence of your comment you seem to say that IDers have attempted to create this metric and are attempting to create it. Does that conflict with your earlier suggestion that the metric is valid even though it has been rejected by mainstream consensus?

    In the portion of my comment that was not clear, I meant to refer to the fact that to the extent these metrics are based on the probability of an event, the proponents of ID never make any effort to determine the realistic probability of the event occurring. For example, if the event is the appearance of a bacterial flagellum, is the event the appearance of a bacterial flagellum today, as part of the “birth” of a new clone of an existing bacterium? I don’t think so, but I’m not sure.
    If the event is the appearance of the first bacterial flagellum, the probability is entirely dependent on the state of the inverse at that time. If it happened at a time when there were no bacteria in existence, that would point strongly to design. But if it happened at a time when there were trillions of bacteria on earth, many of which had all but one of the parts of the flagellum, the calculation comes out differently.

    Unfortunately evidence of the state of the universe is difficult to come by. But I’ve yet to see an IDer even willing to put forward and a hypothesis as to when a design event occurred.

  35. 35

    UB:

    ID has the capacity to follow this same accepted methodology to identify intelligent action at the origin of life.

    The problem with this analogy is that we have very good information from radio astronomy, physics (etc.) regarding natural astronomical phenomena and the forms of radiation they produce. From that same body of knowledge we know the sorts of radiation that are unlikely to be naturally produced, and that therefore are candidates for detection and even deliberate transmission. It is that background knowledge of natural phenomena that justifies the section of this particular operational definition. Without it the inference would be unjustified.

    But this is exactly what we don’t know about the OOL – we don’t know what natural circumstances gave/give rise to replicators capable of Darwinian evolution, and therefore have no basis from which to conclude that such replicators, or certain forms of replicator, are unlikely to have arisen from other than deliberate artifice. Therefore the existence/discovery of such replicators, nor their characteristics, can’t serve as a signal of, or operational definition for, deliberate artifice in a manner analogous to narrow band radiation for SETI. To assert otherwise is to assume your conclusion.

  36. 36

    congregate:

    Unfortunately evidence of the state of the universe is difficult to come by. But I’ve yet to see an IDer even willing to put forward and a hypothesis as to when a design event occurred.

    I beg your pardon:

    https://sites.google.com/site/intelligenceprograms/Home/Causation.jpg

    And since its Sunday I must include this timeline:

    https://sites.google.com/site/intelligenceprograms/Home/Causation.GIF

    Now you can honestly say that you saw an IDer even willing to put forward a whole computer model to experiment with what happens when a design event occurred. Not bad theory for a creotard eh?

  37. 37
    velikovskys says:

    Wjm:
    Specious wrt whether or not the ToE is valid science, yes.

    Sure seems to be a lot of discussion about it.

  38. 38
    kairosfocus says:

    RB, 34:

    we don’t know what natural circumstances gave/give rise to replicators capable of Darwinian evolution, and therefore have no basis from which to conclude that such replicators, or certain forms of replicator, are unlikely to have arisen from other than deliberate artifice.

    I must strongly disagree with the assumption that by some unknown mechanism, the hoped for but equally unobserved self replicating molecules did arise and of course then went on to become living cells.

    First, we have a base of trillions of cases on the origin of FSCO/I (which would be required), and every time we directly know the cause it is intelligently directed configuration — aka design. This is readily backed up by analysis of a sparse atomic and temporal resources constrained solar system or observed cosmos scale search of config spaces for 500 – 1,000+ bits of complexity.

    That is, we have very good inductive and analytical reason to accept that such is a reliable signature of design.

    Indeed, your we do not know as cited is an implicit admission of that.

    For, you mean you are unable to show empirical evidence that suffices to pass the FSCO/I threshold of 500 – 1,000 bits of complexity emerging by blind chance and mechanical necessity. But you are still putting forth a dominant narrative rooted in an institutionally dominant worldview, a priori evolutionary materialism, and/or its fellow travellers.

    I therefore first note that in science we have no good reason to impose a prioris like that, and our hypotheses must be subject to empirical tests or else they become ideological speculation with no proper inductive warrant.

    On historical or origins topics in science, we must always remember the force of the vera causa principle: before reverting to claimed causes for traces of the remote past, we ought to show their capacity in the present to cause the like effects.

    Your remarks above constitute an admission of vera causa failure.

    But, full marks for actual admission, you are not here indulging the too common zero concessions rhetorical policy.

    That is, there is a basis for reasonable discussion, which is why I am taking a pause having popped by to see how WJM has been doing.

    Second, we do know and for a long time have known very well the thermodynamics and reaction kinetics relevant to formation of energetically uphill, complex, information-rich molecules [cf. here [the download is 70 MB] for example, from 1984 by Thaxton et al, as an early relevant critical review and proposal that actually led to the emergence of design theory on the world of life (pace, the NCSE agit-prop myths about evading court decisions)].

    And, we can directly observe in the traces of the past of origin — the living cell — just how carefully controlled and organised the environment is, to allow the formation and function of the molecules of life.

    The role of ATP and the elaborate nanomachine involved in its synthesis, is a key marker of the point.

    Further to this, we observe with Orgel, 1973 (despite his hopes, for the very von Neumann self replicator facility that is so often used to try to project an evolutionary scenario to answer the problem is what now has to be accounted for on physics and chemistry of warm salty ponds, or deep water volcano vents, or comet cores or the like):

    . . In brief, living organisms are distinguished by their specified complexity. Crystals are usually taken as the prototypes of simple well-specified structures, because they consist of a very large number of identical molecules packed together in a uniform way. Lumps of granite or random mixtures of polymers are examples of structures that are complex but not specified. The crystals fail to qualify as living because they lack complexity; the mixtures of polymers fail to qualify because they lack specificity . . . .

    [HT, Mung, fr. p. 190 & 196:] These vague idea can be made more precise by introducing the idea of information. Roughly speaking, the information content of a structure is the minimum number of instructions needed to specify the structure. [–> this is of course equivalent to the string of yes/no questions required to specify the relevant “wiring diagram” for the set of functional states, T, in the much larger space of possible clumped or scattered configurations, W, as Dembski would go on to define in NFL in 2002] One can see intuitively that many instructions are needed to specify a complex structure. [–> so if the q’s to be answered are Y/N, the chain length is an information measure that indicates complexity in bits . . . ] On the other hand a simple repeating structure can be specified in rather few instructions. [–> do once and repeat over and over in a loop . . . ] Complex but random structures, by definition, need hardly be specified at all . . . .

    Paley was right to emphasize the need for special explanations of the existence of objects with high information content, for they cannot be formed in nonevolutionary, inorganic processes. [The Origins of Life (John Wiley, 1973), p. 189, p. 190, p. 196. Of course, that immediately highlights OOL, where the required self-replicating entity is part of what has to be explained, a notorious conundrum for advocates of evolutionary materialism; one, that has led to mutual ruin documented by Shapiro and Orgel between metabolism first and genes first schools of thought. Behe would go on to point out that irreducibly complex structures are not credibly formed by incremental evolutionary processes and Menuge et al would bring up serious issues for the suggested exaptation alternative, cf. his challenges C1 – 5 in the just linked. Finally, Dembski highlights that CSI comes in deeply isolated islands T in much larger configuration spaces W, for biological systems functional islands. That puts up serious questions for origin of dozens of body plans reasonably requiring some 10 – 100+ mn bases of fresh genetic information to account for cell types, tissues, organs and multiple coherently integrated systems.]

    By 1979, Wicken would add:

    ‘Organized’ systems are to be carefully distinguished from ‘ordered’ systems. Neither kind of system is ‘random,’ but whereas ordered systems are generated according to simple algorithms [i.e. “simple” force laws acting on objects starting from arbitrary and common- place initial conditions] and therefore lack complexity, organized systems must be assembled element by element according to an [originally . . . ] external ‘wiring diagram’ with a high information content . . . Organization, then, is functional complexity and carries information. It is non-random by design or by selection, rather than by the a priori necessity of crystallographic ‘order.’ [“The Generation of Complexity in Evolution: A Thermodynamic and Information-Theoretical Discussion,” Journal of Theoretical Biology, 77 (April 1979): p. 353, of pp. 349-65. (Emphases and notes added. Nb: “originally” is added to highlight that for self-replicating systems, the blue print can be built-in.)]

    (The actual roots of the descriptive abbreviation, functionally specific, complex organisation and associated information, FSCO/I, should be patent.)

    Of course both Orgel and Wicken hoped that “natural selection” would be an adequate answer. But in fact at OOL, we have to account inter alia for origin of self-replication on realistic physics, chem and thermodynamics, per blind chance and mechanical necessity, if the inference from FSCO/I to its inductively strong known cause, design, is to be avoided. This has not been done nor is it plausible on the physics and chemistry, where future developments will have to be compatible with what is already well established.

    At least, we here have a basis for serious onward discussion on the merits.

    Therefore, kudos.

    KF

  39. 39
    kairosfocus says:

    Congregate, cf just above, we can start with the Orgel metric [which is in reality a very old and commonplace approach to measuring info, using chain length of y/n q’s to specify state . . . cf the ubiquitous file size metrics on your PC]. Beyond, as Info Theory also documents, lie statistically based metrics linked to the informational entropy. The metrics you mention are rooted in that work that dates back to the 1920’s in some respects [Hartley etc and the log metric of info] but which found first major formulation in 1948. KF

  40. 40
    kairosfocus says:

    KS, 30: On the views, ideological comitments and linked agendas of the “Science” and “Science Edu” establishment, I suggest:

    EXHB 1: US, National Science Teachers Association:

    >>The principal product of science is knowledge in the form of naturalistic concepts [–> note the controlling philosophical commitment] and the laws and theories related to those concepts . . . . Although no single universal step-by-step scientific method captures the complexity of doing science, a number of shared values and perspectives characterize a scientific approach to understanding nature. Among these are a demand for naturalistic explanations supported by empirical evidence that are, at least in principle, testable against the natural world. Other shared elements include observations, rational argument, inference, skepticism, peer review and replicability of work . . . .

    Science, by definition, is limited to naturalistic methods and explanations and, as such, is precluded from using supernatural elements [–> strawman caricature, ever since Plato in The Laws bk X, the real alternatives are nature [= blind chance and/or mechanical necessity, and the ART-ificial, both of which are known to leave readily investigated empirical traces that in other contexts where the a priori evolutionary materialism is not at stake, are routinely accepted] in the production of scientific knowledge. [NSTA, Board of Directors, July 2000.] >>

    EXHB 2: US, NAS:

    >> In science, explanations must be based on naturally occurring phenomena [–> a subtler form of the same a priori]. Natural causes are, in principle, reproducible and therefore can be checked independently by others [–> and intelligently directed configuration — aka design, aka ART — is not in principle reproducible? What then is reverse engineering all about? Patents law? Copyright? Intellectual property infringement law?]. If explanations are based on purported forces that are outside of nature [–> again the supernatural strawman is injected, but more subtly], scientists have no way of either confirming or disproving those explanations. Any scientific explanation has to be testable — there must be possible observational consequences that could support the idea but also ones that could refute it. [–> yes, and show FSCO/I by blind chance and mechanical necessity and design theory on the world of life would instantly collapse] Unless a proposed explanation is framed in a way that some observational evidence could potentially count against it [–> In what way does, FSCO/I beyond 500 – 1,000 bits will not be found empirically to come about other than by intelligently directed configuration not count as a rather stringent and testable observational test?], that explanation cannot be subjected to scientific testing. [Science, Evolution and Creationism, 2008, p. 10 >>

    EXHB 3: Lewontin’s key admission regarding Sagan ad the elites of science

    >> the problem [–> note, agenda with both a scientific and an educational [indoctrinational] component] is to get them [hoi polloi] to reject irrational and supernatural explanations of the world, the demons that exist only in their imaginations, and to accept a social and intellectual apparatus, Science, as the only begetter of truth [–> NB: this is a knowledge claim about knowledge and its possible sources, i.e. it is a claim in philosophy not science; it is thus self-refuting]. . . . To Sagan, as to all but a few other scientists [–> this is testimony on the deeply entrenched views of the scientific elites, from one of its members who knows by personal acquaintance and/or by reputation], it is self-evident [–> actually, science and its knowledge claims are plainly not immediately and necessarily true on pain of absurdity, to one who understands them; this is another logical error, begging the question , confused for real self-evidence; whereby a claim shows itself not just true but true on pain of patent absurdity if one tries to deny it . . ] that the practices of science provide the surest method of putting us in contact with physical reality, and that, in contrast, the demon-haunted world rests on a set of beliefs and behaviors that fail every reasonable test [–> i.e. an assertion that tellingly reveals a hostile mindset by using a loaded strawman caricature, not a warranted claim] . . . .

    It is not that the methods and institutions of science somehow compel us to accept a material explanation of the phenomenal world, but, on the contrary, that we are forced by our a priori adherence to material causes [–> another major begging of the question by the elites . . . ] to create an apparatus of investigation and a set of concepts that produce material explanations, no matter how counter-intuitive, no matter how mystifying to the uninitiated. Moreover, that materialism is absolute [–> i.e. here we see the fallacious, indoctrinated, ideological, closed mind . . . ], for we cannot allow a Divine Foot in the door. [–> agenda again.]

    [From: “Billions and Billions of Demons,” NYRB, January 9, 1997. Emphases and notes added. If you imagine this is “quote-mined” — a common accusation, kindly cf the more detailed cite and annotations here.] >>

    Philip Johnson’s retort to Lewontin is apt:

    For scientific materialists the materialism comes first; the science comes thereafter. [[Emphasis original] We might more accurately term them “materialists employing science.” And if materialism is true, then some materialistic theory of evolution has to be true simply as a matter of logical deduction, regardless of the evidence. That theory will necessarily be at least roughly like neo-Darwinism, in that it will have to involve some combination of random changes and law-like processes capable of producing complicated organisms that (in Dawkins’ words) “give the appearance of having been designed for a purpose.”

    . . . . The debate about creation and evolution is not deadlocked . . . Biblical literalism is not the issue. The issue is whether materialism and rationality are the same thing. Darwinism is based on an a priori commitment to materialism, not on a philosophically neutral assessment of the evidence. Separate the philosophy from the science, and the proud tower collapses. [[Emphasis added.] [[The Unraveling of Scientific Materialism, First Things, 77 (Nov. 1997), pp. 22 – 25.]

  41. 41
    Upright BiPed says:

    Bill, outside of the cell, there is only one single source of memory being encoded with dimensional representations — and that is through intelligent action. The physics surrounding such systems are coherent and unambiguous. There is no second place finisher. You want to discount this knowledge under the objection that, as you say, ”we don’t know what natural circumstances gave/give rise to replicators capable of Darwinian evolution”. I’m surprised that you don’t see the fallacy inherent in that position. I might otherwise be merely amused that you’d point to me as the one assuming his conclusion — except in this case, what you are proposing is actually a serious affront to science itself. The point of contention here is that there are no natural circumstances that give rise to autonomous self-replicators capable of Darwinian evolution. This is a proposition that must be mediated by evidence, where a cause must be competently demonstrated to be capable of the effect in question, and is subject to falsification at the hands of any opponent who wishes to do so. In the case of dimensional representations, the physics involved match all instances of intelligent action, and match no instances of “natural circumstances” whatsoever. This central point is not even in contention. It is therefore absolutely preposterous to assert that “we shall treat your evidence as though it were illegitimate while we try to find some of our own”. That position is a science stopper extraordinaire; if your opponents are correct, you won’t find any evidence of your own. C’mon Bill, tell me you can recognize this most obvious fallacy. I hope that you will not, in the light of full consideration, attempt to justify this position further. Just let it go. I would hate to think that in your pursuit of counterarguments to ID, you would openly fail the most obvious logic that makes science work to begin with.

    If you do, then both the evidence, and any discussion of evidence, is entirely moot. Your choice.

  42. 42
    Me_Think says:

    outside of the cell, there is only one single source of memory being encoded with dimensional representations
    The physics surrounding such systems are coherent and unambiguous. There is no second place finisher

    Could you elaborate ? What dimensions ? What memory and what physics?

  43. 43
    Me_Think says:

    Gary S. Gaulin @ 31

    I can network with others and sometimes contact through email when I have a model a respected scientist would be genuinely interested in and will without my asking take the time to write back about

    How do you expect anyone to consider your theory seriously ? Please read your own theory. Right there at start, your genetic algorithm chart shows individual fitness , desired fitness etc. There is only genotype fitness in population – not individual fitness, and there is no ‘desired fitness’. Fitness is relative and depends on environment. How can your theory be any good if you have poor grasp of basics.

  44. 44
    niwrad says:

    Splatter #20

    “I think that the act of trying to apply out intelligence to something does lead to a range of nebulous descriptions”

    If this is true all sciences and technology (not ID only) fail because what are they but “trying to apply out intelligence to describe” and construct.

    I don’t understand why sciences and technology can deal with intelligence, instead ID cannot. When intelligence is managed by science is ok, when intelligence is managed by ID is not. When science deals with intelligence it does not matter what consciousness is, when ID deals with intelligence it does matter what consciousness is.

    Double standard?

  45. 45
    Pachyaena says:

    You IDers wonder why you’re not taken seriously by honest, sane people. Well, the fact that you’re crackpot liars is why.

  46. 46

    velikovskys said:

    Sure seems to be a lot of discussion about it.

    So? The broader implications of a theory shouldn’t be discussed?

    I don’t have a problem discussing and debating the political and social implications of a theory; what is logically unsound is the view that such implications, or the character and motivations of those that promote a theory, are reasons in themselves to dismiss a theory as non-scientific.

  47. 47

    congregate said:

    What metric are you referring to, and what scientist came up with it?

    I’m not running an ID 101 clinic. Educate yourself about that which you wish to argue against. Or, avail yourself of the mini-clinic posts kf and others regularly post for the record here.

    Several candidates have been describe here at UD, I think.

    And in published books and papers.

    Whichever you are referring to, it has not only not been accepted by the mainstream consensus, it has not been accepted by even a tiny portion of working scientists.

    What difference does that make, other than as an appeal to popularity in an environment openly hostile to ID theory in the first place? The theory must be argued by its merits, not according to how many scientists consider it valid.

    Is there a metric that any two IDers can agree on?

    What difference does that make? A robust and diverse attempt to quantify the defining characteristic difference between natural and intelligent agency is a perfectly reasonable way to proceed. Treating that as if it is a flaw in the undertaking is nothing more than another attempt to dismiss/stymie honest debate.

    Does that conflict with your earlier suggestion that the metric is valid even though it has been rejected by mainstream consensus?

    I suggested that mainstream consensus doesn’t make a metric valid or non-valid. I don’t argue that the metrics that have been offered by various ID proponents are valid; that I don’t know. They seem to me to be reasonably good efforts at quantifying what we all know exists: the fundamental, qualitative difference between some artifacts of intelligent design and what nature can produce otherwise.

  48. 48
    ForJah says:

    The idea that ID is a religious theory is losing ground pretty quickly I think. There is more evidence to prove that people are motivated by fear of having to address ID arguments as a reason for making the claim, then evidence that ID is actually religious. By definition, it seems pretty neutral to me.

    The problem with objections to ID is that it doesn’t just make ID inferences “unfalsifiable” but it makes anything else such as forensics and archaeology unfalsifiable. The idea of double standard has it’s greatest application here. You accept the ID framework in these fields, and you don’t accept it in Biology. Why?

    http://news.sciencemag.org/arc.....n-ancestor

    Take a look at this article. I could be an evolutionist and say things like…The shell doesn’t contain CSI, or a pattern of any particular significance. We don’t know how Homo erectus created therefore you can not extrapolate because you only see how homosapiens create! Find a homo erectus today, study it, and then your theory you can say they designed it, otherwise, it’s not designed. Just because we currently don’t know how the etchings on that shell could have come about by natural causation is no need to appeal to an agent whos design principles we can’t study!

    If you can’t see why every piece of my logic is flawed or unreasonable, then you are part of the problem. The lie and misrepresentations that ID has no merit, when it’s theoretical framework has factual application in current fields of scientific study.

  49. 49

    Anti-ID advocates should introspectively examine the following:

    1. Do humans possess a capacity to generate artifacts that are otherwise scientifically implausible for nature to generate?

    2. Is it unreasonable to identify that capacity as “intelligent design”?

    3. Is it unreasonable to hypothesize that humans are not the only entities with such a capacity, to one degree or another?

    4. Is it unreasonable to expect to be able to identify some such artifacts of intelligent design, even if we cannot identify the designer or the instantiation process, and even if we do not believe humans are plausible as the designer?

    5. If the distinction between some artifacts of design and what nature can be expected to produce otherwise is so great that nature cannot even be a plausible candidate (battleship vs pile of rocks), is it unreasonable to expect that this vast implausibility can be operationalized in terms of a useful identifying differential metric? (At least on a provisional basis until some new information changes the plausibility of natural explanations.)

    6. Isn’t it reasonable to find instantiations of matter that are only known to be produced by intelligent entities, such as irreducibly complex machines or semiotic systems, and use them also as identifying hallmarks of intelligent activity – again, at least on a provisional basis?

    7. Is there some principle that prevents us from establishing useful metrics or categorically exclusive examples of ID instantiations and applying those in the world as a means of establishing whether or not an artifact is best explained by ID?

    8. Is it reasonable to say that establishing that an artifact is most likely the result of ID adds nothing of value to the ongoing investigation? It seems to me it would change the nature of the investigation profoundly.

    If reasonable people can come to some reasonable conclusions through the above without trying to protect ideological a prioris, then the debate can move beyond talking-point denialism and obstructionism and into the realm of:

    “Okay, given ID exists, and given there is/may be a means of ascertaining that something is best explained as the product of ID, now what?

  50. 50
    Pachyaena says:

    WJM, is it unreasonable for honest, sane, scientific, reality minded people to expect IDers to stop pushing unsupported, unreasonable assumptions, unsupported tools/methods, thoroughly refuted claims, lies/censorship/distortions/strawmen/red herrings/excuses/etc., intrusions into education, double standards, malicious accusations, sanctimonious sermons, and an odious, theocratic agenda?

  51. 51

    Pachyaena:

    I’m letting #44 & #49 stay so that others will have an example of the kind of anti-ID trollish tripe I’m censoring going forward in this thread.

    If you wish to be civil and not load your questions/comments with character-assassinating rhetoric and invective, I’ll be happy to debate/discuss. Otherwise, you will be censored.

  52. 52
    bornagain77 says:

    Pachyaena, since you obviously are an enlightened atheist/materialist, and since you also clearly claim to be ‘scientific, reality minded’, can you please tell us exactly how Quantum Mechanic’s refutation of materialism as being the ultimate basis of ‘reality’ in any way, shape, or form, supports your claim that you are ‘scientific, reality minded’???

    Why Quantum Theory Does Not Support Materialism – By Bruce L Gordon:
    Excerpt: Because quantum theory is thought to provide the bedrock for our scientific understanding of physical reality, it is to this theory that the materialist inevitably appeals in support of his worldview. But having fled to science in search of a safe haven for his doctrines, the materialist instead finds that quantum theory in fact dissolves and defeats his materialist understanding of the world.,,
    The underlying problem is this: there are correlations in nature that require a causal explanation but for which no physical explanation is in principle possible. Furthermore, the nonlocalizability of field quanta entails that these entities, whatever they are, fail the criterion of material individuality. So, paradoxically and ironically, the most fundamental constituents and relations of the material world cannot, in principle, be understood in terms of material substances. Since there must be some explanation for these things, the correct explanation will have to be one which is non-physical – and this is plainly incompatible with any and all varieties of materialism.
    http://www.4truth.net/fourtrut.....8589952939

    “[while a number of philosophical ideas] may be logically consistent with present quantum mechanics, …materialism is not.”
    Eugene Wigner
    Quantum Physics Debunks Materialism – video playlist
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?list=PL1mr9ZTZb3TViAqtowpvZy5PZpn-MoSK_&v=4C5pq7W5yRM

    Quantum Weirdness and God 8-9-2014 by Paul Giem – video
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=N7HHz14tS1c

  53. 53
    Pachyaena says:

    WJM said: “It seems to me it would change the nature of the investigation profoundly.”

    IDers have been asked many times to explain how that ‘saying’ the universe (including life, evolution, etc.) is designed-created would productively/positively “change” the way in which the universe (including life, evolution, etc.) would be investigated, but nothing ever comes from those requests except silence, vague and useless assertions, religious sermons, insults and accusations, demands for proof of an undesigned/unguided/uncreated universe (including life, evolution, etc.), and more claims that ‘saying’ the universe (including life, evolution, etc.) is designed will “change” the way in which the universe (including life, evolution, etc.) would be investigated.

    So, here’s your chance, William. Explain exactly how that ‘saying’ the universe (including life, evolution, etc.) is designed would productively/positively and “profoundly” “change” the way in which the universe (including life, evolution, etc.) would be (scientifically) investigated. It’s already known that battleships and 747s are ‘designed’, by humans, so stick to what is relevant.

    While you’re at it, will you explain how ‘design’ causes things? For example, when an architect designs a house, does the architect and/or the design cause the house?

    Instead of design/designer, why don’t you creationists be honest and use the words that you’re actually thinking: create/creation/creator/God?

  54. 54
    Pachyaena says:

    William J Murray said: “If you wish to be civil and not load your questions/comments with character-assassinating rhetoric and invective, I’ll be happy to debate/discuss. Otherwise, you will be censored.”

    Well golly gee, William, maybe you should have a long talk with your uncivil, character-assassinating, rhetoric and invective spewing ‘fellow traveler ilk’, and yourself:

    “This is an example of what I mean when I say that anti-ID advocates make laughably bad arguments.”

    “It’s difficult to imagine otherwise intelligent people that would say such absurd things when it comes to arguing against ID.”

    “It’s just baffling how someone can say such a thing with a straight face.”

    “And yet, instead of accepting correction when corrected, you continue to espouse common anti-ID talking points addressed in the Faq.” (You sound like KF)

    “I can only assume you are deliberately being disingenuous. There is no list of websites in the FAQ, and it specifically summarizes what ID does and does not claim. It’s not my job to attempt to educate the willfully ignorant.”

    “Well, if nothing else, AR, you’ve put to rest the question of whether or not your participation here is anything other than the willfully ignorant, talking-point parroting we’ve come to expect from anti-ID advocates that visit here.”

    “Do you actually have something to contribute other rote than anti-ID talking points that are covered in the FAQ?”

    “It just seems like there are no anti-ID proponents that can even be bothered with actually trying to understand what it is they are arguing against.”

    “To argue otherwise is foolishness.”

    “Please note your use of rhetoric, whether intentional or not.”

    “This is the kind of game-playing semantics that undermines the capacity for honest debate.”

    “Nonsense. I wish there would be one honest person on the anti-ID side that would just stop the semantic, diversionary obstructionism.”

    “Once we’re past that ideological road block…”

    “I’m not running an ID 101 clinic. Educate yourself about that which you wish to argue against. Or, avail yourself of the mini-clinic posts kf and others regularly post for the record here.”

    Yeah William, you’re a paragon of virtue.

  55. 55
    bornagain77 says:

    Pachy at 52,,, as to

    “IDers have been asked many times to explain how that ‘saying’ the universe (including life, evolution, etc.) is designed-created would productively/positively “change” the way in which the universe (including life, evolution, etc.) would be investigated,”

    Besides the fact that Darwinism has not positively ‘driven science’ in the first place (in fact Darwinism hinders science by being useless bagage, i.e. a ‘narrative gloss’,,,

    Science Owes Nothing To Darwinism – Nov. 2014
    http://www.uncommondescent.com.....ent-531669

    Presupposing design, instead of presupposing ‘its an accident’, has recently advanced science in at least three areas that I am aware of. One area is with Robin Collins in the refinement of the Privileged Planet Principle of Gonzalez (i.e. The universe is designed for discoverability),,,

    The Fine-Tuning for Discoverability – Robin Collins – March 22, 2014
    Excerpt: Examples of fine – tuning for discoverability.,,,
    The most dramatic confirmation of the discoverability/livability optimality thesis (DLO) is the dependence of the Cosmic Microwave Background Radiation (CMB) on the baryon to photon ratio.,,,
    …the intensity of CMB depends on the photon to baryon ratio, (??b), which is the ratio of the average number of photons per unit volume of space to the average number of baryons (protons plus neutrons) per unit volume. At present this ratio is approximately a billion to one (10^9) , but it could be anywhere from one to infinity; it traces back to the degree of asymmetry in matter and anti – matter right after the beginning of the universe – for approximately every billion particles of antimatter, there was a billion and one particles of matter.,,,
    The only livability effect this ratio has is on whether or not galaxies can form that have near – optimally livability zones. As long as this condition is met, the value of this ratio has no further effects on livability. Hence, the DLO predicts that within this range, the value of this ratio will be such as to maximize the intensity of the CMB as observed by typical observers.
    According to my calculations – which have been verified by three other physicists — to within the margin of error of the experimentally determined parameters (~20%), the value of the photon to baryon ratio is such that it maximizes the CMB. This is shown in Figure 1 below. (pg. 13)
    It is easy to see that this prediction could have been disconfirmed. In fact, when I first made the calculations in the fall of 2011, I made a mistake and thought I had refuted this thesis since those calculations showed the intensity of the CMB maximizes at a value different than the photon – baryon ratio in our universe. So, not only does the DLO lead us to expect this ratio, but it provides an ultimate explanation for why it has this value,,, This is a case of a teleological thesis serving both a predictive and an ultimate explanatory role.,,,
    http://home.messiah.edu/~rcoll.....osting.pdf

    Greer Heard Forum: Robin Collins – “God and the Fine-Tuning of the Universe for Discovery” – video
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rBWmMU7BXGE

    Another area science is also advancing, by presupposing design instead of ‘its just an accident’, is with Denton’s Privileged Species theisis:

    Privileged Species – How the cosmos is designed for human life – website
    http://privilegedspecies.com/

    Michael Denton’s Privileged Species Premieres in Seattle to a Packed House – November 14, 2014
    Excerpt: If life exists elsewhere (in the universe), its home would remind us of Earth and the aliens would reminds us of ourselves. The periodic table, so wonderfully concise, is a recipe for us. Oh, and for our way of life too. While focusing on the unique properties of water, carbon, and oxygen, Denton shows that the chemical elements appear beautifully structured to allow the development of technology, from our use of fire to the rise of computers.
    He emphasizes that this “stunning series of coincidences” is not a matter of scientific controversy, and in fact represents the great scientific discovery of the past century. It’s a matter of fact, not interpretation.
    Denton observed that properties of nature uniquely fit for life continue to be discovered regularly and he offered the prediction that in the upcoming century scientists will uncover more and more.
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....91241.html

    Another area Science is also advancing, by presupposing design instead of ‘its just an accident’, is with ‘systems biology’:

    “It has become clear in the past ten years that the concept of design is not merely an add-on meta-description of biological systems, of no scientific consequence, but is in fact a driver of science. A whole cohort of young scientists is being trained to “think like engineers” when looking at biological systems, using terms explicitly related to engineering design concepts: design, purpose, optimal tradeoffs for multiple goals, information, control, decision making, etc. This approach is widely seen as a successful, predictive, quantitative theory of biology.”
    David Snoke*, Systems Biology as a Research Program for Intelligent Design

    podcast: “David Snoke: Systems Biology and Intelligent Design, pt. 1”
    http://intelligentdesign.podom.....9_09-07_00
    podcast: David Snoke: Systems Biology and Intelligent Design, pt. 2
    http://intelligentdesign.podom.....0_01-07_00

    How the Burgeoning Field of Systems Biology Supports Intelligent Design – July 2014
    Excerpt: Snoke lists various features in biology that have been found to function like goal-directed, top-down engineered systems:
    *”Negative feedback for stable operation.”
    *”Frequency filtering” for extracting a signal from a noisy system.
    *Control and signaling to induce a response.
    *”Information storage” where information is stored for later use. In fact, Snoke observes:
    “This paradigm [of systems biology] is advancing the view that biology is essentially an information science with information operating on multiple hierarchical levels and in complex networks [13]. ”
    *”Timing and synchronization,” where organisms maintain clocks to ensure that different processes and events happen in the right order.
    *”Addressing,” where signaling molecules are tagged with an address to help them arrive at their intended target.
    *”Hierarchies of function,” where organisms maintain clocks to ensure that cellular processes and events happen at the right times and in the right order.
    *”Redundancy,” as organisms contain backup systems or “fail-safes” if primary essential systems fail.
    *”Adaptation,” where organisms are pre-engineered to be able to undergo small-scale adaptations to their environments. As Snoke explains, “These systems use randomization controlled by supersystems, just as the immune system uses randomization in a very controlled way,” and “Only part of the system is allowed to vary randomly, while the rest is highly conserved.”,,,
    Snoke observes that systems biology assumes that biological features are optimized, meaning, in part, that “just about everything in the cell does indeed have a role, i.e., that there is very little ‘junk.'” He explains, “Some systems biologists go further than just assuming that every little thing has a purpose. Some argue that each item is fulfilling its purpose as well as is physically possible,” and quotes additional authorities who assume that biological systems are optimized.,,,
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....87871.html

  56. 56

    IMO, some of the way that biology is currently investigated is according to a design heuristic, such reverse-engineering biological features and applying them to technology. You don’t reverse-engineer features supposedly haphazardly honed only for reproductive success and expect to find design efficiency for technologies that have nothing to do with reproductive success.

    Under a design framework, investigations into biological feature relationships would no longer be predicated on the idea of a haphazard, chance process but rather on the premise of deliberate, intelligent choices. It changes where you look for things and what kind of things you expect to find. Instead of the simple dismissal of a laryngal nerve’s path as haphazard due to an unguided process, the question “why would it be designed this way?” leads to a deeper investigation as to the potential benefits of the path of the nerve.

    Many biological features that were once touted as evidence of “bad design” (a poor argument against ID) have been later found to be highly advanced designs that took into account other things that we were at the time unaware of.

    That is a profoundly different kind of investigation; on the Darwinism side, there is “how did the nerve get this way?”; on the ID side, there is “what is the purpose of this particular design? What engineering goal is it achieving, what problem is it solving, by being structured in such a way?

    These are courses of investigation that diverge on the principle of what one is expecting as the causal source of the thing in question. Obviously, the entire investigatory heuristic is different.

    The difference can be illustrated this way: Darwinists think they are sifting through a rockpile that happens to have some interesting formations; their curiosity is about defining the formations and cataloging their causal history and maybe finding some formations that might be useful.

    IDists think they are investigating a highly advanced technology generated by a highly advanced intelligence. They don’t expect to find much junk and they expect to find sophisticated engineering virtually everywhere they look, which makes them look harder at things that appear on first blush to be “poorly designed”, instead of dismissing it as poor design at the first opportunity.

    While you’re at it, will you explain how ‘design’ causes things? For example, when an architect designs a house, does the architect and/or the design cause the house?

    It’s a necessary part of the causal chain. It’s not sufficient in itself to cause the house. ID theory only claims that ID is a necessary part of the causal chain wrt designed artifacts.

    Instead of design/designer, why don’t you creationists be honest and use the words that you’re actually thinking: create/creation/creator/God?

    I’m being as honest as I can be. It’s not my problem that my views don’t conform to your preconceptions about what IDists “really think”.

  57. 57

    Pachyaena @53:

    I’m willing to accept and dish out a certain degree of rhetoric and invective along with meaningful argument and debate; I’m not willing to put up with posts from anti-IDers that are literally nothing more than invective and rhetoric. And yes, I will tolerate IDists who do little but insult anti-IDists because I’m openly unfair that way. If you don’t like it, argue with someone else.

    If your goal here is to out ID supporters as non-virtuous and hypocritical, let me save you the trouble in my case: I don’t claim to be virtuous and I openly admit to being hypocritical. So? That doesn’t make ID a non-fact; it doesn’t make ID theory non-scientific; it doesn’t make any of my arguments less logical or reasonable.

    You and your ilk seem to think that attacking the character and motivations of your debate opponents can stand in place of a reasoned, logical, or evidence-based argument. Note how Keith has remained active on UD for much longer than others who came in after Mr. Arrington granted amnesty; it’s because Keith realizes that to continue arguing here, he must keep his ratio of insult to substance at an acceptable level for this venue. You must learn to play by house rules and by thread starter rules.

    You want to participate in my thread, we do so by my rules. I don’t claim they are fair. Now, behave yourself or sod off.

  58. 58

    UB:

    Bill, outside of the cell, there is only one single source of memory being encoded with dimensional representations — and that is through intelligent action. The physics surrounding such systems are coherent and unambiguous. There is no second place finisher. You want to discount this knowledge under the objection that, as you say, ”we don’t know what natural circumstances gave/give rise to replicators capable of Darwinian evolution”. I’m surprised that you don’t see the fallacy inherent in that position.

    I’m afraid you’ve got it backwards, UB. It doesn’t follow from the fact that human beings create representations (“dimensional” or otherwise) that analogous phenomena can’t have arisen from other, natural processes (selection among simpler replicators devoid of “dimensional representation” as you define it, for example). Of course it remains to be shown if, how and why that process got underway – none of that is assumed, other than as a starting point for the real empirical work. That’s where the science starts, not stops. Armchairs (neither yours nor mine) need not stir.

    Since we don’t understand the origins of the vast majority of such instances (those seen in living organisms), and have no basis from which to rule out natural processes, such replicators can’t be a signal for intelligence at the origin of life. The assumption that an “intelligence” was required is the science stopper – because that assumption, and it’s claim that natural origins are in principle impossible, puts a stop to all investigation into natural events while offering no guidance for further empirical work.

    (P.S. “Coherent.” You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means. An argument can be perfectly coherent, yet completely mistaken.)

  59. 59
    Pachyaena says:

    WJM said: “Intelligent Design Theory”

    What Intelligent Design Theory? Do you need to be reminded again about what a scientific theory is?

  60. 60

    RB said:

    The assumption that an “intelligence” was required is the science stopper – because that assumption, and it’s claim that natural origins are in principle impossible, puts a stop to all investigation into natural events while offering no guidance for further empirical work.

    Of course it doesn’t put an end to science; it simply changes the nature of the investigation. For example, just because a crop circle is inferred to have been designed because of the nature of the pattern doesn’t mean further scientific inquiry ends.

    From that point, science can examine the physical characteristics of the affected plants to see how they were made into the patterned arrangement. Different theories can be put forwards as to how the stalks were bent and by what process. Also, depending on the pattern left, one might hope to decode the meaning of the pattern. They can compare the pattern to other crop circle patterns for similarities and clues as to their origin and purpose.

    Other scientists would certainly be free to pursue a naturalistic origin narrative for the pattern if they so desired.

    A design inference doesn’t stop any science, it just provides an additional, alternative heuristic for the scientific investigation going forward. Classifying the design inference as “non-scientific” in nature essentially puts a huge barrier up against investigation down that road.

  61. 61

    WJM:

    A design inference doesn’t stop any science, it just provides an additional, alternative heuristic for the scientific investigation going forward. Classifying the design inference as “non-scientific” in nature essentially puts a huge barrier up against investigation down that road.

    Knock yourselves out. But I see no such investigation based upon this alternative heuristic, WJM, nor a credible description of how such a program would go forward. Can you propose an empirical research program based upon that heuristic?

    That said, what I am disputing is UB’s claim that a reliable “signal” for intelligence operative at the OOL has already been established by means of the armchair reasoning over current biological science he describes.

    It hasn’t.

  62. 62
    Box says:

    Reciprocating Bill #60,

    Reciprocating Bill:

    Knock yourselves out. But I see no such investigation based upon this alternative heuristic, WJM, nor a credible description of how such a program would go forward. Can you propose an empirical research program based upon that heuristic?

    Are you saying that the only scientific investigation you can think of is the search for a naturalistic explanation of a phenomenon? IOW in your frame of mind there is no other scientific investigation possible of e.g. Stonehenge, prehistoric art or the AntiKythera than the the search for a naturalistic explanation?

  63. 63
    bornagain77 says:

    Pachy you ask,,,

    “Do you need to be reminded again about what a scientific theory is?”

    I don’t know about WJM, but as far as I’m concerned, I would like to know what you think a scientific theory is. And if it is not too much trouble, I would also like to know exactly what experiment can be performed in the laboratory that would potentially falsify Darwinism:

    It’s Easier to Falsify Intelligent Design than Darwinian Evolution – Michael Behe, PhD – video
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_T1v_VLueGk

    Darwinism is a Pseudo-Science:

    The primary reasons why Darwinism is a pseudo-science instead of a proper science are as such:

    1. No Rigid Mathematical Basis (Falsification Criteria)
    2. No Demonstrated Empirical Basis
    3. Random Mutation and Natural Selection Are Both Grossly Inadequate as ‘creative engines’
    4. Information is not reducible to a material basis
    https://docs.google.com/document/d/1oaPcK-KCppBztIJmXUBXTvZTZ5lHV4Qg_pnzmvVL2Qw/edit

  64. 64

    Box:

    Are you saying that the only scientific investigation you can think of is the search for a naturalistic explanation of a phenomenon?

    No, I’m saying that I’ve never seen a credible description of how the alternative program could/would go forward.

    I’m also saying, “knock yourself out” with same, Box. Think outside of yourself. Propose an empirical research program into the OOL based on the the heuristic of “intelligence.” After all, it’s up to those who don’t find “intelligence” a non-starter in that context to think of just how to investigate same.

  65. 65
    eigenstate says:

    @WJM,

    Anti-ID advocates should introspectively examine the following:

    1. Do humans possess a capacity to generate artifacts that are otherwise scientifically implausible for nature to generate?

    In the sense you intend, yes. Nature, without humans or other living things around to generate such artifacts, such artifacts would not be found. But, on a scientific understanding, humans themselves are generated by impersonal nature, so you get a production like this:

    1. impersonal nature produced humans.
    2. humans produce Gibson Les Paul electric guitars.
    3. Impersonal nature (indirectly) produces electric guitars.

    I believe you are asking if nature produces electric guitars with producing humans (or similar) to make guitars first. The answer to that is:no “direct” processes are known, or even suspected.

    2. Is it unreasonable to identify that capacity as “intelligent design”?

    It’s reasonable insofar as IDers (and others) can use this term without equivocating; “Intelligent Design” != “intelligent design”. It seems the equivocation is creeping into your post here, so while it’s a reasonable term on its own, there’s good reasons to use some other term for clarity.

    3. Is it unreasonable to hypothesize that humans are not the only entities with such a capacity, to one degree or another?

    It is reasonable to hypothesize such.

    4. Is it unreasonable to expect to be able to identify some such artifacts of intelligent design, even if we cannot identify the designer or the instantiation process, and even if we do not believe humans are plausible as the designer?

    Yes, quite unreasonable. Design inferences are the product of a matching process where the artifacts or forensic evidence is aligned with causal agent to produce a model of what happened. Up thread you made the beginner mistake of complaining that if we don’t know *which* human committed an arson or murder, somehow science is unwilling to say *a* human did it. The social security number is not needed for such questions. The presence and capacity of one or more humans (whoever they are) is needed for the conclusion of “design”.

    This is where ID veers off into religion, superstition, and the invincible intuition against all evidence: if you can’t identify a present (at the time) and capable designer to match against artifacts and other forensic evidence, you’re hosed. Without that, you are simply falling into circular reasoning: something that is capable of making this thing, made this thing.

    Precision and clarity is needed on this point. Just as we do not need to know the SSN of a putative suspect in an arson case to conclude “some human did this”, but only the general presence of humans in the area at the time/place, and their observed capabilities for starting fires, etc., we do NOT need to know the particular identity of any putative Life Designer. We don’t need to “identify the Designer” by name. But we DO need to establish the general presence at that time/place and capacity of this putative Designer along with its capabilities for creating/diversifying life.

    And this is where religion and ID unite. ID is a “religious cultural phenomenon” because the religious intuition of many is that God, or some divine being(s) WAS present and capable at the time life creation. For the religious, and for religious reasons, nothing needs to be shown regarding the available Designer. That’s a show-stopper, though, for the scientific approach. The religious intuition may be very strong, even overwhelming for the religious believer, but that counts for naught in science, and the design conclusion cannot be reasonably made, as no present and capable designers are in the picture.

    5. If the distinction between some artifacts of design and what nature can be expected to produce otherwise is so great that nature cannot even be a plausible candidate (battleship vs pile of rocks), is it unreasonable to expect that this vast implausibility can be operationalized in terms of a useful identifying differential metric? (At least on a provisional basis until some new information changes the plausibility of natural explanations.)

    Yes, very unreasonable. What we observe in humans designing demonstrates that designs regularly incorporate mundane and simplistic (patterns and structures that might otherwise be accounted for without design) elements, thus effectively “encrypting” design for anyone looking just at the specimen. Beyond that, see above regarding the crucial nature of the matching process, connecting available and capable designers with the artifact. If you don’t have the “present and capable designer” part of the ledger filled out, there is *in principle* no way to identify pattern or signals in the artifact that enable a design inference. In humans, we implicitly supply this “present and capable designer” with “humans”, by recognition.

    If we see “David Gilmour was here” spelled out in stones on a beach, we “recognize” design by other humans. I suspect many IDers suppose they something “in the stones” that signifies design, completely independent of any designer knowledge. They are positing plausibly present and capable designers — humans — and are creating this match between human capabilities and the arrangement of the stones on the beach. This is fundamentally unlike what ID proposes, that we “see the stones”, so to speak, and conclude design without any causal resources that enable a match to be made. Religious intuitions provide a superstitious stand-in for the “presence and capability of the designer” part in this case, which is, again, why ID and religion have such an intimate connection.

    6. Isn’t it reasonable to find instantiations of matter that are only known to be produced by intelligent entities, such as irreducibly complex machines or semiotic systems, and use them also as identifying hallmarks of intelligent activity – again, at least on a provisional basis?

    It’s unreasonable to use the abstractions for concrete conclusions. “Intelligent entities” is an abstraction, and does not qualify for the matching process between putative artisans and their artifacts. When you substitute this abstraction for a concrete designer, you subvert the process by which you judge. SETI, for example, cannot confine its investigations to humans as sources of intelligent patterns or signals. But they don’t resort to an abstraction like “intelligent entities”, and can’t because that doesn’t ground their search. Instead they hypothesize that other sentient beings in the universe would use patterns, structures, symbols etc. in ways that are at least roughly analogous to humans, or comprehensible to humans at some level, because these beings are part of the same universe and processes that produced use, and similarly constrained by physics, etc. Even with that kind of care, it’s problematic for SETI, and they run the risks of interpreting natural signals as “designed signals” on one side (see the discovery of radio signals from pulsars in 60s), and missing other “designed signals” because we don’t know how to identify intelligence beyond what “human intelligence” implicates.

    7. Is there some principle that prevents us from establishing useful metrics or categorically exclusive examples of ID instantiations and applying those in the world as a means of establishing whether or not an artifact is best explained by ID?

    Due to the nature of design itself, any proposed metrics would not be something you’d want to depend on or trust. You can propose them, and even work on ways to calculate them (hasn’t been done yet, but I suppose someone in the ID camp will take this challenge seriously at some point), but design is a form of encryption; it’s a one way cypher. That does not mean we cannot identify design — we do this routinely. But we do it by this matching process, connecting available and capable designers with putative design artifacts.

    If the nature of the problem in terms of encryption isn’t clear, consider the Halting Problem in computing. Whether a given non-trivial program will finish or halt is formally undecidable. How can this be? Can’t we reasonably expect to find the “haltingness”, some metric that indicates one way or the other?

    This is not a tight analogy with the design inference, but the nature of the problem is the same in both. Design inferences that only look at the artifact have inherent undecidability. It’s important to add that software programmer isn’t consciously “hiding” or “encrypting” the presence of absence of halting states within her program; it’s an intrinsic problem in the one-way process of programming to code generation. Design processes have similar limitations. A designer may not be consciously hiding his work, but the artifact itself does not and cannot contain in and of itself the conditions for deducing design.

    8. Is it reasonable to say that establishing that an artifact is most likely the result of ID adds nothing of value to the ongoing investigation? It seems to me it would change the nature of the investigation profoundly.

    It depends on what you mean by “establishing”.

    It adds to the investigation insofar as it contributes new evidence or knowledge about the designer. If design is “established”, as a rhetorical matter, but without establishing a designer, then I can’t see anything of value being added, and lots of problems being introduced. In practice it wouldn’t matter, because people who actually took on the task of investigating would revert back to “naturalistic investigation” — standard scientific methods — in the absence of a designer to incorporate into their model. Without a designer that bears incorporating into a scientific model, science would just have to keep developing models that don’t incorporating a designer (by definition!).

    If reasonable people can come to some reasonable conclusions through the above without trying to protect ideological a prioris, then the debate can move beyond talking-point denialism and obstructionism and into the realm of:

    “Okay, given ID exists, and given there is/may be a means of ascertaining that something is best explained as the product of ID, now what?

    There is nothing wrong with the goal, as stated, in strict terms. But as a practical matter, “best explained” is a term ID should stay away from, if it wants to take itself seriously and be taken seriously by others. ‘Best explained’ has become a euphemism in practice for “fits my intuition”, and where religious intuitions are strong, as they are in the ID community, this is just asking for trouble. If it’s the “best explanation”, you won’t need to push it as such. The falsification tests it passes will provide all the credibility you need and want. If you don’t have hard tests it passes that are liable to falsification, you really don’t have anything of import to offer anyway, and calling it the “best explanation” is reduced to religious/cultural/political rhetoric.

  66. 66
    Box says:

    Reciprocating Bill #63,

    Box: Are you saying that the only scientific investigation you can think of is the search for a naturalistic explanation of a phenomenon? IOW in your frame of mind there is no other scientific investigation possible of e.g. Stonehenge, prehistoric art or the AntiKythera than the the search for a naturalistic explanation?

    Reciprocating Bill: No, I’m saying that I’ve never seen a credible description of how such a program could/would go forward.

    Other than the search for a naturalistic explanation? How about studying and finding out how things work? Just like the way many scientific research proceeds right now – even in biology.

    Reciprocating Bill: Propose an empirical research program into the OOL based on the the heuristic of “intelligence.”

    An heuristic based on intelligence may direct scientific research in the direction of building the simplest replicator unconstrained by the stipulation of a purely naturalistic setting.

  67. 67
    eigenstate says:

    @WJM,

    Of course it doesn’t put an end to science; it simply changes the nature of the investigation. For example, just because a crop circle is inferred to have been designed because of the nature of the pattern doesn’t mean further scientific inquiry ends.

    No, but it’s instructive (and damning) for ID to look at what actually happens in this case with crop circles.

    As (I hope!) you know, the design inference has been made by science regarding crop circles — it’s humans pranking us. Is that the end of the matter? In one way, yes, just because once we’ve concluded it’s just prankery, much the interest wanes: that’s mundane compared to the tantalizing prospect of “aliens”, etc. that others have advanced regarding crop circles.

    But the investigation needn’t stop. It just pivots to looking for which humans did it, and how they did it. As I recall, in some cases the pranksters have reproduced the work for journalists to show how it’s done (Matt Ridley did this, among others, IIRC), but the salient point here is the investigation then focuses on humans, the who and the how. We don’t reverse-engineer the crop bending at that point — that’s going at things the hard and unreliable way. Instead, we focus on finding out who did it, and work to find out through them how the phenomena are produced. If Matt Ridley will show you how he made crop circles that fooled so many, including major news organizations, you’re a fool to ignore his demonstration and work to come up with other hypotheses only.

    For ID, this is damning. Once we decide that this is the product of a designer, the designer becomes the key, the linchpin in the ongoing investigation. Anything new we might surmise from the artifact is only as good as it’s match with this designer, and his/her/their capabilities and methods. If ID insists on scrupulously avoiding incorporating the designer into the model, you’re stopped, stuck. Fortunately, in practice that doesn’t happen, because models that conclude design but don’t incorporate a designer into the operational model don’t and can’t get used in science.

    From that point, science can examine the physical characteristics of the affected plants to see how they were made into the patterned arrangement. Different theories can be put forwards as to how the stalks were bent and by what process. Also, depending on the pattern left, one might hope to decode the meaning of the pattern. They can compare the pattern to other crop circle patterns for similarities and clues as to their origin and purpose.

    See above. We have a real outcome to look at here, and that’s not what happened. As soon as we conclude “pranksters”, that all goes out the window. No one gives a hoot about how the stalks were bent *OUTSIDE* of the pranksters’ technique; the investigation has ended in that sense, and been transferred to a subsequent investigation that is all about specific pranksters and their techniques. No one (that I know of) is still looking at crop circles apart from prankster-centric investigations. There is not point, no gain. With ID, there is the same effect, only with ID, we are nowhere and with no prospects (by IDs own admission) on investigating the particular designer.

    Other scientists would certainly be free to pursue a naturalistic origin narrative for the pattern if they so desired.

    A design inference doesn’t stop any science, it just provides an additional, alternative heuristic for the scientific investigation going forward. Classifying the design inference as “non-scientific” in nature essentially puts a huge barrier up against investigation down that road.

    Such inferences don’t and can’t stop science, you’re right. They just aren’t helpful in practice. And this doesn’t need to accepted just because i said it, it’s a market dynamic: if it worked, there is huge demand for results based on this, and plenty of religiously or otherwise motivated smart people who will gladly provide supply for that demand. If such conclusions provided any advantage for building practical knowledge, that knowledge is so valuable that we should expect, long before now, to see ID gurus making out like bandits based on their insider advantage.

    But alas, this is not what we see. In the free market, ID as an advantage has nothing to show. It has enormous advantages in terms of political rhetoric and bolstering the beliefs of the faithful, who increasingly are feeling besieged by secularism and secular modes of reasoning, and that explains the popularity and influence of the movement.

    If ID were to be judged on its utility in powering scientific progress, we could not even say it has reached a humble peak and died. In this regard it was stillborn. It has, and will have, bright and durable prospects in a cultural sense, though because it has great value as an apologetics device.

  68. 68

    Me_Think:

    Gary S. Gaulin @ 31
    I can network with others and sometimes contact through email when I have a model a respected scientist would be genuinely interested in and will without my asking take the time to write back about

    How do you expect anyone to consider your theory seriously ? Please read your own theory. Right there at start, your genetic algorithm chart shows individual fitness , desired fitness etc. There is only genotype fitness in population – not individual fitness, and there is no ‘desired fitness’. Fitness is relative and depends on environment. How can your theory be any good if you have poor grasp of basics.

    I already spent longer than I should have had to searching for an Evolutionary Algorithm flowchart all in your camp can agree on. I only discovered that in this case I can’t please everybody, all the time. Just more moving goalposts while pretending that it’s my fault you can’t get on the same page with each other in regards to what the Darwinian model actually looks like.

    But you are very much welcomed to offer a new flowchart along with edited text you want the preface of the theory changed to. The more precise you make it the better, especially in regards to where the “natural selection” variable is located. What do YOU have?

  69. 69

    Eigenstate @ 64 said:

    This is where ID veers off into religion, superstition, and the invincible intuition against all evidence: if you can’t identify a present (at the time) and capable designer to match against artifacts and other forensic evidence, you’re hosed.

    No, this is actually where anti-ID advocates simply go off the rails in their apparent need to find somewhere to cordon of the oncoming reasonable inferences and conclusion because they are ideologically opposed to them.

    You say:

    Yes, quite unreasonable. Design inferences are the product of a matching process where the artifacts or forensic evidence is aligned with causal agent to produce a model of what happened.

    This is not just untrue, it’s untrue even in principle. In fact, it’s obvious nonsense. One needs absolutely no information at all about who or what created a crop circle, why, or how, to infer from pattern itself that it was designed by some sort of intelligence, whether human or not.

    Up thread you made the beginner mistake of complaining that if we don’t know *which* human committed an arson or murder, somehow science is unwilling to say *a* human did it.

    Actually, I’m rather banking on committed anti-IDists like yourself to provide the material evidence of exactly what I’m talking about – and you just did. As if it matters whether or not a a human designed a crop circle; the design inference can obviously be made from nothing more than the object or pattern in question.

  70. 70

    eigenstate said:

    For ID, this is damning. Once we decide that this is the product of a designer, the designer becomes the key, the linchpin in the ongoing investigation. Anything new we might surmise from the artifact is only as good as it’s match with this designer, and his/her/their capabilities and methods. If ID insists on scrupulously avoiding incorporating the designer into the model, you’re stopped, stuck. Fortunately, in practice that doesn’t happen, because models that conclude design but don’t incorporate a designer into the operational model don’t and can’t get used in science.

    The idea that science would come to a stop wrt a designed object ot pattern just because we are unable to identify the nature of the designing intelligence is absurd on the face of it. It baffles me how someone can make such a statement in good faith. As if we couldn’t or wouldn’t bother to attempt to decode or understand the meaning of the pattern, or figure out how it worked, or attempt to understand the engineering principles, the fabrication process, etc.

    Of course, we would attempt to identify the designing intelligence, but I can’t see how any reasonable person can say that there would be no avenue for scientific investigation of the thing in question unless there was a “matching” designer to be found.

  71. 71

    eigenstate said:

    It’s unreasonable to use the abstractions for concrete conclusions. “Intelligent entities” is an abstraction, and does not qualify for the matching process between putative artisans and their artifacts.

    No, it’s a generalization of a type of causal agency known to exist, like “random mutations” or “natural selection”. I invite onlookers to examine your attempt to have your cake and eat it too, with your following SETI apologetics:

    SETI, for example, cannot confine its investigations to humans as sources of intelligent patterns or signals. But they don’t resort to an abstraction like “intelligent entities”, and can’t because that doesn’t ground their search. Instead they hypothesize that other sentient beings in the universe would use patterns, structures, symbols etc. in ways that are at least roughly analogous to humans, or comprehensible to humans at some level, because these beings are part of the same universe and processes that produced use, and similarly constrained by physics, etc. Even with that kind of care, it’s problematic for SETI, and they run the risks of interpreting natural signals as “designed signals” on one side (see the discovery of radio signals from pulsars in 60s), and missing other “designed signals” because we don’t know how to identify intelligence beyond what “human intelligence” implicates.

    Eigenstate gives SETI a pass because their unknown intelligences and kind of existence are assumed to be beings somewhat similar to humans. However, if SETI did locate such a signal, and had no access to the assumed extraterrestrials, what would they do with it? Would they attempt to analyze it? If they found what appeared to be hidden code, would they attempt to decode it (like in the movie “Contact”)? Would the science stop because we had no factual knowledge about the source of the signal?

    Your differential between my “intelligent entities” and “human-like extraterrestrials” is nothing more than a semantic dividing line protecting an ideological position. Would it matter if the signal that SETI received actually came from human-like extraterrstrials, or if actually came from god, or a flying spaghetti monster, or rain fairies, or some supernatural agency, from the future, or from an alternate dimension?

    Of course not. Whatever it’s assumed origin, we can still scientifically process the nature of the signal to whatever degree possible.

    Please note what you are doing; in the case of artifacts of unobserved origin, you are claiming that the difference between there being a line of scientific investigation open and one not being open lies solely in what we have imagined or have assumed the designing intelligences to be like (even while insisting in non-SETI cases that the designer be identified before further science can commence).

    For artifacts on Earth, your point is apparently that if we assume the designers are human, then scientific progress can be made. If we postulate that perhaps a non-human designer may be responsible, then until we can identify the designer no further investigation is possible …. except for SETI, which assumes a human-like extraterrestrial intelligence as the source of the type of signal they are looking for.

    It appears to me that your sole objection to design inferences in ID theory is your view that IDists don’t specifically require that any hypothesized intelligent agency be “human-like”.

  72. 72
    eigenstate says:

    @WJM

    No, this is actually where anti-ID advocates simply go off the rails in their apparent need to find somewhere to cordon of the oncoming reasonable inferences and conclusion because they are ideologically opposed to them.

    Ideological opposition or support won’t help, either way. If you are going to build a model, you need resources to incorporate *into* your model, and intelligent design doesn’t have that. Crop circle investigations do — there are any numbers of humans who are capable and present at the time of these formations to make the model work.

    This can be seen from the other side. Let’s say I have an overwhelming intuition of design. I’m ideologically pre-committed to the conclusion that a Designer created biological life. How does that help or hurt the process? Since we are talking about science, it’s no more a problem than someone who’s philosophically against the idea — it’s what goes into the model that is used for testing, evaluating and incorporating into the knowledge base. Since ID has no designers they can place as present and capable (not identify in particular — YHWH versus Zoroaster, etc., just actual beings with the required capabilities), they have no scientific model to advance.

    The principle is clear and effective. ID just can’t populate the need space in the model for even a modest scientific project, whereas with crop circles we can, and have. Same rules, same epistemology. ID just doesn’t have enough to bootstrap itself into contention, scientifically.

    Actually, I’m rather banking on committed anti-IDists like yourself to provide the material evidence of exactly what I’m talking about – and you just did. As if it matters whether or not a a human designed a crop circle; the design inference can obviously be made from nothing more than the object or pattern in question.

    It doesn’t matter if a human did it or aliens did it or natural processes somehow(!) did it. The reality is what it is. When we are investigating scientifically, though, we only have as plausible conclusions that proceed from models with capable and present designers, be they human, alien, impersonal or otherwise. ID can’t provide such a model, so it can’t play, scientifically. Humans qualify for crop circles, so that model qualifies at least for testing and evaluation (whether it survives tests for falsification is another matter, but it at least gets to play).

  73. 73

    In the crop circle example, there was quite a bit of scientific investigation into the nature of the circles. Several papers by W.C. Levengood were published examining the physical properties of the crop circle stalks that were bent to make the design. This led to various theories about how the stalks were bent.

    It is well known that the physical evidence of many crop circles simply didn’t match up to the techniques claimed to be used by the self-described hoaxters. This is evident in the available scientific literature. Whether or not they are man-made, it is obvious that scientific progress can be made without knowing anything about the designer or instantiating process by simply examining the artifact/pattern.

  74. 74

    The reality is what it is. When we are investigating scientifically, though, we only have as plausible conclusions that proceed from models with capable and present designers, be they human, alien, impersonal or otherwise. ID can’t provide such a model, so it can’t play, scientifically. Humans qualify for crop circles, so that model qualifies at least for testing and evaluation (whether it survives tests for falsification is another matter, but it at least gets to play).

    So, SETI can’t play, right? No capable and present designers, as you say. Why did you try to give them cover with with your previous apologetics?

    Further, just to clarify, if we land on an otherwise uninhabited, dead planet with no sign of life or anything remotely life-like, and find this pattern:

    http://www.bing.com/images/sea.....tedIndex=4

    …. etched in flat stone several miles across so that it is only visible from the sky, our only course of scientific investigation is to try and figure out how natural forces generated the pattern?

  75. 75
    Box says:

    eigenstate:

    When we are investigating scientifically, though, we only have as plausible conclusions that proceed from models with capable and present designers, be they human, alien, impersonal or otherwise. ID can’t provide such a model, so it can’t play, scientifically.

    So, you are saying that everything that is subject to scientific investigation must have a capable and present cause assigned to it? If something (e.g. the universe) has no capable and present cause assigned to it, it cannot be part of scientific investigation or be part of a scientific model?

  76. 76
    ForJah says:

    “we don’t know *which* human committed an arson or murder, somehow science is unwilling to say *a* human did it.”

    I think you are misrepresenting what WJM said. Forensics isn’t about finding who the human responsible for the murder is. It’s about determining IF a murder or arson took place. Given your strict standards, you are claiming that such a determination is unreasonable.

    ID is a theoretical framework against the idea that all biological things developed ONLY by natural selection acting on random mutation. That statement is ALREADY false. Molecular engineering, Dog diversification, creating some forms of biological life.

    I predict that if ID were employed within evolutionary biology, evolutionary biology would yield more beneficial results. As we have it now assuming everything is natural may in fact be wasting our time and money on things that may not have occurred naturally! Think if forensics worked the same way!?! All deaths can be explained naturally, now lets study how it happened naturally. THink of all the murderers who would be on the street!

  77. 77
    eigenstate says:

    The idea that science would come to a stop wrt a designed object ot pattern just because we are unable to identify the nature of the designing intelligence is absurd on the face of it.

    To be clear, what’s crucial is the presence and capability of the putative Designer(s), not “nature” per se — that term is problematic, here. ID offers a tautology — the Designer by definition has the nature of a being that can and would design biological life. Yes, of course, that’s an analytical truth.

    Declaring that we need to “understand the nature of the designer” is vague and bound to produce confusion and misunderstanding. Perhaps there are better, more concrete terms to use than “presence and capability”, in which case, I’m open to the upgrade, but the bottom line is that this has to be a substantial bar to clear for theory, a demand on the model, because this is what provides the basis for any resulting knowledge that might come from it. If we saw crop circles when an exploring space ship arrived someday at a distant planet, the model we would use here would not work, as we would not have “capable and present humans” as the crucial protagonists, here, even if the formations were the same as we see here. The conclusion does and must crucially rely on what we can establish for presence and availability in making these decisions.

    It baffles me how someone can make such a statement in good faith. As if we couldn’t or wouldn’t bother to attempt to decode or understand the meaning of the pattern, or figure out how it worked, or attempt to understand the engineering principles, the fabrication process, etc.

    We would bother. But we can’t come to anything scientific, or I’d go further — generally solid as grounded knowledge, until we had a model that accounted for the key role, in ID’s case the designer of biological life. Many supposed (and I guess some still suppose!) that aliens are behind the creation of crop circles, but I think you’d agree “aliens did it” was and is an unwarranted conclusion. Being agnostic on the matter doesn’t stop investigation, and often it’s the reverse, with our not knowing driving our natural curiosity to do more investigating.

    Of course, we would attempt to identify the designing intelligence, but I can’t see how any reasonable person can say that there would be no avenue for scientific investigation of the thing in question unless there was a “matching” designer to be found.

    We don’t have to wonder, we can look around. All efforts to do so with out a “matching designer” leave us without the means to reach a scientific conclusion. An ID advocate can engage in furious activity this way or that, but it won’t matter; unless and until that crucial gap in the model is filled, no scientific predictions, tests and judgments can proceed from it.

    So it’s fine to say ‘we can keep working on the problem’, and indeed that is true. But you can’t get to scientific knowledge without the predicate for that knowledge, the model that incorporates putative artisans with their artifacts in a way that makes novel predictions that are subject to testing and falsification. It’s not “working on the problem” that’s the concern here, WJM, it’s how to assess what you’ve got and what you don’t that is problematic for “model-less”, casual hypotheses.

  78. 78
    eigenstate says:

    @WJM,

    No, it’s a generalization of a type of causal agency known to exist, like “random mutations” or “natural selection”. I invite onlookers to examine your attempt to have your cake and eat it too, with your following SETI apologetics:

    That is prescisely what ID is not doing. Random mutations can be shown to happen in the lab, and in the wild. We can describe them in groups, as classes of events, but the process itself is not abstract. It’s concrete. ID does not have processes or phenomena we can point to as concrete features of our world that similarly qualify as resources in a model.

    When you say “generalization”, you should be specific regarding your meaning; I understand you to mean that you go from concrete specifics to some extrapolated view of “other intelligences”. That is, if we see these concrete examples on earth of human intelligence, we can suppose other forms of intelligence that aren’t human, exist. And indeed, that may be the case. But if so, it’s not known, and it’s certainly illicit, and distinct from how “random mutations” are incorporated into biological and physics models. In science, no such generalization occurs. We do not suppose that since we see mutations in the concrete and observable way the do, that some “non-earthly” or “other unknown but directed kind of mutations” might account for what we see.

    Eigenstate gives SETI a pass because their unknown intelligences and kind of existence are assumed to be beings somewhat similar to humans. However, if SETI did locate such a signal, and had no access to the assumed extraterrestrials, what would they do with it? Would they attempt to analyze it? If they found what appeared to be hidden code, would they attempt to decode it (like in the movie “Contact”)? Would the science stop because we had no factual knowledge about the source of the signal?

    Sure, that’s the hope and goal of SETI. There is the expectation that if such signals were found, we’d have to work on them before making “contact” in a more direct sense, if that were to happen at all. But any progress we made would be (by definition) comprehensible in terms of human intelligence. And for any model proposed we’d be constraining it to the physics we understand at the time.

    Your differential between my “intelligent entities” and “human-like extraterrestrials” is nothing more than a semantic dividing line protecting an ideological position. Would it matter if the signal that SETI received actually came from human-like extraterrstrials, or if actually came from god, or a flying spaghetti monster, or rain fairies, or some supernatural agency, from the future, or from an alternate dimension?

    It would matter in the most profound sense. “Human-like extra-terrestrials” holds out the prospect of building scientific, model-based knowledge of our counterparts. God, where “God” is a supernatural being, somehow outside of STEM or supervening upon it, makes this intractable. Science would not work, could not hope to work, because its epistemology is based on natural models that drive empirical testing and liability to falsification.

    Science can only help to the extent the “other beings” are contained within, and bound by the same process and dynamics that ground our knowledge. If it’s “God” on the end of the phone, science can’t help, or figure out what “help” would even mean.

    Of course not. Whatever it’s assumed origin, we can still scientifically process the nature of the signal to whatever degree possible.

    Sure, but to the extent you want a model for the process itself, to the extent you don’t have a “naturalistic” being on the other end, science can’t help you. You can describe and analyze the signal all you like, predictions, and thus knowledge, are only available insofar as the “aliens are natural”. Science gains huge benefits in knowledge acquisition only at the (steep) cost of being rigorous and demanding of its models. God, as part of the model, would nullify any knowledge that otherwise could have come from the model (that which explains everything, explains nothing).

    Please note what you are doing; in the case of artifacts of unobserved origin, you are claiming that the difference between there being a line of scientific investigation open and one not being open lies solely in what we have imagined or have assumed the designing intelligences to be like (even while insisting in non-SETI cases that the designer be identified before further science can commence).

    I don’t recognize my words or ideas in what you just recounted. For these artifacts, we can always “continue investigating”. The product of this investigation, though, is predicated on the sufficiency of the model to support conclusions; if you cannot substantiate — and I use that term deliberately in opposition to you “imagined” or “assumed” — present and capable artisans, the you’re stuck. You can keep investigating, but agnosticism is all you are going to draw from that.

    This is not to demand a “video tape of creation”, or some such. An arson investigator doesn’t need to show any particular person, or even *a* person, unidentified, at the scene at a plausible time, to conclude the fire was caused by arson. It’s sufficient to show that humans who are capable of arson are and were nearby with ample opportunity to commit arson in this case. If the first humans to land on Mars were to find a cave with what appeared to be ash from burned up paper-like materials, we would not conclude “arson” (er, people purposely setting fire, anyway), because, again, the “presence/capability” part of the model would not hold in that case. It would have to be some different kind of being, if it were a “being” at all, that caused this.

    We are just so used to the “humans are and were around and capable” understanding for our design inferences that we risk taking it for granted, forgetting that it underwrites all these inferences. But the creation of biological life on earth, if “creation” is an apt term at all, doesn’t and cannot avail itself of this common circumstance we have today, for more modern artifacts.

    For artifacts on Earth, your point is apparently that if we assume the designers are human, then scientific progress can be made. If we postulate that perhaps a non-human designer may be responsible, then until we can identify the designer no further investigation is possible …. except for SETI, which assumes a human-like extraterrestrial intelligence as the source of the type of signal they are looking for.

    Something like that:

    1. On earth, we have humans, and to some extent animals, as our designers/actors.
    2. For SETI, we don’t have humans or other mammals to use in our models, but suppose that if humans can evolve here, there’s no reason other similar beings could not evolve on other planets/places. We have no evidence for such, other than our existence as an exemplar for possible scenarios elsewhere. It’s a conjecture that we are not tied to, but need as a predicate to let the search go forward; there may not be any other sentience in the universe, for all we know. On the chance that there is, we assume what is necessary to assume to enable the search to happen.
    3. For ID, we got nothing. Because of the chronology, and the regress problem, we don’t even know what to assume for a “search for a designer”.

    The chronology/regress problem is that unlike SETI, where we can at least see clear to a earth-like timeline happening, even well earlier than ours, if life began on earth some 3-4 billion years ago, the designer had to evolve or *somehow* come to be in order to seed/design life here. That doesn’t answer the problem of life arising in a direct sense, of course, but just pushes it back. Now, we are concerned about how those designers evolved or otherwise came to be. The Intelligent Design intuition doesn’t work here, because even if some sort of panspermia scenario were established for earth, those visiting aliens as “creators of life on earth” are now the problem. God had to make them, because natural processes cannot (in the ID intuition) produce intelligence.

    So ultimately, ID has an intractable problem with the designer. If ID advocates are OK with panspermia as a sufficient answer, then fine, but this excludes any and all who are against the emergence of life/sentience by impersonal/natural means. Which is the vast majority of ID subscribers.

    It appears to me that your sole objection to design inferences in ID theory is your view that IDists don’t specifically require that any hypothesized intelligent agency be “human-like”.

    No I don’t even regard that as a part of my objection, let alone the sole or primary substance of it. My objection is that for any model, there must be some science behind the crucial piece — the presence and capability of these putative designers. It’s a very basic, but disabling objection for ID, and one that the other ID inferences you point to (e.g. arson investigations) do not struggle with.

    The hypothesized Designer need not be “human-like” at all. If my view, if such a Designer were to reveal itself, based on what we see in nature, I would be surprised if it resembled humans even a little bit — physically, cognitively or otherwise. But that conjecture aside, no, being human-like is not required at all except in the very narrow sense that humans actually exist, and have observable capabilities toward observable ends and artifacts. Humans are “present and capable” for the phenomena attributed to them, and that is the only criteria they would share with any putative Designer that would be required.

  79. 79
    eigenstate says:

    @WJM,

    In the crop circle example, there was quite a bit of scientific investigation into the nature of the circles. Several papers by W.C. Levengood were published examining the physical properties of the crop circle stalks that were bent to make the design. This led to various theories about how the stalks were bent.

    Well, here’s a test then, a calibration point of sorts: what has science made of the crop circle question in general, and Dr. Levengood’s ideas specifically? Are you aware of anyone testing or validating Dr. Levengood’s claims (my understanding is he claimed some substantial difference in the crops and seeds “in the crop circle” from those “outside the circle”, beyond what the act of making the plants lay in the pattern they do could account for.

    What’s the scientific consensus on this, if there is one, on this question, in your view?

    This is not a digression, I suggest, but speaks to your understanding of how scientific knowledge and understandings are developed.

    It is well known that the physical evidence of many crop circles simply didn’t match up to the techniques claimed to be used by the self-described hoaxters. This is evident in the available scientific literature. Whether or not they are man-made, it is obvious that scientific progress can be made without knowing anything about the designer or instantiating process by simply examining the artifact/pattern.

    From this, I must ask, then (and this is not a rhetorical question): what, precisely, do you mean by “scientific progress”. What is necessary to apply to distinguish “scientific progress” for “non-progress”?

  80. 80
    Box says:

    Eigenstatte: Random mutations can be shown to happen in the lab, and in the wild.

    The same goes for intelligent design. Every post on this forum can serve as an example.

    S.Meyer:

    many scientific fields currently posit intelligent causes as scientific explanations. Design detection is already part of science. Archaeologists, anthropologists, forensic scientists, cryptographers, and others now routinely infer intelligent causes from the presence of information-rich patterns or structures or artifacts. Further, astrobiologists looking for extraterrestrial intelligence (SETI) do not have a rule against inferring an intelligent cause. Instead, they are open to detecting intelligence, but have not had evidence to justify making such an inference. Thus, the claim that all scientific fields categorically exclude reference to creative intelligence is actually false.

  81. 81
    eigenstate says:

    So, SETI can’t play, right? No capable and present designers, as you say. Why did you try to give them cover with with your previous apologetics?

    It can’t play in terms of laying claims to conclusions or knowledge about sentient life elsewhere in the universe. No present or capable agents are in view, and we don’t even have signals that require the positing of human-like or plausible life forms.

    It’s just a search at this point. SETI doesn’t purport to explaining any phenomena in view.

    This is not the case with ID, and in this respect, SETI is coming from the opposite direction. ID, as I understand it, claims that a Designer, who is in no way present or capable at the times/places in questions so far as we can tell, is the “best explanation” for life on earth, and its diversity. So, SETI is operating within its limits as a conjectured search. ID is persistent and incorrigible in making claims about phenomena we have in view that are not supported or warranted by any model that predicts it.

    I would not give SETI cover if they claimed that the “best explanation” for life on earth were the aliens they were looking for, anymore than I give ID a pass for making the same mistake. They don’t do that, though. ID does, day in and day out…

    Further, just to clarify, if we land on an otherwise uninhabited, dead planet with no sign of life or anything remotely life-like, and find this pattern:

    http://www.bing.com/images/sea…..tedIndex=4

    …. etched in flat stone several miles across so that it is only visible from the sky, our only course of scientific investigation is to try and figure out how natural forces generated the pattern?

    No, of course not. The model I anticipate scientist would consider most promising is one that has some sort of alien being creating the phenomena, purposefully, or as a by product of some other activity. We wouldn’t have enough from what you’ve provided to rule out natural processes, but your description of the planet as “dead” does not exclude visits from these conjectured aliens who created the effect. It could not be “crops” as you have in the photo, as it’s a “dead” planet, but I take your intent to be finding this…. geometry there.

    Why would our only course of investigation be “natural processes”. We don’t have any evidence of aliens being actual, but we understand that given a planet with life-supporting parameters and resources, which, statistically, at least, seems like to exist, and perhaps to exist in large numbers, life can and does arise from those resources over deep time. Or, if it can happen here, it can happen elsewhere.

    The plausibility of that would have to be contrasted with an “natural processes” model.

    ID has to sort of sit on the sidelines, here, though. It can’t even point to “it happened here, so perhaps elsewhere?” to give some rudimentary plausibility to a “designer model”. We have nothing scientifically to underwrite the positing of the Designer, nothing even as weak as “if it happened here, it could happen elsewhere”.

  82. 82
    eigenstate says:

    @ForJah,

    I think you are misrepresenting what WJM said. Forensics isn’t about finding who the human responsible for the murder is. It’s about determining IF a murder or arson took place. Given your strict standards, you are claiming that such a determination is unreasonable.

    I pointed out that the “who” wasn’t needed for the arson conclusion — see my comment about the perpetrator’s social security number.

    We *do* need explanatory resources, though. Present and capable actors for any conclusion that implies an actor, like arson does. For an arson investigator to conclude “a human did this, this was not a naturally-caused fire”, there must have been humans plausibly around the area at the time of the fire, right? Right. So the “who” in particular is not needed for the conclusion. The available of *someone* to play the role of “arsonist” is absolutely required. See my example to WJM above of finding what looks like burned documents in a cave in Mars when the first humans arrive? Could we conclude that a human did this, in that case? Even if that scene, here on earth, would provide a sure conclusion of arson, in that case, we would have to look elsewhere, because no humans are or were plausibly present and capable to account for the phenomena.

    This is the problem ID has to struggle with. Religiously, the vast majority of ID supports are quite OK with the plausibility of a Designer as “capable and present” 3.6 billion years ago, and possibly innumerable times since to “steer” the design in desired directions. But this is an intuition, a religious impulse, so science rightly gives it zero credit in scientific terms. An IDer may say “But a designer was there and was more than capable! When it comes to establishing this empirically in the same way science qualifies and tests everything else, ID is left with no plausible designer candidates. No person, no being can be shown to be present and capable.

    ID is a theoretical framework against the idea that all biological things developed ONLY by natural selection acting on random mutation.

    Current models incorporate much more than just NS+RM, but I undertand you to mean “natural processes, without any personal or conscious guidance”.

    That statement is ALREADY false. Molecular engineering, Dog diversification, creating some forms of biological life.

    That is not the claim of science can find no basis for any putative Designer in any model it consider, so ID has not got any purchase in science regarding the intuition that life was created by a Designer that had the traits of personality, consciousness, sentience, etc.

    I predict that if ID were employed within evolutionary biology, evolutionary biology would yield more beneficial results.

    If you are correct, then we would expect to see some confirmation of this already. If that conjecture is a correct insight, then researchers who are oriented around this insight should outperform their peers, over time, or a the very least, show something. That is not how the world has played out. Looking at the evidence, it’s useless, inert, vacuous, if we are just looking with a cold clear eye as to what has actually been produced.

    As we have it now assuming everything is natural may in fact be wasting our time and money on things that may not have occurred naturally! Think if forensics worked the same way!?! All deaths can be explained naturally, now lets study how it happened naturally. THink of all the murderers who would be on the street!

    All deaths are explained naturally, you are mixes incompatible senses of “naturally”, here. Murders are just as natural as deaths from cancer — they are both phenomena that occur in strict accord with natural processes — it’s physics from one end to the other. For your complaint to work along the lines of ID, you’d have to require that forensic experts considered miracles and supernatural explanations as the “best explanation”, due to the intuitions of the masses.

    As a materialist, “design” is a pervasive conclusion, as in the arson investigator finding the tell tale signs of purposeful fire-starting (matches, gas, etc., at the point of origin). Design inferences themselves are no problem. Putative designers that have no presence or capability at the time/place in question, that is the problem.

  83. 83
    keith s says:

    eigenstate,

    Design inferences are the product of a matching process where the artifacts or forensic evidence is aligned with causal agent to produce a model of what happened.

    I agree with most of what you write at UD, but on this particular point I side with the IDers.

    If we found William’s pattern etched in stone on a dead planet, I would infer design, even if we had no independent evidence of the presence and capabilities of suitable designers.

    Like any scientific conclusion, the design inference would be provisional, subject to revision in light of further developments. There is a remote chance that someone might discover an unintelligent process capable of etching that particular pattern into stone. However, based on present knowledge, design would be a far better explanation than unintelligent natural processes.

    It’s a Bayesian inference. The pattern is a given, and we are estimating and comparing two probabilities:

    1. The probability that an unknown and unintelligent natural process was available and capable of producing the given pattern; versus

    2. The probability that an unknown but intelligent agent was present and capable of producing the given pattern.

    These are epistemic probabilities, so they are subjective to an extent, but I think most of us would agree that probability #1 is significantly smaller than probability #2. If so, this justifies the design inference.

    We have no knowledge of unintelligent processes capable of producing similar patterns, and no inkling of how it could even be possible.

    Yet we do know that intelligent agents (humans, in this case) can design and implement such patterns, and the prior probability of intelligent agents existing elsewhere seems relatively high.

    Given this imbalance, I think the design inference is warranted.

  84. 84
    keith s says:

    The problem for IDers comes when biological phenomena are substituted for the etched stone pattern in the above example.

    Then we are comparing these two probabilities:

    1. The probability that an unintelligent natural process was available and capable of producing the given biological phenomenon; versus

    2. The probability that an unknown but intelligent agent was present and capable of producing the given biological phenomenon.

    In this case the imbalance runs the other way. There is a known unintelligent process — unguided evolution via random mutation, natural selection, and drift — that fits the evidence far better than the design hypothesis. Not only does the design hypothesis fit the evidence poorly, but an unknown designer for whom there is no solid, independent evidence is going up against a known natural process.

    Probability #1 is much higher than probability #2, so the design inference is rejected. By rational folks, anyway.

  85. 85
    eigenstate says:

    @keiths

    If we found William’s pattern etched in stone on a dead planet, I would infer design, even if we had no independent evidence of the presence and capabilities of suitable designers.

    I think that’s what I said, as well — aliens did it would be the leading conclusion. I don’t see that as “siding with ID”, but siding with a scientific appraisal.

    Like any scientific conclusion, the design inference would be provisional, subject to revision in light of further developments. There is a remote chance that someone might discover an unintelligent process capable of etching that particular pattern into stone. However, based on present knowledge, design would be a far better explanation than unintelligent natural processes.

    Reading my response to WJM, I don’t see any disagreement here, other than “remote”. I said we “don’t have a way to rule out” natural processes, and by that I mean the chances remain, but are… “remote”.

    It’s a Bayesian inference. The pattern is a given, and we are estimating and comparing two probabilities:

    1. The probability that an unknown and unintelligent natural process was available and capable of producing the given pattern; versus

    2. The probability that an unknown but intelligent agent was present and capable of producing the given pattern.

    Right. Those are the hypotheses that come to mind. The underlying probabilities are difficult enough to make this a stretching things, though. That is, one risks overstating one’s background knowledge here by handicapping the probabilities.

    These are epistemic probabilities, so they are subjective to an extent, but I think most of us would agree that probability #1 is significantly smaller than probability #2. If so, this justifies the design inference.

    Right. As I said to WJM, I think most scientists taking this up would conclude “aliens”, and for the reasons you give.

    We have no knowledge of unintelligent processes capable of producing similar patterns, and no inkling of how it could even be possible. <

    Yet we do know that intelligent agents (humans, in this case) can design and implement such patterns, and the prior probability of intelligent agents existing elsewhere seems relatively high.

    Given this imbalance, I think the design inference is warranted.

    I offered the same conclusion to WJM, not sure where you see a conflict here. If there is one, I’d say I’d be quite circumspect about my/our ability to judge the probabilities. I do think at a coarse level, one can point out, as you do, and as I did, that we can at least see the development of humans as an example of a path to producing such artifacts. I can’t imagine (off the top of my head, anyway) even a path toward an impersonal process that would produce that layout. So there is that, and I think that’s sufficient to tip the judgment toward “aliens”.

    The ID jump is different, though, different in kind. If we suppose ‘human-like beings with super-human brains’ could do this, it’s not even a problem to get to a panspermia scenario. We could imagine that some form of life arose in more ideal or fast-evolving environments elsewhere in the universe, and found earth some 4 billion years ago and introduced DNA, or some designed precursor that gave rise to DNA. That’s more of a stretch, but tenable, I suppose.

    But while that may satisfy some lawyerly interpretation of ID, the intuition that animates the ID movement isn’t satisfied by this. These ‘creator-aliens’ cannot have evolved themselves, elsewhere, for the same reasons humans could not have come to be from natural processes, here. They are simply too advanced, complex and well, “designed-looking” for that to be the case. The panspermia answer just delays the ID intuition about four seconds, until the ID subscriber says, “but wait a minute, those creator-aliens had to be designed, then”. Intelligence cannot be an emergent property of a (previously) impersonal universe, according to this intuition.

    That’s why I say “Aliens most likely did it”, which is a “design inference” is NOT siding with ID, but with garden variety science. The “Design Inference”, with capital letters, is fundamentally different than a “design inference”, as it carries the burden of regarding “novel information” and/or “meaning” and/or specified complexity as transcendent, coming from outside the natural laws and dynamics of our universe.

    Apropos the topic of this thread, that’s where the religious connection comes in, of course. It’s not sufficient to just “recognize design” with a small “d”. We can do that ad nauseum and we still won’t satisfy the ID intuition so long as some natural processes are regarded as inherent creative and generative, and others work to harness them into feedback loops. The ID Inference, with a capital “I” must ground the source of life, consciousness and intelligence outside of impersonal nature. Deciding that “aliens most likely created those cool crop-circle-y patterns” doesn’t commit one to that jump. Those aliens may just be another product of evolutionary biology working elsewhere in the universe.

    Edited to fix blockquotes

  86. 86
    ForJah says:

    “If you are correct, then we would expect to see some confirmation of this already. If that conjecture is a correct insight, then researchers who are oriented around this insight should outperform their peers, over time, or a the very least, show something. That is not how the world has played out. Looking at the evidence, it’s useless, inert, vacuous, if we are just looking with a cold clear eye as to what has actually been produced.”

    ID is not employed as a theoretical framework in evolutionary biology. My prediction has yet to be tested. ID advocates are not telling people how things came about by evolution, they are simply saying some things can NOT be explained that way. Here is a great chance for ID theorists to prove my prediction. Study things you think could have evolved by chance via your theory of ID…if you come out with more progressive results, then ID contains a better theoretical framework then evolution.

    “All deaths are explained naturally,”

    You are using “naturally” is a significantly different way then biologists and atheist use it. I do not doubt that anyone within the ID framework would deny that “natural” mechanisms could have caused the diversification of life we see today if the word “natural” is defined independent of intelligence.

  87. 87
    eigenstate says:

    @keiths

    The problem for IDers comes when biological phenomena are substituted for the etched stone pattern in the above example.

    Then we are comparing these two probabilities:

    1. The probability that an unintelligent natural process was available and capable of producing the given biological phenomenon; versus

    2. The probability that an unknown but intelligent agent was present and capable of producing the given biological phenomenon.

    In this case the imbalance runs the other way. There is a known unintelligent process — unguided evolution via random mutation, natural selection, and drift — that fits the evidence far better than the design hypothesis. Not only does the design hypothesis fit the evidence poorly, but an unknown designer for whom there is no solid, independent evidence is going up against a known natural process.

    Probability #1 is much higher than probability #2, so the design inference is rejected. By rational folks, anyway.

    That’s a problem as you’ve expressed it, I think – “capable of producing the given biological phenomenon”. I don’t that is (or should be) controversial in terms of diversification and speciation, the development of life once it got started. But I don’t think we can say that the OOL part of that is something where we have a ‘present and capable’ actor, in the impersonal sense, here, like we do with evolution.

    As you are aware, ID is recovering from its battle scars over the years, and retreating from “evolution can’t happen” to “evolution doesn’t explain abiogenesis, therefore Designer”. There are and will remain the followers and the intransigent — there are still lots of YECs out there, fercryinoutloud! — but the thought leadership in ID increasingly has retreated to incredulity over abiogenesis. That’s a smart and needed practical move, and buys ID a lot of time and space, as abiogenesis is a long term slog for science, and we are not nearly at the point to say “this is what happened and how”, even in cursory terms.

    I’m not a subscriber to panspermia ideas, but I don’t know how I’d carry an argument for the higher probability of abiogenesis over some sort of alien intervention or saltation. In my view, it just seems more plausible that life developed from non-life on earth, without any conscious designer or personal intervention. But I won’t pretend I can substantiate numerators or denominators for that. I have less than a clue what the probabilities for a panspermia scenario would be, so I’m left with the weakest of bases to work from — just an amorphous sense that one seems more plausible than the other — abiogenesis as the much more likely, in my view.

    There’s no defending this weakness from ID intuitions, so far as I’m aware, unless and until we make more progress on abiogenesis. IDists need ignorance in which to host their Designer conjectures, and abiogenesis is so young as research programme that they can use this tactic for years if not decades into the future. If I were an “ID partisan”, I’d say you #1 and #2 probabilities were at best inscrutable, and therefore, there is no “known process” that tips things your (and my) way, so long as OOL is included in what we are judging. Again, if we are starting from ‘self-replicating cells’, it’s game over and the design reference is a clear loser.

    I’m interested in how you’d handicap your #1 and #2 above, if you considered OOL and ‘diversification/speciation’ separately.

    Perhaps I’m just far behind in what’s happening in research on abiogenesis!

  88. 88
    eigenstate says:

    @ForJah,

    ID is not employed as a theoretical framework in evolutionary biology. My prediction has yet to be tested. ID advocates are not telling people how things came about by evolution, they are simply saying some things can NOT be explained that way. Here is a great chance for ID theorists to prove my prediction.

    That isn’t a new idea you have there, whatever its merits. Many have promoted this for a long time, which is why I said what I said.

    Consider: someone tells you they have a way to beat the stock market. They have an way of reading the market and thinking about it which will produce superior results, and predictably. But this idea has been known and advanced for years, you find, and you can’t find anyone even trying it out, let alone raking in stupendous profits with this insight.

    What would make of that idea, even if you didn’t know much yet about the particulars of the insight?

    You’d suspect this insight was no insight at all. If it was, the consequences are so huge that it would have been put into play, and hard.

    In ID, the lack of action on this idea is conspicuous. It’s not that there are no scientists who are sympathetic to ID, and capable of trying out a new, powerful insight that purports to provide superior results in biology. If that were available, it would have been done, and long before now. What we can conclude from the present circumstances is that IDers don’t really believe their own rhetoric. That’s not unusual or surprising. It’s just everyday political advocacy at work. But by all means man, if ID gives you a leg up on biology, there’s a Nobel prize or three with your name on it. You won’t take action, or be surprised that others who love ID don’t either, because there’s no operating plan for this insight (consider explaining to your friendly ID-sympathizing local biologist how he would get superior results with your insight over “science the mainstream way”).

    Study things you think could have evolved by chance via your theory of ID…if you come out with more progressive results, then ID contains a better theoretical framework then evolution.

    That’s not practical, because ID doesn’t have the theoretical substance to drive such a program. Consider the problem of prediction. If ID made novel and necessary detailed predictions, you could jump on that. For example, if ID really did predict that “junk DNA” does not exist, and it all mist be functional somehow, you’d have an interesting starting point. But ID doesn’t predict that, or predict anything about functional vs. non-functional DNA rates. It doesn’t predict anything at in the scientific sense of “predict”. So the well-intended young Christian biologist doesn’t have base to begin from.

    I’ve not encountered the ID advocate yet who could articulate how the ID intuition would be marshaled into a scientific theory that powered new avenues of research, even fruitless avenues of research. It can’t power such because it’s not that kind of an idea, it doesn’t have the concepts and discipline that enable a research programme to be launched from it. But, perhaps you will be first to explain how that could work for me.

    “All deaths are explained naturally,”

    You are using “naturally” is a significantly different way then biologists and atheist use it. I do not doubt that anyone within the ID framework would deny that “natural” mechanisms could have caused the diversification of life we see today if the word “natural” is defined independent of intelligence.

    “Natural” is a problematic term. “Natural laws and processes” tends to avoid much confusion, and “supernatural” is very helpful to identify actions, consciousness (protests about concepts stolen from nature notwithstanding), that override or transcend natural laws and processes. One area the warring factions here could find agreement and make improvements is a stronger commitment to being precise and consistent in the terms being employed.

  89. 89
    Box says:

    Eigenstate,

    Keith: If we found William’s pattern etched in stone on a dead planet, I would infer design, even if we had no independent evidence of the presence and capabilities of suitable designers.

    Eigenstate: I think that’s what I said, as well — aliens did it would be the leading conclusion.

    Keith states “I would infer design”, you state “aliens did it” and you don’t notice the subtle but important difference here.

    Eigenstate: I don’t see that as “siding with ID”, but siding with a scientific appraisal.

    Keith is right to say that inferring design is to side with IDers. He knows that ID holds that inferring design is distinct from identifying a designer. In effect he is saying: ‘One thing is certain, this pattern is caused by intelligent design’.
    Eigenstate, your “aliens did it” is a transparent attempt to conflate the two.

  90. 90
    Steve says:

    ID in a nutshell. The most succinct explanation of ID.

    Not if, but how???

    I’ve always said that ID is the harder position to take.

    Evolution is the lazy-ass way of attacking the problem.

    meanwhile…….Quick, Stephen Myer is at the door!. Shove the books under the couch. Dust goes under the rug. NOW!!! Potato chips under the cushions. No, not that cushion. He’ll check. The other one. He’ll check that one, too. Shit! Forget it! Eat ’em……fast!!!

    My, what a beautifully clean place!! How do you do it??

    Oh, its nothing. Evolution did it.

    WJM: If we’re honest, it isn’t a question of if ID exists, or if it can produce qualitatively different kinds of artifacts; it’s just a question of how to go about formally making the distinction.

    Once we’re past that ideological road block, we can start figuring out what the best way would be to make such a determination, which is exactly what IDists have attempted and are attempting to do.

  91. 91
    eigenstate says:

    @Box

    Keith is right to say that inferring design is to side with IDers. He knows that ID holds that inferring design is distinct from identifying a designer. In effect he is saying: ‘One thing is certain, this pattern is caused by intelligent design’.
    Eigenstate, your “aliens did it” is a transparent attempt to conflate the two.

    If keiths would agree that “inferring design” in this way identifies “intelligent design” without implicating a designer, where “designer” is some empirically verifiable (at least in principle) being, then I’d agree, keiths is “siding with ID”, endorsing the abstraction without committing to the concrete.

    That’s not my understanding of keiths views, but he can speak for himself. For my part, and for scientific thinking inasmuch as I’m familiar with it, to conclude “aliens most likely did it” is to identify the designer. That is, we don’t know the aliens’ names or SSNs, or even what they look like, but we posit the existing of natural beings operating under natural constraints that apply to them as it does to us (e.g. gravity exerts pull on whatever mass they have).

    As I undertand ID, it does not posit such. It is satisfied with an abstract if yet real (somehow!) designer; It might be the undetectable, impassible YHWH, after all, right?

    That is a very different commitment to “Intelligence did this!” than the (tentative, provisional) commitment that I would make on looking at WJM’s crop-circles-from-space. As I understand keiths, and certainly for myself, that not at all what “aliens did it” ascribes to on the crop circles question. I just think the human-ish-at-least-natural beings I’d posit are, on some sketchy and subjective intuition, more likely than natural processes. If I were to later learn that natural processes were the cause of that phenomena, I’d be surprised, but I was making sketchy, provisional judgments anyway.

    If that sounds like the ID commitment to you, and we really are making the same basic commitment, then indeed, I’ve seriously misunderstood ID as a whole and stand to be corrected. I was certainly prior to reading your post, here that ID was committed to “Intelligence did this, period” as opposed to “some sort of aliens with human-like capabilities seem more likely than natural processes”.

    Here’s a test. If we were to agree on “aliens did this”, and my further conjecture was “aliens that arose through natural processes elsewhere did this”, would the IDers nod along because/insofar as I was “making a design inference”? That would imply that natural processes were ultimately responsible, and the aliens, like us, are just the sentient and creative products of an impersonal set of processes. If is satisfied ending with naturalistic conclusions at the top level, then I have been mistaken about the nature of the movement, and perhaps I’ve misread keiths on this as well.

  92. 92
    ForJah says:

    “if ID really did predict that “junk DNA” does not exist, and it all mist be functional somehow, you’d have an interesting starting point.”

    But….ID did predict functionality in junk DNA. IN fact they could employ their numbers on how much explanatory power evolution does has, come up with a rate of addition for a particular form of DNA, subtract the addition rate over the course of a certain time and come up with how long the oldest DNA molecule might have been…and then compare that with how it relates to erosion. Devolution. And come up with a percentage of how much CURRENT Functional DNA there is. As opposed to how much existed in the past, which I think everyone would agree is 100 percent function right?

  93. 93
    Andre says:

    Keith S

    In this case the imbalance runs the other way. There is a known unintelligent process — unguided evolution via random mutation, natural selection, and drift — that fits the evidence far better than the design hypothesis. Not only does the design hypothesis fit the evidence poorly, but an unknown designer for whom there is no solid, independent evidence is going up against a known natural process.

    Yeah chaotic processes that are unguided, random, haphazard, directionless and purposeless can create autonomous biological systems!

    Are you really that irrational? I find it absolutely laughable that any rational and sane person can even contemplate such stupidity considering the mountains of evidence we have against naturalistic processes capability of creating these systems. Keith of course ignores the evidence because he is so stuck on his world view that nothing will change his mind.

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22522932
    http://jb.asm.org/content/182/11/2993.full
    http://www.i-sis.org.uk/Nonran.....firmed.php
    http://news.vanderbilt.edu/201.....mutations/
    http://stochasticscientist.blo.....andom.html
    http://www.sciencedirect.com/s.....4606001549
    http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/opinions/100918

    Keith S is just an anti-ID troll. I will not recant this statement.

  94. 94
    Andre says:

    More

    http://www.oist.jp/press-room/.....-after-all

    The only place where you read about random mutations these days are;

    Sandwalk, Panda’s Thumb and Whyevolutionistrue, All three these sites are hosted by committed atheists, so is there any surprise then that they are the only people these days selling us this nonsense? I’m not that ignorant and I see the connection between atheism and unguided evolution. Is it however scientific fact that mutations are random? I’ve given some links that prove this tripe that Keith S sells is not what science is telling us, so the only reasonable conclusion is this,

    Keith S’ view is a philosophical one and not a scientific one, If Keith S was open to rational enquiry as he so often claims he would be speaking about this does he?

    Nope, he has faith that unguided evolution is the best explanation for the diversity of life a view not based on any evidence just on Keith’s intentional states, which by the way he has already admitted can not be trusted.

  95. 95
    kairosfocus says:

    WJM:

    Looking back at OP (the thread — as usual has somewhat veered), I think that the pivot of the issue is really science, worldviews and society. That is, philosophy is highly material to a correct or at least an intellectually productive approach.

    Indeed, religion holds this interesting definition, from Random House Kernerman Webster’s College Dictionary, © 2010:

    re•li•gion (r??l?d? ?n)

    n.
    1. a set of beliefs concerning the cause, nature, and purpose of the universe, esp. when considered as the creation of a superhuman agency or agencies, usu. involving devotional and ritual observances, and often containing a moral code for the conduct of human affairs.
    2. a specific fundamental set of beliefs and practices generally agreed upon by a number of persons or sects: the Christian religion.
    3. the body of persons adhering to a particular set of beliefs and practices: a world council of religions.

    That is, a religion is inextricably intertwined with a worldview, AmHD: The overall perspective from which one sees and interprets the world.

    And while our usage is strongly shaped by our civilisation’s history with the Judaeo-Christian tradition, there obviously can be systems with substantially/ functionally equivalent characteristics that are not focussed on God or gods. This is linked to ideologies and institutions motivated by worldviews thence policy debates, policies, education influences (formal and informal) and lifestyles. That is, ultimate loyalties and how they shape how we live.

    In this context scientism dominated by evolutionary materialist a prioris as noted above can easily become — nay, has in practice long been — a de facto functional equivalent to a religion, though it is often unrecognised as such. And of course it is a commonplace of philosophy that the most dangerous kind of metaphysical commitments are unexamined ones, taken by adherents to be how the world is.

    Resemblance to the attitudes and perceptions summarised by Lewontin and others as clipped in 39 above, are not happenstance coincidence.

    Notice, especially, Lewontin’s frank admission of an agenda to shape the popular view on science as “the only begetter of truth.”

    This almost creedal declaration of Scientism, is an epistemological and logical stance, and is inescapably philosophical.

    Thus, self-refuting.

    Likewise, the evolutionary materialist a priori discussed becomes a question-begging presupposition that forces evidence to fit a pre-conceived scheme. No wonder Philip Johnson so stringently responded to it and challenged adherents to separate philosophy and science.

    Question-begging, dominant ideological schemes, of course, seem to their adherents to be truth that is only challenged by the defective. Hence the sort of attitude captured in the broad sense of Dawkins’ notorious dismissal of those who beg to dissent: ignorant, stupid, insane or wicked.

    An attitude that unfortunately finds significant expression above and elsewhere in and around UD in the penumbra of attack sites.

    I should note here [duly pointing out that I am talking of patterns in light of historical exemplars rather than inferring that we are dealing with Communist agitators], on testimony by William D. Handelsman (recruited by Communists at age 17) to the California Senate on Communist subversion training of trade union members in the 1930’s on what was called character assassination as an aspect of the front organisation with a hard core of communists; which was closely similar to such recruitment and secret training for unionists and students in my Uni in the 1970’s and 80’s in another country and generation (i.e. we see here an established and demonstrably highly effective system in action):

    Three of us were selected for special training as character assassins Jack Sutcliffe and a man named Taylor, besides me. In this class we were told to pick out men in the unions who opposed the party program, and to spread rumors and whispering campaigns among the other union members calling him a labor spy, and F. B. I. stooge, a pervert, a labor disruptor, a stool pigeon and anything else we could use to tear him down. We not only did this, but we were told to ridicule him and heckle him at meetings. Anything we could do to blacken and smear the character of all who resisted the Communists’ program in the unions was done. We were also taught that the general technique was useful against anyone who obstructed the Communists in public life, in professions and even in government positions.

    Sutcliffe and Taylor were also from the Marine Cooks and Stewards Union, and the three of us operated in our union as a team. We never disclosed our Communist affiliation, and when one of us would start to tear down someone ‘s character, the two others would spread the word among street corner groups, in waterfront cafes and bars and in the union hall. During meetings we separated from each other so we could influence three groups of people. After the character assassinators had laid the groundwork, the victim would be brought up on phoney charges and suspended or expelled from the union. This method of attack was highly effective, and widely used in the waterfront unions. [Fourth Report of the CA Senate Fact-Finding Committee on Un-American Activities, 1948, pp. 286 – 7, HT Web Archive]

    Resemblance to Saul Alinsky’s principles/rules for radicals published c 1970 is not coincidental, e.g.:

    5. “Ridicule is man’s most potent weapon. It is almost impossible to counteract ridicule. Also it infuriates the opposition, which then reacts to your advantage.” . . . .

    13. Pick the target, freeze it, personalize it, and polarize it. [NB: Notice the evil counsel to find a way to attack the man, not the issue. The easiest way to do that, is to use the trifecta stratagem: distract, distort, demonise.] In conflict tactics there are certain rules that [should be regarded] as universalities. One is that the opposition must be singled out as the target and ‘frozen.’…

    “…any target can always say, ‘Why do you center on me when there are others to blame as well?’ When your ‘freeze the target,’ you disregard these [rational but distracting] arguments…. Then, as you zero in and freeze your target and carry out your attack, all the ‘others’ come out of the woodwork very soon. They become visible by their support of the target…’

    “One acts decisively only in the conviction that all the angels are on one side and all the devils on the other.”

    In short, agit-prop activists don’t deal with the message fairly on the merits, don’t respect the messenger as another human being with his own right to innocent character and views, but always attack and undermine both, forever seeking factional dominance and message dominance.

    On the message, the standard tactic is message dominance by various agit-prop techniques. This leads to the all too familiar rhetorical pattern of red herrings dragged off to strawman caricatures, then soaking same in ad hominems designed to assassinate character and then set alight. In the resulting confused, distracted, clouded, toxic, polarised atmosphere, the worst case can often seem the better to those who have been distracted and polarised.

    And of course, the targetted messenger, having duly been twisted into an ad hominem-laced strawman target and rhetorically burned, is forever tainted in the minds of those taken in by the trifecta red-herring –> strawman –> ad hominem tactics.

    In all of this, we should note, that the communists usually saw themselves as scientific socialists, following the breakthrough insights and truths pioneered by Marx et al. So, those who questioned or objected were in their view anti-science. (That is, ideology was dressed up in the lab coat. A warning flag, in an era dominated by the prestige of Science.)

    Those who doubted were therefore characterised as ignoramuses, tools of the Bourgeois Reaction, or even spies for the CIA etc in my day. Ironically, when a crisis hit my campus and I exchanged some fairly strong words with a Supt. of Police on their abusive tactics (including M16 rifles fired on full auto volleys above student’s heads, with blanks . . . one mistake by one riot squad trooper and a massacre would have easily happened), he revealed to me that on their files I was viewed as a radical!

    Why am I dredging up such history?

    Because, part of what has happened is that there has been a diffusion of such nihilistic thinking and ruthless faction tactics far and wide as our civilisation has begun to undermine principles of civility, from parliament to press to Internet to school rooms, news rooms and talking head sound stages and streets alike.

    So, the nihilism of the radical factions has now become almost a norm in too many quarters.

    Indeed, some think character assassination is a right under freedom of speech.

    A simple rule taught to me by old Fr Ryan, SJ, English Teacher extraordinaire, will help: your right to swing your arm ends where my nose begins.

    (Actually, just the swing and linked threat of/ attempted impact is assault, actual impact is battery. And there are verbal equivalents. Solomon was right to say that life and death lie in the power of the tongue and that those who love it will eat of its fruit — for good or ill. Character assassination can be the full moral equivalent of murder.)

    If ruthless factionism gets utterly out of hand, confidence will be lost in civil society and its civil peace of justice; and, people will have no alternative but to seek protection under the wings of the strong man and his faction. In recent times, the political messiah — something that goes back as far as the rise of Octavian as Augustus Caesar after the chaos, civil strife, civil wars and assassinations of the disintegrating Roman Republic.

    Anarchy, in short, historically leads to dictatorships, or to warlordism and clans, with feuds settled by the only means left, force. (The creation of a monarchy and a nobility as a warrior class are historical examples of attempts to tame warlordism and clan feuding by injecting the ethics of honour.)

    I sum up: the lessons of history were too often paid for in blood and tears; if we refuse to soundly learn them, we will pay the same price again and again.

    Hence, the sad pattern of history aptly summed up by Barbara Tuchman: the march of folly.

    (And if you think that it is only “Right Wing Christo-Fascist Theocracy” that poses such threats, think again in light of the history of the past 150 years. Start with, that Fascism is a statist, politically messianistic, Nietzschean Superman driven ideology of the Left, a sort of Marxism 2.0. Stalin’s agit-prop tactic of relabelling the kissing-cousin ideology of Fascism/National Socialism as right wing, has had far too long a run with little challenge.)

    That is, I am warning us on the fire we are playing with by allowing ruthless factionism in the door, not only in things like the debates over the design inference, but across the board.

    In that context, seeing worldview cores and how they give rise to ideologies and the agendas and tactics that may be taken up by factions riding on ideologies will help us understand the broader patterns that are reflected in the attempt to twist discussion of inferring design on evidence observable in objects into a faction agit-prop war over a mythical religious tyranny that is often talked about as Creationism in a cheap tuxedo. (Cf. UD’s Weak Argument Correctives nos 5 – 8, here on.)

    For, there are no firewalls in ethics. So, once it is corrupted through injection of nihilistic might and manipulation make ‘right’ and ‘truth’ factionism, the corruption spreads far and wide.

    A saner path is to return to dealing with the scientific issues on the merits with a modicum of civility and respect, appreciating that worldviews, religions, ideologies and the like will always be present in the background of one’s life and work. But, if one is serious about evidence, fact, logic, the grounding of inductive inferences etc, we can come together on a reasonable basis to seriously discuss scientific issues tied to origins.

    That, is what I would be so bold as to ask us to do.

    KF

  96. 96
    keith s says:

    eigenstate:

    I offered the same conclusion to WJM, not sure where you see a conflict here.

    I find myself disagreeing with statements like this…

    This is where ID veers off into religion, superstition, and the invincible intuition against all evidence: if you can’t identify a present (at the time) and capable designer to match against artifacts and other forensic evidence, you’re hosed. Without that, you are simply falling into circular reasoning: something that is capable of making this thing, made this thing.

    …and this:

    8. Is it reasonable to say that establishing that an artifact is most likely the result of ID adds nothing of value to the ongoing investigation? It seems to me it would change the nature of the investigation profoundly.

    It depends on what you mean by “establishing”.

    It adds to the investigation insofar as it contributes new evidence or knowledge about the designer. If design is “established”, as a rhetorical matter, but without establishing a designer, then I can’t see anything of value being added, and lots of problems being introduced.

    In the case of the pattern etched in stone, I would say instead:

    1. We can infer design even if we haven’t identified a capable designer known to be present at the right time and place.

    To put it a bit differently, the pattern itself is evidence for the presence of a capable designer, given that we have no inkling of how the pattern could be produced by unintelligent natural processes or what such an explanation would even look like.

    2. The reasoning doesn’t seem circular to me. Whether we are IDers or not, we see the pattern and immediately recognize that it requires a causal explanation. The only question is whether the cause is intelligent or unintelligent. Either way, we infer that the cause must have been capable of producing the pattern.

    3. In this scenario I would regard design as being established in a scientific sense, not merely a “rhetorical” one. Like any scientific conclusion, it would be provisional.

    4. The design inference is valuable in this scenario because it would shape the future direction of the investigation. Knowing that there is a designer is quite helpful.

  97. 97
    kairosfocus says:

    ES, 64:

    This is where ID veers off into religion, superstition, and the invincible intuition against all evidence: if you can’t identify a present (at the time) and capable designer to match against artifacts and other forensic evidence, you’re hosed. Without that, you are simply falling into circular reasoning: something that is capable of making this thing, made this thing.

    First, I think you remarks about ID veering off into superstition etc are unwarranted and well beyond fair or responsible comment. (Kindly cf 94 above.)

    I note, that the basic challenge of origins science is that while it is of interest to reconstruct insofar as possible, the causal-historical source of the world we live in, we were not there to see it. Nor can we travel back in time.

    So, we may reasonably look at credible traces of that past and ask, what factors in the present are adequate for such effects? This, in a nutshell, is the vera causa principle.

    Generally, and as repeatedly pointed out for years in contexts you should have seen, we may relevantly categorise:

    I: mechanical necessity yielding low contingency regularities under closely similar initial conditions (CSIC)

    II: Blind chance yielding high, stochastically plausible contingencies under CSIC

    III: Intelligently directed configuration, often yielding high contingency that is not stochastically plausible under CSIC

    The very existence of this thread and ASCI text in English in comments and the OP is direct evidence of Type III cause, yielding functionally specific complex organisation of interacting components per a nodes-arcs wiring diagram pattern (here, a s-t-r-i-n-g data structure) and associated information, FSCO/I. The PCs etc we are typing and reading on illustrate other cases of FSCO/I, with 3-d node-arc wiring patterns to achieve function.

    On trillions of cases, not only is FSCO/I stochastically maximally implausible on Type II causal factors [as in sparse resource needle in haystack search for definable special zones deeply isolated in config spaces], but in these many cases where we do directly observe cause, consistently it is design.

    So, we are epistemologically entitled per uniformity thinking, to hold that FSCO/I is a reliable, observable empirical sign of design. (We can also apply info theory approaches to quantify the information involved or associated, and beyond 500 – 1,000 bits it is maximally implausible for FSCO/I to arise by blind chance and/or mechanical necessity.)

    So, with high empirical plausibility we may freely infer that if we observe FSCO/I its best causal explanation to date — science is always provisional — is design.

    For the world of cell based life and the commonly discussed general branching tree pattern used to categorise it, we find FSCO/I deeply involved in the root, and in the main body plan branches. Human linguistic capacity (closely connected to our intelligence) is another relevant case.

    That initially points to the root, OOL.

    Whether one suggests Darwin’s warm salty pond, or a deep sea volcanic vent, or a comet core etc, one confronts the well known physics and chemistry involved and especially the thermodynamics. The spontaneous, instant or incremental origin of a gated, encapsulated, metabolising [notice the huge FSCO/I involved in the network of key metabolic reactions!], self-replicating cell that uses coded genetic information and proteins synthesised based on those codes, with associated regulatory information and networks, is stochastically utterly implausible, period. RNA world hypotheses and hoped for self replicating molecules come more as just so stories with a few props put up based on highly intelligently designed chemical investigations than anything else.

    When we move up to the branches, ideas of neutral drift chance variations and/or incremental expressed mutations or whatever non- foresighted variation devices are proposed that are then culled out through differential reproductive success with realistic mutation rates, generation times and population sizes simply do not fit the time available or the resources, whether to account for a man from a chimp-like ancestor 6 MYA, or a whale from a land animal, or the dozens of major body plans popping up in the Cambrian revolution window.

    There is no good reason, a priori materialism per Lewontin etc notwithstanding, to hold that these proposals credibly account for the required FSCO/I on type I and II factors.

    Therefore, to infer that the process of intelligently directed configuration — type III — is indicated by that FSCO/I is a reasonable conclusion. It is not superstition or religion or whatever loaded dismissive term you choose to add to the list I have cited above.

    Now, design, as noted, exists.

    From designs as reasonably inferred, we see that the causal process involves intelligently directed configuration.

    We have no good reason to conclude that designers are confined to human beings, we instantiate a capacity, we cannot credibly exhaust it.

    So, we re warranted to hold, job opening: designer of cell based life, candidates must show high intelligence and technical skill in molecular nanotech.

    And to do so, there has been zero resort to superstition, religion or anything beyond empirical investigations and the logic of induction and inference to best explanation.

    I think you have used some inappropriate words above that you need to take back and reflect on the underlying attitude behind them.

    KF

  98. 98

    KF:

    I must strongly disagree with the assumption that by some unknown mechanism, the hoped for but equally unobserved self replicating molecules did arise and of course then went on to become living cells.

    What I said was:

    Of course it remains to be shown if, how and why that process got underway – none of that is assumed, other than as a starting point for the real empirical work.

    Which you cannot possibly object to.

  99. 99
    kairosfocus says:

    RB, Let’s roll the tape from 37 above, which cites you then responds:

    _____________

    >> 37 kairosfocus December 7, 2014 at 12:25 am

    RB, 34:

    we don’t know what natural circumstances gave/give rise to replicators capable of Darwinian evolution [–> emphasis now added], and therefore have no basis from which to conclude that such replicators, or certain forms of replicator, are unlikely to have arisen from other than deliberate artifice.

    I must strongly disagree with the assumption that by some unknown mechanism, the hoped for but equally unobserved self replicating molecules did arise and of course then went on to become living cells. [–> emphasis now added]

    First, we have a base of trillions of cases on the origin of FSCO/I (which would be required), and every time we directly know the cause it is intelligently directed configuration — aka design. This is readily backed up by analysis of a sparse atomic and temporal resources constrained solar system or observed cosmos scale search of config spaces for 500 – 1,000+ bits of complexity.

    That is, we have very good inductive and analytical reason to accept that such is a reliable signature of design.

    Indeed, your we do not know as cited is an implicit admission of that . . . [continues] >>
    ______________

    The issue I objected to is real, and specific. Not only so, but I quoted it specifically.

    In the clip I objected to — and not only me — you in effect assumed that some unobserved, unknown mechanism spontaneously gives/gave rise to self replicating molecules. On the strength of that assumption, you went on to dismiss challenges to that that highlight the utter implausibility and lack of observational warrant for such scenarios.

    I then responded.

    That is what you need to address, and that would not be evident to an onlooker who does not search out the actual comment (which you did not link or enumerate).

    I underscore, that we do know a fair deal of physics, chemistry, thermodynamics and reaction kinetics. They underscore how utterly implausible scenarios that hope for formation of self replicators in Darwin’s warm salty pond or comet cores etc are.

    Indeed, some years back, Orgel and Wicken, acknowledged OOL experts, came to mutual ruin of genes and metabolism first schools of thought because of the intractable problems with the chemistry. In that context the instability of RNA and problems with monomers is also a factor.

    Here, in a clipped nutshell, is that exchange (read on down):

    [[Shapiro:] RNA’s building blocks, nucleotides contain a sugar, a phosphate and one of four nitrogen-containing bases as sub-subunits. Thus, each RNA nucleotide contains 9 or 10 carbon atoms, numerous nitrogen and oxygen atoms and the phosphate group, all connected in a precise three-dimensional pattern . . . . [[S]ome writers have presumed that all of life’s building could be formed with ease in Miller-type experiments and were present in meteorites and other extraterrestrial bodies. This is not the case.

    A careful examination of the results of the analysis of several meteorites led the scientists who conducted the work to a different conclusion: inanimate nature has a bias toward the formation of molecules made of fewer rather than greater numbers of carbon atoms, and thus shows no partiality in favor of creating the building blocks of our kind of life . . . .

    To rescue the RNA-first concept from this otherwise lethal defect, its advocates have created a discipline called prebiotic synthesis. They have attempted to show that RNA and its components can be prepared in their laboratories in a sequence of carefully controlled reactions, normally carried out in water at temperatures observed on Earth . . . .

    Unfortunately, neither chemists nor laboratories were present on the early Earth to produce RNA . . .

    [[Orgel:] If complex cycles analogous to metabolic cycles could have operated on the primitive Earth, before the appearance of enzymes or other informational polymers, many of the obstacles to the construction of a plausible scenario for the origin of life would disappear . . . .

    It must be recognized that assessment of the feasibility of any particular proposed prebiotic cycle must depend on arguments about chemical plausibility, rather than on a decision about logical possibility . . . few would believe that any assembly of minerals on the primitive Earth is likely to have promoted these syntheses in significant yield . . . . Why should one believe that an ensemble of minerals that are capable of catalyzing each of the many steps of [[for instance] the reverse citric acid cycle was present anywhere on the primitive Earth [[8], or that the cycle mysteriously organized itself topographically on a metal sulfide surface [[6]? . . . Theories of the origin of life based on metabolic cycles cannot be justified by the inadequacy of competing theories: they must stand on their own . . . .

    The prebiotic syntheses that have been investigated experimentally almost always lead to the formation of complex mixtures. Proposed polymer replication schemes are unlikely to succeed except with reasonably pure input monomers. No solution of the origin-of-life problem will be possible until the gap between the two kinds of chemistry is closed. Simplification of product mixtures through the self-organization of organic reaction sequences, whether cyclic or not, would help enormously, as would the discovery of very simple replicating polymers. However, solutions offered by supporters of geneticist or metabolist scenarios that are dependent on “if pigs could fly” hypothetical chemistry are unlikely to help.

    Where, the only empirically warranted causal explanation for FSCO/I — abundantly in evidence for the living cell — is design.

    KF

  100. 100

    kf @ 94:

    I don’t think this thread was ever actually on the track of the O.P., but I find it interesting enough. You are, of course, correct about the various forms of religion, and that both theocratic and marxist-progressive dictatorships/corporate oligarchies/big-state socialisms are seriously bad worldviews for governance.

    The principle of charity demands that I debate here under the premise that no one here is a deliberate agitator for some political or religious organization. I’m willing to edit out posts that don’t meet the standard (unfair as it is) that I’ve laid out above; but still, I’d rather they offer their irrational, even nonsensical protestations against ID so they can be shown for what they are.

    Hopefully, some onlookers can see the same thing I saw right off the bat when I first found the debates between ID and Darwinism; Darwinists make the most laughable arguments and insist on them over and over – such as the “no real scientist supports ID” argument, or the “no real scientist uses the term “macroevolution” argument”, etc.

    Here, we have eigenstate attempting to make the empty case that a designation of design eliminates further scientific inquiry unless one at least assumes the intelligence behind the design is “human-like” … or, absent his SETI apologia, unless we have the designer at hand. Anyone that has even the most basic grasp of logic or just common sense can see this is ludicrous.

    The question I’m slow-boiling here is: why do they resort to such frantic, easily-rebutted, nonsensical protestations against what is clearly a reasonable line of inference? Why do they insist on throwing up a roadblock, any roadblock, no matter how petty or unreasonable, against ID?

    I think one answer (if one leaves aside the uncharitable but certainly plausible view that they are simply deliberate agitators) is that they despise/are afraid of the implications that would be contained if they allowed the reasoning to continue to conclusion. Consciously or subconsciously, they know the cannot let the reasoning reach the conclusion, and they cannot allow those reasonable conclusions to reach the public with the imprimatur of science attached.

    IMO, they despise/fear the prospect of an upswing in religious belief. They actually do fear that governance will swing towards a “theocracy” and that the popular culture will become more theistic and more religious.

    So, ID must be stopped. I think a lot of them actually believe that stopping ID is in the best interests of civilization. IOW, they are protecting their religious foothold (Darwinism/materialism) and see ID as a potential threat to their cultural agenda, which (IMO) most (of them) actually see as a good thing.

  101. 101
    Joe says:

    Unlike unguided/ blind watchmaker evolution ID has testable entailments, it can possibly be falsified and uses a scientific methodology. Meaning it has all of the hallmarks of science.

    OTOH unguided evolution doesn’t have any entailments and cannot be tested. Heck even given starting populations of prokaryotes unguided evolution can only produce more prokaryotes and nothing more.

  102. 102

    eigenstate said:

    For my part, and for scientific thinking inasmuch as I’m familiar with it, to conclude “aliens most likely did it” is to identify the designer.

    Given that the term alien, according to Merriam-Webster, simply means “a creature that doesn’t come from earth”, one wonders what distance eigenstate thinks the term purchases him from the term “intelligent entity”, which he considers “an abstraction”.

    Do terms that include all potential creatures somehow become less of an abstraction just because you exclude creatures from earth?

    Eigenstate is in a conceptual and semantic morass trying to figure out how to exclude ID via use of terminology, as if “intelligent alien” and “intelligent entity” have substantively different meanings in this context. Why exclude Earth creatures? Could some unknown Earth civilization from the distant past not have done it? Time travelers from the future?

    Eigenstate thinks the term “alien” substantively rationalizes his refusal to use ID terminology, when all it really does is demonstrate the emptiness of his objections.

    At least keith has the huevos to admit what is obvious here.

  103. 103

    Eigenstate said:

    Random mutations can be shown to happen in the lab, and in the wild.

    Please support this assertion and direct me to where and how such mutations were vetted as “random”. Also, to prevent a literature bluff, please provide some pertinent quotes.

  104. 104
    kairosfocus says:

    WJM: Thanks for thoughts. I wonder is ES is aware that Newton’s work was in a specifically design oriented context and that his general scholium for Principia is an essay on philosophical theology (cf here)? [Yes, APP 5 the always linked note.] I would think that fair comment is that Newton’s synthesis launched modern science as a robust and widely regarded enterprise. Many other scientists down to today, work in a worldview and even a paradigm that is rooted in design. The objection falls apart. Science is rooted in theidea of reverse engineering nature. KF

  105. 105

    At least in 84 eigenstate offers a better view as to why he refuses to use/allow ID terminology; he has a problem with what he holds to be the “intuition” of the ID community, meaning, he wishes to block what he sees as the “real” impetus of ID theory; promoting supernaturalism, theism, religion, etc.

    His objections to ID, reasonable ID inferences and ID terminology have thus been revealed as socio-political, not scientific or logical.

  106. 106

    kf @103:

    I was just going to point out the same to ES; as if virtually all scientific progress, up until very recently, including biology, wasn’t explicitly predicated upon the design hypothesis. And still science continues even today utilizing the investigatory heuristic and principles engineered and reliant upon the foundation of design.

  107. 107
    Silver Asiatic says:

    Reflecting on this excellent OP and this comment as a reason for interest in ID:

    those who made anti-ID arguments were making such laughably bad arguments, and ID proponents made some very reasonable arguments that were met with an openly dismissive hostility that intrigued me

    I fully agree. That’s what drew me into becoming an ID supporter. Stress on the word “laughably”. I have never laughed so hard in a debate setting as I do here. I find it wonderful.

    WJM asks also:

    The question I’m slow-boiling here is: why do they resort to such frantic, easily-rebutted, nonsensical protestations against what is clearly a reasonable line of inference? Why do they insist on throwing up a roadblock, any roadblock, no matter how petty or unreasonable, against ID?

    Good question. I’d normally be sincerely concerned for people who were so confused. But the egotism that is so obvious among the anti-ID opponents is so galling and profound that we have to laugh at this nonsense.

    I’ll admit also, the fact that our opponents are so relentless and blind to their own contradictions — completely unwilling to give up one inch to the ID position, and in fact, coming up with more hilariously absurd objections to ID — is the main reason I’ve stayed with this topic for about 10 years now. I would have been bored long ago otherwise.

    I’ve debated a lot of topics in my life, sports, religion, politics, culture — and usually I’ll find some reconciliation between the most opposed views over time. But here it’s an endless chase – or better – an obstacle course with roadblock after roadblock to get around.

    Admittedly, most of it is childish distractions, hide-and-seek games, rides on the merry-go-round, and the answer to your question “why” — I think many of us conclude that there’s a personal agenda at stake. There’s something within the ID-opponent that is fiercely driving the obtuseness and blatant denials and the lock-tight conviction that Darwinism (or any brand of materialist conjecture) is true.

    Some people have, unfortunately, been damaged or scared by religion and have a hatred of the thought of a designer. Others have different reasons to be hostile to the idea. We see it quite often – the incredibly emotional questions about “why would the designer … [do whatever]?” Followed by mockery. Just the idea that there could be something more than material nature is enough to create hostile ridicule in some. That can’t be driven by calm, objectivity. There’s something psychological (or spiritual) at work.

    I guess there’s a kind of loyalty to the team also. A person makes a commitment to atheism, for example, and wants to be seen as a true believer, so giving up any ground to the enemy is forbidden.

    In short, I don’t know the answer as to why they do it. But it’s as obvious to me that they do it.

    Our opponents are their own worst enemies as I see it. They certainly moved me to support ID.

  108. 108
    groovamos says:

    Congregate @ 11 :
    There is no scientific theory of intelligent design as of yet. It is an intuition. Some things look, to some people, as though they were designed. Some things look designed to everyone: 747s, etc.

    The contributor ‘forgot’ (hee hee) to mention that almost everyone, as a child at that period of existence, experienced magnificent wonder at the harmony, purpose and obvious design in nature. Our culture has employed for decades various built-in mechanisms to dull the mind’s natural perception of this and erase the profound childhood appreciation for the brilliance of nature. One of them is called the educational system, which is largely committed to the scientific materialist cult. Another is the unsaid standard of the mass media and educational materials which almost never just state a feature of an organism as existing. It is always said to have evolved and the implied subtext of course is ‘by the Darwinist process’ with the cult figurehead always at the ready but possibly not explicitly invoked. And I might add, the just-so stories often in accompaniment seem to always include phrases such as “just might be” “could have”, “are likely”, etc. etc. I mean what a science!! Except that it is not science, it is indoctrination, it is a complete world view.

    And so by the age of 10~12, children in our culture have hopefully (to our opponents’ way of thinking) been prepared for a lifetime of dulled perception and crippled intuition, and willing receptacles for philosophical materialism.

    Silver Asiatic @106 terrific post, Thx!

  109. 109
    kairosfocus says:

    WJM: I think that on first look, we have no right to impute agitator tactics. But where there is a track record, often several months or even years long, that is a different story if the record objectively warrants the conclusion . . . painful though it is to draw it. When it comes to those who simply are taken in and come here to echo that which they picked up or — sadly — what was drummed into their head under false colours of education (the a priori materialist ideological stances and linked rhetoric of the US NAS and NSTA [as already remarked on, cf. e.g. here] are . . . pardon a directly put, fair comment . . . inexcusable), one hopes there is enough there between the ears to wake up and spot what is going on. I more and more am inclined to think we need to all take a sobering pause and ponder Plato’s parable of the cave — watch the neat vid I found at Youtube . . . I remember sitting in the local public library a few weeks back and playing it for a young miss, her eyes practically popped out in shock and recognition, you could see the light bulbs going off above her head in the terms of the old cartoons. After that, maybe this 101 on first steps in critical thinking might be a first 15 minute step. Then, if you want to see where I have come out after many serious years of thought, why, at an a- bit- more- along 101 level [102 level?], try here on. Sorry, that starts with first principles of right reason, and self evident first truths, that one needs to blow out the cobwebs between the ears and brush them out of all the nooks and crannies of our thinking. I should not leave off this on handling media etc spin. KF

  110. 110
    Axel says:

    Your #107: Spot on, groovamos.

    Their folly is truly nothing less than surreal. Realistically, it would be utterly incomprehensible in a person with an IQ of 70. All for the want of a rational, scientifically -confirmed, ontological hypothesis.

  111. 111
    Graham2 says:

    groovamos: harmony, purpose … in nature

    such as ?

  112. 112
    Silver Asiatic says:

    Thanks, Groovamos 🙂 @ 107 — I enjoyed your also …

    as a child at that period of existence, experienced magnificent wonder at the harmony, purpose and obvious design in nature. Our culture has employed for decades various built-in mechanisms to dull the mind’s natural perception of this and erase the profound childhood appreciation for the brilliance of nature.

    True words — the child’s insight is fresh and unbiased, and yes “profound” indeed. It takes a lot of miseducation to destroy that but our culture has been doing quite a good job of destroying the human spirit.

  113. 113
    Silver Asiatic says:

    Graham2

    groovamos: harmony, purpose … in nature

    such as ?

    “Biology is the study of complicated things that give the appearance of having been designed for a purpose”.

  114. 114
    Graham2 says:

    SA: I deliberately excluded ‘design’ (its done to death), it was the ‘harmony’, ‘purpose’ I was asking about.

  115. 115
    Silver Asiatic says:

    Graham – I kept “purpose” in that quote for you.

    But harmony is quite a lot easier. We’ve been discussing Fibonacci sequences in nature on another thread, as one example.

    Also, I think human beings are part of nature, right?

  116. 116
    Axel says:

    Still no reply from pachyaena to your question at #51, bornagain77….

    Didn’t you know that mathematical proofs are woo-woo, BA77, and it’s now up to #114? They must be woo-woo… cos… cos of quantum mechanics ‘n’ stuff. Yes, that’s it! Quantum mechanics is woo- woo, to begin with! So maffs must be …

    What tickles me pink is that mankind would still be waiting for scientists to discover QM (upon which an estimated 70% of industrial production is estimated to be based) , if it had had to rely on the materialist cultist devotees.

    As if that were not surreal enough, neither Planck, the proto-pioneer of QM, nor any of the other great QM pioneers, ever gave the notion of materiaism the time of day. How could they have.

    Right up to today, QM is a horrific bug-bear for them, for the same reason that Intelligent Design is: Richard Lewontin! Paging Richard Lewontin!

  117. 117
    Graham2 says:

    SA”: I’ll make it simpler … ‘purpose’. Could you explain how we observe this ?

  118. 118

    KF:

    First, we have a base of trillions of cases on the origin of FSCO/I (which would be required), and every time we directly know the cause it is intelligently directed configuration — aka design.

    You dazzle yourself with numbers of individual instances of human actions and communications, each of which traces back to human agency and intelligence (what a surprise). Problem is, your “trillions” of instances are massively dwarfed by instances of biological phenomena, claimed to be analogous, the origins of which we do not yet understand.

    For example, there are approximately five million trillion trillion bacteria on earth, each an instance of FSCO/I (you claim). As we don’t know the origins of life, the origins of these instances cannot be assigned either to design or to natural events unless one assumes a conclusion regarding the very question at issue. If we assume that by “trillions” you mean “100 trillion”, the instances of FIASCO the origins of which are known is on the order of a 1/50 thousand trillionth, or 1/50 quadrillionth, of the total instances of which we are aware, the remainder of unknown origins. And that’s just counting bacteria.

    Suddenly your numbers don’t seem as impressive, or dispositive, and generalizing from an almost infinitely tiny and unrepresentative sample (e.g., instances of human agency) obviously unjustified. It’s a reliable signal of design only if you assume it to be a reliable signal of design.

  119. 119
    keith s says:

    Axel:

    Still no reply from pachyaena to your question at #51, bornagain77….

    Axel,

    Don’t forget — this is UD. Pachyaena has been silently banned.

  120. 120
    0812681 says:

    WJM #99

    I think one answer is.. …that they despise/are afraid of the implications that would be contained if they allowed the reasoning to continue to conclusion.

    IMO, they despise/fear the prospect of an upswing in religious belief.

    So, ID must be stopped. I think a lot of them actually believe that stopping ID is in the best interests of civilization. IOW, they are protecting their religious foothold (Darwinism/materialism) and see ID as a potential threat to their cultural agenda…

    I think you are right. The article posted underneath may explain why people are Anti-ID.

    Is there Christianophobia in the United States? One sociology professor says yes. Dr. George Yancey writes about Christianophobia in his new book, “So Many Christians, So Few Lions.” He discussed the book on American Family Radio program “Today’s Issues,” explaining that he and a co-author used the concept of “Islamophobia” and applied it to Christianity.

    “Is there an unreasonable hatred or fear of Christians? Our conclusion is that, yes, we do have Christianophobia in the United States,” said Yancey, who teaches at the University of North Texas and holds a doctorate in philosophy. People who tend to have “Christianophobia” seem to be better educated, wealthier, white and male, Yancey explained, citing the study……

    …Yancey points to his own research as showing that, among academics, about 40 to 45 percent of them are less willing to hire someone if they found out they are conservative Protestant.

    http://onenewsnow.com/culture/.....IYrf-Zdo84

    Hmmm, this makes me wonder wich percentage of the Anti-ID’ists would fit to this description of better educated, wealthier, white and male

  121. 121
    Mung says:

    Reciprocating Bill:

    …there are approximately five million trillion trillion bacteria on earth, each an instance of FSCO/I (you claim). As we don’t know the origins of life, the origins of these instances cannot be assigned either to design or to natural events unless one assumes a conclusion regarding the very question at issue.

    So you reject evolution (natural events) as an explanation because we don’t know the origin of life?

    That’s probably a first here at UD.

    Your argument reduces to this: there is far more that we don’t know than what we do know, therefore we cannot know anything. Good luck with that one.

    Suddenly your numbers don’t seem as impressive, or dispositive, and generalizing from an almost infinitely tiny and unrepresentative sample (e.g., instances of human agency) obviously unjustified. It’s a reliable signal of design only if you assume it to be a reliable signal of design.

    What a novel argument. There’s more noise than signal, therefore the signal is unreliable.

  122. 122
    0812681 says:

    eigenstate #90

    Here’s a test.

    Nou, ik vind dat een slechte test, want….

    If we were to agree on “aliens did this”, and my further conjecture was “aliens that arose through natural processes elsewhere did this”, would the IDers nod along because/insofar as I was “making a design inference”?

    ten eerste, of aliens het gedaan hebben is een niet-falsifierbare claim, laat staan aliens die voortgekomen uit natuurlijke processen. We moeten met een tijdmachine terug naar het verleden gaan om het empirisch te kunnen vaststellen of het wel/niet waar is.

    ten tweede, the ID-movement houdt zich NIET bezig met de identificatie van de ontwerper, het probeert alleen maar aan te tonen dat er intelligentie aan te pas moest komen om iets voort te brengen. Het houdt zich bezig met de identificatie van ontwerpen die we zien in de natuur, waarvan de kans onvoorstelbaar klein is dat ze door natuurlijke processen kunnen worden voortgebracht, door middel van aan te tonen dat de kans onvoorstelbaar klein of zelfs onmogelijk is dat ze door natuurlijke processen kunnen worden voortgebracht.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=00vBqYDBW5s
    kijk bijvoorbeeld bovenstaande video met uitgebreide uitleg over DNA en celstructuur

    That would imply that natural processes were ultimately responsible, and the aliens, like us, are just the sentient and creative products of an impersonal set of processes.

    Deze uitspraak zit vol met (filosofische) aannames. Je beperkt je slechts tot 1 zienswijze, terwijl er ook andere (mogelijk) zijn. Ik vind dat nogal kortzichtig.

    If is satisfied ending with naturalistic conclusions at the top level, then I have been mistaken about the nature of the movement.

    Daar staan ze wel voor open, ja, want ze zijn niet kortzichtig of closeminded zoals de meeste atheisten dat wel zijn. Dus, je zat inderdaad fout.

    Ik moedig je aan om vaker op deze site terug te komen, want dan zul je het 1 en ander beter gaan begrijpen.

  123. 123
    Me_Think says:

    Axel @ 115

    Still no reply from pachyaena to your question at #51, bornagain77….

    Didn’t you know that mathematical proofs are woo-woo, BA77, and it’s now up to #114? They must be woo-woo… cos… cos of quantum mechanics ‘n’ stuff. Yes, that’s it! Quantum mechanics is woo- woo, to begin with! So maffs must be …

    Axel BA77 is a great fan of QM- just go through his quotes.

  124. 124
    eigenstate says:

    @keiths,

    In the case of the pattern etched in stone, I would say instead:

    1. We can infer design even if we haven’t identified a capable designer known to be present at the right time and place

    To put it a bit differently, the pattern itself is evidence for the presence of a capable designer, given that we have no inkling of how the pattern could be produced by unintelligent natural processes or what such an explanation would even look like.
    .

    That’d be a different heuristic, though, a break from considering models. I’m not sure if you are incorporating our knowledge of crop-circles-on-Earth-as-pranks-by-humans here, but if not, I’m surprised the image WJM provide strike you as “obviously designed”. I can certainly see that as one of my options, and, on balance, the conclusion I’d affirm, if pressed for one or the other. But it’s not something that I *recognize* (crop-circles here notwithstanding).

    But it doesn’t matter. As soon as you are reduced to “the pattern itself is evidence”, on its own grounds, and not part of any model that matches artisan and artifact, it’s pointless to bicker over the strength of your “recognition” vs. mine. We’re both so cantilevered out into ignorant space that it is a moot point. Which is really to say, when you’ve resorted to this kind of reasoning, the real risk is using it to avoid the informed response, which is a caution agnosticism.

    2. The reasoning doesn’t seem circular to me. Whether we are IDers or not, we see the pattern and immediately recognize that it requires a causal explanation. The only question is whether the cause is intelligent or unintelligent. Either way, we infer that the cause must have been capable of producing the pattern.

    I just noticed this afernoon that the dogs tethered to a stake in my yard made a nicely patterned circle on my snow-covered lawn. On seeing it, WJM’s image sprang to mind, and a recognized the similarity. Now, I had no “designs” on creating circle pattersn in the yard with two dogs, a stake and two tethers, but it did produce the kind of circle I’d hope for if my design *was* to create a circle in the snow in my yard. The dogs’ circle took a little longer than I might have, but there the circle is. Was that designed? Don’t know, and don’t think that matters here, except to point out how little we know about the phase space and the selectors in a situation like this. If one has to make a design inference without any support for a designer, I think demurring is a much more reasonable option.

    3. In this scenario I would regard design as being established in a scientific sense, not merely a “rhetorical” one. Like any scientific conclusion, it would be provisional.

    Sure, but it’s so weakly grounded that it hardly matters if you call it scientific or not. It’s not much of anything in terms of epistemic weight. If there is a meta-scientific counter here, it’s that in my experience, the “scientific mindset” as a disposition prefers agnosticism over, uh, highly speculative provisional inferences. I am failing to recall the right keywords from a Feynman quote that’s apropos here, but dispositionally, scientists permit themselves wild conjectures, as conjectures (imagination drive science), but when it comes to conclusions and judgments about how things are, they are quite conservative indeed, and comfortable with “we don’t know”.

    4. The design inference is valuable in this scenario because it would shape the future direction of the investigation. Knowing that there is a designer is quite helpful.

    Indeed. But you’ve not got to “knowing”, here. Not nearly. I understand that you may be holding out the prospect of knowing later, as a result of suspecting now.

  125. 125
    keith s says:

    eigenstate,

    I just noticed this afernoon that the dogs tethered to a stake in my yard made a nicely patterned circle on my snow-covered lawn. On seeing it, WJM’s image sprang to mind, and a recognized the similarity. Now, I had no “designs” on creating circle pattersn in the yard with two dogs, a stake and two tethers, but it did produce the kind of circle I’d hope for if my design *was* to create a circle in the snow in my yard.

    William’s pattern is much more than a mere circle trampled into snow by footprints.

    But the exact pattern isn’t the point of contention — it’s your claim that we’re “hosed” unless we identify a present and capable designer:

    if you can’t identify a present (at the time) and capable designer to match against artifacts and other forensic evidence, you’re hosed. Without that, you are simply falling into circular reasoning: something that is capable of making this thing, made this thing.

    Even if William’s pattern wouldn’t persuade you, I’d wager that there is some pattern or artifact that would, and that you’d therefore have to agree with what I wrote:

    1. We can infer design even if we haven’t identified a capable designer known to be present at the right time and place.

    To put it a bit differently, the pattern itself is evidence for the presence of a capable designer, given that we have no inkling of how the pattern could be produced by unintelligent natural processes or what such an explanation would even look like.

  126. 126
    rvb8 says:

    Wow! Haven’t posted here since 2005 when I was banned for calling Denyse a ‘talentless hack’; sorry.

    The thread appears to be calling for ID to make a/any scientifically valid claims/predictions. Are there any? I know you will point to the obvious (why are atheists so blind?) design in life, as if I can’t detect beauty? WJM gives nothing but blather as usual and BA77 has the usual endless speel about whatever has got his motor revving.

    Try this one: Biologist;we know fish became tetrapods around 300-360 million years ago.
    Biologist to geologist; we need sedimentary rocks about 300-360 million years old to find transitional fossils, where should we look?
    Geologist to biologist; go north young man, to the arctic isles of Canada.
    Tiktalik discovered!
    Theory, prediction, confirmation.
    What does ID do again?

  127. 127
    Graham2 says:

    I hope you don’t really keep dogs tethered in the snow.

  128. 128

    rvb8:

    Wow! Haven’t posted here since 2005 when I was banned for calling Denyse a ‘talentless hack’; sorry.

    Welcome to the future. You sure have a lot of catching up to do.

  129. 129
    Andre says:

    RVB8

    Try this one: Biologist;we know fish became tetrapods around 300-360 million years ago.
    Biologist to geologist; we need sedimentary rocks about 300-360 million years old to find transitional fossils, where should we look?
    Geologist to biologist; go north young man, to the arctic isles of Canada.
    Tiktalik discovered!
    Theory, prediction, confirmation.

    LOL!

    Except Tiktaalik is not transitional it’s just a lobe finned fish that could walk on the bottom of a lake or river…..

    http://www.isciencetimes.com/a.....roseae.htm

    The conclusion is telling…….

    “It’s reasonable to suppose with those big fin rays, that Tiktaalik used its hind fins to swim like a paddle,” Shubin, who will be hosting a three-part PBS series based on his book Your Inner Fish, in April, said. “But it’s possible it could walk with them as well. African lungfish living today have similarly large pelves, and we showed in 2011 that they walk underwater on the bottom. Regardless of the gait Tiktaalik used, it’s clear that the emphasis on hind appendages and pelvic-propelled locomotion is a trend that began in fish.”

    an ancient lobe finned fish….. that’s all it is! But I guess we can suppose what whatever we want in our minds! Just imagine!

  130. 130
    Alicia Renard says:

    Wow! Haven’t posted here since 2005 when I was banned for calling Denyse a ‘talentless hack’; sorry.

    Welcome to the future. You sure have a lot of catching up to do.

    Perhaps someone could help out with a post topic on “Scientific Developments in Intelligent Design since 2005”. It shouldn’t take up too much time or space. 🙂

  131. 131
    Alicia Renard says:

    To put it a bit differently, the pattern itself is evidence for the presence of a capable designer, given that we have no inkling of how the pattern could be produced by unintelligent natural processes or what such an explanation would even look like.

    Hmm. Perhaps the point in contention is the capabilities of incorporeal artisans versus physical entities like humans, beavers, termites.

    When we see marks in the snow being traced by invisible fingers, then I might have to start taking ID ideas seriously.

    I hope those dogs were huskies.

  132. 132
    kairosfocus says:

    RB:

    Inductive reasoning and critical thinking 101, here (linked at 109 above) may be a first help. Science and its methods, rest on that.

    I assume, here, that you accept that science is a reasonable and objective, truth-seeking process wherein ideas and proposals are constrained by actual empirical observations; not — pace Lewontin et al — a worldview commitment based a priori question-begging assumption driven ideological one. Science and politics do not mix, well, whether institutional politics or state politics. Power and truth are far too often at odds.

    Now, we know a common phenomenon, FSCO/I — and its consistently observed cause.

    (Those who were recently sniffing at the idea of looking at a fishing reel, the Abu 6500 C3, seem to overlook that this is a simplification of the works in a clock [by a firm that made its name by building clocks and applications of clocks to taxi meters, which per a photo I saw go back to the days of horse drawn taxis], applied to a different task, illustrating the commonplace node-arcs based wiring diagram pattern of things that depend on correctly oriented, correctly placed and interacting parts to work. Which, per Orgel and Wicken et al, extends tot he world of life and is information-rich, as we know from what we do when we do an engineering drawing with say AutoCAD or whatever.)

    We observe FSCO/I’s cause, on trillions of cases in point.

    Consistently, intelligently directed contingency.

    Now, on blind chance and necessity search, the needle in haystack challenge shows why that observation is so, even on cosmic scale resources.

    Trial and error is not a good method to find FSCO/I.

    And the very high contingency involved makes mechanical necessity a very unlikely explanation, unless you are prepared to show on observed evidence how the cosmos programs life to form in terrestrial planets or the like. Which would point straight to massive front-loading of the physics of the cosmos.

    Back to inductive logic in science 101.

    The vera causa test on the remote past of origins, is premised on the point that we cannot observe it, only its traces. Therefore, we must constrain ourselves to explanation on causal factors we can observe that are adequate to such effects. Where, again, the consistently observed cause of FSCO/I is . . . intelligently directed contingency. (What you just tried to distract focus from.)

    As in, but, we see FSCO/I and cellular self-replication based reproduction in life forms.

    Yes, which we do not know directly the origin of as that is in the remote past of origins. So we have to start from the things we can see that give rise to key effects and phenomena found in life, such as FSCO/I — as Orgel and Wicken pointed to across the 1970’s.

    Let’s use stepwise points of thought:

    1 –> Life reproduces, pivoting on cells exhibiting self-replication using a von Neumann kinematic self replication facility, vNSR for short.

    2 –> Which is itself FSCO/I rich.

    3 –> So, the matter is not so much that we have many many instances of life which self replicates at cellular level and reproduces at other levels, but that the origin of such is to be explained on causes adequate to the phenomenon.

    4 –> A point put on the table since Paley in 1804 in ch II of his Nat Theol, moved from stumbling across a watch vs a stone in a field to — just a few pages later — a thought exercise of a self replicating watch. (Something that is conspicuously absent from the dismissive discussions I have seen; even, when I see remarks on how deeply Darwin had studied Paley. Paley’s conclusion to that little thought exercise was, that the additional facility of self replication and the mechanisms to effect it should increase our wonder at the contrivance involved, i.e. it would be further evidence of design. )

    5 –> In the teeth of massive evidence of the root of FSCO/I, you wish to provide a case of something that pivots on FSCO/I to work, then to suggest that our inability to observe the remote past of origins means we should put the vera causa test aside and allow speculation on chemistry and physics to create self replicators to stand in the teeth of what we know about the empirical challenges faced by such speculations. Fail.

    6 –> The correct process, instead, is to observe and identify key phenomena, then assess credible cause anchored to current observed adequate cause, and especially cases where adequate cause is observed to be characteristic.

    7 –> FSCO/I is such a key phenomenon, one that happens to be abundantly common in cases we can observe, trillions of cases in point. With a characteristic adequate cause, intelligently directed configuration, not blind chance and/or mechanical necessity.

    8 –> So, on noticing how life forms replicate using processes that reflect the vNSR model in action and which embed massive FSCO/I we are entitled to infer on best current explanation that we are looking a phenomena that are rooted in design.

    9 –> For in a solar system and cosmos with a finitely remote past the notion of life as infinite in duration is off the table.

    10 –> Life thus had a beginning, and therefore its origin has a cause that must be adequate.

    11 –> A main characteristic feature of cell based life is FSCO/I, which does have a massively documented, needle in haystack search plausible cause, intelligently directed configuration, aka design.

    12 –> One is free to investigate whether other things, however remote, can account for FSCO/I, but the massively substantiated point needs to be acknowledged. As at now, the best current explanation of the FSCO/I in life as in other cases, is design.

    13 –> Design theory and in particular the output of the design inference per aspect filter process, is a serious, inductively grounded scientific contention, not an uninvited, ill-founded, irrelevant imposition on the phenomena. (And, someone just above needs to be reminded that the rain fairy etc strawman caricature has been taken up and refuted. Clinging to the refuted to manipulate the ill-informed, is a sign of message dominance ideological agit-prop not intellectually serious truth-seeking discussion.)

    14 –> Further to this, we need to recall that the physics and chemistry, especially the thermodynamics and reaction kinetics of warm salty ponds or cold comet cores or hot subsea fumaroles etc etc exerts a constraint on origin of life speculations.

    15 –> That constraint strongly points away from the plausibility of spontaneous origin of self replicating molecules or the like, and much moreso, away from origin of gated, encapsulated, metabolising cells using proteins, assembling proteins on coded algorithms using ribosomes, and with info storage and retrieval systems using D/RNA.

    16 –> Likewise, the increments in FSCO/I to explain novel body plans and major features, requiring perhaps 10 – 100+ mn bases of functionally specific, regulated and correctly implemented information, is a severe challenge to mutations, drift, junk dna as a vehicle for blind search, other non foresighted engines of variation and the like filtered through culling by differential reproductive success in ecological niches. Especially in a 600 MY window or a 6 MY window for say chimplike ancestor to man vs chimps today.

    17 –> In summary, FSCO/I, biologically functional form, is a pivotal issue for origin of life and of body plans up to our own. Therefore,t eh evidence on the observed adequate cause of FSCO/I is pivotal.

    18 –> And that evidence, issues of self replicating cells and linked phenomena such as reproduction of life forms notwithstanding, points to intelligently directed configuration as best causal explanation.

    KF

  133. 133
    kairosfocus says:

    RVB8: There is a simple directly testable prediction on the table, that FSCO/I will continue to be a characteristic sign of design as cause; which is deeply involved in the vera causa test. To test it, simply generate a credibly observed case where it comes about by blind chance and/or mechanical necessity without design having been front loaded intelligently. Probably the simplest way to do that is to set up a zener or sky noise source that can generate say 72 ACII characters of continuous text in correct, meaningful English. Cf here for a quick note on the situation with such to date, a factor of 10^100 or so short of the config space scope we imply. KF

  134. 134
    kairosfocus says:

    AR, I note to you that the rain fairises etc strawman was refuted. Similarly, minds happen to be invisible but plainly causal in effect, whilst computational devices are blindly mechanical systems, not rationally insightful ones. So, you would be well advised to consult J B S Haldane’s 80 year old caution on materialistic reductionism of mind to brain:

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

    In short, though it is ever so dominant in our day in many quarters to the point of being a sort of conventional wisdom of those who desire to be accepted as intelligent and educated, the materialist conception of mindedness, conscious intelligence and rational knowledge based on contemplative insight, is on very shaky grounds indeed. It is not effective to try to get North by heading West. KF

  135. 135
    Joe says:

    Try this one: Biologist;we know fish became tetrapods around 300-360 million years ago.

    And yet tetrapod tracks were found in sediments dated to 395 million years ago.

  136. 136
    Joe says:

    RB:

    You dazzle yourself with numbers of individual instances of human actions and communications, each of which traces back to human agency and intelligence (what a surprise). Problem is, your “trillions” of instances are massively dwarfed by instances of biological phenomena, claimed to be analogous, the origins of which we do not yet understand.

    LoL! RB is just upset that his position doesn’t have anything, no numbers, no methodology and no analogies. Nothing

  137. 137
    Joe says:

    Alicia admits she isn’t interested in science:

    When we see marks in the snow being traced by invisible fingers, then I might have to start taking ID ideas seriously.

    And yet you blindly accept unguided evolution even though it has nothing.

  138. 138

    KF:

    We observe FSCO/I’s cause, on trillions of cases in point.

    A unique, wildly non-representative sample that reflects 1/50 quadrillionth of the total, a sample massively dwarfed by analogous instances the origins of which we do not yet understand. Seeing that as a dispositive signal of anything is the province of wishful thinking and assumed conclusions.

  139. 139
    Joe says:

    RB is so upset that his position has absolutely nothing- Life is good

  140. 140
    Silver Asiatic says:

    Graham 117

    SA”: I’ll make it simpler … ‘purpose’. Could you explain how we observe this ?

    I think we just look at it and recognize it for what it is.

  141. 141
    Zachriel says:

    kairosfocus: Now, we know a common phenomenon, FSCO/I — and its consistently observed cause.

    Can you provide a mathematical equation for FSCO/I? Not with fishing rods, but the actual calculation.

  142. 142
    Joe says:

    Geez, Zachriel, just read the Durston, et al., paper

  143. 143

    AR said:

    When we see marks in the snow being traced by invisible fingers, then I might have to start taking ID ideas seriously.

    So, if one doesn’t take ID seriously, the question is, why bother debating it? Why bother acting like you’re involved in a serious dialogue?

    Like so many others of AR’s ilk, they don’t come here to “debate” at all; if they don’t take ID ideas seriously, what compels them to involve themselves?

    What they do take seriously, IMO, is the ideological threat ID poses to their socio-political agenda. Which is why many of them (like AR, apparently) involve themselves only inasmuch as they can add to the ridicule, dismissal, obfuscation, and denial of those ID ideas.

    This is why we do not get serious, well-thought arguments and reasonable inferences but rather nothing but invective-laced denials. Perhaps a better line of argument with anti-ID advocates would be to tackle their misguided fears about having a Bible-literal “theocracy” imposed on them and their misguided pursuit of an entirely secularized, materialist society.

    While it probably would be a better targeted approach because IMO anti-IDism (as demonstrated by AR and others here) is a symptom of a larger socio-political worldview conflict, it would probably be as futile to make a worldview case as a scientific one. Materialists/darwinists/anti-theists are highly emotionally committed against religion/spirituality/theism. Their position is apparently not only immune to rational discourse, but actively avoids and attempts to undermine it.

  144. 144
    Alicia Renard says:

    Odd rant at 143, WJM.

  145. 145
    Alicia Renard says:

    PS @ WJM,

    US secularism guarantees your right to freedom to follow the religion of your choice. Your unique “spirituality” could get you condemned to death if you lived in Pakistan.

  146. 146
    Joe says:

    LoL! @ Alicia Renard- All of Alicia’s posts are odd rants. And she doesn’t seem to understand anything about science. Very odd indeed.

  147. 147
    Joe says:

    US secularism guarantees your right to freedom to follow the religion of your choice.

    LoL! That has nothing to do with secularism, Alicia.

  148. 148
    Axel says:

    @Me_Think #123

    I was being ironical. BA77 knows he and I are on the same metaphysical page, if I’m ‘out with the washing’ re the actual science and mathematics.

    Like many people on here, I have learned a lot about QM from BA77, though only retain the salient ontological truth that non-locality completely destroys any notion of materialism

    Fortunately for me, the bigger the scientific truth and the more massive its implications, the more simply it can be verbally expressed and understood. (E=MC2 comes to mind.) In this regard, just reading the Wikiquote, etc is an eye-opener.

    If Planck had not believed the below, it would have remained from another believer – a deist at minimum – to conceive of quantum physics:

    ‘As a man who has devoted his whole life to the most clear headed science, to the study of matter, I can tell you as a result of my research about atoms this much: There is no matter as such. All matter originates and exists only by virtue of a force which brings the particle of an atom to vibration and holds this most minute solar system of the atom together. We must assume behind this force the existence of a conscious and intelligent mind. This mind is the matrix of all matter.’

    Atheist ‘scientists’ are albatrosses around true scientists’ necks. No wonder they’re panicking about philosophy departments. It seems philosophy professors are increasingly daring to think the unthinkable, and they have every reason to tremble.

  149. 149
    Axel says:

    I should have said, (philosophy professors…. dare to think the unthinkable)’, as a direct result of modern science’.

  150. 150
    Axel says:

    @BA77 #33

    ‘Moreover you ignored the fact I pointed out that Darwinism itself is built upon (faulty) Theological premises. i.e. Darwinism is ‘RELIGIOUS”.

    Ha! Ha! Darwin’s degree was in Divinity. Oh, the delicious irony!

    But if you really want a good laugh, have a look at this hilarious post, a study in farcical duplicity, at Christianforums.com; an atheist posing as a truth-seeker, firstly, feigning mock intellectual humility at the awesome totally overwhelming intelligence of this atheist scientist he refers to, then later on patronisingly mocking respondents, for allegedly being ‘all over the shop’ (not verbatim).

    http://www.christianforums.com/t7853611/

    Does that lad’s post portray the ultimate in disingenuousness or what!

  151. 151
    Axel says:

    ‘RB is so upset that his position has absolutely nothing- Life is good’ – Joe

    You ratbag!

  152. 152
    kairosfocus says:

    Z, actual quantifications of relevant cases have long since been provided, and have been insistently ignored. At first level, just look in a file list for your PC, what do you think the file sizes given are but measures of FSCO/I? Proceed tot he info carrying capacity of R/RNA at 3 bits per base, and for functional proteins, 4.32 bits per AA residue. If you wish — just to make the point, try a toy model of 1st life, using 100 proteins of 100 AA typical not the more generally accepted 300. let’s say that the only fold-functional constraint is hydrophobic/ hydrophilic AA, i.e. 1 bit per AA, implausibly generous to the spontaneous generation side, and let us ignore the homochirality issue which is another 1 bit per AA. We are already at 10 kbits of info that is functionally specific and complex for such a toy first cell. Ten times the 500 – 1,000 bit threshold for FSCO/I, where config space doubles per additional bit. The only empirically warranted explanation for that much FSCO/I is design. Objection fails. KF

  153. 153
    kairosfocus says:

    RB, pardon, but it seems to me that a sample that takes in all cases where we know the actual cause separately, is not unrepresentative. It is the inductive evidence base we have, so your attempted dismissal is effectively saying, “let us forget inductive logic and the vera causa test as it does not point where I wish.” Nope, that would undo the whole scientific revolution, and would undermine the inductive knowledge base we developed to successfully live in our world. In short, your dismissal looks a lot like selective hyperskepticism, and patently ends where such usually ends, incoherence. In addition, there is an obvious reason why there is a problem with finding observed cases of FSCO/I by blind chance and mechanical necessity, sparse, sol system or observed cosmos scale resource constrained search. Remember, it is you who are arguing that codes, algorithms expressed in codes and linked execution machinery can come about in a warm salty pond or the like environment by blind chance and mechanical necessity, which means that you do need to provide causal adequacy. On my side, I simply point out the world of tech around us, and the rising tide of nanotech including molecular nanotech to miniaturise. On fair comment I have vera causa in my corner, not you. KF

  154. 154
    kairosfocus says:

    PS: I see above the attempt to dismiss with the words, “fishing rods” my use of the Abu 6500 C3 fishing reel exploded diagram as an illustration of the undeniable reality of complex, organised, specific function dependent on specific wiring diagram arrangement and interaction of component parts; using a fairly simple and readily understood or accessed technological case, where the same pattern of FSCO/I extends to for instance protein synthesis and the like, with a tape controlled NC machine, using mRNA. The intensity of rhetorical strawman tactic dismissal of the undeniable is thus an inadvertent but telling index of the degree of unreasonableness we are facing from too many objectors — who it seems cannot face up to what a fishing reel is telling them. And BTW, with the design of tapers, fibre fabrics, mandrels, cuts, rolling regimes, ferrules, and guides, a rod is also every inch an example of FSCO/I. It is time for such to stop.

  155. 155
    Alicia Renard says:

    I’m probably going to regret this but…

    KF writes:

    …my use of the Abu 6500 C3 fishing reel exploded diagram as an illustration of the undeniable reality of complex, organised, specific function dependent on specific wiring diagram arrangement and interaction of component parts…

    There is no question that Abu Ambassadeur and other fishing reels were designed and built by Swedes.

  156. 156
    kairosfocus says:

    AR: Precisely, every Abu Fishing reel is an instance in the trillions member database showing the consistently known adequate cause of FSCO/I. Namely, intelligently directed configuration, or design. Thus it is a part of the observational basis for the inductive inference that FSCO/I is a reliable sign of design; providing a part of the basis for vera causa, known adequate cause, indeed only known adequate cause. From this, we have a basis to infer on best explanation that where we see FSCO/I, its best current explanation is design. The resistance and dismissiveness to something so blatantly a part of an exercise in fairly simple inductive reasoning, is revealing. KF

  157. 157
    Barry Arrington says:

    AR @ 155.

    Indicia of design exist. KF’s fishing reel bears such indicia. Yes, we know the provenance of the design with respect to the fishing reel. Why is it so hard to accept that indicia of design point to an intelligent agent, and in some cases that intelligent agent might not be human? Are you suggesting that we know for certain that humans are the only beings in the universe capable of complex designs?

  158. 158
    OldArmy94 says:

    Personally, I don’t have a problem with ID not fitting into the narrow confines of the scientific method. The debate is trivial, because there are many more ways to learn truth than just science. We, even those of us who should know better, have been brainwashed by Western civilization over the past several centuries into believing that science is the only way to understand reality. It isn’t, of course.

  159. 159
    keith s says:

    This bears repeating:

    It’s interesting that KF’s preferred example of design — the Abu 6500 C3 fishing reel, with which he bores us to death — is full of gears, yet only one case of gearing has ever been found in nature.

    Did God the Designer finally get around to taking a mechanical engineering course before designing Issus coleoptratus?

  160. 160
    bornagain77 says:

    Venter: Life Is Robotic Software – July 15, 2012
    Excerpt: “All living cells that we know of on this planet are ‘DNA software’-driven biological machines comprised of hundreds of thousands of protein robots, coded for by the DNA, that carry out precise functions,” said (Craig) Venter.
    http://crev.info/2012/07/life-is-robotic-software/

    How we could create life – The key to existence will be found not in primordial sludge, but in the nanotechnology of the living cell – Paul Davies – 11 December 2002
    Excerpt: Instead, the living cell is best thought of as a supercomputer – an information processing and replicating system of astonishing complexity. DNA is not a special life-giving molecule, but a genetic databank that transmits its information using a mathematical code. Most of the workings of the cell are best described, not in terms of material stuff – hardware – but as information, or software. Trying to make life by mixing chemicals in a test tube is like soldering switches and wires in an attempt to produce Windows 98. It won’t work because it addresses the problem at the wrong conceptual level.
    http://www.theguardian.com/edu.....ucation.uk

    The Cell as a Collection of Protein Machines
    “We have always underestimated cells. Undoubtedly we still do today,,, Indeed, the entire cell can be viewed as a factory that contains an elaborate network of interlocking assembly lines, each which is composed of a set of large protein machines.”
    Bruce Alberts: Former President, National Academy of Sciences;
    http://www.imbb.forth.gr/peopl.....erts98.pdf

    Molecular Machines – Wikipedia
    These proteins and their nanoscale dynamics are far more complex than any molecular machines that have yet been artificially constructed.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Molecular_machine

    Simplest Microbes More Complex than Thought
    Excerpt: The smallest, simplest cells are prokaryotes.,,,One of the papers in Science to which PhysOrg referred said that some 200 molecular machines are found in this little microbe.
    http://www.creationsafaris.com.....#20091229a

  161. 161
    Silver Asiatic says:

    …he bores us to death…

    Keith – I don’t know if repeating the exact same thing in another thread is the best way to stop the boredom. Maybe you do that only when someone says to you: “what a great post!”

    Just a thought.

  162. 162
    Mung says:

    Reciprocating Bill:

    A unique, wildly non-representative sample that reflects 1/50 quadrillionth of the total, a sample massively dwarfed by analogous instances the origins of which we do not yet understand. Seeing that as a dispositive signal of anything is the province of wishful thinking and assumed conclusions.

    And there is far more that we don’t know than what we do know, therefore we cannot know anything.

    Let’s take a couple examples:

    Far more organisms have lived and died than are represented in the fossil record, therefore no evolutionary inferences can be drawn from fossils.

    Far more DNA has existed than has been sampled. Therefore we can make no evolutionary inferences from DNA.

    Reciprocating Bill, anti-science. Bravo.

  163. 163
    Zachriel says:

    Zachriel: Can you provide a mathematical equation for FSCO/I? Not with fishing rods, but the actual calculation.

    kairosfocus: At first level, just look in a file list for your PC, what do you think the file sizes given are but measures of FSCO/I?

    Not an equation.

    kairosfocus: Proceed tot he info carrying capacity of R/RNA at 3 bits per base, and for functional proteins, 4.32 bits per AA residue.

    Not an equation either.

    You seem to be saying to take a functional sequence, then the FSCO/I will be the Shannon Information of the sequence. Is that correct?

    Mung: Far more organisms have lived and died than are represented in the fossil record … Far more DNA has existed than has been sampled.

    Then the question becomes whether the data is representative, and whether a detected pattern is statistically significant.

  164. 164

    OldArmy94:

    Personally, I don’t have a problem with ID not fitting into the narrow confines of the scientific method.

    I certainly have a problem with ID not fitting into the narrow confines of the scientific method (process by which hypothesis and theoretical models are developed and tested by evidence, not the exclusive “publish or perish” journal/magazine world academia gets its science news from).

  165. 165

    KF:

    RB, pardon, but it seems to me that a sample that takes in all cases where we know the actual cause separately, is not unrepresentative.

    Then, like Mung, you don’t know much about sampling in a scientific context, KF.

    Inferences from samples to larger populations have validity constrained by the degree to which the sample is representative of the population. Extensive efforts are typically made to draw samples of size and representativeness sufficient to support such inferences, characterized by statistical characteristics (e.g. power) that enable sample selection that is sufficient to determine both practical and statistical significance. Yet we know from the get-go that your sample is explicitly unrepresentative of the larger population in a central respect that has direct bearing upon the inference you claim to make: yours is a population of instances of FIASCO of which we know the provenance for a very special reason – they are all instances of human behavior – a characteristic shared by less than 1/50 quadrillionth (1/50,000 trillionth) of the entire population of claimed instances. The fact that we can know this causal provenance results precisely from the fact that it is a casual provenance that differs in crucial ways from the vast majority (and “vast majority” doesn’t even say it) of the population of claimed instances.

    Generalizing from this “sample” (it’s not a sample at all in any real respect) to the population as a whole is hopelessly misguided.

    ETA: “characterized by statistical characteristics (e.g power) that enable sample selection that is sufficient to determine both practical and statistical significance.”

  166. 166
    kairosfocus says:

    RB: The issue is inductive logic, and we know directly that every case where we know the causal story, FSCO/I results from design, on trillions of cases. We also know the sparse needle in haystack search challenge that gives us a highly plausible reason for the empirical unobservability of FSCO/I on blind chance and mechanical necessity, on grounds quite similar to those that statistically ground the second law of thermodynamics. The inference that FSCO/I is a reliable sign of design and is so strong that — absent an a priori imposition on origins science — it would be a no brainer. KF

  167. 167
    kairosfocus says:

    Z: The functional, operational procedure is chain length of structured string of y/n q’s to specify state is info metric in bits. The difference with the PC file sizes is they cluster in 8-bit chunks, bytes. A commonplace, and the refusal to acknowledge something so simple is telling. KF

  168. 168
    Zachriel says:

    kairosfocus: The functional, operational procedure is chain length of structured string of y/n q’s to specify state is info metric in bits.

    So if a sequence has some sort of function, then the FSCO/I is the Shannon Information of the sequence?

  169. 169
    kairosfocus says:

    KS, red herring led away to a strawman. First, you are dodging the point that gears are a case of FSCO/I, as is the wider Abu 6500 C3 . . . which you neatly suppressed by snipping out of context. It is FSCO/I that is the relevant, empirically observable sign of design. Where also, life forms abound in mechanisms, ball-socket joints (your hips), coded information tapes, readers and NC machines that use them (to make proteins), acid ion powered rotary motors (flagellum and ATP synthase), lenses, sensor arrays (retina, hearing), sonar (bats and whales . . . with closely similar genetic code involved) and ever so many more. I think a reasonable onlooker will easily see that the claimed boredom is that or resistance to an evident fact that the reel demonstrates: the reality of FSCO/I, its connexion to wiring diagram functionally specific patterns, and the onward way that uses node-arc networks to specify information content. I notice, that to date, regardless of direct demonstration of the reality of FSCO/I and how it readily yields information values, there is a refusal to acknowledge the point and in fact the same basic objections continue. In effect, the message being sent is: zero concessions just go away, don’t confront us with inconvenient facts, we are not going to change our minds — don’t bore us with those inconvenient facts. Sorry, the Abu 6500 C3 reel is a direct, concrete, readily understood demonstration of the reality of FSCO/I and its link to how specific function requires particular arrangements of interacting parts, yielding a pattern of islands of function in large configuration spaces. KF

  170. 170
    kairosfocus says:

    Z, one metric is Shannon info associated with functionally specific state. As has been pointed out literally seven years ago in the literature by Durston et al. KF

  171. 171
    Mung says:

    Mung: Far more organisms have lived and died than are represented in the fossil record … Far more DNA has existed than has been sampled.

    Zachriel: Then the question becomes whether the data is representative, and whether a detected pattern is statistically significant.

    Are you saying that something we know was designed may not in fact be designed because it consists of a sample of one?

  172. 172
    Mung says:

    Meanwhile, Reciprocating Bill sticks to his guns. The number of things which are unknown vastly out-number the number of things that are known. Therefore nothing can be known. The sample size just isn’t big enough.

    And RB continues to ignore the question:

    So you [Reciprocating Bill] reject evolution (natural events) as an explanation because we don’t know the origin of life?

    How else are we to understand what you wrote?

    Reciprocating Bill:

    …there are approximately five million trillion trillion bacteria on earth, each an instance of FSCO/I (you claim). As we don’t know the origins of life, the origins of these instances cannot be assigned either to design or to natural events unless one assumes a conclusion regarding the very question at issue.

  173. 173
    Zachriel says:

    kairosfocus: As has been pointed out literally seven years ago in the literature by Durston et al.

    Durston et al. measures something they define as FSC, not FSCO/I. It’s defined in terms not only of a given function, but the mutational specificity of the sequence for a given degree of function.

    kairosfocus: one metric is Shannon info associated with functionally specific state

    If we take FSCO/I to be the Shannon Information for a sequence with function, then the FSCO/I is the same for a sequence with weakly performing function or a sequence with a highly specified function.

  174. 174
    keith s says:

    KF #169,

    I think a reasonable onlooker will easily see that the claimed boredom is that or resistance to an evident fact that the reel demonstrates…

    A reasonable onlooker will see that you are dodging the question:

    Why has your purported Designer never used gears outside of Issus coleoptratus?

    Gears are a great idea, and humans use them all over the place. Your designer doesn’t. In fact, he acts an awful lot like unguided evolution.

    If the evidence points to unguided evolution, why infer design?

  175. 175
    Joe says:

    FSC is FSCO/I- both pertain to biological function and sequence specificity. If you have FSCO/I then you have FSC.

  176. 176
    Joe says:

    Why has your purported Designer never used gears outside of Issus coleoptratus?

    Asking us to prove a negative, keith? No one knows if what you say is true and unguided evolution can’t explain Issus coleoptratus– so you lose, regardless

    In fact, he acts an awful lot like unguided evolution.

    That is incorrect as unguided evolution is impotent and only intelligent design can explain the universe, the earth and living organisms.

    You lose, again

  177. 177
    Joe says:

    If we take FSCO/I to be the Shannon Information for a sequence with function, then the FSCO/I is the same for a sequence with weakly performing function or a sequence with a highly specified function.

    I don’t believe you. The tighter the specification the higher the information as the variational tolerance is low, meaning there is a smaller subset of possible specified sequences that can produce that function.

  178. 178
    Mung says:

    keiths:

    Gears are a great idea, and humans use them all over the place.

    Amazing then, that “unguided evolution” only managed to happen on them once.

    Eyes are a great idea too. And so “unguided evolution” managed to stumble across eyes numerous times.

    That’s why “unguided evolution” is so grand. It explains both the lack of gears and the abundance of eyes, both of which are a great idea.

    With “unguided evolution” you just can’t go wrong.

  179. 179
    Mung says:

    Why has your purported Designer never used gears outside of Issus coleoptratus?

    Who cares? A design used only once is still a design.

  180. 180

    AR said:

    US secularism guarantees your right to freedom to follow the religion of your choice. Your unique “spirituality” could get you condemned to death if you lived in Pakistan.

    Secularism, in and of itself, guarantees me nothing. China has a secular government and doesn’t tolerate much in the way of religious expression. “Secularism” is not the equivalent of “religious freedom”.

    The reason I have religious freedom is not because of secularism, but rather because a group of Christians considered it a divine right for people to worship god as they see fit, and considered that right transcendent to all state power.

    Without the concept of transcendent, natural rights, a concept not derivable from meager “secularism”, I would have no individual rights considered to be above the rule of the state. I would just be the property of the secular state to do with as it sees fit.

    It is not secularism that provides my right to freedom of religion, but rather the non-secular worldview that individuals have a transcendent right to liberty and freedom of belief.

    This is what your ilk does not understand in its blind pursuit of a secularized society; a government not bound by belief in the transcendent rights of man has no reason not to simply treat us as property, and every justification for doing so.

  181. 181

    Mung:

    So you [Reciprocating Bill] reject evolution (natural events) as an explanation because we don’t know the origin of life?
    How else are we to understand what you wrote?

    Reciprocating Bill:
    …there are approximately five million trillion trillion bacteria on earth, each an instance of FSCO/I (you claim). As we don’t know the origins of life, the origins of these instances cannot be assigned either to design or to natural events unless one assumes a conclusion regarding the very question at issue.

    We all understand that a solution to the OOL puzzle is far from at hand, although many tantalizing pieces are in the box and some corners and edges have been joined. I expect the problem to be solved within the framework of the natural sciences, although probably not in my lifetime, were I made to lay a bet. But I can’t simply assume that – perhaps the problem is insoluble, due not the least to the ~35 million centuries that separate us from those events.

    That said, I harbor no doubt that the general picture of the history of life subsequent to the OOL supplied by evolutionary science is correct.

    And that said, I think your contributions to UD would be a lot more valuable if you abandoned the snarknado approach to commenting, Mung.

  182. 182
    Graham2 says:

    WJM: Yeah, sure. I don’t know where you live, but in western countrys its precisely because religion is kept in check by secular authority that we have rights. If you want to see what happens when its not, go to one of the theocracies where they cut off hands etc.

    Don’t think it cant happen in good ole USA … the Christian dominionists, reconstructionists etc etc are just waiting for a chance to be let off the chain.

  183. 183
    groovamos says:

    Graham2 @ 117:

    I’ll make it simpler … ‘purpose’. Could you explain how we observe this ?

    I would think I’ve just read something from someone who is a perfect illustration and thus definitive product of the societal “built-in mechanisms” to which I referred @ 108. I tell you what Graham, if you have a child or grandchild 6~9 years old why don’t you perform an experiment. It will be based on the converse proposition, and the utility of the results will point to the usefulness of the premise. Tell that child that things with no purpose have no meaning for you which would be a perfectly logical premise. Then tell that child – and absolutely insist in all seriousness that you really mean this – that the face of that child has no purpose (the logical edification that the human face is a product of purposeless nature).

    I hope you really didn’t mean your query to read the way it does, and that you are just drawing us out to add more of a common sense approach to the thread. Really, the ongoing demolition of Darwinism is based on common sense, as it is with this common sense that we endeavor to appeal to awakening intuition in the average person, dulled as it may have been by the efforts of the intelligentsia.

  184. 184
    kairosfocus says:

    G2 & AR et al:

    Perhaps, a reminder of certain historic state-papers of the USA is in order:

    DOI, 1776: When . . . it becomes necessary for one people . . . to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

    We hold these truths to be self-evident, [cf Rom 1:18 – 21, 2:14 – 15], that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. –That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, –That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security . . . .

    We, therefore, the Representatives of the united States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions [Cf. Judges 11:27 and discussion in Locke], do, in the Name, and by the Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That these United Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States; that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do. And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.

    CONST, 1787: We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America . . . . [Main Body, Arts I – VII] . . . . Done in Convention by the Unanimous Consent of the States present the Seventeenth Day of September in the Year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred and Eighty seven and of the Independence of the United States of America the Twelfth. In Witness whereof We have hereunto subscribed our Names. . . . . [AMENDMENTS].

    To understand a tad more on the context for the first and the highlighted phrase in the latter, I suggest this call to penitence and prayer issued by the Continental Congress for May 1776:

    FOR MAY 1776: In times of impending calamity and distress; when the liberties of America are imminently endangered by the secret machinations and open assaults of an insidious and vindictive administration, it becomes the indispensable duty of these hitherto free and happy colonies, with true penitence of heart, and the most reverent devotion, publickly to acknowledge the over ruling providence of God; to confess and deplore our offences against him; and to supplicate his interposition for averting the threatened danger, and prospering our strenuous efforts in the cause of freedom, virtue, and posterity.. . . Desirous, at the same time, to have people of all ranks and degrees duly impressed with a solemn sense of God’s superintending providence, and of their duty, devoutly to rely, in all their lawful enterprizes, on his aid and direction, Do earnestly recommend, that Friday, the Seventeenth day of May next, be observed by the said colonies as a day of humiliation, fasting, and prayer; that we may, with united hearts, confess and bewail our manifold sins and transgressions, and, by a sincere repentance and amendment of life, appease his righteous displeasure, and, through the merits and mediation of Jesus Christ, obtain his pardon and forgiveness; humbly imploring his assistance to frustrate the cruel purposes of our unnatural enemies; . . . that it may please the Lord of Hosts, the God of Armies, to animate our officers and soldiers with invincible fortitude, to guard and protect them in the day of battle, and to crown the continental arms, by sea and land, with victory and success: Earnestly beseeching him to bless our civil rulers, and the representatives of the people, in their several assemblies and conventions; to preserve and strengthen their union, to inspire them with an ardent, disinterested love of their country; to give wisdom and stability to their counsels; and direct them to the most efficacious measures for establishing the rights of America on the most honourable and permanent basis—That he would be graciously pleased to bless all his people in these colonies with health and plenty, and grant that a spirit of incorruptible patriotism, and of pure undefiled religion, may universally prevail; and this continent be speedily restored to the blessings of peace and liberty, and enabled to transmit them inviolate to the latest posterity. And it is recommended to Christians of all denominations, to assemble for public worship, and abstain from servile labour on the said day.

    I would suggest that the secularised version of the rise of modern liberty and democracy that has become conventional wisdom, needs significant revision in light of some relevant evidence.

    Further to that, upon reflection on the valid part of Hume’s guillotine argument, you will find that in grounding rights (which are binding moral claims for respect rooted in our core nature . . . and thus purpose), the 1776 US DOI is correct to point to the only serious candidate IS that can ground OUGHT: the inherently good, creator God who is a necessary and maximally great being.

    As well as, the Reformation-rooted, double-covenant understanding of the community:

    i: nationhood under God per Ac 17 etc, and

    ii: government under God as further rooted in the premise that we are morally governed creatures endowed by God with purpose, conscience, reason and awareness of our common equality in His image.

    Yes, there has been a lot of emphasis on tyranny rooted in religious fanaticism or using religion as a part of its cloak of legitimacy.

    What has been needed but is conspicuously absent, is a balance informed by the major contribution of the Judaeo-Christian tradition to the rise of modern liberty and democratic self government rooted in the civil peace of justice. And, some reflection on secularist and/or neopagan abuses and tyrannies over the past century would also help us come to a sounder insight and balance. (I suggest a glance at some notes here on as a starter.)

    Namely, as aptly put by Lord Acton, that power tends to corrupt, that power without effective accountability or limit corrupts absolutely, and that by and large men who wield power as part of unaccountable circles of concentrated power and control or wealth are bad men.

    This, of course speaks straight to the problems of ever so many of the ambitious, the would be political messiahs and those who have actually taken power by manipulation and worse in our day.

    Failure to rebalance thought on this matter, in my considered view, is tantamount to a massive failure to learn and heed the lessons of history that were paid for in blood and tears. Such refusal predictably leads to paying the same price again, to relearn the hard way what could easily have been profited from, apart from the folly of being too wise in one’s own eyes to have simply read, pondered and heeded what we can find as close to hand as key state papers and classic works by deeply insightful men.

    But then, I am extremely pessimistic about the prospects of our civilisation at this time.

    It was Marx who aptly said, that history repeats itself, the first time as tragedy, the second as farce.

    KF

  185. 185
    kairosfocus says:

    WJM, thanks for an excellent summary. I hope my initial elaboration will prove of some use. KF

    PS: I should add that the 2nd para of the US DOI is as close to a political creed for me as anything is. I think school children should memorise it and be taught how to properly understand it.

  186. 186
    kairosfocus says:

    Mung & Joe: Thanks for some very on-point responses. I trust RB and KS will attend to them. KF

    PS: I hope the objectors who for so long so stridently objected to the observable and quantifiable reality of FSCO/I, and to its reliably observed cause, will at minimum be inclined to pay some heed to and acknowledge the force of Orgel’s extended citation and also to listen to Wicken on the significance of wiring diagram based functional organisation. (Cf. here on, which I have updated on your extension, Mung.)

  187. 187
    kairosfocus says:

    KS, I note, that I long since addressed gears as a particular manifestation of FSCO/I here. If you are willing to acknowledge that gears in an organism as a manifestation of FSCO/I point to design, that should be significant. If you wish instead to argue that gears and many other forms of FSCO/I in organisms can reasonably — per the vera causa (true cause) test — be accounted for on blind chance and mechanical necessity, the onus is on you to provide observational warrant that FSCO/I arises in that way. There are trillions of cases in point on how FSCO/I routinely, reliably comes about by design, and this is backed up by the needle in haystack, sparse blind search challenge. As to the notion, why use just once (that we are aware of), my thought still is — with all due respect, red herring, one led away from the pivotal issue, FSCO/I. Where, whether or no I or others have an answer has no relevance to the pivotal issue, again: FSCO/I as an inductively rooted, analytically plausible, strong sign of design. Where also, it is an instance of inherently unreasonable selective hyperskepticism to suggest or hold that unless one can answer any and/or all arbitrary tangential questions linked to a matter, then the pivotal one under discussion can be discarded. Taken at face value, that would instantly destroy the progressive, cumulative pursuit of scientific, historical, mathematical and many other forms of knowledge. KF

    PS: I add, that on pondering the protein assembly process that is ubiquitous in cell based life, the mRNA tape, tRNA codon-anticodon prong-height mesh/match system is a manifestation of the same interlocking principle used in gears.

  188. 188
    DavidD says:

    RB – “That said, I harbor no doubt that the general picture of the history of life subsequent to the OOL supplied by evolutionary science is correct.”

    So you are a person of Great Faith, thanks for sharing that

    —-

    RB – “And that said, I think your contributions to UD would be a lot more valuable if you abandoned the snarknado approach to commenting, Mung.”

    Amazing, the usual Double Standard and Pot to Kettle default answer. I’m curious, why do you not hold your people to the same self-righteous standard you demand from Mung, a people who are far more experienced and proficient in the practice of Snarkiness and Smartassism ?

    Personally I enjoy Mung’s humor which is the only true viable response to absurd rants and diatribes which are not ever meant to be taken seriously other than illustrating their hated for another person’s faith different from yours. Your above Faith Affirmation on OoL merely confirms this, so once again, thank you for the clarification and confirmation. All these debates and arguments on the evolutionist’s side has nothing to do with science, because it’s always been about the religion, which is why the theory was invented in the first place by a bitter old man who gained a sympathetic following over time. All Mung is doing is simply illustrating the absurdity with absurdity.

  189. 189
    Andre says:

    DavidD

    Personally I enjoy Mung’s humour which is the only true viable response to absurd rants and diatribes which are not ever meant to be taken seriously

    And this is exactly why I’ve changed my attitude and started replying with a bit of humour (funny or not). The nonsense we get subjected to everyday is ludicrous.

  190. 190
    Graham2 says:

    GA @183: Purpose. Im sure its lovely to have a purpose in life, but my point was: how do you observe such purpose ? Is it something in the air ? The shape of the clouds ? voices in the head ?

    What do you think is your purpose ?

  191. 191
    keith s says:

    KF #187,

    The point is that your Designer’s “behavior” with respect to gears makes a lot more sense if there is no designer.

    IDers are constantly fighting against the evidence in order to hang on to their religious preconceptions.

  192. 192
    keith s says:

    Graham2:

    voices in the head ?

    Yes, unfortunately.

  193. 193
    kairosfocus says:

    KS, Let’s see. We have gears as an example of FSCO/I where we have a strong inductive basis that FSCO/I is an index of design. We also have a situation where the same prong meshing principle of the gear is used in every cell that makes proteins, to couple codons to anticodons. Your response? Oh, we have only one known case of gears in life forms and were I the designer I would use them more frequently so I want to infer that the better explanation is no designer. That selective hyperskepticism rather suggests you wrote your conclusion before ever looking at the evidence. KF

  194. 194
    Joe says:

    RB:

    That said, I harbor no doubt that the general picture of the history of life subsequent to the OOL supplied by evolutionary science is correct.

    LoL! Most people do harbor doubt that the general picture of the history of life subsequent to the OOL supplied by evolutionary science is correct. That is because not one biologist can test the claim- no one can. It isn’t science.

  195. 195
    Joe says:

    IDers are constantly fighting against the evidence …

    You keep saying that as if saying it means something. The reality is keith and his ilk are constantly fighting against the evidence and that has been supported many time over.

  196. 196

    Graham2 said:

    WJM: Yeah, sure. I don’t know where you live, but in western countrys its precisely because religion is kept in check by secular authority that we have rights.

    Nothing could be further from the truth. The only reason the modern concept of inviolable human rights exist and has been employed as a foundational limitation to governance here in the west is because of Christianity, period. The founding forefathers were explicit that while some degree of secularism was necessary to keep religious persecution by the government in check, they also firmly held that a common religious foundation was essential to keep the country intact.

    This is why the founding government of the USA did things like purchase and distribute Bibles and pay churches to proselytize on the frontier and in the army rank and file.

    A secular “authority” that isn’t constrained by religious beliefs consilient with the idea of inviolable human rights and a sacrosanct view of personal liberty is … well … China, or the old Soviet Union, where there is no such thing as “human rights” and no higher authority than the state.

    If you want to see what happens when its not, go to one of the theocracies where they cut off hands etc.

    I agree that theocracies are bad; so are entirely secular governments. The more secularized a society becomes, the more and more personal liberty and individual rights become nothing more than commodities the state uses and adjusts according to its agenda and for the benefit of the elite.

    Don’t think it cant happen in good ole USA … the Christian dominionists, reconstructionists etc etc are just waiting for a chance to be let off the chain.

    Well, it’s nice of you to validate my thesis about the nature of anti-ID advocates. Your anti-Christian fear is palpable, as it is with most who come here to argue.

    I doubt anything I say can penetrate the mind of someone focused on theocratic conspiracies involving a handful of supposed zealots while oblivious to the current, ongoing erosion and commoditization of his liberties and rights by secular, big-state, crony-capitalist socialists/marxists.

    There’s a term for people who have their fears and idealism manipulated into aiding those wishing to establish fascism: useful idiots.

  197. 197
    kairosfocus says:

    KS,

    I should note on your projection about fighting evidence to maintain preconceptions:

    0 –> Actually, Lewontin got the lock on that for a priori materialism (just a prelim point):

    It is not that the methods and institutions of science somehow compel us to accept a material explanation of the phenomenal world, but, on the contrary, that we are forced by our a priori adherence to material causes [[–> another major begging of the question . . . ] to create an apparatus of investigation and a set of concepts that produce material explanations, no matter how counter-intuitive, no matter how mystifying to the uninitiated. Moreover, that materialism is absolute [[–> i.e. here we see the fallacious, indoctrinated, ideological, closed mind . . . ], for we cannot allow a Divine Foot in the door. [NYRB article 1997, cf here for wider cite with highlights and annotations, this is not quote mined pace a common attempted rebuttal point.]

    1 –> I note, it is possible to be a theologically responsible Christian and accept universal common descent by evolutionary mechanisms. (And indeed, the co-founder of evo theory, Wallace, believed the evidence pointed to intelligently directed evolution, cf his The World of Life.)

    2 –> I point this out to indicate, that I do not accept the design inference on FSCO/I as applied to the world of life for theological a priori reasons. (I do so for the simple reason that that’s where the inductive logic points, backed up by the same sort of needle in haystack search challenge that leads me to accept the 2nd law of thermodynamics in statistical form.)

    3 –> I must point out that the evidence of the cell, relative o what we know about physics, chem and thermo-d, makes OOL scenarios pivoting on blind chance and mechanical necessity utterly implausible, such that the major school of thought currently stand in mutual ruin.

    4 –> Therefore, I find myself led to see that cell based life, chock full of FSCO/I, is credibly designed — the ONLY empirically known cause of FSCO/I . . . backed up by needle in haystack analysis in the context of the implications of Wicken wiring diagram interactive organisation to achieve function, aka go to a tackle shop and inspect an Abu 6500 C3 reel for yourself to rivet the reality of FSCO/I. That puts design at the table right from the root of the tree of life, and decisively shifts estimation of evidence beyond that point on origin of body plans and key features right up to the critical linguistic equipment that is so closely associated with human intelligence.

    5 –> And that BTW is a part of the context in which I have for over two years put on the table an open invitation to darwinists, that I would host a 6000 word essay on the tree of life, if they can provide a cogently argued, empirically grounded case. No serious takers to date — but a lot of attacks and sneering.

    6 –> Beyond the world of life, I look as well as one trained in physical sciences and fascinated with astronomy since my youth, to the issue of cosmological fine tuning. (Now you know some of the context in which Sir Fred Hoyle is a personal scientific hero.)

    7 –> I find the cumulative evidence of fine tuning highly instructive, especially how the cosmos is so set up from core physics that the first four most abundant elements are H, He, O, C, with N close by. Stars and galaxies, the rest of the periodic table, water with its astonishing cluster or properties, swiss army knife organic chem based on C as connector block atom [the SAK is another common case of FSCO/I], proteins — bang, bang, bang, bang. With properties written into the physics of the cosmos.

    8 –> Hoyle’s phrasing is apt: a put-up job. Mind ontologically before matter as cosmos.

    9 –> I turn to computation vs contemplation, and see that rocks cannot credibly dream, and that computation on refined rocks is a blind mechanical process. Mindedness is something that is ontologically distinct from what rocks do, and mindedness brings forth the intellect and the volitional, including causal effects. I may not understand all of it — none of us does, but must pay it some serious respect. Haldane’s retort on materialistic reductionism is still telling 80+ years later:

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

    10 –> Then, I find that the first principles of reason, linked weak form sufficient reason and necessity vs contingency of being speak volumes on how I should understand reality, building my worldview.

    11 –> For me, the decisive pivot is, to see that I and others of like nature are inescapably morally governed creatures. The only basis for that, on the IS-OUGHT gap challenge, is in the worldview foundations, an IS who grounds OUGHT. The only serious candidate is an inherently good creator God, who is a necessary and maximally great being.

    12 –> So, I am a theist on philosophical principles, utterly separate from being an intellectually satisfied Christian on experience with God — including being alive today and not in the grave 40 years since because of miracles of guidance — and on a pattern of historical warrant I find decisive regarding Jesus of Nazareth.

    So, KS, I am not at all struggling with overwhelming opposed evidence at all. Far from it.

    Your imagined picture is a rhetorically loaded strawman projection.

    Please, revise it.

    KF

  198. 198
    kairosfocus says:

    WJM, I see you have nailed the real danger we all face aptly: FASCISM, rooted in Nietzschean superman political messianism that allegedly rescues us from an utterly unprecedented crisis that frightens us into letting go of liberty to gain security. And yes, Fascism is a strange neo-marxian hybrid that has deep roots in marxism, but knows how to strike at first mutually beneficial deals with the crony capitalists and cartelised industries . . . or with any other relevant centres of power. Then, people learn the hard way — yet again — on what it is to strike a deal with the devil. KF

  199. 199
    Silver Asiatic says:

    Mung

    Amazing then, that “unguided evolution” only managed to happen on them once.

    Eyes are a great idea too. And so “unguided evolution” managed to stumble across eyes numerous times.

    That’s why “unguided evolution” is so grand. It explains both the lack of gears and the abundance of eyes, both of which are a great idea.

    With “unguided evolution” you just can’t go wrong.

    True! When “unguided evolution” needed some gears, it gradually created them. First the insect couldn’t move around at all. Then a few sprockets appeared on one side. Fortunately, evolution is smart enough to realize that the insect needed sprockets that match on the other side! And then it just worked out great. Mutations are simply wonderful whenever you need to build a gear mechanism. Great job evolution!

    This also is an excellent example of what “unguided evolution” looks like, not something designed. I picked that up right away in the article:

    “We usually think of gears as something that we see in human designed machinery, but we’ve found that that is only because we didn’t look hard enough,” Sutton said. “These gears are not designed; they are evolved—representing high speed and precision machinery evolved for synchronisation in the animal world.”

    Wait a minute. This is supposed to look like unguided evolution. Why did Mr. Sutton need to tell me that the gears are not designed? I guess he thinks that only ID supporters read the Smithsonian and we have to be warned about imagining that the gears were designed.

    Ok, from now on, whenever I see high speed precision machinery I need to think of mutations. I’ll try to be a good boy and remember “they are evolved”.

  200. 200
    Box says:

    Keith: Why has your purported Designer never used gears outside of Issus coleoptratus?

    The gear in the flagellum doesn’t count? Why is that? Is nano-level discriminated against?

  201. 201
  202. 202
    groovamos says:

    Graham:

    What do you think is your purpose ?

    I watch my fingers purposely tapping keys here. I am opposing ridiculous argumentation on purpose (our language is filled with such purposeful constructs). That is why we will win over the average person because we can ridicule your arguments with common sense, and reduce Darwinism to a laughable cultural detour. Above average people like Thomas Nagle have been watching this large debate and are then able to write a book like Mind And Cosmos and at many places state an appeal to common sense as a counter to materialism. One more example: I frequently go to Paypal and transfer $100 to this website. That money has a new purpose once it is received, so how can that be if I have no purpose? Go ahead, claim I have no purpose – you just do our work for us when you do it.

    Purpose. Im sure its lovely to have a purpose in life, but my point was: how do you observe such purpose ? Is it something in the air ? The shape of the clouds ? voices in the head ?

    Lets consider another thought experiment. Since you (by not answering my above proposal) apparently would have no problem telling a kid to their face that their face is meaningless to you, we’ll make it about faces. By the way thank you if that is the case; that you would be OK in that, for you are again doing our work for us and the young folk reading here can start to see the relevant absurdities writ large, just by using common sense. And I can point to you as a example of what scientism entails and what it does to people.

    OK the thought experiment goes like this. We go to a small company headquarters, say a bank with 1000 employees on site. We offer them $50,000,000 to require every employee in the building to wear a head-covering mask, at all times for one workday. Do you think the bank would take the money? We could even present you, Graham, as the front man for the experiment and you could persuade them that certainly since their faces have no purpose, that business would go forward with no disruption. Because science has proven that nothing in life has meaning.

    Thank you very much for your time.

  203. 203
    Alicia Renard says:

    Barry Arrington writes:

    (in response to my “There is no question that Abu Ambassadeur and other fishing reels were designed and built by Swedes.”

    AR @ 155.

    Indicia of design exist. KF’s fishing reel bears such indicia. Yes, we know the provenance of the design with respect to the fishing reel. Why is it so hard to accept that indicia of design point to an intelligent agent, and in some cases that intelligent agent might not be human? Are you suggesting that we know for certain that humans are the only beings in the universe capable of complex designs?

    It requires no effort at all to accept that the Abu Ambassadeur reel was designed and built by Swedes. My father had several examples. He worked for a rival company and was tasked with reverse-engineering the design with a view to developing a similar product. His company gave up on it. And I would be the first to suggest there are limits to our knowledge. We cannot see beyond the past light-cone of the Earth.

    I think a better word that would lead to less confusion would be “purposeful” rather than “intelligent”. It better describes people, tool-using primates, beavers, bees and termites. The more important distinction should be made between material purposeful agents about which I cannot imagine we could disagree (aforesaid humans, other primates, etc) and immaterial agents for which we have no evidence or indicia (LOL). As I said previously, if an immaterial agent were writing in the snow, we could observe the apparently uncaused marks appear. An immaterial agent that has entailments could be the subject of a scientific investigation if someone were prepared to offer an opinion (or even a hypothesis) on when, how often, and on what this immaterial agent acts, there should be some interesting physics at the interface between the immùaterial action and the material reaction.

  204. 204
    Barry Arrington says:

    AR @ 203:

    Why do you believe the agent posited by ID advocates is necessarily immaterial? Craig Venter is not immaterial.

  205. 205
    Alicia Renard says:

    WJM writes:

    So, if one doesn’t take ID seriously, the question is, why bother debating it? Why bother acting like you’re involved in a serious dialogue?

    Whilst it’s true to say I don’t take ID seriously as a scientific (or philosophical) viewpoint, it does not mean I do not take ID proponents seriously. I think there are some ID proponents who appear genuinely convinced there is some value in the concept and that intrigues me.

    Like so many others of AR’s ilk, they don’t come here to “debate” at all; if they don’t take ID ideas seriously, what compels them to involve themselves?

    I don’t usually do grammar police but you should reread the above and see if you might not like to rephrase it. It doesn’t make any sense as written. Who is “they”?

    What they do take seriously, IMO, is the ideological threat ID poses to their socio-political agenda. Which is why many of them (like AR, apparently) involve themselves only inasmuch as they can add to the ridicule, dismissal, obfuscation, and denial of those ID ideas.

    Who is “they”? What agenda? What ID ideas?

    This is why we do not get serious, well-thought arguments and reasonable inferences but rather nothing but invective-laced denials. Perhaps a better line of argument with anti-ID advocates would be to tackle their misguided fears about having a Bible-literal “theocracy” imposed on them and their misguided pursuit of an entirely secularized, materialist society.

    The world-at-large takes no notice of the pronouncements of WJM, KF or Barry Arrington, I’m afraid. I think you misunderstand what secularism entails. It entails true intellectual freedom for a plurality of beliefs.

    While it probably would be a better targeted approach because IMO anti-IDism (as demonstrated by AR and others here) is a symptom of a larger socio-political worldview conflict, it would probably be as futile to make a worldview case as a scientific one. Materialists/darwinists/anti-theists are highly emotionally committed against religion/spirituality/theism. Their position is apparently not only immune to rational discourse, but actively avoids and attempts to undermine it.

    Talk up “Intelligent Design” as much as you want. There has been no genuine progress with the ID paradigm since William Paley.

  206. 206
    Alicia Renard says:

    Barry Arrington writes:

    Why do you believe the agent posited by ID advocates is necessarily immaterial?

    Because I am under the impression that one example of the “Intelligent Designer’s” handiwork is the bacterial flagellum. There are no material candidate design agents around three billion or so years ago. Or are there?

    Craig Venter is not immaterial.

    I’ll go along with that. Where does that get us?

  207. 207
    kairosfocus says:

    Onlookers, observe how objectors to the design inference on FSCO/I continue to do almost anything to avoid acknowledging that something like the Abu 6500 C3 manifests FSCO/I, which can be expressed in a Aicken wiring diagram and quantified informationally as a result. That speaks volumes. KF

  208. 208
    Alicia Renard says:

    KF writes:

    Onlookers, observe how objectors to the design inference on FSCO/I continue to do almost anything to avoid acknowledging that something like the Abu 6500 C3 manifests FSCO/I, which can be expressed in a Aicken wiring diagram and quantified informationally as a result. That speaks volumes. KF

    I’m still bemused why you should think a fishing reel has anything to tell us regarding biology.

  209. 209
    Axel says:

    @Me_Think #123

    Back again like a bad penny. But it strikes me that, in a merely half-sane world, right from the moment when non locality was first established, but also in the light of its multifarious confirmations, as iteratively adumbrated by BA77, even more so, QM should have been a game-changer.

    However, your remark that BA77 is a ‘great fan’ of QM strikes me as, in principle at least, an utterly astonishing remark for a scientist to make.

    ‘In principle’ and yet clearly not in practice, since the implication of QM as an ephemeral, show-business phenomenon, is perfectly consistent with atheism, the world-view giving rise to materialism, your foundational hypothesis, and not simply espoused by yourself, but by atheism’s ‘naive realists’,* generally, since QM’s confirmed mathematical proofs are unassailable, and as such, continue to demand the renunciation by atheists of their outdated, discredited, atheistic hypothesis.

    *Blame Albert for that one.

  210. 210
    Barry Arrington says:

    AR @ 206:

    There are no material candidate design agents around three billion or so years ago.

    You don’t know that. Those, like atheist Leslie Orgel, who believe in directed panspermia would disagree with you.

    I’ll go along with [the assertion that Craig Venter is not immaterial]. Where does that get us?

    It gets us to the conclusion that there is no reason to exclude embodied material designers from candidates for “designer” of biological structures on an a priori basis, as you seem to want to do.

    And the next step is that one need not posit an immaterial supernatural designer to make a design inference regarding a biological structure.

  211. 211
    Joe says:

    There has been no genuine progress with the ID paradigm since William Paley.

    How would you know? What genuine progress has been made with the blind watchmaker paradigm?

    I’m still bemused why you should think a fishing reel has anything to tell us regarding biology.

    And we are bemused why anyone should think the blind watchmaker paradigm has something to offer.

  212. 212
    kairosfocus says:

    AR: Pardon, but the connexion was laid out for you and others over and over again. The Abu 6500 C3 is an example of FSCO/I in a familiar undeniable context. Pace what many, many posts tried to dismiss over a very long time, FSCO/I is real, and it is quantifiable in informational terms. So, when we see the same pattern of functionally specific complex organisation and associated information in biosystems [try D/RNA code driven protein synthesis as a capital case in point central to life function], we have a very direct basis to apply the same findings. Where, we know that FSCO/I per trillions of cases has only one observed and plausible cause, design, leading to an inductively strong inference from FSCO/I to design as vera causa warranted, best current explanation — one that would have to be broken by showing FSCO/I per actual observation emerging by blind chance and mechanical necessity, which many objectors formerly tried to show and repeatedly failed, which is what led to the current rhetorical tactics of denial, dismissal and obfuscation. That, too has been laid out again and again, what you and others are now reduced to putting up is various selectively hyperskeptical gambits. KF

  213. 213
    Joe says:

    Intelligent Design is about the design, as in the detection and study of. The intelligent designer(s) and specific process(es), for example are separate questions from whether or not there is intelligent design.

    It isn’t that our opponents are ignorant of how science works. The problem is they think their ignorance means something and is actually an issue for ID.

  214. 214
    kairosfocus says:

    PS: A discussion of the reality of FSCO/I using the Abu 6500 C3 reel is here:

    http://www.uncommondescent.com.....and-dfsci/

    FSCO/I in the same, is shown to be a bridge from the technological to the biological worlds (unsurprising, given what Orgel and Wicken long since said), and per inductive reasoning and linked analysis on needles in haystacks, to be an inductively strong sign of design as cause.

    Also, on seeing that FSCO/I is a trace from the past of the origin of life and of body plans, we should note that to scientifically, inductively infer a reasonable explanation we must apply the vera causa principle.

    That is, we explain on directly known, truly adequate causes.

    Where, for FSCO/I, on trillions of cases in point, intelligently directed configuration aka design, is the only actually known cause of FSCO/I.

    So, again, FSCO/I is the bridge between the world of technology exemplified by the Abu 6500 reel, and the world of biological origins.

  215. 215
    kairosfocus says:

    PPS: Here as also updated will also help clarify:

    http://www.uncommondescent.com.....exity-not/

  216. 216
    groovamos says:

    Alicia Renard:

    The world-at-large takes no notice of the pronouncements of WJM, KF or Barry Arrington, I’m afraid.

    Afraid really? Philosophical materialists are obviously afraid of this website and blog, which Barry runs or they wouldn’t obsessively come here over and over and crack up with pronouncements like the following absurdity:

    I think you misunderstand what secularism entails. It entails true intellectual freedom for a plurality of beliefs.

    A teacher in almost any high school in states that don’t protect them from such, will be fired for bringing up the controversy played out on this website. I have asked several Darwinists on this board to explain to me the step by step buildup of the scores of trillions of cilia in the mammalian trachea/bronchial system all acting in wavelike concert to expel mucus. And I ask for the selective advantage conferred by each step. And I ask for the selective advantage conferred by that first cilium or maybe even the first million. They can never come up with any coherent answer. If I were a teacher in high school and told the story in class that I just now tell, I would be fired almost certainly. If at a university I would be denied tenure and forced to resign.

    So Alicia we appreciate your opinion here, because it does our work for us, showing the young folk what your cultural viewpoint entails regarding intellectual freedom.

    Talk up “Intelligent Design” as much as you want. There has been no genuine progress with the ID paradigm since William Paley.

    Conveniently you leave out the conversion from atheism to deism of the late Anthony Flew, the premier UK philosopher of the modern era, after his reading of the ID debate. Conveniently you leave out the serious discussions of ID by Thomas Nagel, the premier academic philosopher in the U.S. @ NYU. Conveniently you leave out the academic freedom legislation passed in Tennessee (http://www.capitol.tn.gov/Bill.....HB0368.pdf), Louisiana, and pending in other states which are modeled after sample legislation sourced by the ID project. These bills have withstood court tests and protect educators from threats to intellectual freedom (as referenced above) which you invoke as your ideal.

    Final notes: ID is advancing in a world-wide crescendo, there is a UK ID project, one in Turkey, and look what has happened with the one in Brazil: http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....91381.html

    The world-at-large takes no notice of the pronouncements of WJM, KF or Barry Arrington, I’m afraid.

    Sorry but this ID promoting website is one of the two major ones in the English speaking world; Barry runs it and I support it financially as do others. So your attempt at take down of him and the contributors and their influence falls face down in the mud. People in power all over the country are following our debate challenge and passing laws to protect the spread of the debate as it moves into the classroom.

  217. 217
    Graham2 says:

    GA: I cant speak for the other heathens, but I come here for the same reason I stare at car crashes.

    ID has had zero impact on anything, but it is revealing to watch religious minds at work. You have all decided that some gods or other are a good idea, now all you have to do is shoehorn science to fit, and all the Dembski nonsense follows.

    What happened to all the IDEA clubs ? If ID is the new wave, surely those rascally student would love a cause to stick up the establishment, but all they have done is yawn and walk away.

  218. 218

    Graham2:

    If ID is the new wave, surely those rascally student would love a cause to stick up the establishment, but all they have done is yawn and walk away.

    In other places (other than UD) ID type thinking is not the controversy it once was:

    http://www.planetsourcecode.co.....8;lngWId=1

    Other models and code by me:

    http://www.planetsourcecode.co.....8;lngWId=1

    BioLogos is the Darwinian version of UD, where as you can see even in the “Evolutionary Creation” brand Creationism it’s OK to talk religiously about scientific theory without the scientific theory having to be thrown out of science:

    https://biologos.org/

    It is extremely unscientific to suggest that religious minded discussions found at UD and elsewhere are reason to dismiss computer models with theory of operation to program “intelligent cause” events.

    Due to the way science works the scientific controversy is already over. ID already won, real good. But the religious controversy goes on.

    As a result of changes that already happened you are now like at BioLogos wondering when the religious talking will stop then all get busy writing their scientific theory.

  219. 219
    groovamos says:

    Graham @217:

    ID has had zero impact on anything….

    Really now. So how would you reconcile that with academic freedom legislation passed in Tennessee and Louisiana, crafted by legislators in consultation with fellows at Discovery Institute? Again, here is that link just for you: http://www.capitol.tn.gov/Bill.....HB0368.pdf

    I cant speak for the other heathens….

    Certainly you can; every single one of you wants the same for our school children, and for our wider culture, and that is universal belief that nature created itself. Which is based on ZERO evidence but of course you know this. And that is the reason you come here, because we stand in your way, insulting your faith in a universe creating itself.

    …but all they have done is yawn and walk away.

    Looks like that isn’t happening in Brazil:

    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....91381.html

    So thank you Graham for the opportunity to post the same links all over again, just seemed like you played up the issues just for reiteration there.

    Now readers following you and me probably have noticed that you didn’t bother to answer regarding my two thought experiments proposed to you @183 and @202. I propose to you that you are at least averse to do it if not deep down unconsciously afraid. Because you would have to answer for people’s faces having no purpose or meaning for you, or admit your position is a ridiculous contradiction. I don’t really blame a person for fear, but I can blame a person for refusing self-examination.

    …but I come here for the same reason I stare at car crashes.

    No you don’t. You can’t post your ideological position at a car crash. You come here to try to knock down people you think are anti-science, who then get to point out to you your non-scientific belief in a self-creating universe, a pure science fiction which will forever remain fiction.

    Again thank you for your time, now I would appreciate your taking up my two human face experimental challenges.

  220. 220
    wd400 says:

    A teacher in almost any high school in states that don’t protect them from such, will be fired for bringing up the controversy played out on this website

    A science teacher who taught ID as a valid scientific alternative to mainstream biology should be fired, though they probably wouldn’t be.

    I don’t think most secularists would object to a social studies teacher merely bringing up the fact people hold other beliefs.

  221. 221

    wd400:

    A science teacher who taught ID as a valid scientific alternative to mainstream biology should be fired, though they probably wouldn’t be.

    What do you think will happen when the teacher gives a judge a link to the computer models at Planet Source Code and the following text (clicking on my name also links to) so they can see what students who showed an interest in ID or beginners level cognitive science coding were actually given to experiment with?

    https://sites.google.com/site/theoryofid/home/TheoryOfIntelligentDesign.pdf

  222. 222
    Mung says:

    Reciprocating Bill:

    And that said, I think your contributions to UD would be a lot more valuable if you abandoned the snarknado approach to commenting, Mung.

    And here I thought I had been working hard to improve myself. In the past I would have just been downright rude to people who deserved rudeness. Now I am just snarky.

    Some people claim you can attract more flies with honey than with vinegar. I guess that’s fine if you want to attract flies. But then, a corpse also attracts flies.

    I adapt myself to the level of competition. Why waste more energy than is required? It’s the evolutionary imperative.

    Let’s go back to the original material.

    You said:

    …there are approximately five million trillion trillion bacteria on earth, each an instance of FSCO/I (you claim). As we don’t know the origins of life, the origins of these instances cannot be assigned … to natural events unless one assumes a conclusion regarding the very question at issue.

    According to you, as we don’t know the origins of life, the origins of these instances [of approximately five million trillion trillion bacteria on earth] cannot be assigned to natural events unless one assumes a conclusion regarding the very question at issue.

    That’s what you said. So why can’t you just stick by what you said? Instead we get from you your weasel response at 181. It should be no wonder that I get snarky.

  223. 223

    AR said:

    It [secularism] entails true intellectual freedom for a plurality of beliefs.

    Can you support this assertion? From Merriam-Webster:

    indifference to or rejection or exclusion of religion and religious considerations

    I don’t see where anything you claim about secularism is true.

  224. 224
    kairosfocus says:

    F/N: Let’s refocus the we don’t know the deep past of origins scientific issue by citing the title of Lyell’s main work, which is a foundational text for scientific approaches to the deep unobservable past, i.e. historical sciences:

    PRINCIPLES OF GEOLOGY:

    BEING AN INQUIRY HOW FAR THE FORMER CHANGES OF THE EARTH’S SURFACE REFERABLE TO CAUSES NOW IN OPERATION.

    That is, we see here a pattern of inference to best current explanation conditioned by the vera causa principle that causal adequacy relative to traces from the past should be established on reasonable empirically based grounds.

    1 –> Relevant phenomenon, FSCO/I, which per things like the Abu 6500 C3 i a commonplace of a technological world, and which per trillions of cases of observation, is known to be caused by intelligently directed configuration — aka design.

    2 –> This phenomenon is observable and quantifiable, per its linked or explicit information content. This, by applying well known approaches of information theory that are in the literature over decades.

    3 –> The phenomenon FSCO/I also appears in the world of life based on cells, such as may be seen in protein synthesis, the related data storage structure of D/RNA and codes, in the integrated reaction sets of metabolic processes, etc.

    4 –> Such lie at the core of life forms and are generally regarded as traces from the origin of cell based life.

    5 –> One extension of these, is the capability of cells to self-replicate, which likewise is a core characteristic tracing to the era of OOL. Where, it is known that codes and algorithms integrated with the metabolic processes etc are involoved e.g. through protein synthesis.

    6 –> That is, we have integration of gsted, encapsulated metabolic automata, with associated coded information storage and algorithmic expression using molecular nanomachines, and with an integral von Neumann kinematic self-replication facility [vNSR].

    7 –> All of this is richly embedded with FSCO/I.

    8 –> It is therefore reasonable to assess the project of explaining origin of same on relevant causal candidates, such as the physics and chemistry linked to mechanical necessity and blind chance processes which apply to warm salty ponds, and/or comet cores etc as have been discussed over decades. And alternatively, to intelligently directed configuration.

    9 –> Immediately, FSCO/I has never been credibly observed to originate by blind chance and/or mechanical necessity, in general and in particular through relevant physics, chemistry and especially thermodynamics, nor is this plausible per needle in haystack search challenge in the configuration space involved.

    10 –> Not only on the suggestion of full, spontaneous generation of a living cell, but also scenarios that appeal to RNA worlds and other less well defined self replicating molecules.

    11 –> Indeed, this is the reason why OOL studies stand currently in serious trouble, aptly summed up in the following exchange of mutual ruin between Orgel and Shapiro:

    [[Shapiro:] RNA’s building blocks, nucleotides contain a sugar, a phosphate and one of four nitrogen-containing bases as sub-subunits. Thus, each RNA nucleotide contains 9 or 10 carbon atoms, numerous nitrogen and oxygen atoms and the phosphate group, all connected in a precise three-dimensional pattern . . . . [[S]ome writers have presumed that all of life’s building could be formed with ease in Miller-type experiments and were present in meteorites and other extraterrestrial bodies. This is not the case.

    A careful examination of the results of the analysis of several meteorites led the scientists who conducted the work to a different conclusion: inanimate nature has a bias toward the formation of molecules made of fewer rather than greater numbers of carbon atoms, and thus shows no partiality in favor of creating the building blocks of our kind of life . . . .

    To rescue the RNA-first concept from this otherwise lethal defect, its advocates have created a discipline called prebiotic synthesis. They have attempted to show that RNA and its components can be prepared in their laboratories in a sequence of carefully controlled reactions, normally carried out in water at temperatures observed on Earth . . . .

    Unfortunately, neither chemists nor laboratories were present on the early Earth to produce RNA . . .

    [[Orgel:] If complex cycles analogous to metabolic cycles could have operated on the primitive Earth, before the appearance of enzymes or other informational polymers, many of the obstacles to the construction of a plausible scenario for the origin of life would disappear . . . .

    It must be recognized that assessment of the feasibility of any particular proposed prebiotic cycle must depend on arguments about chemical plausibility, rather than on a decision about logical possibility . . . few would believe that any assembly of minerals on the primitive Earth is likely to have promoted these syntheses in significant yield . . . . Why should one believe that an ensemble of minerals that are capable of catalyzing each of the many steps of [[for instance] the reverse citric acid cycle was present anywhere on the primitive Earth [[8], or that the cycle mysteriously organized itself topographically on a metal sulfide surface [[6]? . . . Theories of the origin of life based on metabolic cycles cannot be justified by the inadequacy of competing theories: they must stand on their own . . . .

    The prebiotic syntheses that have been investigated experimentally almost always lead to the formation of complex mixtures. Proposed polymer replication schemes are unlikely to succeed except with reasonably pure input monomers. No solution of the origin-of-life problem will be possible until the gap between the two kinds of chemistry is closed. Simplification of product mixtures through the self-organization of organic reaction sequences, whether cyclic or not, would help enormously, as would the discovery of very simple replicating polymers. However, solutions offered by supporters of geneticist or metabolist scenarios that are dependent on “if pigs could fly” hypothetical chemistry are unlikely to help.

    12 –> The basic reason, of course is that neither of the main models, genes or metabolism first (with the former enfolding RNA world), has passed the vera causa test.

    13 –> However, we do know a reliable, routinely observed cause of FSCO/I. Design.

    14 –> We also know that codes, algorithms and associated information systems are inherently goal-oriented and symbol using, which are well known patterns of conscious design.

    15 –> Moreover, we are taking first steps in genetic and nanotech engineering, including molecular nanotech, such as we can see from the works of Venter et al.

    16 –> FSCO/I by design, using molecular nanotech is not an unreasonable candidate cause for the FSCO/I in life forms, absent imposition of a priori evolutionary materialism (often in the guise of seemingly plausible mere methodological requirements that are rooted in naturalism).

    17 –> So, we do have a serious candidate for OOL, design. It does not need to be imposed on pretence that it is fact, Fact, FACT, but it would be a reasonable approach to hold that this is the candidate cause that has the advantage of invoking known adequate causal factors.

    18 –> Similarly, major body plans that unfold from zygotes or the like through embryological development or comparable processes, are again chock full of FSCO/I.

    19 –> In may cases, systems from cellular level on up exhibit irreducible complexity, where the interaction of core components to achieve function is such that each is necessary and all in proper arrangement and coupling are jointly sufficient for the core function. An engineering commonplace. And a roadblock to incremental origin, often countered by suggestion of shifting of components from one use to another, exaptation

    20 –> Where, as Angus Menuge observes for the bacterial flagellum, a rotary action outboard motor using dozens of protein parts and the :

    For a working [bacterial] flagellum to be built by exaptation, the five following conditions would all have to be met:

    C1: Availability. Among the parts available for recruitment to form the flagellum, there would need to be ones capable of performing the highly specialized tasks of paddle, rotor, and motor, even though all of these items serve some other function or no function.

    C2: Synchronization. The availability of these parts would have to be synchronized so that at some point, either individually or in combination, they are all available at the same time.

    C3: Localization. The selected parts must all be made available at the same ‘construction site,’ perhaps not simultaneously but certainly at the time they are needed.

    C4: Coordination. The parts must be coordinated in just the right way: even if all of the parts of a flagellum are available at the right time, it is clear that the majority of ways of assembling them will be non-functional or irrelevant.

    C5: Interface compatibility. The parts must be mutually compatible, that is, ‘well-matched’ and capable of properly ‘interacting’: even if a paddle, rotor, and motor are put together in the right order, they also need to interface correctly.

    ( Agents Under Fire: Materialism and the Rationality of Science, pgs. 104-105 (Rowman & Littlefield, 2004). HT: ENV.)

    21 –> This cluster is again familiar from the world of technology. Whilst one does not re-invent the wheel, applying it to particular circumstances may be non-trivial. (I recall here the actual case of strapping an engineer into the wheel well of German aircraft in WW II, to observe how the wheels deployed and worked in landing, due to difficulties with landing gear design.)

    22 –> Even in cases where irreducible complexity itself may not apply, FSCO/I poses a blind search problem by the implications of requiring many correct parts in a proper arrangement that allows interaction to achieve function, as the 6500 C3 reel readily exemplifies.

    23 –> That is, FSCO/I naturally comes in islands of function in large config spaces, with 500 – 1,000 bits of complexity being a useful threshold for the needle in haystack issue to kick in for solar system scale or observed cosmos scale blind chance and necessity search.

    24 –> In general also, there is no empirical demonstration of a vast continent of incrementally accessible life forms in the config space for organisms, spannable by a branching tree network. That is the message of the systematic absence of the ever so many conspicuously missing links, never mind occasional headlines and later retractions that do not get the same level of highlighting.

    25 –> Similarly, if realistic mutation rates and population times etc are applied, the fixing of novel body plan structures, becomes implausible on time available on the conventional timeline. Origin of man from a chimp-like ancestor 6 MYA is a good case in point. Origin of wings and flight for birds, etc would be a similar case. Origin of whales, also, in light of the many critical physiological changes involved. And so forth.

    26 –> All this is cumulatively pointing to the pervasive significance of FSCO/I and its origin as a crucial issue for any serious scientific study of origins.

    27 –> Where, again the only credible and empirically well supported, directly observed causal factor for FSCO/I is intelligently directed configuration.

    28 –> Where also, in terms of history of ideas, one needs look no further than co-founder of evolutionary theory, Wallace, to understand that even within evolutionary theorising, many significant scientists have held and continue to hold that there is intelligently directed configuration at work in the origin of life and/or its main body plans.

    29 –> So, a reasonable discussion of relevant origins, should reckon seriously with issues of why design has been put on the table from classical times to today.

    30 –> the actual contrasting history of the past several decades, is strong evidence that other, ideologically shaped, worldview and cultural agenda linked factors have manifestly been at work and have hampered a clear sighted application of the vera causa test that we can see in even Lyell’s title as quoted in this comment.

    It is time for fresh thinking.

    KF

  225. 225
    DavidD says:

    Mung: “And here I thought I had been working hard to improve myself. In the past I would have just been downright rude to people who deserved rudeness. Now I am just snarky.”

    He’s not expressing his self-righteous indignation against you personally for being snarky, it’s just that you are doing it for the wrong side of the issue. If he actually believed in polite principles and standards for discussion forums, he would equally be critical of the beyond snarkiness conduct of his own colleagues who get down right crude and belligerent with their behavior. So don’t ever think snarkiness is repugnant to Sir William, it’s only distasteful if you are doing it for the wrong side.

    __________

    A.R. – “It [secularism] entails true intellectual freedom for a plurality of beliefs.”

    WJM – “I don’t see where anything you claim about secularism is true.”

    It’s known merely as a religious faith affirmation

    .

  226. 226
    Joe says:

    wd400:

    A science teacher who taught ID as a valid scientific alternative to mainstream biology should be fired,

    Why? Mainstream biology, if it follows evolutionism, isn’t science. Heck mainstream biology doesn’t need evolutionism. Biology can be taught absent of evolutionism. My daughter is learning about evolution in social studies! It isn’t even considered science at her school!!!!!11!!!1!!! 😎

    ID has testable entailments- as science mandates. ID has all of the hallmarks of science. So why would anyone be fired for teaching it in a science classroom?

  227. 227
    Me_Think says:

    Axel @ 209

    … since the implication of QM as an ephemeral, show-business phenomenon, is perfectly consistent with atheism, the world-view giving rise to
    materialism…
    …since QM’s confirmed mathematical proofs are unassailable, and as such, continue to demand the renunciation by atheists of their outdated, discredited, atheistic hypothesis….

    QM is about fundamental particles. It is about how every Standard particles ( of which every single thing in universe is made) work and interact. It is not a ‘show business’ phenomenon !
    Something fundamental to particles has to be materialistic, so there is no need to discard ‘atheistic hypothesis’

  228. 228
    Axel says:

    ‘Me_Think #227

    ‘It is about how every Standard particles ( of which every single thing in universe is made) work and interact. It is not a ‘show business’ phenomenon !’

    My reference to QM as a ‘show-business phenomenon’ was simply a satirical-sounding, but accurate statement of the dismissive implication of another term used by an atheist poster. Virtually synonymous with it. Unfortunately, I have been unable to find it yet.

    “Something fundamental to particles has to be materialistic, so there is no need to discard ‘atheistic hypothesis’”

    I disagree. At that level, paradox is virtually ubiquitous and immanent – which is why your side would never have discovered QM in a month of Sundays.

    And why, moreover, that and the exact correspondence of non-mathematically proven pseudo-science with stamp-collecting as a sound metaphor, cannot be emphasized and repeated often enough by Christian and deistic scientists

  229. 229
    Me_Think says:

    Axel @228

    I disagree. At that level, paradox is virtually ubiquitous and immanent – which is why your side would never have discovered QM in a month of Sundays.

    It is ‘our side’ (Richard Feynman) which discovered QM’s principle of least action, QED, Quantum field theory,and of course nothing in QM gets done without Feynman diagrams.

  230. 230
    Alicia Renard says:

    Barry Arrington (210 December 10, 2014 at 12:44 pm) writes:

    AR @ 206:

    There are no material candidate design agents around three billion or so years ago.

    You don’t know that. Those, like atheist Leslie Orgel, who believe in directed panspermia would disagree with you.

    So Barry Arrington proposes advanced alien lifeforms sent out probes containing micro-organisms to seed life around the universe? Really? And why do we need the aliens. An impact might have blasted pieces of some planet teeming with microbes into space and a piece ended up on Earth. It extends the time period for simple life to have got going by billions of years.

    I’ll go along with [the assertion that Craig Venter is not immaterial]. Where does that get us?

    It gets us to the conclusion that there is no reason to exclude embodied material designers from candidates for “designer” of biological structures on an a priori basis, as you seem to want to do.

    So where did these embodied material designers come from? Where did they go? Were they like Craig Venter?

    And the next step is that one need not posit an immaterial supernatural designer to make a design inference regarding a biological structure.

    Well, no. I’m not positing any such immaterial designer; I thought that was something the ID camp came up with. If you want to develop KF’s analogy about fishing reels, feel free.

  231. 231
    Alicia Renard says:

    WJM writes

    [secularism] entails true intellectual freedom for a plurality of beliefs.

    Can you support this assertion?

    Try this for starters. I broadly agree with Berlinerblau.

  232. 232
    Axel says:

    Me_Think, Feynman’s atheism was of a much more humble and open kind. He accepted that QM is profoundly mysterious, indeed, completely absurd to the analytical intelligence, in its proliferation of paradoxes – oxymorons which just happen to be true.

    Were it not so, he would be a double-dyed hypocrite, and a parasite on the paradigm discovered by better men than he, and around whose necks he would have otherwise (when his income would not be affected), have been an albatross, an enemy of QM and modern physics.

    Remember, to the unequivocal materialists, all will one day be explained – and for sure, matter produced everything, even mind, nay intuition. This, mark you, despite the mathematically proven findings of QM, seemingly, for ever being supplemented by new research findings.

    I’ve only seen, I think, two references to ‘paradoxes’ – the favoured weasel-word of atheists, inappropriately applied to paradoxes, as being ‘counter-intuitive’.

    Paradoxes have nothing to do with intuition, they could not be further removed from it, since they are solely matters of logic, or rather, ‘illogic’, to the limited, analytical intelligence upon which the atheist is ever doomed to rely.

    Perhaps, the most comical aspect of this invocation of intuition is that they evidently thought to co-opt the notion of the man, himself, Albert Einstein, supreme theist and Intelligent Design champion, who famously stated that he rated ‘intuition’ higher than ‘intelligence’.

    I was going to say that materialists wouldn’t know intuition if it hit them over the head. But of course, at least, as barmy materialists, they could not at all dismiss the idea of intuition’s being able to hit them over the head, if chance were given enough time and found the ‘again chance-produced’ inclination to do so.

  233. 233
    Axel says:

    Watch this fascinating YouTube video-clip of Feynman:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YltEym9H0x4

    He makes it clear from the beginning that he has the mindset of the mechanic, or mechanical engineer, who wants to understand the world in the most prosaic way, i.e. via physics, science.

    If he discovers answer to the larger metaphysical questions, fine, good. But he really doesn’t wish to do so, as he intimates towards the end; he is happier not knowing the answers to everything, knowing some things and not others. He seemingly claims that as a virtue, and its antithesis, as an indication of being driven by fear – which he does not feel at all, at least, at that quite mature stage of his life. But he very much tends to express his views with humility, though he has a very limited, inchoate understanding of the whole topic of religion.

    So, it is easy to see that he was never going to discover quantum physics, or a comparably epoch-making paradigm, though he was able to exploit his understanding of QM to enormous effect.

    Planck, on the other hand, who was the proto-pioneer of QM, was a different kettle of fish, altogether:

    ‘As a man who has devoted his whole life to the most clear headed science, to the study of matter, I can tell you as a result of my research about atoms this much: There is no matter as such. All matter originates and exists only by virtue of a force which brings the particle of an atom to vibration and holds this most minute solar system of the atom together. We must assume behind this force the existence of a conscious and intelligent mind. This mind is the matrix of all matter.’

    … from Wikiquote

    He could hardly have possessed a more propitious mindset for discovering quantum mechanics. Yet he was forced to do so, by the facts, even though his very conservative instincts made him baulk at countenancing it.

    Bohr obviously relished it. He was a great celebrity in Denmark and, like Einstein, became virtually a cult figure to the public at large, surely because they both ‘shot down in flames’ the cock-sure, still regnant cockamamie paradigm of the atheist, scientific establishment and taught them the world was more mysterious than they, Horatio or Laertes could ever have imagined. Religion and science mutually antagonistic? What a joke!

  234. 234
    groovamos says:

    WD400:

    I don’t think most secularists would object to a social studies teacher merely bringing up the fact people hold other beliefs.

    Yes thank you for implying that, conversely, in science class, such speech would get one fired in most states. You guys again are making all the right arguments for us, doing the work for us. Many thanks for doing God’s work.

    If I were the the one to pose a challenge, in a secondary school science class to other teachers at the school, the challenge I referenced above, I would get fired. Same for most college level classes, denied tenure that is. Again the challenge: to describe for me the advent of the tens of billions of cilia in the mammalian breathing passages.

    I’m asking that right now of you WD400. You tell me how a Darwinian process wired up those billions of cilia. Step by accidental step. How did the moving of the mucus improve and provide selective advantage when the cilium count went from say 10^8 to (10^8 + 10^3) in an offspring and how did those extra 10^3 get wired in accidentally so that they exhibit motility in concert for the purpose of the whole aggregation? Oh that’s right you guys don’t believe in purpose for anything.

    Pray tell WD400. And pray assure me that I wouldn’t get fired for discussing this to my high school science class.

  235. 235

    AR thinks that a link bluff will help her out with her erroneous claim:

    [secularism] entails true intellectual freedom for a plurality of beliefs.

    Jacques Berlinerblau writes:

    As I noted in my forthcoming book, the secular vision was birthed by religious thinkers, such as Martin Luther, John Locke, Thomas Jefferson and James Madison (the last two, admittedly were idiosyncratic believers, but believers nonetheless).

    Your link doesn’t support your assertion one bit, AR. All it does is draw a distinction between secularism and atheism. That secularism is not atheism does not support your contention that it “entails true intellectual freedom for a plurality of beliefs.”

    Can you provide a quote from that article or any other source that supports your claim?

    Your link is much more supportive my position stated above:

    Secularism, in and of itself, guarantees me nothing. China has a secular government and doesn’t tolerate much in the way of religious expression. “Secularism” is not the equivalent of “religious freedom”.

    The reason I have religious freedom is not because of secularism, but rather because a group of Christians considered it a divine right for people to worship god as they see fit, and considered that right transcendent to all state power.

    Without the concept of transcendent, natural rights, a concept not derivable from meager “secularism”, I would have no individual rights considered to be above the rule of the state. I would just be the property of the secular state to do with as it sees fit.

  236. 236
    wd400 says:

    You wouldn’t be fired for asking how something evolved.

    The answer is that beating cilia are a very ancient part of the eukaryotic cell’s took-kit, and much of the machinery for creating them are maintained in metazoa as they are also required for sperm motility.

    All that you would need is a new cis-regulatory element that allowed the cilia-forming network to be driven by one of the transcription factors that is already involved in determining the fate of respiratory epithelium. There is no reason you’d have to move from 10^8 cilia to 10^11, but fine tuning of a developmental program for a specific tissue-type is a constant pattern in evo-devo. You should look into that field if these questions genuinely interest you.

  237. 237
    bornagain77 says:

    Me_Think at 229 as to:

    “of course nothing in QM gets done without Feynman diagrams.”

    You may want to update your notes:

    Bohemian Gravity – Rob Sheldon – September 19, 2013
    Excerpt: Quanta magazine carried an article about a hypergeometric object that is as much better than Feynman diagrams as Feynman was better than Heisenberg’s S-matrices. But the discoverers are candid about it,
    “The amplituhedron, or a similar geometric object, could help by removing two deeply rooted principles of physics: locality and unitarity. “Both are hard-wired in the usual way we think about things,” said Nima Arkani-Hamed, a professor of physics at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, N.J., and the lead author of the new work, which he is presenting in talks and in a forthcoming paper. “Both are suspect.””
    What are these suspect principles? None other than two of the founding principles of materialism–that there do not exist “spooky-action-at-a-distance” forces, and that material causes are the only ones in the universe.,,,
    http://rbsp.info/PROCRUSTES/bohemian-gravity/

    As to QED, there was Feynman’s unease with ‘brushing infinity under the rug’ with his diagrams:

    THE INFINITY PUZZLE: Quantum Field Theory and the Hunt for an Orderly Universe
    Excerpt: In quantum electrodynamics, which applies quantum mechanics to the electromagnetic field and its interactions with matter, the equations led to infinite results for the self-energy or mass of the electron. After nearly two decades of effort, this problem was solved after World War II by a procedure called renormalization, in which the infinities are rolled up into the electron’s observed mass and charge, and are thereafter conveniently ignored. Richard Feynman, who shared the 1965 Nobel Prize with Julian Schwinger and Sin-Itiro Tomonaga for this breakthrough, referred to this sleight of hand as “brushing infinity under the rug.”
    http://www.americanscientist.o.....g-infinity

    Feynman comments on his unease with ‘“brushing infinity under the rug” here,,,

    “It always bothers me that in spite of all this local business, what goes on in a tiny, no matter how tiny, region of space, and no matter how tiny a region of time, according to laws as we understand them today, it takes a computing machine an infinite number of logical operations to figure out. Now how can all that be going on in that tiny space? Why should it take an infinite amount of logic to figure out what one stinky tiny bit of space-time is going to do?”
    – Richard Feynman – one of the founding fathers of QED (Quantum Electrodynamics)
    Quote taken from the 6:45 minute mark of the following video:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=obCjODeoLVw

    I don’t know about Feynman, but as for myself, being a Christian Theist, I find it rather comforting to know that it takes an ‘infinite amount of logic to figure out what one stinky tiny bit of space-time is going to do’:

    John1:1
    “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.”

    of note: ‘the Word’ in John1:1 is translated from ‘Logos’ in Greek. Logos is also the root word from which we derive our modern word logic
    http://etymonline.com/?term=logic

  238. 238
    Barry Arrington says:

    AR @ 230:

    You do not appear to understand my argument. I will try to help you.

    So Barry Arrington proposes advanced alien lifeforms sent out probes containing micro-organisms to seed life around the universe?

    I made no such proposal. I merely pointed out that there is no warrant for your dismissal of a material embodied designer on an a priori basis.

    So where did these embodied material designers come from? Where did they go? Were they like Craig Venter?

    Again, you are missing the point, which is that design by a material embodied agent is not logically impossible and therefore should not be dismissed on an a priori basis. None of these questions needs to be answered to know that proposition is true.

    Barry:

    And the next step is that one need not posit an immaterial supernatural designer to make a design inference regarding a biological structure.

    AR:

    Well, no. I’m not positing any such immaterial designer; I thought that was something the ID camp came up with.

    Then you were under a misapprehension about ID. The theory does not posit that the designer is immaterial. It does not posit that the designer is material. It posits that the designer, whether material or immaterial, designed, and that such design leaves indicia that may be discovered though an empirical investigation.

    AR:

    If you want to develop KF’s analogy about fishing reels, feel free.

    No need. KF has developed it sufficiently himself. I merely pointed out that your opposition to his analogy is unfounded. To summarize:

    KF proposed his fishing reel analogy.
    You objected to the fishing reel analogy on the ground that a designer must be material.
    My point is simple and narrow: That objection fails because there is no reason, in principle, why the designer need not be material. Any designer, whether material or immaterial, will leave the same sorts of indicia of design.

  239. 239
    groovamos says:

    WD400:

    You should look into that field if these questions genuinely interest you.

    You did not give a Darwinian step by step process on how all of these billions of cilia become wired together and function in concert. The truth is you guys cannot propose a coherent scenario about how the numbers of these organelles proliferate over “evolutionary time” in Darwinian fashion and how each stage confers selective advantage which is specifically what I asked of you. Describing something as determining the fate of respiratory epithelium is a non-answer to my question. Telling us that a new this would allow a cilia forming network to be driven by that is a beautiful obfuscation of the insurmountable problem for a Darwinist explanation which by definition would be billions of steps in this case. And we would have a good point to present to students, how obfuscation is the usual tact taken by Darwinists, and a massive failure for reductionism in general.

    Now the fact that you cannot answer would be in my mind a good subject for science class. But you would have me fired as you imply previously. Correct? Our little conflict here should be banned from its exposure to students?

    And BTW if you are interested in some STEM knowledge 10^8 + 10^3 is not equal to 10^11, as you mistake it. The point was to get you to explain the selective advantage of 1000 more cilia. Which in itself would not be a slight variation all wired up ready to go according to the Darwinist model

    I don’t think most secularists would object to a social studies teacher merely bringing up the fact people hold other beliefs.

    Why don’t you dispense with the euphemisms OK? A so-called secularist is a true believer in scientific or philosophical materialism, who is also an activist. Like all true believers, materialists want to see their beliefs become dominant in society. You guys want the dominant belief to be in a self-generated universe, plain and simple, with no evidence for it and punishment for people who don’t believe it and express that in class.

  240. 240
    Me_Think says:

    bornagain77 @ 237

    You may want to update your notes [amplituhedron]

    Funny that you may want to support a geometric structure that depends on N=4 supersymmetry – which is actually a toy theory- and similar to string theory(10^500 universes, any one?)!

    As to QED, there was Feynman’s unease with ‘brushing infinity under the rug’ with his diagrams

    Yes. Renormalization is needed when you consider self-energy.

    I find it rather comforting to know that it takes an ‘infinite amount of logic to figure out what one stinky tiny bit of space-time

    It does take a lot of logic , which shouldn’t be comfortable to ID 🙂

  241. 241
    Me_Think says:

    Axel @ 233

    So, it is easy to see that he was never going to discover quantum physics, or a comparably epoch-making paradigm

    Yet he did exactly that. Without Richard Feynman, QM would be no where .

  242. 242
    Seversky says:

    William J Murray @ 180

    Secularism, in and of itself, guarantees me nothing. China has a secular government and doesn’t tolerate much in the way of religious expression. “Secularism” is not the equivalent of “religious freedom”.

    Quite true, secularism per se does not guarantee anything. Another thing it doesn’t do, however, is entail a commitment to – or endorsement of – any specific ideology or theology. That implies a tolerance of diverse beliefs and opinions which is equivalent to religious freedom.

    The intolerance of the Chinese government derives from the obvious similarity between monolithic political ideologies, such as communism or national socialism, and religions. It sustains itself in power by enforcing adherence to its established political doctrines and suppressing dissent just as in a theocracy the same commitment to religious doctrines is compulsory.

    The reason I have religious freedom is not because of secularism, but rather because a group of Christians considered it a divine right for people to worship god as they see fit, and considered that right transcendent to all state power.

    The reason you have religious freedom is because a group of perceptive Enlightenment thinkers who happened to be Christian – although some only nominally so – recognized that if they wanted to assure religious freedom for themselves they would also have to guarantee it to all others. They knew full well that, at times, parts of Christianity had been as intolerant of different beliefs as we see parts of Islam being today.

    Without the concept of transcendent, natural rights, a concept not derivable from meager “secularism”, I would have no individual rights considered to be above the rule of the state. I would just be the property of the secular state to do with as it sees fit.

    Much as believers are entirely at the mercy of their chosen god or its self-apppointed Earthly proxies. They have no transcendent rights. They are creatures to be used or snuffed out as their creator sees fit and their treatment, however appalling, will be either justified by their fellows as deserved or attributed to inscrutable divine purpose. Either way, they have no rights which transcend the will of their creator.

    That being the case, the only other foundation for a concept of overriding human rights is in common needs and interests that it is to the advantage of all to uphold.

    It is not secularism that provides my right to freedom of religion, but rather the non-secular worldview that individuals have a transcendent right to liberty and freedom of belief.

    Your right to freedom of religion or any other freedom subsists entirely in the acknowledgement of same by your fellows. They are transcendent only in the sense that we agree that they should be insulated against the eddies and currents of shifting political fashions and opinion. They are not to be tampered with for transient sectarian advantage.

    This is what your ilk does not understand in its blind pursuit of a secularized society; a government not bound by belief in the transcendent rights of man has no reason not to simply treat us as property, and every justification for doing so.

    A government, being an association of human beings, will act in its own self-interests, sometimes enlightened, sometimes not. In a secular and therefore pluralistic society government serves at the pleasure of the electorate. A government that consistently ignores its electorate eventually ceases to be a government. That is the only real check that the governed have over their government and that only applies in a secular democracy. Esoteric notions about transcendent rights of man weigh very little compared with that.

  243. 243

    Mung:

    So why can’t you just stick by what you said?

    You’ve confused sticking by my own words with my declining to stick by your misreading of same.

    Here are my words, taken together:

    It doesn’t follow from the fact that human beings create representations (“dimensional” or otherwise) that analogous phenomena can’t have arisen from other, natural processes – selection among simpler replicators devoid of “dimensional representation” as you define it, for example. Of course it remains to be shown if, how and why that process got underway – none of that is assumed, other than as a starting point for the real empirical work. That’s where the science starts, not stops.

    We all understand that a solution to the OOL puzzle is far from at hand, although many tantalizing pieces are in the box and some corners and edges have been joined. I expect the problem to be solved within the framework of the natural sciences, although probably not in my lifetime, were I made to lay a bet. But I can’t simply assume that – perhaps the problem is insoluble, due not the least to the ~35 million centuries that separate us from those events.

    That said, I harbor no doubt that the general picture of the history of life subsequent to the OOL supplied by evolutionary science is correct.

    In short, we don’t understand the OOL and are justified in making assumptions about same only as a framework for starting the real empirical work, not as a substitute for scientific conclusions (an approach advocated by KF, UB, and others). Therefore, while it is my expectation that the problem will be solved – and can only be solved – within the framework of the natural sciences, I don’t assume that a solution will be found. That said, I harbor no doubt that the more general picture of the history of life since the OOL as understood by evolutionary science within a naturalistic framework is correct.

    You’re bizarre misreading of same:

    So you reject evolution (natural events) as an explanation because we don’t know the origin of life? Your argument reduces to this: there is far more that we don’t know than what we do know, therefore we cannot know anything.

    Maybe you have found your level, Mung.

  244. 244
    Graham2 says:

    So how do all you citizens of the good ole USA feel, now that you are all torturers ?

  245. 245
    wd400 says:

    Seriously groovamos, you should learn about developmental biology. It is an interesting field, and knowing about it would help you ask better questions.

  246. 246
    kairosfocus says:

    AR:

    I am not proposing an analogy between fishing reels and life forms.

    I have pointed out, using fishing reels as an example, the commonplace reality of functionally specific complex organisation working through interaction to yield functionality, and the linked wiring diagram that leads to the informational content of in effect assembly instructions.

    I have repeatedly done so, in response to the objections that have tried to dismiss FSCO/I as somehow not an objectively real or relevant feature of the world, and/or that such FSCO/I is not quantifiable informationally. I have done so in the context of Orgel and Wicken extending the same concept and its applicability by recognising that it applies to certain key features of cell based life related to its origin.

    I have also pointed out the case of the FSCO/I manifest in the piping, unit and instrumentation wiring diagram for a petroleum refinery, which I have compared to the metabolic reaction network of the living cell.

    I have highlighted the FSCO/I implied in the wireframe mesh for a gear or set of meshing gears, as another case of FSCO/I.

    I have long since taken time to point out how the prong-height coded information storage tape manifested in mRNA and used to assemble proteins in the ribosome step by step, and the use of the tRNA as an AA- taxi and position-arm device that clicks the next AA in place, is a further example of FSCO/I in action, one paralleled by the FSCO/I involved in punched paper tape controlled NC machines familiar from factories.

    There are many, many other cases.

    Notice I have not argued, oh A is like B in some respects so it is like it in other material respects. Though, that may be valid, not all analogies fail.

    Instead, I am illustrating by relevant examples, the reality of FSCO/I, how it becomes quantifiable in information terms, and how it is in order for Orgel and Wicken to have extended this commonplace of engineering reality to the world of the living cell.

    What I now find all too revealing, is that in the teeth of such exemplification, there is still a refusal to acknowledge that FSCO/I is objectively real or quantifiable, that is at minimum passed over in silence, and lo and behold, we now see silly remarks about analogies, a term which in this context is utterly loaded.

    That, is telling — it sounds a lot like the zero concessions policy even tot he point of absurdity.

    So, at this point, I can safely leave that insight to the astute onlooker.

    But, let us proceed.

    FSCO/I is a highly contingent phenomenon that lives in a world that had a beginning.

    It is caused.

    So, what is a relevant causal factor?

    On trillions of cases observed directly, we know that the cause of FSCO/I based entities is, consistently, design.

    But, why?

    The toy example of setting up trays of 500 coins and using each of the 10^57 atoms of our solar system as a coin-flipper and coin observer, helps us see what is going on. Using very fast chem rxn rates, 10^14 obsevations per second for each of the 10^57 atoms provided with trays, we can see that if the total number of flips across 10^17 s is compared to the set of 2^500 = 3.27*10^150 possible arrangements of 500 coins from TTT . . . . T to HHH . . . H, we could compare the matter to sampling one straw from a haystack comparably thick to our galaxy.

    That is we have sparse, needle in haystack blind search here.

    The binomial theorem readily tells us what to expect: overwhelming dominance of the results by near 50-50 H/T distributions in no particular order, gibberish in short. (The same example more or less is used in my favourite intro Stat Thermo_d text, L K Nash, to show the phenomenon of a dominant cluster of microstates in a set of possibilities.)

    So, what happens is that FSCO/I, which by virtue of wiring-diagram specified, interactive function, comes in isolated islands in the config space of possibilities, will be unobservable on blind chance and mechanical necessity because of the sparse needle in haystack search imposed by the relative scarcity of search resources at atomic level, for our solar system or the observed cosmos once we have 500 – 1,000+ bits of information. To give an idea, 1,000 bits is 125 bytes or 143 or so ASCII characters worth of information, not a lot for specifying something like an Abu 6500 C3 reel, or any thing of reasonable complexity linked to configuration-sensitive function based on specific interaction of components.

    That’s not analogical reasoning, it is analysis of config spaces, in effect cut down phase spaces that have momentum terms left out.

    The sampling/search challenge overwhelms available resources and makes blind chance and/or mechanical necessity — I used the idea of shaking up a bag full of Abu 6500 C3 parts as an illustration — maximally implausible as a causal explanation of FSCO/I.

    This is why the case of OOL, the root of the darwinist tree of life, is so pivotal.

    For, whether in a warm salty pond or a comet core or whatever, we have the chemistry, physics and especially teh thermodynamics and reaction kinetics of reasonably well known systems to deal with. None of which even remotely plausibly points in the direction of spontaneous origin of relevantly complex molecules, self replicating molecules and especially gated, encapsulated metabolic automata using coded assembly of key proteins, and associated von Neumann kinematic self replication.

    No wonder OOL studies has come to mutual ruin of the main schools of thought. (Which of course is not typically presented to students, or the general public.)

    And, OOL is the root of the tree of life.

    The only empirically known, vera causa certified, analytically plausible causal explanation of FSCO/I is intelligntly directed configuration, aka design. This puts design at the explanatory table from the root on up, and this transforms the whole picture. (And BTW, this issue was in fact put on the table by Paley in Ch II of his nat theol when he moved beyond thinking about a mere watch to one that in the course of its movements that tell time also manages to self replicate based on a built in programming and capability through automation. I have noticed that as a rule the dismissive arguments on Paley and watches etc, generally overlook that he did go on from Ch I to Ch II, and so there is a massive strawman caricature problem in the commonplace dismissive sniffing about mere analogies. Over the past several years, I have noticed that when this is pointed out and even when the relevant discussion is cited in extenso or linked, objectors consistently refuse to actually address it on its merits directly. This seems to point to a problem of the fallacy of the closed indoctrinated mind.)

    Nor does design in the world of life demand disembodied designers, Craig Venter et al have seen that talking point off.

    Though, you should reckon with the issue of blindly mechanical computation [based on the FSCO/I of a computational device] vs rationally insightful, logically driven creative contemplation.

    Those who would reduce minds to brains as neural networks with associated programming, or imagine that digital processors of sufficient complexity, or analogue computers such as the old mechanical integrators etc, or op amp based computational systems, etc escape the force of being blindly mechanical systems working by force not rational insight, face the problem of trying to get North by heading due West.

    Time to think again.

    KF

  247. 247
    kairosfocus says:

    AR (nb WJM 235): I took time to point out relevant history and state documents on the actual roots of modern liberty and democracy, here above (was it 184 or 5?)

    http://www.uncommondescent.com.....ent-535806

    I think some facts there and in the onward linked may prove helpful in adjusting received wisdom towards a more balanced view.

    KF

  248. 248

    Mung:

    How else are we to understand what you wrote?

    I meant to weave the passage to which you were responding in with my other statements:

    It doesn’t follow from the fact that human beings create representations (“dimensional” or otherwise) that analogous phenomena can’t have arisen from other, natural processes – selection among simpler replicators devoid of “dimensional representation,” for example. Of course it remains to be shown if, how and why that process got underway – none of that is assumed, other than as a starting point for the real empirical work. That’s where the science starts, not stops.

    There are approximately five million trillion trillion bacteria on earth, each an instance of FSCO/I (you claim). We all understand that a solution to the OOL puzzle is far from at hand, although many tantalizing pieces are in the box and some corners and edges have been joined. I expect the problem to be solved within the framework of the natural sciences. But I don’t simply assume that – perhaps the problem is insoluble, due not the least to the ~35 million centuries that separate us from those events. As we don’t know the origins of life, the origins of those five million trillion trillion instances cannot be assigned either to design or to natural events unless one assumes a conclusion regarding the very question at issue.

    That said, I harbor no doubt that the general picture of the history of life subsequent to the OOL supplied by evolutionary science is correct.

    This context answers your question.

  249. 249
    Joe says:

    RB:

    That said, I harbor no doubt that the general picture of the history of life subsequent to the OOL supplied by evolutionary science is correct.

    No one cares what you do or don’t harbor. We care what you can support and we know that you cannot support “that the general picture of the history of life subsequent to the OOL supplied by evolutionary science is correct.” So you lose.

  250. 250
    Alicia Renard says:

    WJM writes:

    All [the linked article by Berlinerblau] does is draw a distinction between secularism and atheism. That secularism is not atheism does not support your contention that it “entails true intellectual freedom for a plurality of beliefs.”

    Can you provide a quote from that article or any other source that supports your claim?

    (which was: “US secularism guarantees your right to freedom to follow the religion of your choice.)

    Berlinerblau wrote in his article:

    What secularism does concern itself with are relations between Church and State. It is a flexible doctrine that can embody a lot of policy positions. Strict separationism is one, but not the only, of those positions. At its core, secularism is deeply suspicious of any entanglement between government and religion.

    which is what I was talking about, separation of church and state. Enlightenment ideas that put safeguards into the first amendment such that no religious dogma or orthodoxy could be enforced on individuals by the state.

  251. 251
    Alicia Renard says:

    Barry Arrington writes:

    You do not appear to understand my argument.

    That’s very likely. We almost seem to speak a different language.

    So Barry Arrington proposes advanced alien lifeforms sent out probes containing micro-organisms to seed life around the universe?

    I made no such proposal. I merely pointed out that there is no warrant for your dismissal of a material embodied designer on an a priori basis.

    I only dismiss the unentailed. Anything that is proposed that has entailments can be formed into a hypothesis that could be tested. Does your proposal of a “material embodied designer” acting to bring about the first living things include any details?


    So where did these embodied material designers come from? Where did they go? Were they like Craig Venter?

    Again, you are missing the point, which is that design by a material embodied agent is not logically impossible and therefore should not be dismissed on an a priori basis. None of these questions needs to be answered to know that proposition is true.

    Again, I haven’t dismissed anything. I asked questions.

    Barry:

    And the next step is that one need not posit an immaterial supernatural designer to make a design inference regarding a biological structure.

    AR:

    Well, no. I’m not positing any such immaterial designer; I thought that was something the ID camp came up with.

    Then you were under a misapprehension about ID. The theory does not posit that the designer is immaterial. It does not posit that the designer is material. It posits that the designer, whether material or immaterial, designed, and that such design leaves indicia that may be discovered though an empirical investigation.

    You can only look for something detectable. The SETI project have set out their entailments. If an advanced alien civilisation exists elsewhere, they may use radio as a means to communicate with other civilisations. This might be narrow-band and in a likely range of frequencies so let’s look there.

    What entailments are you giving your designers? What are you going to investigate?

    AR:

    If you want to develop KF’s analogy about fishing reels, feel free.

    No need. KF has developed it sufficiently himself. I merely pointed out that your opposition to his analogy is unfounded. To summarize:

    KF proposed his fishing reel analogy.
    You objected to the fishing reel analogy on the ground that a designer must be material.
    My point is simple and narrow: That objection fails because there is no reason, in principle, why the designer need not be material. Any designer, whether material or immaterial, will leave the same sorts of indicia of design.

    Well, indeed, as long as you make untestable claims, nobody can disprove them. As I said before, where does that get you? Nowhere scientifically speaking, as far as I can see.

  252. 252
    Mung says:

    Yes Bill, you meant it as an argument against ID but it turned out to be one that worked equally well against the anti-ID position.

    That makes your argument an argument from which nothing can be concluded. It only remains to be seen whether you will repeat it or go back to the drawing board.

    It does not escape us that in providing the “context” within which your words should be understood you leave out the words you actually wrote.

    Reciprocating Bill @ 118:

    …there are approximately five million trillion trillion bacteria on earth, each an instance of FSCO/I (you claim). As we don’t know the origins of life, the origins of these instances cannot be assigned … to natural events unless one assumes a conclusion regarding the very question at issue.

    And yet you seem perfectly willing to assign these instances [of approximately five million trillion trillion bacteria on earth] to natural events. You must be assuming a conclusion regarding the very question at issue.

  253. 253
    Barry Arrington says:

    AR @ 251

    What entailments are you giving your designers?

    “Entail” means “involve (something) as a necessary or inevitable part or consequence.”

    ID posits that designers and only designers create complex specified information and irreducibly complex structures (which are a subset of CSI). Therefore, when CSI is observed, ID posits that the existence of a designer is entailed. You do not understand ID. It does not posit that designers have entailments. It posits that objects that exhibit CSI have entailments.

    What are you going to investigate?

    Whether CSI is observed to exist. If it does, we conclude that the observation is best explained as the act of an intelligent designer.

    Well, indeed, as long as you make untestable claims, nobody can disprove them.

    The entire ID project will come tumbling down with a single instance of chance/law forces having been observed to create CSI.

  254. 254
    Joe says:

    Dear Alicia Renard,

    Intelligent Design has testable entailments and makes testable claims. OTOH unguided evolution doesn’t have any testable entailments nor does it make any testable claims.

    Why you think your willful ignorance refutes all of that is beyond us.

  255. 255
    kairosfocus says:

    AR, still on about “analogies”? That speaks volumes, and not in your favour. And, as far as quantification goes, look to AutocCAD not me, or if you want, observe Orgel on the subject, though what he said is hardly new. KF

  256. 256

    Barry:

    When CSI is observed, ID posits that the existence of a designer is entailed. You do not understand ID. It does not posit that designers have entailments. It posits that objects that exhibit CSI have entailments.

    So the relevant test of ID would be to determine whether objects of interest that exhibit putative CSI (such as biological organisms) are the product of a designer.

    Given that, you can hardly also argue that evidence for said designer is the presence of CSI in the object, which would be wholly and obviously circular.

    Yet that is among the most frequently cited arguments for ID we encounter.

  257. 257
    Joe says:

    So the relevant test of ID would be to determine whether objects of interest that exhibit putative CSI (such as biological organisms) are the product of a designer.

    And we have to the satisfaction of everyone but the people who cannot support their own position. OTOH your position still has nothing and we understand that bothers you and your ilk.

  258. 258
    kairosfocus says:

    RB, per inductive logic, as the design inference is per best explanation on reliable sign, such as FSCO/I, the proper response if one hopes to successfully overturn that best explanation status is to show a credible case where FSCO/I arises by blind chance and/or mechanical necessity, the alternatives to intelligently directed configuration. That is a direct and in principle very achievable test that is within our reach of observation. It seems that the many rhetorical gambits we see these days from objectors, amount to this: the test to provide an alternative observed cause of FSCO/I has consistently failed, so as the inference that design is therefore its best causal explanation is held ideologically objectionable, selectively hyperskeptical objections are put up. KF

  259. 259
    Alicia Renard says:

    Barry Arrington writes:

    The entire ID project will come tumbling down with a single instance of chance/law forces having been observed to create CSI.

    I’ve learned so far that ID is not a substitute for evolutionary theory. IDers do not dispute common descent. ID thinking claims that evolutionary theory is insufficient to account for common descent. So up to this point, perhaps, Barry and Alicia do not disagree. Beyond this point, Alicia says: ‘I don’t know why things happened the way they did but scientific methods have done a pretty good job of picking apart some of the “how” ‘. What does Barry say?

  260. 260
    Barry Arrington says:

    AR @ 259:

    I’ve learned so far that ID is not a substitute for evolutionary theory.

    It depends on what you mean by “evolutionary theory.” The phrase is so vague as to be all but meaningless. It could mean “things are different now than they were in the past.” No one argues with that.

    IDers do not dispute common descent.

    IDers vary on this point. Some accept it (Behe); others are skeptical. The spirit of your statement is correct. Common descent is not necessarily incompatible with ID, especially if your ID is of the “front loaded” variety.

    ID thinking claims that evolutionary theory is insufficient to account for common descent.

    Upon reflection, I am not sure what you mean here. ID theory posits that the neo-Darwinist synthesis is almost certainly wrong. If that is what you are saying, you are correct.

    Alicia says: ‘I don’t know why things happened the way they did but scientific methods have done a pretty good job of picking apart some of the “how” ‘. What does Barry say?

    For minor variations within a type (e.g., finch beaks; bacterial resistance to drugs), certainly you are correct.

    As for new body plans, major morphological changes, the neo-Darwinist synthesis more or less simply extrapolates from micro-evolution. There are very good reasons to doubt that extrapolation.

    As for OOL issues, the statement is just flat out wrong. Materialist scientists haven’t the slightest idea. Some of them are even courageous enough to admit it.

  261. 261
    Joe says:

    I’ve learned so far that ID is not a substitute for evolutionary theory.

    OK ID isn’t a substitute for something that doesn’t exist. We agree.

    IDers do not dispute common descent.

    What do you mean by “common descent”? Universal common descent cannot be tested.

    Beyond this point, Alicia says: ‘I don’t know why things happened the way they did but scientific methods have done a pretty good job of picking apart some of the “how” ‘.

    Pertaining to what?

  262. 262
    Alicia Renard says:

    Barry Arrington (260 December 12, 2014 at 2:27 pm) writes:
    AR @ 259:

    I’ve learned so far that ID is not a substitute for evolutionary theory.

    It depends on what you mean by “evolutionary theory.” The phrase is so vague as to be all but meaningless. It could mean “things are different now than they were in the past.” No one argues with that.

    What I meant was that, as I understand you, ID does not replace evolutionary theory. It accepts the observations but rejects the mechanism as “the whole story”.

    IDers do not dispute common descent.

    IDers vary on this point. Some accept it (Behe); others are skeptical. The spirit of your statement is correct. Common descent is not necessarily incompatible with ID, especially if your ID is of the “front loaded” variety.

    *Alicia raises quizzical eyebrow but moves to next point*

    ID thinking claims that evolutionary theory is insufficient to account for common descent.

    Upon reflection, I am not sure what you mean here. ID theory posits that the neo-Darwinist synthesis is almost certainly wrong. If that is what you are saying, you are correct.

    I mean that ID (Behe version) accepts the facts of evolution (time-scale, fossil pattern, apparent branching nested hierarchy from a (caveats on HGT) common ancestor but claims evolutionary mechanisms, whilst operating at a “micro” level, are insufficient to account for observations.

    Alicia says: ‘I don’t know why things happened the way they did but scientific methods have done a pretty good job of picking apart some of the “how” ‘. What does Barry say?

    For minor variations within a type (e.g., finch beaks; bacterial resistance to drugs), certainly you are correct.

    Always good to find the common ground. so much energy can be wasted in miscommunication.

    As for new body plans, major morphological changes, the neo-Darwinist synthesis more or less simply extrapolates from micro-evolution. There are very good reasons to doubt that extrapolation.

    Well all good things come to an end! 🙂 ID would be better to direct its attack on ToE where it is weaker. Once you have eukaryotes, multicellularity and the HOX genes, much of the heavy lifting is done. The panoply of deuterostomes are just a variation on the doughnut, topologically speaking.

    As for OOL issues, the statement is just flat out wrong. Materialist scientists haven’t the slightest idea. Some of them are even courageous enough to admit it.

    OOL is not part of evolutionary theory. Personally I agree that science has almost no evidence to test the considerable number of ideas regarding early life and proto-life. Not sure why you think stating the fact is courageous.

    As I’m away for the Christmas holiday and will be with friends and family until after the New Year, may I wish all readers and contributors to this blog Merry Christmas and Happy New Year

  263. 263
    Zachriel says:

    Alicia Renard: The panoply of deuterostomes are just a variation on the doughnut, topologically speaking.

    http://crossfitamplify.com/wp-.....tHomer.jpg

  264. 264
    Barry Arrington says:

    [ID] accepts the observations but rejects the mechanism as “the whole story”.

    Of course. ID accepts the observations. It rejects the neo-Darwinian synthesis as sufficient to account for the observations.

    I mean that ID (Behe version) accepts the facts of evolution (time-scale, fossil pattern, apparent branching nested hierarchy from a (caveats on HGT) common ancestor but claims evolutionary mechanisms, whilst operating at a “micro” level, are insufficient to account for observations.

    I cannot speak for Dr. Behe, but based on my reading of his work, he accepts an old earth. He accepts common descent. The entire point of his book The Edge of Evolution is that the neo-Darwinian explanation is quite adequate up until the time it is not (hence, the word “Edge”). I don’t know where he is on the nested hierarchy issue.

    Once you have eukaryotes, multicellularity and the HOX genes, much of the heavy lifting is done.

    Two observations. 1. You give yourself an awful lot. 2. There are good reasons to reject your assertion, as Meyers explains in Darwin’s Doubt.

    Merry Christmas to you and yours as well.

  265. 265
    Joe says:

    ID would be better to direct its attack on ToE where it is weaker.

    No one seems to be able to find the ToE let alone attack it.

    Once you have eukaryotes, multicellularity and the HOX genes, much of the heavy lifting is done.

    Even given starting populations of prokaryotes yours cannot produce anything but more prokaryotes.

  266. 266
    groovamos says:

    WD400 @ 245:

    Seriously groovamos, you should learn about developmental biology. It is an interesting field, and knowing about it would help you ask better questions.

    That’s it for you guys, the highly educated public will never get an answer to an unsurmountable problem for DARWNIAN EXPLANATIONS from you guys. Because you just come back with this game of we’ll never be educated enough to understand it. Which is a variation on the old argument from “authority” which is SO old and tired. YOU ARE IN THE CORNER to have to resort to that. I specifically gave an example of structure. I specifically asked for a Darwinian explanation. Which depends on something called RANDOMNESS which you didn’t even bring up. You declined to address any stochastic component of the famous Darwinian RM/NS paradigm because I have you in the corner. And you can’t even be honest enough to say you can’t answer. You declined to even address ANY aspect of selection pressure in the famous RM/NS failed paradigm not only because it fails but because of a lack of humility without which you would admit YOU ARE IN THE CORNER. You can’t even admit to your ignorance of how to treat exponents in scientific notation. You think that has no nexus in common with the ego squashing humility to the dirt? So far as good questions, I asked the best possible because you can’t answer it and you failed the scientific notation test that was part and parcel.

    I’m happy you and the the young folks come to this site because you guys do the ‘work’ for our cause.

  267. 267

    Seversky said:

    Quite true, secularism per se does not guarantee anything. Another thing it doesn’t do, however, is entail a commitment to – or endorsement of – any specific ideology or theology. That implies a tolerance of diverse beliefs and opinions which is equivalent to religious freedom.

    The term itself implies no such thing. Diverse beliefs and views, such as religious freedom, may or may not be tolerated under a secular government. A secularist government can be either indifferent to, or hostile to, religious beliefs. By definition, secularism has nothing whatsoever to do with any non-religious beliefs or opinions.

    The intolerance of the Chinese government …

    blah, blah blah. It’s still a secular government.

    The reason you have religious freedom is because a group of perceptive Enlightenment thinkers who happened to be Christian…

    As I said, I have these rights because of Christians recognizing the value of a certain degree of secularism between government and religion in serving their belief of inviolable human rights and liberty.

    They have no transcendent rights

    You don’t seem to understand the term “transcendent”. Such rights transcend worldly governments. They don’t transcend “everything”, and certainly they do not transcend that which is the ground of their transcendent rights.

    Esoteric notions about transcendent rights of man weigh very little compared with that.

    Except for the fact that the most free country on Earth, one dedicated to freedom of belief and personal rights, was fought for and founded on just such “esoteric notions”. I wonder, what other country was founded on the idea of personal liberty, individual rights and a limited power of government?

  268. 268
    Mung says:

    Barry:

    The entire ID project will come tumbling down with a single instance of chance/law forces having been observed to create CSI.

    And we’re still waiting for even a single instance.

    All the ID critics, and all their materialist friends, could not put humpty dumpty [or even the simplest cell] together by any chance and law blends.

  269. 269
    Mung says:

    Alicia Renard:

    I’ve learned so far that ID is not a substitute for evolutionary theory.

    Alicia Renard:

    ID would be better to direct its attack on ToE where it is weaker.

    If ID is not a substitute for evolutionary theory then why should ID attack evolutionary theory?

    [insert raised quizzical eyebrow here]

    Alicia Renard:

    OOL is not part of evolutionary theory.

    Sure it is.

  270. 270

    Mung:

    Yes Bill, you meant it as an argument against ID but it turned out to be one that worked equally well against the anti-ID position.

    Buzzt. What I’ve rejected are assumed conclusions. Only arguments turning on such assumptions a are deflated by it. I’ve identified the assumed conclusions in the above ID arguments, as articulated by UB and KF in various forms, topped off by Barry’s comment. You can read the value of PI directly from the circles they traverse.

    You must be assuming a conclusion regarding the very question at issue.

    Only if had argued for a “natural” OOL on the basis of my assumptions. But I’ve been clear in declining to substitute assumptions for conclusions within my own framework. I don’t know how life got its start and neither does anyone else here, including KF and UB. But they claim otherwise, by means of assumed conclusions.

    I’ve been equally clear that it is my expectation these questions will eventually be answered in a scientific context, but I don’t pretend that my expectation can be equated with a dispositive conclusion. I’ve been explicit about that as well.

    That makes your argument an argument from which nothing can be concluded.

    Thats right! Only the hard work of empirical research can generate relevant conclusions, and even those are not guaranteed.

  271. 271
    wd400 says:

    groovamos,

    You question is really very poorly posed. It’s like asking for a “billion step” process that determined the number of hairs of my arms. If you just want something to rant and rave about go ahead and repeat the question, if you want an answer you should learn enough developmental biology to see no “billion step” process is required.

    I’m happy to admit I misread the change you were specifying with scientific notation. But the tiny minute difference you were actually referring to underlies the absurdity of the question you are asking. Why do you think such a change was required at any stage of the process? Do you know for sure that the number is cilia is actually specified to that degree?

  272. 272
    Mung says:

    wd400, ok, so let just talk about your nose hairs. Or are there too many of those to talk about too?

    😉

  273. 273
    Mung says:

    Bill, I never claimed that you argued for a natural origin of life. I don’t I think even implied it.

    I thought we were talking about the five million trillion trillion [extant] bacteria on earth and whether or not the origins of these instances can be assigned to natural events without assuming the conclusion. [Their origin can be assigned to natural events.]

    Given that I repeatedly quoted you on this I am not sure how I could have been unclear.

    So from my perspective, you were arguing that we cannot assign the origin of extant bacteria to “natural” events until we have answered the OOL question. That’s certainly what it seemed to me that you were saying.

    Reciprocating Bill:

    …there are approximately five million trillion trillion [Mung: extant] bacteria on earth, each an instance of FSCO/I (you claim). [snip and move ->] the origins of these instances cannot be assigned … to natural events [to here -> as we don’t know the origins of life] unless one assumes a conclusion regarding the very question at issue.

    That’s what you wrote. I know I can be cryptic at times, but really? Did you not understand what I was saying?

    Mung: That makes your argument an argument from which nothing can be concluded.

    Reciprocating Bill: Thats right! Only the hard work of empirical research can generate relevant conclusions, and even those are not guaranteed.

    You realize, don’t you, that given that no conclusion can be drawn from your argument, the conclusion you just drew from your argument doesn’t follow? It’s a non sequitur.

    Reciprocating Bill: Only the hard work of empirical research can generate relevant conclusions, and even those are not guaranteed.

    That doesn’t follow from your argument.

  274. 274

    Mung:

    Bill, I never claimed that you argued for a natural origin of life. I don’t I think even implied it. I thought we were talking about the five million trillion trillion [extant] bacteria on earth and whether or not the origins of these instances can be assigned to natural events without assuming the conclusion.

    The context of my remark was the Ool.

    UB at 29, to which I originally responded:

    ID has the capacity to follow this same accepted methodology to identify intelligent action at the origin of life

    My response at 34:

    we don’t know what natural circumstances gave/give rise to replicators capable of Darwinian evolution, and therefore have no basis from which to conclude that such replicators, or certain forms of replicator, are unlikely to have arisen from other than deliberate artifice.

    KF at 38, addressed to me:

    I must strongly disagree with the assumption that by some unknown mechanism, the hoped for but equally unobserved self replicating molecules did arise and of course then went on to become living cells.

    Through KF’ laundry list in 132, addressed to me:

    In summary, FSCO/I, biologically functional form, is a pivotal issue for origin of life and of body plans up to our own. Therefore,t eh evidence on the observed adequate cause of FSCO/I is pivotal.

    “Instances” my above quoted statement refers to instances of claimed FIASCO, all of which FIASCO UB, KF and others claim originated with the first replicators, e.g. at the origin of life, and necessarily by means of “intelligence.” It is UB, KF’s and others’ claim that the FIASCO in those bacteria may be adduced as evidence for the operation of intelligence at the Ool. Of course it is my belief that extant bacteria also reflect a long, contingent evolutionary history.

    Part of the problem is that KF’s metric is patently ridiculous – a “count” of individual human acts of artifice, communication, etc., each of which supposedly bears FIASCO. The purpose of counting in this way is to enable a pseudo-impressive claim of an inductive case built upon “trillions of cases.” Better to discard meaningless numbers like that and note the unique, and unrepresentative, cause of all the instances he cites: intelligent human behavior. But since KF is counting “cases” in that way, his numbers need context, in this case the number of instances of FIASCO claimed to exist in the natural world – the origins of which is unknown. Hence while KF claims “trillions” of instances of FIASCO every one of which originates with “intelligence,” his figure is dwarfed by the > five million trillion trillion instances of FIASCO of unknown origin, since said FIASCO supposedly originated at the Ool and we don’t understand the Ool. His sample of FIASCO of known origins turns out to be 1/50 quadrillionth of the total, the balance of which bears FIASCO of unknown origin. To generalize from that completely unique, 1/50 quadrillionth of instances to the rest is to assume a conclusion.

    Did you not understand what I was saying?

    In your zeal to contrive a “gotcha” you forgot to follow the discussion and failed to grasp my point.

    You realize, don’t you, that given that no conclusion can be drawn from your argument, the conclusion you just drew from your argument doesn’t follow?

    That makes your argument an argument from which nothing can be concluded.

    What is with you geniuses and your fondness for these supposed killer paradoxes? In context, I clearly state that my argument yields no conclusions regarding the origin of life, because real conclusions in such a domain are the province of empirical research. Not that it gives no conclusions whatsoever. Grow up.

    [ETA: letters, words, and so forth. For clarity.]

  275. 275
    kairosfocus says:

    RB:

    Why are you again resorting to schoolyard level taunts (generally an implication of a very weak argument and a worse attitude) instead of dealing with the issue on the merits as put by Orgel and Wicken in the 1970’s and as drawn out since by the design theorists and thinkers? (Kindly refer here as a sampler.)

    I suggest to you that:

    (i) all that is needed to devastate design theory is a single credible, vera causa demonstrating case of functionally specific, wiring diagram interactively functional complex organisation beyond 500 – 1,000 bits of associated information . . . FSCO/I . . . produced by blind chance and/or mechanical necessity without intelligently directed configuration.

    (ii) On trillions of cases of FSCO/I as observed being caused, reliably, consistently, it arises by intelligently directed configuration aka design, with attempted counter-examples being consistently shown to illustrate cause by such design.

    (iii) Per simple analysis of config spaces and requisites of interactive achievement of specific function (with the Abu 6500 C3 etc as concrete examples) relevant functionality comes in deeply isolated islands which once we are beyond relevant 500 – 1,000 bit thresholds, are such that blind search approaches are maximally implausible causes due to the needle in haystack sparse search challenge.

    (iv) The quantification of the relevant information can at first level be seen by examining the components and identifying xyz location and yaw-pitch-roll orientation, then listing coupling per the node-arcs wiring pattern, which yields six plus degrees of freedom/ dimensions in the config space per part. From which a structured chain of Y/N q’s or the equivalent as constrained by the system being in a cluster of relevant functional states — empirically observable — soon yields a valid info metric such as we may see in say AutoCAD files. And BTW, this simple “good enough for gov’t work” approach is the same as we see in common file size reports in bytes or bits. More sophisticated H-metric based measures using statistics are well known and for instance Durston et al have been on record on such since 2007.

    (v) The Dembski 2005 metric expression, by simple log reduction turns out to be an information beyond a threshold metric, and an empirically reasonable threshold of 500 or 1,000 bits can be readily applied, with an info as constrained by being in a functionally specific state metric can be developed, hence:

    Chi_500 = I*S – 500, functionally specific bits beyond the solar system threshold.

    I –> a relevant info metric, rooted in standard info theory, e.g. H = – SUM pi lb pi, in bits

    S –> a dummy variable, default 0 [assumed chance as cause] set to 1 on demonstrated functional specificity [results in Chi_500 defaulting to – 500, and going positive only if we are beyond a threshold where a functionally specific configuration is not plausible by chance on the gamut of atomic and temporal resources reasonably accessible to the solar system. That is, a one straw size blind sample from a cubical haystack comparably thick as our galaxy]

    All of this and more has been on the table for a long time, and the lack of ability to produce credible counter-example backed up by resort to all sort of selectively hyperskeptical and dismissive rhetorical tactics simply underscores the force of the original point.

    KF

    PS: chain of structured Y/N q’s to specify state is an expansion of, information measured in bits, e.g. ASCII text uses seven such Q’s to specify 128 states assigned to glyphs and actions for storage, printing and display of text. Where, BTW, structured Y/N q’s is another way of saying, we are specifying a description language sufficient to identify, locate, orient and couple required parts per a node-arcs functional pattern. The mocking of this suggests you have not done a basic digital electronics course, and have never assembled an electronics based instrument or device by working one’s way through a wiring diagram based assembly manual. Oh, for the days of Heathkits!.

  276. 276
    kairosfocus says:

    Onlookers, origin of life is the root of the darwinist tree of life, and it is the place where von Neumann self replicator acting in tandem with assebled protein using metabolic automata with smart gated encapsulation needs explanation. It is FSCO/I rich, in a context where appeals to the magic of natural selection cannot obfuscate the FSCO/I generation challenge. Which must answer to physics, chemistry, thermodynamics, observed diffusion forces, observed hydrolysis reactions, the reactivity of Oxygen, chirality, cross-reactions, heat and more. Thus, the mutual ruin of genes first/RNA world and metabolism first schools of thought in a world where the only empirically warranted explanation of requisite FSCO/I is design. Design sits at the table of causal explanations as of right, from the root on up. KF

  277. 277
    Zachriel says:

    kairosfocus: FSCO/I

    What is the equation for FSCO/I?

  278. 278
    kairosfocus says:

    Z, what’s the model for a transistor amplifier ckt? KF

    PS: Did you actually read 275 – 6 before asking what you obviously meant as a dismissive rhetorical question? And, the onward link here and especially the extended cite from Orgel, on what in context I have descriptively summarised as functionally specific, complex organisation and/or associated information — FSCO/I, with the application of further insights from Wicken?

  279. 279
    Zachriel says:

    kairosfocus: Did you actually read 275 – 6

    Yes. You didn’t provide an equation.

    kairosfocus: what’s the model for a transistor amplifier ckt?

    Are you saying there is no equation for FSCO/I?

  280. 280

    AR said:

    What I meant was that, as I understand you, ID does not replace evolutionary theory. It accepts the observations but rejects the mechanism as “the whole story”.

    I think it would be clearer to say that ID challenges how Darwinism characterizes those mechanisms. Darwinism asserts that unguided variation processes, and an unguided selection process, are sufficient to account for the rise of functional biodiversity. These characterizations have no evidential basis, as Darwinists here have admitted. Such characterizations have always been ideological assumptions unsubstantiated by scientific evidence.

    There is not anything else about evolutionary theory that ID theory fundamentally disagrees with.

  281. 281
    kairosfocus says:

    Z, false, really read it this time; there actually are two eqns there. KF

  282. 282
    Zachriel says:

    kairosfocus: there actually are two eqns there

    kairosfocus: Chi_500 = I*S – 500, functionally specific bits beyond the solar system threshold.

    kairosfocus: I –> a relevant info metric, rooted in standard info theory, e.g. H = – SUM pi lb pi, in bits

    But neither of them include the term FSCO/I. Is FSCO/I = I*S? And is I = – SUM pi ln pi? The biodiversity index? If not, then what is pi in this case?

  283. 283
    Zachriel says:

    kairosfocus: S –> a dummy variable, default 0 [assumed chance as cause] set to 1 on demonstrated functional specificity [results in Chi_500 defaulting to – 500, and going positive only if we are beyond a threshold where a functionally specific configuration is not plausible by chance on the gamut of atomic and temporal resources reasonably accessible to the solar system.

    S seems to encompass the very answer you are attempting to reach. If S already includes the answer, then why bother with the other terms of the calculation.

  284. 284
    Joe says:

    RB:

    Of course it is my belief that extant bacteria also reflect a long, contingent evolutionary history.

    No one cares what you believe. What does the science demonstrate?

    This is why the OoL is essential as only if the OoL was due to blind watchmaker-type processes would we infer evolution was via blind watchmaker-type processes.

    OTOH if the OoL = intelligent design then we would infer that living organisms were intelligently designed to evolve and evolved by intelligent design. And we have modeled such cases with evolutionary and genetic algorithms.

  285. 285
    kairosfocus says:

    Z, Chi_500 is a metric for FSCO/I, using a solar system threshold. I*S will measure (in an observational context) functionally specific bits, and if there is storage capacity but no observational reason to see functional specificity, it will lock to 0. The – 500 threshold term dominates. Only where we have more that 500 functionally specific bits will the expression go positive. S is not the answer as it only gets us to functional specificity per observation. The complexity comes from elsewhere (from how many y/n q’s have to be answered to get the relevant function going through interaction of components) and only with functional specificity and adequate complexity for the needle in haystack challenge to kick in, will there be an inference that we are beyond a threshold where blind chance is not an adequate explanation, on the gamut of the solar system. An easy way to view S is to ask how sensitive a function is to perturbation of components. Fishing reel parts will work within fairly wide tolerances in some cases, very little in others. E.g. the 6500 C3 uses fairly soft brass gearing — easy to machine — and nowadays the tendency is to use C-fibre washers (even, home made from 0.5 mm C-tex). Problem, if you over-tighten the star drag, and you have a big fish, the gears will strip — they cannot take the forces. Other reels use bronze or even stainless steel. The oil used in the ball bearings affects casting distance, and the mags, backlashing tendency. And more, just to bring out some of the issues. The H metric is informational entropy based on statistics of messages, in effect measuring avg info per symbol in the codes used; this is what Durston et al elaborated on. The link to thermodynamic entropy is through the same Y/N q chain, the entropy measures the avg no of y/n q’s to specify microstate consistent with a macrostate defined on relevant sets of state variables such as P, V, T etc. Base 2 logs being used, lb is the proper abbreviation. The more common ln, natural logs, is related via a constant. Base 10 is lg. All of this ties into that there is no one equation, just as there is no one one size fits all transistor amp model . . . I tend to favour simplified h parameter at lo freq ranges, hybrid pi or mods on it bring in higher f stuff, these days computer models rooted in SPICE etc use several dozen parameters. . Horses for courses. KF

  286. 286
    Zachriel says:

    kairosfocus: Chi_500 is a metric for FSCO/I

    So FSCO/I = Chi_500 = I*S – 500 ?

    kairosfocus: I*S will measure (in an observational context) functionally specific bits, and if there is storage capacity but no observational reason to see functional specificity, it will lock to 0. The – 500 threshold term dominates. Only where we have more that 500 functionally specific bits will the expression go positive. S is not the answer as it only gets us to functional specificity per observation.

    That doesn’t provide a specific means of calculating I or S. This is how it is normally done:

    I is the Shannon Information of a sequence
    S is the functional specificity of the sequence (proportion of sequences of the universe of sequences that perform the function)
    FSCO/I = I*S – 500

    Or whatever.

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