Intelligent Design

Scientific Literacy is the Enemy of Darwinism

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In a bizarre, perverse inversion of the legitimate goal of science — to find the truth wherever the evidence leads — Darwinists continue to turn things upside down.

We are constantly assured that if the unwashed, low-IQ masses could just be “educated,” and become “scientifically literate,” they would embrace the chance-and-necessity Darwinian anti-gospel with open arms and no dissent.

The endless, droning mantras about the infinitely creative powers of natural selection, the ubiquitous “scientific consensus,” the “finally discovered fossil that finally proves evolution” news releases that appear every few weeks, and all the rest, have nothing whatsoever to do with scientific literacy.

Real scientific literacy about biological systems comes from understanding the discoveries of empirical science in the last half of the 20th century — not from ideologically inspired speculation that is still mired in the scientific ignorance of the 19th century.

The irony is palpable. We are told that Darwinism would be accepted if we were sufficiently “scientifically literate.” Of course, this assumes that “scientific literacy” is 150 years out of date.

Up-to-date scientific literacy is devastating for Darwinism, which is why it must be suppressed at all cost.

47 Replies to “Scientific Literacy is the Enemy of Darwinism

  1. 1
    zeroseven says:

    GilDodgen,

    I don’t understand. Isn’t the up-to-date science, that which is being conducted currently by biologists?

    What is the scientific literacy that is devastating for Darwinism?

    And what are “the discoveries of empirical science in the last half of the 20th century” that you refer to?

  2. 2
    Lock says:

    Seems power grabs are all the rage today.

  3. 3
    Barb says:

    So after 150 years and 100 million catalogued fossils in museums around the world, most people still haven’t fully accepted the neo-Darwinian theory of evolution.

    And, in response, the intelligent scientists who study anthropology, biology, chemistry, and other fields can only use a pathetic ad hominem attack (people are scientifically illiterate) against those who disagree with them.

    That is truly pitiful and sad.

  4. 4
    Petrushka says:

    Does this screed come with any supporting evidence?

  5. 5
    DonaldM says:

    One staunch Darwinist put it this way: “I’ve never known anyone who both understood and rejected evolution.” The hubrus in such a statement can not be overstated. It is little more than an ad hominem in disguise. Put differently, the quote could be “the reason you reject evolution is because you’re too scientifically illiterate to understand it!” Or more crassly, “You reject evolution because you’re too stupid to understand it.”

    Let’s try that in reverse, shall we? “I’ve never known anyone who both understood and rejected ID.” I wonder how the Darwinists would respond to that?

  6. 6
    above says:

    @barb

    I think your response exemplifies what Gildogen is refering to.

    That last sentence especially along with the entire tone of your post.

  7. 7
    GilDodgen says:

    And what are “the discoveries of empirical science in the last half of the 20th century” that you refer to?

    Read Stephen Meyer’s book, Signature In The Cell.

    The discoveries are voluminous and devastating for the credibility of claims about the powers of the Darwinian mechanism.

  8. 8
    ellazimm says:

    I’d be very interested in picking one in particular and seeing how the conflicting paradigms deal with it. Why not? Let’s have a go!!

  9. 9
    Petrushka says:

    Let’s try that in reverse, shall we? “I’ve never known anyone who both understood and rejected ID.” I wonder how the Darwinists would respond to that?

    What’s to understand?

    ID claims that an unspecified entity having unspecified capabilities dis some unspecified something(s) at unspecified times and places using unspecified methods for unspecified reasons.

    There’s no there there.

  10. 10
    Petrushka says:

    most people still haven’t fully accepted the neo-Darwinian theory of evolution

    The article isn’t about “most people.”

    It’s about scientifically literate people.

    I’d like to see the research that points to this conclusion. Perhaps as people obtain advanced degrees in scientific fields their level of doubt in Darwinism increases.

    Perhaps there are polls answering that question, depicting how education levels affect acceptance of evolution.

    Or perhaps someone has developed an inventory of science literacy, a test that can be followed up by a few questions about acceptance of evolution.

    The correlations could be interesting.

  11. 11
    DonaldM says:

    Petrushka

    ID claims that an unspecified entity having unspecified capabilities dis some unspecified something(s) at unspecified times and places using unspecified methods for unspecified reasons.

    Petrushka, you’ve been hanging out here for a while, so there’s really no excuse for you’re making such a silly statement as this. NONE of this is what ID claims. If you don’t yet know that, you simply have not been paying attention.

  12. 12
    ellazimm says:

    DonaldM:

    I accept that ID says that an intelligent designer is a better explanation for some of the complexity observed in the biological world. But it is true that ID’s proponents do not specify who the designer is, what specifically the designer did, when the designer acted or designed, how the designer operated or the designer’s plans and motivations.

    I’m trying to understand the ID paradigm and trying to be respectful at the same time. I would very much like to have some more specifics or guesses about those topics.

    People complain about ‘Darwinists’ taking too much credit, explaining too much based on their approach. I don’t want to vilify or chastise ID supporters; but I would like to know: how, when, where, why. I want to be able to evaluate ID as a predictive and modelling theory. But I need more prediction and modelling. I want to see ID as an explanatory point of view. And that means answering some of those questions.

    Remember: you need to ‘convert’ people who are not in agreement with you. You need to form some kind of consensus. You need to show how ID addresses the evidence, adapts to new evidence, makes predictions and rises to contention.

    You’ve got a good forum here. This is not an academic situation. Most of us tend to operate on an anonymous playing field. Push the boat out a bit and give us some glimpse behind the safe facade. Run some ideas by us and see what we think. It’s a good way to test out your suppositions and see if they fly.

  13. 13
    kairosfocus says:

    EZ:

    Actually no, what is needed — on both sides — is to build a reasonably well warranted empirically based explanation for the origin of certain phenomena that in our direct observation are consistently associated with the action of intelligence. (For instance digitally coded, algorithmically or linguistically functionally specific complex information.)

    ID avers that — on the premise that the best explanation of what happened in the deep past beyond observation is the causal factors seen in such reliable patterns in the present — the best explanation of the dFSCI in the cell — one of Meyer’s key signatures, BTW — is directed contingency, i.e design.

    Clean, simple and easily tested against experiment: just produce a known, directly observed case where credibly undirected stochastic contingency and/or blind mechanical necessity have produced such dFSCI. (Mind you, on the same grounds that warrant the statistical form of the second law of thermodynamics, that will be predictably hard, indeed, ID suggests that it will be empirically unobservable on the gamut of our known cosmos.)

    Darwinian evolution, and wider evolutionary materialism is committed to the contrary proposition that such chance and necessity are fully and with reasonable likelihood, capable of producing such. But, to date, they have never been able to produce a case in our observation that stood up to a serious scrutiny. (Weasel didn’t make the grade in 1986, despite how it persuaded ever so many, and Genetic etc algorithms today all operate well within the bounds of islands of function or have intelligent oracles that get them to a “beach” — cf. how they talk about fitness landscapes — and are intelligently loaded up with what Marks and Dembaki have termed active information.)

    So, on unfettered inference to best explanation, the answer is pretty obvious: computes with organised co-ordinated, synchronised machinery and their algorithmic information are best explained as artifacts.

    But, that unfetteredness is exactly what is not being allowed to speak: as Lewontin and others summarise, there is an a priori commitment to “natural explanations,” and there is an active attempt to redefine science as explaining only on such patterns of chance and mechanical necessity.

    So, there is an deeply worldview tinged ideological struggle in science.

    History tells us that such struggles do not fade away quietly if much is at stake. What will happen is that sometime within the next 20 years or so, there will be one cover-up, one censorship, one expulsion too many, and bang the light will go off. Support for the evolutionary materialist paradigm will collapse in the tax-paying public, and it will dry up, fighting for turf and perks at the public trough tooth and nail every inch of the way.

    So, the real challenge is to hold up the mirror of soundness and truth to the reigning a priori materialism paradigm, while building a new one among those sufficiently open-minded to see its true degree of warrant.

    The stout resistance to the expose of what Mr Lewontin actually said quite publicly, and to pointing out the implications of what the US national Academy of Sciences has been saying, and what the NCSE, ACLU et al have been doing, and what has been going on in the Smithsonian, in Faculty seminar rooms, and in the editorial boardrooms of journals like Nature show that the new magisterium do understand where their fatal weak spot lies.

    The trend is clear, and sooner rather than later, the public will wise up and rise up, saying enough is enough.

    Looks like tat is already happening with the Climategate scandal.

    Which will accelerate the upcoming ID-gate scandal.

    GEM of TKI

  14. 14
    Petrushka says:

    Petrushka, you’ve been hanging out here for a while, so there’s really no excuse for you’re making such a silly statement as this. NONE of this is what ID claims.

    You could turn your post into a refutation simply by listing any of the designer’s attributes. I’m listening.

  15. 15
    ellazimm says:

    KF:

    “Actually no, what is needed — on both sides — is to build a reasonably well warranted empirically based explanation for the origin of certain phenomena that in our direct observation are consistently associated with the action of intelligence. (For instance digitally coded, algorithmically or linguistically functionally specific complex information.)”

    As long as you agree that a non-intelligent ’cause’ is a possible answer. As long as you concede that you might be wrong.

    “ID avers that — on the premise that the best explanation of what happened in the deep past beyond observation is the causal factors seen in such reliable patterns in the present — the best explanation of the dFSCI in the cell — one of Meyer’s key signatures, BTW — is directed contingency, i.e design.”

    But, it hasn’t proved that there was an intelligent designer present at the time. This comes up in archaeology (and the bastard, Erich von Daniken world) all the time. Hypothesising some higher entity is fine, proving it was present, without multiple lines of evidence, is much harder. But I’m open to your evidence.

    I think part of the disagreement in in the notion of ‘best’ explanation and parsimony. I completely agree that a supernatural designer would completely answer lots of issues. But, because I see very little evidence for such a being and because its existence raises more questions than it answers, I cannot blithely accept its presence without some extraordinary evidence. Just pointing to some unexplained transitions in the biological record just doesn’t cut it for me. But that’s not exactly what I’m here for.

    So, let’s get back to the evidence. Let’s pick a case and lay all out for everyone to pick over. Give me the best ID argument and the best evidence to support it.

    Sorry I haven’t addressed all your points. It’s late where I live and I’m going to have to go to bed soon. But thanks for listening and taking the time everyone. I’ll try and catch up in the morning.

  16. 16
    zeroseven says:

    KF @ 13,

    No, all that experiment would provide is supporting evidence for Darwinian evolution. So much of the ID proponents case seems to consist of trying to find holes in Darwinism (which is pointless because that’s what all scientists are doing with all theories all the time).

    What you need is a positive affirmation with supporting empirical evidence of your own theory. Sure, Darwinists on this forum will put time into saying why ID is not a good theory. But the actual biologists and other scientist conducting the field work, experiments and theorising about evolution don’t waste their time disproving ID. IMHO you need scientists who are prepared to do that for ID. Just ignore Darwinism and concentrate on establishing scientific acceptance of your own theory.

    And that theory surely must include who, how and when. I think aiguy, on another thread, delivered a devastating critique of Meyer’s version of ID which clearly shows you can’t ignore the who. Either it is a complex physical being (being the only entities we actually have experience and knowledge of that are capable of producing FSCI) or it is a non-physical intelligence (which we have no evidence or experience of such a thing ever being able to produce complex beings).

    If it is the former then you are no further ahead in the search for the first life-form and if it is the latter then its not a scientific postulation based on repeated experience and knowledge – ie there is absolutely no evidence for saying that a non-physical intelligence could even exist, let alone create physical beings.

  17. 17
    Upright BiPed says:

    Petrushka at 14,

    Are you still having fun playing the part you’ve given to the opposition?

    I’ve asked this before; what is it like to have to swallow your intellectual pride as you defend a failed worldview against insurmountable evidence against it? I mean, really, there is no doubt you already know that ID theory is strictly appropriate to the evidence — in that there is nothing in the physical evidence that offers any particular idea as to the “attributes of the designer” other than the obvious ability to instantiate information into inanimate chemistry. That is, after all, where we find it.

    Yet still, here you are asking the same old questions time and time again. As if they matter to the theory as it is. And truly, it must be intellectually embarrassing at some level to ask these same old tired questions again and again, particularly while shielding yourself from the rather abundant fact that after 150 years, untold billions of dollars, and a research staff of, well, virtually everyone on the planet interested, you have yet to produce a single “how”, “when”, or “where” for your pretty little Darwinian tale. Not so much as even an opening line. But then again, it as the opening line that Darwin himself left out didn’t he?

    Don’t you think the old girl needs a break? Why continue to embarrass her with these constant misplaced questions that do no more than highlight just how vacant the theory of “Poof, it did it itself” really is? Surely you yourself must tire of constantly asking a question you already have the answer for. Like an old alcoholic spending yet another night on the same barstool, you seem to have forgotten that it was you who up the opportunity to be somewhere else.

    But hey, no need to be upset, truly, no one here expects you to go anywhere else.

  18. 18
    kairosfocus says:

    EZ:

    It would be amusing to see your attempted turnabout of burden of proof and trend of proof, if it were not so sad.

    On abundant and reliable tests we know certain things when they appear are credible signs of design. So it is not that we need now to prove that there was a designer at some point of the past, apart from artifacts showing such signs of design.

    Not at all.

    It is the signs that show that a designer, the source of a design, was there at the when.

    G’day

    GEM orf TKI

  19. 19
    DonaldM says:

    ellazimm #15

    I completely agree that a supernatural designer would completely answer lots of issues. But, because I see very little evidence for such a being and because its existence raises more questions than it answers, I cannot blithely accept its presence without some extraordinary evidence. Just pointing to some unexplained transitions in the biological record just doesn’t cut it for me. But that’s not exactly what I’m here for.

    The lack of evidence claim is one that comes often from critics of ID. Its worth a bit of examination and clarification, I think. At issue is what constitutes evidence, or perhaps a better question might be, what is evidence, in a scientific sense? Unfortunately for all of us, evidence, that is data or observations we make, does not come to us with a little label attached that tells what it is evidence for. Rather, it is we humans that assign evidential status to data and observations and connect data bit A with observation B and conclude that A seems to be evidence for B. But how that evidential status is conferred within science is itself not without philosophical thickets.

    Let’s say it is sometime just before 1900 and you and I are physicist looking at atoms. I make certain observations and say to you “Ella, I believe atoms are mutable – they can be split apart or squashed together”. “Tosh!”, you reply “what evidence do you have for that?” And in a sense you would have been right, because at that time no one knew of any connection between atoms and the idea of their mutability. The relevant observations had not yet been made and thus no data provided any basis for such a connection between observation and hypothesis. But in another sense, there was evidence for it. Bright, shining evidence that rose every morning and set every night: Sunshine. If not for the mutability of atoms, there would be no sun! But, that necessary data that allowed the connection between the observation, sunshine, and the hypothesis, atoms are mutable, just wasn’t known then.

    Thus when someone says “I see no evidence for a designer in nature” (or very little evidence), all that might mean is that they are not aware of any data that justifies connecting a certain observation…say irreducible complexity in a biological system…with an intelligent cause. But that does not mean that such data and justification do not exist, just as scientists before 1900 didn’t know of the relevant data for sunshine. But they didn’t deny that sunshine existed!

    The point is that the claim of “no evidence” or “little evidence” is not as substantial as some think. Rather, I think, it is a rejection or denial that certain observations and data can justifiably be deemed to be evidence for an intelligent designer. That is a very different thing than there being “little” or “no” evidence.

    You say you can not accept the claim with out “extraordinary” evidence. My question back to you is “what would you accept as being such extraordinary evidence, and how do you know you haven’t already observed it? (Like the sunshine, for example)

  20. 20
    aiguy says:

    I think some fair questions have been asked here regarding ID. If there is no characterization of the “designer” posited by ID, then there is nothing that could be inconsistent with the idea of a “designer”, which in the conext of ID apparently means “something that can do whatever is required to produce whatever it is we observe”.

    Of course we’ve all been through these criticisms before, and I’m well aware that the response is always tu coque: Maybe ID hasn’t come up with any specifics about how life came to exist, but at least it isn’t as stupid as materialistic Darwinism!!!

    But those who know me already know I am neither a materialist nor a Darwinist. I’m the one who is utterly certain that I do not know how biological complexity came to exist, and equally certain that nobody else knows either.

    Why is it that people have such a hard time admitting ignorance on these difficult questions? Why do so many people think that we simply must “choose one side or the other”, when in fact we don’t even know how many sides there are, or what other sides may appear to us in the future?

    Scientists at the turn of the previous century were famously convinced that all of the fundamental problems of physics had already been solved, and all that remained were a few details to resolve. Immediately thereafter came relativity and quantum theory, which demonstrated that most of what they knew was, in an important sense, wrong. I’m pretty sure the same will happen in evolutionary biology at some point, but – like the physicists of 1900 – we have absolutely no conception of what the new theories might look like.

    The only reasonable response to the current situation is to admit we do not know how life began. Pretending that physical chemistry as we currently understand it is sure to account for it is presumptuous. Making up some imaginary being and refusing to describe it save for assigning whatever powers might be needed to account for what we observe is utterly useless.

    I’m not going to debate what we ought to teach in our schools here, or how our research dollars ought to be spent. All I’m asking is that all those here who believe they have the answer take a good look at what it would feel like to admit that they have no idea.

    For those who believe that our current understanding of physical chemistry may eventually explain abiogenesis, by all means continue investigating that… and let us know when you succeed.

    For those who believe that unknown properties of matter and energy may result in complex function arising from simple chemicals, I would suggest continuing to pursue those ideas… and the rest of us will wait for some results.

    For those who feel strongly that immaterial agents might exist that can think like human beings and interact with the world, and that they had something to do with the creation of the first living things, I would suggest you engage some research to substantiate your belief in disembodied intelligent beings and let us know when you have some evidence about that.

    But until something along those lines – or lines we haven’t even imagined yet – pans out, can’t the rest of us just say WE DO NOT KNOW and stop pretending that we do?

  21. 21
    Winston Macchi says:

    For instance digitally coded, algorithmically or linguistically functionally specific complex information.M

    On abundant and reliable tests we know certain things when they appear are credible signs of design. So it is not that we need now to prove that there was a designer at some point of the past, apart from artifacts showing such signs of design.

    One thing I have never understood. All these instances of design that the ID literature speaks of (i.e. computers, airplanes, etc.) are, yes, the products of an intelligent creature. However they are all the products of humans and only humans. None of the other intelligent creatures that exist, and there are many (dolphins, crows, chimps, etc.), create the type of information that is required. By that rational the only statement that can be logically made is that humans and only humans are capable of creating it.

    Now, when I write a paper on the type three secretion system of Salmonella I have to specify that I’m talking about Salmonella enterica serovar typhimurium. It may or may not be transferable to an enteropathogenic E. coli. But I would have to check before I made such a statement. I mention this because it seems way out of line and a gross overstatement of what we know to state that an intelligent being created life, in which ever way one chooses to believe that it did. If you believe in ID and believe it is scientific, you must believe that life was created by humans as only humans have demonstrated in a scientific manner the ability to created the kind of information required. In other words, we can’t say the intelligence has anything to do with it, the only common factor is humanity. Intelligence may be an unrelated trait.

  22. 22
    Petrushka says:

    ID theory is strictly appropriate to the evidence — in that there is nothing in the physical evidence that offers any particular idea as to the “attributes of the designer”

    So to paraphrase your post, ID asserts that an unspecified entity, the designer, having unspecified attributes, did unspecified things at unspecified times and places using unspecified methods for unspecified reasons.

    A really odd sort of forensics.

  23. 23
    Petrushka says:

    It hasn’t escaped my notice that ID proponents don’t like this characterization, but fail to take the necessary steps to move beyond it.

    This seems to be the reason why ID starts a new journal every few years, populates it with a couple of articles, and then abandons it.

    What is the point of having a journal for a movement that does no research and aspires to know nothing about the history of life?

  24. 24
    DonaldM says:

    AIguy #18

    I’d say the existence of the universe itself is fairly overwhelming evidence. Clearly many (especially materialists/naturalists) deny that the cosmos itself is evidence for the existence of an immaterial being that most call God. But that doesn’t strike me as having much starch to it since all they are really denying is that there is no justification for connecting the evidence to the premise. However, many (myself included) see no reason not to. The alternative is to believe that the blind, purposeless forces of matter and energy alone acting through chance and/or necessity has produced everything…absolutely everything, no exceptions…that we observe…every event that has ever happened in time in space, is happening now and ever will happen. I don’t think the issue we do not know…I think the issue is that many don’t want to admit to what probably is the correct answer.

  25. 25
    GilDodgen says:

    …WE DO NOT KNOW…

    Of course, no one knows, but ID proponents make no claim concerning knowledge about how living systems came about. They only propose an inference to the best explanation, based on what is known from our universal experience (that intelligence is the only known source of systems that give every indication of being the product of design and engineering, and in the case of living systems, immensely sophisticated design and engineering that surpasses the best efforts of the most intelligent people in the world in our highly technological information age).

    This is in contrast to Darwinists, who repeatedly assure us that they do know that, “scientists can treat evolution by natural selection as, in effect, an established fact.” (See the post by Denyse below.)

    It should be noted that, if you follow such claims into the argumentation offered by their proponents, the proposition that “evolution by natural selection is an established fact” really means that we can be assured that all of biology is explained by this mechanism, with the same assurance that the earth orbits the sun and that things fall down instead of up.

    Devout Darwinists never suggest that they do not know, or even have doubts.

    Another important consideration is the trajectory of the evidence. The more we learn about living systems the more design (from whatever source and by whatever means, which probably will never be known) becomes a reasonable inference, and the more Darwinian explanations become implausible.

    Of course, there might be some heretofore unrealized “weird law or mechanism of whatever strange stuff we haven’t thought about or discovered yet” that can account for sophisticated technology without design or engineering, but such speculation is the antithesis of a parsimonious and reasonable inference — intelligent design.

  26. 26
    CJYman says:

    aiguy:
    “But until something along those lines – or lines we haven’t even imagined yet – pans out, can’t the rest of us just say WE DO NOT KNOW and stop pretending that we do?”

    Sure, as long as you aren’t carrying a double standard. Why not just say that we don’t really know whether the Big Bang happened or not? Sure, there are lots of lines of evidence that point to such an occurrence, but then again many lines of evidence point to the fact that foresight, as I’ve defined and discussed in the link further down in this comment, is required for the generation of certain patterns such as FSCI. There is also evidence, as I’ve discussed in the same following link, that these types of patterns are defined by neither law (as mathematical descriptions of regularities) nor chance operating absent previous intelligence.

    In case you were wondering, this isn’t an issue of absolute knowledge. This is an issue of scientific investigation and inference to the best explanation.


    Here
    is the link to a summary of my basic understanding of ID Theory (including a definition of intelligence).

    So, of course I don’t know every part of the puzzle, but I’m definitely going to argue for those parts that do have good support. Why not just follow along with the arguments aiguy?

    BTW, in the last thread where we were discussing Meyers argument, I’m still trying to figure out how you botched and twisted my argument so horribly to make it seem like I’m stating that foresight is equivalent to the operation of law and chance. How can that be when law+chance do not look into the future, yet foresight does exactly that. With my foresight I can envision a future goal that does not yet exist and then engineer matter and energy/law and chance in order to accomplish that goal. It matters not whether our foresight is determined or if we are free in our foresight, it only matters that foresight does exist as per our very own experience with it and that we utilize it in the generation of FSCI.

    Then, if as the premise to your argument implies, foresight also requires FSCI as per our repeated and uniform experience then so be it. That is actually my present understanding and what I use to argue for ID Theory. This only means that FSCI and intelligence are dependent on each other and can not exist with out the other. So, yes, there is technically no “first” implementation of FSCI or intelligence. But Meyers is talking about a very specific implementation — biological life on our planet. It either came from the reproductive capabilities of other life or the FSCI in life was designed however indirectly, by other FSCI-containing (call it living as well if you wish) intelligence.

    With the above understood, I’ve already shown that your latest argument makes no significant difference to Meyers argument.

  27. 27
    Upright BiPed says:

    Aiguy,

    I returned today to find that the thread we were talking on had moved forward briskly in my absence, and had even jumped into another thread. I skimmed through the responses and found it to be a very interesting conversation. I personally had nothing more to add. Null, CY, and others did a great job trying to get you to acknowledge that ID does not make any proposition as to the source of the intelligence that produced the FSCI found in life on this planet. You refused it and that is your prerogative. However, you cannot say that Meyer is wrong. If he is wrong then he would have to be wrong about what his position is – the argument as he has contained it – not one you’ve put upon him.

    In any case, it seems clear that you are driven to have a symbolic “wrongness of Meyer” swept across the evidence for ID …given you own words at least (“Meyer is wrong”, “So at this point are we all in agreement here that Meyer is wrong”, “but he’s wrong”, “this is the just part where he’s wrong”, “then Meyer is wrong”, “Either way, Meyer is wrong”, “then ID is wrong”. I would just simply remind you that ID is about evidence, not a person, and Stephen Meyer would be the first to underscore that.

    Your claim (very unambiguously spoken) is that “We observe that complex physical organisms produce FSCI, and nothing else.” That was your exact statement to me. Yet, Meyer’s claim is that intelligence is the source of FSCI. You could certainly argue that its physicality and not intelligence, or both, that leads to FSCI, but that is not a choice you made (nor is it one that ID addresses). Instead you have concluded that if you can (and I am certain you know this) twist Meyer’s claim into being the equivalent of yours (as you have want to do) then you can argue your point (which you have done). That however is not his argument. And as was pointed out on the previous thread, even if Meyer conceded your point, his then-modified argument still carries the most weight in highlighting a causal force capable of creating FSCI. It is also worth noting that you must first concede his evidence before your point can even be made, e.g. IF his evidence is correct, THEN he must modify his conclusion. In other words, you cannot argue he must modify his conclusion if his evidence is incorrect. Or, I suppose you could, but it would be boorishly pedantic, trivial, and uninteresting.

    However, having Meyer (or ID for that matter) (rather unsubstaintially) modify his conclusion to incorporate your point is not exactly what you were after, was it? It seems that you would like to concede his evidence in order to make your argument valid, then having made your point, dismiss the evidence which you first had to concede. You will not be surprised if not many follow you on this quest.

    And now to save yourself from what must be uncomfortable metaphysics, are you suggesting that ID proponents shouldn’t debate the evidence at all?

    Sure. You go ahead and play the voice of reason. 🙂

    While you are at it, perhaps you could just allow us to all individually pick where and when we say “we don’t know”. I say that random chance and physical necessity haven’t shown the slightest observable tendacy to build specified functionality based upon semiotic information processing systems. I say that intelligence is far and way the most causally effective explanation for the observed semiotic abstractions found within nucleic sequencing.

    Exactly how did it get there? I don’t know. Perhaps some day we can find out.

  28. 28
    Upright BiPed says:

    Petrushka,

    By all means, tell me of a verifiable unguided source for the semiotic information processing we find inside the living cell. Or heck, just give me a non-agent source of information.

    Any at all.

    – – – – –

    And, send another round to Petrushka, he has a barstool to defend.

  29. 29
    aiguy says:

    Gil,

    Of course, no one knows, but ID proponents make no claim concerning knowledge about how living systems came about. They only propose an inference to the best explanation,…

    I understand that. My point was that our best explanation – no matter which one you choose – lacks sufficient warrant. There is no rule that says we must pick an explanation to believe in. It is perfectly reasonable to say that we have no good reason to think we know the answer. In my view, not only is it reasonable to say this, but it is the only intellectually honest position.

    … based on what is known from our universal experience (that intelligence is the only known source of systems that give every indication of being the product of design and engineering, and in the case of living systems, immensely sophisticated design and engineering that surpasses the best efforts of the most intelligent people in the world in our highly technological information age).

    The only known source of these types of complex systems are themselves complex systems – human beings. Based on what we know from our universal experience, every intelligent agent is invariably a living organism, rich in functional complex specified information. Obviously if we seek to understand how the very first complex organism came to exist, we can hardly appeal to a prior complex organism, so apparently there is nothing in our universal experience that could account for first life. We could imagine that somehow there could be something that was not itself a living organism but still somehow had all of the mental and physical powers that a human being has – or even greater powers. But although we can imagine such a thing, it certainly is not in our universal experience, and many people doubt such things exist. There has been some scientific research conducted to ascertain if conscious minds can exist independent of a complex physical body, but the results are inconclusive at best (I’m referring to paranormal studies into ghosts, spirits, OBE, and so on).

    This is in contrast to Darwinists, who repeatedly assure us that they do know that, “scientists can treat evolution by natural selection as, in effect, an established fact.”

    I think that people who say that ought to be more careful about their claims. I believe there is good reason to think that evolutionary theory is fundamentally incomplete; in other words we have no good reason to believe that the mechanisms we currently understand can fully account for biological complexity.

    It should be noted that, if you follow such claims into the argumentation offered by their proponents, the proposition that “evolution by natural selection is an established fact” really means that we can be assured that all of biology is explained by this mechanism, with the same assurance that the earth orbits the sun and that things fall down instead of up.

    Devout Darwinists never suggest that they do not know, or even have doubts.

    Well, that is the definition of the “devout” in general, I suppose. It is exactly this that I am referring to. There is far too much mystery to be “devout” about any one particular explanation.

    Another important consideration is the trajectory of the evidence. The more we learn about living systems the more design (from whatever source and by whatever means, which probably will never be known) becomes a reasonable inference, and the more Darwinian explanations become implausible.

    No matter how complicated the mechanisms we try to explain, we still have no good reason to believe that the cause was a human-like consciousness that existed without the benefit of a human-like brain. This simply contradicts our universal experience. Of course it might be the case that consciousness can exist independently of complex mechanism, but this is not in our uniform experience. Likewise it could be that complex mechanism might arise without mind, but that isn’t in our experience either.

    Of course, there might be some heretofore unrealized “weird law or mechanism of whatever strange stuff we haven’t thought about or discovered yet” that can account for sophisticated technology without design or engineering, but such speculation is the antithesis of a parsimonious and reasonable inference — intelligent design.

    You can offer “unspecified unintelligent cause” or “unspecified intelligent cause” as an explantion, but they’re both about as dubious and useless as theories. We have no clue as to the nature of an unintelligent cause that could produce these mechanisms – but that doesn’t mean someday we won’t have a dramatic revolution in our understanding of physics (it’s happened before). Likewise, we have no clue as to how a conscious being could exist without a complex physical body and somehow still create mechanisms – but that doesn’t mean someday we won’t discover that minds really do transcend physical cause and interact with matter in a way that could have created first life.

    Until then, the honest position in my view is to say we do not know.

    * * *

    DonaldM,

    I’d say the existence of the universe itself is fairly overwhelming evidence.

    All right then.

    CJYman,

    Sure, as long as you aren’t carrying a double standard.

    I’m not.

    Why not just say that we don’t really know whether the Big Bang happened or not?

    I’m no cosmologist, but I’d say red shift and background microwave radiation have something to do with it.

    Sure, there are lots of lines of evidence that point to such an occurrence, but then again many lines of evidence point to the fact that foresight, as I’ve defined and discussed in the link further down in this comment, is required for the generation of certain patterns such as FSCI.

    We know what “foresight” feels like, but nobody understands what “foresight” is. We don’t know how it works, whether or not it is the result of purely physical processes, what (if anything) is the connection between “foresight” and consciousness, whether it proceeds by blind (hyper-massively parallel) generation and test, what sorts of things can employ it, etc.

    Moreover, it is utterly impossible to detect if something has foresight unless that thing is observed in a novel environment. No matter how complex and goal-oriented a behavior appears, it may be quite predetermined (cf. the famous sphex wasp). Since we cannot interact with the hypothetical designer of ID, we cannot distinguish programmed behavior from behavior with “foresight”. Now if the Designer is merely a programmed automaton, lacking consciousness and “foresight”, you can of course ask, Who programmed the Designer? But I really don’t think you want to ask that, right? (Unless you’d like to address Who designed the Designer?)

    Why not just follow along with the arguments aiguy?

    I know all the arguments. They are interesting and fun to speculate about. My concern is that people mistake them for knowledge, polarize about them, and believe they know they answer.

    BTW, in the last thread where we were discussing Meyers argument, I’m still trying to figure out how you botched and twisted my argument so horribly to make it seem like I’m stating that foresight is equivalent to the operation of law and chance. How can that be when law+chance do not look into the future,

    Of course something that operates according to law+chance can look into the future. Weather-predicting computer systems come to mind. Yes, computers are designed by people, but that doesn’t mean they do not think on their own. (After all, you think people are designed by the Designer, but you still think people think on their own, right?)

    That is actually my present understanding and what I use to argue for ID Theory. This only means that FSCI and intelligence are dependent on each other and can not exist with out the other. So, yes, there is technically no “first” implementation of FSCI or intelligence.

    Then for you, neither mind nor mechanism preceeded the other? OK… but I still think you have a bootstrapping problem 🙂

    But Meyers is talking about a very specific implementation — biological life on our planet. It either came from the reproductive capabilities of other life or the FSCI in life was designed however indirectly, by other FSCI-containing (call it living as well if you wish) intelligence. With the above understood, I’ve already shown that your latest argument makes no significant difference to Meyers argument.

    Meyer makes it explicitly clear that he claims to explain “the very first living cell” and “first life from simpler non-living chemicals”. This is not just biological life on our planet. Clearly he does not agree with you, and his theory requires an intelligence which is not itself an FSCI-containing organism.

    * * *

    Upright BiPed,

    I returned today to find that the thread we were talking on had moved forward briskly in my absence, and had even jumped into another thread. I skimmed through the responses and found it to be a very interesting conversation. I personally had nothing more to add. Null, CY, and others did a great job trying to get you to acknowledge that ID does not make any proposition as to the source of the intelligence that produced the FSCI found in life on this planet. You refused it and that is your prerogative. However, you cannot say that Meyer is wrong. If he is wrong then he would have to be wrong about what his position is – the argument as he has contained it – not one you’ve put upon him.

    1) Meyer claims to explain the very first living cell from simpler non-living chemicals.
    2) This means that the cause he infers cannot itself be a living thing.
    3) Meyer claims that the cause he infers is known to our uniform and repeated experience.
    4) But nothing in our uniform and repeated experience can create complex mechanisms except living things.
    5) Therefore Meyer is wrong.

    This is a very simple and clear argument. I’ve presented Meyer’s position with perfect fidelity, and provided direct quotes to back it up.

    If you disagree with my argument, please tell me which step(s) are in error, and why.

    I would just simply remind you that ID is about evidence, not a person, and Stephen Meyer would be the first to underscore that.

    I am not attacking Meyer as a person of course. He is wrong in what he claims as the central argument of his book “Signature in the Cell”. That’s all.

    And now to save yourself from what must be uncomfortable metaphysics, are you suggesting that ID proponents shouldn’t debate the evidence at all?

    I’m suggesting that ID proponents should realize we have no known cause that can account for the origin of life.

    Sure. You go ahead and play the voice of reason.

    Thanks!

  30. 30
    Upright BiPed says:

    Aiguy,

    Again the infernal dance of trivial nothingness.

    snore…

    Are you simply ill-equipped to understand the difference between A and B? Your 1-5 example is a clear demonstration of an inablity to seperate yourself from the argument you wish to make.

    I would advise anyone who thinks you are not here to argue a specific position is fooling themselves, and is fool (yes, that is “fool”, as in a someone captured in a position he/she has chosen to not challenge. In other words – “moo”).

    You never answered my first question to you.

    And so far, nothng has changed. As a mater of fact, ignoring questions seems to be a regular part of your approach to the issue. As has been the case before me, I simply cannot force you into acknowledging what is front of the nose on your face.

    So be it.

  31. 31
    ellazimm says:

    KF:

    “On abundant and reliable tests we know certain things when they appear are credible signs of design. So it is not that we need now to prove that there was a designer at some point of the past, apart from artifacts showing such signs of design.”

    There are lots of people who disagree that the tests are reliable indicators of design. That’s why I think another line of evidence would help bolster the ID view. And there is still the issues of what kind of designer, when they designed and why they did certain things.

    DM:

    “You say you can not accept the claim with out “extraordinary” evidence. My question back to you is “what would you accept as being such extraordinary evidence, and how do you know you haven’t already observed it? (Like the sunshine, for example)”

    I think it is possible that there is evidence than I am not seeing as indicative of an intelligent designer. Have you got something in mind aside from the already proposed FCSI, Irreducible Complexity and the fine tuning of the universe? Those are highly disputed and it would be good to find another category.

    I think, for me, rather than a single piece of evidence or even a single category I’d like to see several converging lines of evidence. That’s what I find so compelling about evolution: many converging lines of hard physical evidence that are all consistent with the core theory and only depend on understandable, natural processes. One thing we will probably never agree on is parsimony: I find the notion of an unknown intelligent designer to be a difficult concept to accept without some unambiguous, physical evidence that can stand up to lengthy examination by a wide number of people.

    I have never had a personally revelatory experience or I might have a different criteria. I think it’s very important that we all think a lot about how our beliefs are falsifiable. (Isn’t that how it’s spelled? hmmmmm)

  32. 32
    kairosfocus says:

    EZ:

    The matter is direct enough, and subject to empirical test — as opposed to ideologically motivated Lewontinian a priori rejectionism.

    Take digitally coded, functionally specific complex information [dFSCI for short].

    We have an Internet full of cases in point, and a whole major industry that provide abundant test cases, as do all the libraries in the world, and many more besides. Altogether, BILLIONS of empirical tests.

    Can you identify a single case where in our direct observation of the causal process, 1,000+ bits worth of capacity of dFSCI came about by undirected forces of chance and mechanical necessity?

    Plainly, not — or the case would be trumpeted to the high heavens.

    In addition, we know on configuration space analysis grounds, that such islands of function in the relevant configuration spaces are incredibly isolated and hard to find without the aid of intelligence and active information from intelligence; on the gamut of our observed cosmos.

    So, we have both empirical and analytical grounds to be confident in the induction that dFSCI is an empirically reliable sign of directed contingency, i.e design.

    When we turn to the living cell, we do not directly observe its origin. We cannot. But, following he uniformitarian principle advocated by Lyell and Darwin, we may plausibly infer from the causal patterns we do reliably observe in the present to explain similar phenomena and their traces from the remote and unobservable past.

    On such unfettered inference, the obvious best explanation for the dFSCI in the living cell is design.

    The objections thereto do not trace to empirical counterexample, but to ideological a priori, as Lewontin documented.

    So, pardon a citation form Newton in his 1704 Opticks, Query 31:

    ____________________

    >> As in Mathematicks, so in Natural Philosophy, the Investigation of difficult Things by the Method of Analysis, ought ever to precede the Method of Composition. This Analysis consists in making Experiments and Observations, and in drawing general Conclusions from them by Induction, and admitting of no Objections against the Conclusions, but such as are taken from Experiments, or other certain Truths. For Hypotheses [i.e. speculative metaphysical a prioris] are not to be regarded in experimental Philosophy. And although the arguing from Experiments and Observations by Induction be no Demonstration of general Conclusions; yet it is the best way of arguing which the Nature of Things admits of, and may be looked upon as so much the stronger, by how much the Induction is more general. And if no Exception occur from Phaenomena, the Conclusion may be pronounced generally. But if at any time afterwards any Exception shall occur from Experiments, it may then begin to be pronounced with such Exceptions as occur. By this way of Analysis we may proceed from Compounds to Ingredients, and from Motions to the Forces producing them; and in general, from Effects to their Causes, and from particular Causes to more general ones, till the Argument end in the most general. This is the Method of Analysis: And the Synthesis consists in assuming the Causes discover’d, and establish’d as Principles, and by them explaining the Phaenomena proceeding from them, and proving the Explanations. >>
    ____________________

    I trust the point will be clear enough.

    GEM of TKI

  33. 33
    kairosfocus says:

    PS: I suggest, as an introduction, you read here, then identify where you disagree, why.

  34. 34
    Petrushka says:

    By all means, tell me of a verifiable unguided source for the semiotic information processing we find inside the living cell. Or heck, just give me a non-agent source of information.

    ID arguments always move the goalpost back to the origin of life, rather than admit that evolution is a satisfactory explanation for the diversity of life.

    The source of information is the same as the source for any system that learns. Experience is the source.

    You’ve probably seen the cute aphorism: “Good judgement comes from experience; experience comes from bad judgement.”

    First life is an unsolved problem. I prefer not to pontificate on the results of research before the research is done. A lot of folks here have no qualms about bloviating about future results.

    But once a replicator exists, it evolves. Evolution is learning. Learning violates no laws of physics. It does not “create” information; it acquires it via experience.

  35. 35
    ellazimm says:

    KF:

    “Can you identify a single case where in our direct observation of the causal process, 1,000+ bits worth of capacity of dFSCI came about by undirected forces of chance and mechanical necessity?”

    I’d say the human genome but you’d not let me offer up that. How about the pattern of stripes on Jupiter? The dance of the honeybee? A picture of the Virgin Mary on someone’s piece of toast? A rainbow? Adjacent fibonacci numbers in the clockwise and counter-clockwise spirals of pinecones? Actually, the fibonacci numbers pop up in nature quite a lot. I’ll go with those.

    I’ll try and get through your reference but this one statement jumped out at me:

    “The number of possible configurations specified by 1,000 yes/no decisions, or 1,000 bits, is ~ 1.07 * 10^301; i.e. “roughly” 1 followed by 301 zeros. While, the ~ 10^80 atoms of the observed universe, changing state as fast as is reasonable [[the Planck time, i.e. every 5.39 *10^-44 s], for its estimated lifespan — about fifty million times as long as the 13.7 billion years that are said to have elapsed since the big bang — would only come up to about 10^150 states. Since 10^301 is ten times the square of this number, if the whole universe were to be viewed as a search engine, working for its entire lifetime, it could not scan through as much as 1 in 10^150 of the possible configurations for just 1,000 bits. That is, astonishingly, our “search” rounds down very nicely to zero: effectively no “search.”

    But not all the configurations would be looked at. As soon as something viable and fitter (in the case of self-replicating molecules) than the previous option than it would have superior reproductive capacity and ‘take over’. No need to check everything. There could have been lots and lots of genetic codes but one ‘won’, possibly ’cause it was on the first to come up.

  36. 36
    kairosfocus says:

    EZ:

    Sorry to have to say, but you come across as not having looked at the linked discussion I invited you to in any depth to see what it is actually saying, in light of the pattern imposed by the explanatory filter.

    Let me pause:

    ___________________

    I’d say the human genome but you’d not let me offer up that.

    –> Question begging, as we did not directly observe the causal origin.

    How about the pattern of stripes on Jupiter?

    –> Complex, but not specified, and accounted for on processes of chance and necessity.

    –> We would not even get to the node on FSCI

    The dance of the honeybee?

    –> Origin not observed, and the issue is begged: the question is where did the program that gives bees this ability comes from?

    A picture of the Virgin Mary on someone’s piece of toast?

    –> As with many cases of projection of faces unto random patterns [cf discussion on Old Man of the Mountain, which STARTS the discussion], not specific

    A rainbow?

    –> Random as to the distribution of water drops, necessity as to the dispersion and reflection of light.

    Adjacent fibonacci numbers in the clockwise and counter-clockwise spirals of pinecones?

    –> origin not observed, and again begs the question of origin of genetic information

    –> Recall, the issue per Newton, Opticks 31, is to observe the causal process in the present, and thereupon to infer the empirically reliable pattern which can be tested against other cases in the present; then on proving reliable we may freely infer on that reliability subject to further evidence.

    Actually, the fibonacci numbers pop up in nature quite a lot

    –> And are programmed for genetically and probably epigenetically

    –> Again, you have kept on citing a case where we precisely do not have the power to directly observe the causal origin, presumably on the assumption that chance and necessity MUST account for it. That is question begging as that is exactly what is under test.

    . . . .

    But not all the configurations would be looked at.

    –> Had you read carefully, you would see that that is precisely a point I made: the whole universe searching from an arbitrary initial configuration [presumably in Darwin’s warm little pond] would be able to scan 10^150 or so states across its lifespan. 1,000 bits specifies a space 10 times the SQUARE of that number, so there would be no ability to perform even an initial glance into the haystack

    –> You have to first provide the elements of a funcitoning life form capable of self replication to begin to talk about differential reproductive success

    –> The problem is to get to islands of function in the sea of non fucntion, not to hill-climb within such islands.

    As soon as something viable and fitter (in the case of self-replicating molecules)

    –> Foirst, the myth of the self replicating molecule is just that: no observations, and such experiments as have been done are under artificially set up circumstances irrelevant to credible circumstances of claimed spontaneous origin of first life

    –> Worse, self replicating molecules beg the next big question:

    –> we are dealing with the origin of a metabolising entity with a self-replicating facility, which as is discussed in section b here, requires meeting the von Neumann irreducible set for such an entity with independent function and a self-replicating facility:

    (i) an underlying storable code to record the required information to create not only (a) the primary functional machine [[here, a Turing-type “universal computer”] but also (b) the self-replicating facility; and, that (c) can express step by step finite procedures for using the facility;

    (ii) a coded blueprint/tape record of such specifications and (explicit or implicit) instructions, together with

    (iii) a tape reader [[called “the constructor” by von Neumann] that reads and interprets the coded specifications and associated instructions; thus controlling:

    (iv) position-arm implementing machines with “tool tips” controlled by the tape reader and used to carry out the action-steps for the specified replication (including replication of the constructor itself); backed up by

    (v) either:

    (1) a pre-existing reservoir of required parts and energy sources, or

    (2) associated “metabolic” machines carrying out activities that as a part of their function, can provide required specific materials/parts and forms of energy for the replication facility, by using the generic resources in the surrounding environment.

    –> This is irreducibly complex and requires explaining origin of codes, symbols, vocabulary assignments and grammatical rules for use of same, algorithms, and executing machines

    –> For life forms, we did not observe the process

    –> We do routinely observe the origin of many cases, and the underlying key causal factor: intelligence

    than the previous option than it would have superior reproductive capacity and ‘take over’. No need to check everything.

    –> The problem, repeat is to explain getting TO islands of function, not variation within such islands [as the Darwinian scheme programs us to think in terms of], so you again have begged a big question.

    ____________________

    See the problem?

    See why I am emphasising the importance of testing the claim that especially digitally coded functionally specific complex information is a sign of directed contingency [an induction from a very large pool of routine observations], based on DIRECT OBSERVATION in the current world?

    GEM of TKI

  37. 37
    Upright BiPed says:

    Petrushka at 34,

    Translation:

    “I’m being all sciency, don’t bother me with the facts”

  38. 38
    ellazimm says:

    KF: I’ll keep thinking and not stick my oar in again ’til I have spent more time on your linked discussion. It was just a first impression having skimmed the material to get the gist of it.

    I am curious though if the explanatory filter would throw up a false positive when presented with a fibonacci branching pattern in a plant . . . . obviously it can’t all come down to what natural explanations the tester is aware of so . . . . hmmmmmm . . . I’ll have more of a think. Make sure I am sure about where the design threshold is in the explanatory filter.

  39. 39
    kairosfocus says:

    EZ:

    Thanks for taking the serious and collegial tone that you have in recent weeks. Though I have not heavily interacted with you, I have noticed.

    You again raised the issue of the Fibonacci numbers [which tie into phi and into natural structures linked to phi such as spirals etc — and the Marquadt face mask I use with Nefertiti], which do crop up frequently in life forms, i.e. they seem to be a style signature, similar to the golden ratio known as phi.

    In life forms of course the information we see expressed comes from the genes and from the structures of the cell that express the genes to develop the embryo then the mature organism — and I find the truly odd pupal stage with that reprise of a soup in it of complete metamorphosis a very interesting expression of the theme. (Butterflies been born again, in the words of the old song!)

    The case is a secondary one as the origin of such is in the deep unobserved past.

    The first issue is: is the commonly observed pattern of cause for especially dFSCI, an empirically reliable one per direct observation a la Opticks, Query 31?

    Design thinkers say, yes, with billions of cases in point, and nil credible counter-examples. So, we have the right to see such dFSCI as a reliable sign of directed contingency, and infer from sign to signified causal process: design.

    On wider functionally specific complex information [FSCI], the issue pivots on root origin [e.g. a fossilising mould is not a root cause], and on observing he link from functionally specific organisation — which implies high contingency AND a constraint to a reasonably tight target zone of possible configs. To do that I have proposed that we look to the nodes and arcs wireframe model to move from 3-d representation or structure to digital analogue [as with the net list for a complex circuit board]. When we do this, once the structure is sufficiently specific and complex, with the 1,000 bit threshold in play, the issue of finding the functionally specific target zone –island — in the config space from an arbitrary initial configuration strongly supports that the best way to do that is o active information stemming from intelligence. So, Old Man of the Mountain is contingent and complex but not particularly specific [we can imagine face-like figures in just about anything] but Geo Washington at Rushmore is extremely specific to a particular portrait of GW as commonly seen on US$1 bills.

    But, given the raging debates, I think GPuccio is right to emphasise the case that speaks to the eventual context we are heading for, so dFSCI takes priority.

    The EF will look at the genetically controlled aspects of a plant and will point to the involved dFSCI as the product of design, by whatever means, but that is to be addressed at the second stage. In short we cannot beg the question by asserting that the pine cone or the petal pattern of flowers “MUST” have ORIGINALLY come about by undirected chance plus mechanical necessity only.

    That would be to beg the question on an unobservable, by refusing to first ground our principles on reliable patterns observed in the present.

    GEM of TKI

    PS: You will see that the linked is a cluster of sections for a general level survey reader, in beta test. The issue is to clarify, not to present materials as definitive as such; what is clear to me is likely to be partly obscure to others. (NB: There is more, about four times the cumulative length, in something that is at a more or less early college/ general reference level, but I want this part sorted out first, as the issue is to communicate clearly while responsibly addressing issues. Across the sort of span involved, I freely confess this is hard to get just right — one would love to have more and more in, but the length and the complexity will shoot up, and so on. And one has to be wary of flinging out reams of mathematical-logical derivations.)

  40. 40
    Upright BiPed says:

    Petrushka,

    You do realize don’t you – the entire apparatus of replication by means of semiotic abstraction must be in place before evolution can even occur?

    It is elightening that you willfully ignore the facts surrounding the primary phenomena your position relies upon – and you do so religiously.

  41. 41
    kairosfocus says:

    UB: This, section b, might help; if P is here to look seriously at issues, instead of toregurgitate long since decisively answered talking points. G

  42. 42
    Upright BiPed says:

    KF, thanks for the link.

    From that link:

    the cell uses coded, algorithmic – thus symbolically representative – information.

    But, nothing in the direct working of the four fundamental physical forces (strong and weak nuclear, electromagnetic and gravitational) provides a base for the origin of sets of symbols and rules for interpreting and applying them through abstractly representing objects and/or actions on those objects.

    Nah… Petrushka most certainly would not be interestied in those topics.

  43. 43
    ellazimm says:

    Kf:

    “Thanks for taking the serious and collegial tone that you have in recent weeks. Though I have not heavily interacted with you, I have noticed.”

    Hey, I figure we can still be civil to each other. I had some hideously intense disagreements with other graduate students but we still went out and played pool and had some beers afterwards.

    I figure, that at the very least, we are concerned about the same issues. I really doubt I shall ever come around to your view but it doesn’t mean I can’t spend some time trying to understand what you are saying.

    And I would really like to make this clear: I am here to try and understand the ID perspective. I do that by asking lots of questions and prodding people. It doesn’t mean I am sitting on the fence. But it does mean I don’t want to criticise without understanding what you are saying.

    I will do my best to treat you all with respect. And when I step over that line then please call me on it.

    KF:

    “When we do this, once the structure is sufficiently specific and complex, with the 1,000 bit threshold in play, the issue of finding the functionally specific target zone –island — in the config space from an arbitrary initial configuration strongly supports that the best way to do that is o active information stemming from intelligence.”

    I’m sure I’m a bit off here but . . . are you suggesting that there is a specific outcome that the system is aiming towards? ‘Cause it’s always been the contention of evolution that the process is uindirected, i.e. with no target.

    Sorry, if I’m off on this, it’s late here and I’ve had a long day with my son and dinner and . . . life!! 🙂

  44. 44
    kairosfocus says:

    EZ:

    I use target zone in the sense of what is sometimes called a hot zone or a sweet spot — where a particular cluster and configuration work.

    In a great many systems that we directly observe, the targetting is purposeful and deliberate. For instance some 20 years back, I had the challenge of providing essentially zero budget soldering iron stands, without excess labour. (Years before I had made one for myself; but it took considerable work. I needed to do dozens and dozens.)

    I hit on the fact that multi-strand Al electrical powerline cable lying around from a hurricane hit [Hugo], bottle caps from juice bottles and cut strips of cellulose sponge could be brought together to make a viable stand with minimal labour. The components were in the same general environment [within several hundred metres one of the other], and could take up a vast number of possible configurations, but only a very few of these will allow hot soldering irons to rest safely and stably, and allow hot iron tips to conveniently be cleaned before use.

    There is an island of function, a sweet spot, a target zone.

    It is physically and logically possible that forces of chance and necessity in and around he Church Road campus of the MSS — which no longer exists thanks to a volcano — could have assembled the components into such a functional whole. But, the island of function is so isolated in the space of possible configurations that if you were to see one you would instantly identify it as a product of design, not chance and mechanical necessity.

    This is an exercise in empirically warranted inference to best explanation, on signs of intelligence.

    I trust the parallels will be clear.

    GEM of TKI

    PS: Greet your family. I have had my round of chores with mine for the day, so I understand — especially if the children are young. (The more intelligent,the more active, as a rule . . . a silver lining.)

  45. 45
    ellazimm says:

    KF:

    “I use target zone in the sense of what is sometimes called a hot zone or a sweet spot — where a particular cluster and configuration work.”

    Got it, thanks for clarifying that. I was off a bit on what I thought you meant. I find the notion of a ‘sweet spot’ to be very interesting. I’m not sure what the biologists will say about it but it’s very intriguing to me. Not quite a ‘niche’ I think . . . maybe. Hmmmmmm . . .

    My son is eight going on thirteen. I don’t remember being so surely when I was young but selective memory sometimes is a blessing! He’s bright and I just have to accept that every silver lining has a dark cloud. Sigh.

    Thanks again, I’m learning lots!

  46. 46
    kairosfocus says:

    EZ:

    The sweet spot is a fairly common effect, not just with tennis rackets and cricket bats.

    That is why there are specific designs that work well, and others that while they are seemingly close, do not. As well as right ways to do things — i.e algorithms that work, while other attempts that are seemingly fairly close, don’t. (That is partly dependent on context [planes don’t fly well underwater], but it is also in part a matter of getting the parts and their organisation and working together right [the Wright Glider of 1902 was apparently a better and safer flyer than the one that did fly in 1903, as can be seen from certain parameters!].)

    When we shift focus to configuration of fairly large numbers of elements, and specificity of function [with particular focus on synchronised and/or sequential interactions or phases], we see the islands of function effect.

    Building on that, think about how halteres help certain insects preserve balance, and what happens when mutations transform these into full but un-muscled and uncontrolled wings. Such a change would be fatal in a natural environment, but is preserved in the lab artificially. Fancy Goldfish in many cases are utterly incapable of survival in the wild, and many domesticated animals rapidly revert to a wild type. (This is now happening with feral pigs here in the volcanic zone.)

    Then, think about going the other way, from a warm little pond (or the like) to get to first life in light of realistic chemistry and thermodynamics issues, and onward to body plan level biodiversity.

    GEM of TKI

  47. 47
    Petrushka says:

    You do realize don’t you – the entire apparatus of replication by means of semiotic abstraction must be in place before evolution can even occur?

    Depends on what you envision as “the entire apparatus.”

    Certainly one does not need cells or cellular machinery.

    There are chemical replicators with as few as fifty nucleotides that undergo evolution. No one knows what the lower limit is.

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