Intelligent Design

The Charge of Duplicity

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Design theorists who are religious believers are often charged with duplicity for not explicitly identifying the intelligence that they claim is responsible for certain forms of biological complexity with the God of their religious faith. But this charge is itself ill-intentioned. As far as the science of ID goes, there is no way to get from the data of nature to the God of, say, Christianity (or any other deity for that matter). Moreover, there is no reason to think that even if the God of Christianity (or of any other religious faith) is the source of creativity behind the world, that such a God acted immediately without the aid of intermediate teleological organizing principles (i.e., through secondary causes that are themselves intelligent). In particular, there is no reason to think that ID requires God to specifically toggle the genes for the bacterial flagellum and make this structure magically materialize. ID is entirely compatible with a path-dependent form of evolution that is intelligently guided.

For more about the supposed duplicity of ID proponents, consult the following paper by John Calvert, which I’ve posted with his permission: “Are We Liars?

61 Replies to “The Charge of Duplicity

  1. 1
    JimJee says:

    I am totally for the whole ID idea, it resonates with my strict scientific upbringing and with my (hopefully living) faith. But anyone – how do you understand the verse “Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin” (Rom 5:12) – did death enter the world through Adam, or MUCH earlier in the history of God guiding the process of creation (and evolution)?

  2. 2
    DaveScot says:

    I can’t quite figure out how ID is incompatible with anything other than random variation. It’s all a matter of probabilities. Some structures are just too improbable for random chance to be reasonably responsible. Intelligence is the only agency we know of that can and does routinely choose events with otherwise almost impossible odds. ID doesn’t even require activity by an intelligent agency at any time since the big bang since it’s quite possible that the universe is deterministic. If the universe is deterministic it then follows that no event in the history of the universe was random – everything that’s happened was writ in granite (so to speak) at the instant of the big bang.

  3. 3

    Sounds too much like Theistic Evolution. Although, a valid point.

    ID, however, is far more modest than that. ID seeks to demonstrate design detection, not design assemblage. In applying principles for design detection, one does not need to worry about the step-by-step process of the design; that goes beyond the scope of ID. Although other disciplines may incorporate ID as a starting point for further research (such as the step-by-step process of the design), ID’s focus in on what constitutes the hallmarks for inferring design.

  4. 4

    Analysis of Behe’s Testimony, Part 4: The Sterility of ID

    During his testimony, Michael Behe continually brought up the big bang as being comparable to intelligent design. His intent was to show that some people objected to the big bang because it had religious implications as well, but that didn’t…

  5. 5
    neurode says:

    Excellent remarks. I was struck by:

    “As far as the science of ID goes, there is no way to get from the data of nature to the God of, say, Christianity (or any other deity for that matter).”

    This is inarguable, as regards the current state of ID theory. I also appreciate the wisdom of:

    “Moreover, there is no reason to think that … such a God acted immediately without the aid of intermediate teleological organizing principles (i.e., through secondary causes that are themselves intelligent).”

    This chain of reasoning is clearly moving in the direction of mechanism and thus of increased explanatory power.

    However, it seems to me that the following question, asked by Calvert, might be seen as moving in the opposite direction:

    “As a final note, it seems to me that recent theories regarding possible cybernetic explanations make it all the more difficult to say that we can ‘know,’ as a scientific proposition, who the designer is.”

    I must confess that I’m a little confused by the notion that “possible cybernetic explanations” weigh against any positive identification of the designer.

    The fact that ID as it now stands is a probabilistic rather than mechanistic theory is largely what enables it, for the moment at least, to function independently of any particular characterization of the designer. However, when ID is refined to the point at which it offers mechanistic explanations, there is a very good chance that the mechanisms will betray the nature of the designer.

    At that point, a decision will be unavoidable: will ID embrace the mechanisms even if it must thereby commit itself to a well-defined, scientifically-based understanding of theology, or will ID forsake its newfound explanatory power in order to disown the mechanisms and remain theologically neutral, thus splitting off from those who choose to pursue its future development under a different name?

    Regardless of how this decision is made, there is no good reason for any ID proponent to believe that ID theory, having committed itself unconditionally to a design inference, will be able to stop the process of scientific inference from advancing to the next step.

  6. 6
    Ilib says:

    “The real threat to all true theists of the world is that “western European materialism,” recognized by CS Lewis as the enemy, will cause the institutions of the world to impose that ideology on the rest of us and our children. The threat is that all juries and all judges will become materialists or be required to be materialists.”

    “From a purely scientific standpoint, I think the most honest and genuine answer is that we just don’t know what caused the origin of life or the origin of the diversity of life. This tentativeness is necessary due to the enormity of our ignorance about how the system works in the first place. I think that is what we would want our public schools to tell our children. That would be a legitimate response, given the present state of the science.”

    Wisdom from a thoughtful, threatened theist?

    “However, when ID is refined to the point at which it offers mechanistic explanations, there is a very good chance that the mechanisms will betray the nature of the designer.” Neurode

    Faith-based optimism?

    In a hasty bid to prevent ‘godless’ materialism from infecting the minds of our children, ID ‘scientists’ have overlooked or ignored dealing with ‘Achilles Heel’ of ‘ design inference’; the designer. This ‘Intelligence’ is neither rudimentary nor vestigial.

    “the process of scientific inference from advancing to the next step.”

    What is that “next step”?

  7. 7
    Gumpngreen says:

    Read the literature.

    Chapter 14 of Signs of Intelligence discusses the “next step”.

  8. 8
    neurode says:

    “What is that ‘next step’?”

    I suspect that precise expectations may differ. But whatever it is, it must represent an advance toward the development of a causal, mechanistic theory of ID.

    That is, if ID theory is really “scientific” in its potential to augment our understanding of how certain natural phenomena occur, then this is the direction in which it must go. On the other hand, if IDT has no chance of progressing in that direction, then by definition, it is not “scientific” in the given sense. Thus, to consistently assert that IDT is scientific, one must believe that it can advance in that direction.

  9. 9
    jaredl says:

    “ID is not a mechanistic theory.” To assume ID must devolve into a mechanistic theory is to deny ID. Neurode, do you mean to say that for each scientific hypothesis, such a hypothesis must necessarily be a mechanistic one? If so, you’re begging the question as to what is, or ought to be, science.

  10. 10
    neurode says:

    I’m afraid that ID is already a mechanistic theory in at least two senses.

    (1) It incorporates the inferential mechanisms of probability theory. These mechanisms either do or do not map to nature. If they do, then there exist natural mechanisms which mirror the probabilistic mechanisms of ID theory. If they do not, then the probabilistic theory of ID is, by definition, scientifically vacuous.

    (2) It implies the existence of causal mechanisms permitting the formation and natural realization of design (as a direct function of the design inference).

    If you think you see a way out, I’d naturally be willing to consider it.

  11. 11

    neurode,

    I agree that it would be a great benefit for ID to investigate “mechanisms” as a means of causal developments, but I disagree that identifying the mechanism should be the barometer to qualify ID as a scientific theory. In fact, as it stands, any mechanism would do (including evolution, and self-organization theories).

    ID is certainly scientific, and testable. To be sure, design detection eliminates inadequate causal theories. It identifies the possible (design by intelligent agency) vs. the impossible (design by chance and necessity). If design is dictated by invariable physical laws, then the theories are, by their own predictions, bound to “mechanisms.” ID, in this regard, is different. ID detects design where design may be found, and the mechanism need not be a metaphysical one, but certainly an intelligent one.

  12. 12
    Ilib says:

    ID must, and I iterate ‘must’ be developed solely as ‘science’. The arduous task of formulating a convincing science beyond rhetorical assertion lay ahead. ID is a hypothesis, nothing more. The assumption that the origin of species was part of a design, this ‘design’ is detectable, and the responsible intelligence is of little importance, is a toughy.
    Investigating ‘natural mechanisms’ is what scientists do, they take ‘stuff’ apart. That is what ID must do; take ‘stuff’ apart; examine biological mechanisms.
    While dismal and frightening to many, ‘natural selection’ is an easier sell; ‘nothing’ doesn’t need proving. Design, intelligent design no less, requires proving ‘something’. Remember, all there is to work with, scientifically that is, is ‘stuff’.

    “Now when we claim that we have no religious motive and just want to do good science, I think we appear to be like those we criticize. Even though we may have no intention to replace materialism with theism, it looks like that is what we really want to do. Now we genuinely do not want to do that, in science.
    Maybe in the culture through honest competitions, but not in science. I think we all agree that science must always remain tentative and objective. What we want to do is to replace an ideology that is damaging credible science with objectivity that will restore its respect as an effective investigative institution. We do not want to replace an ideology with another ideology.”

    Calvert may be onto something.

  13. 13
    DaveScot says:

    Ilib

    ID is math, not laboratory science.

    What scientists “do” is search for the truth.

  14. 14
    neurode says:

    Evolution and self-organization are not “mechanisms”, Mario, but processes for which mechanisms have not yet been fully specified. Their respective mainstream theories are in much the same boat as ID; they are mechanistic in principle, but not yet in practice. Neither of these theories even comes close to establishing that its known mechanisms are even remotely sufficient to account for all aspects of its explanatory domain. In fact, quite the opposite appears to be true. That’s one of the main reasons that ID has come so far, so fast.

    While ID is scientific and testable in principle, we’re not all the way there yet. We can look all around us and see evidence of ID, and we can even make some preliminary quantitative calculations based on knowledge from other still-evolving fields of science. But if anyone thinks that these calculations are enough to convince the vast majority of working scientists, he needs to take another look. Trust me, not all of the scientists who remain unconvinced are motivated by their philosophical convictions alone.

    You write that “ID (theory) detects design where design may be found, and the mechanism need not be a metaphysical one, but certainly an intelligent one.” Once again, we’re making a design inference using the mathematical mechanisms of probability theory. These either map to nature (including its physical and metaphysical levels) or they do not. If they do, then they reflect natural (physical or metaphysical) mechanisms. If they do not, then no design inference is possible.

    As I’ve said before, thanks to deep thinkers like Behe and Dembski, ID has made a good start. But not even its brightest lights, including Drs. Behe and Dembski themselves, are likely to say that it is anything but just that…a start. We’ve only just hit the road, and have miles to go before we sleep.

  15. 15
    Lutepisc says:

    “…and the responsible intelligence is of little importance, is a toughy.”

    Yes, I completely agree with what you’re saying, Ilib.

    But I see the responsible intelligence as hugely important…although outside the realm of science.

  16. 16
    Ilib says:

    “But I see the responsible intelligence as hugely important…although outside the realm of science.”

    Pure brilliance!

    I will quote my beautiful Lutepisc

  17. 17
    Ilib says:

    “As I’ve said before, thanks to deep thinkers like Behe and Dembski, ID has made a good start. But not even its brightest lights, including Drs. Behe and Dembski themselves, are likely to say that it is anything but just that…a start. We’ve only just hit the road, and have miles to go before we sleep.”

    It won’t be for lack of intelligence ID stalls; the lack of intelligent ‘design’ dooms this baby. It is fairly obvious by now that design, lacking designer, threatens just about everybody.

    Science vaporized Hiroshima. The Cold War was ‘designed’; no one questioned that. No one wants an ‘answer’, they’re happy with the question; heaven or hell? If they’re to be convinced, it will take more than ‘God’.

  18. 18
    MGD says:

    “It won’t be for lack of intelligence ID stalls; the lack of intelligent ‘design’ dooms this baby. It is fairly obvious by now that design, lacking designer, threatens just about everybody.

    Science vaporized Hiroshima. The Cold War was ‘designed’; no one questioned that. No one wants an ‘answer’, they’re happy with the question; heaven or hell? If they’re to be convinced, it will take more than ‘God’. ”

    What in the freak does any of this mean? What are you so afraid of?

  19. 19

    Ilib,

    You said:

    “ID must, and I iterate ‘must’ be developed solely as ’science’. The arduous task of formulating a convincing science beyond rhetorical assertion lay ahead. ID is a hypothesis, nothing more. The assumption that the origin of species was part of a design, this ‘design’ is detectable, and the responsible intelligence is of little importance, is a toughy.
    Investigating ‘natural mechanisms’ is what scientists do, they take ’stuff’ apart. That is what ID must do; take ’stuff’ apart; examine biological mechanisms.
    While dismal and frightening to many, ‘natural selection’ is an easier sell; ‘nothing’ doesn’t need proving. Design, intelligent design no less, requires proving ’something’. Remember, all there is to work with, scientifically that is, is ’stuff’.”

    ID is testable, and the natural mechanism in question is adaptable to an ID inference, but it is (as of now) not in the scope of ID.

  20. 20

    DaveScot,

    You have said:

    “ID is math, not laboratory science.

    What scientists “do” is search for the truth.”

    Actually, IC is very testable in a lab, and it is a good starting point for making a design inference.

  21. 21

    neurode,

    You have said:

    “Evolution and self-organization are not “mechanisms”, Mario, but processes for which mechanisms have not yet been fully specified. Their respective mainstream theories are in much the same boat as ID; they are mechanistic in principle, but not yet in practice. Neither of these theories even comes close to establishing that its known mechanisms are even remotely sufficient to account for all aspects of its explanatory domain. In fact, quite the opposite appears to be true. That’s one of the main reasons that ID has come so far, so fast.”

    A “mechanism,” in this sense, is a physical process by which something is done or comes into being. Biological systems are contrivances that bear the marks of intelligent causation. Evolution attempts to explain away their teleological aspects by means of unguided natural processes. ID, on the other hand, suggests that the structural and functional complexity of these systems do not show signs of having been produced by a blind force, but by intelligent agency.

    The crux of the argument lies between nessesity and purpose. An evolutionist must resort to natural process to explain “apparent” design, while ID theorist only need to demonstrate the parameters of actual vs. apparent design; since design is already an obvious phenomenon.

    You have said:

    “While ID is scientific and testable in principle, we’re not all the way there yet. We can look all around us and see evidence of ID, and we can even make some preliminary quantitative calculations based on knowledge from other still-evolving fields of science. But if anyone thinks that these calculations are enough to convince the vast majority of working scientists, he needs to take another look. Trust me, not all of the scientists who remain unconvinced are motivated by their philosophical convictions alone.

    You write that “ID (theory) detects design where design may be found, and the mechanism need not be a metaphysical one, but certainly an intelligent one.” Once again, we’re making a design inference using the mathematical mechanisms of probability theory. These either map to nature (including its physical and metaphysical levels) or they do not. If they do, then they reflect natural (physical or metaphysical) mechanisms. If they do not, then no design inference is possible.”

    Indeed, but the detection of design does not only reflect a principle for contrivance, but also for its functional complexity (i.e. what may in turn be deemed as a physiolocal adaptation).

    You have said:

    “As I’ve said before, thanks to deep thinkers like Behe and Dembski, ID has made a good start. But not even its brightest lights, including Drs. Behe and Dembski themselves, are likely to say that it is anything but just that…a start. We’ve only just hit the road, and have miles to go before we sleep”

    Agreed. I would only add that it is not the theory that is utterly incomplete, but the mindset of its critics.

    🙂

  22. 22
    DaveScot says:

    Mario

    ID is falsifiable in a lab by, for example, getting a ribosome to self-organize in a test tube. FYI I consider the ribosome to be the ultimate problem for chance theories of evolution to explain.

    As far as being testable (confirmable) in a lab I’ve already put forward that this step has been adequately accomplished. Genetic engineering today is science fact, not science fiction. Genetic engineering IS in fact an instance of intelligent design demonstrating a mechanism by which it can be accomplished.

    If you think ID is otherwise testable via experimental means please elaborate.

  23. 23

    Here is a suggestion I posted on “Will the Real Testable Theory Please Stand Up”

    Post 42.

    I have an easier solution. First off, IC is not a condition which demonstrates “design.” IC, at best, is a threat to the evolutionary model. Design detection is a job for Dr. Dembski’s EF (explanatory filter). I propose that two years are not necessary to prove the irreducibility of the bacterial flagellum. Indeed, evolutionists have argued that there are certain parts of the flagellum that can be compromised without the loss of the flagellum’s motility (such as the L-P ring complex, which are comprised of FlgH and FlgI proteins). This, of course, is only imaginative conjecture, since there have been no experiments in a lab to prove this. Evolutionists make this assumption by imagining a motor without them (L-P rings), and taking the flagellum’s structural complexity for granted; and furthermore, ignoring the effects of natural selection on their uselessness.

    The IC of the flagellum can be tested by programming genetic or evolutionary algorithms using the “proposed” precursor, Type III secretory system (T3). (Note: This may require the assumption that gene duplication+mutation occurred) A scientist can track the evolutionary pathway (assuming the program produced the most parsimonious) to the bacterial flagellum. The scientist can then reverse-engineer the structural complexity of the system (BF) by turning off the essential regulatory genes leading to the system (T3) in the order produced by the program (this can be done by using the dicer enzyme/RNAi method or older methods such as the use of antisense and ribozymes). Once the irreducible core has been reached (or the system’s motility mechanism has been compromised), the effects of natural selection are more obvious, that is, that the bacterium may have managed to perfect its motility device, but without any evolutionary precursors. Indeed, its irreducibility poses the problem of novel genetic information and the need for additional proteins necessary to construct the flagellum from a less complex system, such as the Type III secretory system. If the structural complexity of the flagellum can be reduced without any compromise of motility, then evolution has proven to be the victor. However, if its irreducibility is confirmed, the flagellum can be passed through the explanatory filter’s three-part criterion for inferring design!

  24. 24

    DaveSCot,

    I agree with your point, and find it very unlikely that life could emerge from a prebiotic soup without intelligent agency.

    We could, I suppose, expose bacteria to mutagens and see what happens. Bacteria multiply quite rapidly, so we should see one acquire a flagellum within, say, a week. (LOL)

  25. 25
    avocationist says:

    Dave,

    Why the ribosome, and why not the first cell?

  26. 26
    jaredl says:

    Neurode, I think there is some unintentional equivocation going on somewhere (probably in our several use of the word “mechanism” and “mechanistic”), and I think it was addressed in NFL. I’ll get back to you.

  27. 27
    neurode says:

    Yes. You can find the relevant material starting on page 228, sections 6.4 and 6.5.

    Note that where mechanism is defined on nature, and nature is understood to consist of information and its transformations, we have a new standard on which to define mechanism. Note also my reference to “natural (physical or metaphysical) mechanisms”, which explicitly makes use of this extension. Once again, the mathematical mechanisms of probabilistic inference exploited by IDT in its current form either map to nature in this extended sense, or they do not. If they do, then we have natural mechanisms for the transfer of information. If they do not, then we have nonscience, i.e., something that does not describe nature.

    There’s no way out, jared. IDT is already mechanistic, and must continue in that direction if it is to live up to its scientific billing.

  28. 28
    neurode says:

    (Note that the above NFL page number should be “328”)

  29. 29
    DaveScot says:

    “Why the ribosome, and why not the first cell?”

    Because a “first cell” is a mythical creature. How do you try to get something to self-organize in a lab when you don’t even know what that thing is or if it ever existed?

    A ribosome on the other hand is a bit of life’s machinery that’s present and essentially of the same basic construction and function in every organism so far observed. It is probably the most thoroughly studied bit of cellular automata and probably the single most complex bit of it that’s common to everything alive. It and DNA together are the basis for the genetic theory of evolution. It also presents the mother of all paradoxes to explain – DNA needs enzymes to replicate and enzymes need DNA to specify their construction. Ribosomes are the mechanism that translate enzyme blueprints into actual enzymes. If someone can convincingly show me how the ribosome evolved by chance I’ll take it as a matter of faith that lesser machines like bacterial flagella could have evolved by chance.

  30. 30
    DaveScot says:

    ID is NOT a mechanistic theory.

    One need not know how pyramids were constructed to know that they are the result of intelligent design.

    There may be no way to determine exactly how life’s design was translated from abstract to material existence. ID does not claim that it can or will define construction mechanisms. It merely discriminates between haphazard assemblages and purposeful assemblages of matter.

    For the purposes of validating ID as a physical possibility, demonstrating a single possible construction method suffices. Intelligent agents in human form today have machinery that can construct/modify DNA sequences for directed purposes. That doesn’t mean to say gene splicing machinery was used to direct past evolution but it does mean that there’s at least one *demonstrable* way it could have happened.

  31. 31
    neurode says:

    “One need not know how pyramids were constructed to know that they are the result of intelligent design.”

    Quite so. However, to the extent that we are considered to possess a scientific explanation for the pyramids, we know how they arose (they were built of exquisitely shaped stone blocks, they contain pictures and inscriptions indicating that they were designed and constructed as pharaonic tombs, etc.). On the other hand, to the extent that we do not know how they arose, we are not considered to possess a scientific explanation of them.

  32. 32
    taciturnus says:

    Neurode,

    I’ve been pondering your posts and wonder what you would make of the following:

    Suppose I take a large box, pour in 100 dice, then shake it up vigorously. I open the box and discover that all 100 dice have turned up the number 6. Assuming that the dice are fair and the box is not rigged, we have a prima facie case for intelligent intervention since the outcome can be specified and the likelihood of the outcome is 1 in 6.5 times 10**77 (if I got the math right.)

    What we don’t have is scientific knowledge of how this particular outcome came about, since we do not have a causal explanation for it. All we have is an inference that an intelligent agent was involved in some manner… a valuable and legitimate inference to be sure, but not a scientific explanation of the dice experiment.

    Now suppose the experiment had been instrumented to such a degree that we could know the position and velocity of each die at any moment in the process to a high precision. This knowledge doesn’t help us much because, as we learned in the 80’s and 90’s from chaos theory, a many-body system like this isn’t predictable even if you have knowledge of its state at some point in time. There is too much latent contingency in the interaction of the bodies (this is the so-called “butterfly effect”). So we could show how the path of each die obeys the laws of physics from moment to moment, but still be unable to offer a scientific explanation why the pattern of 6’s came up rather than another, either from the point of view of naturalistic physics or from intelligent intervention. We are back where we started, with a valid design inference but no scientific knowledge of its cause. (And no scientific knowledge of its cause from a naturalistic view either).

    Might this not be the case forever in biology? Suppose scientists were able to observe, with whatever accuracy they like, the biological process of a bacterial flagellum arising in a lab experiment. Might they not end up in the same predicament as the dice scientists, with a scientific explanation of how each step in the chemical process occurred, yet no further along in an overall scientific explanation of the flagellum itself, from either an ID or naturalistic point of view?

    Dave T.

  33. 33
    neurode says:

    Funny that you should offer this particular example.

    Most of us have had a little exposure to the elementary theory of probability, so we know that when we ask a question like “On rolling a die, what’s the probability throwing a six?”, we need certain supplementary information before we can calculate an answer. For example, we need to know the number of faces on the die, the numbers written on the faces, and whether the die is “fair”.

    Nature is a bit like that die. Mainstream science makes one set of assumptions about nature, while ID makes another. Thus, the assertion “some features of the natural world cannot occur by chance”, and the complementary assertion “every feature of the natural world can occur by chance”, are like probability calculations made with respect to different dice.

    Sadly, neither side has yet described its own version of the die called “nature” to anything approaching the satisfaction of the other. Hence, the statements are incomparable. As yet, no experiment has been conceived that would enable a clear decision between them…not in a laboratory, and especially not in a computer simulation. Regardless of how the experiment is designed and conducted, each side will insist on interpreting the results with respect to its own die, and rather than owning defeat, will tell the other side to go suck rocks.

  34. 34
    taciturnus says:

    But isn’t “chance” that which is outside scientific explanation, however loosely one defines science or broadly one defines nature? In other words, ascribing something to chance is unscientific under both the ID and naturalistic understandings of science. And if chance can never be eliminated from accounts of biological development, there will never be a truly scientific understanding of it.

  35. 35
    DaveScot says:

    Mario

    It would help immensely in understanding your position if instead of claiming that IC is testable in a lab you describe the experiment which would test it.

    Knockout experiments where removing a critical interdependent component causes catastrophic failure doesn’t prove anything. The Darwinistas already plugged that hole with co-option. IC can be falsified by demonstrating a detailed, plausible rm+ns path from A to B but I really don’t see how it can verified as it involves proving a negative (no plausible rm+ns path exists). We then get stuck demonstrating mathematically (not empirically!) that chance is insufficient. Still we are faced with establishing beyond a reasonable doubt that we have an exhaustive list of probabilistic resources available to unintelligent causes.

  36. 36
    DaveScot says:

    taciturnus

    To be fair “random” in science doesn’t mean random in the normal sense of the word but rather means “not predictable by any known means”. There’s considerable disagreement whether there’s any such thing as truly random.

  37. 37
    taciturnus says:

    Dave,

    I was using “chance” in the technical sense of Aristotle. Chance happens when two trains of events, themselves predictable through their causes, collide unpredictably. The path of a single die through time and space is predictable through physical science. The path of 100 die shaken up in a box is not because the collisions introduce so much contingency (“chance”) as to make the problem intractable. It’s not that we lack knowledge of the relevant physics involved, or that better instrumentation would solve the problem. It’s that the system is inherently unpredictable. The world, unfortunately for scientists, is highly non-linear and exquisitely sensitive to initial conditions… that lesson was the primary contribution of chaos theory.

    Dave T.

  38. 38
    taciturnus says:

    Of course it is 100 dice and not 100 die. Why do I proofread after submitting and not before?

  39. 39

    DaveScot,

    I am not sure if you missed the film (Unlocking the Mystery of Life), so here is a link to my site with the entire video which shows how co-option fails:

    http://www.theapologiaproject......ibrary.htm

  40. 40
    neurode says:

    “But isn’t “chance” that which is outside scientific explanation, however loosely one defines science or broadly one defines nature?”

    That’s correct.

    “In other words, ascribing something to chance is unscientific under both the ID and naturalistic understandings of science. And if chance can never be eliminated from accounts of biological development, there will never be a truly scientific understanding of it.”

    This is a big “if” that bears heavily on the definition and conduct of science.

    Chance is a limiting concept. When it appears in an explanation, it marks the boundary between that part of the explanation that is mechanistic in the natural (causal) sense, and that part which is mechanistic only in the probabilistic (inferential) sense. As regards the probabilistic aspect of an explanation, it either resolves to microscopic determinacy, as it does in statistical mechanics or chaos theory, or it can be purely probabilistic, as it is in quantum mechanics.

    Where the scientific method maps inferential (abstract, theoretical) structures to natural (physical, observable) structures for purposes of explanation and prediction, identifying the probabilistic component of an explanation as “scientific” immediately implies that such a mapping exists. To negate this implication is to ensure that the probabilistic component of one’s explanation fails to map to nature, and is therefore scientifically irrelevant.

    On the other hand, to say that the probabilistic component of one’s theory is “absolute” is to say that one has reached the level or scale on which nature and probability are identical. This condition, of course, would mark the absolute limit of scientific explanation…the “end of the road”, as it were, for science. (Some people now believe that quantum mechanics is already there; others do not.)

    Thus, the point at which nature and chance are identical marks the boundary beyond which empirical science can no longer expand our understanding of nature, and ceases to be worthwhile for that purpose. Beyond that point, empirical observation is inductively worthless – one random event tells us nothing about another – and mathematical inference alone suffices for all further (attainable) generalizations and predictions regarding nature.

    One should now take note of two important facts.

    (1) We have no good, scientific reason to assume that we are anywhere near the point at which nature and probability become identical with respect to biological causation. This is why the neo-Darwinian “chance” explanation of biological causation makes no sense. It is also why ID cannot rest its case on the mathematics of chance alone.

    (2) At this time, it is crucial for ID to be recognized as something that enhances the prospects of empirical science to expand our knowledge of nature. Therefore, it cannot summarily rely on probability theory alone, but must at least aspire to assist empirical science in revealing new, unforeseeable generalities regarding nature.

  41. 41
    DaveScot says:

    Way back when I was in the Marine Corps me and my roommate were playing a game of Risk accompanied by liberal consumption of adult beverages. It was down to the wire. Only one battle left and I had him outnumbered 10 armies to 1 army. He could only roll one die and would have to roll eleven sixes in a row to defend successfully.

    He rolled eleven sixes in a row, cashed in for a massive number of new armies, and beat me.

    Eleven sixes in a row is one chance in about 350,000,000. At the time I had no idea how rare it was but instinctively knew it should be nigh on impossible. I should have checked the die he used but it didn’t occur to me at the time he’d cheated. To this day I don’t know if he did but looking back on it I can only believe he did indeed use a loaded die to win that game.

    Yet this doesn’t even come close to the odds that evolution had to beat going from soup to nuts. How can anyone even hint that ID is a religious concept when the probabilities (or rather IMprobabilities) are so blatant? It’s not exactly rocket science to get a good idea of how long the odds are.

  42. 42
    taciturnus says:

    Neurode,

    That was very concisely put.

    A new question: In what sense is it even conceivable that ID might expand our scientific knowledge of nature and reveal unforeseen generalities?

    Even if we agree that ID is a legitimate enterprise and that intelligent causes exist in the universe that are not reducible to material causes (and I sign on to both these points), how does that help us expand our knowledge of scientific generalities? Intelligent causes are distinguished by not being constrained to a single effect as are non-intelligent causes like gravity. That, in fact, is the foundation of human freedom as conceived by classical philosophy. But science works because of the uniformity of nature, which is another way of saying that gravity is constrained to a single effect at all times and everywhere in the universe. Because it is, we can generalize about its effects and make predictions. But isn’t this sort of generalization contrary to the very nature of intelligent causation?

  43. 43

    taciturnus,

    Pardon me for jumping in, but you have it backward, it is the unlikely events that we cannot predict because they are unguided and unintelligent. We can, however, predict intelligent causes apart from the work of natural law.

    Let me explain, natural laws (or constants) appear to have a particular quality that tells us that they must be as such that life might exist and be sustained. However, though the laws may be deemed to bear the hallmarks of intelligent cause, the laws themselves are not endowed with creative abilities. So, in that sense, uniformity, helps us to distinguish between unlikelyhood from predictable design (pattern). In other words, we follow design based on the principles of uniformity, which helps us eliminate unlikely and unpredictable events. We can predict design because we know what designers do, they are–indeed–predictable, but we also know what nature cannot accomplish. It would be highly unpredictable for natural law to suddenly develop a new Rolex out of dust. That would not be the case for an intelligent designer!

  44. 44
    taciturnus says:

    Mario,

    I’m not denying the design inference… I agree that an intelligent cause might be legitimately inferred by the ID methodology. My question moves beyond that to neurode’s point #2 in his post #40, which is about where ID needs to go as a science.

    Dave T.

  45. 45

    taciturnus,

    For further clarification, I see–as with any theory–the benefits in its continual development. I, however, would not charge ID as unscientific.

    If we see the unpredictible to equal the improbable, we can see, for example, that 1) the development of life from premordial soup is unpredictable. 2) natural selection is inadequate to explain information, and thus unpredictable 3) the uniformity of anthropic coincidences are unpredicatable (see self-organization theories).

    So, the prediction that nature exhibits design is certainly empirical, and therefore, scientific. The design inference eliminates chance occurences from predictable design. Irreduclible Complexity (IC) helps to clarify design by demonstrating the weakness of selective advantages in relation to information. The validity of IC can be tested through knockout experiments in a lab(such as using the dicer enzyme/RNAi method or older methods such as the use of antisense and ribozymes).

    DaveScot has posted (36): “…“random” in science doesn’t mean random in the normal sense of the word but rather means ‘not predictable by any known means.'”

    I would say that randomness is contingent. In other words, true only under certain conditions; not necessarily or universally true for all conditions. Having said that, randomness may be detectable if it conforms to a random pattern. If this is the case, then “random” is no longer a chance effect, but a designed one.

    The term “random” should not be confused with the terms “chance” or “necessity.” A random pattern may also be the product of intelligent agency, but unpredictable by quality. “Chance,” on the other hand, can be said to be random, but cannot be said to exhibit pattern (design).

    Necessity tells us that natural laws have the creative ability to produce complexity and information in the natural world; everything a product of invariable physical laws. This, however, begs the question: Why does it take intelligent agents to attempt to reproduce conditions that are said to bring forth complexity and information? Furthermore, Why have they failed?

    Why try to explain empirical design through natural unguided laws? Why not discern design where it may be found (e.g. Dembski’s explanatory filter), and attempt to work out the modus operandi by detecting the marvels of intelligent engineering?

  46. 46
    neurode says:

    “A new question: In what sense is it even conceivable that ID might expand our scientific knowledge of nature and reveal unforeseen generalities? … Isn’t this sort of generalization contrary to the very nature of intelligent causation?”

    Instead of directly seeking the specific goal(s) of the intelligent designer, one would look for possible mechanisms by which it might function in the course of design and actualization. Once established on a theoretical basis, these mechanisms, acting as constraints, might then be used as a basis for the design of experiments whose outcomes would weigh for or against appropriately formulated hypotheses.

    (I should mention that from this point onward, the relevant mathematical complexities rapidly outgrow the blog-response venue.)

  47. 47

    A quick note on natural laws:

    Laws do not have the ingenuity for design, they do exactly what they are intended to do, that is, to sustain order.

    Universal constants are invariable, and if they were not, life could not exist.

    Atomic Mass Unit (mu) 1.66053873(13) x 10-27 kg
    Avogadro’s Number (NA) 6.02214199(47) x 1023 mol-1
    Bohr Magneton (μB) 9.27400899(37) x 10-24 J T-1
    Bohr Radius (ao) 0.5291772083(19) x 10-10 m
    Boltzmann’s Constant (k ) 1.3806503(24) x 10-23 J K-1
    Compton Wavelength (λc) 2.426310215(18) x 10-12 m
    Deuteron Mass (md) 3.34358309(26) x 10-27 kg
    Electric Constant (εo) 8.854187817 x 10-12 F m-1
    Electron Mass (me) 9.10938188(72) x 10-31 kg
    Electron-Volt (eV) 1.602176462(63) x 10-19 J
    Elementary Charge (e ) 1.602176462(63) x 10-19 C
    Faraday Constant (F ) 9.64853415(39) x 104 C mol-1
    Fine Structure Constant (α ) 7.297352533(27) x 10-3
    Hartree Energy (Eh) 4.35974381(34) x 10-18 J
    Hydrogen Ground State (n/a) 13.6057 eV
    Josephson Constant (Kj) 4.83597898(19) x 1014 Hz V-1
    Magnetic Constant (µo) 4p x 10-7
    Molar Gas Constant (R ) 8.314472(15) J K-1 mol-1
    Natural Unit of Action (h ) 1.054571596(82) x 10-34 J s
    Newtonian Constant
    of Gravitation (G ) 6.673(10) x 10-11 m3 kg-1 s-2
    Neutron Mass (mn) 1.67492716(13) x 10-27 kg
    Nuclear Magneton (μn) 5.05078317(20) x 10-27 J T-1
    Planck Constant (h ) 6.62606876(52) x 10-34 J s
    Planck Length (lp) 1.6160(12) x 10-35 m
    Planck Mass (mp) 2.1767(16) x 10-8 kg
    Planck Time (tp) 5.3906(40) x 10-44 s
    Proton Mass (mP) 1.67262158(13) x 10-27 kg
    Rydberg Constant (RH) 10 9.73731568549(83)x105 m-1
    Stefan Boltzmann
    Constant. (σ )5.670400(40) x 10-8 W m-2 K-4
    Speed of Light in Vacuum(c ) 2.99792458 x 108 m s-1
    Thompson Cross Section (σe) 0.665245854(15) x 10-28 m2
    Wien Displacement
    Law Constant (b ) 2.8977686(51) x 10-3 m K

  48. 48

    neurode,

    I think you just responded to your own question.

  49. 49
    neurode says:

    No, Mario. I responded to questions asked by taciturnus (“Dave T”) not too far up the thread. However, I did so in a way that comes directly back to what I said in the first place regarding the need for a mechanistic theory of ID.

  50. 50
    taciturnus says:

    Neurode,

    I’m not sure I am communicating well… let me try making my point this way:

    Beavers are non-intelligent agents and therefore a science of beaver dam-building is possible. They build dams by instinct the same way every time and as a function of environmental cues. So we can develop a theory, supported by repeatable experiments, that gives a scientific account of dam-building. (One interesting thing that has been learned, by the way, is that beavers are cued to build dams by the sound of rushing water. Put them in a still pond, turn on recorded sounds of rushing water, and they start building dams!)

    Humans are intelligent agents. Is a science of human dam-building possible? The fact that we use science itself to build dams shows that, as intelligent agents, we transcend the mechanistic causal network that is the foundation of scientific explanation. Put a human near water and he isn’t going to start building dams on environmental cues. He will build a dam for his own purposes and according to a rationality that is not reducible to mechanistic explanation. It is this rationality that is the basis for human freedom. The mechanistic science that might explain beaver dam-building is not adequate to explaining human dam-building because of that freedom. Even if we limited ourselves to learning about the mechanisms of human dam-building, what sort of scientific hypotheses or experiments could we generate? We would at least need the cooperation of the dam-builders to make repeatable experiments.

    What about a science of the intelligent creation of biological organisms? I see it as in the same predicament. An intelligent designer, by that very intelligence, transcends the mechanistic causal system we use in scientific explanation. There is no way for us to arrange repeatable experiments that result in a designed artifact because an intelligent agent will not be constrained by our experiment. It’s not going to design or create a flagellum just because we set up an experiment in which we hope it will. We would either need the cooperation of the designer, or somehow find out enough about the designer to force it to submit to our experiments…

    DT

  51. 51
    neurode says:

    I do understand your point, Dave, having recently made it myself in another thread … but in support of a rather different conclusion.

    Some people, you evidently included, believe that “intelligence” is something that can be and do whatever it wants, whenever and wherever it wants, with no obedience to any constraint whatsoever. In this view of intelligence, it possesses no definitive characteristics. Worse yet for scientific purposes, this unconstrained kind of intelligence is virtually random in the sense that it can be identified as the source of anything at all and nothing in particular. [This, in fact, is the basis of much ID criticism.]

    Thus far, the strategy of IDT has been to observe that some, but not all, products of human intelligence tend to have certain attributes, e.g. irreducible and specified complexity, and that anything in nature which possesses these attributes is therefore likely to be a product of intelligence. But this strategy contains a couple of problematic terms, namely, intelligence and product. A function predicating “intelligence” of its argument must in some way constrain that argument in order to have informational value, and to say that something is the “product” of intelligence is to assert the existence of a production process enforcing the constraint(s).

    Merely to adduce properties (irreducibility, specificity) which supposedly reveal the involvement of “intelligence” is scientifically useless without an explanation of how and why they reveal it … not necessarily why intelligence was forced to create that kind of effect and not some other, but at least why intelligence was necessary for the production of that special kind of effect (again, we have the term “production”, and the implicit reference to a production process).

    Intelligence, like any concept, is constrained by its definition, and testing for its presence can only be accomplished in terms of its definitive constraints. Unfortunately, intelligence is not yet a well-defined concept. Obviously, an accurate working definition (and supporting model) of intelligence is one thing that IDT, not to mention cognitive psychology and other fields of science and education, badly needs.

    The possibility exists that once such a definition and model have come into existence, they will include definitive characteristics of intelligence that impart a specific replicable signature through some more or less well-defined production process … with all due respect, something more distinctive than irreducible or specified complexity alone (which, despite their conceptual utility, are not yet associated with any real understanding of intelligence).

    On the other hand, if there is no such possibility, then the intelligence of the designer is subject to no mechanistic constraints of any kind, self-imposed or otherwise. Unfortunately, specific causal pathways and associated empirical tests cannot be enumerated for this totally unconstrained kind of “intelligence”, and it cannot be empirically distinguished. At most, one can abstractly glue a couple of correlative attributes onto its supposed products without justifying the attribution, claiming that whatever produced them (the “intelligent designer”) probably has some indefinite combination of attributes possessed by behaviorally correlated but possibly dissimilar “intelligent” entities (like people).

    The bottom line remains the same. To be of scientific value, “intelligent design” must refer, at least in principle, to a process as well as an informational attribute…specifically, to a natural process (“design”, “creation” or “the generation or imparting of information”) by which the attribute – “intelligence”, “irreducible complexity”, “specified complexity”, or something else entirely – is imparted to the argument with a net gain of information. To assert that the attribute is unconstrained, and/or that there is no such process in nature, implies utter scientific vacuity within the scope of one’s definitions.

    Everyone has a right to his beliefs, even one who believes that there can be no naturalistic model supporting a (causal, mechanistic) production process imparting the signature of a well-defined intelligence attribute to phenomena of non-human origin. So instead of trying to change anybody’s mind, I’ll just state my personal opinion and leave it at that: for the sake of ID theory, there had better be such a model.

  52. 52
    DaveScot says:

    Neurode

    You’re conflating value and practical application. Scientific truth has value regardless of whether or not there’s practical application for it.

    But I won’t argue that value rises in direct proportion to near-term practicality.

    Thus the knowledge represented in discovering a cure for cancer is more valuable than discovering whether the universe is open, closed, or flat. The former has immediate practical value and the latter has no practical value ever.

  53. 53
    neurode says:

    DaveScot: “You’re conflating value and practical application. Scientific truth has value regardless of whether or not there’s practical application for it.”

    Not at all. The issue here is one of scientific content, and it is easy to state precisely: inferential processes and attributes which fail to map to their natural domains of discourse do not constitute scientific fact, even when this failure attends a deliberate negation of natural mechanisms couched as a form of “transcendence”.

    In particular, to assert that ID is a transcendent, nonmechanistic theory whose inferential processes cannot be mapped to nature is to assert that it is supernatural and therefore unscientific in the conventional sense. Thus, even if ID qualifies as “truth” under that assertion, it does not qualify as “scientific truth”. (That’s why IDT proponents can’t afford to let it be considered a transcendent, nonmechanistic theory.)

    On the other hand, regardless of one’s particular view of IDT, its basic ideas are conceptually useful even at this early stage of the game, and therefore possess scientific relevance on grounds of instrumentality.

    Nowhere have truth and practicality been conflated in the scientific context. Instead, scientific truth and scientific relevance have been properly distinguished.

  54. 54
    taciturnus says:

    Neurode,

    It looks like I can be counted as one of those who do not think that ID has scientific content in the conventional sense.

    I don’t think intelligence is unconstrained and has no definitive characteristics. In fact, it is the characteristics that intelligence definitely has that makes me doubt whether a science of intelligence in the conventional sense is possible.

    Intelligence is the faculty of knowing. This faculty may be constrained in various ways. Human intelligence, for example, is constrained insofar as it is an embodied intelligence. Far from doing whatever it wants, whenever and whereever it wants, human intelligence is constrained to act through the body of which it is the form. Are there other embodied intelligences in the universe, and might there be unembodied intelligences? I don’t know. One thing we do know, if intelligence was involved in the development of life, it wasn’t human intelligence, so I’m not sure it would be reasonable to apply the constraints of human intelligence to the question of biological origins.

    Science is in a peculiar position with respect to intelligence because science itself is an act of the faculty of knowing. Science is the faculty of knowing achieving a knowledge of causes. Intelligence may then use that knowledge to manipulate nature to its own ends. This reveals one of the constraints of intelligence: Intelligence is constrained to applying only those causes of which it has knowledge. A beaver has no knowledge of causes and is therefore constrained to build dams by instinct. Primitive man has a primitive knowledge of natural causes and can make dams out of sticks and, maybe, rocks. Modern man, with a deeper knowledge of causes, can make dams out of earth, concrete and steel, among other things, and for a variety of purposes including hydroelectric power and irrigation. There may be other intelligences in the universe, or beyond it, which have a knowledge of causes deeper than our own and are unconstrained in ways we cannot imagine. For us to develop a science about how intelligence is constrained to interact with the material universe, we would have to assume that there can’t be an intelligence in existence with a deeper knowledge of causes than our own. ID already hints that this is false, since it suggests that intelligence was involved in the origin and development of life in a manner transcending our current knowledge, since scientists are unable to create life themselves in the lab.

    Dave T.

  55. 55
    neurode says:

    I agree with much of what you say, Dave. However, I disagree with what seems to be your generally dim view of the scientific future of ID.

    As I’ve already observed, in the search for signs of intelligence in nature, one cannot simply look for an absence of constraint. Where constraint is identical to information, an absence of constraint equals an absence of information. On the other hand, if we don’t see constraint where we ordinarily expect to find it, then we have what might be loosely described as a piece of “information” to the effect that what we’re looking at did not arise by the usual means. Unfortunately, this alone tells us nothing of a constructive nature about how it did arise, and science demands that we pursue this level of explanation.

    ID has made a start in that direction by attempting to correlate certain products of nature with the products of human invention using attributes which are tentatively linked with a nebulous property called “intelligence”. This qualifies as inspired detective work. However, absent an actual linkage between the attributes (IC, SC) and the property (“intelligence”), it remains nothing more than a suggestive correlation.

    ID can be called “science” in the sense that correlations can be scientifically useful; they are the raw material from which causal relationships are abstracted. But to qualify as science in the full explanatory sense, the correlation must be refined to a causal explanation. This is the challenge facing ID, and as I’m sure we can all agree, the last thing that ID can afford to do at this point is rest on its hotly disputed laurels.

  56. 56
    taciturnus says:

    If by causal explanation, you mean that ID must provide an explanation of intelligent causation in terms of the efficient causes that are alone recognized by contemporary science, then I don’t see how ID can have a scientific future. Efficient causes are proper to both intelligent and non-intelligent agents. Analysis of efficient causes alone, however detailed, can never determine if their origin is intelligent or not.

    ID establishes intelligent agency by demonstrating that a formal cause, in addition to efficient causes, is necessary to account for certain objects. “Specified complexity” is a way of ascertaining the presence of a formal cause and its content. It’s not merely the detection of an absence of constraint, but the positive detection of an intelligible principle at work.

    Now if the belief is that formal causes are merely an illusion and that they can and must be ultimately explained in terms of efficient causes to be “real science”, then ID is as bankrupt as its critics say it is. It’s just a god-of-the-gaps argument that posits an empty “intelligence” that is in actual fact a mere a placeholder for the efficient causes we have not yet discovered.

    But I think the point of ID is, in fact, to demonstrate that objects exist in the universe that require a formal causation that is non-reducible to efficient causation.
    If it succeeds merely in doing this, ID will have proven to be of revolutionary significance because it will have broken the ban on formal and final causation. In this sense, I think ID has a very bright future.

    neurode said: “Unfortunately, this alone tells us nothing of a constructive nature about how it did arise, and science demands that we pursue this level of explanation. ”

    In terms of a science restricted to efficient causes, I agree. But not for a science that recognizes formal causes. Formal causes tell us a great deal about how things arise. The formal causes of dam-building are the principles of civil engineering, and a knowledge of civil engineering will certainly help us understand why dams are built the way they are. The future of ID with respect to biology is to pursue the principles of “biological engineering”, that is, to discover the intelligible principles that serve as the formal causes of biological systems. Actually, this is what most biologists are doing anyway, although they don’t call it that, because they are forbidden to speak in the language of formal causation. Instead, they have to pay lip service to a mythical train of efficient (evolutionary) causes.

    “However, absent an actual linkage between the attributes (IC, SC) and the property (”intelligence”), it remains nothing more than a suggestive correlation. ”

    The linkage is there in terms of formal causation. If the demand is that the linkage be established in terms of efficient causation only, it can’t happen by the very nature of things, since intelligence is distinguished by the formal rather than the efficient nature of its effects. In that sense, I do think the scientific future of ID is dim.

  57. 57
    neurode says:

    “If by causal explanation, you mean that ID must provide an explanation of intelligent causation in terms of the efficient causes that are alone recognized by contemporary science, then I don’t see how ID can have a scientific future.”

    No, what I mean is that ID must provide an overall explanatory framework in which the four (Aristotelian) modes of causation are naturally related to each other.

    It is not enough for ID to lament the explanatory inadequacy of material and efficient causation with respect to natural phenomena, and use that as a pretext to introduce two more independent forms of causation to science. As we’ve already seen, mainstream science simply isn’t having any of that, and for what it considers to be very good reasons. Rather, ID must show how formal and final causation can work synergistically with material and efficient causation to produce better explanations with full causal integration. These synergistic connections among the causal modes would amount to a new level of “causal mechanism”, by the explicit incorporation of which ID would become a “mechanistic theory”.

    If this is not a live possibility, then ID has little chance of being generally recognized as science. On the other hand, if and when such a mechanistic theory is revealed, it remains to be seen whether various participants in the ID movement will accept whatever theological implications it might turn out to have.

  58. 58

    neurode,

    I believe the explanatory filter fulfills the formal cause and final cause. The three-part criterion of a design inference is an eliminative process by which only final causes can be deduced. It may not be as straight-forward as you’d like it to be, but one can certainly draw a causal inference from it. ID seperates material causes from formal ones due to the information-rich structures we find in biology. In other words, information precedes the outcome (i.e. genome=species) So, to assume that we can account for complexity by a mechanism that ignores “information,” is absurd. That is what evolutionary theorists do. By proposing that natural selection (a conseving mechanism) is responsible for information, they facilitate evolutionary scenarios. The design inference takes information seriously, and recognizes that information is a product of intelligent causes, as opposed to blind ones. So, in a sort of ambiguous way, ID gives a final cause in that it shows specified complexity to be a product of intelligence, and deriving only from intelligence. This is especially true since evolution and entropy are synonymous.

  59. 59
    neurode says:

    Nobody proposed “that we can account for complexity by a mechanism that ignores information”. In fact, I said that in keeping with an extended definition of nature properly incorporating the information concept, the natural mechanisms required by ID must account for the production and transfer of novel phenotypic information.

    Regarding the EF: once again, the EF is an inferential mechanism which either does or does not map to nature. If it does, then its inferential mechanisms reflect natural mechanisms; if it doesn’t, then it’s a scientific no-go. Similarly, either we can show how intelligence produces IC and SC, or we can’t. If we can, then we have mechanisms of production; if we can’t, then we have no constructive relationship at all, and in that case, we can’t exchange our biology-engineering correlations for scientific explanations regarding the generation and embodiment of novel phenotypic information.

    Some people may be terminally satisfied with an ID theory based entirely on problematical statistical correlations. If that’s what floats your boat, then ID is already right where you want to be. But many others aren’t so easily satisfied, and some of them are determined to prevent IDT from ever being recognized as a part of science. I merely submit that if we don’t want them to succeed, we should take care not to arbitrarily limit its explanatory power.

  60. 60

    neurode,

    You have said:

    “Nobody proposed “that we can account for complexity by a mechanism that ignores information”. In fact, I said that in keeping with an extended definition of nature properly incorporating the information concept, the natural mechanisms required by ID must account for the production and transfer of novel phenotypic information.”

    I didn’t say anyone in this discussion proposed it, but evolutionists certainly do. I agree that genotypic information must account for phenotypic correlations, but mutations (which are usually degenerative) mar the genetic text, they are “a product of entropy in the genetic endowment.” If not for redundancies within the genome, sex, and the interchangability of amino acids, mutations would have destroyed all genetic text (information).

    “Regarding the EF: once again, the EF is an inferential mechanism which either does or does not map to nature. If it does, then its inferential mechanisms reflect natural mechanisms; if it doesn’t, then it’s a scientific no-go. Similarly, either we can show how intelligence produces IC and SC, or we can’t. If we can, then we have mechanisms of production; if we can’t, then we have no constructive relationship at all, and in that case, we can’t exchange our biology-engineering correlations for scientific explanations regarding the generation and embodiment of novel phenotypic information.”

    Agreed. The modus operandi would definitely be a major factor for ID to succeed. I do, however, qualify ID as scientific, and more so than neo-Darwinism, at least.

    “Some people may be terminally satisfied with an ID theory based entirely on problematical statistical correlations. If that’s what floats your boat, then ID is already right where you want to be. But many others aren’t so easily satisfied, and some of them are determined to prevent IDT from ever being recognized as a part of science. I merely submit that if we don’t want them to succeed, we should take care not to arbitrarily limit its explanatory power.”

    Agreed.

  61. 61

    It is noteworthy to mention that natural selection has always been the materialists’/naturalists’ elan vital. It is of course, no explanation. What gives natural selection its “selective” force? Considering the degenerative effects of mutation, what contributes to the upward climb? Could NS also be a product of design as a conserving mechanism?

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