693 Replies to “Stephen Meyer on ID’s Scientific Bona Fides

  1. 1
    NZer says:

    Lots more of these please !!!

  2. 2
    Gods iPod says:

    Boy oh boy this is getting slammed in the comments on YouTube. Please go there and leave some good comments.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hy0_Mn1s1xo

  3. 3
    Phaedros says:

    God’s IPOD-

    I fear that doing so would be futile. You’ll get called a creationist/fundamentalist christian (or some variation thereof) and that’ll be that according to the standards of youtube with its hordes of middle school kids.

  4. 4
    above says:

    Like Phaedros said, it’s pointless. Youtube is just a collection of anti-intellectual and highly emotional kids. I don’t bother with the comments section to be honest.

    Incidentally, while slightly off topic, last week I took the time to go on wikipedia and read up on the section on ‘atheism’ and ‘criticism of atheism’.

    A lot of the stuff that was said there was obviously very bias so I decided to add several parts to provide a more objective view, all of which were backed with specific citations. Within minutes they were all deleted. So I decided to redo them and again within minutes they were deleted. This back and forth went on for about 4-5 times until I got bored and left.

    Has anyone else had a similar experience on wiki?

  5. 5
    kairosfocus says:

    Okay:

    Let’s take up the current latest comment at the Youtube site, by a certain wpengel, for a little overdue correction:

    So you? think he is correct? That ID should not have to follow the rules of every other scientific discipline, but still be allowed to be called science? I invite you to present one single piece of verifiable evidence in support of Intelligent Design. A piece of evidence that can be independently confirmed by anyone interested in doing so. The people interested in redefining science are the IDers, so that their pet hypothesis can be called science.

    1 –> This commenter, first, clearly has not done enough homework to understand that there is no one-size-fits-all scientific method (just as Mr Meyer, a PhD Philosopher of science who has published on the demarcation problem stated).

    2 –> Further, he does not understand that here are no one size fits all rules of science that suffice to neatly identify what is and what is not science.

    3 –> In particular, there is a world of difference between operational sciences that operate in the here and now world where direct observations check our proposed explanatory models, and origins sciences that try to plausibly reconstruct a remote, unobserved deep past.

    4 –> Further to all this, the best we can say about science is — roughly — that, at its best, it is an unfettered (but intellectually and ethically responsible) progressive pursuit of the truth about our world based on observation, experiment, modelling, analysis and discussion among the informed. Of which Mr Engel is clearly not one.

    5 –> Mr Engel — probably thanks to Judge Jones et al and to the media that have consistently distorted the issues for over a decade now, and to his own failure to do even basic investigations before spouting off dismissively — is equally ignorant on the evidence that supports the inference that certain features of the natural world are best explained as the product of intelligence and intent, not of blind chance and mechanical necessity. (He might find the UD weak argument correctives, top right on every UD page, a basic place to begin.)

    6 –> For instance, a commonly encountered feature of our world is functionally specific, complex organisation and associated (often discrete state) information. Of such J S Wicken classically said:

    ‘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.]

    7 –> In our experience and direct observation, functionally specific, complex organisation and associated information are the product of design. Wicken hoped that natural [undirected, environmental] selection [by extinction of the relatively less fit] acting on random variations would adequately account for the biological case, but of course the actual observed case of artificial selection to get breeds shows us that there tend to be sharp limits to such selection, and the issue comes down to the existence of credible engines of variation to create the data strings in dna to be selected from; especially once the issue on the table is the origin of body plans. (Starting from the first one.)

    8 –> The further evidence starting from OOL is that one would have to explain how a von Neumann-type self-replicating automaton with codes, algorithms to guide assembly, machines to read and effect the codes, and further machines to couple to available energy sources and raw materials/components came about by chance and necessity without the possibility of differential reproductive success being on the table. For, that is one of the key features to be explained.

    9 –> We do know from direct observation and experience where codes, algorithms and executing machines come from. Art, not chance and necessity.

    10 –> This is backed up by the mathematics of getting even just 1,000 bits worth of such functionally specific complex information, which is hopelessly too short a length of code [125 bytes]: 1.07*10^301 possible configurations. That is over ten times the SQUARE of the number of Plack-time states of the 10^80 atoms of our observed cosmos across its thermodynamically credible lifetime (about 50 mn times the 13.7 By said to have passed since the big bang).

    11 –> In short, prebiotic soups or comets or thermal vents simply do not have the credible resources to accidentally hit on the right configs, on the gamut of our observed universe. (And multiverse speculations are after the fact philosophical postulates, not science.)

    12 –> But, we routinely observe sources for such FSCI: intelligence. So, on inference to best explanation, the best explanation for the complex information systems in the biological natural world is the same as that for the technological world; especially where codes and algorithms are concerned. (Just, we are not far enough along yet to have self-replicating computers etc. Though, the much mocked Paley was already considering the implications of seeing a self-replicating watch over 200 years ago. Bet the strawman Paley you heard of was not doing that!)

    13 –> So, on the fundamental epistemological pattern of reasoning used in science, inference to best current explanation across factual adequacy, coherence and explanatory power, we do have a world full of evidence that points to design, in the biological world. Every cell that uses DNA is a case in point!

    14 –> Going beyond that, for decades, it has been an open secret that he cosmos shows every sign of functionally specific, finely balanced complex organisation, to achieve a cosmos in which carbon chemistry based intelligent life is possible. On dozens of factors. For this, there is quite literally a universe full of evidence.

    15 –> As for the turnabout, deceptively and maliciously false accusation Mr Engels parrots, that it is design thinkers who are “redefining science,” let us first listen to Newton (who was by the way most definitely a design thinker), 1704, in 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 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.

    16 –> This is precisely what we find summarised in the sort of dictionary definitions used in schools before the imposition of a definition that boils down to a priori evolutionary materialism force-fitted unto science under the name “methodological naturalism” by today’s reigning orthodoxy, over the past 25 or so years:

    Science The investigation of natural phenomena through observation, theoretical explanation, and experimentation, or the knowledge produced by such investigation. [American Heritage Science Dictionary, 2005]

    Scientific methods are the principles and processes of discovery and testing scientists use, “generally involving the observation of phenomena, the formulation of a hypothesis concerning the phenomena, experimentation to demonstrate the truth or falseness of the hypothesis, and a conclusion that validates or modifies the hypothesis.” [American Heritage Dictionary.]

    17 –> This of course sharply contrasts with the sort of ideologically loaded, materialistic redefinitions that have been imposed in recent years by various magisteria of evolutionary materialism. For instance, we may see the one first forced on the students of Kansas in 2001 by the radical materialists and their fellow travellers: “Science is the human activity of seeking natural explanations of the world around us.”

    18 –> The trick in that is the implicit question-begging in the slippery term “natural explanations,” which boils down to: only evolutionary materialistic explanations need apply. That is, in the teeth of the known possibility of intelligent action into the world, censorship is used to block considering explanations that do not fit with the materialistic agenda.

    19 –> This is ideology, agenda, indoctrination and propaganda, not science or science education.

    _______________

    So, Mr Engel shows the impact of the manipulation he has been subjected to, and his lack of ability to carry out enough independent research to critically review what he has been told. He has been indoctrinated, not educated.

    A telling sign of where our world is today.

    GEM of TKI

    PS: Mr Engel, if you come over and read this, why not start re-examining your views with the weak argument correctives above, right hand column, and also you may find some help here, as a 101 survey.

  6. 6
    Pevensie15 says:

    I generally agree, and I don’t usually comment on youtube videos.

    But I read through some and one really bugged me. He basically said Stephen Meyer was in it for the money.

    That always bugs me because of course he’s in it for the money. If he’s not using his degrees for that, he would have to result to something else to take care of his family.

    Money really has got nothing do to with good arguments, and I’m tired of people on youtube using that to excuse ID.

    Anyhow, mean comments just help youtube vids get views.

    Above,

    I’ve never tried to add anything to wiki, but I know atheists love the site. They’re always sending me links to it.

    I try to stick to conservapedia or theopedia.

  7. 7
    kairosfocus says:

    PPS: Could someone with a Youtube account –maybe, God’s iPod? — please point Mr Engel to the above? Thanks.

  8. 8
    kairosfocus says:

    PPPS: now you know why Wikipedia is so often utterly untrustworthy. A shame, as it spoils the general credibility of often quite good information put up by honest and public spirited people who do know what they are talking about. Wiki needs a system that stops that kind of contributor and — worse — moderator led — vandalism and deception.

  9. 9
    wagenweg says:

    If the demographic is merely middle school kids on youtube then why post the video on such a website to begin with? Why not post it on a website where the demographic would be more suited for this type of content?

    Beside, middle aged minds need the truth too.

  10. 10
    kairosfocus says:

    Wag:

    Youtube is probably the easiest base for embedding, to a blog or a wiki etc.

    That is how I mostly view Youtube.

    G

  11. 11
    wagenweg says:

    Right and that’s my point. If we are all watching the video and reading the comments, then they all probably aren’t “hoardes of middle school kids”.

    So why not respond in the comments section? I don’t think it woudll be “futile”.

  12. 12
    Phaedros says:

    Wagenweg-

    Please show me an example of a productive, rational debate in the youtube comments section. I’d like to see it. I think generally it’s true that that kind of thing is rare on youtube especially concerning this topic.

  13. 13
    wagenweg says:

    Phaedros I agree with you. The arguements being made are not rational nor productive. Which is why your voice would so strongly stand out and perhaps knock the cobwebs loose.

    I do rehab. What that means is that I help peoples pain go away. Do you know how many times I’ve heard this: “I’m not coming in today because I’m too sore/painful.”

    That isn’t rational either but after I discuss with them the rational side of things they usuallty come around and from then on come to me to help their pain.

    This I think is what can be done intellectually with those who are not IDers. Call me niave but that’s what I believe. Don’t get me wrong I realuize the path is “narrow” and few will follow.

  14. 14
    kairosfocus says:

    Wag, Good points. With an embed though the comments do not track over to the blog, like above in the original post. G

  15. 15
    Cable says:

    @kairosfocus

    Would add your comment to Youtube but it only allows 372 characters. Anything in particular you would like posted?

    Tried my best to comment but I am no where near as intelligent or as knowledgeable as you.

  16. 16
    kairosfocus says:

    Cable

    Can you link?

    Or, maybe say where the discussion is: e.g. Uncommon Descent, Stephen Meyer on ID’s bona fides, July 14th, comment no 5?

    GEM of TKI

    PS: 372 characters does not lend itself to any serious discussion. Maybe that is why the sort of comments we see are there.

  17. 17
    kairosfocus says:

    Footnote:

    I see a dismissal that every case of irreducible complexity proposed by Behe has been refuted.

    This is nonsense, all it means is that the commenter is taking objectors as gospel, and viewing Behe with contempt. To then infer or imply that Behe is an idiot etc, is inexcusable. When one stands up in public, one has a duty to have done his or her homework, and to treat people with some reasonable degree of civility. Especially where they are speaking in their field of Doctoral level expertise and you have not got anywhere near the same qualifications or basic competence in analysis and research.

    Indeed, the very first irreducibly complex entity is the information system that makes for self-replication in the very first metabolising, self-replicating life form. Without codes, algorithms, storage media, machines to interpret and implement and the right ports to take in the right raw materials and energy sour5ces, all organised correctly, it will not work.

    Indeed, this should be no surprise.

    Once we have complex function based on properly organised and synchornised components, disorganising or breaking synchronisation are going to break function. Just look around you at the world of technology. Then, understand that the cell is a world of even higher technology. Not to mention, higher level systems.

    Here is Denton, 1985 in His Evo, a theory in Crisis:

    ______________

    >>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 kilometers in diameter [[so each atom in it would be “the size of a tennis ball”] 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 port holes 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 we would 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 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 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 components, error fail-safe and proof-reading devices used for quality control, assembly processes involving the principle of prefabrication and modular construction . . . . However, it would be a factory which would have one capacity not equaled 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 . . . .

    Unlike our own pseudo-automated assembly plants, where external controls are being continually applied, the cell’s manufacturing capability is entirely self-regulated . . . . [[Denton, Michael, Evolution: A Theory in Crisis, Adler, 1986, pp. 327 – 331.] >>
    ________________

    And, when we look at particular cases commonly objected to, we see too many rhetorical side tracks and strawman arguments to be mere coincidence.

    BTW, genetic knockout studies are premised on the principle of irreducible complexity: knock out a gene, see what breaks, restore it, see what works again.

    Should be easy to follow for anyone who has had to search for a core car part without which the car does not start up or will not run or is uncontrollable. And that a car can work with some parts broken does not mean that no parts are vital.

    See what passes for science education and critical thinking education today?

    We need to clean house folks, and break the monopolies that have driven prices up and quality down.

    Which is what monopolies normally do.

    GEM of TKI

  18. 18
    Phaedros says:

    Wasn’t Ken Miller’s supposed refutation of irreducible complexity the existence of the Type I Secretory System? I guess you’re pretty committed if that’s all it takes to convince you.

  19. 19
    Apollos says:

    We should take a moment and consider that Irreducible Complexity fits right in with Darwinism.

    Early on, organisms that contained irreducibly complex functionality had a survival advantage over those that didn’t, and won out in the end.

    Natural selection is powerful stuff! 😉

  20. 20
    kairosfocus says:

    Also:

    Turns out the TTSS is a derivative of the flagellum, not the other way around. It even apparently has the complement of genes, just some are not operative.

    And all along the biggest IC entity of all, the core life functions (especially self-replication on programmed information), is going a begging.

    Then, when we come to diversity of body plans, the problem is that the most likely to be lethal mutations are those that would affect at random the core architecture and are expressed early in the embryological development. Late acting mutations don’t change body design, and are less likely to be lethal. We see the latter, not the former, save perhaps as spontaneous abortions or otherwise failed embryological development.

    Guess why we see a bursting out of dozens of body plans in the strata generally called Cambrian and conventionally dated to about 540 MYA?

    Darwin knew about it, and could only hope that later investigations would reverse the evident trend. With 1/4 million fossil species and millions and millions of specimens (and billions more of the same in the ground), we are seeing the same pattern: discrete appearance, interpreted as sudden emergence, stasis, and disappearance and/or continuation to the current time. (The Coelecanth shows how a “vanished” form can be around in our current world.)

    So, the only actual record is not supportive of the Darwinian story — chance variations among populations and culling out by extinction of the less fit forms.

    Somewhere along the line, the necessities of closely integrated, complex and coordinated, information rich function are trying to tell us we don’t quite have it right.

    And that does not begin to address the issue of the worldview level destructive implications and consequences of evolutionary materialism. Does Mr Engel, for instance, understand the issues raised by Plato in The Laws Bk X, in light of the career of Alcibiades and co?

    Perhaps,then, in addition to the above, he should read this, on the implications for society. It did not start with Nietzsche or the Darwinist Eugenicists or the Social Darwinists (of whom Darwin himself was one of the first, as chs 5 – 7 of his Descent of Man will make painfully plain)!

    Time to clean house.

    GEM of TKI

  21. 21
    kairosfocus says:

    PS: The Youtube thread is now descending into dishonest namecalling and spouting of Darwinist talking points as though they are gospel truth. Sad, but predictable.

  22. 22
    tragic mishap says:

    It’s the Type III Secretory System. Hence, TTSS. 😉

  23. 23
    Phaedros says:

    Oh right. Thanks. 🙂

  24. 24
    PaulBurnett says:

    Meyer apparently disagrees with Phillip Johnson, who is quoted as saying: “I also don’t think that there is really a theory of intelligent design at the present time to propose as a comparable alternative to the Darwinian theory, which is, whatever errors it might contain, a fully worked out scheme. There is no intelligent design theory that’s comparable. Working out a positive theory is the job of the scientific people that we have affiliated with the movement. Some of them are quite convinced that it’s doable, but that’s for them to prove… No product is ready for competition in the educational world.” – quoted by Michelangelo D’Agostino in an article, “In the matter of Berkeley v. Berkeley,” Berkeley Science Research, 10, Spring 2006 (http://sciencereview.berkeley......=evolution)

    So if intelligent design is scientific, as Meyer claims, when exactly (since 2006) did it become “scientific”?

  25. 25
    CannuckianYankee says:

    KF,

    I tried to post on youtube for wpengel to come here. Unfortunately, for some reason my posts don’t work.

    Just for your information, here’s what wpengel stated about SITC:

    “Sorry, tried to read it but couldn’t get past the massive dishonesty in the introduction when he lies about the publishing of his paper in The Proceedings of the Biological Society of Washington. If you can’t be honest I’m not reading anything you have to say.?”

    So he doesn’t even read the important literature. How can we expect that he’s getting the right information?

  26. 26
    CannuckianYankee says:

    Never mind, It looks like Paul Burnett, of all people, invited him here.

    wpengel, if you’re reading this and the above post, I suggest that you read SITC without your bias shades on. On YouTube you keep asking for the evidence, but apparently that’s not what you’re really looking for. If so, I think you could tolerate Meyer’s writing despite the alleged lies. Read it for the argument, rather than ignore it in light of the negativity that has been hashed out against Meyer by his opponents.

  27. 27
    Cable says:

    @kairosfocus

    Okay I linked to it. You are not allowed links so used tinyurl and replaces used ‘DOT’ instead of ‘.’

  28. 28
    kairosfocus says:

    CY:

    Mr Engel plainly, sadly, does not wish to face inconvenient truth, evidence and argument.

    So, he finds the first slander-loaded excuse he can find to avoid having to deal with what is now emerging as a leading presentation of the case for Design thought in science. Then, he resorts to parrotting talking points that are often dishonest at source, based on slanderous caricatures and deliberately weakened forms of the actual case for design.

    (The leading anti-ID advocates know or should know better so — pardon a few frank words — they are morally responsible for the misleading and polarising rhetoric they so brazenly spew forth. I suggest a reading of the weak argument correctives top, right hand side this and every page at UD, as a first corrective. Unfortunately, straightening out misconceptions and distortions is very hard. Which is precisely what is being exploited by those leading evolutionary materialist advocates, who are teaching what they should know is misleading and polarising error.)

    In fact, one may find out the rest of the story here.

    On the controversy, regarding the PBSW paper in question, on an OSC special investigation, was found to have passed “proper peer review,” by “renowned scientists.” It was published with adjustments after that review. Mr Sternberg, on a clear harassing effort initiated by the NCSE and perpetuated through several officers at the Smithsonian, was subjected to the worst kind of unjust career busting. Unfortunately, peculiarities of his employment circumstances meant that the case could not be properly prosecuted as an administrative/legal matter.

    Ms Scott et al have a lot to answer for.

    A lot.

    After this shameful episode, which included things like false accusations of being a thief [change our locks . . . !] etc, the BSW executed an obviously political retraction of the paper.

    So, Mr Engel is indulging in the sad tactics of blaming the victim and refusing to listen to what the accused has to say in his defence.

    Kangaroo court tactics, in short.

    In addition, he has used the tactic of the distractive red herring, led out to the strawman soaked in slanderous misrepresentations, ignited to cloud, confuse, polarise and poison the atmosphere, frustrating following up the clues that point down the track of the truth.

    This all too common rhetorical resort of evolutionary materialistic advocates and fellow travellers is utterly cynical and dishonest. Mr Engel, when you stand up to declaim on an important matter in public, you have a duty of care to do your homework, and to be fair and accurate in your representations of those you oppose and what they have to say, as well as their underlying evidence.

    Mr Engel therefore should be ashamed of himself, but he may very well be following the worldview that — as Plato pointed out 2300 years ago in The Laws Bk X — radically relativises one’s approach to both knowledge and morality, ending up in the utterly inexcusable and indefensible, destructive notion that “the highest right is might”:

    ___________

    >>Ath. . . . [The avant garde philosophers and poets, c. 360 BC] say that fire and water, and earth and air [i.e the classical “material” elements of the cosmos], all exist by nature and chance, and none of them by art, and that as to the bodies which come next in order-earth, and sun, and moon, and stars-they have been created by means of these absolutely inanimate existences. The elements are severally moved by chance and some inherent force according to certain affinities among them-of hot with cold, or of dry with moist, or of soft with hard, and according to all the other accidental admixtures of opposites which have been formed by necessity. After this fashion and in this manner the whole heaven has been created, and all that is in the heaven, as well as animals and all plants, and all the seasons come from these elements, not by the action of mind, as they say, or of any God, or from art, but as I was saying, by nature and chance only. [In short, evolutionary materialism premised on chance plus necessity acting without intelligent guidance on primordial matter is hardly a new or a primarily “scientific” view! Note, as he introduces the discussion, Plato is careful to subtly distance himself from the peculiar myths of the gods in Athens, hinting at a concept that approaches ethical Monotheism while being careful not to cross the lines that Socrates did] . . . .

    [Thus, they hold that t]he Gods exist not by nature, but by art, and by the laws of states, which are different in different places, according to the agreement of those who make them; and that the honourable is one thing by nature and another thing by law, and that the principles of justice have no existence at all in nature, but that mankind are always disputing about them and altering them; and that the alterations which are made by art and by law have no basis in nature, but are of authority for the moment and at the time at which they are made.- [Relativism, too, is not new.] These, my friends, are the sayings of wise men, poets and prose writers, which find a way into the minds of youth. They are told by them that the highest right is might, and in this way the young fall into impieties, under the idea that the Gods are not such as the law bids them imagine; and hence arise factions, these philosophers inviting them to lead a true life according to nature, that is, to live in real dominion over others, and not in legal subjection to them . . . >>

    ____________

    In addition, there is a growing list of peer-reviewed (and peer-edited, the older approach that has worked for centuries) works in the scientific literature from an ID perspective.

    And of course, the revelations of the Climate gate scandal (and the cover-ups and whitewashes that are passing under the names of being investigations) are telling us much the same: something is radically wrong with the state of early C21 institutional science, science-based policy advocacy, formal science education and popular science education and journalism.

    Something that we had better correct now, or face horrendous consequences.

    Just as Plato warned, 2300 years ago.

    GEM of TKI

  29. 29
    kairosfocus says:

    Cable:

    Thanks, deeply appreciated.

    GEM of TKI

  30. 30
    kairosfocus says:

    Onlookers:

    Mr Engel has now presented the sad spectacle of one who loudly demands evidence for the scientific grounds of design theory and thought, then when presented with a current summary of such evidence, finds the first slanderous side track he can to avoid the evidence. CY’s call to him to take the time to do his homework is entirely in order.

    If he does not have a copy of SITC handy, I suggest that there is now more than enough material online for him to learn the other side of the story, e.g. through IDEA center (assuming him to be of HS/General audience level). My own beta form independent survey course, here, may also be useful, as well as the weak argument correctives and glossary top right this and every UD page. Of course clicking on my handle — accessible through every comment I have ever made at UD — will lead Mr Engel to my online research notes on the subject.

    But also, since he tried to trash the PBSW paper, it is worth pausing to give a key summarising excerpt of its main argument, from my research notes, section C, on the roots of body plan level biodiversity:

    ____________

    >> The Cambrian explosion represents a remarkable jump in the specified complexity or “complex specified information” (CSI) of the biological world. For over three billions years, the biological realm included little more than bacteria and algae (Brocks et al. 1999). Then, beginning about 570-565 million years ago (mya), the first complex multicellular organisms appeared in the rock strata, including sponges, cnidarians, and the peculiar Ediacaran biota (Grotzinger et al. 1995). Forty million years later, the Cambrian explosion occurred (Bowring et al. 1993) . . . One way to estimate the amount of new CSI that appeared with the Cambrian animals is to count the number of new cell types that emerged with them (Valentine 1995:91-93) . . . the more complex animals that appeared in the Cambrian (e.g., arthropods) would have required fifty or more cell types . . . New cell types require many new and specialized proteins. New proteins, in turn, require new genetic information. Thus an increase in the number of cell types implies (at a minimum) a considerable increase in the amount of specified genetic information. Molecular biologists have recently estimated that a minimally complex single-celled organism would require between 318 and 562 kilobase pairs of DNA to produce the proteins necessary to maintain life (Koonin 2000). More complex single cells might require upward of a million base pairs. Yet to build the proteins necessary to sustain a complex arthropod such as a trilobite would require orders of magnitude more coding instructions. The genome size of a modern arthropod, the fruitfly Drosophila melanogaster, is approximately 180 million base pairs (Gerhart & Kirschner 1997:121, Adams et al. 2000). Transitions from a single cell to colonies of cells to complex animals represent significant (and, in principle, measurable) increases in CSI . . . .

    In order to explain the origin of the Cambrian animals, one must account not only for new proteins and cell types, but also for the origin of new body plans . . . Mutations in genes that are expressed late in the development of an organism will not affect the body plan. Mutations expressed early in development, however, could conceivably produce significant morphological change (Arthur 1997:21) . . . [but] processes of development are tightly integrated spatially and temporally such that changes early in development will require a host of other coordinated changes in separate but functionally interrelated developmental processes downstream. For this reason, mutations will be much more likely to be deadly if they disrupt a functionally deeply-embedded structure such as a spinal column than if they affect more isolated anatomical features such as fingers (Kauffman 1995:200) . . . McDonald notes that genes that are observed to vary within natural populations do not lead to major adaptive changes, while genes that could cause major changes–the very stuff of macroevolution–apparently do not vary. In other words, mutations of the kind that macroevolution doesn’t need (namely, viable genetic mutations in DNA expressed late in development) do occur, but those that it does need (namely, beneficial body plan mutations expressed early in development) apparently don’t occur.6 >>
    ____________

    Let us see what Mr Engel has to say on the merits.

    GEM of TKI

  31. 31
    Clive Hayden says:

    PaulBurnett,

    There is no intelligent design theory that’s comparable. Working out a positive theory is the job of the scientific people that we have affiliated with the movement. Some of them are quite convinced that it’s doable, but that’s for them to prove…

    Ummm, working out a positive theory is exactly what the scientific people like Stephen Meyer, William Dembski, Doug Axe, Anne Gauger, Bob Marks and Michael Behe have done….

  32. 32
    Gaz says:

    Clive Hayden (31),

    “Ummm, working out a positive theory is exactly what the scientific people like Stephen Meyer, William Dembski, Doug Axe, Anne Gauger, Bob Marks and Michael Behe have done….”

    But what they haven’t done is come up with any mechanism for ID. Until they do that, ID won’t be taken seriously in the scientific community.

  33. 33
    Alex73 says:

    Gaz,

    What your write is the usual excuse the Darwinist scientists use.

    Darwinism is indeed an all-encompassing theory that attempt to explain the biological diversity around us. It does have a proposed mechanism and natural history deeply embedded into the basic idea.

    ID, on the other hand, states that it is possible to distinguish between natural causes and patterns that intelligent agents leave behind, and it is strikingly true for biology and cosmology.

    ID, consequently, opposes the very mechanism behind Darwinism, but does not offer in itself an alternative world history. It also does not tell us what methods the Designer used at the drawing board or in the lab.

    However, we can still tell that radio signals were sent by intelligent agents even if we do not know who they are or what they are trying to tell us. Just ask anyone at Seti…

    Yes, I understand that ID in itself would create a mighty vacuum for some in natural history, but just because Darwinist evolution gives cosy feeling for some people we cannot ignore that it is completely bankrupt at its very core.

    And by the way, what do you say when someone asks for a detailed, step-by-step, mutation-by-mutation explanation for the natural formation of the flagellum? More research is needed? Well, then remove this double standard and allow others also to do some “more research”!

  34. 34
    William J. Murray says:

    Gaz said:

    But what they haven’t done is come up with any mechanism for ID. Until they do that, ID won’t be taken seriously in the scientific community.

    Of course they have; the putative “intelligent designer” uses the same materials and forces (i.e., “mechanisms”) that are otherwise described as the lawful and random interactions of the materials present, only it does so purposefully – teleologically.

    Your strange challenge is like claiming that no “mechanism” has been offered for how computers or battleships come into existence; it is via a purposeful manipulation of materials and forces that otherwise cannot, on their own, construct the artifact in question.

  35. 35
    kairosfocus says:

    Gaz:

    Years ago, Wm A Dembski pointed to TRIZ as a key illustration of the dynamics of technological evolution. (And if the root of biology is a technology, then technology evolution is a very relevant consideration for biology. The same would hold for cosmology. On this view, science is a form of reverse engineering, a view that dominated from Bacon, before the days of Newton; to the days of Einstein.)

    Remember, design theory is an information/organisation origination theory, and as such it does not have the same zone of applications as Darwinian Evolution. It is for instance in principle applicable to cryptanalysis, steganography etc.

    So, there are multiple fronts for ID to advance on, including identification of design (as opposed to natural patterns manifesting effects of chance and mechanical necessity), identification of dynamics of technological evolution [with applications to tech futures markets and investing . . . ], and of course systematisation of identification of most credible agent responsible for a given instance of intelligent action [i.e. an onward systematisation of forensics].

    All of these can be and are being developed on an empirical, scientific evidence basis, some under the name ID, others, not.

    Again, the key issue is the centrality of seeking, discovering and validating of truth about our world based on empirical evidence to science. Once truth is seen as central, evolutionary materialistic censorship of scientific investigations will be exposed as utterly unjustifiable.

    A capital illustration of that censorship is of course the notorious remarks by Lewontin in his review of Sagan’s The Demon-haunted World, in the January 1997 NYRB:

    __________

    >> . . . to put a correct view of the universe into people’s heads we must first get an incorrect view out . . . the problem is to get them 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 self-refuting, as the claim that science is the only begetter of truth is a philosophical claim to truth] . . . . To Sagan, as to all but a few other scientists, it is self-evident 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 . . . .

    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 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, for we cannot allow a Divine Foot in the door. [“Billions and Billions of Demons,” NYRB, January 9, 1997. >>
    ___________

    One who assumes evolutionary materialism as an a priori like that, has abandoned the open minded, empirically based search for truth and has instead taken science captive to an ideology. Which is precisely what Mr Engel et al have shown us so plainly over at Youtube. Prof Philip Johnson’s rebuke is apt and well-deserved:

    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.]

    It is time to set the philosophical house in order, so that science can be freed from ideological captivity to evolutionary materialism.

    When the materialistic blinkers are taken off, it will at once be obvious that, whatever the outcome at length, the question of whether one may identify and develop a theory of signs of intelligence is obviously — and even self-evidently — a scientific issue.

    GEM of TKI

  36. 36
    kairosfocus says:

    Weird reaction at UD to submission. Trying again:

    Gaz:

    Years ago, Wm A Dembski pointed to TRIZ as a key illustration of the dynamics of technological evolution. (And if the root of biology is a technology, then technology evolution is a very relevant consideration for biology. The same would hold for cosmology. On this view, science is a form of reverse engineering, a view that dominated from Bacon, before the days of Newton; to the days of Einstein.)

    Remember, design theory is an information/organisation origination theory, and as such it does not have the same zone of applications as Darwinian Evolution. It is for instance in principle applicable to cryptanalysis, steganography etc.

    So, there are multiple fronts for ID to advance on, including identification of design (as opposed to natural patterns manifesting effects of chance and mechanical necessity), identification of dynamics of technological evolution [with applications to tech futures markets and investing . . . ], and of course systematisation of identification of most credible agent responsible for a given instance of intelligent action [i.e. an onward systematisation of forensics].

    All of these can be and are being developed on an empirical, scientific evidence basis, some under the name ID, others, not.

    Again, the key issue is the centrality of seeking, discovering and validating of truth about our world based on empirical evidence to science. Once truth is seen as central, evolutionary materialistic censorship of scientific investigations will be exposed as utterly unjustifiable.

    A capital illustration of that censorship is of course the notorious remarks by Lewontin in his review of Sagan’s The Demon-haunted World, in the January 1997 NYRB:

    __________

    >> . . . to put a correct view of the universe into people’s heads we must first get an incorrect view out . . . the problem is to get them 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 self-refuting, as the claim that science is the only begetter of truth is a philosophical claim to truth] . . . . To Sagan, as to all but a few other scientists, it is self-evident 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 . . . .

    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 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, for we cannot allow a Divine Foot in the door. [“Billions and Billions of Demons,” NYRB, January 9, 1997. >>
    ___________

    One who assumes evolutionary materialism as an a priori like that, has abandoned the open minded, empirically based search for truth and has instead taken science captive to an ideology. Which is precisely what Mr Engel et al have shown us so plainly over at Youtube. Prof Philip Johnson’s rebuke is apt and well-deserved:

    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.]

    It is time to set the philosophical house in order, so that science can be freed from ideological captivity to evolutionary materialism.

    When the materialistic blinkers are taken off, it will at once be obvious that, whatever the outcome at length, the question of whether one may identify and develop a theory of signs of intelligence is obviously — and even self-evidently — a scientific issue.

    GEM of TKI

  37. 37
    kairosfocus says:

    Pardon duplication, please remove.

  38. 38
    kairosfocus says:

    F/N: P Burnett at Youtube, 7 hrs ago: “. . . the fight against the scientific illiteracy and willful ignorance of intelligent design creationism.”

    This is of course exactly a case of slanderous, false accusatory willful ignorance that design theory and Biblical Creationism (what is usually meant by “Creationism”) are not at all the same.

    I suggest Mr Burnett needs to read the weak argument correctives 1 – 8, top right. And then, he needs to consider Ms Scott’s record in the case of Dr Sternberg and other similar incidents, and think again about just what the “fight” he so lauds is, and how it proceeds: suppression of unwelcome truth by resort to the nastiest forms of personal attack, unjustified career busting and willful misrepresentation of the truth and the right.

  39. 39
    Alex73 says:

    Just to add weight to the argument, this is hot off the press:

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/10598926

    It says that plants signal, remember, compute and use encripted information. Exatly what one would expect when unintelligent, unguided natural processes are given enough time 🙂

  40. 40
    kairosfocus says:

    Onlookers:

    Sigh . . .

    Oakram, 33 mins ago, Youtube:

    Review the history of the Intelligent Design Creationism movement, from the Wedge? document through the Dover trial and the rampant and obvious scientific illiteracy demonstrated at “premiere” IDC sites like Uncommon Descent? and you’ll find that ridicule is the only rational response. IDCers certainly aren’t willing to learn about science.

    1 –> Starts with slanderous namecalling intended to project guilt by association in the teeth of easily ascertainable facts. Design theory is not Creationism, as can easily be shown, and as is shown in the weak argument correctives that this commenter ignores in his rush to spread a slanderous falsehood. Unwillingness to acknowledge such a basic and easily accessible fact shows a truthfuloness-challenged status. Credibility shot in the foot coming out the start gate.

    2 –> Since I am an obvious focus of the slanders, I can speak on my behalf: I have a triple major science first degree and a graduate degree in the sciences. Many other mere commenters have similar qualifications, and the leading design theorists are by and large graduate trained in the sciences and other relevant fields, many holding doctorates. So, the cheap Parthian shot that design thinkers are not willing to learn about science is blatantly false and defamatory. Our sin is that we will not swallow materialist censorship of science that frustrates it from being an unfettered, responsible pursuit of the truth about our world based on empirical studies and reasoned discussion. For that, we face slander and career busting.

    3 –> As to the notion that I and others are scientific illiterates, that falls of its own weight as an outright lie in the teeth of obvious facts to the contrary.

    4 –> Oakram owes me and others an apology for slander. Not that I expect such to have the decency to respond to standards of civil conduct and even basic broughtupcy as we call it here in the Caribbean.

    5 –> The Wedge document is of course routinely distorted into a claimed theocratic agenda. Just look above folks to see the real, evolutionary materialistic agenda and censorship that are being exposed and corrected, and that in large part on building a new scientific research programme, design theory; which is what the Wedge document proposed. (Wikipedia’s domination by ideological materialists makes it utterly unreliable on this subject. As for the Darwinist advocacy sites that are obviously being used as a basis for comments as cited, the Weak Argument Correctives are enough to show their fundamental inaccuracy, unreliability and in some cases, frankly, blatant dishonesty.)

    4 –> Judge Jones’ decision, insofar as it spoke to Design Theory first is a blind copy of a post trial submission by the ACLU/NSCE complete with gross and slanderous blunders of fact. Methodological naturalism is not the centuries old definition/rule of science. ID-friendly papers have long been published in peer reviewed literature (and Judge Jones had a stack of such papers submitted to him in the trial), Scott Minnich testified to ID research right there in open court, and more.

    5 –> So the resort to personal attack and attempted ridicule in the teeth of evident facts shows itself for what it is: an implicit admission that the balance on the merits is on the other side.

    6 –> No wonder those who so gleefully spread falsehoods and slanders as cited above are unwilling to come over and defend their record in a forum where facts and reasoning can be adduced at reasonable length. (And observe, in the course of the past 24 hours, how the design side focussed on facts and evidence and those who tried to trash Mr Meyer have tried to distract, distort, demonise denigrate and dismiss.)

    _________

    A sad commentary on the true state of civil discourse on important matters in our civilisation today.

    GEM of TKI

  41. 41
    kairosfocus says:

    PS: Discovery Institute’s rebuttal to the scare-mongering and strawman-ising on the Wedge Document is here.

  42. 42
    kairosfocus says:

    PS: A measure of what is going on in the Youtube thread.

    This by TDG, was flagged as “spam,” plainly by a censorship-minded evolutionary materialist Internet vandal:

    This has been flagged as spam show hide
    @wpengel: “Saying that human’s use Intelligent Design does not prove that anything does. ”

    Are you saying humans do not intelligently design things?

    @wpengel “Your words, by this I guess you mean? that we can assume there is an Intelligent? Designer. Are we to assume there is evidence for the Intelligent Designer as well?”

    Humans are intelligent designers. Are you claiming that humans do? not intelligently design things?

    TDG is dead right: the known existence of human beings who design things with intelligence and purpose proves that such are possible as causes.

    Further, on evidence — cf 5 above in this thread — inferring from empirically reliable signs of intelligence to acts of intelligence as their cause, is an act of reasonable induction. One that is prior to the question of the identity and nature of the particular designer implicated.

    It is to be noted thsat in the case of life, right from the outset of the modern design movement in The Mystery of Life’s Origin, 1984, it has been well understood and publicly pointed out that identifying carbon chemistry, informational macromolecule using cell based life as credibly a technology is not grounds for inferring the identity or nature of the source of that technology.

    It is the level of the finetuning and complex functional organisation of the observed cosmos that the candidacy of an intelligence that is beyond our cosmos becomes a relevant consideration. And, since the design of the cosmos facilitates and is fine tuned for life, it is then plausible to argue that the intelligence behind the cosmos is the intelligence behind life as we observe it. but, such a wider argument (important as it is) is a worldview level argument, not a scientific one, strictly speaking.

    The vandalism exerted against TDG is all too revealing, all too sadly so.

  43. 43
    kairosfocus says:

    PPS: This exchange is symptomatic:

    ___________

    >> TDG: @wpengel “There is every reason to assume we are? the only intelligence in the universe? capable, other than dolphins; because we have no evidence that suggests? there are other intelligences out there. ”
    Lack of evidence that a thing exists is not evidence that a thing doesn’t exist. Unless one is going to? make a case that intelligence is somehow unique to humans (and dolphins), there is no reason to assume there are no other forms of intelligence.

    Engel: @ThreeDivineGifts
    “Lack of evidence that a thing exists is not evidence that? a thing doesn’t exist.”
    That’s exactly what it is and why ID fails, you cannot prove Intelligent Design in Biology or in the Universe itself (part of your definition). And despite your attempts to avoid admitting it your theory does require an Intelligent Designer on a cosmic scale. ? You are proposing a theory based on nothing but inference and wishful thinking. @ThreeDivineGifts
    “Lack of evidence that a thing exists is not evidence that? a thing doesn’t exist.”
    That’s exactly what it is and why ID fails, you cannot prove Intelligent Design in Biology or in the Universe itself (part of your definition). And despite your attempts to avoid admitting it your theory does require an Intelligent Designer on a cosmic scale. ? You are proposing a theory based on nothing but inference and wishful thinking. >>

    _________________

    TDG is pointing out that we have no good grounds for limiting the circle of possible intelligences tot he circle of those we have already observed. For the sake of argument he accepts that there is no [direct?] evidence of other intelligences just now, and observes that our finitude, fallibility and the progressive nature of our knowledge means that we cannot close our minds to indirect evidence of intelligence, on empirically reliable sign.

    Engel, who already found any handy slander-filled excuse to refuse to inspect a serious presentation of actual evidence for such design, then commits precisely the fallacy TDG warned against.

    He has also failed to learn the lesson Newton taught in 1704 in Opticks, Query 31: inductively based knowledge claims are provisional and subject to correction in light of further evidence. For, that is what he nature of things forces. So, proof beyond all doubt on set premises acceptable to all is simply not on the cards, once we address the world of experiences.

    In short, selective hyperskepticism rears its head.

    But it has nothing to do with what has plainly long since been shown: we observe causes tracing to chance, necessity and intelligence or art. We see that each has characteristic signs that may be empirically investigated using generally scientific and certainly responsible approaches, yielding results that are comparably trustworthy and useful as in science as a whole and many other fields of consequential endeavour.

    When we do so, cell based life shows strong signs of being designed, and so does our cosmos.

    But that is utterly repugnant to the evolutionary materialist establishment, and it seems ludicrous to those they have indoctrinated.

    But to reject the evidence, they have had to resort to inconsistencies, via selectively hyperskeptical fallacies, which again tells us that we are on the right track.

    For, those who reject are forced to be inconsistently skeptical between what they wish to accept and what they try to reject. Such an intellectual double standard is all too revealing on the evolutionary materialist a priorism that was already pointed out above.

  44. 44
    kairosfocus says:

    Worth adding:

    TDG’s onward reply:

    _______________

    >> TDG: Let’s say we find what appears to be an abandoned alien spacecraft on an otherwise desolate planet. By what rigorous, scientific methdology could we determine that the artifact was indeed the product of some alien intelligence? According to many here, there is no (and can be no) such rigorous means and, unless we appeal to intuition, we must? be regulated to trying? to find non-intelligent (natural) explanations for the object – regardless of what mechanisms we find inside.>>
    ______________

    The reductio ad absurdum of evolutionary materialist a priorism is evident. For, we HAVE found the crashed spacecraft and are decoding a bit of its software systems, i.e. the living cell.

  45. 45
    William J. Murray says:

    What I find interesting is how the anti-ID advocates cannot even allow themselves to admit that humans employ ID, or as TDG points out, that the pekingese and genetically modified crops are factual, empirical examples of biological features that cannot be sufficiently explained without reference to human intelligent design.

    Unless one is going to argue that a finding that some such feature likely required such teleological intelligence (even lacking known human designers) cannot be rigorously exculpated from the evidence, then there is simply no rational reason to deny that ID is both a scientific fact and theory.

    The alternative, as TDG points out, is that we must eternally try to explain any alien spacecraft or artifact in terms of unintelligent (natural) forces.

    This is indicative of the absurd lengths that anti-ID advocates will go to avoid examining ID via basic logic; they cannot answer simple questions in a straightforward manner, because they know they will not be able to escape the inevitable conclusions.

  46. 46
    kairosfocus says:

    WJM: You are plainly right.

  47. 47
    kairosfocus says:

    Looks like the “game” over at Youtube is winding down.

  48. 48
    zeroseven says:

    I have some questions that continue to puzzle. Does ID hold that some things (eg the cell) are designed, and some things are not designed? Or is everything designed? Did the designer create the the forces we observe around us and then leave them to do their thing (therefore introducing an element of randomness, or non-design into the process)or is the process controlled every step of the way?

  49. 49
    kairosfocus says:

    07:

    Design theory studies signs of intelligence, and on the grounds of identifiable markers of chance necessity and intelligence, infers from sign to signified.

    Consequently, it has concluded that certain features of the natural world are best explained — per the above considerations — as the product of art, as opposed to blind chance and/or mechanical necessity.

    Since the living cell shows abundant signs of design [discrete codes, storage media used to control processes that are algorithmic, associated machinery, organisation, synchronisation and information . . . ], we may conclude that it is designed.

    A heaped pile of rocks at the foot of a hill may have been designed, but because its features are easily explained on the hypothesis of an avalanche, i.e. chance + necessity, it would infer the best explanation (absent further evidence) of such a rock pile would be chance plus necessity. For we don’t need more than that to account for it. (Just like Paley’s rock in a field. By contrast, the self-replicating watch that Paley envisioned in Ch II of his book, would SCREAM design. A cell is far more sophisticated than a watch, and its metabolic and replication mechanisms are integrated in a complex information system.)

    But if the hill were on the Welsh border and we were to see stones arranged to say Welcome to Wales, we would infer that the arrangement is most likely designed. Even though the particular config is a possible result of chance and necessity. (Cf my discussion of lucky nose in App 8 my always linked notes).

    In short we see inference to best explanation as a matter of empirically based warrant in action.

    Is everything designed? Possible. Is everything blind chance and necessity? Possible. But, what are the relevant signs and where do they point on a best reasonable explanation basis . . . ?

    At another level, some designs use chance processes as a component. Yes, but if the design leaves behind markers that point to design, then we are still warranted to infer to design.

    Finally, the cosmos shows fine tuning, and that points to the physics of the cosmos being set up to found a universe that supports carbon chemistry cell based life. But that does not mean that there are not a lot of specific processes that are necessity and/or law.

    As to specific mechanisms of design, the first thing is that in a quantum world with sensitively dependent nonlinear dynamical processes at macro levels, the Laplace perfect clockwork cosmos is a non-starter. So, any cosmos-generating program would have to have control elements integrated into it, it won’t just start form an initial point and roll and snowball downhill from there.

    Life probably has front-loading in it as a sort of neo-Lamarckian mechanism where there are robust responses to radical environmental shifts or niches. (Some of that is by a pretty well observed mechanism. When multiple genes contribute to an effect, isolation of sub populations will lead to breeds that can be quite diverse, e.g people and dogs.)

    Some of it will be small-d darwinian, i.e. small random changes allow wandering around within islands of function, i.e populations of malaria parasites can do a few mutations to resist selection pressure by new drugs. But, at a global fitness cost, similar to hospital superbugs and insect resistance to insecticides etc.

    And so on.

    But that does not explain where body plans came from. That could be in part front loaded, and in part guided or initiated or even injected by viri etc.

    Mechanism is an interesting speculation and onward investigation. So is whodunit. But, such are secondary to the issue of grounding inference to design on empirically reliable signs thereof. We need to confidently know that design before we can focus on who and how, then reverse engineer.

    GEM of TKI

  50. 50
    kairosfocus says:

    Oakram again:

    “Ridicule is? never a rational response.”
    When all we see from the Intelligent Design Creationists are arguments from incredulity, demonstrations of scientific illiteracy, and bogus probability calculations that have nothing to do with real? biological systems, ridicule is the only rational response.
    IDC is a joke.

    1 –> Again, he begins with a slanderous false accusation intended to achieve guilt by association. As he could learn from the Weak Argument Correctives (or simply by asking he Creationists) Design theory is not to be equated with Creationism as currently understood.

    2 –> Al we see are . . . Is of course false, and a strawman distortion in the teeth of easily accessible corrective information. (Remember Engel’s refusal to simply read SITC, on the handiest slander-laced excuse.) What has been discussed is an inference to best explanation on known, observed signs of intelligence [that is, an appeal to what we do know, not to incredulity], supported by the problem of searching for specific targets in a vast config space on the gamut of resources of the observed universe. Let us put it directly: we routinely observe the source of functionally specific, complex organisation and associated information, e.g. posts in this thread: intelligence.

    3 –> Demonstrations of scientific illiteracy is a deliberate personal insult, to one who holds graduate level qualifications int he sciences, and who has successfully taught same at High School and College levels. This is a case of insistence on a lie, for the incorrect claim was already corrected, not just for myself, but for Dr Puccio and others, including a great many who are highly qualified in the sciences. Repeating a lie in the teeth of correction, is an even worse offence.

    4 –> The objector has not even paused to understand the difference between analysing the scope of a configuration space and then showing how a search that would use up the resources of the observable universe would not begin to scratch its surface, and a probability calculation. (Not to mention, the “bogus” probability calculations he objects to are essentially those used to ground say the statistical form of the second law of thermodynamics.)

    5 –> As the asserted irrelevance of such search space challenges to biology, the point is that the DNA for a given life form is highly specific. But, for a DNA strand of length n, the number of possible 4-state configs is 4^n, ie, 4 * 4 * 4 . . . n times over. So, for a dna of just 500,000 bases [towards the bottom end of the viable life form range], we have a space of 9.9 * 10^301,029. The whole observed universe of 10^80 atoms or so, changing state every Planck time, would access something like 10^150 states across its thermodynamically credible lifespan. So, the cosmos is not going to be able to credibly BEGIN to search the relevant space.

    6 –> So, what is really goig on is that, having failed to address the issue ont he merits, Oakram resorts to red herring distractors led out to strawman caricatures soaked in denigratory dismissals, which he lights up to try to cloud, confuse, polarise and poison the atmosphere.

    7 –> So, the “joke” is not as he imagines.

    Ridicule, then, is not his rational response, it is his retort to the patent reduction to absurdity of Oakram’s favoured theories on the origin of the cosmos and of life including our own, once the issue of the credible explanation for the origin of complex, functionally specific bio information is on the table.

    A sad spectacle.

    But one that tells us much about what has gone wrong with our civilisation, and points out what we need to do to begin to correct the rot before it is too late.

    G’day.

    GEM of TKI

  51. 51
    Phaedros says:

    “bogus probability calculations that have nothing to do with real? biological systems”

    I’d really like to see this statement argued and supported otherwise this guy should stop using it.

  52. 52
    kairosfocus says:

    Phaedros:

    Pardon a few remarks.

    You are looking at people who don’t pause to notice that the calculations used above are on configuration spaces and that a simple comparison is being made to the number of states the observable universe would scan across its thermodynamically credible lifespan.

    That simple comparison — not a calculation [Evolutionary materialist objectors suddenly start to object to he standard Bernouilli-Laplace indifference principle routinely used in Information theory and in statistical thermodynamics and broader probability and statistics when it does not suit where they wish to go . . . ] — makes it all too blatantly plain that the observable universe does not have the search resources to credibly get to an island of function on blind chance and necessity, once we pass the rule of thumb threshold we have used, 500 – 1,000 bits of information storage capacity.

    1,000 bits is 125 bytes, and we are basically dealing with what is required to get to a von Neumann replicator, to BEGIN self-replicating life. Unless you have self-replication and metabolic capacity, you do not yet have life as we know it, and you cannot argue for differential reproductive success. For, reproduction is not happening yet. And 125 bytes is manifestly vastly too small a storage capacity for a self-replicator. (Life forms start out at 100 – 500 kbases, i.e over 100 times the threshold!]

    In short, the still warm ponds, undersea vents and comets, etc are non-starters so that there is no credible root for the Darwinian tree of life; and indeed the metabolism firsters and genes firsters have ended up in mutual refutation. (Ever wondered why Darwinists so often insist that OOL is not part of their theory?)

    Then when it comes to getting new body plans, a comaparison of the 1 mn bases or so for a reasonable unicellular form, and the 10’s – 100’s of millions in typical multicellular body plans, tells us the problem just got compounded.

    Actually, exponentiated.

    In short, the Cambrian life revolution where dozens of body plans pop up in the record without credible antecedents, puts a solid roadblock: top level first, and the required explosion of bioinformation vastly exceeds the resources of our cosmos. Dozens of times over, 10s of millions of bases of novel bioinfo, and ont he usual timeline, in a 5 – 10 mn year window (not that 4.5 BN years would make a significant difference).

    To distract attention from those sorts of unmet challenges, too many Darwinist advocates try instead to indulge in distractive turnabout accusations. So, probability calculations routinely used in information theory [cf my notes here] are suddenly suspect and unacceptable. Selective hyperskepticism.

    If you want to get a feel for what is going on try my thermodynamically tinged discussion here, which scales down Sir Fred Hoyle’s tornado in a junkyard to quasi molecular scale. read the context for more.

    (And, Darwinist objectors too often have the gall to try to dismiss a holder of a Nobel Equivalent prize on his thermodynamics and related probability calculations! News for such objectors: Sir Fred may be wrong on a technical subject [e.g. Steady State cosmology], but he isn’t blundering simplistically, and he is going to teach you some lessons along the way. Learn a little respect, Wikipedia!!! For shame!)

    GEM of TKI

  53. 53
    Phaedros says:

    kairosfocos-

    Thank you for explaining it. I want this peson, Oakran (?), to answer a simple question. Is he just throwing words like “bogus” around to unfairly attack these calculations or does he have any good mathematical support for his assertion that they are both “bogus” and that they do not apply to real biological systems? In other words, if he can’t back it up then he should be honest and admit that or his blustering bluffing should be called out. If he really wants to provided a “reasonable response” then he should be honest and say that he does not really know that they are “bogus” and cannot prove it.

  54. 54
    Phaedros says:

    blustering and bluffing** provide*

  55. 55
    Apollos says:

    KF,

    “For, we HAVE found the crashed spacecraft and are decoding a bit of its software systems, i.e. the living cell.”

    I find this illustrative and inspiring!

    ———————

    Phaedros @51, I agree.

    I’d like to see some evolutionary calculations, and some gaps filled in:

    How many novel features are evolved per 1000 generation for Bacteria (novel organelles)?

    Should we expect to see multicellular life evolve from unicellular life, in 50 years, 100, 1000, 10,000?

    How many generations should it take for a ground creature to evolve wings, given advantageous survival considerations for each explicit step? How would, say, two dozen or so primary intermediate forms confer positive selective advantage?

    How many generations did the flagellum likely take to evolve, and what is a plausible and verifiable pathway from a no-flagellum bacterium? How many cellular systems would be affected for a plausible transitional path, which would need mutations of their own in order to support the generation of novel organelles? In other words, which systems would need to change simultaneously in order to support new intracellular features, visible to NS?

    How large is the target space for functional proteins’ amino sequencing? For example: for a 400 amino chain, how many functional targets are likely present in that ~10^520 config space? How dense would targets need to be in the config space for blind search to move from one to another given limited probabilistic resources?

    How did protein sequencing and folding evolve? What putative intermediate forms would need to exist to move from self replicators in which protein sequencing and folding were not present, to those in which they were?

    Does the fact that organelles responsible for translating and transcribing DNA are also proteins whose sequences are encoded in DNA present any unique challenges for evolution? Since proteins that fold amino acids are themselves encoded, transcribed, sequenced, and folded, does this require some measure of extraordinary evolutionary development, and how might this paradox be explained?

    How did self-replication evolve? How would a life form that could not self-replicate evolve into one which could? What would be some examples of functional intermediates with survivability advantages?

    Pardon my ignorance of evolutuion, but since there are a plethora of gaps to fill in regarding evolutionary explanations of species diversity development, why use a gap filler like random mutations to explain them away? Sounds like a science stopper.

  56. 56
    PaulBurnett says:

    “CannuckianYankee” (#26) wrote: “Never mind, It looks like Paul Burnett, of all people, invited him here.

    You’re welcome.

    I also wanted him here.

  57. 57
    PaulBurnett says:

    Clive Hayden (#31) wrote: “…working out a positive theory is exactly what the scientific people like Stephen Meyer, William Dembski, Doug Axe, Anne Gauger, Bob Marks and Michael Behe have done…

    …as determined by whom? (Other than Meyer, Dembski, Axe, Gauger, Marks and Behe.) Has the American Association for the Advancement of Science or the National Academy of Sciences or any other actual science organization changed their long-standing official position (which agrees with Phillip Johnson’s stated 2006 position) that ID is not science yet?

  58. 58
    Matteo says:

    When all we see from the Intelligent Design Creationists are arguments from incredulity, demonstrations of scientific illiteracy, and bogus probability calculations that have nothing to do with real? biological systems, ridicule is the only rational response. IDC is a joke.

    And what stands opposed to “arguments from incredulity”? Arguments from credulity? Moreover, when have the Darwinistas ever done any of the probability calculations that are truly necessary to back their “theory”?

  59. 59
    Clive Hayden says:

    PaulBurnett,

    …as determined by whom? (Other than Meyer, Dembski, Axe, Gauger, Marks and Behe.) Has the American Association for the Advancement of Science or the National Academy of Sciences or any other actual science organization changed their long-standing official position (which agrees with Phillip Johnson’s stated 2006 position) that ID is not science yet?

    From your many posts at UD, I can tell that bookshelf placement in bookstores, publishing affiliations, “larger numbers” and “consensus” are very important to you, which tells me that you let others do your thinking for you as to how you see things. I don’t. So yes, ID is scientific.

  60. 60
    Gaz says:

    WJM (45),

    “What I find interesting is how the anti-ID advocates cannot even allow themselves to admit that humans employ ID, or as TDG points out, that the pekingese and genetically modified crops are factual, empirical examples of biological features that cannot be sufficiently explained without reference to human intelligent design.”

    Not entirely correct – pekinese were selected for certain traits, not actually “designed” to have them as GM plants are. In other words: the dogs had random mutations and humans selected those dogs with the features (generated by random mutations) that appealed to humans. As I understand it, the ID position is that the genes themselves had to have been made by humans. Or am I wrong?

  61. 61
    Gaz says:

    Clive Hayden (59),

    “From your many posts at UD, I can tell that bookshelf placement in bookstores, publishing affiliations, “larger numbers” and “consensus” are very important to you, which tells me that you let others do your thinking for you as to how you see things. I don’t. So yes, ID is scientific.”

    I see what you are trying to say, but it doesn’t really help the ID position. Larger numbers and consensus are often good pointers – though not infallible – to what is actually going on. Bear in mind also that in science it isn’t just somoeone’s opinion , it’s their opinion based on the evidence, which is available to everybody else as well. Science is a discipline of human endeavour where people from all around the world – China, US, France, Cameroon, Laos, New Zealand, Paraguay, anywhere you care to think – can have the evidence, and come to the same conclusion based on it, without necessarily speaking to each other and often not even speaking the same languages.

    The general consensus is that ID hasn’t yet come up with anyhting that could be called science. We don’t even know the scope of it – what was designed and what wasn’t designed? When were the first designs done? Did design stop? Pretty much any question you care to ask about ID can’t be answered, and there’s no indication of when we ever will get answers. I was hoping the Biologic Institute might get its teeth into it, but so far nothing that gets to the root of ID, only some tangential papers that may have a vague relation to the subject. It’s all becoming reminiscent of the saga over baraminology, when Creationists said years ago (a decade?) they were going to come up with a list of created kinds, and since then nothing.

  62. 62
    kairosfocus says:

    A few notes:

    It seems Mr Burnett at least has come over.

    Mr Burnett:

    We are living in an era of ideologised science as documented by Richard Lewontin 13 years ago. In such an era of evolutionary materialist a priorism, “consensus” cannot be trusted.

    So, your appeal to consensus boils down to an inappropriate call for modesty in the face of claimed authority. It is also distractive and strawmannish, for the scientific nature of the intelligent design approach is readily apparent on simple inspection:

    1 –> We routinely observe causal patterns in our world tracing to chance, mechanical necessity and/or art.

    2 –> We notice that law-like necessity has peculiar signs: e.g. a dropped heavy object, reliably, falls at a certain rate near the earth’s surface. Similarly, chance contingency has a characteristic statistically distributed, probabilistically controlled outcome: which face of a fair die will be uppermost.

    3 –> By contrast, art often leads to complex, functionally specific organisation and associated information, e.g. posts in this thread.

    4 –> So, we may readily identify a cluster of candidate generic signs of chance, necessity and design, and test them for reliability.

    5 –> The test of natural regularity is sufficiently solid that this is a major occupation of the sciences.

    6 –> Similarly, the field of statistics shows the utility of signs of chance.

    7 –> Forensics, reverse engineering and other investigations that apply scientific methods to investigate art show how useful signs of intelligence are. And,t eh very existence of the vital field of information theory and e.g. the signal to noise ratio shows how useful quantitative signs of intelligence are.

    8 –> It is readily seen that 1,000 or so bits worth of functionally specific complex information [config space 1.07*10^301 states, or about ten ties the SQUARE of the number of Planck time states of the 10^80 or so atoms of the observed universe across its thermodynamic lifetime] is a pretty good threshold where it is not empirically credible that chance could simply come across a functionally specific configuration.

    9 –> So, this is a pretty reliable sign of intelligence, as the whole Internet is a good confirmation of.

    10 –> So, when we see in the heart of the living cell, a complex functionally specific code and algorithm based information system that uses well beyond 1,000 bits of storage capacity to support metabolic action and self-replication, we have excellent grounds to infer scientifically that such an entity is an artifact of a technology.

    Gaz:

    The breeding of Pekinese is an exercise in ART-ificial selection. You know or should know that he argument made on that over at Youtube was that the origin of such cannot sufficiently be made, absent reckoning with that intervention of art, i.e design.

    And if you do not know that animal breeding is an art, then you are not ready for prime time. (Darwin, BTW, was a pigeon fancier and breeder of note.)

    As for distractive remarks on what Creationists may or may not have promised (who, when?), this is little more than a crude attempt at guilt by association with those who have already been successfully smeared; similar to the way that the false accusation “racist” is being tossed around like a live hand grenade these days.

    Design theory — as the weak argument correctives you need to read and take seriously point out — is simply not the same as Creationism. Period.

    If you keep on trying to make that fallacious association in the teeth of easily accessible corrective information [just like Engel et al at Youtube . . . ], that would only tell us that you are fundamentally intellectually dishonest.

    That ball is in your court.

    As tot he notion that pretty nearly any questions one may ask of ID cannot be answered, that is a fact of life about just about any endeavour worth trying. We are limited in what we know and any fool can ask more questions than the wisest scientists and philosophers can answer.

    On the pivotal question that ID sets out to answer on a scientific basis, the answer is plain: yes, there are empirically reliable signs of intelligence, and they highlight that certain key features of the natural world are best explained as artifacts of design.

    That is sufficient to effect a revolution in contemporary science, liberating it from the iron grip of ideological a priori evolutionary materialism and the sort of ruthless censorship that is becoming more and more evident.

    And, plainly, that is the real complaint of the sad ilk over at Youtube and elsewhere. For, they are in the grip of the sort of avant garde materialism that provides rhetorical cover for their amorality and abusive agendas: “the greatest right is might.”

    As Plato warned against 2,300 years ago, the ruin of Athens at such hands being vividly stamped in his memory.

    GEM of TKI

  63. 63
    kairosfocus says:

    Laugh for the day:

    (Then, weep for our civilisation, then pray, then get up and do something for the good . . . )

    One of the latest materialist rants over at Youtube, courtesy a certain Mr Rainer:

    So, in the whole vid, Meyer just ranting that the standard of science is too strict for his ID to get in, so please soften up. *boohoo, crybaby* And he lie about the same stringency will also cut evolution out. The? mechanism of evolution is known and testable (and tested!), but the mechanism of design is? not known, thus untestable.

    Mr Rainer clearly has not bothered to do the basic homework to understand that he is dealing with a PhD level philosopher of science, and that there is a real demarcation issue that has come down to the impasse that there is no set of rules or specifications that are each necessary for and jointly sufficient to mark out science and scientific methods as unique and distinct form other fields of serious investigation of our world.

    (Onlookers, a useful 101 that sensitises on the issue is here. Unfortunately, this is exactly the sort of topic that one should not trust Wikipedia on, so though they have an article, it must be taken with a large grain of salt.)

    Worse, Rainer is utterly unconcerned to deal with the implications of imposed a priori evolutionary materialism that perverts science from being an unfettered but responsible investigation of the truth about our world on empirical evidence and reasoned discussion among the informed.

    He compounds all this by then resorting to slanderous accusations of lying.

    And, Mr Rainer is content to parrot how evolutionary mechanisms are tested. As in, shown capable of de noveo creation of the biological information to create novel body plans that require upwards of 10 mn new base pairs? I think not. (Minor population shifts in peppered moths have nothing to do with spontaneous origin of functionally specific complex biological information on the scale needed to account for macro-level evolution. This points to the defects of one of the classic bait and switch misleading icons of evolution.)

    By contrast, we know a lot about the fact that design exists and we have demonstrated cases where designers routinely produce FSCI at and beyond the relevant threshold. We even have some clues as to how designers work and produce their artifacts: software engineering and engineering are major disciplines.

    So, Mr Rainer has indulged an exercise in turnabout distractive false accusation and denigration.
    ___________

    Youtube needs to look carefully at its comment policies, as it is plainly facilitating Internet vandalism by utterly irresponsible and destructive enemies of the common civil peace of justice.

    GEM of TKI

  64. 64
    kairosfocus says:

    PS: I have found a useful 101 lecture, here, by David Spurrett over in South Africa:

    ______________

    >> The Demarcation Problem

    What the problem is

    1. The ‘demarcation problem’ in the philosophy of science is, as the name of the problem suggests, one of drawing, or working out how to draw, a boundary. In particular, it concerns drawing a boundary between science, and everything else.
    2. A particular version of the problem concerns drawing a boundary between science and pseudo-science, where pseudo-science is something that some advocates contend is science, but which isn’t actually science.
    3. The standard way of providing a solution to the problem is to provide a criterion, or set of criteria, that something has to have to count as scientific, and then showing how some or other pseudo-science fails to meet the criteria.

    Why it’s important

    1. Being counted as science is socially significant. That is to say, being recognised as a scientist means having preferential access to money, preferential input to policy, and relatively secure positions in most educational curricula.
    2. So being better able to solve the demarcation problem means being better able to work out how to handle claims to significant slices of the social pie.
    3. It may also enable us to work out whether the disproportionate allocation of goods to science is justifiable or not.

    What to hope for

    1. Although some philosophers suggest that we can provide a list of necessary and sufficient criteria, had by all sciences and only sciences, this may be too much to expect.
    2. Notice something about how arguments over demarcation typically proceed. Some ‘paradigm cases’ of science are taken as given, and then the question of what their distinctive features are is asked. The same is done with paradigm cases of non-science, or pseudo-science. This is a process of trying to make hunches we’ve supposedly already got more clear and explicit. (Perhaps we should be more suspicious of our hunches?)
    3. If we’re not merely consolidating our prejudices, we should expect (or hope) to be surprised when thinking seriously about the demarcation problem.
    4. What I mean by being surprised here, is either being surprised by the criteria that we end up recognising as important for something’s being, or not being, science (meaning that we found something we weren’t expecting when we examined our paradigm cases), or by what applying the criteria ends up saying is or is not science (meaning that our criteria led us to change our minds about one or more real cases).
    5. We shouldn’t be too disappointed if we end up not being sure whether some things are or are not science. It could be that the issue is irreducibly difficult, or that some cases are truly indeterminate, or that a single set of criteria won’t enable us to decide all cases, and that there’s no simple way of working out what criteria to use in at least some cases. We’d only be reasonably disappointed if we had some justification for thinking, in advance, that one set of criteria (that were relatively simple to apply) should do the job in all cases.
    6. Aristotle said it best: “It is a mark of the educated man and proof of his culture that in every subject he looks for only so much precision as its nature permits.” (The Ethics of Aristotle: The Nicomachean Ethics, trans. J.A.K. Thomson, Harmondsworth, England: Penguin, 1955, p27-28.)

    ‘Scientific’ not the same as ‘true’

    1. Bear in mind here that trying to work out what counts as ‘science’ or ‘scientific’ is not the same thing as figuring out what is true. There are at least two reasons for this:
    2. First, some parts of science are known to be false, but are not for that reason regarded as unscientific. Examples includes laws known to be only approximately true (i.e. strictly false) and theories regarded as empirically defeated, even though proposed or constructed in ‘the right sorts of way’ to be counted as parts of science.
    3. Second, some proposition could be true and have nothing to do (either in how it was formulated, or in what considerations are relevant to its truth) with science.
    4. Having said that, we might still think that science is a truth-seeking activity, and/or that by being ‘scientific’ we have a better chance of arriving at true beliefs and so forth. Fair enough, being ‘scientific’ and being ‘true’ aren’t the same thing. >>
    ________________

    One hopes that his will at least give pause to those mindlessly parrotting evolutionary materialist talking points.

  65. 65
    kairosfocus says:

    PPS: Here is Meyer’s key classic paper on demarcation and design vs descent. Let us see if the Youtube commenters will now show signs of having done some homework before spouting off rhetorical talking points.

    Helpful excerpts:

    ____________

    >> Biologists, and scientists generally, assume the rules of science prohibit any deviation from a strictly materialistic mode of analysis. Even most physicists sympathetic to design would quickly label their intuitions “religious” or “philosophical” rather than “scientific.” Science, it is assumed, must look for exclusively natural causes. Since the postulation of an intelligent Designer or Creator clearly violates this methodological norm, such a postulation cannot qualify as a part of a scientific theory. Thus Stephen J. Gould refers to “scientific creationism” not just as factually mistaken but as “self-contradictory nonsense.” As Basil Willey put it, “Science must be provisionally atheistic, or cease to be itself.”

    Most scientists who are theists also accept this same conception of science. As Raymond Grizzle wrote in a prominent evangelical scientific journal recently, “God cannot be part of a scientific description. . . . [Further], any description that implies a creator will probably also be looked at as improper by most scientists.” Nancey Murphy, a philosopher and Fuller Seminary professor, agrees. She wrote recently in the same journal: “Science qua science seeks naturalistic explanations for all natural processes. Christians and atheists alike must pursue scientific questions in our era without invoking a Creator. . . . Anyone who attributes the characteristics of living things to creative intelligence has by definition stepped into the arena of either metaphysics or theology.”

    Yet on what basis is this definition of science asserted? For Murphy and Grizzle the answer seems clear. A respect for the rules and practices of science as they have come down to us dictates that Christians should avoid invoking creative intelligence in their theories. In Murphy’s words, “For better or worse, we have inherited a view of science as methodologically atheistic” (emphasis added) . . . .

    The use of what philosophers of science call “demarcation arguments “arguments that purport to distinguish science from pseudoscience, metaphysics or religion in defense of a favored theory has a long history. Darwin himself employed such arguments to defend his theory from idealist and creationist challenges. While philosophical arguments about what does or does not constitute science have generally been discredited within philosophy of science, they nevertheless continue to play a vital role in persuading biologists that alternative scientific explanations do not, and in the case of nonnaturalistic theories cannot, exist for biological origins. Indeed, various demarcation criteria are often cited by scientists as reasons for rejecting the very possibility of intelligent design . . . .

    The methodological equivalence of intelligent design and naturalistic descent will be suggested in three stages by three lines of argument. First, the reasons for the failure of demarcation arguments within philosophy of science generally will be examined and recapitulated. This analysis will suggest that attempts to distinguish the scientific status of design and descent a priori may well be suspect from the outset on philosophical grounds. Second, an examination of specific demarcation arguments that have been employed against design will follow. It will be argued that not only do these arguments fail, but they do so in such a way as to suggest an equivalence between design and descent with respect to several features of allegedly proper scientific practice that is, intelligent design and naturalistic descent will be shown equally capable or incapable of meeting different demarcation standards, provided such standards are applied disinterestedly. Third, design and descent will be compared in light of recent work on the logical and methodological character of historical inquiry. This analysis will show that the mode of inquiry utilized by advocates of both design and descent conforms closely to that evident in many other characteristically historical disciplines. Thus a more fundamental methodological equivalence between design and descent will emerge as a result of methodological analysis of the historical sciences. >>
    _____________

    Much more there . . .

  66. 66
    CannuckianYankee says:

    KF,

    Re: 25 and your response at 28 (excellent response, BTW).

    It’s interesting if you compare all the negative reactions to Meyer on youtube with all the positive and exceptionally detailed responses/reviews of his book on Amazon.com – people who actually read books, rather than gather their information from internet hacks, who apparently don’t.

  67. 67
    kairosfocus says:

    PPPS: I again invite the interested onlooker to read the introductory and summary remarks here, which will help give a balancing context to much of the above.

  68. 68
    kairosfocus says:

    CY:

    Point!

    Here is the page at Amazon, and here is a case in point (NB: look at the comments):

    ______________

    >> 294 of 351 people found the following review helpful:
    4.0 out of 5 stars Who’s signature?, December 27, 2009
    By David Marshall (Seattle area) – See all my reviews
    (REAL NAME)
    Amazon Verified Purchase(What’s this?)
    This review is from: Signature in the Cell: DNA and the Evidence for Intelligent Design (Hardcover)
    I come to this book with two peeves, one pet, the other a stray that is beginning to wear out its welcome.

    My pet peeve is fanatics who attack ID out of ideological compulsion, rather than using the “think” cells hidden deep within their brains to evaluate and argue. That includes most of the reviewers who gave the book 1 or 2 stars so far. Meyer, we are told, is “lazy,” a “creationist,” “idiot,” “fraud,” and “liar” who hawks “error-prone” “snake-oil,” “gobbledygook,” “pseudo-science.” We should read Richard Dawkins new Greatest Show on Earth instead (I did — it isn’t about the origin of life, you numbskulls). One “reviewer” blasts the book after reading four sentences, and gets 69 of 128 “helpful” votes. Another “reviews” the first few pages and calls Meyer a liar.

    Hardly any negative reviews even try to point to any scientific errors. Two exceptions: reviews by A Miller and K. M. Sternberg are worth reading. Sternberg’s is particularly eloquent. (Though having written a couple books on the historical Jesus, I tend to wonder about the objectivity, awareness, and / or good sense of someone who thinks there is no evidence for the life of Jesus!)

    My second peeve is a growing dislike for the way Discovery Institute often packages its arguments. I visited DI a year ago when another ID book came out — I won’t name it, seeing no need to embarrass the author. His presentation essentially said, “Look at all the wonders of creation. How can evolution possibly explain all that?” When Q & A time came, I was the only one to ask any critical questions. “That sounds impressive, but why don’t you engage the explanations evolutionary biologists offer for those features?” Like the talk, the book (he gave me a copy) simply ignored detailed arguments.

    This book does much better. Meyer’s critics to the contrary, he does offer detailed scientific and philosophical arguments. Signature is NOT mainly about evolution per se – it is about the origin of life. It is, therefore, not strictly parallel to Dawkins’ books or arguments — ID is in a sense broader than evolution as a theory, since it seeks to explain things that evolution does not.

    My main beef is the book is too long. While many of Meyer’s illustrations are interesting, he uses too many, and repeats himself too often. Meyer should chop out some of the remedial 7th Grade biology, cut some stories and the “I was in Akron when I thought A and in Baton Rouge when B occurred to me” stuff, and cut the book in half.

    The first-person auto-biographical is overworked. No one thinks you’re neutral, Stephen — so just argue! Don’t pretend your conversion to ID was purely scientific — reasonable people understand that people act under a mixture of motives, and the unreasonable ones are not worth arguing with. Dawkins, Behe, Stephen Hawking, and Darwin for that matter write serious arguments without losing ordinary readers; models that Meyer could profitably shoot for.

    But the issue here is the origin of life, and when Meyer finally gets to it, he argues it well, I think. The central chapters seem to cover most of the main issues well. He discusses different solutions, and explains fairly clearly why they do not work, and why some sort of design seems preferable. It is interesting that none of Meyer’s critics here dispute those arguments. (Again, Miller and Sternberg come closest, but do not really engage his most important points.) I wish, however, that Meyer had expanded those central chapters, and discussed in more detail leading rival contemporary hypotheses.

    Many of his secondary arguments work, too. I suppose one can’t complain if a philosopher of science writes a lot about the philosophy of science, and I suppose those arguments are made necessary by attempts to marginalize ID proponents through the sheer power of wordplay. Pardon the self-indulgence, but as I wrote in Truth Behind the New Atheism, in response to Dawkins’ attempts to marginalize ID proponents: “David Bohm once defended science as ‘openness to evidence.’ The best scientist — or theologian — is not someone who shouts ‘heresy!’ when he hears strange views, but one who listens carefully and responds with reason and evidence. When it comes to ultimate questions, ‘openness to evidence’ is the definition that counts.”

    The scientific evidence is what matters, and I would have liked to have seen more detail on that. Still, all in all, a strong ID perspective on the origin of life. >>

    ________________

    Quite a contrast to the ranting at Youtube.

    I think that site needs to take a leaf from Amazon’s policy. A “most helpful first” default presentation will be helpful, if it is coupled to a bar chart on patterns of comments.

    Not that Amazon is perfect, but our whole civilisation is in deep civility and reasonableness trouble just now.

    GEM of TKI

  69. 69
    William J. Murray says:

    Gaz,

    Intelligent Design, at its most basic level, is the process of a deliberate agency manipulating forces and materials in order to achieve an end.

    For example, even though an intelligent designer might not be responsible for raising Mt. Rushmore from sea level, and really only “carved away” bits of rock, the faces on Mt. Rushmore cannot be sufficiently explained without including intelligent design.

    The pekingese cannot be sufficiently explained as an existant breed of dog without including a necessary reference to the deliberate manipulations of intelligent agents organizing materials and events towards the goal of developing and sustaining the pekingese breed.

    Whether the intelligent agency is generating specific mutations, or filtering random mutations for a specific goal, is irrelevent in regards to the necessity of the designer in the explanation.

  70. 70
    PaulBurnett says:

    “CannuckianYankee” (#66) wrote: “It’s interesting if you compare all the negative reactions to Meyer on youtube with all the positive and exceptionally detailed responses/reviews of his book on Amazon.com.

    Yeah, everybody can be real proud of that. The reviews were running pretty negative until the Discovery Institute sent out a letter saying “Please write a review at Amazon.com,” after which the tone of the reviews, some from fellow Discovery Institute Fellows, improved markedly.

    There was also a review at BioLogos – at http://biologos.org/blog/signature-in-the-cell

  71. 71
    mullerpr says:

    Matteo,

    You rightly ask:

    And what stands opposed to “arguments from incredulity”? Arguments from credulity? Moreover, when have the Darwinistas ever done any of the probability calculations that are truly necessary to back their “theory”?

    The thing is that standard Darwinian argument regarding probability goes something like this:

    “Because a certain event did happen the probability for it to happen is 1.”

    With this nonsensical view on probability theory you can actually conclude that Darwinians blatantly refuse to calculate the real slope of “mount improbable”.

  72. 72
    Gaz says:

    WJM (69),

    “For example, even though an intelligent designer might not be responsible for raising Mt. Rushmore from sea level, and really only “carved away” bits of rock, the faces on Mt. Rushmore cannot be sufficiently explained without including intelligent design.”

    This is getting to the point I am trying to make. With Mt Rushmore we know exactly what mechanism the designer used – how it was desgined, and the tools and explosives that were used. But for ID and nature, not only do w not know what the ID had done, but there is not even any mechanism proposed for it. That’s what ID is missing, and what needs to be done for it to be considered science.

  73. 73
    mullerpr says:

    Gaz,

    Are you telling us that you also need to know the mechanism of reasoning to explain anything that is the product of reason?

    Do you know the mechanism of human reasoning? If you don’t, then according to your demarcation of science you actually don’t know the mechanism that ultimately caused Mt. Rushmore.

  74. 74
    Clive Hayden says:

    PaulBurnett,

    Yeah, everybody can be real proud of that. The reviews were running pretty negative until the Discovery Institute sent out a letter saying “Please write a review at Amazon.com,” after which the tone of the reviews, some from fellow Discovery Institute Fellows, improved markedly.

    You should be working in political science in my opinion, all that seems to matter to you is what others think.

  75. 75
    Gaz says:

    mullerpr (73),

    No. That would be like saying I can’t build a car engine because I don’t know how the electronic details of how hydrocarbons in gas break down. My point about ID is that merely saying “it was designed by a Designer” is no different to saying “God did it” – it isn’t science, doesn’t tell us anything, and is a dead end. That is why ID needs to come up with a mechanism.

  76. 76
    Clive Hayden says:

    Gaz,

    But for ID and nature, not only do w not know what the ID had done, but there is not even any mechanism proposed for it. That’s what ID is missing, and what needs to be done for it to be considered science.

    Are you familiar with Charles S Pearce and his notion of abduction as a logical principle? Abduction is what is employed in the design inference, and it is the very first principle of science itself.

    http://www.jstor.org/pss/40320156

  77. 77
    second opinion says:

    In the Dover trial Behe said that his extended definition of what a scientific theory is would make ID a scientific theory but also include astronomy. What Meyer says in the video that methodological naturalism is equivalent to not invoking creative intelligence does not seem consistent with what Behe said.

  78. 78
    second opinion says:

    Sorry, astrology of course.

  79. 79
    Cable says:

    Gaz@75

    ID is not a theory of everything the way evolution is. It does not invalidate all of evolutionary theory, its applications are limited. It only seeks to determine if something is the product or an effect of an intelligence or not. Nothing more.

    As many have stated ID can easily be invalidated. Just show us how any natural processes can produce anything new feature with the equivalent of 500 – 1000 bits of CSI.

  80. 80
    William J. Murray says:

    Gaz said: “That’s what ID is missing, and what needs to be done for it to be considered science.”

    To be considered science by whom? You seem to think there is no scientific value in establishing that an intelligence deliberately configured a feature; and that scientific value can only be derived from figuring out how that intelligence accomplished its feat.

    Think about the catch-22 problem here: how can you go about the business of determining how an intelligence accomplished a goal, if you cannot first establish that an intelligence was involved at all?

    If you allow that ID can identify **that** an intelligent agent was likely involved, but assert that this determination is of no scientific value until ID can find the mechanisms by which the agent accomplished its goal, then you are saying that it is of no scientific merit to be able to determine that an artifact on a distant planet **was** the product of intelligent design, unless you could also tell us how the artifact was built.

    Just the knowledge that the artifact was intelligently designed changes the nature of the investigation, and opens up research into divining the purpose of the artifact and of any interior mechanisms; figuring out the design philosophy and methodology and applying it into researching other artifacts that appear designed by the same intelligence; instead of wasting huge amounts of time and resources trying to come up with unintelligent, “natural” explanations, one can turn their attention to reverse engineering, design specifications, material fabrication techniques, tooling techniques, etc.

    Let’s say that we could scientifically demonstrate that the universe was most likely designed specifically for the existence of life, and that Earth was most likely specifically configured in placement, mechanics and composition, for life … you don’t think that such a finding would have scientfic relevance unless we could also tell you how it was done?

  81. 81
    kairosfocus says:

    Gaz

    Observe carefully.

    The cited top rated review is by someone who actually read and critiques the book, noting how – as has become notorious — there is a herd of negative reviews by those who obviously have not read the book but come to propagate their ideological hostility. (No prizes for guessing why.)

    Sadly, this is the second time I have had occasion to remark on a turnabout accusation from you, just this day.

    Please, pause and take a fresh look.

    GEM of TKI

  82. 82
    kairosfocus says:

    WJM:

    Very well said.

    GEM of TKI

  83. 83
    kairosfocus says:

    2nd Opinion:

    There is no one-size fits all definition of a scientific theory, whatever you may have been told in school; whether across time or in our day. And, in the professional literature of our time, “theory” is used in many quite distinct ways.

    Back in C16 – 17, Astrology as then understood would have been viewed as a “science.” (As would have been alchemy. And yes, Newton did alchemical researches too, as apparently did Kepler, who also cast astrological portents.)

    And I am uncomfortable, as there is an anachronism there, as, e.g. may be seen from how Newton speaks of natural philosophy in Principia, and how natural history was used otherwise.

    All of this feeds into how intractable the demarcation problem is.

    “Science” is in many respects a conventional label.

    The only real core I can see is that at its best, it is an unfettered (but intellectually and ethically responsible) progressive pursuit and exploration of the truth about our world, based on observation, experiment, reasoned analysis and discussion among the informed.

    GEM of TKI

  84. 84
    Upright BiPed says:

    Clive at 74

    You are correct. In the years that I have been following the posts on UD, I have never seen Paul Burnett make a post that was anything but political. It is the same thing every time, the first is as the last.

  85. 85
    Petrushka says:

    …that the pekingese and genetically modified crops are factual, empirical examples of biological features that cannot be sufficiently explained without reference to human intelligent design…

    Perhaps you could provide a mathematical analysis and detailed chain of reasoning that proves that pekingese are the products of human intelligent design, but peacocks and birds of paradise are not.

    Genetically modified crops are outside the nested hierarchy and would probably be recognised by aliens as the result of something other than common descent.

    The products of selective breeding still follow the rules of variation and selection.

  86. 86
    Clive Hayden says:

    Gaz,

    When were the first designs done? Did design stop? Pretty much any question you care to ask about ID can’t be answered, and there’s no indication of when we ever will get answers.

    This is exactly the quintessential science-stopping philosophy that is being propounded by folks who think like you, and it is exactly this science-stopping philosophy that is being rejected by ID. If you do not allow for these questions from the outset, of course you will never get answers. Anti-ID folks do not allow for these questions, and then begrudge ID for trying to answer them. You will certainly never get answers to those questions by refusing to ask them and refusing to answer them.

  87. 87
    kairosfocus says:

    I am astonished that some people seem to struggle to acknowledge that a dog breed is the product of ART-ificial selection, thus cannot be accurately causally explained without that factor.

  88. 88
    kairosfocus says:

    Petrushka:

    Are you familiar with the paper clip taxonomy exercise?

    One can construct a nested hierarchy of such fasteners, on keys; indeed this has been used as a demonstration exercise in biology classes in College.

    But of course, the items were all designed.

    Similarly, the Corvettes can be shown in a line of descent, from the 1950s to whenever. Berra did that to illustrate how we can have descent with modification. But he forgot one thing: Corvettes are not self-replicating and evolving without external intervention. They are designed.

    Classification exercises like you suggest are not evidence that discriminates design and descent.

    What you need to address is the central issue: the empirically supported origin of functionally specific complex organisation and associated information.

    GEM of TKI

  89. 89
    StephenB says:

    —Gaz: “My point about ID is that merely saying “it was designed by a Designer” is no different to saying “God did it” – it isn’t science, doesn’t tell us anything, and is a dead end. That is why ID needs to come up with a mechanism.”

    That is like saying that a forensic scientist who looks at a ransacked house with missing jewelry, rules out a tornado [natural causes], and attributes the disorder to a burglar [agency], is not doing sciece on the grounds that he can’t explain how the burglar opened the drawers.

  90. 90
    William J. Murray says:

    Petrushka said: “Perhaps you could provide a mathematical analysis and detailed chain of reasoning that proves that pekingese are the products of human intelligent design, but peacocks and birds of paradise are not.”

    A genetic or mathematical analysis is hardly necessary, since we know empirically that humans are responsible. The point about the pekingese and GMO crops isn’t that they can be proven genetically to require ID as part of their sufficient explanation, but rather that we know, on a factual, emprical basis, that some biological features exist that require human ID as part of their sufficient explanation.

    Petrushka said: “Genetically modified crops are outside the nested hierarchy and would probably be recognised by aliens as the result of something other than common descent.”

    Unfortunately, however, if their research paradigm axiomatically precluded the possiblity of “intelligent design”, they would be forced to invent convoluted non-intelligent (“natural”) explanations, which would be false and misleading.

    Petrushka said: “The products of selective breeding still follow the rules of variation and selection.”

    I never said otherwise; the point is that “the rules of variation and selection” are not sufficient explanations for the existence of the pekingese, and a theory of the origin of the pekingese that does not contain ID would be scientifically incorrect and incomplete.

    Here’s the point; if ID exists if ID can affect evolutionary product in significant ways, then a research paradigm that precludes ID from being considered as a potential contributor to the explanation might tender false conclusions and result in all sorts of wasted time and ad hoc, speculative hypothesis and theory.

    The kicker is, we know that ID exists and we know it contributes to biological diversity, because humans have been doing it for thousands of years.

    See the problem? The current research paradigm precludes a known commodity (ID), that is known to affect biological features, from being accessible as part of evolutionary explanations.

    Why is that?

  91. 91
    StephenB says:

    –obviously 89 should read, “is not doing [science].”

  92. 92
    Petrushka says:

    What you need to address is the central issue: the empirically supported origin of functionally specific complex organisation and associated information.

    Perhaps this needs to be addressed to have a theory of the origin of life, but it doesn’t need to be addressed to discuss the radiation of life from the Cambrian.

    I believe it is commonly posted on this site that most of the genes present in contemporary animals are also present in single celled organisms, or very primitive organisms.

    When we say nested hierarchy, we mean that the alleles present in all living things can be nested in a way that supports very gradual change over time. I call it tweaking. Some call it microevolution.

    The genes that at first glance seem to be new can be traced to slight modifications of non-coding sequences present in the nested hierarchy.

    So to account for the last 500 million years of evolution, you do not need to consider the creation of new information, just the gradual shifting of parameters.

    We see it going on all the time. We have much data on the rate of various kinds of mutations. We have data on the genetic distances between organisms. It’s all consilient with physics and geology.

  93. 93
    kairosfocus says:

    Footnote:

    I see Oakram is resorting to personal attacks and slanders against me by name at Youtube. (So, we see outing behaviour, yet another uncivil behaviour.)

    He has failed, again, to answer the issue on the merits, and seems to imagine that further resort to uncivil conduct does any more than exposing him as an enemy of the civil peace of justice. Precisely as Plato warned 2300 years ago.

    As for Talk Origins, that site, for good reason, has zero credibility; I have no interest in wasting time and energy there. (It is WORSE than Wikipedia on origins related subjects, which takes some doing.)

    If Oakram is serious about the issue, he will come here and will behave in a civil fashion, as others have. If he behaves civilly, he has nothing to fear from UD’s moderators. Unfortunately, what he has done at Youtube over the past few days does not lend itself tot he conclusion that he intends to address matters seriously and civilly.

    The same holds for Mr Engel and others of that ilk.

    Good day,

    GEM of TKI

  94. 94
    gpuccio says:

    Gaz (#75):

    I have written recently many times about the problem of the mechanism of design implementation. You can find some concepts here:

    http://www.uncommondescent.com.....ent-358540

    http://www.uncommondescent.com.....ent-358670

    http://www.uncommondescent.com.....ent-359179

    http://www.uncommondescent.com.....ent-359180

    Just to propose again the discussion here, I would suggest two fundamental points:

    1) How does the designer interact with matter to implement design?

    I suggest that the designer’s consciousness interacts with biological matter exactly as our consciousness interacts with our brains: through some interface, probably at the quantum level. That would allow the implementation of conscious representations of design in matter without violating any physical laws.

    2) Through what specific methods does the designer implement his design?

    That is completely open to empirical research. I suggest, as I have often done in the past, that the most likely scenarios are:

    a) Guided mutations (variations which happen exactly as random variations do, but which are no random, but guided by design). That way, no physical laws would be violated. Probabilistic laws would indeed be violated, but that would be recognized only by a conscious intelligent observer, who can recognize the specification (the function). We have to remember that the functional strings in the genome are formally pseudo-random strings: they have almost all the formal properties of random strings, except for the fact that they are functional.

    b) Intelligent selection. That is probably one of the most powerful option for an intelligent designer. If evolutionary algorithms have proved anything, it’s that intelligent selection can very well do the magic. Even Dawkins’ infamous Weasel clearly demonstrates that you can easily reach a solution by a random search if you already know it.

    Indeed, there are at least three different ways a designer can use intelligent selection, IOW thre different ways an “oracle” can optimize an algorithm for the search of biological funtion, operationg through a random variation engine:

    b1) Intelligent selection though previous knowledge of the solution.

    That’s exactly the case of the Weasel. The designer already knows the solution, and he just “matches” the various variations against the solution. Easy, but nor specially useful. The same result can certainly be reached through direct guided variation.
    But, if guided variation is not available, and if the designer knows the solution, intelligent selection of random variation remains a very efficient procedure.

    b2) Intelligent selection through knowledge of the function to be achieved, and measurement of that function after random variation.

    That’s the case of the Szostac paper, of antibody maturation, and in general of all bottom up protein engineering. It’s very efficient, too, because direct measurement of the function allows very fine and sensitive selection, and really optimizes the search.

    It’s interesting to note that this case includes, as a very tiny subset of it, what is usually called “natural selection”. Indeed, natural selection is just a very raw and limited form of intelligent selection where only one function can be measured: reproductive advantage.

    b3) Finally, an importan accessory method for intelligent design in biology is targeted random mutation. IOW, the mutations can be random, but with specific constraints which are based on previous knowledge of the search space, which, as Dembski and Marks have shown, is a very effective way of introducing active information in the search. We have again an example of that in antibody maturation, where selective hypermutation (restricted to the perinent parts of the gene) is applied to the existing antibody to increase its affinity, and the results are evaluated, and then selected positively or negatively, through a measurement of function (binding to the stored antigen).

    It’s important to consider that all the above mechanisms could have been used together, or differently in different cases.

    I believe that all the above models can be investigated starting from facts, both known and to be discovered, in a purely empirical way.

    So, I believe that ID is about design detection and design mechanisms. And probably many other things. All perfectly scientific.

  95. 95
    Petrushka says:

    I am astonished that some people seem to struggle to acknowledge that a dog breed is the product of ART-ificial selection, thus cannot be accurately causally explained without that factor.

    Then you can no doubt provide visiting aliens with a foolproof methodology for distinguishing the artful selection of dog breeds from whatever form of selection resulted in peacocks and birds of paradise.

  96. 96
    Gaz says:

    Clive Hayden (76),

    “Abduction is what is employed in the design inference, and it is the very first principle of science itself.”

    Fine, but what I’m arguing is that ID needs to move beyond hypothesising and actually come up
    with some evidence and a mechanism.

  97. 97
    gpuccio says:

    Petrushka:

    I believe it is commonly posted on this site that most of the genes present in contemporary animals are also present in single celled organisms, or very primitive organisms.

    To be precise, only about half of them. And really it’s not genes, but protein domains.

    The other half arose after, and about a quarter in metazoa.

    The genes that at first glance seem to be new can be traced to slight modifications of non-coding sequences present in the nested hierarchy.

    I don’t believe that to be true. And even if some genes derived form non coding sequences, the modifications were not certainly “slight”.
    Or are you suggesting that non coding DNA is “front-loaded” with sequences which are very “near” to functional genes?

    I don’t believe that to be true, but if it were, it would definitely be an ID scenario.

  98. 98
    CannuckianYankee says:

    SecondOpinion,

    If you pay attention to transcripts from Dover, Behe wasn’t arguing that astrology was necessarily scientific, but that it deals with scientific questions; while it’s answers are not scientifically valid. You should really pay more attention to the context from which Behe spoke. Darwinists often use this against Behe, and they’re wrong.

    ID deals with scientific questions, and unlike astrology, it’s answers ARE scientifically valid. They don’t invoke magic.

  99. 99
    Gaz says:

    Cable (79),

    “ID is not a theory of everything the way evolution is.”

    Evolution doesn’t explain everything. It only explains where species come from.

    “It only seeks to determine if something is the product or an effect of an intelligence or not. Nothing more.”

    That is deliberately self-limiting. If you believe that soemthing is the product of intelligence then the next question is what was the intelligence. Other questions flow – when was it produced etc.

  100. 100
    mullerpr says:

    Gaz,

    I don’t think you appreciate the importance of abductive reasoning in any form of conscious activity. Without abductive reasoning there pretty much will be no consciousness because no base for any decision will exist.

    Analyzing, describing and even implementing a mechanism or algorithm requires hypothesising at each decision junction.

    But in the end I think you should take gpuccio @94 as a convincing answer you need to evaluate and argue against. You will not sound intelligent if you keep insisting that the are no ID mechanism without considering what is presented.

  101. 101
    Gaz says:

    WJM (80),

    “To be considered science by whom? You seem to think there is no scientific value in establishing that an intelligence deliberately configured a feature; and that scientific value can only be derived from figuring out how that intelligence accomplished its feat.”

    On the contrary, I think there would be value in establishing ID, I just don’t think it’s been done yet. But figuring out how it was done or even coming up with a plausible mechanism for how it may have been done – would greatly enhance the prospects of its acceptance.

    “Think about the catch-22 problem here: how can you go about the business of determining how an intelligence accomplished a goal, if you cannot first establish that an intelligence was involved at all?”

    I don’t think the two are necessarily sequential at all. Coming up with a mechanism that would make predictions would actually hel establish whether or not an intelligence was involved.

    “If you allow that ID can identify **that** an intelligent agent was likely involved, but assert that this determination is of no scientific value until ID can find the mechanisms by which the agent accomplished its goal, then you are saying that it is of no scientific merit to be able to determine that an artifact on a distant planet **was** the product of intelligent design, unless you could also tell us how the artifact was built.”

    No – but I am saying that the questioning would not stop there, as it does at present with ID. Even here, on earth, archaeologists are interested in how ancient artifacts were made.

    “Just the knowledge that the artifact was intelligently designed changes the nature of the investigation, and opens up research into divining the purpose of the artifact and of any interior mechanisms; figuring out the design philosophy and methodology and applying it into researching other artifacts that appear designed by the same intelligence; instead of wasting huge amounts of time and resources trying to come up with unintelligent, “natural” explanations, one can turn their attention to reverse engineering, design specifications, material fabrication techniques, tooling techniques, etc.”

    It’s not a waste of time if there are pausible natural mechanisms – especially if they fit the evidence, which is where we are now.

    “Let’s say that we could scientifically demonstrate that the universe was most likely designed specifically for the existence of life, and that Earth was most likely specifically configured in placement, mechanics and composition, for life … you don’t think that such a finding would have scientfic relevance unless we could also tell you how it was done?”

    Certainly. But it hasn’t been done. And even if it was the question of how would be very relevant and would help ascertain the veracity of whether ot not it really was intelligently designed.

  102. 102
    Gaz says:

    Clive hayden (86),

    “Anti-ID folks do not allow for these questions, and then begrudge ID for trying to answer them. You will certainly never get answers to those questions by refusing to ask them and refusing to answer them.”

    But I am asking them. My point is that even ID institutes such as Biologic Institue haven’t answered them.

  103. 103
    Gaz says:

    StephenB (89),

    “That is like saying that a forensic scientist who looks at a ransacked house with missing jewelry, rules out a tornado [natural causes], and attributes the disorder to a burglar [agency], is not doing sciece on the grounds that he can’t explain how the burglar opened the drawers.”

    Not a great example, since we know how drawers open. But let’s take your analogy further – suppose it wasn’t drawers, but a safe with a combination lock? Then we WOULD expect a forensic scientist to explain how the burglar opened the safe. Was the door blown off? If the combination was opened properly how did the burglae get it? Did the burglar have the combination because it was an inside job (i.e. an employee who had access to the combination)?

    You see the difference? Knowing the mechanism makes a world of difference to a forensic investigator, and the propsects of conviction.

  104. 104
    Gaz says:

    gpuccio (94),

    Good points as usual, and will take me time to digest. I’ll get back to you when I can.

    Regards,
    Gaz

  105. 105
    Gaz says:

    mullerpr (100),

    Thanks, I’ll be looking at gpuccio’s (94) when I get the chance. As you appreciate, there’s a bit to be going on with.

  106. 106
    Clive Hayden says:

    Gaz,

    But I am asking them. My point is that even ID institutes such as Biologic Institue haven’t answered them.

    As long as the questions are not ruled out a priori, wonderful. We agree that they should be asked, just as the origin of life question should be asked. Where the difference comes into play once the questions are indeed established, is in the methodology, and I can see absolutely no reason why intelligence should be rules out a priori from these complex questions.

  107. 107
    Upright BiPed says:

    106….

    …and the reason most often used to rule agency out is an unneccessary and non-falsifiable assumption to begin with.

  108. 108
    kairosfocus says:

    Gaz:

    The observed, actual on the ground production of dog breeds and the like shows one way variation is in part produced by art, i.e purposefully directed contingency, or design.

    So, it empirically establishes a clear possibility: design by artificial selection.

    That is a matter of fact, but one you plainly struggle with, for you then try to move goal posts to demand a method for detecting any and all cases of design by such selection.

    The answer to that is simple: we already have an approach that is empirically well supported, and which allows us to see that design is the best warranted explanation in certain cases. Artificial selection was a complementary point, on how it can be produced, and has in fact been produced.

    Of course, the problem you have is that if a visiting alien were to come along and not know the specific history, he might well infer that dog breeds are different species produced by natural selection.

    That is, we see here that variation is not decisive evidence for the power of natural selection, nor for the origin of varieties by such natural selection. So, an inspection might yield a false negative: ruling chance and necessity where art was actually the cause.

    That’s fine, for in the design detection approach, we wish to be conservative; happily accepting false negatives to gain high confidence that we do not have false positives. So, when the criterion for specified complexity rules design, it does so conservatively and we have reason to take it that a false positive is rather unlikely. (As in, origin of life and origin of major body plans.)

    But this is not so happy for natural selection enthusiasts, as they may be claiming natural selection where artificial selection is the correct explanation. Oops.

    GEM of TKI

  109. 109
    Petrushka says:

    Or are you suggesting that non coding DNA is “front-loaded” with sequences which are very “near” to functional genes…

    I believe much noncoding DNA is the remnants of formerly functional DNA.

    I’m not an expert on this and am willing to be educated, but as it stands, I would not be surprised if much of it is just a few steps away from having some function.

    If I remember correctly, it seldom reverts to its historic function.

    At any rate, the history of novel genes is the subject of much research. I believe I linked you to a major paper on the subject, one that was entered as evidence at the Dover trial.

    Suffice to say, it is not a neglected field of research.

  110. 110
    StephenB says:

    —”Gaz: “My point about ID is that merely saying “it was designed by a Designer” is no different to saying “God did it” – it isn’t science, doesn’t tell us anything, and is a dead end. That is why ID needs to come up with a mechanism.”

    [That is like saying that a forensic scientist who looks at a ransacked house with missing jewelry, rules out a tornado [natural causes], and attributes the disorder to a burglar [agency], is not doing sciece on the grounds that he can’t explain how the burglar opened the dresser drawers

    —Gaz: “Not a great example, since we know how drawers open.”

    Do you, in fact, know that? Let’s put it to the test. Given the information I provided, tell me by what mechanism the drawers opened and tell me how you know. How, for example, do you know that a violent storm didn’t slam the dresser against the wall causing the drawers to open. Indeed, as one who thinks that effects can, in principle, occur without causes, how do you know that the drawers did not open themselves?

    –“But let’s take your analogy further – suppose it wasn’t drawers, but a safe with a combination lock?” Then we WOULD expect a forensic scientist to explain how the burglar opened the safe. Was the door blown off?”

    It is not necessary to know how the burglar opened the safe to know that a tornado was not responsible. Thus, even if the forensic scientist could not tell us which mechanism was used, he would still be doing science. On the other hand, if he can discover the mechanism, so much the better. All that means is that forensic science is more developed than ID. It does not mean that ID is not science.

    In any case, I did not imply that ID was equal to forensic science in every way, but rather that both use the same kind of design inference to distinguish agency causes from natural causes.

    This is the difference, by the way, between ID, which makes limited claims based solely on evidence, and Darwinism. which makes unlimited claims with no evidence at all. As Clint Eastwood once said, a man has “got to know his limitations.”

    –“You see the difference? Knowing the mechanism makes a world of difference to a forensic investigator, and the propsects of conviction.”

    As a rule, it is always better to know more than less. What does that have to do with your claim that ID is not science because it doesn’t address mechanisms. Unlike Darwinism, ID does not make sweeping claims without evidence.

  111. 111
    Petrushka says:

    You see the difference? Knowing the mechanism makes a world of difference to a forensic investigator, and the prospects of conviction.

    Means, motive, opportunity: the cornerstones of forensics.

    And, of course, matching potential perps to the evidence.

    I can’t think of any prosecutor who would keep a forensic scientist employed who stopped the investigation at observing that a safe was opened by force.

    Without naming the agent or the properties of the agent, it could be an earthquake, or the contents of the safe exploding, or falling off a truck.

  112. 112
    StephenB says:

    —Petrushka: “Means, motive, opportunity: the cornerstones of forensics.”

    Both ID and forensic science use the design inference as does many other sciences. That forensic science employs other methods is irrelevant to the discussion.

    —And, of course, matching potential perps to the evidence.”

    Irrelevant to the discussion.

    –“I can’t think of any prosecutor who would keep a forensic scientist employed who stopped the investigation at observing that a safe was opened by force.”

    Neither can I. So what?

    —“Without naming the agent or the properties of the agent, it could be an earthquake, or the contents of the safe exploding, or falling off a truck.”

    You think that a forensic scientist cannot distinguish the activity of a burglar from the effects of an earthquake without knowing the burglar’s identity do you?

  113. 113
    Petrushka says:

    All that means is that forensic science is more developed than ID. It does not mean that ID is not science.

    ID is not science until it begins making hypotheses about the properties of the designer and testing them. A designer not having entailments is a ghost.

    The problem is that there is no event entailed by evolution that violates any law of physics.

    Mutations happen, they are observed. They happen at fairly constant rates. The rates are consistent with the molecular distance between species. The rates are consistent with dates arrived at by geology and physics. There is a massive amount of consilient evidence from every branch of science supporting gradual change and common descent.

    The Grand Man of ID, Michael Behe, accepts common descent. The author of “Evolution, a Theory in Crisis” accepts common descent.

    The only thing ID has going for it is big numbers when dubious probabilities are calculated.

    But ID has the same problem with big numbers. ID has not solved — and is unlikely to solve — its own problem with big numbers.

    ID cannot demonstrate that ID is even possible. No one in the ID movement has any idea how to predict the result of modifying a gene sequence, unless the change results in a previously identified sequence.

    The only way to find out the consequences of a change is to insert it into an organism and see what happens. There’s no design from first principles, no design from anticipating emergent properties, no mathematics for anticipating that doesn’t simply mimic chemistry.

    It isn’t at all like designing an airplane, where structural elements have the same physical properties regardless of where they occur.

    Changes to genes have mathematical complexity. Tiny changes diverge rapidly. No one can anticipate where the changes will lead or how large the eventual impact. The mathematics of complexity offers no hope that this will ever be overcome or that it even can be overcome.

    So what you have is one scenario in which a chain of low probabilities pretty much guarantee that it would never follow the same path twice, and another scenario in which an unknown agent having unknown capabilities somehow manages to forsee every possible pathway, and follow specific ones using unknown methods for unknown reasons.

  114. 114
    StephenB says:

    —Petrushka: “ID is not science until it begins making hypotheses about the properties of the designer and testing them. A designer not having entailments is a ghost.”

    That is the typical Darwinist claim, but it is based solely on your arbitrary definition of science.

    —“The problem is that there is no event entailed by evolution that violates any law of physics.”

    Question begging. The issue is whether or not the laws of physics can explain everything about evolution.

    —“Mutations happen, they are observed. They happen at fairly constant rates. The rates are consistent with the molecular distance between species. The rates are consistent with dates arrived at by geology and physics. There is a massive amount of consilient evidence from every branch of science supporting gradual change and common descent.”

    Irrelevant to the question as to whether or not the proposed “mechanism” can do the job

    —“The Grand Man of ID, Michael Behe, accepts common descent. The author of “Evolution, a Theory in Crisis” accepts common descent.”

    So what? ID paradigm is not anti-evolution nor is it anti common descent. Clearly, you do not understand the details of a design inference or the claims that ID makes about or against evolution.

    —“ID cannot demonstrate that ID is even possible.

    Inasmuch as you do not seem to understand the process of a design inference, you are hardly in a position to make that judgment. In keeping with that point, whatever happened to your claim that a forensic scientist cannot use a design inference to distinguish between the effects of an earthquake and the activities of a burglar?

  115. 115
    Petrushka says:

    whatever happened to your claim that a forensic scientist cannot use a design inference to distinguish between the effects of an earthquake and the activities of a burglar?

    Are you claiming that ID has something equivalent to the burgler? Something with actual cababilities and limitations? Something that has been observed burlgling? Something with a known M.O.?

  116. 116
    Petrushka says:

    Inasmuch as you do not seem to understand the process of a design inference, you are hardly in a position to make that judgment.

    It’s true I don’t know the process.

    I’ve read that there’s an objective process for determining that dog breeds are the result of artificial selection.

    I asked several times for the objective process — one that could, for example, allow an alien visitor to make the determination while not misidentifying birds of paradise as the result of artificial selection.

    Even more interesting, how would you instruct the alien visitor to distinguish the heritage of Japanese show chickens or British show pigeons from the heritage of birds of paradise and peacocks.

  117. 117
    StephenB says:

    —Petrushka: “It’s true I don’t know the process.” [How a design inference is made].

    Thank you.

    —“Are you claiming that ID has something equivalent to the burgler? Something with actual cababilities and limitations? Something that has been observed burlgling? Something with a known M.O.?”

    No. Let’s try this: If you were walking down a beach and saw a sand model of Corvette Sting Ray, would you conclude that it had been formed by wind, water, and time [natural forces] or would you conclude that it had been designed [intelligent agency].

  118. 118
    kairosfocus says:

    Petrushka:

    Long ago, I was taught the principles of inductive investigation, on the famous six questions: who, what, where, when, why, how?

    Each of these is an independent inquiry, and stands on its own feet. THAT something, on evidence, was designed, is a vital fact. Even in forensics, it is central to establish that an act of criminal intent was done: accident, suicide or murder, in the classic triad. Or, in Stephen’s case: tornado, earthquake or burglar.

    If that has not been credibly established, it is unsafe and unjust to then seek out someone to prosecute and punish as a perpetrator. (Remember all those lynch mobs? And, as a Christian, I must reflect on the point that my Lord was crucified on a trumped up charge of rebellion.)

    Returning to the question of the design inference — whether or not you and others of like ilk wish to acknowledge it — it is an objective and scientific investigation to note that causal factors commonly trace to chance, mechanical necessity and agency, then to seek reliable signs that allow us to see which apsects of a given object or event or phenomenon may trace to such factors.

    It is an easily substantiated matter to observe that:

    (1) chance factors give rise to credibly undirected, statistically distributed contingency

    (2) mechanical necessity manifests itself in lawlike natural regularity (thus low contingency)

    (3) choice contingency or design commonly shows itself in complex, functionally specific, credibly purposeful orgsanisation and associated information.

    That is a commonplace of day to day life, of management, of the courtroom and many unquestionably scientific endeavours. It only becomes controversial on matters of deep past unobserved origins, as there is a dominant school of thought that has tried to enforce evolutionary materialism as an ideologically loaded orthodoxy.

    So, the problem is not science,or the credibility of empirically based inference to design per reliable sign. No, it is with those who have perverted the meaning of science, distorting it from being an unfettered, responsible exploration of the truth about our world based on empirical evidence and sound analysis. And, unfortunarely, many have been misled to believe that such so-called methodological naturalism is a vital aspect of the historic success of science. But, to do that, they have been carefully led away from the true facts, such as are documented in Newton’s Query 31 to his Opticks, as was cited above. For, it is beyond reasonable doubt that the founders of modern science by and large envisioned science as thinking God’s creative and ordering thoughts after him. Hence the very term LAW to describe natural regularities.

    And, despite the ruthlessness of many members of today’s scientific magisteria, many real world scientists still quietly do science under that historic and enormously productive vision.

    It is a time for truth. And for justice to correct the imposition of ideology under the false colours of science, knowledge and truth.

    Including, truth on origins science, its strengths, limitations,gaps and weaknesses. Not to mention, alternatives.

    GEM of TKI

  119. 119
    Petrushka says:

    Long ago, I was taught the principles of inductive investigation, on the famous six questions: who, what, where, when, why, how?

    So does it make sense to claim the status of science to the proposition that an unspecified entity did unspecified things at unspecified places and unspecified times for unspecified reasons using unspecified means?

    Or is it scientific to parcel these bits out, solving each as technology permits?

    For example, in 1859, the WHEN question was a serious problem. Darwin estimated the need for tens of millions of years to get from single celled organisms to things like mammals. It was a rough, back of the envelop calculation, but it required a level of deep time that was unavailable according to physics.

    That problem was solved with the discovery of radioactivity.

    The remaining questions have incomplete answers in mainstream biology, but are not even addressed by ID.

    As for Newton, I’ll let his speak for himself regarding the methods of science.

    admit no more causes of natural things than are both true and sufficient to explain their appearances,
    to the same natural effect, assign the same causes
    qualities of bodies, which are found to belong to all bodies within experiments, are to be esteemed universalpropositions collected from observation of phenomena should be viewed as accurate or very nearly true until contradicted by other phenomena.

    This is not an inch from methodological naturalism and uniformitarianism.

  120. 120
    Petrushka says:

    Interesting. List formatting tags that displayed correctly on the preview, disappeared.

  121. 121
    Petrushka says:

    No. Let’s try this: If you were walking down a beach and saw a sand model of Corvette Sting Ray, would you conclude that it had been formed by wind, water, and time [natural forces] or would you conclude that it had been designed [intelligent agency].

    If I had seen sand models of Corvets replicating themselves, I might be uncertain. I’ve picked up stones having the shape of a cross. They have been attributed by some to the work of fairies.

    But why not use a real case from biology? Take a group pf peacocks, birds of paradise, various dog breeds, show fowl, show pigeons and such, place them in a room with someone who has never seen any such things, and explain how you tell which are the result of human directed breeding.

  122. 122
    kairosfocus says:

    Petrushka:

    Kindly, stop setting up strawmen to knock over:

    So does it make sense to claim the status of science to the proposition that an unspecified entity did unspecified things at unspecified places and unspecified times for unspecified reasons using unspecified means?

    1 –> In fact, as you know or should know, the project of intelligent design is simply not like your handy scarecrow just above.

    2 –> The focus of investigation is thus the object, phenomenon or process in front of us, and the issue is, does it exhibit credible, empirically reliable signs of design, i.e purposefully directed contingency.

    3 –> The secondary question, is, what are such signs, if any. And, of course, how may we validate them.

    4 –> It is in that context that it has been observed that complex, functionally specific organisation and associated information is a common sign of design, e.g. the strings of alphanumerical symbols that make up posts in this thread.

    5 –> Further to this, It is observed that routinely such FSCI is produced by intelligence, and that in every case where we directly observe the causal process, this is the source.

    6 –> Indeed, this is a commonplace, and (save in one context, where an a imposed priori interferes with the inference) utterly uncontroversial. [We routinely do not infer that the highly contingent text strings in posts here are the product of lucky noise, but instead immediately recognise them as artifacts of intelligence.]

    7 –> This is obviously easily testable and falsifiable: simply produce a case of FSCI, where functionally specific organisation and associated information of at least 500 – 1,000 bits storage capacity, as credibly observed, comes about by blind chance and/or undirected mechanical necessity. (My favourite case is to suggest a million retired PC’s, with zener noise sources spewing random bits across their floppy drives every half minute, and tested for formatting and functional information, for a year. IIRC, that would be 10^12 tests or so.)

    8 –> What in fact happens in the one controversial case, is that as has been openly acknowledged by Lewontin, and as has been implied by the US NAS and many others, a censoring constraint is imposed on inference to best explanation of the remote past. They will only permit the best MATERIALISTIC explanation, usually disguised by blandly declaring a novel and question-begging redefinition that science seeks natural [materialistic] explanations of the empirical world.

    9 –> So, by taking advantage of the accident of their power in relevant institutions, they sacrifice the key value that science seeks to discover the truth about the world. Thus, science is censored and corrupted (and, science education too).

    10 –> But, we need pay no attention whatsoever to such antics, once they are exposed. On the strength of well-known, empirically reliable signs of design, cell based life is an information system based technology. Similarly, major body plans are artifacts of design.

    11 –> On the strength of that, a new vista opens up: reverse engineering the technology, and putting it to use [as is already in process]. As a part of that process, we may be able to identify effective methods of design, in addition to the traditional one used by breeders and the now decades long one of genetic engineeering using viri as gene modification carriers. Beyond that, we may one day be able to identify (probably on circumstantial details) the original designers of terrestrial life.

    ____________

    I trust the above helps you correct your strawman-driven misunderstanding.

    And BTW, you would be well advised to examine the challenges of dating the remote unobserved past, as are discussed here at 101 level. (Including the work of Kelvin.)

    I also note that Darwin’s “need” for 10s or more mn yrs, fails utterly to come to grips wit the implications of the complex information system lying at the heart of cell-based life. You now need to account for the emergence of codes/language from lucky noise in some still warm pond, for the origin of algorithms and co-ordinated implementing machines, and their organisation in the first living cell. Then, for the origin of major body plans requiring embryologically early changes in development that must be coordinated on pain of death at that stage, i.e. long before a population could form for reproduction.

    The information generation challenges involved on the assumption of blind chance and mechanical necessity (47 engines of variation notwithstanding) are vastly beyond the search resources of our observed cosmos, and that has been repeatedly dodged rather than faced squarely when pointed out above.

    GEM of TKI

    PS: Onlookers, observe how, contrary to the accusation by denizens at Youtube, a serious two-sided discussion can easily enough be had at UD. Also observe that he problem Petrushka has is exactly the same as one of the key problems at Youtube, by cf comment no 5 above, on the first Youtube excerpt presented and dissected. here.

  123. 123
    kairosfocus says:

    Petruska:

    on your breeding case, the problem of not being able to detect reliably what was natural and what was artificial selection [or design otherwise], means that the sort of evidence often used to show alleged cases of evolution by natural selection, fails.

    This was already pointed out above, at 108, but you have studiously ignored it.

    Also, you are again misidrecting he thread fromt he issue that the cell has in it cleqar and strong signs of intelligent design.

    The real issue you need to address is the origin of the information systems in the cell on blind chance plus necessity only.

    (Onlookers, observe how studiously this issue is ducked by evolutionary materialist advocates. Take a look here as a quick 101 to see why, and look at section B in my always linked research notes.)

    GEM of TKI

  124. 124
    kairosfocus says:

    PS: Do I need to point out how, 200 years ago, Paley pointed out the implications of observing a watch that has the capacity to replicate itself? The cell is a metabolic entity that acts into its environment, and has a self-replicating facility.

    And, all of this is on yet another strawman: the point of seeing a Corvette sand carving and inferring that it is designed, is the implications of the inference we routinely and reliably make onobserving functionally specific, complex organisation and information, here of a sand sculpture. Cf here, noting especially the discussion of Figs I.1, I.2 and I.3, and applying the results to Fig I.4 in light of the Denton cite..

  125. 125
    kairosfocus says:

    And, of course . . .

    today’s excerpt from Youtube:

    [Kyazu TheInsane:] @brando92346 You’re right! If we removed? every mechanism of natural selection and chemistry involved in life processes, DNA might have been created by a wizard.
    Who created this wizard’s DNA, though? Or,better, can we apply our knowledge of life currently on this planet to? understand the psychology of this wizard and make falsifiable predictions regarding it?

    1 –> The chemistry of DNA as a polymer, of course is not the issue, so the first step is a red herring being led out to a strawman “wizard.”

    2 –> The real issue is that DNA uses the chaining chemistry to set up a code-bearing string data structure used in step by step algorithmic processes, e.g. protein synthesis.

    3 –> Can KTI account — on actual observation — for the origin of complex nanotechnology information systems by blind chance plus mechanical necessity in his warm little pond or at an undersea hot vent or on a comet etc?

    4 –> Obviously not. (Or he would have pointed it out gleefully, instead of resorting to distraction and distortion tactics.)

    5 –> The strawman is of course the focus on chemistry and natural selection. No one denies that biochemistry is based on chemistry. No one says that natural selection does not happen.

    6 –> The first problem is that NS is not an information source but the “executioner” of inferior varieties that cannot compete. It is to the chance variation that one has to look for information generation without intelligent input, and we run straight into the point that he information quantum we observe is well beyond the credible search capacity of the cosmos, which runs out at 125 bytes (about a sentence or two worth of characters in typescript, and well below the 100,000+ bits for credible fIrst life and much less than the 10 mn + bases for novel multicellular body plans observed at the Cambrian.)

    7 –> When it comes to the chemistry of life, it is constrained by algorithmoc control systems, and that organised information is a higher level than the existence of mere codes. The only known source of step by step sequences of actions of coordinated entities towards solving problems is intelligence. For the same reason that chance contingency simply does not have the legs to carry out the task, on the gamut of the observed cosmos.

    8 –> And now we see the ad hominem: the dismissive label, “wizard.”

    9 –> Instead of acknowledging that intelligence is the routinely observed source of information systems, a word is chosen to suggest the magical, or supernatural. Of course neither Redmond nor Cupertino are noted for hiring wizards to create software. They do hire what are now called “software engineers.”

    10 –> Next we see an attempted reductio by infinite regress: where did the DNA of the wizard come from? Irrelevant: the issue is that from the observed empirically reliable signs, we have good reason to infer to a designer of the information-based technology of cell based life.

    11 –> going beyond that, the cosmos is evidently fine tuned and functionally organised for carbon chemistry cell based life, on multiple dimensions. That means that we have good reason to infer to an extra-cosmic, powerful and genius level intelligent designer [just think of the Maths to handle the physics involved] beyond the matter-energy space-time world we experience. In other words one capable of causing the existence of the cosmos. Such a designer would be a suitable candidate to have gone on to create life and obviously does not require DNA, as DNA is based on matter as we experience it, which as it plainly had a beginning — usually dated at 13.7 BYA — has a cause.

    12 –> This is where the absence of a good basic exposure to philosophy in our current education systems tells. For, it is easy to see that once we have a contingent cosmos, it necessitates a causally prior being that is not contingent, i.e a necessary being. (in the old days when it was credible to hold that he observed universe was eternal, that necessary being was identified with the cosmos as a whole. But now with a cosmos with a credible beginning at a finite time in the past, we need an extra-cosmic begin-ner; and (as the linked notes will amplify) multiverse speculations simply extend that contingency, so they only postpone the issue of the implied necessary being.)

    13 –> As a further stage of distractive subject shifting, the question of psychoanalysing the inferred “wizard” was raised.

    14 –> But all of this is utterly irrelevant. For the issue on design theory is the inference form empirically reliable sign to the signified intelligence, which obviously is not being addressed by objectors who are so busy seeking every distractive red herring they can.

    15 –> Besides, the real psychology to be critically assessed is a lot closer to home. For, our civilisation has a major tradition regarding an extra-cosmic intelligence fully capable of causing the existence of a cosmos.

    16 –> On the obvious emotional intensity involved in rejecting inference to design of life and cosmos on signs of intelligence, the real problem plainly is, that since the obvious possible candidate in question is a morally just Creator God who calls for repentance and service in righteousness, many are motivated to find every excuse to not face this alternative.

    Sadly, this plainly includes perverting science in service to evolutionary materialism, regardless of the patent absurdities involved.

    ____________

    GEM of TKI

  126. 126
    kairosfocus says:

    F/N: On the absurdity of evolutionary materialism:

    _____________

    >> . . . [evolutionary] materialism [a worldview that often likes to wear the mantle of “science”] . . . argues that the cosmos is the product of chance interactions of matter and energy, within the constraint of the laws of nature. Therefore, all phenomena in the universe, without residue, are determined by the working of purposeless laws acting on material objects, under the direct or indirect control of chance.

    But human thought, clearly a phenomenon in the universe, must now fit into this picture. Thus, what we subjectively experience as “thoughts” and “conclusions” can only be understood materialistically as unintended by-products of the natural forces which cause and control the electro-chemical events going on in neural networks in our brains. (These forces are viewed as ultimately physical, but are taken to be partly mediated through a complex pattern of genetic inheritance [“nature”] and psycho-social conditioning [“nurture”], within the framework of human culture [i.e. socio-cultural conditioning and resulting/associated relativism].)

    Therefore, if materialism is true, the “thoughts” we have and the “conclusions” we reach, without residue, are produced and controlled by forces that are irrelevant to purpose, truth, or validity. Of course, the conclusions of such arguments may still happen to be true, by lucky coincidence — but we have no rational grounds for relying on the “reasoning” that has led us to feel that we have “proved” them. And, if our materialist friends then say: “But, we can always apply scientific tests, through observation, experiment and measurement,” then we must note that to demonstrate that such tests provide empirical support to their theories requires the use of the very process of reasoning which they have discredited!

    Thus, evolutionary materialism reduces reason itself to the status of illusion. But, immediately, that includes “Materialism.” For instance, Marxists commonly deride opponents for their “bourgeois class conditioning” — but what of the effect of their own class origins? Freudians frequently dismiss qualms about their loosening of moral restraints by alluding to the impact of strict potty training on their “up-tight” critics — but doesn’t this cut both ways? And, should we not simply ask a Behaviourist whether s/he is simply another operantly conditioned rat trapped in the cosmic maze?

    In the end, materialism is based on self-defeating logic . . . .

    In Law, Government, and Public Policy, the same bitter seed has shot up the idea that “Right” and “Wrong” are simply arbitrary social conventions. This has often led to the adoption of hypocritical, inconsistent, futile and self-destructive public policies.

    “Truth is dead,” so Education has become a power struggle; the victors have the right to propagandise the next generation as they please. Media power games simply extend this cynical manipulation from the school and the campus to the street, the office, the factory, the church and the home.

    Further, since family structures and rules of sexual morality are “simply accidents of history,” one is free to force society to redefine family values and principles of sexual morality to suit one’s preferences.

    Finally, life itself is meaningless and valueless, so the weak, sick, defenceless and undesirable — for whatever reason — can simply be slaughtered, whether in the womb, in the hospital, or in the death camp.

    In short, ideas sprout roots, shoot up into all aspects of life, and have consequences in the real world . . . >>

    ______________

    So, we plainly have a comparative difficulties case to address. And we can see that not only is evolutionary materialism inherently amoral (which is already a serious issue with destructive implications for the community), but it plainly entails that the mind we must use even to think evolutionary materialistic thoughts, is unreliable, being caused and controlled by forces that are irrelevant to reason and logic and truth.

    Of course, evolutionary materialists may be logical thinkers, even brilliant ones, and of course they may often behave in morally upright ways, but the SYSTEM OF THOUGHT is clearly morally and intellectually incoherent and cannot ground the credibility of morality or the mind.

  127. 127
    kairosfocus says:

    A reminder that this analysis is hardly a new one. Here, again, is Plato in The Laws Bk X, 360 BC:

    ___________

    >> Ath. . . . [[The avant garde philosophers and poets, c. 360 BC] say that fire and water, and earth and air [[i.e the classical “material” elements of the cosmos], all exist by nature and chance, and none of them by art, and that as to the bodies which come next in order-earth, and sun, and moon, and stars-they have been created by means of these absolutely inanimate existences. The elements are severally moved by chance and some inherent force according to certain affinities among them-of hot with cold, or of dry with moist, or of soft with hard, and according to all the other accidental admixtures of opposites which have been formed by necessity. After this fashion and in this manner the whole heaven has been created, and all that is in the heaven, as well as animals and all plants, and all the seasons come from these elements, not by the action of mind, as they say, or of any God, or from art, but as I was saying, by nature and chance only. [[In short, evolutionary materialism premised on chance plus necessity acting without intelligent guidance on primordial matter is hardly a new or a primarily “scientific” view!] . . . .

    [[Thus, they hold that t]he Gods exist not by nature, but by art, and by the laws of states, which are different in different places, according to the agreement of those who make them; and that the honourable is one thing by nature and another thing by law, and that the principles of justice have no existence at all in nature, but that mankind are always disputing about them and altering them; and that the alterations which are made by art and by law have no basis in nature, but are of authority for the moment and at the time at which they are made.- [[Relativism, too, is not new.] These, my friends, are the sayings of wise men, poets and prose writers, which find a way into the minds of youth. They are told by them that the highest right is might, and in this way the young fall into impieties, under the idea that the Gods are not such as the law bids them imagine; and hence arise factions, these philosophers inviting them to lead a true life according to nature, that is, to live in real dominion over others, and not in legal subjection to them. >>

    ______________

  128. 128
    kairosfocus says:

    F.N 2: Someone at Youtube needs to be reminded that DNA is a string-based data structure that stores discrete sate coded information.

    Information, of course per Wikipedia (cf the glossary top right every page at UD) is something that we can recognise, identify and objectively define, so it is not a circular argument to identify something as information-bearing:

    Information — Wikipedia, with some reorganization, is apt: “ . . that which would be communicated by a message if it were sent from a sender to a receiver capable of understanding the message . . . . In terms of data, it can be defined as a collection of facts [i.e. as represented or sensed in some format] from which conclusions may be drawn [and on which decisions and actions may be taken].”

    By that definition, the genetic and regulatory codes stored in DNA are information, discrete state — i.e. digital — information that functions in an algorithmic context in an information system implemented using molecular nanotechnologies. And if that then strongly points to an intelligence as its most credible source, then that is now an empirically warranted point, not a question-begging assumption.

  129. 129
    StephenB says:

    —_Petrushka: “If I had seen sand models of Corvets replicating themselves, I might be uncertain. I’ve picked up stones having the shape of a cross. They have been attributed by some to the work of fairies.”

    What is it about providing a straight answer to a straight question that you find so daunting?

    If you come upon a sand model of a Corvette Sting Ray on the beach, there are only two possible explanations. Either it was the result of wind, water, and time [natural causes] or else it was designed [intelligent agency].

    This is a multiple choice question for which there are only two answers. What is your answer?

    —“But why not use a real case from biology?

    First things first. If you don’t understand the basic principle of a design inference, we cannot apply it to biology.

  130. 130
    Petrushka says:

    The focus of investigation is thus the object, phenomenon or process in front of us, and the issue is, does it exhibit credible, empirically reliable signs of design, i.e purposefully directed contingency.

    The issue is not the signs of design, but the history of the design. Whether is is poofed into existence or whether the current form includes countless small refinements accumulated over millions of years.

    To disprove or make unlikely the accumulation of small variations, you would need to demonstrate the simultaneous appearance of two or more useful mutations. This is unlikely, since the typical genetic distance between species suggests it takes thousand of years to fix a mutation in a population. there is no evidence for or need for hopeful monsters.

    Alternatively, you might try to demonstrate that some variations are produced in anticipation of need or in anticipation of some new complex structure. Good luck with that. The history of life indicates that when the environment changes suddenly, large swaths of species go extinct rather than adapt.

  131. 131
    Petrushka says:

    This is a multiple choice question for which there are only two answers. What is your answer?

    We know that humans make images of cars in all kinds of materials, so there is no reason to doube that a scuplted image of a Corvette is made by humans.

    So what?

    My argument is that ivings things change from generation to generation, and the change can accumulate.

  132. 132
    Petrushka says:

    By that definition, the genetic and regulatory codes stored in DNA are information, discrete state — i.e. digital — information that functions in an algorithmic context in an information system implemented using molecular nanotechnologies.

    Evolution is an algorithm , and it can accumulate and store information about the relative survival value of variants.

    It does so through the differential reproductive success of variants.

  133. 133
    kairosfocus says:

    Petrushka:

    Re: The issue is not the signs of design, but the history of the design. Whether is is poofed into existence or whether the current form includes countless small refinements accumulated over millions of years.

    Pardon a direct question: why can’t you resist the temptation to go off on a strawman?

    Let us look at Stephen’s corvette sand sculpture again: does it show signs of high contingency? (Plainly yes, piles of sand may take many shapes.)

    Is there reason to believe that high degree of contingency is driven by mechanical necessity? (No: laws of necessity lead to low contingency.)

    Is there reason to believe the high contingency is complex? (Yes, there are a great many possible configs and it would take a fairly extensive capacity to hold the nodes and arcs mesh for the act5ual shape.)

    Is that complexity specific and targetted? (Yes,it reflects a rather specific shape, that of a Corvette Stingray.)

    Is that contingency more credibly explained by chance or design? (Design, as specific complexity is signature of design, and the particular shape is well away from outcomes that one reasonably would expect on chance + necessity.)

    Is this sign of design dependent on how the sculpture was specifically produced, e.g by mould or carving or grain by grain across time by an army of nano robots etc? (No, it is discernible from the end product and allows us to infer from the entity in front of us to the category of cause that is dominant in its particular outcome.)

    __________

    In short your consistent refusal to look at and acknowledge the existence of the elephant in the middle of the room is absolutely telling.

    Reductio ad absurdum, in short.

    Sorry to have to be so direct.

    But it looks like nothing else will gain your attention.

    GEM of TKI

  134. 134
    Petrushka says:

    Pardon a direct question: why can’t you resist the temptation to go off on a strawman?

    I was asked a direct question and my answer was yes, sculptures of automobiles are among the things known to be produced by humans.

    I notice the question was not about images resembling human faces, or alphabetical characters.

    http://www.sciencenewsforkids......poster.jpg

    I’ve asked a lot of direct questions on this thread, and none of them have been answered.

    I asked, for example, whether an ID proponent can demonstrate a reliable, objective method for distinguishing natural varieties from those bred by humans.

    I’ve also asked whether ID proponents can suggest how a non-omniscient designer can overcome the problem of mathematical complexity, the tendency of small changes to diverge rapidly. I asked this specifically in reference to anticipating the effects of small changes in DNA.

  135. 135
    Petrushka says:

    Is that complexity specific and targetted? (Yes,it reflects a rather specific shape, that of a Corvette Stingray.)

    But what if the targeted shape is that of a trilobite? Can you easily distinguish between a natural fossil and a human made fake?

    The history is of more interest than the shape.

  136. 136
    kairosfocus says:

    Petrushka

    I must be even more direct: you are still dodging the point.

    Your “direct” questions have all been in pursuit of distractive red herrings, and in the case of e.g. the dog breed question, when I gave you an answer that is not flattering to your cause, you ignored it.

    Twice over.

    The above on the Corvette more than adequately shows the effectiveness of functionally specific complex information as an empirically reliable sign of intelligence, and it illustrates aptly how such signs of intelligence function.

    It is by now quite clear that you have no answer to the original point that the digital information system observed in cell based life implies functionally specific complex information and a configuration space well beyond the credible search capacity of the observable cosmos, on the assumption that blind chance and mechanical necessity are the claimed forces at work.

    In the case of OOL, this is BEFORE reproduction is possible, i.e. the hope that one can explain away complexity on increments from minimal function evaporates. For, until one has the elements of a digital information controlled replicator and the implementing machines in place, reproduction is not possible.

    In short, there plainly is a signature of design in the cell.

    And, wen it comes to body plan level biodiversity, we are talking of having to account for upwards of 10 mn bit5s of information, dozens of times over, just to address the Cambrian revooution.

    It is now all too blatantly plain that he reason that the obvious explanation is being dismissed and obfuscated is as Lewontin so frankly acknowledged in 1997:

    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 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, for we cannot allow a Divine Foot in the door.

    You and your ilk are free to do that if you wish, but you cannot then turn around and claim that such a priori evolutionary materialist ideology in the name of science is anything more than an ideology flying the false colours of an unfettered pursuit of the truth about our universe based on evidence, responsible reasoned analysis and discussion among he informed.

    GEM of TKI

  137. 137
    Petrushka says:

    Evolutionary algorithms routinely handle fitness searches in configuration spaces as large as 10,000! or 2.8 × 10^35659.

  138. 138
    kairosfocus says:

    Petyrushka

    Evolutionary algorithms are a case of designed, targetted search, much rhetoric to the contrary notwithstanding. In short, yest another red herring and strawman.

    Start from the source of the algorithm itself (and the code/language used to make them), the machines on which it runs, and the program design that moves up a performance slope to a target zone.

    Hill-climbing presupposes being on an island of function.

    We are looking instead at cases where the issue is to get to such islands in a sea of non-function that is sufficiently large that the resources of the cosmos are vastly insufficient to traverse the sea to get to one of the relevant shores of function. this is especially evident in the case of Origin of Life, which is what Meyer discusses.

    Where do we know that algorithms, codes, programs, executing machines etc come from, again?

    What is the implication of their functionally specific, complex organisation and associated information?

    Can such credibly be created by the equivalent of a tornado in a junkyard in Austin Texas, and zener noise spewed across a hard drive?

    In short, you have aptly shown the power of intelligent design, but have again mislabelled it. Sorry, the wizard is visible even behind the curtain.

    GEM of TKI

  139. 139
    Petrushka says:

    Evolutionary algorithms are a case of designed, targetted search..

    Can be, but dispite much rhetoric to the contrary they work just fine without targets.

    The travelling salesman problem is an example of a gradient without a target. Some members of a population are simply shorter thatn others. The fitness function has no knowledge of what the best solution is or could be.

    It’s a given fact that we do not know what the first replicator was, but it’s also a fact that the simplest non-living replicators, such as Spiegelman’s Monster, evolve. It doesn’t require programming. It’s an inevitable behavior of replicating systems.

    So for the moment you are free to imagine any history you wish for the genesis of first replicators, but once you have replication, you have the means to follow fitness gradients.

  140. 140
    kairosfocus says:

    Petrushka:

    Again, you depart on yet further tangents.

    The underlying rhetorical tactic is to ignore what cannot be answered, and try to go off on a distraction.

    Plainly, you are unwilling to acknowledge that there is such a thing as a sign of intelligence, starting with something so simple as a Corvette sand sculpture on a beach. But we can take it that you know or should know that.

    When it comes to evoutionary algorithms, you again ignore the obvious issue: where do codes, algorithms and implementing machines come from, what characteristic signs of what hey are do they exhibit?

    And, you go on to pretend that hill-climbing within an island of function addresses getting to the shores of such an island in the midst of a vast sea of non-function, beyond the credible resources of the observable cosmos.

    FYI, slope information, objective functions, hill-climbing algorithms and the like constitute active information, intelligently fed into intelligently designed and tested algorithms, implemented on intelligently designed machines, based on intelligently designed languages.

    All of which manifest functionally specific, complex organisation and associated information.

    And, without the first self replicators — onlookers, observe the “assume a can opener” solution to he problem of first getting the can opened on the desert island . . . i.e. begging the key question then acting as though it is irrelevant — that depend on precisely these sorts of systems, we do not get to the possibility of reproducing populations and selection off differential success.

    Going beyond that, novel body plans credibly require upwards of 10 mn bits of additional information to account for cell types, tissues, organs, etc, all of which has to be embryologically integrated into a functional organism. On pain of failure to be born. So, until embryologically valid body plans and regulatory mechanisms for development exist, we do not have a viable population for reproduction.

    Also, this has to start from unicellular organisms, on evolutionary materialistic premises, and has to successfully happen dozens of times over by blind chance plus mechanical necessity.

    All of which vastly exceed the search resources of the observed cosmos simply to get to shores of initial functionality.

    The evolutionary materialist theory of origin of body plans collapses in the face of the Cambrian fossil life record, and in the face of the challenge to get to first life from a still warm pond or whatever. 9Which last, recall, is the focus of SITC.)

    By sharpest contrast, we already know in principle what is required for a self replicating automaton, and from that we can see how to move on to diverse self-replicating forms, by design.

    The best explanaiton for life bawsed on digital information technology based on informaitonal macromolecules in teh cell is plainly design. And, major body plans likewise show strong signs indeed of design. That is why Dawkin’s famous remark acknowledged that biology studies complex entieis that give every appearance of being designed. However, after 150 years of trying, the proposed mechanisms to dismiss that appearance as illusory are increasingly threadbare.

    Life forms, starting with the cell look designed for he excellent reason that that is their best and most credible causal explanation. Absent of course a priori imposition of materialism.

    Which is precisely what we are dealing with.

    GEM of TKI

  141. 141
    StephenB says:

    —Petrushka: “We know that humans make images of cars in all kinds of materials, so there is no reason to doube that a scuplted image of a Corvette is made by humans.”

    I have never heard of anyone making an image of a Corvette Sting Ray with the raw materials of sand. Have you ever heard of such a thing? As far as I know, there is no precedence for it. Assuming that to be the case, we have no history of humans designing a Corvette Sting Ray with two million grains of sand [which is about what it would take]. So, for the third time, I ask the question:

    If you come upon a sand model of a Corvette Sting Ray on the beach, there are only two possible explanations. Either wind, water, and time accidentally shaped the sand to provide the illusion of design [natural causes] or else an an intelligent cause [agency] purposefully formed the sand into a model of a Corvette Sting Ray. Which option do you choose?

    —“My argument is that ivings things change from generation to generation, and the change can accumulate.”

    Your argument is irrelevant to my question.

  142. 142
    Petrushka says:

    And, you go on to pretend that hill-climbing within an island of function addresses getting to the shores of such an island in the midst of a vast sea of non-function, beyond the credible resources of the observable cosmos.

    Life forms beginning with the cell are vastly more complex than the simplest possible replicator.

    The vast sea of non-function simply doesn’t exist. The molecular differences between species are not vast, nor are they non-functional.

    Even Michael Behe sees no problem with the evolution of vertebrates.

  143. 143
    Acipenser says:

    “StephenB: I have never heard of anyone making an image of a Corvette Sting Ray with the raw materials of sand. Have you ever heard of such a thing? As far as I know, there is no precedence for it. Assuming that to be the case, we have no history of humans designing a Corvette Sting Ray with two million grains of sand [which is about what it would take].”

    Intricate sand sculpters are hardly a rarity. Your assumption of no precedence is unfounded.

    From a 1915 contest:

    http://www.mcmahanphoto.com/lc.....photo.html

    There are images of many things that have been constructed from sand.

  144. 144
    Acipenser says:

    Stephen, here is another more ‘vette-like’ image made of grains of sands. I don’t know how many exactly but probably wuite a few.

  145. 145
  146. 146
    kairosfocus says:

    Onlookers:

    The above documents the saddening persistent refusal to discuss the inconvenient elephant in the middle of the room.

    When we come across a sand or an ice or an ice cream sculpture we recognise it as designed because of its functionally specific, complex information.

    If you were to take a 6 year old child who had never seen such a sand sculpture — and who did not know of the use of clay models in car design — she or he would instantly recognise the work of an intelligent agent. Such a child would not attribute a sculpture to forces of nature (wind, rain etc), but would discern that it is to precisely shaped to be natural.

    (Cf here the previously linked — and studiously ignored — discussion of Old Man of the Mountain vs Ge Washington at Mr Rushmore, here, in light of the onward discussion of point and arc meshes and wireframes of a dolphin vs Nefertiti. A generic, rough and roughly recognisable shape in a cloud in the sky or a cliff is one thing, a precision image is utterly another. BTW, the Sphinx in Egypt is evidently a case where an erosion-shaped formation was then modified artistically to form a mythological image with the head of a certain Pharaoh. And of course, one of the features of art is knowing when to stop, i.e. the issue of halting. Old Man of the Mountain is no longer with us.)

    Now, on select, specific objections:

    1] Petrushka, 142: Life forms beginning with the cell are vastly more complex than the simplest possible replicator. The vast sea of non-function simply doesn’t exist.

    We are of course dealing with living forms, which must integrate a metabolic automaton with a self-replicating facility to be a living form, not imagined autocatalytic molecules (which have their own problems as already linked). Such a replicator will have to fulfill the von Neumann-type requisites:

    (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.

    Parts (ii), (iii) and (iv) are each necessary for and together are jointly sufficient to implement a self-replicating machine with an integral von Neumann universal constructor. That is, we see here an irreducibly complex set of core components that must all be present in a properly organised fashion for a successful self-replicating machine to exist. This immediately implies an island of function in a sea of non-function, as can be seen from the precise organisation of specific components and instructions that is required for function to exist and to be self-replicated. Or else, every can of soup in your friendly neighbourhood grocery shop would be teeming with de novo life.

    200 years ago, Paley aptly noted that a watch that tells time would be instantly recognisable as an artifact, and went on to discuss how the addition of a self-replicating facility would increase the force of that inference. From Darwin on, evolutionary materialism advocates have studiously ignored the force of that point.

    When it comes to novel body plans, it has already been highlighted that such a plan has to be embryologically feasible, which requires a cluster of tightly integrated mutually interacting changes, that — starting from unicellular organisms — and in light of the Cambrian revolution — require 10’s+ millions of bases of new integrated bio-information, dozens of times over.

    So, again and again we see the imagined smoothly varying continental fitness landscape of ever so much evolutionary theorising disintegrate into a more realistic pattern of isolated islands of function in a vast sea of non-function.

    We can be assured that such denials of the herd of elephants in the middle of the room are a sign of just how much trouble evolutionary materialism is in, once it was learned that cell based life is rooted in digital information systems of enormous sophistication.

    2] The molecular differences between species are not vast, nor are they non-functional.

    Species is of course a relatively minor level of difference, and one that is often fairly arbitrary. For instance, in the 1980’s it was discovered that the different species of Darwin’s Finches were capable of interbreeding. Similarly, circumpolar herring gulls and the like show a fairly minor range of variation.

    But, we are discussing origin of first life, and of the origin of kingdoms and phyla or subphyla from unicellular organisms, in light of the long since known Cambrian fossil life revolution that tells us that major body plans came first and without evident antecedents, and certainly no smoothly varying fossil pattern comparable to circumpolar gulls. As has been very clear since the days Darwin struggled with the Cambrian fossils and expressed hope that onward digs would provide the smoothly varying populations and links that would fill in his postulated tree of life; the only illustration in Origin.

    But, while that infamous icon still appears in just about every textbook or popular presentation, we are seldom given the truth that he smoothly varying trunks and branches to the tips are conjectural. The actual record of the fossils — as e.g. Gould admitted n trying to propose punctuated equlibria to explain the systematic gaps — is one of sudden appearances of basic forms, stasis, then disappearance and/or continuation into the modern world.

    The herd of elephants in the middle of the room is trumpeting in unison.

    3] Even Michael Behe sees no problem with the evolution of vertebrates.

    Behe of course, notoriously, is pointing out that the precisely integrated irreducibly complex functions required for major body systems is such that the mechanism of origin cannot credibly be chance variation of whatever flavour of the month, feeding into blind culling out of the less fit sub-populations.

    That herd of elephants is looking like it may be about to charge.

    4] Acipenser, 143: Intricate sand sculpters are hardly a rarity. Your assumption of no precedence is unfounded.

    And, what do we know about such sculptures?

    (a) they are observed as routinely produced by intelligent agents,

    (b) they exhibit functionally specific complex organisation and associated information,

    (c) they sharply contrast with natural sand forms such as dunes or ripples or beaches or even piles,

    (d) FSCI is a reliable criterion to discriminate the artifacts from the natural forms tracing to blind chance and mechanical necessity.

    In short, you have cited yet another instance of how on inspection, we can see that the FSCI criterion is an empirically reliable sign of intelligence. That is, further grounds for our confidence to infer that FSCI is a reliable sign of intelligence.

    But, by going after the red herring that SB seems to have been unaware of such sculptures — come over to where we got beaches that are much nicer than ice, mon! — Acipenser has again manged to ignore the trumpeting and pawing elephants in the middle of the room.

    Whoops, here they come, on that charge!

    ___________

    We again and again see evidence that substantiates that there are good, empirically reliable signs of design, that is of purposefully directed contingency, especially that special subset of complex, specific information that we have descriptively termed functionally specific, complex information.

    So, we have good reason to trust the inference form reliable sign tot he signified causal factor, intelligent action.

    This becomes strongly evident when we look at the digital information system that is a key component of the metabolic and self-replicating functions of the living cell. It is evident in the orders of magnitude increments in integrated complex information required to originate embryologically viable body plans. It is supported by the actual abruptness and stasis in the fossil record, which contrasts ever so sharply with Darwin’s hoped for smoothly varying tree of life.

    News flash: The stampeding herd of elephants has just over-run the evolutionary materialist camp of the neo-Darwinists, smashing it flat. Rescue and recovery operations are underway . . .

    GEM of TKI

  147. 147
    kairosfocus says:

    PS: Over at Youtube, they seem to be being exercised by the question of how function emerges from a combination of parts. Of course this is a whole-property that arises from the complex organisation node-and-network of components with particular required properties, in accord with a “wiring diagram.” Anyone who has designed and build a complex electronic circuit can tell you that, and it is apparent from careful reflection on a computer program or even a typed out sentence. Thus, beyond a certain threshold, we soon see tha there are so many possible non-functional arrangements that he only feasible way to get a functional whole is by intelligence, skill and knowledge that eliminates the vast majority of possible but unworkable combinations, and designs one that works or nearly works, then adjusts for desired optimum; and then knows when to stop. Which last is not a trivial issue. (And BTW, trial and error works in that context, or it would be lost in the sea of non-function.)

  148. 148
    StephenB says:

    —Acipenser: “Stephen, here is another more ‘vette-like’ image made of grains of sands. I don’t know how many exactly but probably wuite a few.”

    Good grief, you people are absolutely amazing. OK, let’s make it a 1960 Volkswagon. As far as I know, no one has ever shaped one with 2 million grains of sand. Now, resume the exercise with the sand model of the Volkswagon and tell me whether or not wind, water, and time can do the job. Or, do I need to get a beat up Ford with a missing engine. Unbelievable!

  149. 149
    StephenB says:

    —Acipenser: “Intricate sand sculpters are hardly a rarity. Your assumption of no precedence is unfounded.”

    That is hardly the issue. It is no challenge to find a SPECIFIC example for which that has NOT been the case in order to prove the point. Refer to @148. What is this thing about context that Darwinists cannot comprehend.

  150. 150
    StephenB says:

    —Acipenser: “Stephen, here is another more ‘vette-like’ image made of grains of sands. I don’t know how many exactly but probably wuite a …”

    P.S. I just checked your images and neither were similar to a Corvette Sting Ray, which means that you not only missed the context and the point but were also wrong about your facts. It is still that case that, as far as we know, no one has ever formed the image of a Corvette Sting Ray in the sand, which is what I said before you weighed in with your assertions to the contrary. There is a reason why I gave my example a proper name and didn’t just call it a car. Here is a crazy thought. Why not take time out to find out what a Corvette Sting Ray looks like.

  151. 151
    William J. Murray says:

    The simpler question for Petrushka is this: if humans land for the first time on an otherwise desolate planet, and find an object that appears to some to be an abandoned alien spacecraft, how are we to proceed in our determination of how to classify and thus investigate and explain the existence of the object?

    Should we just assume that the object was generated by non-intelligent forces, and attempt to find “natural” explanations for it?

    Would there be a scientific means for determining if it is a construct of alien intelligence?

    Would we have to just rely on intuition – i.e., if it is similar enough in appearance to what a human would construct?

  152. 152
    kairosfocus says:

    Steve:

    Someone out there is probably busy this morning, doing a ’63 ‘vette. (My uncle is probably looking over Heaven’s balcony and smiling as he remembers his own!)

    Somebody else is doing your beat-up Ford, and someone else is doing a VW bug . . .

    Can’t help out down here, as we seem to be having waves of tropical waves on this the 15th anniversary of the beginning of the ongoing volcano eruption.

    But in any case your underlying point is solid: the sand sculpture fits a specification [cf. here on how accurate 3-d models (computer sculptures if you will) are built], will be quite complex (notice the number of triangles added to skin the mesh!) and can easily be discerned as fitting in the FSCI criterion as a sign of intelligence. (Just ask how many yes/no decisions have to be chained to make a good 3-d wireframe for your sand model.)

    Such sand sculptures are quite plainly distinct from dune forms, sand ripples or beach forms shaped by natural forces of chance and mechanical necessity. And, we routinely see them as made by intelligences, but not by blind forces of nature. Islands of specific function — the target, or at least “hot” zone — in a sea of non-function.

    But that is the point.

    [And notice, we here imply a functional target. So, an imagined genetic algor would first try to come to a pile and then move it step by step to be more and more ‘vette like. Maybe, adding and subtracting grains of sand until it hits close enough to the ideal or meets some other halting criterion, i.e. an alternative terminus or target. Once we have an optimising or satisficing or so-called fitness function with hill-climbing and halting conditions, we define targets and feed in a lot of active information, which is what explains the performance advantage over blind random walk search! (And, remember, halting is a biggie problem in general theory of algorithms. In the case in view, where there are islands of function in large seas of non-function,you have the problem that the so-called fitness function very seldom rises above zero level.)]

    There is an elephant in the middle of the room, and design thinkers are rude enough to point it out.

    GEM of TKI

  153. 153
    kairosfocus says:

    PS: I forgot to mention how in GA’s the generational champions are ART-ificially selected for promotion . . .

  154. 154
    kairosfocus says:

    WJM:

    But, we are on an alien planet, and we have already run into the crashed spaceship: cell based life that uses informational macromolecules to carry out an information system . . .

    GEM of TKI

  155. 155
    kairosfocus says:

    PS: A peer-reviewed article on the Universal Plausibility Bound, by Abel. Abstract:

    Mere possibility is not an adequate basis for asserting scientific plausibility. A precisely defined universal bound is needed beyond which the assertion of plausibility, particularly in life-origin models, can be considered operationally falsified. But can something so seemingly relative and subjective as plausibility ever be quantified? Amazingly, the answer is, “Yes.” A method of objectively measuring the plausibility of any chance hypothesis (The Universal Plausibility Metric [UPM]) is presented. A numerical inequality is also provided whereby any chance hypothesis can be definitively falsified when its UPM metric of ? is < 1 (The Universal Plausibility Principle [UPP]). Both UPM and UPP pre-exist and are independent of any experimental design and data set.

    Conclusion

    No low-probability hypothetical plausibility assertion should survive peer-review without subjection to the UPP inequality standard of formal falsification (? < 1).

    [I hope the xi’s print.]

  156. 156
    Acipenser says:

    “StephenB: That is hardly the issue. It is no challenge to find a SPECIFIC example for which that has NOT been the case in order to prove the point. Refer to @148. What is this thing about context that Darwinists cannot comprehend.”

    Of course it is the issue. You stated that the construction of an image of a corvette made out of sand is unprecedented when it is not. You’ve used a terrible example since we have known for eons that people….living humans…make images out of sand and some of them are cars. If we found one such sculpture we would know immediately that some person(s) made it and give it no more thought.

    “StephenB: I just checked your images and neither were similar to a Corvette Sting Ray, which means that you not only missed the context and the point but were also wrong about your facts. It is still that case that, as far as we know, no one has ever formed the image of a Corvette Sting Ray in the sand, which is what I said before you weighed in with your assertions to the contrary.”

    Of course the second image is more ‘vette-like’ than the 1915 image and that is a simple fact that even a child would recognize. I did look at a corvette forum and there was a link to a (now removed from photo bucket) of a image of a corvette made of sand. To state that there are none or have never been any sand images of corvettes is a statement based on a simple lack of knowledge.

    As to your point of using 2 million grains of sand is that supposed toi indicate that someone (i.e., human) made some itty bitty teensy images of a corvette? How big do you suppose an image of a vette made of 2 million grains of sand might be? maybe about a 1/2 to 1 cup size?

  157. 157
    Petrushka says:

    The simpler question for Petrushka is this: if humans land for the first time on an otherwise desolate planet, and find an object that appears to some to be an abandoned alien spacecraft, how are we to proceed in our determination of how to classify and thus investigate and explain the existence of the object?

    I assume we would attribute it to creatures somewhat like ourselves (having bodies, brains, and so forth).

    But suppose on the same alien planet we encounter microbes. Do we assume they were created by the same entities that made the spaceship?

    The question is not about the abstract attributes of these objects, but about their history.

    Reasoning from abstraction is always hazardous, but your example is particularly pernicious, because it eliminates the difference between silica and carbon compounds.

    It also eliminates the difference between objects that self-replicate and objects that do not.

    It ignores everything know from observation and research regarding changes in genomes over time.

    It’s a terrible analogy for discussing the history of living things.

  158. 158
    Acipenser says:

    Stephen, fif you also notice that there were images of people made out of sand in those two links I provided. I’m not sure what the ID ramifications of such images are but most would simply attribute them to humans’ expressing themselves in a form of art, i.e., sand sculptures.

  159. 159
    kairosfocus says:

    Do we hear the elephant in the middle of the room trumpeting away?

  160. 160
    mullerpr says:

    Acipenser,

    What is it with design-doubters and their insistence that our knowledge of human intelligence’s actions is the only reason any FSCI (Functionally Specified Complex Information) can be attributed to intelligence. It does not make sense… at all.

    There is no need, at all, to know it was a human that created the pictures of the Corvettes. Your argument boils down to the irrational point of denying any other form of intelligence but human intelligence. Why would you and any other design-doubters do that?

    Would you insist on this approach if those exact pictures come to us encoded in an clearly alien code system from space? Or would you actually have to conclude some aliens decrypted a signal depicting the Corvettes and sent us their own signal back? What kind of intelligence were at work then? O… I forgot, somehow you know that humans are the only intelligence that can create pictures of Corvettes.

    What if the coding system used is one that has never been used by any known human? In fact that code system successfully encode biological machinery that builds all living things.

  161. 161
    mullerpr says:

    Acipenser,

    If you are not one of the design-doubters I described in #160, then you have to pardon me because you did sound like one, but I might be mistaken.

  162. 162
    Petrushka says:

    What is it with design-doubters and their insistence that our knowledge of human intelligence’s actions is the only reason any FSCI (Functionally Specified Complex Information) can be attributed to intelligence. It does not make sense… at all.

    Actually we have some recent examples of the attempt to apply design dection principles to alien objects of unknown provenance.

    the face on Mars, the glass worms on Mars, the trees on Mars.

    Some pretty famous and bright people lent their names to interpretations that these were intelligently designed or living objects.

  163. 163
    William J. Murray says:

    Petrushka said: I assume we would attribute it to creatures somewhat like ourselves (having bodies, brains, and so forth).

    You didn’t answer me. This isn’t about biology at all.

    How are we going to reach a conclusion that the object on the otherwise desolate planet was in fact designed by intelligent agents?

    Is there a rigorous, scientific way?

    If “no”, then must we operate from intuition?

  164. 164
    Acipenser says:

    “mullerpr: I forgot, somehow you know that humans are the only intelligence that can create pictures of Corvettes.”

    Yes, it is true that the only intelligence I know of that can create images of corvettes are humans. Can you give me an example of intelligence, other than humans, that can/have created images of corvettes (or any similar images at all) or are you stuck with the same evidence that I and everyone else are stuck with, i.e., the only known intelligence that can create images of corvettes are humans?

  165. 165
    William J. Murray says:

    Acipenser:

    What difference does it make if humans are the only known source of such intelligent design features?

    Let’s say we have a feature that appears somewhere that doesn’t depict anything specific to human history.

    Take, for instance, crop circles. Even if we don’t know who did them, or how they did them, or even that humans did them, are we fairly certain that an intelligence of some sort designed them?

  166. 166
    Petrushka says:

    How are we going to reach a conclusion that the object on the otherwise desolate planet was in fact designed by intelligent agents?

    Is there a rigorous, scientific way?

    If “no”, then must we operate from intuition?

    See my post above regarding the objects on Mars.

    You operate the way you would operate in any forensic investigation. If the inference is obvious, as with sand sculptures, you make it. If the inference is not so obvious, as with stone faces or large stone balls, you have to do some work. In some cases experts may never agree.

    My point is very simple: in cases where you have an object of a class known to be made by humans and never observed to be made by natural forces, you will make the simplest inference.

    With classes of objects known to be made by humans and also known to be made by natural forces — stone faces and stone balls — you have to do further investigation.

    Living things fall into neither category. No one knows the history of their origin. It is not in any way scientific to use intuition to assert their origin.

    All kinds of phenomena have been attributed to intentional causes. Early humans attributed nearly everything to intentionality. We call this animism.

    Lightening, earthquakes, disease, storms, crop failure and crop success, fertility. Just about every phenomenon of any importance.

    Science has eroded this attribution in most cases. We cannot be certain that individuals are not struck down by the hand of God, but we are pretty certain that we cannot see the hand of God. Most people have accepted natural causes for these phenomena.

    People have always wanted to see God. I believe Moses had a tent where he spoke with God. Some people apparently tried to build a tower high enough to see or be with God.

    I think ID is such and attempt. Phrases like “the signature” are attempts to photograph God in action. I think they are doomed. I think they are theologically silly and scientifically vacuous.

    Just my opinion. But the history of science is the history of failure to find such signatures or fingerprints. The natural world always turns out to be deeper and more subtle than anything imagined.

  167. 167
    StephenB says:

    —Acipenser: “Of course it is the issue. You stated that the construction of an image of a corvette made out of sand is unprecedented when it is not.”

    I said, “assuming that is the case.” Do you ever read what is written? We are dealing in probabilities, not certainties, which is the essence of science. The model of the automobile doesn’t matter. That is why I offered you the alternatives of the Volkswagon or the beat up Ford. The point is that there are many models for which there is likely no history of a formation and therefore no realistic opportunity to use a historical argument for them. Thus, when you come upon that model, [pick one you think has no history of sand formation] you have only two choices: Either wind, water, and time formed it, or a human formed it. Make your choice. You are studiously avoiding the argument and it is quite comical.

    —“we have known for eons that people….living humans…make images out of sand and some of them are cars.”

    Irrevelant. You still do not understand the significance of my choice of specific models which have likely not been formed.

    On the other hand, you have given yourself away. If, while walking down a beach, you came upon the sand image of a 1960 Volkswagon, you are obviously open to the possibility that the wind, water, time, and the sea could form it. Remarkable.

    —“Of course the second image is more ‘vette-like’ than the 1915 image and that is a simple fact that even a child would recognize.”

    It is not the image of a Corvette Sting Ray, which is what I alluded to.

    —“I did look at a corvette forum and there was a link to a (now removed from photo bucket) of a image of a corvette made of sand.”

    Even if your guess is right, and it is just a guess, it doesn’t matter. Not all Corvette’s are Sting Rays. Again, I remind you that I used a proper name for a reason. I didn’t say, “car.”

    —“To state that there are none or have never been any sand images of corvettes is a statement based on a simple lack of knowledge.”

    To say that, “as far as we know,” is obviously an accurate statement inasmuch as you probed the internet looking for loopholes and could not find any.

    —“As to your point of using 2 million grains of sand is that supposed toi indicate that someone (i.e., human) made some itty bitty teensy images of a corvette? How big do you suppose an image of a vette made of 2 million grains of sand might be? maybe about a 1/2 to 1 cup size.”

    Probably about a half-foot long, which is what I had in mind all along. I was hoping that some Darwinist would actually ask me an intelligent question, such as, “would it be more likely to have been caused by naturalistic causes if it contained only one million grains of sand?” However, I am no longer interested in the prospect of answering intelligent questions on this thread. I will simply deal with the inanities and all attempts to avoid the argument.

  168. 168
    kairosfocus says:

    Petrushka

    TRRUMPET!

    (Let us go back to the basic point again. We see a sand shape, which of all possible congfigs, just happens to look like a ’63 corvette. Why do we form the intuition that it is an artifact of intelligence and not of chance + necessity? For, if we can only recognise as intelligent that which we saw previously, we are in trouble, with an infinite regress lurking. In short, it is quite plain that we can abstract a pattern, FSCI, that is a characteristic of a great many known cases of intelligent design. [We can make the further case that it is ONLY produced by such intelligence in our observation, and further, such high contingency outcomes, on the sheer statistical weight of outcomes, would not be seen to be formed by chance + necessity. Intelligence routinely does so.])

    P, your remarks above are beginning to look a whole lot like straining at gnats while swallowing elephants.

    And the scope of difficulties that have to be swallowed to evade acknowledging the significance of FSCI as a sign of design, are in some ways even more revealing.

    GEM of TKI

  169. 169
    mullerpr says:

    OK, Acipenser,

    Then can you explain your epistemic resources that supports your conclusion that humans are the only intelligence able to create pictures of Corvettes? I.e. what is the evidence you have that exclude other intelligence from creating any designed artifact in particular?

    Your position is equivalent to 19th century persons claiming that man can not fly, because they have never seen a man flying.

    All of this unfounded certainty about what kind of intelligence might and might not be able to create Corvette pictures in the face of the empirically exposed genetic design features.

    P.S. Your last comment confirmed that, your argument boils down to the irrational point of denying any other form of intelligence but human intelligence.

  170. 170
    Acipenser says:

    “WJM: What difference does it make if humans are the only known source of such intelligent design features?”

    Well let’s see if humans are the only known source of such intelligent designs than postulating any other intelligenct sources is nothing but speculation.

    “WJM: Let’s say we have a feature that appears somewhere that doesn’t depict anything specific to human history.

    Take, for instance, crop circles. Even if we don’t know who did them, or how they did them, or even that humans did them, are we fairly certain that an intelligence of some sort designed them?”

    Crop circles are a known instance of human activity. We know who made them and how they made them by their own admissions and demonstrations.

  171. 171
    Acipenser says:

    “WJM: Then can you explain your epistemic resources that supports your conclusion that humans are the only intelligence able to create pictures of Corvettes? I.e. what is the evidence you have that exclude other intelligence from creating any designed artifact in particular?”

    Well first I would point out to you that you have failed to provide an example of such intelligence other than humans. I would further point out that no one on this forum or this planet could provide an example of a non-human intelligence that has created images of corvettes or any other artifact.

    “WJM: Your last comment confirmed that, your argument boils down to the irrational point of denying any other form of intelligence but human intelligence.”

    It is not irrational to accept what are recognized facts. There are no examples of any non-human intelligence that creates images or artifacts. It would, however, be irrational to consider that your argument is anything other than pure speculation based on no factual evidence.

  172. 172
    gpuccio says:

    Acipenser:

    Well let’s see if humans are the only known source of such intelligent designs than postulating any other intelligenct sources is nothing but speculation.

    You are forgetting the “small” problem of functional information in biological beings, which is, in case you have not understood, the object of all our discussions. The design inference for that is an inference by analogy. It is absolutely appropriate, and, if it is true (as we do believe), then it’s no more true that “humans are the only known source of such intelligent designs”, unless you believe that humans designed biological beings.

    Crop circles are a known instance of human activity. We know who made them and how they made them by their own admissions and demonstrations.

    I have no definite opinion about crop circles, but I am not sure that everybody would agree with that. Anyway, unless you are sure of knowing truth by divine inspiration, you should admit that the origina of crop circles has been (and is) the object of many discussions. Whatever the truth, the fact is that the two competing hygpothese were: human artifact or alien artifact. IOW, design hypotheses. No one ever thought they were the result of random forces, or of natural forces (at least, not that I know: but again, I am not an expert of crop circles).

  173. 173
    Acipenser says:

    “kairofocus: (Let us go back to the basic point again. We see a sand shape, which of all possible congfigs, just happens to look like a ‘63 corvette. Why do we form the intuition that it is an artifact of intelligence and not of chance + necessity?”

    We don’t use any intuition for the creation of the sand sculpture. We not only know who makes sand sculptures but how they make them as well. One can walk down any beach during the summer and find children (and adults) making all manner of sand sculptures. It isn’t puzzling and requires a minimal of mental effort to recognize that a sand corvette is a human construct.

    “kairofocus: In short, it is quite plain that we can abstract a pattern, FSCI, that is a characteristic of a great many known cases of intelligent design. [We can make the further case that it is ONLY produced by such intelligence in our observation, and further, such high contingency outcomes, on the sheer statistical weight of outcomes, would not be seen to be formed by chance + necessity. Intelligence routinely does so.])”

    Yes , we know only humans make sand sculptures of automobiles, castles, and any number of other objects including people. We know this because as children we likely constructed something similar while playing on the beach.

  174. 174
    Acipenser says:

    “gpuccio: if it is true (as we do believe)”

    This is where your argument by analogy falls apart. You, and ID research, need to demonstrate that it is true in order to remove the ‘if’ from the argument. With no evidence that enables the removal of the ‘if’ it is just as likely that it is not true.

    “gpuccio:L I have no definite opinion about crop circles, but I am not sure that everybody would agree with that.”

    It doesn’t matter if everyone agrees or not. I once watched an interview with a crop circle designer and constructor. He demonstrated how he made a recent crop circle and despite his admission and demonstration of creating the crop circle the ‘true’ believer immediately stated that he was lying and that is was aliens. Who would a rational and logical person believe? The one who denied the evidence presented or the one who came forward to claim ownership of the design as well as demonstrating how he did it? Who would you believe?

  175. 175
    kairosfocus says:

    PS: How many ways are there of arranging 2 mn grains of sand in 3-d space, on the constraint that each grain must be in contact with at least one other?

    (Let’s make it easy by assuming cubes, say ~1/2 mm on the side, and that contact is full face to full face. Each grain thus can have from 1 to 6 contacts, i.e. the six faces correspond to 6 bits, with the constraint that at least one must be in state 1. A wire-mesh network with 2 mn nodes soon emerges. Without detailed calculation, obviously astronomical. First one has six possible faces to cover the “must contact” requirement, and the other five faces can have two states each, i.e. 6 * 2^5 possibilities. The second grain in contact has 2^5 possibilities for further contact, and so on. In any case the nodes and links mesh passes 1,000 bits rather quickly indeed, at more or less 5 bits per grain: 200 grains would do, with another 1,999,800 to go. In short, our observed cosmos plainly lacks the search resources to scan through an appreciable fraction of the possibilities, across its thermodynamically credible lifespan.)

    As a fraction of possible configs, how many of the possible shapes will be sufficiently close to the shape of a Corvette Stingray (how many models were there, across how many years?) to be recognisably “close enough to be acceptable”?

    Plainly, a very tiny fraction indeed, and deeply isolated in the space of possible configs.

    So, if we see such a sand pile in the shape of a Corvette Sting Ray, we have functionally specific, complex information, and we are in a very narrow target zone in the space of possible configs. (For that matter, any other simply and independently describable config would strongly point to design, e.g even a cube or a sphere or a topo model of a landscape. The overwhelming fraction of possible configs would be shapeless piles of one form or another)

    The best explanation for such is directed contingency, or, design; and that is intuitively obvious even before trying to do the serious calculation to get a specific number. Save, to those who find such an inference threatening to things they are otherwise strongly committed to.

    But such selectively hyperskeptical denialism comes at a price: blatant reductio ad absurdum.

  176. 176
    kairosfocus says:

    Acipenser:

    Yes , we know only humans make sand sculptures of automobiles, castles, and any number of other objects including people.

    We know no such thing.

    We do know that humans do this, but we have no credible basis for claiming that ONLY humans do so.

    Just as we know that humans are intelligent, but we have no such knowledge that we exhaust the possible or actual cases of intelligence. Indeed, there are indicators that we do not. Starting with the language-based [coded], algorithm-using information systems that are embedded in the cells in our bodies.

    For, we do have good reason to infer that only intelligences will be able to surpass the configuration space barriers outlined above, to create such entities and program them.

    Then, beyond that the observed cosmos shows evident signs of fine tuning that sets it up in a cosmological configuration that fits with carbon chemistry cell based intelligent life.

    So long as one has not ruled out such intelligences a priori — i.e. begged the question — such indicators, on inference to best explanation, are cogent.

    GEM of TKI

  177. 177
    mullerpr says:

    Acipenser,

    The design-doubters have no where to hide. There is certainly nothing about human intelligence that isolate the logical class – intelligence.

    If you like to use the other non-starter argument that we need to know the mechanism of an intelligence acting, then I just like to ask you if you know the mechanism that cause human intelligence? Are we suppose to know the mechanism of human intelligence before we can claim human intelligence at work? These questions are highlighted by Steven Meyer’s talk.

  178. 178
    kairosfocus says:

    PS: Observe how the relevant consideration of intelligence allows us to pass the challenge of enumerative induction. That is, because we have a known force capable of the cause [INTELLIGENCE] and because we see that The other possibilities [BLIND CHANCE AND/OR MECHANICAL NECESSITY] are not sufficiently capable to be credible causes, we are not just blindly extrapolating like the inductive turkey who turns up for corn every morning — until he gets grabbed Christmas Eve.

  179. 179
    Petrushka says:

    The design-doubters have no where to hide. There is certainly nothing about human intelligence that isolate the logical class – intelligence.

    Other than the absence of any counterexamples.

    I see no one seems to want to discuss recent failures of design induction in the case of objects on Mars.

    And no one wants provide an example of design induction to distinguish the history of peacocks from the history of Japanese show bantams.

  180. 180
    Acipenser says:

    “kairofocus: We know no such thing.”

    Fine. Can you give me an example of a non-human intelligence (or non-intelligence) that creates images of automobiles, castles, and people out of sand?

    “kairofocus: We do know that humans do this, but we have no credible basis for claiming that ONLY humans do so.”

    Of course it is credible to claim that only humans create sand sculptures since there exists no evidence on this planet otherwise. Any claims to the contrary are pure unadulterated speculation with no facts/evidence to support any other claim.

  181. 181
    Petrushka says:

    I’m intereste to hear from anyone who’s actually witnessed an instance of any sculpture being created by INTELLIGENCE, as opposed to being made by a living thing. (or a thing made by a living thing, as in a robot)

  182. 182
    mullerpr says:

    Petrushka,

    You don’t seem clever by claiming the non-existence of a counter example. You are facing all the evidence of a counter example in every new piece of research exposing the genetic code’s secrets.

    To compound your detrimental position, you need to explain why a counter example is required to proof that the class intelligence is isolated to humans.

    How about the fact that it is perfectly logical to postulate alien intelligence or postulating a “Boltzman Brain”?

    Or would any inference of a mind acting be ok, as long as it does not infringe on Darwinian dogma?

  183. 183
    mullerpr says:

    I forgot the “NOT”,

    To compound your detrimental position, you need to explain why a counter example is required to proof that the class intelligence is NOT isolated to humans.

    Are you claiming science can proof the non-existence of something?

  184. 184
    gpuccio says:

    Acipenser:

    This is where your argument by analogy falls apart. You, and ID research, need to demonstrate that it is true in order to remove the ‘if’ from the argument. With no evidence that enables the removal of the ‘if’ it is just as likely that it is not true.

    Demonstrating that the “if” is true is exactly what ID is about. And it does it. ID is the best explanation for biological information. Indeed, no other credible explanation exists. That’s empirical validity.

    Obviously, we can discuss in detail why that is the case. That’s what we do in this blog.

    About crop circles, it should be clear that I am not interestes in your personal opinion. But you have not amswered my only pertinent point:

    ” Whatever the truth, the fact is that the two competing hygpothese were: human artifact or alien artifact. IOW, design hypotheses. No one ever thought they were the result of random forces, or of natural forces (at least, not that I know: but again, I am not an expert of crop circles).”

  185. 185
    Petrushka says:

    To compound your detrimental position, you need to explain why a counter example is required to proof that the class intelligence is NOT isolated to humans.

    It isn’t possible to prove a negative.

    How is one to prove the non-existence of an entity that has no demonstrable attributes, which is alleged to operate at unspecified times and places, using unspecified means for unspecified purposes, and having unspecified capabilities and limitations?

  186. 186
    mullerpr says:

    Petrushka,

    So how many living things can do sculptures?

    In any event, a design inference for the origin of life is not dependent on the nature of the designer. You are right if you want to postulate a living thing to be a potential candidate for the acting intelligence that caused life. Panspermia is a valid design hypothesis.

  187. 187
    Petrushka says:

    Indeed, no other credible explanation exists. That’s empirical validity.

    No credible explanation exists for what? speciation, or abiogenesis?

  188. 188
    Petrushka says:

    Panspermia is a valid design hypothesis.

    Flesh out the hypothesis. Let’s hear some details. Times and places and events.

  189. 189
    gpuccio says:

    Acipenser:

    Fine. Can you give me an example of a non-human intelligence (or non-intelligence) that creates images of automobiles, castles, and people out of sand?

    Your argument is false. Conscious intelligence is a property of humans. We have no reasons to affirm that other beings cannot be conscious and intelligent like humans. Can you exclude, or consider unlikely, that intelligent aliens may exist?

    Of course it is credible to claim that only humans create sand sculptures since there exists no evidence on this planet otherwise. Any claims to the contrary are pure unadulterated speculation with no facts/evidence to support any other claim.

    I am happy that now you have restricted your dogmatic conclusions to “this planet”. And yet, on this planet biological beings exist, and no existing theory can explain them, except design. And could you accept that for centuries humans have believed that biological beings were designed by some conscious intelligent being, on this planet? But I understand, they did not have your conscious intelligence, which is certainly of a superior kind.

    You cannot just state your opinions and pretend that they are truth. That we know not of any other physical conscious intelligent beings on this planet (except maybe possible aliens, either crop-circlers or not) does not mean that no other conscious intelligent being exists, either on this planet or elsewhere.

    The existence of designed beings on this planet is empirical evidence which cannot be explained away by your prejudices. If you, like darwinists, are convinced that you have a reasonable non design explanation for that fact, please accept to discuss, like anybody else here, your theory against our theory. And stop making senseless dogmatic statements of supposed truth.

  190. 190
    mullerpr says:

    Petrushka,

    How is one to prove the non-existence of an entity that has no demonstrable attributes, which is alleged to operate at unspecified times and places, using unspecified means for unspecified purposes, and having unspecified capabilities and limitations?

    This sounds very much like any possible mind including human minds. Take a look at “Boltzman Brain” then you’ll see.

    Again I have to ask… How much do we exactly know about the mechanisms that creates the human mind?

  191. 191
    Petrushka says:

    So how many living things can do sculptures?

    Of Corvettes, only one.

    Of complex functional objects, things that are not knonwn to be created by non-living forces of nature, I’d include birds, honeybees, African termites, caterpillars, and quite a few others.

    Now answer my question about the failures of design induction in the case of objects on Mars.

    Or explain how the design inference could distinguish the history of peacocks from that of Japanese show fowl.

  192. 192
    gpuccio says:

    Petrushka:

    No credible explanation exists for what? speciation, or abiogenesis?

    Both. I think you should know my position in some detail, after all this time. Let’s try not to repeat infinite times the same debates, without any new argument.

  193. 193
    Petrushka says:

    I’d also argue that many fossils are sand replicas of living things, the sculptures having been made in the absence of guidance from an intelligent agent.

  194. 194
    gpuccio says:

    Petrushka:

    Panspermia is a valid hypothesis for abiogenesis. I don’t accept it, because it can’t explain speciation. But the general concept is that the ancestors of life (LUCA, or archea, or bacteria) arrived on earth form space, and that they has the potential (front-loading, or just supposed sufficiency of darwinian evolution for speciation) to generate what followed.

    Again, I don’t accept panspermia, but it is at least a better hypothesis than pure darwinism, because in some way it “explains” OOL. Although, after all it’s not a real explanation, because we should still explain how those ancestors were generated elsewhere.

  195. 195
    Petrushka says:

    Both. I think you should know my position in some detail, after all this time. Let’s try not to repeat infinite times the same debates, without any new argument.

    The fact that you shield yourself from centuries of evidence and research does not make the argument for evolution non-credible.

    You see the mechanisms; you know they operate in the current time; you simply choose to ignore Newton’s dictum that :

    The qualities of bodies, which admit neither intensification nor remission of degrees, and which are found to belong to all bodies within the reach of our experiments, are to be esteemed the universal qualities of all bodies whatsoever.

  196. 196
    gpuccio says:

    Petrushka:

    I’d also argue that many fossils are sand replicas of living things, the sculptures having been made in the absence of guidance from an intelligent agent.

    Yes, through simple natural mechanisms which can easily make an analogic copy of an existing designed form. Why are you always moving the discussion through false superficial diversions? Is it intentional, or is it just a bad habit?

  197. 197
    mullerpr says:

    Petrushka,

    I can only talk about the Mars objects. It should be clear that a false positive is caused by poor application of a design inference. In fact pulsars were also considered a signal from aliens, but proper application of design detection proofed that pulsars were not specified or complex.

    Proper design detection is only prone to false negatives. Wishful thinking is not design detection.

    P.S. Are you referring to the low resolution pictures from Mars that looked like a face and pyramids.

  198. 198
    Petrushka says:

    Again, I don’t accept panspermia, but it is at least a better hypothesis than pure darwinism, because in some way it “explains” OOL.

    Until such time as someon assembles a complete plausible scenario, a recipe for creating evolving replicators without shoving individual atoms around, all such conjectures are speculative.

    Some speculations are better than others because the suggest productive experiments, but all are speculation.

    Speciation is no longer in need of explanation.

  199. 199
    gpuccio says:

    Petrushka:

    The fact that you shield yourself from centuries of evidence and research does not make the argument for evolution non-credible.

    That’s not fair. You have admitted yourself that I accept all the known facts. I have stated clearly that I do, and that I disagree on interpretations. I have never been shy to openly discuss the interpretations. A lot of times I have given detailed arguments in response to you personally, arguments which very often you have not commented upon. So, I don’t “shield myself” from anything. Having a different opinion, and being perfectly available to discuss it in detail against all known facts, is not, IMO, “shielding oneself”.

    If you have serious arguments, I am always ready to discuss them.

  200. 200
    gpuccio says:

    Petrushka:

    Speciation is no longer in need of explanation.

    Amen. Excuse me, I had forgotten your divine status.

  201. 201
    Petrushka says:

    but proper application of design detection proofed that pulsars were not specified or complex.

    What principles of design detection resolved the issue of the Martian face, the Martian glass worms, and the Martian trees?

    I’d be curious how the mathematics of design detection saved the day.

    I’d bet a nickel that in all cases where design has been ruled out, it was ruled out because researchers took the pains to find natural explanations.

    I doubt if you can find a single example of design being ruled out due to application of the explanatory filter — the calculation of probabilities.

    The simple fact is that the only way to eliminate false positives in design detection is to search for natural explanations.

  202. 202
    StephenB says:

    Petrushka and Acipenser continue to avoid my question about whether naturalistic forces could have formed the image of a beat up 1959 Ford without the engine.

    So, I will ask another one:

    What if space explorers go to Mars and find the following symbols etched in the sand: “Pretrushka and Acipenser have both contracted a condition called designophobia.” Could naturalistic forces such as wind, water, and erosion have produced that sequence?

  203. 203
    kairosfocus says:

    On lookers:

    Patent reductio ad absurdum.

    This is what we are dealing with, in the words of Lewontin in his January 1997 review in NYRB:

    . . . to put a correct view of the universe into people’s heads we must first get an incorrect view out . . . the problem is to get them 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 . . . . To Sagan, as to all but a few other scientists, it is self-evident 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 . . . .

    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 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, for we cannot allow a Divine Foot in the door. [“Billions and Billions of Demons,” NYRB, January 9, 1997.]

    Johnson’s First Things Rebuttal of November that year is stingingly 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.]

    In short, the triumph of evolutionary materialism represents an ideological captivity of scienitific reasoning, that blocks it from the fair and free pursuit of the truth about our world based on the best explanation of the relevant empirical evidence.

    That is why we see all of the strained evasions and obfuscations above, to dodge the implications of finding ourselves on a narrow target zone in a beyond astronomical configuration space.

    But, Rom 1 said something about that attitude, ever so long ago now:

    Rom 1:20 . . . since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse.

    21For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened . . .

    In other words, what we are seeing here looks a lot like willful blindness, sorry to say

    GEM of TKI

  204. 204
    gpuccio says:

    About Mars objects:

    I remember that some time ago Gil Dodgen posted a very interesting thread about that, expressing an extremely appropriate concept. If I remember well, it was more or less this way:

    a) Let’s pretend we lokk at Mrs, and we see lines and interpret them as channels or routes. Then, our technology improves, and we can see better, and those lines appear as natural formations. That’s one scenario. Our first design inference was superficial, and based on insufficient data.

    b) But suppose instead that, with our technology improvement, we can see better, and we see that the lines are rellay routes, and that cities are joined by them, and galleries traversing mountains, and cars moving on the streets, and so on. Wouldn’t our design inference be infinitely strengthened by the new data?

    Well, the second scenario is exactly what has been happening in biology in the last few decades. Our technology has improved, and what has it shown? Increasing levels and sublevels of functions, organized, integrated functions, even in the simplest cells. And there is no need to go back to Darwin’s time and its concept of the cells as bubbles of protoplasm to understand the difference. For me, it’s enough to compare what was known when I studied medicine for the first time, too many years ago, and what is known today: the difference in the scenario of functional complexity is astounding.

    And believe me, that simple fact really strengthens the design theory. It really does.

  205. 205
    gpuccio says:

    StephenB:

    “Petrushka and Acipenser have both contracted a condition called designophobia.” Could naturalistic forces such as wind, water, and erosion have produced that sequence?

    Hi Stephen! That’s a creative scenario 🙂

  206. 206
    Petrushka says:

    Having a different opinion, and being perfectly available to discuss it in detail against all known facts, is not, IMO, “shielding oneself”.

    It’s always fair to argue that someone is hiding from rational explanations.

    Did O.J. Simpson kill his wife?
    Do you think the jury hid from the best explanation?

    If you are honest about pursuing the best explanation, you will consider the entailments of various explanations and look for confirming or disconfirming evidence.

    ID has no entailments. It assigns no attributes to the designer. It assigns no times or places to the actions of the designer. It assigns no specific actions to the designer.
    There is no class of evidence that could confirm or disconfirm the design inference for the origin of species, because there are no entailments.

    That leaves natural explanations as the only explanations that can be confirmed or disconfirmed.

    It is fine for people like Douglas Axe to look for and fail to find gap fillers. I could do something equivalent by digging up my back yard and failing to find important fossils. It’s lots easier to fail to find something than to find something.

    I could also dig up my back yard and find no gold. I could then argue that gold is too sparsely distributed to support any economical search for gold.

    The people who found Tiktaalik endured years of failure. There was lots of luck in finding anything. But if they had found nothing, it would not have proved that Tiktaalik never existed. And the failure to find complete series of fossils for every species does not prove that intermediates never existed. It only proves that lots of hard work is required in science.

    It also demonstrates that the way you do science is to expect things entailed by your hypotheses and to look for them.

  207. 207
    StephenB says:

    gpuccio @205. Thanks for the kind words. I predict that the answers will be even more creative!!!

  208. 208
    kairosfocus says:

    PS: FYI, the design explanatory filter — as was repeatedly shown above (and in the onward linked) — is not primarily or necessarily a probability calculation. Instead, it is a comparison, in light of a great body of experience and related analysis of the causal capabilities of chance, mechanical necessity and intelligence. For instance, if a high-contingency outcome is associated with an information storage capacity of in excess of 1,000 bits and the particular configuration observed is functionally specific, with great confidence we may conclude design not chance or necessity. (For instance, no one would seriously infer that the best explanation for posts in this thread, beyond about 125 characters, is anything but intelligence.)

    And of course,the sort of probability calculations that are sometimes used are precisely those that are routinely used in information theory, statistical thermodynamics and other serious endeavours. That is, the objection is one of selective hyperskepticism in defence of an a priori question-begging assumption of materialism.

  209. 209
    gpuccio says:

    Stephen:

    As for me, I wpould definitely suspect you as the designer. Did you leave DNA traces?

  210. 210
    above says:

    I just got the chance to watch the video and it truly disturbs me to think that the so-called scientific establishment of the materialistic faithfuls represent everything science ought not to be.

    It’s as if they have caricatured science into a puppet, whose only aim is to propagate their materialistic agenda. The sad part is that unless one has a good understanding of linguistics, philosophy, metaphysics and theology all these brutalities again science and reason go unnoticed and in the worst case get accepted by young impressionable minds.

  211. 211
    gpuccio says:

    Petrushka:

    ID has no entailments. It assigns no attributes to the designer. It assigns no times or places to the actions of the designer. It assigns no specific actions to the designer.
    There is no class of evidence that could confirm or disconfirm the design inference for the origin of species, because there are no entailments.

    ???? I have answered those points many times, and given specific possible scenarios, all of them entailing many things. But I don0t think I will go on with a discussion at this level. Again, when you have new arguments (which sometimes you do have), or when you want to ackowledge and discuss the answers I have already given, instead of repeating ad nauseam the same pseudo-truths, please let me know.

  212. 212
    above says:

    Third line from the bottom:

    again=against*

  213. 213
    Petrushka says:

    Our technology has improved, and what has it shown? Increasing levels and sublevels of functions, organized, integrated functions, even in the simplest cells…

    All that complexity argues against a designer. In all the history of mathematics, we have found only one successful approach to traversing gradients in enormous spaces, and that is using evolutionary algorithms.

    The only way to solve large problems, like the travelling salesman problem with 100,000 stops is by using evolutionary algorithms.

    On your side, you have the assertion that function is sparse.

    That assertion evaporates with research. In the case of the flagellum, the mascot of this site, a bit of research reveals a vase cloud of variations on flagella, a vast array of subsets of flagellar proteins, some employed in motility, and some not.

    The same thing happens when you investigate blood clotting.

    ID is full of false positives, and it has no native method for eliminating false positives.

    The only way to eliminate false positives is to do the hard work of finding exceptions, and the hard work of finding natural pathways.

    You do no add to the sum of human knowledge by digging a hole, finding nothing, and asserting that all holes will be equally barren.

  214. 214
    gpuccio says:

    Petrushka:

    All that complexity argues against a designer. In all the history of mathematics, we have found only one successful approach to traversing gradients in enormous spaces, and that is using evolutionary algorithms.

    I have nothing against evolutionary algorithms: they are obviously designed.

    And your faith in gap solving naturalistic research is based on such a confused epistemology, that I will not even begin to try to counter it…

  215. 215
    Petrushka says:

    I have answered those points many times, and given specific possible scenarios..

    There’s a way around that you know.

    Write up your thoughts and publish them on the Biologic Institute journal.

  216. 216
    gpuccio says:

    Petrushka:

    All that complexity argues against a designer.

    That really can compete with Al Kafir’s statement on the short peptides thread for the title of “most ludicrous statement ever heard”:

    “Probably too complex to have been designed, since complex-system theory shows that evolved systems tend to be more complicated than designed systems for a given function.”

    Let me understand: all that complex functional information, whose existence our friends darwinists always deny with unrestrained passion, is now becoming evidence against design?

    Ah, what a mystery is the darwinists mind!

  217. 217
    Petrushka says:

    I have nothing against evolutionary algorithms: they are obviously designed.

    Not so. They arise spontaneously with the simplest replicators.

    Evolution will happen wherever there is self-replication.

  218. 218
    gpuccio says:

    Petrushka:

    There’s a way around that you know. Write up your thoughts and publish them on the Biologic Institute journal.

    Why is everybody always giving me advices on what I should do? Al Kafir is counseling my readings, others have adviced me on where to blog, and Petrushka absolutely wants me to publish!

    But I am stupid and obstinate, and I suppose I will go on my own way.

    Petrushka, what’s the problem? Can’t you read my posts on this blog?

  219. 219
    gpuccio says:

    Petrushka:

    you will never stop surprising me. Did the travelling salesman problem solving algorithm arise spontaneously in biological replicators?

    You must know facts of which I am not aware. Please share.

  220. 220
    William J. Murray says:

    Acipenser: “Well let’s see if humans are the only known source of such intelligent designs than postulating any other intelligenct sources is nothing but speculation.”

    First, the theory that other creatures might have intelligence is not “nothing but speculation”, because we already have one creature with intelligence; that is evidence that creatures in the universe can be intelligent.

    Second, even if it was speculation, so? Is such speculation non-scientific? Can it not lead to fruitful scientific enquiry, such as the speculation, in years past, that other stars might have planets orbiting them? Or was such speculation a waste of scientific time and effort?

    Acipenser: “Crop circles are a known instance of human activity. We know who made them and how they made them by their own admissions and demonstrations.”

    Why do you avoid simply answering the questions I ask in the manner I ask them? Let’s say you’re right and we know how all crop circles are made now; before we knew, we didn’t know. All we had were strange geometric patterns in the crops. Why didn’t everyone just assume it was a natural phenomena? Why did everyone conclude that they had to be the product of some form of intelligence?

    You attribute comments to me in 171 I didn’t make.

    Petrushka said: “You operate the way you would operate in any forensic investigation. If the inference is obvious, as with sand sculptures, you make it. If the inference is not so obvious, as with stone faces or large stone balls, you have to do some work. In some cases experts may never agree.”
    .
    What does that mean, “if the inference is obvious”? “Obvious” to whom? We’re talking about, putatively, what looks like it might be an alien-design spacecraft. How is it going to be “obvious” to anyone? Are you talking about intuition? Do you mean that for some investigators, the object on the planet might “obviously” be, to them, in a non-scientific way, “the product of intelligence”, and to others, “obviously not” such an artifact?

    You’re not telling me how we should make a decision about what we should consider the object, you’re just avoiding the essential point to the whole debate by saying “well, if it’s obvious …” without explaing how it can be obvious, or why people should disagree, or how a finding either way should be made.

    Is it made in a scientific way? Or is it just plain-old intuition?

  221. 221
    Petrushka says:

    Let me understand: all that complex functional information, whose existence our friends darwinists always deny with unrestrained passion, is now becoming evidence against design?

    Yep. Evolution is the only form of computation that can deal with those astronomical numbers that design proponents keep tossing out.

    Want to disagree?

    Fine. Show us an alternative for anticipating the effects of small changes to protein coding sequences.

    Show us a non-evolutionary way to anticipate need in ecosystems.

  222. 222
    Petrushka says:

    Did the travelling salesman problem solving algorithm arise spontaneously in biological replicators?

    The algorithm occurs anywhere there is self-replication.

  223. 223
    gpuccio says:

    Petrushka:

    please read again (if ever you red it) my post #94 here.

    I don’t understand what it is that you call “evolution” in your 224. A form of computation? What form of compitation?

    One of my scenarios (targeted RV + intelligent selection) is a very effective way to evaluate “the effects of small changes to protein coding sequences”. It’s a method used in protein engineering. It’s used by the immune system to increase antibody specificity. It works. And it’s a design method.

  224. 224
    gpuccio says:

    Petrushka:

    The algorithm occurs anywhere there is self-replication.

    The traveling salesman solving algorithm? Please, explain.

  225. 225
    Petrushka says:

    It’s used by the immune system to increase antibody specificity. It works. And it’s a design method.

    You keep saying that. You keep saying there is some elemental difference between natural selection and inteligent selection.

    Can you apply design detection to distinguish between the histories of peacocks and Japanese show fowl?

  226. 226
    gpuccio says:

    Petrushka:

    You keep saying there is some elemental difference between natural selection and inteligent selection.

    I say it and I argue for that. From my post #94:

    “b) Intelligent selection. That is probably one of the most powerful option for an intelligent designer. If evolutionary algorithms have proved anything, it’s that intelligent selection can very well do the magic. Even Dawkins’ infamous Weasel clearly demonstrates that you can easily reach a solution by a random search if you already know it.

    Indeed, there are at least three different ways a designer can use intelligent selection, IOW thre different ways an “oracle” can optimize an algorithm for the search of biological funtion, operationg through a random variation engine:

    b1) Intelligent selection though previous knowledge of the solution.

    That’s exactly the case of the Weasel. The designer already knows the solution, and he just “matches” the various variations against the solution. Easy, but nor specially useful. The same result can certainly be reached through direct guided variation.
    But, if guided variation is not available, and if the designer knows the solution, intelligent selection of random variation remains a very efficient procedure.

    b2) Intelligent selection through knowledge of the function to be achieved, and measurement of that function after random variation.

    That’s the case of the Szostac paper, of antibody maturation, and in general of all bottom up protein engineering. It’s very efficient, too, because direct measurement of the function allows very fine and sensitive selection, and really optimizes the search.

    It’s interesting to note that this case includes, as a very tiny subset of it, what is usually called “natural selection”. Indeed, natural selection is just a very raw and limited form of intelligent selection where only one function can be measured: reproductive advantage.

    b3) Finally, an importan accessory method for intelligent design in biology is targeted random mutation. IOW, the mutations can be random, but with specific constraints which are based on previous knowledge of the search space, which, as Dembski and Marks have shown, is a very effective way of introducing active information in the search. We have again an example of that in antibody maturation, where selective hypermutation (restricted to the perinent parts of the gene) is applied to the existing antibody to increase its affinity, and the results are evaluated, and then selected positively or negatively, through a measurement of function (binding to the stored antigen).

    It’s important to consider that all the above mechanisms could have been used together, or differently in different cases.”

    I state again here that NS is only a tiny subset of case b2. In NS, the only function which is recognized is reproductive advantage. And in true NS, that function is not really rewarded actively by the system: it just “self-rewards itself” through expansion in the population.

    We can well imagine a form of intelligent selection where reproductive advantage is directly measured by the system, and actively rewarded by immediate expansion. That would be a form of intelligent selection which, though measuring the same function as NS, would be more efficient.

    As intelligent selection can measure any function we want, and in any degree, and actively reward it, it is obvious that it is hugely more powerful than NS.

    Can you unbderstand that? That’s an argument.

  227. 227
    gpuccio says:

    Petrushka:

    Can you apply design detection to distinguish between the histories of peacocks and Japanese show fowl?

    Why should I do such a bizarre thing?

  228. 228
    Acipenser says:

    “WJM: First, the theory that other creatures might have intelligence is not “nothing but speculation”, because we already have one creature with intelligence; that is evidence that creatures in the universe can be intelligent.”

    It is speculation that there are other ‘intelligent’ (as we’ve used it in sand sculture creation)and will remain so until we have evidence to the contrary. If it weren’t you would have simply provided the example I requested.

    “WJM: Second, even if it was speculation, so? Is such speculation non-scientific? Can it not lead to fruitful scientific enquiry, such as the speculation, in years past, that other stars might have planets orbiting them? Or was such speculation a waste of scientific time and effort?”

    Speculation in and of itself is fine the trouble arises when someone mistakes such speculations as being factual.

    “WJM: Why do you avoid simply answering the questions I ask in the manner I ask them? Let’s say you’re right and we know how all crop circles are made now; before we knew, we didn’t know. All we had were strange geometric patterns in the crops. Why didn’t everyone just assume it was a natural phenomena? Why did everyone conclude that they had to be the product of some form of intelligence?”

    Why didn’t you provide me with the example I requested? Or even admit that you were constrained by the same evidence that everyone else is constrained by?

    Of course ‘we’ knew crop circles were of human origins. Afterall people created them and I doubt they did so unknowingly. That everyone did not conclude the same thing does not influence the human-nature of the crop circle constructs. No one concluded natural phenomena because the crop circles are human art work and we are very familiar with human artwork and what it looks like. Much like sand sculptures.

    “WJM: You attribute comments to me in 171 I didn’t make.”

    my apologies!

  229. 229
    Petrushka says:

    gpuccio:

    You present three examples of selection but ignore and fail to present the case applicable to biology.

    The case where there is no target.

    The case where there is no anticipatory mutation.

    The case where there is no known solution.

    The case where, for reasons too complex to anticipate, children having some characteristic have more offspring than children not having the characteristic.

    As for why you would want to be able to tell the history of peacocks from the history of show fowl, it goes to the heart of whether you can say anything about the history of a living thing simply by toting up its CSI, or whatever.

    Some of your compatriots, earlier in this thread, claimed that dog breeds were obviously designed. That kind of statement seems common among design proponents. You just look at something, tote up its CSI, and voila, you know if it is natural or designed. So I’d like to know if this claim is BS, or whether it can be applied in an instance where we have known dissimilar histories.

    I pick on you because you seem to think there is some intrinsic difference between natural and artificial selection, as if they have different capabilities.

  230. 230
    Acipenser says:

    “StepehnB: Petrushka and Acipenser continue to avoid my question about whether naturalistic forces could have formed the image of a beat up 1959 Ford without the engine.”

    If the image is made of sand then humans made it. It really isn’t any more complex than that.

    “gpuccio: Your argument is false. Conscious intelligence is a property of humans. We have no reasons to affirm that other beings cannot be conscious and intelligent like humans. Can you exclude, or consider unlikely, that intelligent aliens may exist?”

    It wasn’t an argument it was a question. But in any case, gpuccio, do you have any reason to believe that straw cannot be spun into gold?

  231. 231
    gpuccio says:

    Petrushka:

    You present three examples of selection but ignore and fail to present the case applicable to biology.

    Not true. Please read again:

    “I state again here that NS is only a tiny subset of case b2. In NS, the only function which is recognized is reproductive advantage. And in true NS, that function is not really rewarded actively by the system: it just “self-rewards itself” through expansion in the population.

    We can well imagine a form of intelligent selection where reproductive advantage is directly measured by the system, and actively rewarded by immediate expansion. That would be a form of intelligent selection which, though measuring the same function as NS, would be more efficient.”

    You seem really confused about that. Your blind beliefs prevent you from a very simple reasoning: there is a very specific target in NS: reproductive advantage. That’s the function which can be recognized, that’s the function that RV must be able to build.

    And, as I said, it is a very specific function, which reduces NS to a tiny, powerless subset of IS. Please, answer that, instead of hiding behind myths like “no target”.

    Some of your compatriots, earlier in this thread, claimed that dog breeds were obviously designed. That kind of statement seems common among design proponents. You just look at something, tote up its CSI, and voila, you know if it is natural or designed. So I’d like to know if this claim is BS, or whether it can be applied in an instance where we have known dissimilar histories.

    I have never commented on dog breeds. I am really not interested in them (I leave them to Dawkins). I don’t know the subject very well, and I don’t believe it is relevant to the ID theory. It is possible, IMO, that “races” in a species (be it dogs or humans) are connected just to sexual re-shuffling of alleles. That can be random or designed (in the case of dog breeders), but I am not sure if design detection could distinguish between the two cases, because I have really no idea of how to define the function or compute the complexity. That’s why I am not interested to analyze that particular scenario.

  232. 232
    gpuccio says:

    Acipenser:

    The possible existence of intelligent aliens is considered a very serious possibility by many mainstream scientists. Not everybody is so obstinate in denying reasonable inferences as you seem to be.

  233. 233
    kairosfocus says:

    Petrushka:

    Any practitioner of serious empirical methods knows that a method or technique does not have to apply to all and any cases in order to be useful and effective, or even reliable and trustworthy within its context of use.

    You have repeatedly been presented with a warrant for the inference from functionally specific, complex information to its routinely observed — and only observed — source [intelligence], in the context that other major causal factors [chance and/or necessity] are seen as not sufficiently capable to be a credible source.

    You have not been able to produce the classic rebuttal to an inductive case on inference to best explanation: a counter example.

    Instead you have assailed a limited method for what it is not and has never claimed to be: a universal method that detects any and all designs, beyond any rational doubt or question.

    Such a standard is not a proper standard of criticism within science, as you know or should know.

    Kindly therefore refrain from setting up and knocking over strawmen.

    GEM of TKI

  234. 234
    Petrushka says:

    I state again here that NS is only a tiny subset of case b2.

    I guess I had trouble following how a process that has no goal or target or anticipation could be a subset of “Intelligent selection through knowledge of the function to be achieved.”

  235. 235
    Petrushka says:

    We can well imagine a form of intelligent selection where reproductive advantage is directly measured by the system, and actively rewarded by immediate expansion. That would be a form of intelligent selection which, though measuring the same function as NS, would be more efficient.”

    Really. If it is easy to imagine, I’d like to hear the details of how you directly measure reproductive advantage.

    Sound like the old Soviet 5-year plans that were going to be more efficient than capitalism.

  236. 236
    Acipenser says:

    “gpuccio: The possible existence of intelligent aliens is considered a very serious possibility by many mainstream scientists. Not everybody is so obstinate in denying reasonable inferences as you seem to be.”

    It is one thing to postulate intelligent life in the universe. It is quite another to postulate intelligent life traveling the universe creating life with their technology. From that point it would be a reasonable inference that straw can be spun into gold.

  237. 237
    Petrushka says:

    Instead you have assailed a limited method for what it is not and has never claimed to be: a universal method that detects any and all designs, beyond any rational doubt or question.

    Actually, I merely asked for input on a fescases relevant to this thread.

    ID proponents presented the case of the sand sculpture, and I asked if ID had an actual metric, a procedure for distinguishing natural sand sculptures such as fossils from human crafted replicas.

    Someone on this thread said dog breeds were obviously the result of artificial selection, so I asked if ID had a method that would distinguish the histories of peacocks from that of show birds.

    I also asked how ID eliminated false positives without presenting a case for natural formation of things like the martian face.

    I wondered if there is a method for eliminating false positives that does not require finding a plausible naturalistic history.

  238. 238
    gpuccio says:

    Petrushka:

    it’s simple: In an algorithm based on RV + NS, RV has to build the function of reproductive advantage, otherwise no selection is possible. So, it’s not true that there is no target. The algorithm works only with the function of reproductive advantage, so that’s the only valid target for the system.

    If in a lab we measure reproductive advantage in a lab system, and reward it actively, we will have an equeivalent of NS, only more powerful (the active reward can certainly be more efficient than just waiting for spontaneous expansion. That wouls be a first example of how intelligent selection is better than NS.

    But the true point is that IS can measure and reward any possible property. Szostac in his experiment has meausred, selected and rewarded sticking to ATP. Any intelligent designer can measure and reward any kind of fucntion, or simply of property, at any minimal level. So, intelligent selection can select specific properties even if they do not immediately confer a reproductive advantage, and use them in the general program of the design.

    In the case of antibody maturation, just think what would happend if the organism modified the initial antibody by random hypermutation and then just waited to see if any reproductive advantage had emerged. That would never work.

    Instead, the immune system does the intelligent thing. It changes the initial antibody by hypervariation, and then immediately it tests it against the stored epitope. If the affinity has incresed, the new cell clone is promoted, otherwise it is inhibited.

    That’s why antibody maturation has all the characteristics of intelligent design: targeted hypermutation, intelligent selection through fine measurement of the desired function, and active rewarding/inhibiting of the mutated clones. And it works! The affinity drastically increases in a few months.

    Obviously, here the intelligent algorithm is embedded in the immune system. Guees by whom?

  239. 239
    gpuccio says:

    Acipenser:

    It is one thing to postulate intelligent life in the universe. It is quite another to postulate intelligent life traveling the universe creating life with their technology. From that point it would be a reasonable inference that straw can be spun into gold.

    Why? Because aliens would not be able to do what Venter deems himself capable to realize? (I mean creating life, not traveling in the universe 🙂 ).

    Or is your problem with the traveling?

    Anyway, I really don’t know why I am defending the alien hypothesis: it is certainly not mine. Its purpose was only to demonstrate that intelligence can be conceived even out of the human reference.

  240. 240
    gpuccio says:

    Petrushka:

    ID proponents presented the case of the sand sculpture, and I asked if ID had an actual metric, a procedure for distinguishing natural sand sculptures such as fossils from human crafted replicas.

    Again, fossils are not “natural sand sculptures”. The form in them comes from the biological being.

    I wondered if there is a method for eliminating false positives that does not require finding a plausible naturalistic history.

    Yes, there is. CSI is the way. The confutation of the ID detection through CSI could be achieved by presenting a credible naturalistic model based on RV + any necessity mechanism. The detailed natural history is not necessary.

    But if no such model exists (and RV + NS is not a credible model) than ID remains the best explanation.

  241. 241
    William J. Murray says:

    Acipenser & Petrushka:
    .
    Will one of you answer how (by what process) one can ever make a determination that a solitary artifact found on an otherwise desolate planet was the product of some form of intelligent design?
    .
    Is there a scientific means to make such a determination? Must it be intuition? Something else?

  242. 242
    gpuccio says:

    Petrushka:

    Really. If it is easy to imagine, I’d like to hear the details of how you directly measure reproductive advantage.

    Are you kidding? For instance, if the system is an agar culture, you can just measure the diameter of the colony after a standard time.

    And even if you did not measure anything, you could just let the new clone expand spontaneously, and that would be at least as efficient as NS (even more, if you intervene with some selective rewarding as soon as a definite level of expansion is achieved.

    Where is your problem?

  243. 243
    Acipenser says:

    “gpuccio: Why? Because aliens would not be able to do what Venter deems himself capable to realize? (I mean creating life, not traveling in the universe ).”

    The aliens/designers can do anything we can imagine and thus, we must accept that it is possible to spin straw into gold. We have no method to exclude such a possibility so we must accept it as a valid construct. Maybe those stories we called fairytales were really testimonials.

  244. 244
    gpuccio says:

    Acipenser:

    Are you saying Venter’s plans are fairy tales? (Maybe you have some sense, sfter all).

  245. 245
    Acipenser says:

    “WJM: Will one of you answer how (by what process) one can ever make a determination that a solitary artifact found on an otherwise desolate planet was the product of some form of intelligent design?
    .
    Is there a scientific means to make such a determination? Must it be intuition? Something else?”

    If you want me to play ‘let’s pretned’ you’ll have to give me more details. Starting with: What planet will we find the artifact on?

  246. 246
    Acipenser says:

    g”puccio: Are you saying Venter’s plans are fairy tales? (Maybe you have some sense, sfter all).”

    No, I did not say that at all. Venter’s claims will be limited by the data his, and others, research generates. However, your position that nothing can be excluded makes anything possible.

    Do you deny that it is possible to spin straw into gold?

  247. 247
    Petrushka says:

    it’s simple: In an algorithm based on RV + NS, RV has to build the function of reproductive advantage, otherwise no selection is possible. So, it’s not true that there is no target.

    Suppose you are a designer and your boss says to increase the reproductive advantage of model 4573-A-23.

    What do you do?

  248. 248
    kairosfocus says:

    Distract, distort, dismiss . . .

  249. 249
    StephenB says:

    —Acipenser: “If the image is made of sand then humans made it. It really isn’t any more complex than that.”

    Please attend to the questions that I did ask and please do not answer questions that I did not ask.

    [A] Could naturalistic forces [such as wind, water, sand, erosion etc. ] have formed the image of a beat up 1959 Ford?

    [B] Suppose space explorers go to Mars and find the following symbols etched in the sand: “Pretrushka and Acipenser have both contracted a condition called designophobia.” Could naturalistic forces such as wind, water, and erosion have produced that sequence?

  250. 250
    Acipenser says:

    “StephenB:A] Could naturalistic forces [such as wind, water, sand, erosion etc. ] have formed the image of a beat up 1959 Ford?”

    Let’s clear up one question at a time shall we. What is the image made out of, i.e., photograph, sand sculpture, ect?

  251. 251
    kairosfocus says:

    Onlookers:

    After 250 posts, it is time to draw out a few conclusions, given the nature and evident roots of he impasse we saw overnight.

    For, it is quite evident that there is an unfortunate rhetorical policy in effect on the side of evolutionary materialistic advocacy. One that is utterly hostile to the spirit of inquiry towards discerning the truth about our world based on evidence that lies at the heart of genuine scientific endeavour.

    Let us therefore recall what Newton had to say in 1704 in Opticks, Query 31, to remind us of what has been lost or suppressed:

    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 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.

    1 –> Newton points out that we must begin with analysis of actual observed experience if we are to have a sound base for science.

    2 –> He then proceeds to infer what he calls “General Conclusions” achieved by inductive inference. (In our more modern understanding, we appreciate that a key aspect of this is inference to best explanation of patterns of observation, which gives us rules of inference that we may use in prediction and further testing through onward observations and/or experiments.)

    3 –> In turn, the only objections to be entertained against such inferred provisional explanatory models are those tracing to further facts of observation or to the certain demonstrations of logic and mathematics.

    4 –> He therefore exerts a stricture on imposition of speculative metaphysical impositions. In short, no censoring a prioris need apply. (What a contrast tot he Lewontinian a priori evolutionary materialism highlighted above, and associated censorship by so-called methodological naturalism.)

    5 –> He acknowledges the inevitable provisionality and open-endedness of such an inductive procedure, pointing out that our predicament (as finite, fallible and too often ill-willed creatures) is such that this provisional inference to and on the empirically reliable is the best we can do, in practical reasoning and investigation.

    6 –> he notes that empirically reliable generalisations may be trusted pending observations that expose limitations.

    7 –> He highlights the focal patterns of such analysis of experiences and observations: from compounds to constituents, from changes to the driving facts that trigger them, from effects to causes, and from the particular to the general. (This is where cumulative inference to best explanation becomes most evident.)

    9 –>He then highlights the role of Synthesis, which uses well-established, empirically reliable ingredients, forces and causes to deduce predictive conclusions. This is also used for elaboration and general explanation of new phenomena, testing and for application to the control of natural phenomena. (Thus, Newton hints at the use of science in technology.)

    10 –> It takes no great effort to see that the design inference process fits in well with these investigatory strategies.

    11 –> For, chance, necessity and art are well-known, long since empirically well-established causal facts [just think about hypothesis testing in statistical studies and related ANOVA variance and factor analysis as applied to experimental [treatment vs control group designs] and observational studies, in both pure and applied scientific contexts]. They each have characteristic signs, which may be characterised and investigated as to reliability:

    (a) Explanation of natural regularity by lawlike necessity is a method championed by Newton.

    (b) Explanation by chance circumstances and stochastic processes has an equally long pedigree, though it really came to its own in the elucidation of the statistical behaviour of gas molecules and atoms, and in the surprising world of Quantum mechanics.

    (c) In many scientific disciplines, identification of agent action is a concern, and practical techniques have long been used, often in contexts of life and death. And, the significance of intelligent signals in information theory is also of great significance.

    (d) And in particular, the whole Internet and the wider world of technology in which we live (surely, a world of empirical phenomena to be observed and investigated for significant patterns!) stand in demonstration of the power and reliability of functionally specific complex information (especially digital information that is algorithmic or linguistic) as reliable signs of intelligence.

    12 –> So, when we see a sand sculpture of a Corvette Sting Ray or an old beat up Ford, or run across a sign scrawled in the sand on a beach [on this world or another would make no material difference] there is excellent reason to scientifically and confidently infer from FSCI as sign to the signified causal factor, art.

    13 –> Similarly, when we see computers as entities reflecting algorithms, data structures and implementing machines in an irreducibly complex whole, we have excellent reason to infer form complex, finely co-adapted functional organisation and associated information, to design.

    14 –> And it is well known that such computers don’t normally come about by the functional equivalent to tornadoes hitting Dell’s junkyard in Austin Texas.

    (This is logically and physically possible, but on the vastness of the configuration space involved, the islands of function are far too deeply isolated in the space to expect that we would see such an event even once, even if similar blind chance and mechanical forces were to act using the entire resources of the observed cosmos for its thermodynamic lifespan. The search capacity of the observed cosmos is simply far too small a fraction of the relevant config space to make such a random walk search across configurations sample a fraction of possible configs significantly different from zero.)

    15 –> So, the project of design theory is classically scientific.

    ____________

    Why then is it so controversial and so stoutly resisted that we see not the slightest intention to even look at the thought experiment cases proposed above?

    Plainly, the problem is not the merits of the approach or the project per classical scientific interests and criteria of sound process.

    Something is interfering with the normal process of science.

    In short, we see abundant evidence of ideology manifest in rhetorical agenda, and its damaging effects, once science is understood as a pursuit of the truth about our world in light of evidence.

    Specifically, the Lewontinian agenda of a priori materialism.

    So, it is time to restore the integrity of science.

    GEM of TKI

  252. 252
    kairosfocus says:

    PS: Above, several times there was mention of coming across a crashed spaceship, and how one would go about inferring from the FSCI to its credible source in a presumably alien technology. Now, we have something that is fairly close to that to deal with: the living cell embeds a discrete state, coded data structure using, algorithmic process expressed through a cluster of molecular nanomachines.

    That leads us to the now classic challenge posed by Denton:

    _______________

    >> 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 kilometers in diameter [[so each atom in it would be “the size of a tennis ball”] 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 port holes 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 we would 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 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 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 components, error fail-safe and proof-reading devices used for quality control, assembly processes involving the principle of prefabrication and modular construction . . . . However, it would be a factory which would have one capacity not equaled 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 . . . .

    Unlike our own pseudo-automated assembly plants, where external controls are being continually applied, the cell’s manufacturing capability is entirely self-regulated . . . . [Denton, Michael, Evolution: A Theory in Crisis, Adler, 1986, pp. 327 – 331.] >>
    ________________

    In that light, it would be well worth the pause to examine the video here. (Observe the contrasting interviews with Dawkins and Denton.)

  253. 253
    kairosfocus says:

    F/N: The daily dose from Youtube.

    [ThatOneQuestion:] @brando92346? “You care to back up your? assertions? ”
    .
    No need to: Behe’s claim of supernatural causation is unsupported, fallacious, and completely useless in explaining anything, especially since it is untestable.

    1 –> Behe made no claim of supernatural causation [i.e loaded words are here being dishonestly put into mouths], but instead pointed out that irreducible complexity exists and is such that Darwinian mechanisms cannot credibly achieve it, as several well-matched adaptations would have to simultaneously occur to achieve function.

    2 –> This is of course an example of the injection of the ad hominem laced strawman contrast “natural vs supernatural” instead of addressing what has been on the table ever since Plato in The Laws Bk X [as already cited above and referred to in the Weak Argument Correctives for coming on two years now so there is no excuse]: natural forces of chance and necessity vs intelligent acts of art.

    3 –> It is worth citing a useful triple definition of irreducible complexity, from ISCID:

    Michael Behe’s Original Definition:
    A single system composed of several well-matched, interacting parts that contribute to the basic function of the system, wherein the removal of any one of the parts causes the system to effectively cease functioning. (Darwin’s Black Box, 39)

    William Dembski’s Enhanced Definition:
    A system performing a given basic function is irreducibly complex if it includes a set of well-matched, mutually interacting, nonarbitrarily individuated parts such that each part in the set is indispensable to maintaining the system’s basic, and therefore original, function. The set of these indispensable parts is known as the irreducible core of the system. (No Free Lunch, 285)

    Michael Behe’s “Evolutionary” Definition
    An irreducibly complex evolutionary pathway is one that contains one or more unselected steps (that is, one or more necessary-but-unselected mutations). The degree of irreducible complexity is the number of unselected steps in the pathway.

    4 –> A bit of historical context, from Darwin, in Origin Ch 6:

    He who will go thus far, if he find on finishing this treatise that large bodies of facts, otherwise inexplicable, can be explained by the theory of descent, ought not to hesitate to go further, and to admit that a structure even as perfect as the eye of an eagle might be formed by natural selection, although in this case he does not know any of the transitional grades. His reason ought to conquer his imagination; though I have felt the difficulty far too keenly to be surprised at any degree of hesitation in extending the principle of natural selection to such startling lengths.

    It is scarcely possible to avoid comparing the eye to a telescope. We know that this instrument has been perfected by the long-continued efforts of the highest human intellects; and we naturally infer that the eye has been formed by a somewhat analogous process. But may not this inference be presumptuous? Have we any right to assume that the Creator works by intellectual powers like those of man? If we must compare the eye to an optical instrument, we ought in imagination to take a thick layer of transparent tissue, with a nerve sensitive to light beneath, and then suppose every part of this layer to be continually changing slowly in density, so as to separate into layers of different densities and thicknesses, placed at different distances from each other, and with the surfaces of each layer slowly changing in form. Further we must suppose that there is a power always intently watching each slight accidental alteration in the transparent layers; and carefully selecting each alteration which, under varied circumstances, may in any way, or in any degree, tend to produce a distincter image. We must suppose each new state of the instrument to be multiplied by the million; and each to be preserved till a better be produced, and then the old ones to be destroyed. In living bodies, variation will cause the slight alterations, generation will multiply them almost infinitely, and natural selection will pick out with unerring skill each improvement. Let this process go on for millions on millions of years; and during each year on millions of individuals of many kinds; and may we not believe that a living optical instrument might thus be formed as superior to one of glass, as the works of the Creator are to those of man?

    If it could be demonstrated that any complex organ existed, which could not possibly have been formed by numerous, successive, slight modifications, my theory would absolutely break down. But I can find out no such case . . .

    5 –> of course, Darwin loaded the matter: he here exerts not a criterion of level playing field inference to best explanation, but of LOGICAL POSSIBILITY, to justify a case where all he could offer was imagination.

    6 –> So, on fair comment, we see that there is excellent reason to note that irreducibly complex systems [which are evidently quite common in life forms, despite much hand waving, special pleading and specious attempted rebuttals] are not credibly produced by mechanisms of slow incremental change,where each tiny step of advance must be able to win the battle for survival on a population basis.

    6 –> This, for the very excellent reason that ex hypothesi each such step of advance has no foresight on the ultimate outcome, so it must be immediately advantageous. Or the very forces of natural selection being alluded to would eliminate it, long before cumulative change would lead to success. (The origin of the avian wing and lung as well as skeletal structure are excellent cases in point to check the triumphalistic dismissals that are so commonly encountered.)

    8 –> Of course, the concept of irreducible complexity is a commonplace in engineering, e.g certain car parts are vital: take one out and the car is dead. Similarly, in biology, there are many cases of systems that are evidently like that.

    9 –> This is implied by the sort of objections that are commonly made, on proposed — actualy, imagined [no solid evidence of steps of origin and shift to novel use are actually demonstrated from undeniable empirical facts (per newton on speculative “hypotheses”), the TTSS being a capital case of a derivative entity being put forth as a precursor] — co-optation of structures originally serving another purpose.

    9 –> Those who make such an objection plainly have never had to do much adaptation of components to make a new system. For, the functional integration of components to do a new task is generally a non-trivial engineering exercise. (Compare how often engineers have to come up with adapters of one form or another. A classic case in point was the on the fly creation of a CO2 scrubber after the emergency on the Apollo 13 Moon shot.)

    10 –> Irreducible complexity is therefore neither useless, nor fallacious nor untestable. Many systems exhibit the behaviour, as any broken down car by the roadside can demonstrate.

    11 –> It evidently occurs in many biological cases. And, it can be tested for by simply seeing if [one by one] knocking out the relevant part blocks function, and putting it back in restores function.

    12 –> Similarly, the claim that such IC entities can arise incrementally can in principle be tested by showing clear factual evidence of such development, from the living and/or fossil worlds. From the hypothetical and speculative nature of ever so many objections, this plainly has not been done.

    ____________

    In short, we see how the same problem of failure to do an honest evaluation of design theory claims on their own terms crops up yet again. Instead we see red herrings, led out to ad hominem soaked strawmen, ignited to cloud, confuse, polarise and poison the atmosphere.

    Sad, and sadly revealing about the state of science and science education in our day.

    GEM of TKI

  254. 254
    kairosfocus says:

    Ouch on numbering . . .

  255. 255
    kairosfocus says:

    PS: Behe’s discussion here of how objections to the mousetrap as an iconic case of irreducible complexity fail but are persuasive, is an important read, and shows the utter contrast between the real Behe and the rhetorically convenient strawman being assailed over at Youtube.

  256. 256
    StephenB says:

    —Acipenser: “Let’s clear up one question at a time shall we. What is the image made out of, i.e., photograph, sand sculpture, ect?”

    We have been discussing a sand formation. Can any combination of naturalistic forces [wind, water, erosion, time etc.] (meaning without the help of an intelligent agent) produce the specific model in question?

  257. 257
    Gaz says:

    Back after a weekend away and you guys have really been busy….

    StephenB (249),

    “[A] Could naturalistic forces [such as wind, water, sand, erosion etc. ] have formed the image of a beat up 1959 Ford?

    [B] Suppose space explorers go to Mars and find the following symbols etched in the sand: “Pretrushka and Acipenser have both contracted a condition called designophobia.” Could naturalistic forces such as wind, water, and erosion have produced that sequence?”

    Can I have a go? The answer to A is that it depends on the fidelity of the “image”. Very often, humans – being creatures that have evolved to recognise and compare patterns -look at something entirely natural and say “that looks just like a [example: beat up 1959 Ford]. That’s where the phrase “methink it is like a weasel” comes from – the character (Hamlet, I believe) points out that the cloud looks like a weasel.

    So, StephenB – was the weasel-shaped cloud designed? Answer that one, and I’ll give you the rest of my answer on the car.

    Answer to [B] is: it’s possible but incredibly unlikely that it was done naturally. Most likely it’s either designed (i.e. someone wrote it from scratch) or it’s selected for. In the latter case, it’s quite possible that an entity saw wind-blown sand swirls making letters individually, froze them and collected them to put together to make the sentence. Selecting them as in the case of “methink it is like a weasel”, for instance.

    (By the way – your response on the burglar and the drawers was wrong again. Foresnics often can tell how a drawer was was opened – e.g. finger prints on the handle will tell if the handle was pulled to open, and which hand or hands it was done with. The surrounding aspects of the crime scene will also tell if a tornado was involved: no tornado has ever opened a drawer without leaving other effects. As far as your comments on cause and effects is concerned, I’m tired of telling you – you just don’t seem to learn – that the classical world we see is completely different to the quamntum world. In the former, cause and effect clearly apply: in the latter, it’s clear that sometimes they don’t. You trying to extrapolate classical world effects to turn them into “laws” that apply generally, even at the quantum and cosmological level, shows that you aren’t thinking scientifically and using the evidence found at these other levels. You can forget your metaphysics: if the evidence says one thing and the metaphysics another, then its the metaphysics that’s wrong).

  258. 258
    kairosfocus says:

    Onlookers:

    Gaz, 257, of course is busily not addressing the substance of discussions of Figs I.1 – 3 here (as has been repeatedly pointed out), on high-fidelity images vs the commonly encountered natural phenomena of imaginative resemblance that the cloud looking vaguely like a weasel exemplifies.

    (If one were to see a cloud with a high precision, accurate weasel image, one would strongly infer to design; of course, e.g. some sort of hologram. [Unless, one were inclined to infer to a ghost instead, a very different type of inference. Thus, we easily see the difference between nature vs art and nature vs the supernatural.])

    Unsurprisingly, a high fidelity image exhibits FSCI, as can be determined form a mesh of controlled points and arcs joining them to create a faceted surface. (Cf already linked detailed discussion here. Notice the role played by a triangular mesh with up to six million facets.)

    So, we again see the now familiar pattern of distraction, distortion and dismissal or evasion on the part of objectors tot he scientific validity of the inference to design from functionally specific, complex information. (Observe my specific remarks on that at 251.)

    However, eventually, the piper has to be paid: advocates for a cause indulge such fallacies of irrelevancy constantly only because they do not have a good case on the merits.

    Coming on 300 posts, and we still see evasions . . .

    GEM of TKI

  259. 259
    Petrushka says:

    Lots of words being written, but I see no one addressing any of the real problems with ID as a conjecture.

    ID rests on a foundation of big numbers and huge configuration spaces.

    But big numbers are a problem for designers. No one has explained how designers get around the problem.

    How does a designer calculate the effects of changing a sequence that codes for a protein?

    Is it even possible to design from first principles? I’m not aware that anyone in the field of physics or chemistry thinks that emergent properties can be deduced.

    Even in the simple case of deducing the properties of water from the properties of hydrogen and oxygen.

    The challenge for design advocates is to demonstrate that it is possible to deduce emergent properties.

    We know that cut and try works. Inefficiently, but it works.

  260. 260
    Petrushka says:

    The design advocates seem stuck on sand models of cars, but refuse to tackle real-world problems of design detection.

    We know because we have historical documents, that most pedigreed animals are the result of selective breeding by humans. At least a few ID advocates on this thread have argued that artificial of “intelligent” selection is conceptually quite different (more efficient) than natural selection.

    If this is true, then one ought to be able to distinguish samples of artificially bred animals from those that exist without human intervention.

    Isn’t that what design detection is about, separating things that would not exist without intelligent intervention, from those that exist without intervention?

  261. 261
    kairosfocus says:

    PS: Gaz then thrashes on about quantum level phenomena being different from lab scale ones etc.

    Gaz, is an ordinary drawer in an ordinary house subject to significant quantum effects, or are they not in the zone where there is a convergence between the two per the correspondence principle and the known reliability of Newtonian dynamics at that scale? And, do such effects happen without causes in our observation?

    Moreover, you are trying to imply that quantum effects happen without causes, i.e your plain intent is to deny and dismiss causality.

    FYI, Gaz, causes act in two logical forms: sufficient and necessary ones. When sufficient factors are present an effect WILL happen. When necessary ones are absent, it cannot.

    When we look at quantum phenomena, there are abundant necessary factors involved, but we have reason to believe we do not know the sufficient ones, so we report on a stochastic pattern, often with hard upper or lower limits, e.g. absent enough energy int he photon, no photoelectrons will be emitted, no matter how intense the light; a key observation in establishing Q-th and gaining Einstein his Nobel Prize. Quantum effects, in short, are not a-causal.

    Rhe distractions and distorrtions fail, again.

    Let us get back to basics: can you identify a clear case where we directly know the cause and functionally specific complex information [1,000 or more bits capacity] is a result of blind chance and mechanical necessity?

  262. 262
    Petrushka says:

    The third problem that I don’t see being address is the problem of false positives.

    The world is full of bad inferences. Throughout human history people have attributed intelligence to natural phenomena.

    Lightening, earthquakes, volcanoes, problems with crops and fertility. People have invented countless gods and demiurges to account for these phenomena.

    One can easily invent hypothetical cases of sand Corvettes, but there is no need to invent imaginary cases. History is full of real cases.

    Take a real case and do the math. Show how application of design detection principles could unambiguously distinguish between natural objects and objects that could not exist without intelligent intervention.

    I’ve mentioned several candidates. The Martian face, the Martian glass worms, the Martian trees, any of a number of megalithic objects, such as stone faces or stone balls, Alphabet characters occurring on living things.

    Pick any one of these and do the math. Demonstrate how design detection can avoid false positives without reference to the history of the object.

  263. 263
    kairosfocus says:

    Onlookers:

    The distractions continue, here Petrushka:

    ID rests on a foundation of big numbers and huge configuration spaces. But big numbers are a problem for designers. No one has explained how designers get around the problem. How does a designer calculate the effects of changing a sequence that codes for a protein?

    We know that designers are able to use intelligence and imagination to surmount challenges, using heuristics and experience as well as knowledge and analysis. That is as commonplace as posts in this blog thread, and it is as culturally and economically important as the discipline of engineering. (And TRIZ has already been linked and remarked on. That is P has failed to read and ensure his understansding before commenting adversely.)

    Similarly, when Newton deduced the law of Gravitation, no-one understood how it worked. The same held for any number of major scientific discoveries.

    That is we see a selectively hyperskeptical dismissal.

    Going beyond that Petrushka again tries to change the subject.

    Since he knows we do not fully understand protein folding, he points to a notoriously hard and unsolved problem, on the pretence that this suffices to dismiss a far simpler one where we have a large body of evidence that supports the contention that FSCI is a reliable sign of design.

    He needs to go back to 251 and look at how Newton saw science as making cumulative progress. To refuse to use the light of the candle we do have, because we do not have full daylight is no excuse. (And, lest I be accused of plagiarism in the mad rush to indict design thinkers with any handy accusation, that is from Locke in his introduction to his Essay on Human Understanding.)

    GEM of TKI

  264. 264
    William J. Murray says:

    kairosfocus:

    Love the Newton reference above. As usual, you provide a profound and straightforward – and complete – rebuttal and analysis.

    The anti-ID proponents are simply fully committed to defending their materialist ideology, which prevents them, IMO, from accepting simple, self-evident premises and following the argument to a simple, rational conclusion – which is why they obfuscate and avoid the direct thought-experiment arguments.

    Humans have ID and employ it to generate lineages of biological features that cannot be accounted for via current evolutionary theory; current evolutionary theory doesn’t allow artificial selection, or deliberate, teleological transfer of genetic material – in fact these have been declared “non-scientific” as potential contributors to evolutionary theory.

    How then can evolutionary theory be a complete or sufficient set of explanatory models when it comes to describing how life evolves over time? Evolutionary theorists have deliberated omitted by rule a commodity that is known to have contributed to it for thousands of years – the intelligent design of humans in the form of selective breeding and direct genetic manipulation.

    It is inescapable logic that the teleological designs and manipulations of human ID must be part of evolutionary theory, and must be scientific, or else evolutionary theory is doomed to inaccuracy and incompleteness.

    Imagine in any other science if ideology prevented known, empirical facts from gaining entrance into the explanatory models … wait, we don’t have to imagine; history is full of just such occurrences, and in one particular case, the role of the church is being played by the materialist scientific mainstream, and the role of Galileo is being played by ID proponents.

  265. 265
    kairosfocus says:

    PWS: Petrushka now wants to assert that the design inference is prone to false positives. In every case he cites the claimed false positive holds for an entity well below the 1,000 bit capacity threshold, or is not particularly specific (i.e is like the case of seeing a face or a weasel in a cloud) and/or is an artifact. E.g. the Mars face was produced by the camera and digital processing equipment; once resolution went up, the vague face vanished. Similarly, the canals seen on Mars in early days vanished on improved resolution, i.e. the phenomenon was insufficiently specific. Again, an examination of the contrast shown in Fig I.1 as linked just now will help resolve the matter. Moreover,the real issue at the heart of this thread, the observed and partly elucidated discrete state algorithmic, coded information system in the living cell is avoided like the plague. No prizes for guessing why, and for guessing what ideological commitment drives the sort of desperation we are seeing.

  266. 266
    kairosfocus says:

    PPS: It should be noted that, because they are so information-dense, images require well over 125 bytes of information to be sufficiently specific to be relevant. 125 bytes in a 3-colour, 24 bits per pixel [8-bit RGB] image would be about 5 pixels worth.

  267. 267
    kairosfocus says:

    Correction: 15 – 20 pixels

  268. 268
    kairosfocus says:

    Head not working right this AM, 40.

  269. 269
    Petrushka says:

    We know that designers are able to use intelligence and imagination to surmount challenges, using heuristics and experience as well as knowledge and analysis.

    I didn’t say it couldn’t be done. I asked how it could be done. It’s a real problem. Show me the solution.

    Mathematical complexity is a simple fact of life. It’s why we can’t forcast the weather in detail for anything more than a few hours. Days under the best conditions.

    The inability to deduce emergent properties is a fact of physics and chemistry.

    As far as we know, these problems are intractable. No one has suggested that they can ever be solved.

    So what you are left with is evolution and its gaps, and design, which appears to be impossible, even in principle.

    Of course you could design using evolution. Evolutionary algorithms are very powerful.

  270. 270
    Petrushka says:

    In every case he cites the claimed false positive holds for an entity well below the 1,000 bit capacity threshold, or is not particularly specific

    You ignored the cases of stone faces, stone balls, peacocks and others, where you have full access to the object.

    Nor did anyone respond in any serious way to the question of distinguishing a fossil from a fake, without reference to the history of the object.

    Remember that ID seems to be a special case of forensics in which one is forbidden to discuss the attributes of the intelligent agent or the possible methods of the agent.

  271. 271
    Petrushka says:

    Also in the realm of false positives are the cases of the blood clotting system and the flagellum, which on investigation are neither irreducible nor isolated in sequence space.

    In fact, as more species are sequenced, it is becoming increasingly difficult to find examples of coding or regulatory sequences that are isolated by more than a couple of mutations from sequences found in other species.

  272. 272
    kairosfocus says:

    Petrushka:

    We have clear historical antecedents to see that it is legitimately scientific to develop theories in absence of complete knowledge on related issues and questions. (Indeed, this is the precise context in which Newton said that he feigns no hypotheses.)

    Furthermore, we see from major incidents in the history of science that the most effective strategy for the advance of science is to move cumulatively, starting from what we can learn and infer on what we know now in a limited area, then adding future developments as they occur. To object to doing business by candlelight because daylight is not available is obviously counterproductive.

    (Maybe I need to point out how my physics profs would talk about the story of the drunk encountering another searching under a streetlight for something. My contacts. After helping for a time without success, the question is: are you sure you lost the lenses here? Nope, I lost them over there in the dark, but this is where the light is. Often in physics, simplified models are what we have to use and they give enough help to begin to at least understand the problem.)

    So, the latest lead distraction and objection is plainly selectively hyperskeptical.

    Going beyond that, we have a specific case in view, that causal factors are known to trace to one or more of chance, necessity and design, with relevant characteristic signs and patterns. We have specific signs of design in view, in particular, functionally specific, complex information. There are literally millions of test cases that show how it is in fact a characteristic of design where we can independently observe that the case is indeed design in action. There are no clear counter-instances, and the latest one being proffered, fails because the images that are/were falsely inferred are not specific enough. (And in any case we now have an implied acceptance that the criterion is subject to empirical testing [a key scientific virtue], not that that has been acknowledged.)

    As to the claim that we are ignoring relevant cases, evidently Petrushka has yet to examine Fig. I.1 in the repeatedly linked before making adverse comments.

    This does not speak well of his approach.

    going on, we now meet the claim that something is excessively complex and so cannot have been designed.

    In actuality, we see that the fine-tuned physics of the observed cosmos — about as complex a material object as we can find — shows patterns of functionally specific complex organisation and related information. On these grounds, an inference from sign to signified is possible, and design is a serious option for cosmology.

    And, again, we find nowhere the faintest trace of a serious coming to grips with the many signs of design in the living cell, in light of the discovery of discrete state [= digital] coded information storage in data structures, used to effect algorithmic assembly processes with halting, using molecular nanomachines that are themselves assembled through the system, and coupled to a metabolising automaton that interacts with its environment, taking in raw materials and energy to achieve its processes. What is more the self replicating facility that uses these entities is a necessary condition for life to emerge and for any possibility of natural selection on differential reproductive success. Worse,t he entity is plainly irreducibly complex, as without any of the key components, or with derangement of functional integration and synchronisation, function collapses.

    So, codes, language, algorithms, digital information processing in integrated systems etc — all which we know are produced by intelligences, and which in every case where we do observe the origin, come form such intelligence, in a context of overwhelming configuration space challenges to chance plus necessity on the gamut of the observed cosmos [i.e. blind chance plus necessity are NOT the credible key causal factors] — long precede man.

    Finally but one, of course evolutionary algorithms are designed, developed, tested and implemented by intelligent designers, using intelligently designed machines.

    We must also never overlook the key issue with such hill-climbing by differential success of modest variation: the islands of function in which one may climb to hilltops of optimal performance, must first be found in the sea of non-functional configurations, starting in the equivalent of Darwin’s warm little pond.

    In short, major questions are being begged by the evolutionary materialism advocates, and we are seeing all sorts of fallacies of irrelevancy, again and again.

    No prizes for guessing why.

    GEM of TKI

  273. 273
    kairosfocus says:

    Petrushka:

    The real false positive on the specific case of the blood clotting cascade was the claimed dismissal. (As I recall, the point that has the irreducible core was AFTER the point that was highlighted in the attempted rebuttal, look it up.)

    In any case, had this been a successful objection, it would only have meant that Behe was in error on a particular case.

    It does not overturn the principle that IC is possible and evidently present in many, many biologically relevant cases. I start giving examples by citing the digital system required for cell replication, i.e right at the root of the tree of life.

    If this one cannot be solved, there is no basis for OOL on evolutionary materialistic premises, and the whole grand claim of origin of biodiveristy on chance + necessity alone is moot.

    With the flagellum, the TTSS, the claimed antecedent that was to have been co-opted and augmented, tu4rns out to be derivative.

    Sequence similarity of proteins of course fails to address the need to assemble and coordinate a functionally specific complex organised entity — which BTW self-assembles — by co-opting disparate parts. Such suggestions only tell those who have had to design and develop engineered systems that their proposers have little or no real world engineering experience. Even so simple a composite entity as a nut and bolt has key subtleties in it.

    Enough for now . . .

    GEM of TKI

  274. 274
    Petrushka says:

    As to the claim that we are ignoring relevant cases, evidently Petrushka has yet to examine Fig. I.1 in the repeatedly linked before making adverse comments.

    I seem to be unable to find the generalized method for distinguishing art from natural objects. Is there some math involved, or is it, “I know it when I see it”?

    I assume you have taken into account the fact that most human produced art is not photographically representational.

  275. 275
    kairosfocus says:

    PS: One must beware the fallacy of the barrage of objections. Issues in science are not like ships that can be blown up and sunk by a lucky shot. And when so many fallacies of distractive irrelevance are being committed it points to a great weakness on the central matter on the part of the evolutionary materialism advocates. It is obvious that hey cannot bring themselves to acknowledge that the question of empirically reliable signs of intelligence in action is a valid scientific question, and one that has significant import for those of us who wish to restore science to its proper course as an unfettered pursuit of the truth about our world based on empirical evidence and uncensored reasoned analysis.

  276. 276
    Petrushka says:

    With the flagellum, the TTSS, the claimed antecedent that was to have been co-opted and augmented, tu4rns out to be derivative.

    Perhaps, but derivitave of what? There are dozens of cilia and partial flagella employing many different subsets of the E.coli proteins.

    Many of the proteins are used in other organisms for purposes other than locomotion.

  277. 277
    Petrushka says:

    PS: One must beware the fallacy of the barrage of objections.

    Good point.

  278. 278
    Petrushka says:

    The real false positive on the specific case of the blood clotting cascade was the claimed dismissal. (As I recall, the point that has the irreducible core was AFTER the point that was highlighted in the attempted rebuttal, look it up.)

    That’s called moving the goalposts.

    Where are you going to move the goalposts when further subsets of clotting proteins are found?

  279. 279
    Petrushka says:

    I will not that I have not fired a barrage. I have brought up approximately three questions for which I think ID should have a response.

    1. How do you eliminate false positives from design detection? I’ve presented a number of scenarios, but haven’t seen the math. It appears to be intuitive.

    2. How does the designer meet the challenge of large numbers — the same large numbers that presumably rule out chance?

    3. How does the designer deduce emergent properties? Or the effects of small changes in a complex ecosystem?

  280. 280
    kairosfocus says:

    Onlookers:

    Back for a moment.

    First it is plain that Petrushka refuses to simply read the discussion surrounding Fig I.1 (and the following two figures), which provide a discussion on the reason for FSCI [and linked organisation] as a reliable empirical sign of design.

    WITHOUT THAT SORT OF GIVE AND TAKE, A REASONED DISCUSSION IS NOT POSSIBLE.

    This is an impasse, and it is occasioned by refusal of evolutionary materialist advocates to be reasonable.

    As for the barrage of objections to the work of Behe, there is a whole universe of exchanges on the topic, and the balance is that the concept of irreducible complexity is plainly valid and indeed a commonplace of technology: we usually have parts in machines because they do a necessary job, and jointly achieve the overall core function. Objections on co-optation typically fail to address the issue of co-ordination and mutual adaptation of parts to work together successfully. They don’t begin to touch on the issue of automatic self-assembly in living organisms, and they don’t ever deal with the root IC question of all: self-replication rests on a cluster of hard and soft ware components that are the premise for being able to metabolise AND replicate the metabolising entity.

    For, a von Neumann replicator (as has already been pointed out but pointedly and studiously ignored) requires:

    (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.

    Note, parts (ii), (iii) and (iv) are each necessary for and together are jointly sufficient to implement a self-replicating machine with an integral metabolic capacity required as well.

    That is, we see here an irreducibly complex set of core components that must all be present in a properly organised fashion for a successful self-replicating machine to exist. [[Take just one core part out, and self-replicating functionality ceases: the self-replicating machine is irreducibly complex (IC).].

    This irreducible complexity is compounded by the requirement (i) for codes, requiring organised symbols and rules to specify both steps to take and formats for storing information, and (v) for appropriate material resources and energy sources.

    Immediately, we are looking at islands of organised function for both the machinery and the information in the wider sea of possible (but mostly non-functional) configurations. In short, outside such functionally specific — thus, isolated — information-rich target zones, want of correct components and/or of proper organisation and/or co-ordination will block function from emerging or being sustained across time from generation to generation. So, once the set of possible configurations is large enough and the islands of function are credibly sufficiently specific/isolated, it is unreasonable to expect such function to arise from chance, or from chance circumstances driving blind natural forces under the known laws of nature.

    Further, let us consider a tape of 1,000 bits (= 125 bytes), which is plainly grossly insufficient to specify the parts and instructions for a von Neumann replicator. However, the number of possible configurations of 1,000 bits is 1.07 * 10^301, more than ten times the square of the 10^150 states the 10^80 atoms of our observed universe would take up across a reasonable estimate of its lifespan. So, viewing our observed universe as a search device, it would scan less than 1 in 10^150th part of even so “small” a configuration space. That is, it would not carry out a credible “search” for islands of function, making such islands sufficiently isolated to be beyond the reasonable reach of a blind search.

    The Darwinian tree of life has no credible root.

    And since major body plan innovasions require upwards of 10 MB of new DNA bases, and coordinated functional integration that is embryologically feasible, there is no credible mechanism for the major branches as well. This is joined by the persistent general absence of links for such body plan innovations in the fossil record, when we should stumble across them every time we go out the front door.

    In short there is something rather rotten in the state of Darwinland.

    GEM of TKI

  281. 281
    kairosfocus says:

    PS: Goal-post shifting! Really now. every scientific endeavour is subject to adjustment or correction in light of further evidence. Solutions we do have in hand are not obviated by problems we have not yet solved — demanding full daylight instead of using candlelight to do what we can in the meanwhile will not do. And so on, we are seeing recirculated objections that have already been adequately answered [e.g. on alleged false positives — while the real case is being ignored again and again . . . ], yet another case of refusing to read and take seriously what is right in front of the relevant darwinist advocates. Selective hypersketpicism in short.

  282. 282
    Petrushka says:

    PS: Goal-post shifting! Really now. every scientific endeavour is subject to adjustment or correction in light of further evidence.

    .

    I appreciate your comments on the barrage of objections and the requirement of science to modify hypotheses based on evidence.

    Good points for any debate.

  283. 283
    gpuccio says:

    Petrushka:

    Wow, what an activity during the night! (my night, at least).

    I’ll try to catch up…

    Suppose you are a designer and your boss says to increase the reproductive advantage of model 4573-A-23. What do you do?

    There are many possibilities. First of all I would consider what I know of the existing model. Than I would perform an analysis of the pros and cons of what already is there. Than I would device some possible ameliorations, based on my knowledgde of basic science and on the observed results os what already exists. Then I would try to implement some definite positive variation.

    Let’s imagine that for that variation I need some radical modification of an existing protein to nobtain a new function. I could start a process of hypermutation on that protein, possibly after having duplicated it (targeted hypermutation), and periodically measure the function I need, promoting the mutations which exhibit a higher level of function. Something similar to what Szostac did, and other protein engineers do. But it is imnportant that I have a plan in mind for the new protein and the new function. That plan should include integration of the new function with what already exists.

    And if I work well, my boss will be satisfied.

  284. 284
    Petrushka says:

    That is, we see here an irreducibly complex set of core components that must all be present in a properly organised fashion for a successful self-replicating machine to exist.

    Just a quick question. Does Spiegelman’s Monster qualify?

  285. 285
    Acipenser says:

    “StephenB: We have been discussing a sand formation. Can any combination of naturalistic forces [wind, water, erosion, time etc.] (meaning without the help of an intelligent agent) produce the specific model in question?”

    Oh, a sand sculpture. I’ve already asnwered this question, Stephen. There is one and only one answer to this question. The sand sculpture of any make automobile (engine or not) is an artistic expression of humans. Human(s) built the sand sculpture.

  286. 286
    Petrushka says:

    I could start a process of hypermutation on that protein, possibly after having duplicated it (targeted hypermutation), and periodically measure the function I need..</blockquote.

    In other words, you would use evolution. Just improve it a bit.

    But the question is about reproductive advantage, not reproductive speed. Reproductive advantage includes survival of the population in a dynamic environment and in an ecosystem that includes preditors that are also jockeying for reproductive advantage.

  287. 287
    gpuccio says:

    Petrushka:

    ID rests on a foundation of big numbers and huge configuration space. But big numbers are a problem for designers. No one has explained how designers get around the problem.

    That’s false. Thats’ false. Thats’ false.

    Designers do not work through random search, but through intelligent optimized search. They can both profit of their understanding of nature, of laws, os search spaces, and use random search in optimized ways. They can do a lot of things which RV + NS cannot do. How can you deny that? Are you blind?

    There are some specifical problems, especially mathemathical, which cannot be solved algorithmically in a finite time, but biological problems are not like that. Protein engineers are out there, working: they are not planning suicide because their work is doomed to failure. Please, don’t repeat any more this silly concept.

  288. 288
    bornagain77 says:

    It seems that petrushka is very selective of exactly which evidence he will consider. For example he considers sequence similarity to be a slam dunk for Darwinism yet neglects to mention that no one has ever actually observed any protein mutating amino acid by amino acid into another protein of a different function:

    “Mutations are rare phenomena, and a simultaneous change of even two amino acid residues in one protein is totally unlikely. One could think, for instance, that by constantly changing amino acids one by one, it will eventually be possible to change the entire sequence substantially… These minor changes, however, are bound to eventually result in a situation in which the enzyme has ceased to perform its previous function but has not yet begun its ‘new duties’. It is at this point it will be destroyed – along with the organism carrying it.” Maxim D. Frank-Kamenetski, Unraveling DNA, 1997, p. 72. (Professor at Brown U. Center for Advanced Biotechnology and Biomedical Engineering)

    “A problem with the evolution of proteins having new shapes is that proteins are highly constrained, and producing a functional protein from a functional protein having a significantly different shape would typically require many mutations of the gene producing the protein. All the proteins produced during this transition would not be functional, that is, they would not be beneficial to the organism, or possibly they would still have their original function but not confer any advantage to the organism. It turns out that this scenario has severe mathematical problems that call the theory of evolution into question. Unless these problems can be overcome, the theory of evolution is in trouble.”
    Problems in Protein Evolution:
    http://www.cs.unc.edu/~plaisted/ce/blocked.html

    Nor has petrushka mentioned the severe constraints placed on proteins gradually evolving:

    Extreme functional sensitivity to conservative amino acid changes on enzyme exteriors – Doug Axe
    Excerpt: Contrary to the prevalent view, then, enzyme function places severe constraints on residue identities at positions showing evolutionary variability, and at exterior non-active-site positions, in particular.
    http://nsmserver2.fullerton.ed.....lution.pdf

    This following paper, and audio interview, shows that there is a severe “fitness cost” for cells to carry “transitional” proteins that have not achieved full functionality yet:

    Reductive Evolution Can Prevent Populations from Taking Simple Adaptive Paths to High Fitness – May 2010
    Excerpt: Despite the theoretical existence of this short adaptive path to high fitness, multiple independent lines grown in tryptophan-limiting liquid culture failed to take it. Instead, cells consistently acquired mutations that reduced expression of the double-mutant trpA gene. Our results show that competition between reductive and constructive paths may significantly decrease the likelihood that a particular constructive path will be taken.
    http://bio-complexity.org/ojs/.....O-C.2010.2

    In fact, the Ribosome, which makes the myriad of different, yet specific, types of proteins found in life, is found to be severely intolerant to any “random mutations” occurring to proteins.

    The Ribosome: Perfectionist Protein-maker Trashes Errors
    Excerpt: The enzyme machine that translates a cell’s DNA code into the proteins of life is nothing if not an editorial perfectionist…the ribosome exerts far tighter quality control than anyone ever suspected over its precious protein products… To their further surprise, the ribosome lets go of error-laden proteins 10,000 times faster than it would normally release error-free proteins, a rate of destruction that Green says is “shocking” and reveals just how much of a stickler the ribosome is about high-fidelity protein synthesis.
    http://www.sciencedaily.com/re.....134529.htm

    nor did petrushka mention that, much like words in the English language, similar sequences of amino acids (similar to words that are spelled, or sound, the same way) can have completely different functions (meanings):

    A shining case in point being this:

    Kangaroo genes close to humans
    Excerpt: Australia’s kangaroos are genetically similar to humans,,, “There are a few differences, we have a few more of this, a few less of that, but they are the same genes and a lot of them are in the same order,” ,,,”We thought they’d be completely scrambled, but they’re not. There is great chunks of the human genome which is sitting right there in the kangaroo genome,”
    http://www.reuters.com/article.....P020081118

    So petrushka should kangaroos be placed before or after primates in the cartoon drawings of man’s supposed evolution???

    to drive the point home down to level of proteins though (that similar sequences DO NOT establish functional, nor morphological relationship)

    Human Genes: Alternative Splicing (For Proteins) Far More Common Than Thought:
    Excerpt: two different forms of the same protein, known as isoforms, can have different, even completely opposite functions. For example, one protein may activate cell death pathways while its close relative promotes cell survival.
    http://www.sciencedaily.com/re.....134623.htm

    As well it seems that petrushka failed to mention the over 1000 ORFan genes found that are completely unique to humans:

    This following site has a brief discussion on the biased methodology of the ORFan study:
    http://www.uncommondescent.com.....ent-358505

    As well petrushka seems to labor under the illusion that sequence similarity, when applied in a consistent manner, (As unbiased science would dictate it be done), supports his meta-narrative:

    “Why Darwin was wrong about the tree of life,” New Scientist (January 21, 2009)
    Excerpt: Even among higher organisms, “the problem was that different genes told contradictory evolutionary stories,”,,,“despite the amount of data and breadth of taxa analyzed, relationships among most [animal] phyla remained unresolved.” ,,,,Carl Woese, a pioneer of evolutionary molecular systematics, observed that these problems extend well beyond the base of the tree of life: “Phylogenetic incongruities [conflicts] can be seen everywhere in the universal tree, from its root to the major branchings within and among the various taxa to the makeup of the primary groupings themselves.”,,, “We’ve just annihilated the (Darwin’s) tree of life.”
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2......html#more

  289. 289
    bornagain77 says:

    As far as petrushka falsely claiming (once again though he has been corrected before) that the flagellum is proof of evolution:

    The flagellum has steadfastly resisted all attempts to elucidate its plausible origination by Darwinian processes, much less has anyone ever actually evolved a flagellum from scratch in the laboratory;

    Genetic Entropy Refutation of Nick Matzke’s TTSS (type III secretion system) to Flagellum Evolutionary Narrative:
    Excerpt: Comparative genomic analysis show that flagellar genes have been differentially lost in endosymbiotic bacteria of insects. Only proteins involved in protein export within the flagella assembly pathway (type III secretion system and the basal-body) have been kept…
    http://mbe.oxfordjournals.org/.....t/msn153v1

    “One fact in favour of the flagellum-first view is that bacteria would have needed propulsion before they needed T3SSs, which are used to attack cells that evolved later than bacteria. Also, flagella are found in a more diverse range of bacterial species than T3SSs. ‘The most parsimonious explanation is that the T3SS arose later,” Howard Ochman – Biochemist – New Scientist (Feb 16, 2008)

    Michael Behe on Falsifying Intelligent Design – video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N8jXXJN4o_A

    Genetic analysis of coordinate flagellar and type III – Scott Minnich and Stephen Meyer
    Molecular machines display a key signature or hallmark of design, namely, irreducible complexity. In all irreducibly complex systems in which the cause of the system is known by experience or observation, intelligent design or engineering played a role the origin of the system.
    http://www.discovery.org/scrip.....php?id=389

    STILL SPINNING JUST FINE: A RESPONSE TO KEN MILLER – William Dembski
    Excerpt: “Darwin’s theory, without which nothing in biology is supposed to make sense, in fact offers no insight into how the flagellum arose.”
    http://www.designinference.com.....sponse.htm

    Bacterial Flagella: A Paradigm for Design – Scott Minnich – Video
    http://www.vimeo.com/9032112

    Flagellum – Sean D. Pitman, M.D.
    http://www.detectingdesign.com/flagellum.html

  290. 290
    gpuccio says:

    Petrushka:

    How does a designer calculate the effects of changing a sequence that codes for a protein?

    First: through a top down process: protein top7 is an example. Protein folding can be computed: it’s long, it’s complex, but it can be done.

    Second: through a bottom up process: the Szostac way. That’s probably easier, at least for now.

    Is it even possible to design from first principles? I’m not aware that anyone in the field of physics or chemistry thinks that emergent properties can be deduced.

    Folding can be computed. Biochemical binding can be understood and computed. It’s not easy, but it can be done. Emergent properties like those ones (if they are emergent properties, I really can’t undersatnd the meaning of that concept in any clear-cut sense) can be deduced.

    The challenge for design advocates is to demonstrate that it is possible to deduce emergent properties. We know that cut and try works. Inefficiently, but it works.

    You are just saying that top down methods cannot solve all problems. I don’t agree for biological problems, but even if that were the case, you are forgetting that bottom up methods are design methods too.

    You make a fundamentsl mistake: you identify design with top down, deductive methods. That’s simply not true. Top down methods are only a type of design, and moreover they are not wholly deductive: inferential reasoning is always important in all human empirical knowledge.

    And anyway, bottom up designs are designs just the same. You are really epistemologically confused. Is that what darwinism makes to human methodology?

  291. 291
    Petrushka says:

    There are some specifical problems, especially mathemathical, which cannot be solved algorithmically in a finite time, but biological problems are not like that. Protein engineers are out there, working: they are not planning suicide because their work is doomed to failure. Please, don’t repeat any more this silly concept.

    Of course they can be solved through evolution. I asked you how you would solve a problem and your answer was directed evolution.

  292. 292
    gpuccio says:

    Petrushka:

    If this is true, then one ought to be able to distinguish samples of artificially bred animals from those that exist without human intervention. Isn’t that what design detection is about, separating things that would not exist without intelligent intervention, from those that exist without intervention?

    Ahh! Again with bred animals.

    Let’s go back to dFSCI. I have told you many times that the laws of design detection are always the same, but that if you want a rigorous, easy and quantitative analysis it is better to stick to digictal functional information. Dog breeding “could” be analyzed, but it is difficult to do that. But I think that protein information is a better model, and nearer to the true problem, don’t you agree?

    So, very simple:

    a string of 500 – 1000 bits,

    of pseudo-random nature (not significantly compressible),

    which has a recognizable and measurable function encoded in the whole string,

    for which no credible necessity model is known,

    and for which the ratio “target functional space / search space” is lower than some conventional, appropriate threshold (defined according to the empirical context: for biological strings, I would suggest something like 10^-50, just to stay on the safe side)

    is a designed object.

    There are no false positives. There are no counter-examples to that.

  293. 293
    gpuccio says:

    Petrushka:

    Reproductive advantage must be defined in some environment. In my lab model, the lab system is the environment. So, the model is consistent. If you want to do the experiment in the open air, and in geological times, be my guest.

  294. 294
    Petrushka says:

    Folding can be computed. Biochemical binding can be understood and computed. It’s not easy, but it can be done.

    It’s going to run into the problem of big numbers rather rapidly, unless you cheat and do it with evolution.

    Emergent properties like those ones (if they are emergent properties, I really can’t undersatnd the meaning of that concept in any clear-cut sense) can be deduced.

    Take a simple case: deduce the properties of water from the properties of hydrogen and oxygen. Or find someone who knows how to do it.

    A related problem is that of mathematical complexity, the rapid divergence of system behavior starting from small changes.

  295. 295
    Petrushka says:

    Reproductive advantage must be defined in some environment. In my lab model, the lab system is the environment. So, the model is consistent. If you want to do the experiment in the open air, and in geological times, be my guest.

    Already in progress.

  296. 296
    gpuccio says:

    Of course they can be solved through evolution. I asked you how you would solve a problem and your answer was directed evolution.

    Yes, that’s correct. And so?

    Directed evolution is design.

  297. 297
    gpuccio says:

    Petruahka:

    It’s going to run into the problem of big numbers rather rapidly, unless you cheat and do it with evolution.

    Not true. Protein top7 was calculated. Folding can be calculated.

    Take a simple case: deduce the properties of water from the properties of hydrogen and oxygen. Or find someone who knows how to do it.

    I think that many properties of water can be calculated from the laws of physics. I am not a physicist, but my son, who is, agrees with that. It can be true that some aspects can defy present computational power, or present knowledge, but most are not.

    The properties of water depend on the properties of the molecule. the structure of the molecule is known, and depends on the properties of its constituents, on how the electron orbitals are formed, and so on. I am not sure what is emerging here. Could you specify?

  298. 298
    gpuccio says:

    Petrushka:

    I will not that I have not fired a barrage. I have brought up approximately three questions for which I think ID should have a response.

    1. How do you eliminate false positives from design detection? I’ve presented a number of scenarios, but haven’t seen the math. It appears to be intuitive.

    2. How does the designer meet the challenge of large numbers — the same large numbers that presumably rule out chance?

    3. How does the designer deduce emergent properties? Or the effects of small changes in a complex ecosystem?

    To sum up:

    1. By choosing an appropriate threshold of complexity for functionally specified strings. That rules out false positives, while false negatives remain.

    2. Using intelligent methods, as I have argued, and therefore optimized search.

    3. The designer can deduce, or more often infer, according to his previous knowledge. And he can also use a trial and error method.

  299. 299
    gpuccio says:

    Petrushka:

    In fact, as more species are sequenced, it is becoming increasingly difficult to find examples of coding or regulatory sequences that are isolated by more than a couple of mutations from sequences found in other species.

    What an example of false reasoning! Protein superfamilies are isolated, and there are thousands of them. Obviously, the same protein with the same functions is passed form one species to another, and the differences in sequence will be caused mainly by neutral mutations, or maybe by some tweaking in different species. That’s why I believe in common descent.

    So you have hundreds of myoglobims, slightly different one form the other, sometimes different enough, but they are always myoglobins. The folding is the same, the function is the same.

    If you have seen the paper about the “big bang theory” for proteins, which I linked some time ago, you can see how new protein domains appear, and then in time they “travel” thorugh their own functional spcae, bearing a variety of different proteins which have the same structure and function.

    But protein domains and superfamilies are isolated one from the other.

    Were you nor present in the long tghread about Axe’s paper?

  300. 300
    gpuccio says:

    Gaz:

    <So, StephenB – was the weasel-shaped cloud designed? Answer that one, and I’ll give you the rest of my answer on the car.

    If I may intrude, I would state again that if we want detailed quantitative analysis, we should stick to dFSCI (digital functionally specified functional information). The principles of design detection are alawys the same, but analogic information and other-than-functional specifications create greater problems. So, why not stick to the simpler case? (also because that case is more than enough to treat biological information, which both in the genome and the proteome is of the dFSCI type).

  301. 301
    Petrushka says:

    That’s why I believe in common descent.

    Fine. I’ll accept that we have no detailed history of the origin of protein domains. I won’t try to dissuade you from believing they are the work of some invisible agent, working at unknown times, etc.

    For most of them them to have been present two billion years ago, about one new one would have to arise every million years or so.

  302. 302
    Petrushka says:

    I am not sure what is emerging here. Could you specify?

    The problem is to deduce water and all its properties before you know water exists. Working backward doesn’t count.

    The designer of first life must know that life is possible before it exists.

    Humans will never be in that situation. We have enought trouble with reverse engineering.

    Perhaps your son can invent a new molecule with really surprising properties.

  303. 303
    StephenB says:

    —Acipenser: “StephenB: We have been discussing a sand formation. Can any combination of naturalistic forces [wind, water, erosion, time etc.] (meaning without the help of an intelligent agent) produce the specific model in question?”

    —“Oh, a sand sculpture. I’ve already asnwered this question, Stephen.”

    No, you have not. You have reframed the question in order to avoid answering it.

    —“There is one and only one answer to this question. The sand sculpture of any make automobile (engine or not) is an artistic expression of humans.”

    I didn’t ask you who sculpted the sand image of the 1959 Ford, so I don’t know why you continue answering a question I didn’t ask.

    —“Human(s) built the sand sculpture

    I appreciate that fact that you think you know who did the sculpting, but that is not the question on the table.

    Again, here is the question: Is it possible [within the bounds of reasonable probability] that naturalistic forces such as wind, air, water, erosion and time could form the sand image of a 1959 Ford.

  304. 304
    kairosfocus says:

    GP:

    Pausing for a minute. Yes, many properties of water arise in more or less calculable ways from the constituents and their interactions. Never mind, water is quite a surprising substance in its behaviours, including a sort of semi-polymerisation that is a key to many really unusual but important behaviours. (Also,look up how many ices exist under different P-T regimes.)

    In that context, given the complexity of proteins, they too will have surprising properties – think prions — and are a real Swiss army knife molecular family.

    GEM of TKI

  305. 305
    StephenB says:

    A] Could naturalistic forces [such as wind, water, sand, erosion etc. ] have formed the image of a beat up 1959 Ford?

    [B] Suppose space explorers go to Mars and find the following symbols etched in the sand: “Pretrushka and Acipenser have both contracted a condition called designophobia.” Could naturalistic forces such as wind, water, and erosion have produced that sequence?”

    —Gaz: “Can I have a go?”

    Sure.

    —“The answer to A is that it depends on the fidelity of the “image”. Very often, humans – being creatures that have evolved to recognise and compare patterns -look at something entirely natural and say “that looks just like a [example: beat up 1959 Ford]. That’s where the phrase “methink it is like a weasel” comes from – the character (Hamlet, I believe) points out that the cloud looks like a weasel.”

    No, sorry, a 1959 Ford is a definite form different from all other forms.

    —“Answer to [B] is: it’s possible but incredibly unlikely that it was done naturally.”

    So far, so good.

    —“Most likely it’s either designed (i.e. someone wrote it from scratch) or it’s selected for. In the latter case, it’s quite possible that an entity saw wind-blown sand swirls making letters individually, froze them and collected them to put together to make the sentence.”

    I am not sure about your last scenario and the attempt to inject biological paradigms into the mix, but basically you are right. According to the evidence, the sequence of written letters was most likely designed. You have just performed a classic design inference based on the evidence.

    —“Foresnics often can tell how a drawer was was opened – e.g. finger prints on the handle will tell if the handle was pulled to open, and which hand or hands it was done with. The surrounding aspects of the crime scene will also tell if a tornado was involved: no tornado has ever opened a drawer without leaving other effects.”

    You are starting to show signs of life. I didn’t say that no other effects were not present, but never mind that because you are headed in the right direction and I don’t want to disrupt your momentum. The point is to rule out naturalistic causes as a reasonble hypothesis and draw an inference to intelligent agency as the best explanation, which is exactly what you did. Excellent!!!

    The strongest argument, however, is not the open dresser drawers, but rather the open dresser drawers and the absence of the jewelry. Whether a tornado can open dresser drawers without causing other damage is problematic, just as you suggest, however, there is no question about that fact that tornados do not run off with jewelry.

    In any case, the point of the burglar/tornado connection is to point out that a formal design inference is based on observable data, meaning that, contrary to Darwinist claims, there is no apriori assumption of design prior to the observation of the evidence.

    —“As far as your comments on cause and effects is concerned, I’m tired of telling you – you just don’t seem to learn – that the classical world we see is completely different to the quamntum world. In the former, cause and effect clearly apply: in the latter, it’s clear that sometimes they don’t.”

    What you don’t understand, and possibly never will, is that no amount of evidence can invalidate the principles of right reason just as no amount of evidence can invalidate the laws of mathematics. We do not interpret reason’s rules and mathematics through evidence, we interpret evidence through reason’s rules and mathematics.

    —“You trying to extrapolate classical world effects to turn them into “laws” that apply generally, even at the quantum and cosmological level, shows that you aren’t thinking scientifically and using the evidence found at these other levels. You can forget your metaphysics: if the evidence says one thing and the metaphysics another, then its the metaphysics that’s wrong.”

    You continue to misunderstand the relationship between the role of reason and the role of evidence. All evidence must be interpreted through metaphysical principles. You, for example, accept the false metaphysical principle that something can come from nothing and you interpret all evidence accordingly. I, on the other hand, interpret evidence based on the law of causality. Thus, for you things can come into existence without a cause.

    Accordingly, you cannot assure me that your suspension of the law of causality is limited to quantum events and no where else because you acknowledge no principle by which you could make that claim. If it can be suspended even once, why can it not be suspended again and again? You cannot answer that question.

    Can a concrete wall appear out of nowhere on the highway causing some poor driver to collide with it? You can only say that we have never seen it happen and, based on that evidence, it likely will not haappen, but you cannot assert with any reasonable confidence that it cannot happen. In fact, a concrete wall cannot come from nowhere because nothing can come from nowhere. A concrete wall will not come into existence without a cause because nothing can come into existence without a cause.

    For you, on the other hand, there is no non-negotiable principle of causality and therefore no standard for determining when and when causality will or will not apply. Thus, you and I both look at the same evidence but arrive at different conclusions based on our respective metaphysical orientations. Considering the current cosmological evidence, I acknowledge that space/time/and matter began in time and, using the principles of right reason, conclude that some agent had to bring it into existence. You consider the same evidence and yet, because you reject reason’s principles, assume that the universe could bring itself into existence. By that same standard, you assume that mind can come from matter and the life can come from non-life.

    The difference in our points of view is not related to the evidence but is rather a reflection on the metaphysical principles that we bring to the table. I acknowledge the first principles of right reason; you do not.

  306. 306
    kairosfocus says:

    (And of course to reject the first principles of right reason is at once to descend into absurdity. of course, in the real world, ever since 1905 it has been known that there are causal constraints on quantum phenomena. If there were not, they would not be amenable to law of any kind.)

  307. 307
    StephenB says:

    —Gaz @257: “Can I have a go? [At answering my question to another blogger about the car]

    —Gas @257: “Answer that one, and I’ll give you the rest of my answer on the car.”

    Please decide on which response you would care to make since it it not possible to both address a question and refuse to address it at the same time.

  308. 308
    gpuccio says:

    Petrushka:

    Perhaps your son can invent a new molecule with really surprising properties.

    Chemists try to produce new molecules all the time. Why do you insist that one should know in advance the result? Intelligents experiments are continuously performed by intelligent scientists exactly to understand the laws of nature and the possible results. That’s design all the way dow.

    Again, why do you think that design menas only implementing a solution that one already knows in detail? Only Dawkins seems to think that way. Are you Dawkins? 🙂

    Eben an artist experiments while creating a new work of art, and most times he does not know in advance what he will get in the end.

  309. 309
    StephenB says:

    kairosfocus @152:

    …”the sand sculpture fits a specification [cf. here on how accurate 3-d models (computer sculptures if you will) are built], will be quite complex (notice the number of triangles added to skin the mesh!) and can easily be discerned as fitting in the FSCI criterion as a sign of intelligence. (Just ask how many yes/no decisions have to be chained to make a good 3-d wireframe for your sand model.)

    —“Such sand sculptures are quite plainly distinct from dune forms, sand ripples or beach forms shaped by natural forces of chance and mechanical necessity.”

    This point is beautifully expressed and the words “plainly distinct” capture the essence of the observation.

    kairosfocus continues:

    “And, we routinely see them as made by intelligences, but not by blind forces of nature. Islands of specific function — the target, or at least “hot” zone — in a sea of non-function.”

    So, not only do we perform legitimate design inferences, our conclusions lend themselves to scientific constructs and formal measurement.

  310. 310
    Acipenser says:

    “StephenB: I didn’t ask you who sculpted the sand image of the 1959 Ford, so I don’t know why you continue answering a question I didn’t ask.

    —”Human(s) built the sand sculpture

    I appreciate that fact that you think you know who did the sculpting, but that is not the question on the table.

    Again, here is the question: Is it possible [within the bounds of reasonable probability] that naturalistic forces such as wind, air, water, erosion and time could form the sand image of a 1959 Ford.”

    Stephen, you were inquiring as to the origins of the sand sculpture/image of a model of automobile. Given our knowledge of human art forms and known examples of that expression done in sand there is no need to puzzle over the source of the sculpture.

    However, there are natural mechanisms which could also produce that image.

    For example I participated in excavations at several green sand mines principally searching for sharks teeth. While we found more than a few sharks teeth we also found many many casts of clams and crocodile coprolites.

    These were perfect casts of the originals and were quite fragile crumbling into a pile of sand grains if too much pressure were applied. The same process that made these casts could easily do the same thing with an automobile producing a perfect cast of the original which would persist long after the original is gone.

  311. 311
    Acipenser says:

    “kairofocus: …”the sand sculpture fits a specification [cf. here on how accurate 3-d models (computer sculptures if you will) are built], will be quite complex (notice the number of triangles added to skin the mesh!) and can easily be discerned as fitting in the FSCI criterion as a sign of intelligence. (Just ask how many yes/no decisions have to be chained to make a good 3-d wireframe for your sand model.)”

    I have many sand casts (sculptures so to speak) of clams dated to a abotu 40 million years ago. These casts are great replicates of the original. How would ID go about discerning the specification of these naturally produced sculptures to the specification contained in one that were made today by humans?

  312. 312
    Petrushka says:

    I wonder how many triangles it would take to skin a polished stone from a stream.

  313. 313
    kairosfocus says:

    Acipenser:

    Fossil casts are indeed interesting natural features, credibly explained by law and evidently fairly unusual circumstances.

    (Remember, though, the first two nodes of the explanatory filter: law and chance, i.e. if the circumstances lend themselves to an explanation on such circumstances the third node, design, will not be engaged. [That is why it is always important to engage the full design filter during an investigation.])

    To amplify on the cases of immediate interest: when last did you see a natural circumstances, fossil sand cast of a ’59 Ford or a ’63 Corvette Stingray? Or, of a bust of Nefertiti?

    And of course, per SB’s actual example, when last did we see such forming by carving by wind, rain, water and erosion on a beach?

    (NB: The volcanic ash moulds of victims of Vesuvius do not generally fit the criterion of sculptural precision [I found them surprisingly vague on outline], and they come in a context that amply shows their tragic but natural provenance.)

    That is, even if you could make the case that a sand cast fossil of an animal species is by itself functionally specific to the animal, where “function” here implies close resemblance to the presumed original animal or tree etc, and would on reduction to a nodes and arcs mesh exceed 1,000 bits [i,e would be complex in the relevant sense], we would still have already allocated the case to natural factors through the circumstances of the matter — as you did in presenting the case as a possibility. (How did you know the case was a “natural” formation?)

    At most, then, you would have shown us a case where we need to be careful to engage the three-node filter in each case, to ensure that explanation on law and necessity have been specifically ruled out through absence of the relevant signs and circumstances of those factors.

    More centrally, the particular cases of interest (especially in the living cell) are digital and algorithmic or linguistic; as Gpuccio has underscored.

    (So, even if we could in no wise differentiate between a case of a fossil and a sculpture [and we have seen how the full filter would help us do so], the distinctive context of algorithmic or linguistic function would still obtain. Which is the particularly relevant context at the proper focus of this thread,and it is the one that after 300 posts, is still being dodged.)

    So, what would be a good, observationally based reason to hold that such linguistically and/or algorithmically functional information of 1,000 or more bits comes about by law and/or chance without intelligent guidance, on our direct observation, to address the inductive reliability issue? (There is an Internet full of cases on the known source of such dFSCI, to borrow GP’s specific abbreviation.)

    Similarly, what would be a good, empirically directly observed, natural mechanism that can credibly account for the origin of codes, language and algorithms BEFORE cell based life came to be? (For, recall, self-replication is a condition of having a living cell. And, recall, we have a great many cases in point on the origin of such dFSCI by intelligence.)

    GEM of TKI

  314. 314
    kairosfocus says:

    Petrushka:

    And, a sand sculpture [as opposed to mould] of such a stone would be best explained by what factors, why?

    GEM of TKI

  315. 315
    kairosfocus says:

    F/N: That is, if you were to walk down a beach and see a sand sculpture in the shape of a beach stone, the usual rounded oval shape, what would you infer as its best explanation? Why? [Beach stones are easily explained by beach forces (or here beach and volcano forces), a collection of sand grains pushed together in the shape of such a stone are most definitely not.]

  316. 316
    Petrushka says:

    Beach stones are easily explained by beach forces

    Interesting.

  317. 317
    Petrushka says:

    Again, why do you think that design menas only implementing a solution that one already knows in detail?

    Because a good many people at this forum talk about things like front loading, even direct creation, or perhaps just nudging an atom at critical times.

    I’m trying to get a clear distinction between designing in the human sense, where you don’t get a lot of opportunity to evolve skyscrapers or passenger planes, and evolving stuff.

    You speak of protein domains and vast desserts of non-functionality. I’m wondering how, specifically, a designer knows where the islands of functionality are hidden.

    I’m particularly interested in how a designer would find these islands. You assert that we are getting better at computing protein folds, but computation will never be as fast or efficient as the real thing. It can’t be, because a folding protein is essentially a quantum computer.

    So if you are a designer, which is faster and more economical: computing protein coding sequences or setting up a laboratory in which evolution computes them?

  318. 318
    StephenB says:

    —Acipenser: “However, there are natural mechanisms which could also produce that image.”

    Thank you for acknowledging that you believe that naturalistic forces can produce the image of a 1959 Ford or a 1963 Corvette Sting Ray. I appreciate your honesty. Clearly, if wind, air, water, time, and erosion could accomplish such a task, then a design inference would be impossible. Indeed, given that framework, those same forces could produce Mount Rushmore or even perfect likenesses of you and me.

    I gather that you also believe that solely naturalistic forces could have produced the ten word sentence etched in the sand that I alluded to as my second example.

    —“For example I participated in excavations at several green sand mines principally searching for sharks teeth. While we found more than a few sharks teeth we also found many many casts of clams and crocodile coprolites.

    —“These were perfect casts of the originals and were quite fragile crumbling into a pile of sand grains if too much pressure were applied. The same process that made these casts could easily do the same thing with an automobile producing a perfect cast of the original which would persist long after the original is gone.”

    Meaning no disrespect, but I cannot follow the process that you are alluding to. What naturalistic force or forces [wind, water, air, time, erosion etc.] is it that you think could have caused the sand to form into the sand image of the specified automobile? What does any of that have to do with animal fossils or other such artifacts or remains?

  319. 319
    Paul Giem says:

    StephenB (#318),

    Don’t be too hard on Acipenser. He’s afraid of what conclusions might follow if he admits the obvious, and is grasping at every straw he can.

    For example, his sand casts (#310), while sounding naturalistic, beg the question. If one finds a cast of a clam, the cast itself may very well be the product of forces that do not directly involve intelligence. But the clam from which the cast is made might very well be the product of intelligence. If so, the process of making the cast required the product of intelligence. He, of course, doesn’t see this because he thinks he has clams all figured out, and they didn’t require intelligence. Well, when pushed, he would admit that he personally doesn’t have it figured out, but science does, or will if given enough time. (That’s faith in the efficacy of a particular view of science.)

    Of course, this doesn’t begin to solve the problem of the 1959 Ford in sand. One might argue for a replacement of the Ford by sand by unguided forces. But the creation of the Ford was most definitely not the work of unguided forces. So unlike the clam, about which there might be some debate, the sand Ford most definitely involved intelligent design. (On the other hand, one could argue that they are alike in this way.)

    Of course, a comeback he could use is that we don’t find sand casts of 1959 Fords outside the realm of human activity, so that it is a hypothetical. Then you can argue about hypotheticals, and the whole merry-go-round starts again.

    The problem is that Acipenser wants the argument to degenerate to this level. He is perfectly happy having the argument go around and around, sometimes with him being tripped up, and sometimes with you being tripped up, but never getting to the core of the argument. For there you have him on the science, and his only recourse is to use theological arguments, and he wants to avoid that at all costs.

    So you might try an indisputable non-hypothetical directly relevant approach.

    A. Intelligence exists. We may debate its precise makeup, causes, or whether it can be accounted for without residual by non-intelligent forces and entities, but it exists. The denial of that fact has certain unavoidable derogatory self-referential consequences.

    B. Intelligence can make, among other things, long strings of functionally specified complex DNA from inorganic precursors, without simply copying them physically (like using some kind of DNA polymerase). These strings are, as far as we know, necessary for life to exist and reproduce.

    C. There is no known process that does not involve intelligence that has been shown to plausibly be able to produce such strings of DNA, and no experimental evidence that a pathway to such strings exists.

    D. It is therefore reasonable to draw a fallible but evidence-based conclusion that intelligence was involved in the first occurrence of physical DNA strings long enough, complex enough, and accurate enough to function as the genetic substrate for life.

    Then let’s see how Acipenser, or any of his fellows, argues against this logic.

  320. 320
    kairosfocus says:

    Dr Giem:

    An interesting point.

    You are right that it is quite evident that the central issue raised by Meyer in the video and book is being ducked and diverted, for 300+ posts now.

    It is clear that indeed evolutionary materialists commonly assume that living forms “must have” originated spontaneously through forces of chance and necessity, due to the Lewontinian a priorism already pointed out and corrected above. But, they are plainly consistently unable to account for the digital, code based, algorithmically functional specific information in the cell on observed patterns of forces of chance and necessity in whatever versions of Darwin’s warm little pond are in favour on any given day. So, they resort to the appeal to logical possibilities as though that which is merely logically possible is empirically credible and probabilistically plausible. (Darwin’s own remarks in Ch 6 on how logical possibility alone would be enough to preserve his just-so stories on the origin of the eagle’s eye are a classic.)

    Thus, they show themselves in the grip of a question-begging metaphysical a priori imposed on the science and the hitherto unfettered process of inference to best current explanation on empirical evidence. That is itself a very important point for us to note as we explore the degree of warrant attaching to origins science theories and conclusions. Especially when such evolutionary materialists confidently assert that “evolution” is a fact comparable to gravity or the roundness of the earth.

    This is diagnostic, as the observed, extremely modest micro-evolutionary changes such as Bacterial resistance to drugs are well within the FSCI threshold, and have nothing to credibly say to the origins of the self-replicating and metabolic machinery in cell based life, or the origin of major body plans that have to be embryologically feasible, in the presumed or estimated deep, unobserved past. So, we are seeing a grand extrapolation that seems to be rooted in a priorism and often scants concerns on that which is a reasonable threshold for chance based forces to do on the gamut of our observed cosmos.

    (Onlookers, note the utterly studious silence of the otherwise prolific evolutionary materialism advocates above, on the peer-reviewed paper by Abel on the universal plausibility bound, which discusses the basis for the sort of probabilistic reasoning that is so often successfully used in statistical thermodynamics etc. For instance, it is such probabilities that are the grounds of confidence in the statistical form of the second law of thermodynamics. The selective hyperskepticism we saw above on inference form scope of config space to the relatively minimal search capacity of the observed cosmos are plainly specious.)

    Johnson’s rebuke to such arbitrary a priorism imposed in the name of science, associated ideological attempts to redefine science away from pursuit of the truth about our world based on observational evidence, and manipulation of formal and popular science education, is well deserved.

    However, I do believe that Acipenser has (apparently inadvertently — he probably thought it a knockout rhetorical blow) helped us resolve a legitimate point of concern. Namely, that when we apply signs of intelligence reasoning, we must be careful to always explicitly set this in the context of the explanatory filter as a generalised scientific framework for empirically grounded analysis.

    Specifically, we must be careful to enumerate and address observed chance and mechanical forces acting in the context of an object as first steps of reasoning, also being open to other forms of hitherto unrecognised natural regularities and/or stochastic patterns, before concluding that chance and necessity are unable to account for the observed patterns, objects or phenomena.

    Accordingly, I have clarified my remarks in the previously linked survey post on the inference to design form signs of intelligence, in key part as follows:

    ____________

    >> . . . on our experience and observation, art is the product of intent. By contrast, natural occurrences are driven by (i) blind mechanical forces (e.g. a dropped heavy object falls) and/or by (ii) chance (e.g. fair dice tumble and settle to particular values effectively at random).

    So, the recognisably artificial (a) will not be credibly the product of observed blind chance and mechanical forces acting in its context, (b) will be specifically functional, and (c) it will be sufficiently complex that the functional configuration is not credibly the result of happenstance. Thus, in a reasonable context, functionally specified highly complex organisation is a recognisable sign of intentionally directed configuration. That is, of design.

    Therefore, we have at least one possible empirical sign of intelligent design. Given such a possible sign, we can now understand the key error in methodological naturalism. For, the “natural causes only” rule has the effect of implicitly imposing a philosophical — specifically, materialistic — conclusion on origins science studies before potentially observable facts can speak scientifically.

    But, science is widely respected precisely because it is seen as being based on freely — and in significant part successfully — seeking and discovering the truth about or world based on the objective balance of the evidence. (“Truth,” here, is understood more or less as Aristotle described it 2,300 years ago in Metaphysics 1011b: “. . . to say of what is that it is, and of what is not that it is not, is true.”)

    So, the key danger of putting materialistic philosophical blinkers on science is that it can easily lead on to the practical establishment of materialistic ideology under false colours of “truth” or the closest practical approximation we can get to it . . . >>
    _______________

    I trust this will make the point clearer and less evade-able.

    GEM of TKI

  321. 321
    kairosfocus says:

    F/N:

    Re Petrushka, 317: “if you are a designer, which is faster and more economical: computing protein coding sequences or setting up a laboratory in which evolution computes them?

    Here of course “evolution” is personified into a powerful computer-cum-programmer that computes solutions to otherwise intractable problems, via the magical poofery of quantum bits etc.

    The problem is that proteins [especially enzymes] are not mutated in some isolated lab, but would have to vary by forces of chance in an embryologically feasible organism with viable metabolic and cellular replication systems, and its variation would have to be coded for in relevant DNA strands fed through ribossomes.

    So, we begin to run into the by now familiar problem of getting to algorithms and associated functional data structures through the claimed power of chance. First, for original life, then for life forms on novel body plans.

    In both cases, we soon run well past the credible threshold of the observed cosmos’ search resources.

    Meyer’s remarks in his well-known PBSW article (which, contrary to Darwinista spin, passed proper peer review by “renowned scientists”) are apt:

    One way to estimate the amount of new CSI that appeared with the Cambrian animals is to count the number of new cell types that emerged with them (Valentine 1995:91-93) . . . the more complex animals that appeared in the Cambrian (e.g., arthropods) would have required fifty or more cell types . . . New cell types require many new and specialized proteins. New proteins, in turn, require new genetic information. Thus an increase in the number of cell types implies (at a minimum) a considerable increase in the amount of specified genetic information. Molecular biologists have recently estimated that a minimally complex single-celled organism would require between 318 and 562 kilobase pairs of DNA to produce the proteins necessary to maintain life (Koonin 2000). More complex single cells might require upward of a million base pairs. Yet to build the proteins necessary to sustain a complex arthropod such as a trilobite would require orders of magnitude more coding instructions. The genome size of a modern arthropod, the fruitfly Drosophila melanogaster, is approximately 180 million base pairs (Gerhart & Kirschner 1997:121, Adams et al. 2000). Transitions from a single cell to colonies of cells to complex animals represent significant (and, in principle, measurable) increases in CSI . . . .

    In order to explain the origin of the Cambrian animals, one must account not only for new proteins and cell types, but also for the origin of new body plans . . . Mutations in genes that are expressed late in the development of an organism will not affect the body plan. Mutations expressed early in development, however, could conceivably produce significant morphological change (Arthur 1997:21) . . . [but] processes of development are tightly integrated spatially and temporally such that changes early in development will require a host of other coordinated changes in separate but functionally interrelated developmental processes downstream. For this reason, mutations will be much more likely to be deadly if they disrupt a functionally deeply-embedded structure such as a spinal column than if they affect more isolated anatomical features such as fingers (Kauffman 1995:200) . . .

    Such issues cannot be brushed aside with a convenient metaphor that turns “evolution” into a computer-cum programmer. W@e know that intelligent programmers routinely produce linguistic, data structure and algorithmic items well past the FSCI threshold, but so far we have yet to learn of such functionally specific and complex information originating on undirected chance plus necessity in our direct observation.

    Perhaps Petrushka, Gaz and Acipenser et al could be so kind as to provide us some credible OBSERVED cases of such lucky noise in action?

    (After all if qubits are in effect quasi-infinitely capable as computers, such feats of chance plus necessity should be happening all around us, e.g. in the cans of soup in our friendly local supermarkets. OOL events, in short, SHOULD be a dime a dozen.)

    GEM of TKI

  322. 322
    kairosfocus says:

    PS: And we still have not accounted for Stephen’s sculpturally produced sand model of a 1959 Ford on undirected forces of chance plus necessity.

    (Moulding by being buried in an avalanche of cementitious material and solidifying into a mould, then somehow extracting the car or its remnants as rust] and replacing it it with sand then cracking the mould and exposing the sand sculpture car to view on a convenient beach, strikes me as a “logically possible but empirically utterly implausible just-so story.”)

  323. 323
    kairosfocus says:

    This morning’s Youtube moment (a subtle quotemine):

    Paul Burnett:

    “ThatOneQuestion” pointed out that Phillip Johnson wrote the Wedge Document.
    That was in 1998. Here’s what Johnson said in 2006: “I also don’t think that there is really a theory of intelligent design at the present time… There is no intelligent design theory that’s comparable (to the Darwinian theory). … Working out a positive theory is the job of the scientific people? that we have affiliated with the movement. … No product is ready for competition in? the educational world.”

    Kyazu The Insane:

    @BurnettPaul
    Of course, to be fair to ID, there is no reason to say that this quote mine destroys the movement. He could be saying? that evolution is just better supported, with the implication that ID would eventually overtake it.
    Of course, it is not falsifiable and is ill defined, to the? point where TDG argues that ID is real if anyone in the entire universe ever farmed.
    Of course, ID is not about analyzing the psychology of species. It is about analyzing life and making up a creator…

    @KyazuTheInsane
    Who would? have a reason to make life in that exact way. While god is not the only creator they posit, it is also one of the possible creators they posit. Thus , their explanations need not abide by the laws of? reality. They stick to a bastardization of information theory-if you could even call it THAT- simply because it is a useful means of making their arguments from ignorance look meaningful. At its heart, ID is an unbeatable psuedoscience

    The underlying cite is taken from a hostile report on an interview in Berkely Science review, in the reported context of disucssing whether ID should be officially incorporated in HS level science education, in the context of the Dover trial:

    [P Johnson, as cited:] I also don’t think that there is really a theory of intelligent design at the present time to propose as a comparable alternative to the Darwinian theory, which is, whatever errors it might contain, a fully worked out scheme. There is no intelligent design theory that’s comparable. Working out a positive theory is the job of the scientific people that we have affiliated with the movement. Some of them are quite convinced that it’s doable, but that’s for them to prove…No product is ready for competition in the educational world.

    1 –> The cite in itself is essentially observing that the current ID research programme is a nascent school of thought in science, and as such is not comparable in maturity to Darwinian Evolution. As such it is unsurprising that it has to earn its spurs across time through the efforts of researchers [as is ongoing but is not acknowledged by the objectors], and that it is not sufficiently mature to be incorporated in education in schools.

    2 –> Newsflash [NOT . . . ]: this is more or less the official view of the Discovery Institute. What DI advocates is:

    Instead of mandating [teaching of] intelligent design, Discovery Institute seeks to increase the coverage of evolution in textbooks. It believes that evolution should be fully and completely presented to students, and they should learn more about evolutionary theory, including its unresolved issues. In other words, evolution should be taught as a scientific theory that is open to critical scrutiny, not as a sacred dogma that can’t be questioned.

    Discovery Institute believes that a curriculum that aims to provide students with an understanding of the strengths and weaknesses of neo-Darwinian and chemical evolutionary theories (rather than teaching an alternative theory, such as intelligent design) represents a common ground approach that all reasonable citizens can agree on . . .

    3 –> This is common sense, and would be utterly uncontroversial if the integrity of science and of science education were a priority.

    4 –> But, plainly, it is not. That is why the remarks were scooped out of their wider context and presented as if they implied a concession of the unscientific, even pseudo-scientific nature of the emerging design theory. This reflects the imposition of a priori, Lewontinian evolutionary materialism and the associated ideologisation of institutional science, science education policy and related praxis and textbooks, aw well as popular science and too much of public discussion.

    5 –> KTI then insistently fails to address the fact that key design theory proposals are in fact testable and in principle falsifiable, the basic problem that there is no firm and sharp dividing line between science and non-science in epistemology, and so on, all, as previously corrected in this thread.

    6 –> Similarly, he fails to understand that the observations of our world we make show causal forces and factors tracing to chance, necessity and intelligence, and that there are empirically credible observable signs and procedures that allow us to reliably differentiate and identify such factors.

    7 –> Indeed, in the central sanctum of scientific investigation and testing, experiment praxis, intelligent investigatorsd manipulatre key variables, and record results, distinguishing between chance scatter, lawlike regularities tracing to the effect of the intelligent manipulations, and methodological or instrument biases or personal equations.

    8 –> When it comes to basic Information theory, it is uncontroversial that the distinction between [intelligent] signals and [natural, or sometimes interfering] noise is a central construct. (Dismissal this plain fact with contempt only shows willful ignorance or intent to mislead.)

    9 –> Further to this, the inference to design on best explanation of observed effects is not an appeal to ignorance, despite the notorious big lie agitprop tactic of insistent repetition of outright falsehood in hopes of drowning out correction.

    10 –> For, despite much willful and even hostile blindness to the fact, we are intimately familiar with the fact of intelligence and its artifacts and manifestations as a major feature of the world as we experience it.

    11 –> So, we are all quite familiar with signs and manifestations of intelligence as a key causal factor, e.g. we readily discern intelligent and intelligible text from random text strings: frujwqjfguwfshh.

    12 –> So, to infer on known signs of intelligence to the signified causal factor is not an appeal to what we do not know, but to what we do know.

    13 –> Moreover, certain signs, as assessed on step by step, aspect by aspect procedures, are — on millions of test cases — empirically reliable. So we have every right to make the usual scientific induction to provisional generality.

    14 –> A generality that (as Newton pointed out) is to be tested, not against a priori imposition of materialist frames that censor science from being an unfettered pursuit of the truth about our world on empirical evidence and reasonable analysis, but against observed credible counter-examples.

    15 –> On the case of greatest relevance, it is an easily confirmed fact that since the 1950’s the living cell has been revealed to embed a digital information processing system that uses coded DNA strands to control step by step protein assembly in the ribosome, and this is closely connected to both metabolism and self-replication.

    16 –> As such, we see that there is a cluster of codes, algorithms, data structures, readers, effectors and the like, all of which are in every directly obse4rved case the product of intelligence. And, in the particular case of symbolic language, meaning is an inherently intelligent construct, where one element, the symbol is assigned a significance in a system for communication and control.

    17 –> The only real alternatives to that source are mechanical necessity and chance. For the first, if the cosmos’s laws have life on C-chemistry written into them, then that is as strong a proof of design of the cosmos as can be imagined; especially bearing in mind the other evidence of cosmological finetuning, which already points strongly in that direction.

    18 –> For the latter, the simple fact is that while it is logically possible for chance and happenstance to mimic just about anything, once we see the gamut of the observed universe and the ~ 10^150 Planck time states the 10^80 or so atoms in it would go through over its thermodynamic lifespan, we soon enough see that a functionally specific algorithmic entity that takes as few as 125 bytes of storage capacity would establish a config space of 1.07 * 10^301 possible states, which is ten times the square of the number of states the cosmos could have over its lifespan.

    19 –> That is, the universe we observe would not be able to even scratch the surface of the space, and 125 bytes is vastly too small to effect a self-replicating entity. So, the search capacity of the cosmos is effectively zero. Appeal to chance is an appeal to miraculously lucky noise.

    20 –> We already saw that appeal to law of necessity is appeal to design without frankly acknowledging the plain implication. And to combine the two has to reckon with the source of variations and fresh combinations in such a process: chance. Also, as the digital information system is intertwined inextricably with self-replication of a metabolising automaton, until it is in place natural selection on differential reproductive success is off the table. That is, back to square one.

    20 –> So, we have a known class of causes, competing with a class of causes that has no credible power to originate the sort of system in view.

    21 –> But, the chance that the intelligence involved may be God — notice how they begrudge the capital letter, revealing their hostility and bias for all to see — is sufficient to call in the rhetoric orf strawmanisation, denigration and dismissal. In correction, let us note that the contrast is nature vs art, not nature vs the supernatural. The latter is injected for ideological reasons, and to cast an unjust accusation of dishonesty and hidden agendas of theocracy.

    22 –> Of course, we have already seen that this is a resort to the rhetoric of turnabout accusation by motive mongering. (Cf the Weak Argument Correctives for a more detailed rebuttal.)

    23 –> In this context we can easily enough see the real intent of accusation that the design inference is in disregard to the laws of reality. What is really meant is that to those who take materialism as an a priori, anything that challenges it is a denial of obvious reality. In short, we here see exposed a grand exercise in question-begging.

    24 –> instead, let us restore science to integrity:

    science at its best is an unfettered (but intellectually and ethically responsible) progressive pursuit and exploration of the truth about our world, based on observation, experiment, logical-mathematical analysis, and discussion among the informed.

    It is clear that nothing else can restore the day and free science form ideological captivity to evolutionary materialist ideologues and linked fashionable progressivism.

    GEM of TKI

  324. 324
    gpuccio says:

    Paul Giem:

    For there you have him on the science, and his only recourse is to use theological arguments, and he wants to avoid that at all costs.

    Hi Paul! I think that, as usual, you have really struck a chord here. If I had a cent for each time a darwinist has eluded specific biological and scientific arguments, to find refuge in religious, metaphysical, or false epistemological discussions, I would not probably be rich (maybe I shoud raise that at least to a dollar), but at least I would be getting some real benefit from my blogging activity 🙂 .

    It’s strange that our interlocutors are so ready to discuss the reasons why we should avoid the discussion, if they are really so sure that ID is based on false premises. Most of the arguments here are reduced to problems such as if ID is science or not.

    Strange to say, the supporters of “the most important scientific theory of our times” (in their opinion, obviously), of a theory which according to many of them has accomplished the miracle of transubstantiation from a theory to a fact, prefer to question the validity of the ID inference to a designer (an inference by analogy quite simple and obvious) rather than overwhelm us with their knowledge by becoming engaged in the details of ID falsification of their beliefs.

    And yet, it’s really a pity, because each time some serious darwinist has accepted to come here and discuss the real stuff (and it does happen sometimes, I could name Arthur Hunt and rna, whoever he was, as an example of serious biologists who have done that recently) the discussion immediately becomes specific, interesting, constructive. And it’s not really interesting who “wins” or “loses”: nobody loses when people of different opinions share their views in a respectful way, even if that implies fiery intellectual confrontation, because respect does not grow in unanimity of thought, but rather the opposite.

    But that kind of discussion, a discussion which passionately is after some real truth, in a good scientific way, is interesting for all, and can really be useful to all.

  325. 325
    gpuccio says:

    Petruahka:

    Because a good many people at this forum talk about things like front loading, even direct creation, or perhaps just nudging an atom at critical times.

    Probably many people at this forum believe that the designer is God and that He, being omniscient, would have no such problems. In that case, direct creation or front loading could be a mechanism.

    That’s a possibility, but certainly not the only one. And personally, as you may have noticed, I don’t kike that any specific religious idea be invoked in scientific reasoning.

    So, I stick to what we can observe. And what we observe, IMO, is best explained by the scenario of a designer acting in a context, and accepting the constraints of that context. So, that’s my current hypothesis. Which in no way implies that the designer cannot be a god, because that remains a valid scientific hypothesis. But anyway, we have to derive our understanding of the designer and of his mechanisms of implementation from facts, and not from religious convictions.

    I’m trying to get a clear distinction between designing in the human sense, where you don’t get a lot of opportunity to evolve skyscrapers or passenger planes, and evolving stuff.

    Again I can’t understand your use of the word “evolution”. Skyscrapers and passenger planes have certainly “evolved”, in the sense that there is no doubt that they are the result of gradual design, passing through successive states of discovery and amelioration, through different mechanisms which probably include both top down and bottom up procedures, personal intuitions, multiple inferences, some right and some wrong, deductions, and why not, maybe even random search. That’s evolution, for me. Directed evolution. Design.

    Obviously, neither skyscrapers nor passenger planes evolved through “natural” laws, or by RV + NS, and I suppose that even the theory that they are casts of something else can be found not entirely satisfying.

  326. 326
    gpuccio says:

    Petrushka:

    You speak of protein domains and vast desserts of non-functionality. I’m wondering how, specifically, a designer knows where the islands of functionality are hidden.

    I’m particularly interested in how a designer would find these islands. You assert that we are getting better at computing protein folds, but computation will never be as fast or efficient as the real thing. It can’t be, because a folding protein is essentially a quantum computer.

    So if you are a designer, which is faster and more economical: computing protein coding sequences or setting up a laboratory in which evolution computes them?

    That’s an interesting subject, at last.

    In theory, all of the mechanisms I listed in my post #94 are possible mechanisms which an intelligent designer can use. To those, for completeness, I should probably add some more “extreme” hypotheses, like direct creation with overt violation of physical laws, but I will stick to my opinion of not considering that as a priority scenario.

    But my point is that we must not just list possible scenarios: we must look ar the facts to see if some scenarios are more plausible than others.

    So, reagrding the emergence of protein domains, I will try a little bit to do that. Obviously, let’s keep in mind that we probably know too little at present to really understand, but I am sure that evidence is gathering fast. The more we know of genomes and proteomes in detail, the easier it will be to reason about those subjects.

    So, what can we say at present?

    I would like to sum up the facts as we know them (indeed, not only facts, but also some reasonable inferences that we can for the moment accept):

    a) We have quite a number of independent protein domains in the global proteomes. Let’s say 1962 superfamilies in SCOP 1.75 (23 Feb 2009).

    b) Those superfamilies are, as far as we know, isolated island of functionality in the search space.

    c) Let’s say, according to the paper I often quote, that half of those were present in LUCA, and that a half arose after, about one quarter in prokaryotes, about one quarter in metazoa, with a slowing rate. The number could be different, but that is a reasonable general scenario.

    d)Let’s say, according to another paper I quoted, that protein domains appear in the beginning and then, throughout evolution, “traverse” their own functional island, producing the multitude of variants at primary structure level of the same domain and of the same fold and function (the “big bang” theory of protein evolution, which IMO is well supported by what we see in the proteome).

    So, what can we reasonably say to answer your questions?

    One important point is the emergence of about half of the domains very early after OOL. That’s something. Differently from you, I don’t believe that we can leave OOL out of our scientific reasonings. That would be really silly form a methodological point of view. After all, I think we all agree that OOL happened, so it is a fact that we have to explain. And avoiding facts is never a good idea for science.

    The second important point is that protein domains continue to emerge after that, even if in a slower rate, and continue to emerge throughout all of natural history.

    A point I have recently made with Occam (the blogger here, not the historical one 🙂 ) is that it would be parsimonious to consider that the same mechanism which gave birth to protein domains in the beginning could well be responsible for their emergence after that. There is no reason, at first analysis, to invoke two different mechanisms, one for the first half of protein domains and one for the second half. After all, as you seem to agree, finding functional protein domains is such a difficult task that there is no reason to invoke a second causal mechanism, if we have already found one.

    Then we must consider that the multiplicity of primary structures corresponding to one single domain seems to be the result of domain “evolution” in time, rather than the cause of their emergence, at least according to the “big bang” theory. IOW, we do not find any trace in the proteome of an ancient, long and patient search for fucntional domains. The cats as we know them seem to suggest that new protain domains appear rather suddenly, a la Gould, and then change slightly through time, while retaining the same fold and the same function thjey had in the beginnig, possibly with minor microevolutionary tweaks.

    So, again, what can we say from those facts?

    I would say that the most reasonable scenario, the one which is best suited to what we know, is that a designer implements functional domains in a rather short time (at least, evolutionarily speaking), and without leaving any trace of a long random serach, even if directed and intelligent.

    That is certainly consisten with my mechanism a) in post 94: guided mutation. That would imply that in some way the designer already knows how to implement functional domains, IOW that he has sufficient understanding of the biochemical laws according to which proteins fold and work to know in advance, if not the final solution, at least how to very efficiently approximate it.

    But that is not the only possibility. A relatively quick appearance of new domains could also be explained by a targeted random search followed by intelligent selection. To explain how, I will again go back to my model of antibody maturation.

    Here, the system (the intelligent algorithm embedded in the immune system) does not know in advance which AA substitutions will increase the affinity of the existing antibody for the stored antigen. So, the system targeted hypermutation, a very high rate of mutation realized by biochemical molecules, and then selects through measurement of the obtained affinity using the stored antigen.

    The important point is that the system, here, is not relying on generic random variation caused by spontaneous errors in replication. On the contrary, it is producing its own RV, targeted to a specific part of the existing molecule, and by specific biochemical means. That, coupled to the ingtelligent measurement of the results, makes the system so efficient that in a few months the affinity increases greatly.

    I don’t know how the biological designer could achieve that in natural history, but I beluieve that it could be possible. After all, we have many examples, especially in bacteria, of shared adaptive mechanisms, like HGT and in general plasmid genes.

    Maybe the appearance of new domains is realized by the designer in special “niches”: that would certainly make some darwinists happy 🙂 .

    These are obviously very generic speculations, but their purpose is to show that it is perfectly possible to speculate on these mechanisms, to build possible scenarios, and to try to test them with known facts. Again, the more facts we gather about genomes and proteomes (and about any other relevant aspect of biology, including regulatory mechanisms), the more we will be able to differentiate between different possible scenarios.

    That’s the only way science can proceed.

  327. 327
    Petrushka says:

    gpuccio:

    Your post rambles a bit (not necessarily a bad thing). I’m not sure what the big bang has to do with evolution other than set an upper limit to the time available for evolution.

    Interesting things are being found in meteorites and possibly in comets. Perhaps some complex organics from space jump started life on earth. But it’s all conjecture at this point.

    Finding an indepently originated instance of life on Mars or Europa might cast some light on OOL. Other than that, research seems best focused on generating biochemically possible scenarios, which could then be narrowed to plausible scenarios.

    We’ve been around on LUCA before. I don’t think LUCA has any precise meaning for pre-Cambrian life.

    Posting here is very confusing. The regulars at this site don’t seem to communicate with each other about anything important.

    You seem to be accepted as an ID advocate, but you accept the value of evolutionary algorithms and directed evolution. No one jumps on you and calls you an atheistic materialist. I don’t understand why you folks don’t discuss your differences. It’s like there are half a dozen parallel but isolated thread imbedded in one. The dividing lines seem to be based on who the poster is rather than on what is being said.

  328. 328
    gpuccio says:

    Petrushka:

    Sorry for the confusion. The big bang has nothing to do with the real big bang. I was referring to this paper:

    “Sequence space and the ongoing expansion of the protein universe”

    Inna S. Povolotskaya & Fyodor A. Kondrashov

    Nature, Vol 465| 17 June 2010| doi:10.1038/nature09105

    The abstract:

    “The need to maintain the structural and functional integrity of an evolving protein severely restricts the repertoire of acceptable amino-acid substitutions1, 2, 3, 4. However, it is not known whether these restrictions impose a global limit on how far homologous protein sequences can diverge from each other. Here we explore the limits of protein evolution using sequence divergence data. We formulate a computational approach to study the rate of divergence of distant protein sequences and measure this rate for ancient proteins, those that were present in the last universal common ancestor. We show that ancient proteins are still diverging from each other, indicating an ongoing expansion of the protein sequence universe. The slow rate of this divergence is imposed by the sparseness of functional protein sequences in sequence space and the ruggedness of the protein fitness landscape: ~98 per cent of sites cannot accept an amino-acid substitution at any given moment but a vast majority of all sites may eventually be permitted to evolve when other, compensatory, changes occur. Thus, ~3.5?×?109?yr has not been enough to reach the limit of divergent evolution of proteins, and for most proteins the limit of sequence similarity imposed by common function may not exceed that of random sequences.”

    Regarding your other remarks:

    a) This is a blob: anybody can express his views-

    b) ID is a scientific theory, not a political party. There is no official representative of ID, there is no party line. Like all fundamental scientific theories, ID is of all and for all.

    c) The common points in ID are the evidence for a designer of biological information, the principle of design detection, the concepts of CSI (in all forms) and of irreducible complexity. I think on those points we all agree in ID.

    d) The presence of different opinions in the context of a theory os a sign of vitality. Darwinists should reflect on that. And the present of different opinions in the context of science is a sign of vitality of science itself.

  329. 329
    gpuccio says:

    Petrushka:

    No one jumps on you and calls you an atheistic materialist.

    Perhaps because I am not. Anyway, I do believe in a designer of biological information.

    I must say that, personally, I don’t really approve of attempts to “convert” materialists here. For my taste, the only things materialists have to defend here are their scientific opinions, and not their worldview.

    But again, this is a blog, and I respect the point of view of all.

  330. 330
    StephenB says:

    Paul Giem @319, Thanks for the thoughts. Good points all.

    Actually, my objective in using the hypotheticals was to demonstrate for onlookers that Darwinists will believe the incredible [wind, water, erostion, and time will produce the model of a Corvetter Sting Ray] in order to to avoid the obvious [informal design inferences are part of everyday life].

    As far as the argument for the “history of human activity” is concerned, that argument was swept away with my example of the letter sequences on the planet Mars. You will notice that he did not address that second example because it renders the history of human activity irrelevant.

    My response to his example about the clam casts and crocodile coprolites was an attempt to draw out the fact that he had not even considered his own argument. If you will notice, he used the passive voice in order to avoid describing the process in active terms. When I said that I didn’t follow his argument, I didn’t mean that literally. I was simply asking him to accept the burden of articulating his own point. If he had done so, he would have discovered that the dynamic he was trying to describe, especially the appeal to “casts,” is not analogous to the process of wind, air, water, and time forming a model of a Corvette Sting Ray.

  331. 331
    Petrushka says:

    The presence of different opinions in the context of a theory os a sign of vitality. Darwinists should reflect on that.

    Mainstream science makes catfights look like lovefests.

    If ID proponents behaved like scientists they woud be holding conferences where they tear each other’s ideas apart.

    For most scientists, the greatest moment in their lives would be to find a flaw in someone else’s hypothesis, or some data that is inconsistent with established theories.

    That is why there is so much material available for quote mining.

    The common points in ID are the evidence for a designer of biological information, the principle of design detection, the concepts of CSI (in all forms) and of irreducible complexity.

    OK, just as soon as you get some positive evidence for an instance of design intervention, or a definition of CSI that results in a reliable, meaningful number in a broad set of contexts, or an instance of something irreducible in the sense that subsets of its components have no function or do not function in other contexts, give me a holler.

    I have to say that you are the only UD poster who actually engages my questions, and although I have no formal credentials, I do not ask trivial questions. I ask the kinds of questions that were asked at Dover and the kinds of questions that will be asked at any future confrontation where the teaching of ID is on the line.

  332. 332
    kairosfocus says:

    Steve:

    Not least, the cast is not the source of the relevant spatial information. It only propagates it with more or less of fidelity.

    So, wherein lieth the source of the information?

    We are back to: forces of chance and necessity, or intelligence.

    And while there are sculptural forces of chance and necessity, they are a vastly inferior explanation of something like the shape of a Corvette Stingray, or a beat up Ford, or for that matter, a crankshaft.

    GEM of TKI

  333. 333
    Petrushka says:

    I don’t want to derail the discussion or be interpreted as ridiculing ID, but I think ID has a lot in common with advocacy of UFOs and the paranormal.

    I can’t say that there has never been an alien spaceship visiting earth, but there are enormous problems with accepting evidence and arguments for such.

    Same with ESP, ghosts, and such.

    In the case of arguing for such phenomena you can amass large arrays of testimony and of unexplained phenomena. And it is easy to label one side as kooks and the other side as hyperskeptical.

    In the context of this thread, I have been called hyperskeptical. I’m not offended, That’s part of my personality.

    Give me an observable phenomenon like evolution, and I’m willing to extrapolate it, even into areas that are unknown and unexplored.

    Give me a conjecture that lacks any observed instances or any firm attributes, and I remain a skeptic.

  334. 334
    kairosfocus says:

    Petrushka:

    Note that again you do not see the focus of the design inference: That of the observed causal factors, chance, necessity and agency, each has characteristic manifestations.

    Thus, through appropriate procedures and in light of evident and tested signs, it is appropriate to infer from the evidence of the sign to the signified, the act of design.

    At no point thus far has any hypothesis or assumption entered regarding the nature or identity of a designer, i.e. we are reasoning back from evidence to explanatory causal factors on principles of warranting a best explanation, in light of the reasonable enough premise that the present points the way to the past, but bearing in mind the observation that was old in the days of Job: we obviously were not there to observe the deep past of origins, so our explanations have to be very open to correction indeed.

    So, sadly, you have again erected and knocked over an unwarranted strawman misrepresentation, and that after the accurate summary haws been repeatedly presented to you.

    Answer, please: why is it that you are consistently unable to accurately summarise and respond to what we have said, and even insisted on?

    That inability to acknowledge what is in front of you is not any healthy skepticism, it is plainly selective hyper-skepticism that demands unreasonable and often arbitrary standards of warrant from what does not fit with one’s preconceptions that are not demanded of cases that do.

    As a consequence, ironically, one then often ends up in the hyper-credulous fallacies of question-begging, confirmation bias and ideological closed-mindedness. in this case, evidently in a priori, Lewontinian evolutionary materialism. (Please cf the summary discussion here, as has been repeatedly linked. Next time, can you kindly first tell us in a precis, what it argues, and why; before making your own responses in that light. That will assure us that you are responding to us not to a strawman.)

    Now, also, evidence that warrants inference to design, under certain circumstances can then tell us a lot about the designer in question, especially if we can locate place and time to some reasonable degree of confidence. For that may allow us to rule in or out certain candidates or suspects as the case may be. (Remember how a successful alibi is a valid defence against a criminal charge.)

    Now, too, that may in turn sit ill with say an evolutionary materialistic worldview, but that is a matter for a different level of discourse, comparative difficulties across competing worldviews. (And, notice, as the linked summary shows, we have documented and linked abundant materials to show that this is an issue of concern in institutional science and science education.)

    What the scientific design inference is telling us on the case of the digital information system in cell based life is that there was credibly a designer at the point of origin of life, capable of molecular nanotechnology, and of sophisticated software and hardware design and integration. We may then seek further evidence on what such a designer most likely is as to identity, but that is a further floor in the building.

    One thing we do know is that blind forces of chance and mechanical necessity in a still warm pond, or a volcano vent or a comet are simply not credible sources for the origin of such an entity as cell based life, for reasons that have been discussed repeatedly and linked. (Onlookers, notice how consistently the subject gets switched when this issue is put on the table. No prizes for guessing why.)

    When it comes to the origin of the observed cosmos, on multiple factors [amounting to the several dozens], we see a cumulative case for a fine-tuned design, set up to support carbon chemistry cell based intelligent life. To a degree of precision that is well beyond what human engineering can dream of.

    Such a designer would be enormously powerful, would be of superior genius level intelligence, and would be causally antecedent to matter, energy and the like as we know it.

    We also know that the observed cosmos credibly had a beginning, which leads to the logical inference that the ultimate ground of the cosmos is a necessary being; on the premise that something does not come from nothing.

    Cumulatively, such inferences do fit well with core Judaeo-Christian worldview claims, but that is a matter of the inference to best explanation on evidence and relevant signs, not of a priori imposition. (Eighty years ago, the dominant view was that the material cosmos was the necessary and eternal being. Then came Hubble, and eventually, 3K background cavity radiation [a la Planck . . . the actual case that led to the rise of Quantum mechanics] that fits very well with the energy radiation expected form such a singularity-expansion model.)

    So, your diversion to tabloid type speculations is a crude caricature and strawman.

    Please, do better than that.

    GEM of TKI

  335. 335
    Upright BiPed says:

    Petrushka at 327, 331, 333 et al,

    Quit pandering to yourself. If you think no one notices, you are sadly mistaken.

  336. 336
    Clive Hayden says:

    Petrushka,

    Give me an observable phenomenon like evolution, and I’m willing to extrapolate it, even into areas that are unknown and unexplored.

    Thank you for your honesty.

  337. 337
    Clive Hayden says:

    Petrushka,

    Mainstream science makes catfights look like lovefests.

    That’s because their catfights are lovefests.

  338. 338
    StephenB says:

    —Petrushka: “I don’t want to derail the discussion or be interpreted as ridiculing ID, but I think ID has a lot in common with advocacy of UFOs and the paranormal.

    The difficulty is not about ID but rather with your mistaken impressions about it. ID scientists understand the limits of their pardigms, meaning that they argue only for the existence of a designer and make no claims about the designers identity or methods. If only Darwinists understood the limitations of their paradigm.

    —“Same with ESP, ghosts, and such.”

    Keep the strawmen coming. Please!

    —“In the context of this thread, I have been called hyperskeptical. I’m not offended, That’s part of my personality.”

    There are two extremes to be avoided, gullibility and hyperskepticism. The former trait is found in those who accept dubious propositions without sufficient supporting reasons; the latter trait is found in those who reject good arguments for ideological reasons. What is called for is a healthy skepticism concerning questionable claims and a rational faith concerning self evident truths. It’s the golden mean between two radical extremes, with Darwinism at one end of the continuum and superstition at the other end.

    The irony is that Darwinists are hyperskeptical toward good arguments for design, yet they are, at the same time, exceedingly credulous about anything that will support their world view. Consider the case of those on this thread who believe that wind, air, water, and time can build a perfect sand model of a 1963 Corvette Sting Ray or could, in principle, write thematic sentences on the the surface of the planet Mars. What is that except irrational and unwarranted trust in naturalistic metaphysics?

    In keeping with that point, Darwinists are hyperskeptical about first principles and a creator God, but they are exceedingly gullible about everything else, holding that something comes from nothing, life comes from non life, mind comes from matter, and universes come from out of nowhere. That is the way it is with any extreme position. To be hyperskeptical about reason’s first principles is to be hypercredulous about everything else.

  339. 339
    Petrushka says:

    When it comes to the origin of the observed cosmos, on multiple factors [amounting to the several dozens], we see a cumulative case for a fine-tuned design, set up to support carbon chemistry cell based intelligent life. To a degree of precision that is well beyond what human engineering can dream of.

    That seems to be the position of Michael Denton in Nature’s Destiny.

    Of course that book accepts pretty much all of mainstream biology’s narrative for the history of life.

  340. 340
    Petrushka says:

    blockquote>That’s because their catfights are lovefests.

    It occurred to me after I posted that, that catfights and cat lovefests might sound pretty much alike, from a safe distance.

  341. 341
    gpuccio says:

    Petrushka:

    Mainstream science makes catfights look like lovefests.

    Yes, except for challenging the most challengeable of theories: neo darwinism.

    For most scientists, the greatest moment in their lives would be to find a flaw in someone else’s hypothesis, or some data that is inconsistent with established theories.

    But at the moment of offering adoration to neo darwinism, they all agree.

    OK, just as soon as you get some positive evidence for an instance of design intervention, or a definition of CSI that results in a reliable, meaningful number in a broad set of contexts, or an instance of something irreducible in the sense that subsets of its components have no function or do not function in other contexts, give me a holler.

    I have presented positive evidence in the form of the natural history of protein domains.

    I have given a very precise definition of dFSCI which is valid for all biological information in the proteome, and practical methods to measure it.

    Behe has presented two examples of irreducible complexity, the bacterial flagellum and the common branch of the clotting cascade. Both are still perfectly valid.

    I have to say that you are the only UD poster who actually engages my questions, and although I have no formal credentials, I do not ask trivial questions. I ask the kinds of questions that were asked at Dover and the kinds of questions that will be asked at any future confrontation where the teaching of ID is on the line.

    Thank you.

    The questions asked at Dover are not necessarily good questions. Do you want a free advice? Try to ask questions from your free mind, not from the mind of an arrogant judge. It’s more difficult, but more satisfying.

    And one thing I deeply believe: questions are more important than answers.

  342. 342
    Petrushka says:

    Behe has presented two examples of irreducible complexity, the bacterial flagellum and the common branch of the clotting cascade. Both are still perfectly valid.

    The only issue of importance is whether a large number of mutations would have to occur in a single step.would imply that the protein

    That would imply that the proteins, taken individually, have no value.

    We know that is wrong because all but one or two are present as subsets in other organisms. In lots of different subsets.

  343. 343
    Petrushka says:

    I have presented positive evidence in the form of the natural history of protein domains.

    You have posed a challenge, but you have presented no history. Neither has mainstream science.

    The big question is how you deal with mysteries and challenges.

    Do you continue the centuries old traditions of science, and look for natural explanations?

    Do you assume, for the generation of research proposals, that phenomena observable today can lead to explanations of historical phenomena?

  344. 344
    Upright BiPed says:

    Petrushka, further study of irreducible complexity is in order. Its an exceedingly simple concept to understand. It is not based upon proteins having other functions. What you count on as a falsification is nothing but another misrepresentation.

    May I ask… It is well known that ID critics often seem frozen in a constant state of misrepresenting ID arguments. This is all propelled by a science and media community that incessantly promotes the misprepresentations, so anyone who is new to the arguments could easily be forgiven for it.

    Yet, you say that you’re an old hand at this, so I can only assume you’ve been given the correctives. So… does this constant need to misrepresent ID arguments ever grow tiresome for you? And on that note, how does one intellectually process the knowledge that one must ignore correctives in order to maintain a particular worldview?

  345. 345
    Petrushka says:

    The questions asked at Dover are not necessarily good questions. Do you want a free advice? Try to ask questions from your free mind…

    The questios posed at Dover will surface whenever the issue of teaching ID in public schools is brought to court. It’s only going to get worse, because many of the questions about flagella and blood clotting have been illuminated in the past five years.

    Your second statement is unkind. I have freely admitted having no academic credentials. I do this as a hobby. I do it to improve my own understand of evolution. I seek out the best challenges I can find and I argue in good faith.

    When I make mistakes I admit it. I avoid debating religion and philosophy because I know only a little about them. Certainly not enough to debate them.

    I do not assert that evolution is TRUE. I argue that it is the best explanation we have for the diversity of life. The only thing I have to say about the origin of life is that I am interested in the research. I will always side with people who are tring to find things out. Not to the point of agreeing with all their conjectures, but agreeing with their approach.

    I have no apologies for extrapolating present observations to the past. That’s what geologists have done for hundreds of years. It’s a productive approach.

  346. 346
    Upright BiPed says:

    “I have no apologies for extrapolating present observations to the past. That’s what geologists have done for hundreds of years. It’s a productive approach.”

    Life as we know it is powered (to a large extent at least) by the semiotic mappings of chemical structures. One thing means another thing, but is not the product of it. There is only one presidence for semiotic mappings of meaning in all of history, and that is intelligence.

    Thats an observation of the here and now. There isn’t a single alternative to it, and that is but one of the ID arguments being made. Your statement above is therefore likely to be more self-serving than it is about being productive in observations.

    “I seek out the best challenges I can find and I argue in good faith.”

    This hardly seems to be the case, but you are welcome to begin at any time. Thats the intellectually repsponsible thing to do, is it not?

  347. 347
    Upright BiPed says:

    >> precedence

    sorry…

  348. 348
    Petrushka says:

    There is only one presidence for semiotic mappings of meaning in all of history, and that is intelligence.

    You appear to be assuming your conclusion. You don’t actually know the full history of life.

  349. 349
    Petrushka says:

    This hardly seems to be the case

    I’ve only posted on a few threads, and I’ve stuck with them. I don’t simply drop comments and run.
    I can’t pretend that I’ve devastated anyone with my knowledge and my logic, but I do try to learn about the shortcomings of my own arguments.

    Of course people who disagree on fundamental things seldom see their adversaries improve. That works both ways.

  350. 350
    gpuccio says:

    Petrushka:

    Your second statement is unkind. I have freely admitted having no academic credentials. I do this as a hobby. I do it to improve my own understand of evolution. I seek out the best challenges I can find and I argue in good faith.

    Didn’t mean in any way to be unkind. And I am no fan of academic credential. My cobcept is that I prefer any single creative concept from you to any passive restatement of the trivialities exhibited at Dover, because it’s with you that I am discussing, and I definitely prefer you or any other sincere and tolerant interlocutor to the likes Dawkins or Moran or Myers, whatever their credentials.

    Moreover,I am frankly tired with the Dover affair, a merely political plot with no relevance to science, and it is really sad to see people who call themselves scientists hide behind the authority of a judge. It would be ridicule, if it were not depressing.

    Moreover, I am in no way interested to the school issue. I live in Italy, where the political aspects of the darwin wars are scarcely known, understood and felt, for various reasons. It’s fine for me that the darwinian model be teached as the main accepted explanation. ID must win in the science field, before entering the schools. If ID is accepted in the scientific field, as it rightly deserves, be it even as a minority approach, than the school has to acknowledge its existence. But with the current scientific establishment, utterly dogmatic and intolerant to this regard, and shamefully ready to willingly delegate a judge to decide what is science and what is not, there is little hope.

    But time and truth and knowledge will help, where politics and authority continue to deny freedom of thought.

  351. 351
    bornagain77 says:

    But Petrushka you stated this:

    “I have no apologies for extrapolating present observations to the past. That’s what geologists have done for hundreds of years. It’s a productive approach.”

    And yet Petrushka we have zero present observed instances of material/evolutionary processes generating functional information, or constructing machines, at the present time, even though the cell is overflowing with functional information and machines. And yet we have “present observations” of intelligence generating functional information and constructing machines right now with humans (although of a lower level of complexity for the functional information, and a lower level of efficiency for the machines)

    Thus Petrushka why in blue blazes do you not heed your very own words and “have no apologies for extrapolating present observations to the past”???

    notes:

    Stephen C. Meyer – The Scientific Basis For Intelligent Design
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/4104651

    The Coding Found In DNA Surpasses Man’s Ability To Code – Stephen Meyer – video
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/4050638

    Bill Gates, in recognizing the superiority found in Genetic Coding, compared to the best computer coding we now have, has now funded research into this area:

    Welcome to CoSBi – (Computational and Systems Biology)
    Excerpt: Biological systems are the most parallel systems ever studied and we hope to use our better understanding of how living systems handle information to design new computational paradigms, programming languages and software development environments. The net result would be the design and implementation of better applications firmly grounded on new computational, massively parallel paradigms in many different areas.
    http://www.cosbi.eu/index.php/.....rticle/171

    “Although the tiniest living things known to science, bacterial cells, are incredibly small (10^-12 grams), each is a veritable micro-miniaturized factory containing thousands of elegantly designed pieces of intricate molecular machinery, made up altogether of one hundred thousand million atoms, far more complicated than any machine built by man and absolutely without parallel in the non-living world”. Michael Denton PhD

    Nanoelectronic Transistor Combined With Biological Machine Could Lead To Better Electronics: – Aug. 2009
    Excerpt: While modern communication devices rely on electric fields and currents to carry the flow of information, biological systems are much more complex. They use an arsenal of membrane receptors, channels and pumps to control signal transduction that is unmatched by even the most powerful computers. http://www.sciencedaily.com/re.....091834.htm

    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

    “There are no detailed Darwinian accounts for the evolution of any fundamental biochemical or cellular system only a variety of wishful speculations. It is remarkable that Darwinism is accepted as a satisfactory explanation of such a vast subject.”
    James Shapiro – Molecular Biologist

    As well, Physicists find many processes in a cell operate at the “near optimal” capacities allowed in any physical system:

    William Bialek – Professor Of Physics – Princeton University:
    Excerpt: “A central theme in my research is an appreciation for how well things “work” in biological systems. It is, after all, some notion of functional behavior that distinguishes life from inanimate matter, and it is a challenge to quantify this functionality in a language that parallels our characterization of other physical systems. Strikingly, when we do this (and there are not so many cases where it has been done!), the performance of biological systems often approaches some limits set by basic physical principles. While it is popular to view biological mechanisms as an historical record of evolutionary and developmental compromises, these observations on functional performance point toward a very different view of life as having selected a set of near optimal mechanisms for its most crucial tasks.,,,The idea of performance near the physical limits crosses many levels of biological organization, from single molecules to cells to perception and learning in the brain,,,,”
    http://www.princeton.edu/~wbialek/wbialek.html

  352. 352
    Upright BiPed says:

    In the face of not a single contrary example in evidence, and indeed, in the face of no conceptually plausible means to have physical entities begin to fashion non-physical mappings to other physical entities…I would say that I am on safe evidentiary ground. After all, which of our four Grand Theories of the material universe decides what the non-material rules are in semiotic mappings?

    But, what ground are you on?

    On what observable, non-contradicted evidence do you base the idea that material entities can create and organize themselves from the processing of semiotic mappings?

  353. 353
    StephenB says:

    —Clive Hayden on [mainstrem science]: “That’s because their catfights are lovefests.”

    LOL.

  354. 354
    Petrushka says:

    But, what ground are you on?

    On the part about the conceptual plausibility of self-replicators arising from simpler compounds, I’d say you are standing on the same ground as those who thought in a previous century that organic compounds could not be synthesized.

    In the absence of actual evidence, I’ll label my thought as a conjecture.

    I think you are in the same evidentiary boat as I am. How do you label your thought?

    Do you believe the absence of evidence justifies the absence of research?

  355. 355
    Petrushka says:

    And yet Petrushka we have zero present observed instances of material/evolutionary processes generating functional information…

    I have no idea how to generate information, but I have a good idea how genomes change over time.

    Based on a rather detailed series of fossils, I believe the bones of the inner ear evolved from jawbones through slight, incremental changes. In doing so, evolution created a new function.

    I’d bet that interpretation would win in a court of law.

    In fact I know it would.

  356. 356
    Upright BiPed says:

    Petrushka,

    You are missing the point. There is no need to.

    You begin by saying I don’t know the “full history of life”. This is a trivial observation to be sure, but if it were somehow a prerequisite to understanding then we all could know nothing in the least.

    These debates over interpretation of evidence would be silly at best, always ending with “yeah, but you don’t know the full history of life”. A clearer view might suggest that Newton didn’t know the history of life either, but that didn’t stop him from being productive in interpreting what was in front of him. I suggest we stay with that model and leave the trivialities and pointless observations to others, okay?

    Now you say:

    “On the part about the conceptual plausibility of self-replicators arising from simpler compounds, I’d say you are standing on the same ground as those who thought in a previous century that organic compounds could not be synthesized.”

    Here is the deal, I am not talking about the synthesis of parts. In that regard I stand on the ground that assumes every constituent part of biology can be synthesized by some means, and that each will follow the laws of nature with unwaivering regularity. I gain this rather ground-shaking perspective by realizing they all exist already.

    And this is the point. The researchers who synthesize the chemical constituent parts of living systems do not accomplish that task by inducing the tranfer and intepretation of semiotic content. In other words, I am talking about something else entirely. I am on record here suggesting that after every last tidbit of biology has been created in the lab, this debate will at last begin in earnest.

    Its not about the synthesis of parts.

    It’s about the observable presence of a semiotic abstraction of the orgainsm embedded in matter. It’s about inanimate matter creating a semiotic abstraction of itself. It’s about that abstraction being embedded into a material carrier for the purposes of heredity. It’s about matter establishing the non physico-dynamic rules by which that abstraction can be realized from that carrier.

    “How do you label your thought?”

    I am not sure how to answer that question, but I can say this: I am certain that there is only one recorded source of semiosis and meaning in the Universe. If you can offer a second, I am happy to listen.

    Also, I can tell you that I do not need to misrepresent the evidence presented by my intellectual opponents in order to attack it.

    “Do you believe the absence of evidence justifies the absence of research?”

    Like I said before, let’s leave the silly questions to others.

  357. 357
    Phaedros says:

    Petrushka-

    “On the part about the conceptual plausibility of self-replicators arising from simpler compounds, I’d say you are standing on the same ground as those who thought in a previous century that organic compounds could not be synthesized.”

    I would say this type of argument is useless at best. Just like all of the arguments you and Gaz were using before about the scientific usefulness of the idea of a straight line and so on and so forth. We don’t know, and can’t know, which of our ideas about particular things hinder our understanding of other things. We have to work with what we have and what we know now.

    That aside, from the naturalistic viewpoint human beings are natural phenomena. If human beings are a natural phenomenon, then intelligence is a natural phenomenon, i.e. it can be found in nature. This, I think, is a great paradox in your thinking. It is obvious that intelligence is a natural phenomenon, if naturalism is to be consistent, and yet naturalists, or materialists, constantly argue against the possibility of it being a natural phenomenon. Choose a position. One position is that all phenomenon are natural therefore anything to be found an nature can possibly be appealed to as a cause or some things are not natural and therefore naturalism (materialism) is falsified.

  358. 358
    Petrushka says:

    It’s about the observable presence of a semiotic abstraction of the orgainsm embedded in matter. It’s about inanimate matter creating a semiotic abstraction of itself.

    Either that or a simple replicator.

    As I said, I don’t have any predictions about how OOL research will go. I’m glad that it’s being done.

  359. 359
    Phaedros says:

    This sentence
    “Just like all of the arguments you and Gaz were using before about the scientific usefulness of the idea of a straight line and so on and so forth.”

    should end with “so on and so forth are just distractions really.”

    And

    “One position is that all phenomenon..”

    Phenomena**

  360. 360
    Petrushka says:

    It’s about the observable presence of a semiotic abstraction of the orgainsm embedded in matter. It’s about inanimate matter creating a semiotic abstraction of itself. It’s about that abstraction being embedded into a material carrier for the purposes of heredity. It’s about matter establishing the non physico-dynamic rules by which that abstraction can be realized from that carrier.

    How do you know that Michael Denton is wrong, and that it is not in the nature of matter itself, for whatever reason or cause, to self-organize?

  361. 361
    Upright BiPed says:

    Petrushka,

    “Either that or a simple replicator”

    That was nothing but a punt. A willful refusal to address the observable evidence as we find it.

    You are certainly welcome to close your eyes if you must, but if you are going to be consistent, then stop taking positions about what must then follow.

  362. 362
    bornagain77 says:

    Petrushka you stated:

    “I have no idea how to generate information,”

    That is completely nonsensical sense you in fact generated information to say you did not know how to generate information, or do you deny that a coherent English sentence is information?

    Falsehood number two from you:

    “but I have a good idea how genomes change over time.”

    but the evidence says:

    Comparing molecular sequences gives the same pattern of discontinuity as the fossil record does:

    The Biological Big Bang model for the major transitions in evolution – Eugene V Koonin – Background:
    “Major transitions in biological evolution show the same pattern of sudden emergence of diverse forms at a new level of complexity. The relationships between major groups within an emergent new class of biological entities are hard to decipher and do not seem to fit the tree pattern that, following Darwin’s original proposal, remains the dominant description of biological evolution. The cases in point include the origin of complex RNA molecules and protein folds; major groups of viruses; archaea and bacteria, and the principal lineages within each of these prokaryotic domains; eukaryotic supergroups; and animal phyla. In each of these pivotal nexuses in life’s history, the principal “types” seem to appear rapidly and fully equipped with the signature features of the respective new level of biological organization. No intermediate “grades” or intermediate forms between different types are detectable;

    Congruence Between Molecular and Morphological Phylogenies – Colin Patterson
    Excerpt: “As morphologists with high hopes of molecular systematics, we end this survey with our hopes dampened. Congruence between molecular phylogenies is as elusive as it is in morphology and as it is between molecules and morphology.”
    http://www.arn.org/docs/odesig.....ler171.htm

    ‘The theory makes a prediction (for amino acid sequence similarity); we’ve tested it, and the prediction is falsified precisely.’
    Dr. Colin Patterson Senior Principal Scientific Officer in the Paleontology Department at the British Museum

    Walter T. Brown, In the Beginning (1989), p. 7
    Excerpt: “There is not a trace of evidence on the molecular level for the traditional evolutionary series: simple sea life > fish> amphibians > reptiles> mammals. In general, each of the many categories of organisms appear to be equally isolated.”
    http://evolution-facts.org/Appendix/a21.htm

    Bones, molecules…or both?
    Excerpt: Evolutionary trees constructed by studying biological molecules often don’t resemble those drawn up from morphology. Can the two ever be reconciled?,,, When biologists talk of the ‘evolution wars’, they usually mean the ongoing battle for supremacy in American schoolrooms between Darwinists and their creationist opponents. But the phrase could also be applied to a debate that is raging (between Darwinists) within systematics.
    http://www.nature.com/nature/j.....230a0.html

    Trees for bees
    Excerpt: the application of different analytical methodologies does not explain why molecular and morphological data suggest strikingly different hypotheses for the evolution of eusociality in bees.
    http://www.life.illinois.edu/s.....REE_01.pdf

    The universal ancestor – Carl Woese
    Excerpt: What then was this universal ancestor? A discrete picture of the ancestor began to emerge only when many more sequences representing all three phylogenetic domains became available. These sequences could be seen as putting phenotypic flesh on an ancestral phylogenetic skeleton. Yet that task has turned out to be anything but straightforward. Indeed, it would seem to require disarticulating the skeleton. No consistent organismal phylogeny has emerged from the many individual protein phylogenies so far produced. Phylogenetic incongruities can be seen everywhere in the universal tree, from its root to the major branchings within and among the various taxa to the makeup of the primary groupings themselves.
    http://www.pnas.org/content/95/12/6854.full

    Do orthologous gene phylogenies really support tree-thinking?
    Excerpt: We conclude that we simply cannot determine if a large portion of the genes have a common history.,,, CONCLUSION: Our phylogenetic analyses do not support tree-thinking.
    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15913459

    Why Darwin was wrong about the (genetic) tree of life: – 21 January 2009
    Excerpt: Syvanen recently compared 2000 genes that are common to humans, frogs, sea squirts, sea urchins, fruit flies and nematodes. In theory, he should have been able to use the gene sequences to construct an evolutionary tree showing the relationships between the six animals. He failed. The problem was that different genes told contradictory evolutionary stories. This was especially true of sea-squirt genes. Conventionally, sea squirts – also known as tunicates – are lumped together with frogs, humans and other vertebrates in the phylum Chordata, but the genes were sending mixed signals. Some genes did indeed cluster within the chordates, but others indicated that tunicates should be placed with sea urchins, which aren’t chordates. “Roughly 50 per cent of its genes have one evolutionary history and 50 per cent another,” Syvanen says. ….”We’ve just annihilated the tree of life. It’s not a tree any more, it’s a different topology entirely,” says Syvanen. “What would Darwin have made of that?”

    Does the fossil record help your grand evolutionary narrative Petrushka?

    Deepening Darwin’s Dilemma – Jonathan Wells – Sept. 2009
    Excerpt: “The truth is that (finding) “exceptionally preserved microbes” from the late Precambrian actually deepen Darwin’s dilemma, because they suggest that if there had been ancestors to the Cambrian phyla they would have been preserved.”

    Deepening Darwin’s Dilemma – Jonathan Wells – The Cambrian Explosion – video
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/4154263

    “The point emerges that if we examine the fossil record in detail, whether at the level of orders or of species, we find’ over and over again’ not gradual evolution, but the sudden explosion of one group at the expense of another.”
    Paleontologist, Derek V. Ager

    “A major problem in proving the theory has been the fossil record; the imprints of vanished species preserved in the Earth’s geological formations. This record has never revealed traces of Darwin’s hypothetical intermediate variants – instead species appear and disappear abruptly, and this anomaly has fueled the creationist argument that each species was created by God.”
    Paleontologist, Mark Czarnecki

    “There is no need to apologize any longer for the poverty of the fossil record. In some ways, it has become almost unmanageably rich and discovery is outpacing integration. The fossil record nevertheless continues to be composed mainly of gaps.”
    Professor of paleontology – Glasgow University, T. Neville George

    “Evolution requires intermediate forms between species and paleontology does not provide them.”
    David Kitts – Paleontologist

    “The long-term stasis, following a geologically abrupt origin, of most fossil morphospecies, has always been recognized by professional paleontologists” – Stephen Jay Gould – Harvard

    Genesis 1:21 & 25
    So God created great sea creatures and every living thing that moves, with which the waters abounded, according to their kind, and every winged bird according to its kind. And God saw that it was good.,,,,, each according to its kind”; and it was so. 25 And God made the beast of the earth according to its kind, cattle according to its kind, and everything that creeps on the earth according to its kind. And God saw that it was good.

    “Now, after over 120 years of the most extensive and painstaking geological exploration of every continent and ocean bottom, the picture is infinitely more vivid and complete than it was in 1859. Formations have been discovered containing hundreds of billions of fossils and our museums now are filled with over 100 million fossils of 250,000 different species. The availability of this profusion of hard scientific data should permit objective investigators to determine if Darwin was on the right track. What is the picture which the fossils have given us? … The gaps between major groups of organisms have been growing even wider and more undeniable. They can no longer be ignored or rationalized away with appeals to imperfection of the fossil record.” Luther D. Sunderland, Darwin’s Enigma 1988, Fossils and Other Problems, 4th edition, Master Books, p. 9

    “The evidence we find in the geological record is not nearly as compatible with Darwinian natural selection as we would like it to be …. We now have a quarter of a million fossil species but the situation hasn’t changed much. The record of evolution is surprisingly jerky and, ironically, we have even fewer examples of evolutionary transition than in Darwin’s time … so Darwin’s problem has not been alleviated”.
    David Raup, Curator of Geology at Chicago’s Field Museum of Natural History

    The Fossil Record – Don Patton – in their own words – video
    http://video.google.com/videop.....6900194790

    “In virtually all cases a new taxon appears for the first time in the fossil record with most definitive features already present, and practically no known stem-group forms.” Fossils and Evolution, TS Kemp – Curator of Zoological Collections, Oxford University, Oxford Uni Press, p246, 1999

    “Every paleontologist knows that most new species, genera, and families, and that nearly all categories above the level of family appear in the record suddenly and are not led up to by known, gradual, completely continuous transitional sequences.”
    George Gaylord Simpson (evolutionist), The Major Features of Evolution, New York, Columbia University Press, 1953 p. 360.

    I don’t know Petrushka you repeatedly state one thing and yet the evidence repeatedly says another,,, Why does it not bother you to keep repeating these falsehoods of evidence? Does repeating a lie over and over make you it any less of a lie? Of course not!!! So why the games?

  363. 363
    Upright BiPed says:

    Petrushka,

    I do not know that Denton is wrong, I know materialists are, as well as those who refuse to address the evidence. It’s all in the evidence.

    And, before you tac off on your next tangent, please realize that Denton provides a full-fledged attack on Darwinism in both his major works. (e.g. Darwinism is not looking for a set of design principles embedded in nature that direct purpose upon the unfolding of Life from the beginning).

    Have you actually read his work? It was what brought me into ID.

    However, in your case this is all a moot point. As has already been stated above, you do not intend to address the evidence as we find it, you intend to argue from a position bolstered by that which is safely ignored.

  364. 364
    Upright BiPed says:

    …cheers

  365. 365
    Petrushka says:

    I suggest we stay with that model and leave the trivialities and pointless observations to others, okay?

    It becomes not-OK when one side declares the issue settled in favor of mysterious intervention in nature.

    In fairness, I would not approve of school books declaring the issue solved, but the last time I looked, they included a lot of maybes and perhapses.

    There’s one thing ID proponents say they are in favor of that that I agree with. I would love to see introductory science courses emphasise unsolved problems. There was a tendency in my high school -50 years ago — to suggest that all the really great puzzles had been solved. One teacher declared that the whole enterprise of science would be finished in ten years. Everything that could be known would be known.

    I guess that left me rather hypersensitive to claims that methodological naturalism is finished. I saw the same claim made fifty years ago when I was deciding on a career.

  366. 366
    CannuckianYankee says:

    Petrushka,

    Allow me to add my 2 cents:

    “It becomes not-OK when one side declares the issue settled in favor of mysterious intervention in nature.”

    Since when is RM + NS not a “mysterious intervention in nature?”

    They’ve been at it for 150 years and still don’t know how it works in light of the continued evidence of optimal complex systems, as BA77 pointed out in post # 362. Their answer? “We don’t know, but it looks designed.” Yet they continue to look for answers other than design.

    ID is hardly considering the issue settled. There’s much work to be done, but we could at least be searching within a paradigm, which offers insight; rather than one, which continues to overlook that obvious insight.

  367. 367
    Petrushka says:

    Since when is RM + NS not a “mysterious intervention in nature?”

    I suppose since it is neither mysterious nor an intervention, except in the case of selective breeding directed by humans.

    I remain curious why directed evolution is regarded as so much more “efficient” than evolution not influenced by humans.

    We’ve made some very curious dog breeds in the last 300 years, and the Brits have made some awesome pigeons, and the Japanese have made some fowl with decorative tail feathers, but nature has produced peacocks and birds of paradise.

  368. 368
    CannuckianYankee says:

    Petrushka,

    It’s very mysterious, since nobody actually states exactly how it works apart from just-so stories: “the fit are selected,” which only begs a lot of questions:

    How does evolution determine what is fit and what is not without the Darwinist appealing to further just-so stories?

    How does evolution determine what to select without the Darwinist appealing to further just-so stories?

    If evolution is an undirected process, how does it know when to stop once optimal fitness is selected?

    How does it even determine what is optimal fitness?

    Darwinists keep pointing to non-optimal fitness as evidence that a designer would not have done it; yet it seems to me that evolution, having been in operation for millions of years, would have reached optimal fitness by now. Where does it end? You don’t find this rather mysterious?

    Parsimony appears to belong to design. In fact, even Darwinists admit to the appearance of design, yet due to their discomfort with a designer, it appears that they would opt for any answer apart from actual design.

    The only real difference between a Darwinist and an ID theorist when looking at the evidence, is that an ID theorist isn’t uncomfortable with a designer.

    What is it that makes a Darwinist uncomfortable with a designer? Hint: it isn’t that it’s scientifically unfeasible, it’s that a Darwinist is committed to a philosophy of materialism, and can’t differentiate between that philosophy and his/her methodology.

  369. 369
    Apollos says:

    Petrushka, pardon the intrusion.

    In regards to your #367:

    “I suppose since it is neither mysterious nor an intervention, except in the case of selective breeding directed by humans.”

    It’s only unmysterious if one defines evolution as “change over time.” This is the equivocation that ID proponents labor against on a regular basis. If evolution is defined as the product of RM+NS from LUCA to contemporary disparate life, then it is indeed mysterious, because only speculations are available as explanations for novel functionality, be it organs or organelles.

    It has not been demonstrated empirically that complex functionality is the result of unguided and spontaneous self-organization. Rely on healthy, reasonable skepticism to suggest that nanomachines, along with their coded assembly instructions, may not come about by themselves through undirected forces, and that there is a high burden of proof for this hypothesis, i.e., empirical validation of such. (Natural variation does not explain the origins of novel features. You can make a dog’s legs longer or shorter via artificial selection, but I’d bet money that you cannot evolve legs and wings on a rattle snake via selective guidance or natural.)

    It’s fine to leave both options on the table: 1) life is the result of law and chance — physics and chemistry interacting over deep time in just the right conditions — and that the discovery of a law of spontaneous information generation will eventually be discovered, that is, physics and chemical affinities necessitate the eventual formation of life, as they do the formation of crystals; 2) life, along with the complex arrangement of functional contingency and abstract information, requires purposeful input from a guiding intelligence.

    So far we await empirical validation of the first, while we currently have empirical validation of the second. That doesn’t mean the first option is invalidated forevermore, at least from a scientific perspective — it means that we have a sufficient explanation currently, specifically option two. (Gaps arguments against ID are irrelevant, since mechanistic and engineering research can continue regardless of which is true, and further discoveries can always bolster one against the other.)

    “I remain curious why directed evolution is regarded as so much more “efficient” than evolution not influenced by humans.”

    I would suppose that artificial selection is more efficient with regard to desired features. While animals in the wild may be highly optimized for survival in a natural environment (and more readily optimized for survival in the wild), selection guided by human intervention can produce changes in features over fewer generations because humans can select those features which do not confer a survival advantage, and we can do so precisely at each generation. We needn’t play cards to make purposeful selections like nature must. If you want to know which species evolved naturally and which were guided by humans, release packs of them into the wild. It’s highly likely that animals bred for specific optimizations by humans will not be respected in the wild (specifically optimizations for appearance or food production). Chances are that human guided species will either die out completely, or be absorbed into native wild populations.

  370. 370
    Gaz says:

    StephenB (305),

    “No, sorry, a 1959 Ford is a definite form different from all other forms.”

    No, it isn’t. It depends on the aspect of design you are talking about. Few designs are entirely original, especially in the auto world, and components and body shapes and colours are borrowed from other designs.

    “I am not sure about your last scenario and the attempt to inject biological paradigms into the mix, but basically you are right. According to the evidence, the sequence of written letters was most likely designed. You have just performed a classic design inference based on the evidence.”

    Yes, based on experience. We’ve both seen writing lots of times and know its generated by humans. So far, we agree. What the design inference doesn’t manage to do, though, is successfully sift out those items that appear in nature that actually are designed. There has been no example given of a natural entity on which the design inference – whatever that may be, presumably these “filters” mentioned from time to time – has been successfully applied.

    “You are starting to show signs of life.”

    That’s just the Viagra kicking in.

    “I didn’t say that no other effects were not present, but never mind that because you are headed in the right direction and I don’t want to disrupt your momentum. The point is to rule out naturalistic causes as a reasonble hypothesis and draw an inference to intelligent agency as the best explanation, which is exactly what you did. Excellent!!!”

    So far so good – but also so far, so unremarkable. All you are telling me is that we assess what is design based on experience. Fine for items that are clearly designed, but not so good for items at “the edge”, as Behe might put it – i.e. those items that appear natural but were actually designed. Where are your probability filters? How do you apply them?

    “The strongest argument, however, is not the open dresser drawers, but rather the open dresser drawers and the absence of the jewelry. Whether a tornado can open dresser drawers without causing other damage is problematic, just as you suggest, however, there is no question about that fact that tornados do not run off with jewelry.”

    I diagree. If a tornado can run off with a house it can certainly run off with jewellery.

    “In any case, the point of the burglar/tornado connection is to point out that a formal design inference is based on observable data, meaning that, contrary to Darwinist claims, there is no apriori assumption of design prior to the observation of the evidence.

    That’s not a “formal design inference”, that’s a rough and ready assessment based on experience! For a formal design inference you need to sshow me the evidence and the probability calculations and the application of your filter. I see none of that here.

    “What you don’t understand, and possibly never will, is that no amount of evidence can invalidate the principles of right reason just as no amount of evidence can invalidate the laws of mathematics.”

    Define “right reason”. How does it differ from other forms reason? Who formulated the principles of “right reason”? Please provide references.

    “We do not interpret reason’s rules and mathematics through evidence, we interpret evidence through reason’s rules and mathematics.”

    And if the evidence conflicts with reason then the reason is wrong.

    “You continue to misunderstand the relationship between the role of reason and the role of evidence. All evidence must be interpreted through metaphysical principles. You, for example, accept the false metaphysical principle that something can come from nothing and you interpret all evidence accordingly.”

    Sorry, the evidence at the quantum level suggests it can.

    “I, on the other hand, interpret evidence based on the law of causality. Thus, for you things can come into existence without a cause.”

    At the quantum level, yes. As I have repeatedly stated that is not the case at the classical level.

    “Accordingly, you cannot assure me that your suspension of the law of causality is limited to quantum events and no where else because you acknowledge no principle by which you could make that claim. If it can be suspended even once, why can it not be suspended again and again? You cannot answer that question.”

    I’ve answered it several time. I wonder if you are able at all to grasp even the basics of physics. You understand that elementary particles are very small, yes? They have a very tiny mass (=energy). Heisenberg’s uncertainty principle states that we cannot be certain of the energy of a particle over a given time interval to a precision greater than h/4(pi)- here h is Planck’s constant (I’ll let you look up the value). At the quantum level that uncertainty in energy levels is very significant because of the mass of the particles is so small and can result in virtual particles popping in and out of existence. However, at the classical levels – things such as you, me and concrete walls – the masses are enormously greater, and so the uncertainty in the energy levels of you, me and concrete walls to a precision of h/4(pi) is absolutely tiny. The prospects of you, me and concrete walls popping in and out of existence is therefore highly unlikely to the point of being virtually impossible.

    “Can a concrete wall appear out of nowhere on the highway causing some poor driver to collide with it?”

    No, see above.

    “You can only say that we have never seen it happen and, based on that evidence, it likely will not haappen, but you cannot assert with any reasonable confidence that it cannot happen.”

    Yes I can, see above.

    “In fact, a concrete wall cannot come from nowhere because nothing can come from nowhere.”

    Wrong, see above and explain why we see virtual particles popping in and out of existence if you maintain your view.

    “A concrete wall will not come into existence without a cause because nothing can come into existence without a cause.”

    As explained above.

    “For you, on the other hand, there is no non-negotiable principle of causality and therefore no standard for determining when and when causality will or will not apply.”

    Wrong, see above. It’s not a matter of what is negotiable or not – you should understand that by no. It’s a matter of what the evidence shows.

    “Thus, you and I both look at the same evidence but arrive at different conclusions based on our respective metaphysical orientations.”

    No, I am happy to change my assumptions in line with the evidence. You need to stick with your dogma because, at the root of it, you see a need for a first cause vanish. And that makes you uncomfortable.

    “Considering the current cosmological evidence, I acknowledge that space/time/and matter began in time”

    As do I.

    “and, using the principles of right reason,”

    “hich you have been asked to explain.

    “conclude that some agent had to bring it into existence.”

    Yet that agent itself can spring from nowehere in violation of your own metaphysical principles.

    “You consider the same evidence and yet, because you reject reason’s principles, assume that the universe could bring itself into existence. By that same standard, you assume that mind can come from matter and the life can come from non-life.”

    Correct, because that is what the evidence suggests.

    “The difference in our points of view is not related to the evidence”

    Yes it is.

    “but is rather a reflection on the metaphysical principles that we bring to the table. I acknowledge the first principles of right reason; you do not.”

    When you answer the questions I asked about regarding “right reason”, then we shall speak again.

  371. 371
    Petrushka says:

    The theory makes a prediction (for amino acid sequence similarity); we’ve tested it, and the prediction is falsified precisely.

    No doubt you can cite a reference to the journal article in which this finding was published.

  372. 372
    Petrushka says:

    (Natural variation does not explain the origins of novel features. You can make a dog’s legs longer or shorter via artificial selection, but I’d bet money that you cannot evolve legs and wings on a rattle snake via selective guidance or natural.)

    I’ve been admonished several time about straw men. If you can point me to a serious biologist who asserts that snakes evolved into birds, I’ll consider your point made.

    But snakes once had legs, and still do as embryos. Some skinks could be mistaken for snakes, if you didn’t see their legs.

    Pachyrhachis problematicus is a snake with well-developed hind limbs (a fossil).

  373. 373
    Petrushka says:

    And, before you tac off on your next tangent, please realize that Denton provides a full-fledged attack on Darwinism in both his major works.

    You mean like this attack on Darwinism?

    “it is important to emphasize at the outset that the argument presented here is entirely consistent with the basic naturalistic assumption of modern science – that the cosmos is a seamless unity which can be comprehended ultimately in its entirety by human reason and in which all phenomena, including life and evolution and the origin of man, are ultimately explicable in terms of natural processes.

    This is an assumption which is entirely opposed to that of the so-called “special creationist school”. According to special creationism, living organisms are not natural forms, whose origin and design were built into the laws of nature from the beginning, but rather contingent forms analogous in essence to human artifacts, the result of a series of supernatural acts, involving the suspension of natural law.

    Contrary to the creationist position, the whole argument presented here is critically dependent on the presumption of the unbroken continuity of the organic world – that is, on the reality of organic evolution and on the presumption that all living organisms on earth are natural forms in the profoundest sense of the word, no less natural than salt crystals, atoms, waterfalls, or galaxies.” (page xvii-xviii).

  374. 374
    bornagain77 says:

    Petrushka, ignoring all the other referenced articles I cited from journals that show gross discontinuity for establishing molecular sequence similarly, you asked for a reference for just this one quote????

    “The theory makes a prediction (for amino acid sequence similarity); we’ve tested it, and the prediction is falsified precisely.” Colin Patterson

    But Petrushka if you would have taken ten seconds to google the quote you wanted referenced, the second site gets you this:

    Evolution? Prominent Scientist Reconsiders
    by Luther D. Sunderland, B.S. –
    Far worse for the evolution hypothesis of common ancestry are the latest data of molecular homology, amino acid and nucleotide sequence studies. Patterson said that if Mayr and evolutionary theory are saying anything, they must be saying that those forms more recently descended from a common ancestor have a greater similarity among their genes and gene products than those more distantly related. Certainly, it would seem, that is the clearest, simplest, most direct deduction based on the theory of descent from a common ancestor. But concerning this foundational principle of evolution, Patterson concludes: “The theory makes a prediction, we’ve tested it, and the prediction is falsified precisely.”
    http://www.icr.org/article/evo.....considers/

    If you want Petrushka, you can purchase the audio recording of the meeting in which Patterson said these exact words to a audience full of “evolutionary experts” at ARN.

    Can You Tell Me Anything About Evolution?
    http://www.arn.org/arnproducts/audios/c010.htm

    Petrushka, It is interesting that evolutionists did not even dispute the facts as were presented then at that conference, and indeed when the audio surfaced, the main gripe from evolutionists was not with the truthfulness of what Patterson had said but rather had been that a “creationist” had “unethically” recorded the meeting without permission. Thus even though the evidence is indeed accurate, as is confirmed by my other peer-reviewed references you neglected to reflect upon, it seems that neo-Darwinists, then and now, are much more concerned with the “ethics” of airing dirty little evolutionary secrets than with the far more important matter of practicing of good science.

    notes;

    Evolution Vs. Gene Comparison – Neo-Darwinisms Gene Homology Problem- video
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/4181835

    A Primer on the Tree of Life (Part 4)
    Excerpt: “In sharks, for example, the gut develops from cells in the roof of the embryonic cavity. In lampreys, the gut develops from cells on the floor of the cavity. And in frogs, the gut develops from cells from both the roof and the floor of the embryonic cavity. This discovery—that homologous structures can be produced by different developmental pathways—contradicts what we would expect to find if all vertebrates share a common ancestor. – Explore Evolution http://www.evolutionnews.org/2......html#more

  375. 375
    Petrushka says:

    But Petrushka if you would have taken ten seconds to google the quote you wanted referenced, the second site gets you this:

    But I did find your reference, which is why I asked for a journal citation. I don’t see a reference to a journal in which the research was published.

  376. 376
    bornagain77 says:

    Petrushka to concretely establish the fact that evolutionists “only see what they want to see” from given data sets of molecular sequences:, as you are trying so desperately to do with the evidence I presented to you that shows gross dissimilarity of molecular sequences when the entirety of molecular sequences are considered:

    Pattern pluralism and the Tree of Life hypothesis – 2006
    Excerpt: Hierarchical structure can always be imposed on or extracted from such data sets by algorithms designed to do so, but at its base the universal TOL rests on an unproven assumption about pattern that, given what we know about process, is unlikely to be broadly true.
    http://www.pnas.org/content/104/7/2043.abstract

    Thus Petrushka why is this evidence not good enough for you?

    Why will you continue to repeat the lie that sequence similarity establishes evolution?

    note:

    Botching Evolutionary Science – Casey Luskin – April 2009
    Excerpt: The textbook touts the cytochrome C tree, but it ignores the cytochrome B tree, which has striking differences from the classical animal phylogeny. As one article in Trends in Ecology and Evolution stated: “[T]he mitochondrial cytochrome b gene implied,, an absurd phylogeny of mammals, regardless of the method of tree construction. Cats and whales fell within primates, grouping with simians (monkeys and apes) and strepsirhines (lemurs, bush-babies and lorises) to the exclusion of tarsiers. Cytochrome b is probably the most commonly sequenced gene in vertebrates, making this surprising result even more disconcerting.” (See Michael S. Y. Lee, “Molecular Phylogenies Become Functional,” Trends in Ecology and Evolution, Vol. 14: 177 (1999).)
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2......html#more

  377. 377
    bornagain77 says:

    further notes:

    A New Model for Evolution: A Rhizome – May 2010
    Excerpt: Thus we cannot currently identify a single common ancestor for the gene repertoire of any organism.,,, Overall, it is now thought that there are no two genes that have a similar history along the phylogenic tree.,,,Therefore the representation of the evolutionary pathway as a tree leading to a single common ancestor on the basis of the analysis of one or more genes provides an incorrect representation of the stability and hierarchy of evolution. Finally, genome analyses have revealed that a very high proportion of genes are likely to be newly created,,, and that some genes are only found in one organism (named ORFans). These genes do not belong to any phylogenic tree and represent new genetic creations.
    http://darwins-god.blogspot.co.....izome.html

    Testing the Orchard Model and the NCSE’s Claims of “Nested Patterns” Supporting a “Tree of Life”
    Excerpt: Perhaps the reason why different genes are telling “different evolutionary stories” and “one group suggests one biogeographic pattern, and another group suggests another” is because the genes and organisms have wholly different stories to tell, namely stories that indicate that not all living organisms are ancestrally related, thereby fulfilling a testable prediction of the orchard model.
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....l_and.html

  378. 378
    bornagain77 says:

    this reference is a beaut:

    The new animal phylogeny: Reliability and implications:
    Excerpt: “The new molecular based phylogeny has several important implications. Foremost among them is the disappearance of “intermediate” taxa between sponges, cnidarians, ctenophores, and the last common ancestor of bilaterians or “Urbilateria.”…A corollary is that we have a major gap in the stem leading to the Urbilataria. We have lost the hope, so common in older evolutionary reasoning, of reconstructing the morphology of the “coelomate ancestor” through a scenario involving successive grades of increasing complexity based on the anatomy of extant “primitive” lineages.” From Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, USA, in 2000 –
    http://www.pnas.org/content/97.....frrxyih/gM

  379. 379
    William J. Murray says:

    Petrushka said: “I do not assert that evolution is TRUE. I argue that it is the best explanation we have for the diversity of life.”

    I assume you meant that you do not assert that current evolutionary theory is true.

    It cannot in fact be the best explanation we have for the current diversity of life, because that theory intentionally excludes a commodity known to be necessary in any complete explanation for that diversity.

    Humans have been using intelligent design to artifically select (instead of natural selection, which the definitional opposite) breeds of plants and animals for thousands of years, and lately to directly genetially modify organisms.

    Since the current theory of evolution definitionally excludes any teleological, artifical process or influence, it cannot be the best explanation for current diversity. Only a theory of evolution that includes known ID influence can be “the best”.

  380. 380
    Gaz says:

    WJM (379),

    “because that theory intentionally excludes a commodity known to be necessary in any complete explanation for that diversity.”

    What is the evidence that such a commodity is “known to be necessary” to explain the divergence of life?

  381. 381
    Clive Hayden says:

    Gaz,

    Wrong, see above and explain why we see virtual particles popping in and out of existence if you maintain your view.

    I prefer to say that virtual particles are “poofing” into existence rather than “popping”. And all that can be said about the difference between the quantum level poofing being different than the classical level, is that we’ve seen the one and not the other. But observations are only descriptions, they are not explanations for why this “must” be the case. We have no insight into whatever caused these things to happen as a connected philosophy, or a mental necessity. It is not like we have knowledge that the enactor of the micro “poof” law (if we may call it a law) said that “It may only occur at the micro level and not at the macro level. ” All we can say is that it appears to only occur at the micro level, but what the mental necessity behind it is, as we know with real laws (mathematics, reason, etc.) we do not know. And since we do not know, we cannot say that it is a mental impossibility to occur at the macro level. All we can say is that we haven’t seen it. What we cannot say is that it is impossible, for we do not know what makes it possible at the micro level either; we do not have that sort of insight into it, we have no explanation of why two things connected physically connects them philosophically, and thence cannot say what is impossible.

  382. 382
    Petrushka says:

    bornagain77:

    I haven’t seen the link to a journal article that I requested. I will consider your other links after that one is verified.

    You also made claims regarding Michael Denton. Are you still certain he opposes the mainstream evolutionary narrative?

  383. 383
    Petrushka says:

    Since the current theory of evolution definitionally excludes any teleological, artifical process or influence, it cannot be the best explanation for current diversity. Only a theory of evolution that includes known ID influence can be “the best”.

    Any reader of Origin of Species would know that artificial selection forms most of the experimental foundation for Darwin’s theory of natural selection. Not to mention a good part of the book.

    Engineering that involves transplanting genes across widely separated species will be detectible far into the future, even if the engineered organisms are released to the wild and human records disappear.

  384. 384
    Petrushka says:

    this reference is a beaut:

    Quote mining is really a waste of everyone’s time.

  385. 385
    Petrushka says:

    Regarding your quote mined article; the actual concluding remarks:

    One may therefore wander to suggest that the basal metazoan genome was made up of 15-20,000 genes. The [approximately]70,000 genes of Vertebrates would then reflect the two massive duplication events that are thought to have occurred early in their history. If such is the case, then, except for vertebrates, morphological innovation within bilaterians would not have relied so much on generation of new genes as on tinkering with an already
    existing array. The new phylogeny thus reemphasizes the importance of evolution of developmental regulatory networks

  386. 386
    bornagain77 says:

    Petrushka, you say quote mining is a waste of time, yet what is truly a waste of time is your deaf, dumb, blind, method of looking at, and debating, the evidence. Why is this? Why do you give so much biased favor to a materialistic theory that should be of no more concern to you than the price of tea in China???? so now you want to hang your hat on “massive duplication events”, and completely disregard little anomalies like the 1000 completely unique ORFans in the human genome?? Or the 100% functionality of the genome implicated by the ENCODE study and subsequent studies thereafter which render neo-Darwinism invalid to the nth degree??? Well let’s look at what kind of evidence there is for duplication events:

    Experimental Evolution of Gene Duplicates in a Bacterial Plasmid Model
    Excerpt: In a striking contradiction to our model, no such conditions were found. The fitness cost of carrying both plasmids increased dramatically as antibiotic levels were raised, and either the wild-type plasmid was lost or the cells did not grow. This study highlights the importance of the cost of duplicate genes and the quantitative nature of the tradeoff in the evolution of gene duplication through functional divergence. http://www.springerlink.com/co.....4014664w8/

    Simulating evolution by gene duplication of protein features that require multiple amino acid residues: Michael J. Behe and David W. Snoke
    Excerpt: We conclude that, in general, to be fixed in 10^8 generations, the production of novel protein features that require the participation of two or more amino acid residues simply by multiple point mutations in duplicated genes would entail population sizes of no less than 10^9.,,,The fact that very large population sizes—10^9 or greater—are required to build even a minimal [multi-residue] feature requiring two nucleotide alterations within 10^8 generations by the processes described in our model, and that enormous population sizes are required for more complex features or shorter times, seems to indicate that the mechanism of gene duplication and point mutation alone would be ineffective, at least for multicellular diploid species, because few multicellular species reach the required population sizes.
    http://www.pubmedcentral.nih.g.....id=2286568

    Reductive Evolution Can Prevent Populations from Taking Simple Adaptive Paths to High Fitness – Ann K. Gauger, Stephanie Ebnet, Pamela F. Fahey, and Ralph Seelke – 2010
    Excerpt: In experimental evolution, the best way to permit various evolutionary alternatives, and assess their relative likelihood, is to avoid conditions that rule them out. Our experiments, like others (e.g. [40]), used populations of cells growing slowly under limiting nutrient conditions, thereby allowing a number of paths to be taken to higher fitness. We engineered the cells to have a two-step adaptive path to high fitness, but they were not limited to that option. Cells could reduce expression of the non-functional trpAE49V,D60N allele in a variety of ways, or they could acquire a weakly functional tryptophan synthase subunit by a single site reversion to trpAD60N, bringing them within one step of full reversion (Figure 6). When all of these possibilities are left open by the experimental design, the populations consistently take paths that reduce expression of trpAE49V,D60N, making the path to new (restored) function virtually inaccessible. This demonstrates that the cost of expressing genes that provide weak new functions is a significant constraint on the emergence of new functions. In particular, populations with multiple adaptive paths open to them may be much less likely to take an adaptive path to high fitness if that path requires over-expression.
    http://bio-complexity.org/ojs/.....O-C.2010.2

    Assessing the NCSE’s Citation Bluffs on the Evolution of New Genetic Information – Feb. 2010
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....ion_b.html

    How to Play the Gene Evolution Game – Casey Luskin – Feb. 2010
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....ution.html

    The NCSE, Judge Jones, and Bluffs About the Origin of New Functional Genetic Information – Casey Luskin – March 2010
    http://www.discovery.org/a/14251

    Petrushka, I noticed that it is only quote mining when a ID advocate cites direct experimental evidence from literature, but when a neo-Darwinists cites merely the “ad-hoc” justification, in the very same literature, for why the experimental evidence does not fit the neo-Darwinian paradigm, then it is not quote mining but “science”. Excuse me Petrushka, but experimental evidence in science has full weight of authority in the scientific method and if anything is polluting to clear interpretation of the experimental evidence that is coming out it is the neo-Darwinists insistence that their completely unsubstantiated ad-hoc explanations be given far more weight than is merited, all the while refusing to give ID its due credit for pointing out the extremely stick limits for material processes to produce any functional information whatsoever:

    Stephen Meyer – Functional Proteins And Information For Body Plans – video
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/4050681

    The Origin of Biological Information and the Higher Taxonomic Categories – Stephen Meyer”Neo-Darwinism seeks to explain the origin of new information, form, and structure as a result of selection acting on randomly arising variation at a very low level within the biological hierarchy, mainly, within the genetic text. Yet the major morphological innovations depend on a specificity of arrangement at a much higher level of the organizational hierarchy, a level that DNA alone does not determine. Yet if DNA is not wholly responsible for body plan morphogenesis, then DNA sequences can mutate indefinitely, without regard to realistic probabilistic limits, and still not produce a new body plan. Thus, the mechanism of natural selection acting on random mutations in DNA cannot in principle generate novel body plans, including those that first arose in the Cambrian explosion.”
    http://eyedesignbook.com/ch6/eyech6-append-d.html

  387. 387
    bornagain77 says:

    The Capabilities of Chaos and Complexity: David L. Abel – Null Hypothesis For Information Generation – 2009
    To focus the scientific community’s attention on its own tendencies toward overzealous metaphysical imagination bordering on “wish-fulfillment,” we propose the following readily falsifiable null hypothesis, and invite rigorous experimental attempts to falsify it: “Physicodynamics cannot spontaneously traverse The Cybernetic Cut: physicodynamics alone cannot organize itself into formally functional systems requiring algorithmic optimization, computational halting, and circuit integration.” A single exception of non trivial, unaided spontaneous optimization of formal function by truly natural process would falsify this null hypothesis.
    http://www.mdpi.com/1422-0067/10/1/247/pdf
    Can We Falsify Any Of The Following Null Hypothesis (For Information Generation)
    1) Mathematical Logic
    2) Algorithmic Optimization
    3) Cybernetic Programming
    4) Computational Halting
    5) Integrated Circuits
    6) Organization (e.g. homeostatic optimization far from equilibrium)
    7) Material Symbol Systems (e.g. genetics)
    8) Any Goal Oriented bona fide system
    9) Language
    10) Formal function of any kind
    11) Utilitarian work
    http://mdpi.com/1422-0067/10/1/247/ag

    “LIFE’S CONSERVATION LAW: Why Darwinian Evolution Cannot Create Biological Information”:
    Excerpt: Though not denying Darwinian evolution or even limiting its role in the history of life, the Law of Conservation of Information shows that Darwinian evolution is inherently teleological. Moreover, it shows that this teleology can be measured in precise information-theoretic terms. http://evoinfo.org/publication.....ation-law/

    William Dembski Is Interviewed By Casey Luskin About Conservation Of Information – Audio
    http://intelligentdesign.podom.....4_01-07_00

    Dr. Dembski has emphasized that the Law of Conservation of Information (LCI) is clearly differentiated from the common definition of Theistic Evolution since mainstream Theistic evolutionists, such as Ken Miller and Francis Collins, hold that the Design/Information found in life is not separable from the purely natural processes of the universe, whereas Dembski and Marks are clearly saying the Design/Information found in life is detectable, can be separated from the natural processes we see in the universe, and “can be measured in precise information-theoretic terms”. In other words, the Dembski-Marks paper shows in order for gradual evolution to actually be true it cannot be random Darwinian evolution and that a “Intelligent Designer” will have to somehow provide the additional functional information needed to make gradual evolution of increased functional complexity possible. Thus, now the theoretical underpinnings, of random functional information generation by natural processes, are completely removed from Darwinian ideology.

  388. 388
    Petrushka says:

    Why do you give so much biased favor to a materialistic theory that should be of no more concern to you than the price of tea in China…

    Because I’ve been reading science and the history of science for 55 years and have never encountered a useful contribution to human knowledge that was based on the assumption that an unspecified entity having unspecified capabilities did some unspecified something at unspecified times and places for unspecified reasons.

    Simple as that.

  389. 389
    CannuckianYankee says:

    “what is truly a waste of time is your deaf, dumb, blind, method of looking at, and debating, the evidence.”

    Yeah, but I bet he sure plays a mean pinball. 🙂

  390. 390
    William J. Murray says:

    Petrushka:

    I’ll let Darwin himself refute your false implication that his evolutionary theory could subsume artificial selection (and direct genetic modifications by humans):

    “… no shadow of reason can be assigned for the belief that variations, alike in nature and the result of the same general laws, which have been the groundwork through natural selection of the formation of the most perfectly adapted animals in the world, man included, were intentionally and specially guided. However much we may wish it, we can hardly follow Professor Asa Gray in his belief that “variation has been led along certain beneficial lines,” like a stream “along definite and useful lines of irrigation.” – Charles Darwin, The Variation of Animals and Plants Under Domestication

    It seems also that other evolutionary scientists disagree with your notion that artificial selection and gene-manipulation falls under the definitional, historical, or theoretical purview of evolutionary theory.

    From an open letter, signed by 38 Nobel Laureates, to the court during the Dover trial: “Logically derived from confirmable evidence, evolution is understood to be the result of an unguided, unplanned process of random variation and natural selection.”

    “Evolution is random and undirected.” – 9.Miller, Kenneth R. and Joseph S. Levine. Biology. 1998. Fourth Edition

    “Darwinian evolution was not only purposeless but also heartless…” 10.Levine, Joseph S. and Kenneth R. Miller 1994. Biology: Discovering Life. Second Edition

    “By coupling undirected, purposeless variation to the blind, uncaring process of natural selection, Darwin made theological or spiritual explanations of the life processes superfluous.” -Douglas Futuyma, Evolutionary Biology (1998, 3rd Ed., Sinauer Associates)

    In your argument, is there nothing whatsoever that current evolutionary theory models out of its equation, if it now includes the very purposeful, intelligent agencies of design that Darwin, Dawkins and countless Darwinists in-between have worked tirelessly to keep out of evolutionary theory?

    What next? As long as god isn’t supernatural – say, a John Wheeler-esque quantum collapsing consciousness – current evolutionary theory can take that kind of teleological manipulation throughout history in stride?

  391. 391
    Petrushka says:

    As for your references, Id suggest that anyone having the qualifications of Behe or Axe should publish their objections in a forum where other qualified researchers could respond. That’s what everyone else has to do.

    And at the moment. ID has its own journal, so there;s no appeal to censorship.

    But I’m not buying the argument from gaps. I’ve seen that argument erode for decades.

    This was the first serious article I encountered that opposed evolution, beginning on page 23.

    http://www.herbert-armstrong.o.....%20May.pdf

    I recall reading this:

    As a result, variety within a species can reach astronomical proportions. (For
    example, note the number of varieties among moths and butterflies.) But, because DNA
    reproduces itself exactly, kind reproduces kind. Evolution cannot occur!

    and thinking that no matter what the article might have gotten right, it’s foundational statement is factually wrong.

    Actually, I think that article could be republished today on this forum and no one would notice it’s age.

  392. 392
    bornagain77 says:

    Petrushka, every branch of modern “hard” science, save for evolution of course, is built on the backs of Christian theists who investigated the mysteries of reality precisely because they believed that all of reality had been ordered by the mind of a omnipotent Creator. Thus you can say the specified entity of God, having specified omnipotent capabilities did specified creation events, at the specified time of each creation event, and at the specified place of each creation event, for the specified reason of His own specified purpose, for which he really owes us no explanation but He does give us solid clues to His specified reasons in the Holy bible. Thus since Christian Theists, who believed the “specific” things I just mentioned, actually are the ones who gave us all of modern technology. and you are caught in a falsehood once again!!!

    Whereas materialistic atheism has given us the burdens of Freud, Marx and Darwin. and the price of the tea in China is what petrushka?

    notes:

    Christianity and the Birth of Science
    by Michael Bumbulis, Ph.D
    Excerpt: Yet it’s not just the bunching of these founders in a Christian culture alone that is significant. Perhaps even more significant is the complete lack of analogs for these men from other cultures. Where is the Greek version of Newton? Where is the Muslim version of Kepler? Where is the Hindu version of Boyle? Where is the Buddhist version of Mendel? Such questions are all the more powerful when you pause to consider that science studies truths that are universally true. How is it that so many other cultures, some existing for thousands of years, failed to discover, or even anticipate, Newton’s first law of motion of Kepler’s laws of planetary motion? So it’s not just that the Christian religion is associated with the birth of modern science, it’s also the fact that modern science was not birthed in cultures which lacked the Christian religion.,,, Furthermore, many of these founders of science lived at a time when others publicly expressed views quite contrary to Christianity – Hume, Hobbes, Darwin, etc. When Boyle argues against Hobbe’s materialism or Kelvin argues against Darwin’s assumptions, you don’t have a case of “closet atheists.”
    http://ldolphin.org/bumbulis/

    http://www.tektonics.org,,,

    Christianity Gave Birth To Each Scientific Discipline – Dr. Henry Fritz Schaefer – video
    http://www.tangle.com/view_vid.....e044148a1b

    Materialism is in fact the source of endless blind alleys for science!!

    Materialism compared to Theism within the scientific method:
    http://docs.google.com/Doc?doc....._5fwz42dg9

    In fact materialism offers no explanation for why we should a-priori expect a underlying order to reality that we can discover<

    “… if nature is really structured with a mathematical language and mathematics invented by man can manage to understand it, this demonstrates something extraordinary. The objective structure of the universe and the intellectual structure of the human being coincide.” – Pope Benedict XVI

    ,,,,mathematics cannot be “true” unless an assumption for a highest infinity is true. A highest infinity which Cantor, and even Godel, held to be God. Thus math cannot be consistently true unless God is assumed to be true:

    Gödel’s Incompleteness: The #1 Mathematical Breakthrough of the 20th Century
    Excerpt: Gödel’s Incompleteness Theorem says:
    “Anything you can draw a circle around cannot explain itself without referring to something outside the circle – something you have to assume to be true but cannot prove "mathematically" to be true.”
    http://www.cosmicfingerprints......pleteness/

    The universe is indeed governed in overarching non-chaotic form by transcendent universal "information constants, which arise from no material basis, which give the universe its elegant mathematical structure.

    Systematic Search for Expressions of Dimensionless Constants using the NIST database of Physical Constants
    Excerpt: The National Institute of Standards and Technology lists 325 constants on their website as ‘Fundamental Physical Constants’. Among the 325 physical constants listed, 79 are unitless in nature (usually by defining a ratio). This produces a list of 246 physical constants with some unit dependence. These 246 physical constants can be further grouped into a smaller set when expressed in standard SI base units.,,,
    http://www.mit.edu/~mi22295/co.....tants.html

    Mathematics is the language with which God has written the universe.
    Galileo Galilei

    The Unreasonable Effectiveness of Mathematics in the Natural Sciences – Eugene Wigner
    Excerpt: The miracle of the appropriateness of the language of mathematics for the formulation of the laws of physics is a wonderful gift which we neither understand nor deserve. We should be grateful for it and hope that it will remain valid in future research and that it will extend, for better or for worse, to our pleasure, even though perhaps also to our bafflement, to wide branches of learning.
    http://www.dartmouth.edu/~matc.....igner.html

  393. 393
    bornagain77 says:

    Petrushka, every branch of modern “hard” science, save for evolution of course, is built on the backs of Christian theists who investigated the mysteries of reality precisely because they believed that all of reality had been ordered by the mind of a omnipotent Creator. Thus you can say the specified entity of God, having specified omnipotent capabilities did specified creation events, at the specified time of each creation event, and at the specified place of each creation event, for the specified reason of His own specified purpose, for which he really owes us no explanation but He does give us solid clues to His specified reasons in the Holy bible. Thus since Christian Theists, who believed the “specific” things I just mentioned, actually are the ones who gave us all of modern technology. and you are caught in a falsehood once again!!!

    Whereas materialistic atheism has given us the burdens of Freud, Marx and Darwin. and the price of the tea in China is what petrushka?

    notes:

    Christianity and the Birth of Science
    by Michael Bumbulis, Ph.D
    Excerpt: Yet it’s not just the bunching of these founders in a Christian culture alone that is significant. Perhaps even more significant is the complete lack of analogs for these men from other cultures. Where is the Greek version of Newton? Where is the Muslim version of Kepler? Where is the Hindu version of Boyle? Where is the Buddhist version of Mendel? Such questions are all the more powerful when you pause to consider that science studies truths that are universally true. How is it that so many other cultures, some existing for thousands of years, failed to discover, or even anticipate, Newton’s first law of motion of Kepler’s laws of planetary motion? So it’s not just that the Christian religion is associated with the birth of modern science, it’s also the fact that modern science was not birthed in cultures which lacked the Christian religion.,,, Furthermore, many of these founders of science lived at a time when others publicly expressed views quite contrary to Christianity – Hume, Hobbes, Darwin, etc. When Boyle argues against Hobbe’s materialism or Kelvin argues against Darwin’s assumptions, you don’t have a case of “closet atheists.”
    http://ldolphin.org/bumbulis/

    http://www.tektonics.org,,,

    Christianity Gave Birth To Each Scientific Discipline – Dr. Henry Fritz Schaefer – video
    http://www.tangle.com/view_vid.....e044148a1b

    Materialism is in fact the source of endless blind alleys for science!!

    Materialism compared to Theism within the scientific method:
    http://docs.google.com/Doc?doc....._5fwz42dg9

    In fact materialism offers no explanation for why we should a-priori expect a underlying order to reality that man should be able to discover, but instead presupposes chaos as the fundamental “creator” of everything we see!!

    “… if nature is really structured with a mathematical language and mathematics invented by man can manage to understand it, this demonstrates something extraordinary. The objective structure of the universe and the intellectual structure of the human being coincide.” – Pope Benedict XVI

    ,,,,mathematics cannot be “true” unless an assumption for a highest infinity is true. A highest infinity which Cantor, and even Godel, held to be God. Thus math cannot be consistently true unless God is assumed to be true:

    Gödel’s Incompleteness: The #1 Mathematical Breakthrough of the 20th Century
    Excerpt: Gödel’s Incompleteness Theorem says:
    “Anything you can draw a circle around cannot explain itself without referring to something outside the circle – something you have to assume to be true but cannot prove “mathematically” to be true.”
    http://www.cosmicfingerprints......pleteness/

    The universe is indeed governed in overarching non-chaotic form by transcendent universal “information constants, which arise from no material basis, which give the universe its elegant mathematical structure.

    Systematic Search for Expressions of Dimensionless Constants using the NIST database of Physical Constants
    Excerpt: The National Institute of Standards and Technology lists 325 constants on their website as ‘Fundamental Physical Constants’. Among the 325 physical constants listed, 79 are unitless in nature (usually by defining a ratio). This produces a list of 246 physical constants with some unit dependence. These 246 physical constants can be further grouped into a smaller set when expressed in standard SI base units.,,,
    http://www.mit.edu/~mi22295/co.....tants.html

    Mathematics is the language with which God has written the universe.
    Galileo Galilei

    The Unreasonable Effectiveness of Mathematics in the Natural Sciences – Eugene Wigner
    Excerpt: The miracle of the appropriateness of the language of mathematics for the formulation of the laws of physics is a wonderful gift which we neither understand nor deserve. We should be grateful for it and hope that it will remain valid in future research and that it will extend, for better or for worse, to our pleasure, even though perhaps also to our bafflement, to wide branches of learning.
    http://www.dartmouth.edu/~matc.....igner.html

  394. 394
    Petrushka says:

    It seems also that other evolutionary scientists disagree with your notion that artificial selection and gene-manipulation falls under the definitional, historical, or theoretical purview of evolutionary theory.

    There are unrelated concepts being conflated in your argument.

    The on that is incompatible with Darwinian evolution is the possibility that variation is directed. That would be the case with direct gene manipulation, whether by humans of by mysterious agencies. That could be detected.

    The other case, in which selection is manipulated is fully compatible with Darwin. In fact Darwin outlined many varieties of selection. The only thing they have in common is that some individuals wind up having more offspring than others.

    It is really pointless to argue about this. The point of contention is whether variation is guided. All sides seem to agree that selection is complicated and can be guided. Of course Darwin didn’t believe it was guided prior to the existence of humans.

    But in case you didn’t notice, I spent a dozen or more posts on this thread asking if design detection could distinguish varieties that are the result of artificial selection. Several posters said I was wasting time. But apparently not, since you seem to believe that human (or agency) directed evolution is fundamentally different from selection done by the non-human ecosystem.

  395. 395
    StephenB says:

    —Gaz: “No, it isn’t. It depends on the aspect of design you are talking about. Few designs are entirely original, especially in the auto world, and components and body shapes and colours are borrowed from other designs.”

    I don’t know what to say to someone who thinks that a 1959 Ford or a 1963 Corvette Sting Ray is not distinguishable from other models.

    —“Yes, based on experience. We’ve both seen writing lots of times and know its generated by humans. So far, we agree. What the design inference doesn’t manage to do, though, is successfully sift out those items that appear in nature that actually are designed.”

    How did you know that the sentence written in the sand on the planet Mars did not occur through natural causes? You have already acknowledged that it did not?

    —“All you are telling me is that we assess what is design based on experience.”

    Not solely. We also assess design from patterns, just as you assessed desing in the patterns I alluded to on the planet Mars. You have no experience of Mars, nor do you need it to know that sentences written in the sand did not occur via natural causes. Everyone knows that, from the standpoint of reasonable probability, wind, air, water, and time cannot produce intelligent-like patterns. Unfortunately, for ideological reasons, not everyone will admit what they know.

    —“Where are your probability filters? How do you apply them?”

    You assessed the probability that natural causes did not write the sentences, ruled it out, and inferred design. The more letters involved, the less chance that natural causes were responsble. It isn’t at all unlikely that natural causes would produce something that looks like an “S.” or an “O.” On the other hand, it is highly unlikely that natural causes would write thematic sentences that use those letters. This is all quite obvious.

    —“That’s not a “formal design inference”, that’s a rough and ready assessment based on experience! For a formal design inference you need to sshow me the evidence and the probability calculations and the application of your filter. I see none of that here.”

    That’s right. I should have used the word, “informal.” Thank you. The reason I have taken this tack is because most Darwinists who complain about the math do not even understand the inference independent of the math.

    —-Define “right reason”. How does it differ from other forms reason? Who formulated the principles of “right reason”? Please provide references.

    Here are some of the most important: [A] A Thing cannot be and not be at the same time. [B] (Derived from A) Nothing can begin to exist without a cause, [C] A proposition cannot be true and false at the same time. [D] We have rational minds, we live in a rational universe and there is a correspondence between the two. [E] Mathematics have laws [F]] The ordered universe is syncronized with the laws of logic and mathematics.

    References: Western Civilization beginning with Aristotle. The history of the philosophy of science.

    —-“And if the evidence conflicts with reason then the reason is wrong.”

    How would you interpret evidence if not through reason’s principles?

    —“Sorry, the evidence at the quantum level suggests it can.”

    There is no evidence that quantum events are uncaused nor could there ever be.

    You cannot assure me that your suspension of the law of causality is limited to quantum events and no where else because you acknowledge no principle by which you could make that claim. If it can be suspended even once, why can it not be suspended again and again? You cannot answer that question.

    —“I’ve answered it several time. I wonder if you are able at all to grasp even the basics of physics. You understand that elementary particles are very small, yes? They have a very tiny mass (=energy). Heisenberg’s uncertainty principle states that we cannot be certain of the energy of a particle over a given time interval to a precision greater than h/4(pi)- here h is Planck’s constant (I’ll let you look up the value). At the quantum level that uncertainty in energy levels is very significant because of the mass of the particles is so small and can result in virtual particles popping in and out of existence. However, at the classical levels – things such as you, me and concrete walls – the masses are enormously greater, and so the uncertainty in the energy levels of you, me and concrete walls to a precision of h/4(pi) is absolutely tiny. The prospects of you, me and concrete walls popping in and out of existence is therefore highly unlikely to the point of being virtually impossible.”

    No, you haven’t answered the question. You have not provided me with your reasons for saying that, if causlity is suspended, it can only be suspended in the case of quantum mechanics. You have said only that quantum mechanics is different from other realms. Indeed, they are different insofar as they are unpredictable and hard to measure, but those differences do not add up to differences about causality.

    How do you know, based on your assumption, that new evidence will not invalidate causality at the macro level? You have provided no answer to that question.

    Can a concrete wall appear out of nowhere on the highway causing some poor driver to collide with it?

    —“No, see above.”

    I read the above. You did not answer the question. You can’t appeal to the law of causality because you disavow it.

    In fact, a concrete wall cannot come from nowhere because nothing can come from nowhere.

    —-“Wrong, see above and explain why we see virtual particles popping in and out of existence if you maintain your view.”

    If it is the case that something can come from nowhere, then there is no reason in principle that a concrete wall cannot come from nowhere.

    For you, there is no non-negotiable principle of causality and therefore no standard for determining when and when causality will or will not apply.

    —“Wrong, see above. It’s not a matter of what is negotiable or not – you should understand that by now. It’s a matter of what the evidence shows.”

    The problem is that it is not I who does not understand. Evidence must be interpreted and you have no rational standard by which you can interpret it.

    —“No, I am happy to change my assumptions in line with the evidence. You need to stick with your dogma because, at the root of it, you see a need for a first cause vanish. And that makes you uncomfortable.”

    What evidence would cause you to accept the law of non-contradiction and the law of causality? I don’t have to wonder about whether you can answer that question because I know for a fact that you cannot. If you confront that question honestly, you will come to understand your error. No amount of evidence can prove the law of causality, nor can any amount of evidence invalidate it. To come to a deeper understanding, ask yourself this question: Could evidence invalidate the laws of mathematics? Or is it the case that you believe even that? Either you accept first principles and choose to be reasonable, or you reject them and choose to be unreasonable.

    —“Yet that agent itself [first cause] can spring from nowehere in violation of your own metaphysical principles.”

    Incorrect. The principles of right reason allow us to deduce the fact that the first cause must be an uncaused cause. I would take you through the proof except for the fact that you reject the logical principles by which the proof is made.

    You consider the same evidence and yet, because you reject reason’s principles, assume that the universe could bring itself into existence. By that same standard, you assume that mind can come from matter and the life can come from non-life.

    —“Correct, because that is what the evidence suggests.”

    There is no evidence to suggest any of these things. None. Those are all misguided INTERPRETATONS of evidence. To put it simply, you are not distinguishing between evidence and interpretations of evidence.

    The difference in our points of view is not related to the evidence

    —“Yes it is.”

    No, it isn’t. We are looking at exactly the same body of evidence. I reject not one piece of it.

    I acknowledge the first principles of right reason; you do not.

  396. 396
    Petrushka says:

    Petrushka, every branch of modern “hard” science, save for evolution of course, is built on the backs of Christian theists who investigated the mysteries of reality precisely because they believed that all of reality had been ordered by the mind of a omnipotent Creator.

    True. And they hoped to improve their understanding of order.

    What I said was that human knowledge is not advanced by the assumption that an unknown entity did some unspecified something at unspecified times and places using unspecified methods for unspecified reasons.

    What those Christians were looking for was order, not caprice.

    You and I come from different Christian traditions. I was taught not to put God to the test. That can have a number of meanings, but I was taught that looking for proof of God’s existence is wrong. That the need for proof is an unworthy desire.

    Unworthy and futile. I don’t think you will find God in the gaps.

  397. 397
    bornagain77 says:

    Petrushka, Once again you are patently wrong:

    Romans 1:20
    For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse.

    You are completely twisting the entire context of “not putting God to the test” to mean something other than what the original text meant and you know that!!!

    Luke 4 9-13

    9The devil led him to Jerusalem and had him stand on the highest point of the temple. “If you are the Son of God,” he said, “throw yourself down from here. 10For it is written:

    “‘He will command his angels concerning you

    to guard you carefully;

    11they will lift you up in their hands,

    so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.’c”

    12Jesus answered, “It says: ‘Do not put the Lord your God to the test.’d”

    13When the devil had finished all this tempting, he left him until an opportune time.

  398. 398
    Petrushka says:

    I’m not going to argue theology. I don’t know enough.

    I’m simply stating my opinion that divine nature and invisible qualities are just that. They are invisible.

    ID seems to be searching for tangible proof. A signature.

    But my opinion on this is of no importance. Nor is my opinion that big gaps are made of little gaps, and little gaps of smaller gaps. All the way down.

  399. 399
    above says:

    I would like to raise a question here for everyone and including darwinists/materialists:

    WJM said:

    -“ From an open letter, signed by 38 Nobel Laureates, to the court during the Dover trial: Logically derived from confirmable evidence, evolution is understood to be the result of an unguided, unplanned process of random variation and natural selection.”

    This first and foremost is an epistemological assertion. All this means is that we as humans are unable to understand the advent of life and its numerous forms, however we have proposed two “mechanisms” in our attempt to explain this phenomenon. The first is random variation – which is simply this: change happens in living organisms but we cannot predict it using our empirical methods or we are simply not capable to do so given our limitations (intellectual, biological, logical etc) – and natural selection is, to use one of Stephen J. Gould’s phrases, “advantages persist.”

    So in essence these so called nobel laureates are simply saying that things change and we are ignorant of what direction the change will be elicited in – if we knew what they represented and could predict them they would not be random after all – and that some of these changes persist in living organisms while others do not. To put it in the most vernacular way possible, what they are effectively saying is this: Life has the capacity to change and to learn.

    Does one even need a scientific understanding to come to that conclusion? Obviously not. I just don’t understand what the big fuss about evolution is. It’s made out to be this larger than life theory that is suppose to provide exceptional insight into living organisms. But this idea is neither new nor impressive. It’s just stating what is naively obvious to just about most people.

    Now I would like to proceed by investigating the validity of RV + NS as adequate, scientific and logical (as opposed to philosophical) explanatory proposals under the assumption of metaphysical materialism.

    For example:
    1. Are they falsifiable?
    2. How is NS not a tautology?
    3. Even if we do accept RV + NS as explanatory mechanisms, how can we scientifically (not philosophically) prove their connection to materialism. E.g. how can we refute Lewotnin’s honest claim regarding a priori materialistic, metaphysical commitments?

    The reason I am bringing this up is to hopefully initiate a conversation about which aspects of the mechanisms of evolutionary theory are empirical and which are philosophical. I have a suspicion that there is a significant part of evolutionary theory that is simply not science proper but rather a philosophy. Once this is addressed, I think people can focus more on the actual science, where issues might be more easily resolved.
    I look forward to hearing people’s opinions on this!

  400. 400
    Gaz says:

    StephenB (395),

    “—-Define “right reason”. How does it differ from other forms reason? Who formulated the principles of “right reason”? Please provide references.

    Here are some of the most important: [A] A Thing cannot be and not be at the same time. [B] (Derived from A) Nothing can begin to exist without a cause, [C] A proposition cannot be true and false at the same time. [D] We have rational minds, we live in a rational universe and there is a correspondence between the two. [E] Mathematics have laws [F]] The ordered universe is syncronized with the laws of logic and mathematics.

    References: Western Civilization beginning with Aristotle. The history of the philosophy of science.”

    You are dodging the answer. Why is this labelled by you as “right reason” and how does it differ from common-or-garden reason?

    Nor have you answered the question as to where the principles came from: lazily saying “Aristotle and the history of the philosophy of science means either (a) you don’t know or (b) you know that it’s not going to stand scrutiny. And don’t forget either that neither Aristotle nor any other philosopher or scientist up until the late 19th and early 20th century can have had the foggiest notion of the strangeness of the quantum universe. So even if they did formulate your [A] to [F] – which are apparently non-exhaustive – it was based on an understanding of the universe which was far, far less than ours.

    Let’s take an example – your [A], a Thing cannot be and not be at the same time. I’m afraid that in the quantum realm this is not correct. You have heard of quantum superposition, yes? This is where a particle has a probability of existing in a range of states, which can be infinite in range and include a probability of not existing at all. This is the basis of the Schrodinger’s cat thought experiment: basically the cat exists in a superposition of “dead” and “alive” depending on whether or not a particle is emitted from a radioactive nucleus (i.e. – the particle exists (cat dead) and doesn’t (cat alive) at the same time). It is only when there is an interaction with an observer and the wavefunction collapses that the physical state reduces to one particular state. So indeed, a thing can exist and not exist at tghe same time – at the quantum level. Hence your [A] is wrong. So where does this leave your “right reason”?

  401. 401
    Gaz says:

    StephenB (395),

    “[Gaz]—”I’ve answered it several time. I wonder if you are able at all to grasp even the basics of physics. You understand that elementary particles are very small, yes? They have a very tiny mass (=energy). Heisenberg’s uncertainty principle states that we cannot be certain of the energy of a particle over a given time interval to a precision greater than h/4(pi)- here h is Planck’s constant (I’ll let you look up the value). At the quantum level that uncertainty in energy levels is very significant because of the mass of the particles is so small and can result in virtual particles popping in and out of existence. However, at the classical levels – things such as you, me and concrete walls – the masses are enormously greater, and so the uncertainty in the energy levels of you, me and concrete walls to a precision of h/4(pi) is absolutely tiny. The prospects of you, me and concrete walls popping in and out of existence is therefore highly unlikely to the point of being virtually impossible.”

    [StephenB] No, you haven’t answered the question. You have not provided me with your reasons for saying that, if causlity is suspended, it can only be suspended in the case of quantum mechanics.”

    But I’ve just given you the reason in the paragraph above – it’s in the maths! You can calculate the value of h/4(pi) can’t you?

    “You have said only that quantum mechanics is different from other realms. Indeed, they are different insofar as they are unpredictable and hard to measure, but those differences do not add up to differences about causality.”

    Yes, they are – check out the Heisenberg uncertainty inequality and the maths.

    “How do you know, based on your assumption, that new evidence will not invalidate causality at the macro level? You have provided no answer to that question.”

    If new evidence invalidates it, then great – a whole new field of science opens up. But we do know, based on the observations and evidence we have so far, that such events would be rare even if they did theoretically happen.

    “I read the above. You did not answer the question. You can’t appeal to the law of causality because you disavow it.”

    It’s not a LAW, causality is something that happens AT THE CLASSICAL LEVEL, but not necessarily at the QUANTUM LEVEL.

    “[Gaz]”Wrong, see above. It’s not a matter of what is negotiable or not – you should understand that by now. It’s a matter of what the evidence shows.”

    [StephenB] The problem is that it is not I who does not understand. Evidence must be interpreted and you have no rational standard by which you can interpret it.”

    So you deny despite the evidence – some provided even by bornagain77 – that virtual particles can pop in and out of existence?

    “What evidence would cause you to accept the law of non-contradiction and the law of causality? I don’t have to wonder about whether you can answer that question because I know for a fact that you cannot.”

    Then why waste our time posing it?

    “If you confront that question honestly, you will come to understand your error. No amount of evidence can prove the law of causality, nor can any amount of evidence invalidate it.”

    Making it suspicious.

    “To come to a deeper understanding, ask yourself this question: Could evidence invalidate the laws of mathematics? Or is it the case that you believe even that? Either you accept first principles and choose to be reasonable, or you reject them and choose to be unreasonable.”

    So you are the arbiter of reason? Then tell us about “right reason” and its origins.

    “Incorrect. The principles of right reason allow us to deduce the fact that the first cause must be an uncaused cause. I would take you through the proof except for the fact that you reject the logical principles by which the proof is made.”

    Oh, I can follow proofs. Please go ahead. This should be interesting.

  402. 402
    StephenB says:

    —Petrushka: “What I said was that human knowledge is not advanced by the assumption that an unknown entity did some unspecified something at unspecified times and places using unspecified methods for unspecified reasons.”

    The trailblazers of science believed that the God of the Bible created the universe out of love in order to share his love. There is nothing ambiguous about that.

    —“What those Christians were looking for was order, not caprice.”

    That’s right. They reasoned that a rational God purposely made a rational universe in order that men would “think God’s thoughts after him.”

    —“You and I come from different Christian traditions. I was taught not to put God to the test.”

    Putting the person of God to the test, which is indeed an offense, is not the same thing as putting the Christian religion to the test, which is exactly what any rational person should do. No one should believe something that is contrary to reason–above reason, yes–but not contrary to it. Christiantity begins by alluding to a visible universe that points to an invisible God, follows by pointing to a series of prophecies that became manifest in time/space/history, and ends by recording testimonies about miracles–all this in order to disguish itself as a reasonable faith system and draw a contrast between its tenets and those of all other faith systems which are based solely on faith

    It is from that reasonable foundation that Christians are then asked to make a further leap into theological truths that must be accepted on faith alone. Christianity, unlike all other world views, asks no one to make mindless leaps based on the whims of self-styled human prophets.

    —“That can have a number of meanings, but I was taught that looking for proof of God’s existence is wrong. That the need for proof is an unworthy desire.”

    The reason the Bible discusses the relationship of God to nature in Romans 1:20 and Psalm 19 is to make an appeal to reason so that the dogmatic articles of faith which follow will be seen to have come from the same reasonable God.

    —“Unworthy and futile. I don’t think you will find God in the gaps.”

    Now you are confusing the phenomenological approach of ID science with the metaphysical assumptions that launched modern scienctific enterpreise. The two approaches are compatible but they are not the same.

    To be sure, there are some, Hugh Ross comes to mind, who try to establish a complete thought system linking the findings of science with the existence of the Biblical God. I admire his work, and he may even be on the right track. He is not, however, an advocate of ID science or an admirer of ID paradigms, believing them to be unnecessary compromises.

  403. 403
    Petrushka says:

    Now you are confusing the phenomenological approach of ID science with the metaphysical assumptions that launched modern scienctific enterpreise. The two approaches are compatible but they are not the same.

    I have no reason to doubt you on this. From my reading of the history of science, the early inventors of science were indeed looking for evidence of God’s handiwork. Including evidence of a global flood.

    I think the flood project crashed and burned about 1830, although there are lots of holdouts.

    ID is not likely to crash and burn, but I think it will find its scope increasingly narrowed. I suspect Michael Denton’s Nature’s Destiny will have a revival in the next ten years.

  404. 404
    Petrushka says:

    1. Are they falsifiable?
    2. How is NS not a tautology?

    Certainly. Common descent has entailments. Entailments are requirements imposed by a theory.

    1.You can’t find fossils of modern plants and animals in the same strata as plants and animals from earlier eras.
    2. Evolution is slow. It requires much more time than was known to be available in 1859. The discovery of radioactivity and a power source for the sun was absolutely necessary to salvage Darwin’s timeline.
    3. Every fossil found must fit somewhere on a tree of descent.
    4. Every sequence of DNA must be compatible with an inheritance tree.

    there are lots more.

    NS is not a tautology for the simple reason that it is not true under every possible condition.

    It is possible, for example, that a system could respond to pruning of certain types by accelerating the production of those types. We don’t see living things doing that, but a designed system could do it.

    There are lots of possibilities for selection mechanisms. We have had some discussion of human directed selection.

    There is also random selection, as in being at the wrong place at the wrong time. Too close to an asteroid impact, for example.

    darwin was among the first to notice female choice, which appears to be responsible for extreme bird plumage.

    It is, of course, logically possible, that unseen agents do some of the choosing. The only problem is finding an instance to observe.

  405. 405
    bornagain77 says:

    Petrushka you state for falsification criteria:

    3. Every fossil found must fit somewhere on a tree of descent.
    4. Every sequence of DNA must be compatible with an inheritance tree.

    Origin of Biological Information and the Higher Taxonomic Categories By: Stephen C. Meyer; Proceedings of the Biological Society of Washington
    “To say that the fauna of the Cambrian period appeared in a geologically sudden manner also implies the absence of clear transitional intermediate forms connecting Cambrian animals with simpler pre-Cambrian forms. And, indeed, in almost all cases, the Cambrian animals have no clear morphological antecedents in earlier Vendian or Precambrian fauna (Miklos 1993, Erwin et al. 1997:132, Steiner & Reitner 2001, Conway Morris 2003b:510, Valentine et al. 2003:519-520). Further, several recent discoveries and analyses suggest that these morphological gaps may not be merely an artifact of incomplete sampling of the fossil record (Foote 1997, Foote et al. 1999, Benton & Ayala 2003, Meyer et al. 2003), suggesting that the fossil record is at least approximately reliable (Conway Morris 2003b:505).”
    http://www.discovery.org/a/2177

    One persistent misrepresentation, that evolutionists continually portray of the fossil record, is that +99.9% of all species that have ever existed are extinct when in fact 40 to 80% of all living species found on the earth are represented in the fossil record. In fact, we have a few million species living today whereas we only have 1/4 million different species collected in our museums, a large percentage of which happen to be “living fossils” which are still living today.

    The Fossil Record – The Myth Of +99.9% Extinct Species – Dr. Arthur Jones – video
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/4028115

    of note Bats popped out of the woodwork 55 million years ago with no evidence of transition from any other species:

    First Eocene Bat From Australia
    Excerpt: Remains of a bat, Australonycteris clarkae, gen. et sp. nov., are reported from freshwater clays radiometrically dated to 54.6 million years old in southeastern Queensland, Australia. It is the oldest bat recorded for the southern hemisphere and one of the world’s oldest.
    http://www.jstor.org/pss/4523576?cookieSet=1

    Australonycteris clarkae
    Excerpt: Australonycteris clarkae, from the Eocene of Queensland, is the oldest bat from the Southern Hemisphere and one of the oldest in the world. It is similar to other archaic Eocene bats from the Northern Hemisphere, and could probably navigate using echolocation, like most bats do today. (of note: some “modern” bats do not use echolocation today):
    http://australianmuseum.net.au.....is-clarkae

    I especially like this falsification criteria of yours petrushka

    4. Every sequence of DNA must be compatible with an inheritance tree.

    Human Gene Count Tumbles Again – 2008
    Excerpt: Scientists on the hunt for typical genes — that is, the ones that encode proteins — have traditionally set their sights on so-called open reading frames, which are long stretches of 300 or more nucleotides, or “letters” of DNA, bookended by genetic start and stop signals.,,,, The researchers considered genes to be valid if and only if similar sequences could be found in other mammals – namely, mouse and dog. Applying this technique to nearly 22,000 genes in the Ensembl gene catalog, the analysis revealed 1,177 “orphan” DNA sequences. These orphans looked like proteins because of their open reading frames, but were not found in either the mouse or dog genomes. Although this was strong evidence that the sequences were not true protein-coding genes, it was not quite convincing enough to justify their removal from the human gene catalogs. Two other scenarios could, in fact, explain their absence from other mammalian genomes. For instance, the genes could be unique among primates, new inventions that appeared after the divergence of mouse and dog ancestors from primate ancestors. Alternatively, the genes could have been more ancient creations — present in a common mammalian ancestor — that were lost in mouse and dog lineages yet retained in humans. If either of these possibilities were true, then the orphan genes should appear in other primate genomes, in addition to our own. To explore this, the researchers compared the orphan sequences to the DNA of two primate cousins, chimpanzees and macaques. After careful genomic comparisons, the orphan genes were found to be true to their name — they were absent from both primate genomes.
    http://www.sciencedaily.com/re.....161406.htm

    The sheer, and blatant, shoddiness of the science of the preceding study should give everyone who reads it severe pause whenever, in the future, someone tells them that genetic studies have proven evolution to be true.

    This following site has a brief discussion on the biased methodology of the preceding study:
    http://www.uncommondescent.com.....ent-358505

    If the authors of the preceding study were to have actually tried to see if the over 1000 unique orphan genes of humans may actually encode for proteins, instead of just written them off, they would have found that there is ample reason to believe that they may very well encode for biologically important proteins:

    A survey of orphan enzyme activities
    Abstract: We demonstrate that for ~80% of sampled orphans, the absence of sequence data is bona fide. Our analyses further substantiate the notion that many of these (orfan) enzyme activities play biologically important roles.
    http://www.biomedcentral.com/1471-2105/8/244

    Dr. Howard Ochman – Dept. of Biochemistry at the University of Arizona
    Excerpt of Proposal: Although it has been hypothesized that ORFans might represent non-coding regions rather than actual genes, we have recently established that the vast majority that ORFans present in the E. coli genome are under selective constraints and encode functional proteins.
    http://www.uncommondescent.com.....ent-358868

    In fact it turns out that the authors of the “kick the ORFans out in the street” paper actually did know that there was unbiased evidence strongly indicating the ORFans encoded proteins but chose to ignore it in favor of their preconceived evolutionary bias:
    http://www.uncommondescent.com.....ent-358547

    So clearly every DNA sequence is NOT compatible with a tree!!!

    So please tell me Petrushka why will you not follow your very own falsification criteria and ignore the evidence presented?

  406. 406
    bornagain77 says:

    You know petrushka Instead of just playing games why don’t you just go ahead and show us the generation of functional information by material/evolutionary processes and I, like Dr. Hunter, will join you in your crusade to enlighten the world to “the fact” of neo-Darwinism.

  407. 407
    Petrushka says:

    To say that the fauna of the Cambrian period appeared in a geologically sudden manner also implies the absence of clear transitional intermediate forms connecting Cambrian animals with simpler pre-Cambrian forms…

    Morphology isn’t the issue. The origin of genes would be the issue, but you kindly provided a link that verified what I have been saying for the whole thread: the genes are ancient. What we have since the Cambrian is mostly tweaking.

  408. 408
    above says:

    @Petrushka

    It’s not common descent or evolution as a theory that I am inquiring about. I am specifically asking to see whether RV + NS are falsifiable. That’s the reason I elaborated and used vernacular language as so to unveil, in layman’s terms, what we are essentially referring to when we speak of things such as RV + NS.

    My challenge is best crystallized in the following paragraph from my previous post:
    “So in essence these so called nobel laureates are simply saying that things change and we are ignorant of what direction the change will be elicited in – if we knew what they represented and could predict them they would not be random after all – and that some of these changes persist in living organisms while others do not. To put it in the most vernacular way possible, what they are effectively saying is this: Life has the capacity to change and to learn.”

    The reason why I asked whether NS is a tautology – which in my opinion to some extend it is – comes from the notion of the survival of the fittest. Which in turn we ask, who is the fittest, the answer being the one that survives. Then we ask, who survives and the answer then becomes, the fittest. It’s in a sense self-referential. I’m not rejecting it completely – not yet at least. I’m merely bringing into question the hidden assumptions behind the language we use to talk about NS and its validity.

    You provided several situations of selection and for the most part I see some truth in all:
    1. Environmental selection
    2. Human selection
    3. Random selection (asteroid etc)
    4. Female selection
    5. Divine selection
    And I am sure there are many more. So then, if a lot of things – possibly most things? – can act as selectors, then what exactly are we speaking of when we refer to ‘selection?’ It seems that selection or NS if presented as such is an extremely lose term.

    I do not want you to think that I am expecting you to defend evolution nor am I looking into attacking evolution per se. I am simply questioning whether or not RV + NS are strict science and free of philosophical assumptions. I am also interested in seeing what exactly is it that we mean when we speak of selection in this evolutionary context. To me, when I think of it, it seems to be something akin to Gould’s “advantages persist” notion. Feel free to ask me to clarify in case I wasn’t clear enough in how I presented my thoughts.

    In short, I am addressing two issues:

    1. Scientific demarcation
    2. Linguistic analysis

  409. 409
    Petrushka says:

    Your obsession with orphan genes is the result of a misunderstanding of what is meant.

    The gene function may be novel, but the sequences are descended from the tree.

    You can have new functionality with very small changes to the sequences.

  410. 410
    StephenB says:

    —Gaz: “Why is this labelled by you as “right reason” and how does it differ from common-or-garden reason?”

    Right reason does not differ from common or garden variety reason. Inductions are inductions; deductions are deductions, abductions are abductions; syllogisms are syllogisms. [Hint: deductions are based on the principle of non-contradiction. If you reject that principle, you cannot deduce anything because you cannot rule out options that will allow you to go from step one to step two].

    —“Nor have you answered the question as to where the principles came from.”

    How many names do you want? Let’s begin with the law of non-contradi tion—Parmenides, Aristotle, Aquinas, Scotus, Leibniz, Locke, Mill, Spir, Einstein……….(

    —“And don’t forget either that neither Aristotle nor any other philosopher or scientist up until the late 19th and early 20th century can have had the foggiest notion of the strangeness of the quantum universe.”

    We scarcely have a clue about it ourselves, much less to we know enough to rule out causality each time we fail to identify the cause or the causal conditions, as is the case for quantum events.

    —“So even if they did formulate your [A] to [F] – which are apparently non-exhaustive – it was based on an understanding of the universe which was far, far less than ours.”

    We are always learning more about the universe, but the rational tools by which we study it do not change. If they did, we could not learn anything. The laws of logic do not change, the ordered nature of the universe does not change, and the laws of mathematics do not change.

    Speaking of which, are you now prepared to answer my question: Inasmuch as you assert that new evidence can invalidate the laws of logic, do you also assert that new evidence can invalidate the laws of mathematics? (Question not yet answered)

    —“Let’s take an example – your [A], a Thing cannot be and not be at the same time. I’m afraid that in the quantum realm this is not correct. You have heard of quantum superposition, yes?”

    Yes.

    A thing cannot be and not be at the same time and under the same formal circumstances. Superposition does not violate that principle.

    You have not provided me with your reasons for saying that, if causality is suspended, it can only be suspended in the case of quantum mechanics. Indeed, you have multiple positions on the subject, saying at times that acausality is peculiar to quantum mechanics, and, at other times, saying that it could apply in the case of new evidence not yet discovered. And, of course, you clearly reject causality in terms of a first cause.

    —“But I’ve just given you the reason in the paragraph above – it’s in the maths! You can calculate the value of h/4(pi) can’t you?”

    Yes, but that doesn’t prove acausality and I can’t imagine why you think it would.

    Your position on this matter is not really consistent. You have said that quantum mechanics is different from other realms. Indeed, it is different insofar as quantum events are unpredictable and hard to measure, but those differences do not add up to differences about causality. However, you now say that acausality could apply in other contexts.

    —As you put it, “If new evidence invalidates it, then great – a whole new field of science opens up. But we do know, based on the observations and evidence we have so far, that such events would be rare even if they did theoretically happen.”

    So, not only do you say quantum acausality is not unique, you even apply acausality to the beginning of the universe. So, the fact is, you barely believe in causality at any level—except when you want to.

    —“It’s not a LAW, causality is something that happens AT THE CLASSICAL LEVEL, but not necessarily at the QUANTUM LEVEL.”

    Or, as you just said “at other levels opening up new fields of science” (presumably none of which will be identified with causality), or, as you would have it, at the level of a beginning universe, or, as you insist, at the level of life coming from non life, or, as you believe, at the level of mind coming from matter.

    “[Gaz]”Wrong, see above. It’s not a matter of what is negotiable or not – you should understand that by now. It’s a matter of what the evidence shows.”

    But as I have pointed out to you in vain, bare evidence shows us nothing until it is interpreted and you have no standard for interpreting it. Do you have a standard? If so, what is it? Hint: “evidence” is not an answer to the question. (Question unanswered)

    —“So you deny despite the evidence – some provided even by bornagain77 – that virtual particles can pop in and out of existence?”

    I deny that it is a causeless event, of course. I feel confident that bornagain77 would agree. Why not ask him?

    What evidence would cause you to accept the law of non-contradiction and the law of causality? (Question unanswered).

    The principles of right reason allow us to deduce the fact that the first cause must be an uncaused cause. I would take you through the proof except for the fact that you reject the logical principles by which the proof is made.”

    —“Oh, I can follow proofs. Please go ahead. This should be interesting.”

    It really isn’t very complicated. According to the principle of “infinite regress” [another principle of right reason] a chain of causal events cannot go on into infinity. Thus, they must stop at a first cause–the causeless cause. (No, new evidence could not invalidate that principle either).

    Again, reason’s principles inform evidence; evidence does not inform reason’s principles.

  411. 411
    bornagain77 says:

    Petrushka, so you just deny the ORFans are unique genes?

    “If either of these possibilities were true, then the orphan genes should appear in other primate genomes, in addition to our own. To explore this, the researchers compared the orphan sequences to the DNA of two primate cousins, chimpanzees and macaques. After careful genomic comparisons, the orphan genes were found to be true to their name — they were absent from both primate genomes.”

    After all, humans are recent, they reproduce slowly, and they are not that many. Some reshuffling and a bundle of mutations in HARs can always be tolerated, provided that we can affirm that the genomes of humans and chimps are 99% or something similar. But 1000 new genes?

    And so, the answer is simple:

    “Such a model would require a prodigious rate of gene birth in mammalian lineages and a ferocious rate of gene death erasing the huge number of genes born before the divergence from chimpanzee. We reject such a model as wholly implausible.”

    But such a model is not implausible at all. It is only implausible for darwinists. But if you reflect on the obvious fact that humans and chimps are very different, that humans are practically unique in their ability of abstract intelligent thoughts, that they have changed the world they live in under many respects, that they have built varied civilizations and explored reality scientifically and in other ways, then few hundreds of new genes in their basic level proteome information could in some way seem justified…
    http://www.uncommondescent.com.....ent-358505

    But of course you knew all this petrushka, thus since you refuse to learn anything, and will only believe what you want to believe no matter what evidence is gone over in excruciating detail with you, I will not play your games any more save to expose you.

  412. 412
    above says:

    @Stephen

    -“Speaking of which, are you now prepared to answer my question: Inasmuch as you assert that new evidence can invalidate the laws of logic, do you also assert that new evidence can invalidate the laws of mathematics? (Question not yet answered)”

    How can gaz invalidate logic through the use of evidence? Would he not be reasoning in making that claim? If he does not believe in principles of right reason, how can he “reason” that they do not exist?

    He’s like a dog chasing his own tail. Why bother, Stephen?

  413. 413
    CJYman says:

    Hello All and well said, above.

    I have been following this thread and it is becoming quite entertaining seeing people denying the laws of logic. On a similar vein to how above just stated the problem, what rules of logic does Gaz use to argue that the laws of logic can be invalidated in certain circumstances. The answer can’t be “mere evidence” since data must be interpreted logically in order to generate “evidence.” Talk about sawing off the branch upon which you are sitting …..

    I wish I could stick around, but alas edumacation calls.

  414. 414
    Gaz says:

    StephenB (410),

    “A thing cannot be and not be at the same time and under the same formal circumstances. Superposition does not violate that principle.”

    Please explain why not.

  415. 415
    CannuckianYankee says:

    “He’s like a dog chasing his own tail. Why bother, Stephen?”

    Like this?

    StephenB (410),

    “A thing cannot be and not be at the same time and under the same formal circumstances. Superposition does not violate that principle.”

    Gaz (414)

    “Please explain why not.”

    What’s there to explain? If you’re going to argue that a thing can be and not be at the same time, there’s no point in reasoning with you. Reason flies out the window at that point. You’re argument would be self defeating. You would say that validity for your argument is, while your reasoning would say that validity for your argument is not, or both at the same time – into total absurdity.

    You clearly use right reason when you try to present your case, unless it isn’t convenient for you.

    Evidence does not supersede right reason. Right reason supersedes evidence. It’s a prime principle under which all evidence must adhere.

  416. 416
    gpuccio says:

    Petrushka:

    Your obsession with orphan genes is the result of a misunderstanding of what is meant. The gene function may be novel, but the sequences are descended from the tree.You can have new functionality with very small changes to the sequences.

    You are simply wrong. Orphans are defined on the basis of lack of homologues. Homology is evaluated at the primary structure level. Function has nothing to do with that (it may well be unknown).

    Here is the definition of orphan gene from Wikipedia:

    “there is no detectable homolog in other organisms or the homologous genes are restricted to closely-related organisms.”

    I understand you are not a biologist, but you should be more careful not to state things that are wrong, please check them before making statements which can confound others.

  417. 417
    bornagain77 says:

    Gaz a paper just came out, which strangely confirms the sub topic of this thread that evidence does not supersede right reason, as well the paper overturns Duwell’s objection to Bennett’s claim for instantaneous infinite information transfer in Quantum Teleportation because it would violate what Duwell had perceived to be a “backwards in time” constraint. We were talking about this topic the other day here:

    http://www.uncommondescent.com.....ent-359265

    Here is the paper that addresses Duwell’s concern for his “backwards in time” constraint for teleportation:

    Time travel theory avoids grandfather paradox – July 2010
    Excerpt: “In the new paper, the scientists explore a particular version of CTCs based on combining quantum teleportation with post-selection, resulting in a theory of post-selected CTCs (P-CTCs). ,,,The formalism of P-CTCs shows that such quantum time travel can be thought of as a kind of quantum tunneling backwards in time, which can take place even in the absence of a classical path from future to past,,, “P-CTCs might also allow time travel in spacetimes without general-relativistic closed timelike curves,” they conclude. “If nature somehow provides the nonlinear dynamics afforded by final-state projection, then it is possible for particles (and, in principle, people) to tunnel from the future to the past.”
    http://www.physorg.com/news198948917.html

    Gaz this paper is very interesting for Seth Lloyd, and company, are using the “transcendent logic/reason/information” of mathematics to establish that “infinite information of teleportation” is not bound by space-time constraints in the first place, Thus overturning Duwell’s objection against Bennett’s claim for infinite information transfer in teleportation.

    This paper is also, as I stated earlier, a excellent example of right reason superseding evidence, as well as confirming what should be clear to most IDer’s by now,,, i.e.

    “Information is information, not matter or energy. No materialism which does not admit this can survive at the present day.”
    Norbert Weiner – MIT Mathematician – Father of Cybernetics

  418. 418
    Gaz says:

    CannuckianYankee (415),

    “What’s there to explain? If you’re going to argue that a thing can be and not be at the same time, there’s no point in reasoning with you.”

    Then you don’t believe in superposition of quantum states?

    “Reason flies out the window at that point.”

    No, it’s just an acceptance that that is what the evidence shows. It may seem unreasonable, but the quantum world often seems that way.

    “You clearly use right reason when you try to present your case, unless it isn’t convenient for you.”

    I just take the evidence and go where it leads.

    “Evidence does not supersede right reason. Right reason supersedes evidence.”

    I see, so if you think reason means you can’t have superposition of states then there isn’t superposition of states even if the evidence says there is?

    “It’s a prime principle under which all evidence must adhere.”

    Nope – if the evidence is there you can’t just ignore it. If the evidence says one thing and your reasoning another, then your reasoning is wrong.

  419. 419
    bornagain77 says:

    Gaz states:

    “If the evidence says one thing and your reasoning another, then your reasoning is wrong.”

    Thus this is the breakdown in Gaz’s reasoning and allows Gaz to state that nothing can cause something i.e. zero can equal one, 0=1, in quantum mechanics for with Gaz there is no proper check to his philosophical bias, at least none that he will allow to challenge his atheistic worldview. Must be nice to write your very own rules of science Gaz!

  420. 420
    kairosfocus says:

    Onlookers:

    I am currently battling with a flat dead phone line [lightning storm?] and a faulty fault report system that 24 hrs after 1st report, had not queued my call-in for action. Heading off to Telco, so a pause at the local public library . . .

    Anyway, this thread has been a helpful beta test, cf clarifying updates here. (Thanks to critics and commenters.)

    ______________

    Stephen & Gaz:

    I cannot but notice how this thread has drifted from one tangent to another, with the underlying unity being that objectors to the scientific bona fides of the design inference (cf. the just linked) consistently are unable to address the matter on the merits or even show that hey have accurately and fairly read what design thinkers and theorists or even bloggists have to say.

    When a case has to rest on consistent misrepresentation of design thought and open or veiled attacks against design thinkers sustained in the teeth of correction, it is telling.

    Similarly, it is telling that no-one has provided a clear and convincing demonstration that especially digitally coded functionally specific complex information — what we find in the heart of the cell [cf the new fig I.5, promoted to the summary] — can have its origin in undirected forces of chance and necessity. We note that we reliably know such to be routinely produced by intelligent agents, as we may see from this thread’s posts.

    I notice quite a side-exchange on the first, self-evident principles of right reason, and related remarks on quantum phenomena. A few notes:

    1 –> Objectors need to understand that cause comes in two flavours, sufficient and necessary (as already noted). Sufficient cause WILL make an event happen, and if a necessary causal factor is missing, the event CANNOT happen. (Think about how each of oxidiser, fuel and hear is necessary for, and the three are jointly sufficient to have a fire.)

    2 –> Necessary factors are particularly relevant here, e.g. without a where and when to happen in [i.e. a space-time domain], even quantum events would not happen. That sounds physically trivial, but it is logically vital given what is being denied. For, it warrants the point that even quantum events are causally constrained.

    3 –> Next, let us go back to Einstein’s breakthrough with the photoelectric effect. One of the points he established is that here is an energetic threshold for photons, on which if the frequency in the expression E = h*f is too low, ther