Intelligent Design

The Designer Apparently Designs Like Humans Do

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Here at UD we’ve heard over and over again that unless we “know” who the Designer is, then we can’t infer design. For example, if we were to argue that we’ve never seen the ancient Native Americans who fashioned arrowheads from stone, yet we are able to infer design in arrowheads nonetheless, the Darwinian side would respond saying, “Yes, but that’s because the Native Americans are humans like ourselves.”

PhysOrg.com has an article about the microRNA, miR-7, which has been found to regulate a network which brings about uniformity among humans. The article is interesting in itself, but most interesting is this comment by one of the lead authors, Richard W. Carthew:

When something is changed, say the genetic sequence of a molecule or the temperature of the organism, the network responds to compensate for the change and keep things intact. . . . This design is similar to the principle that engineers use to design safety features into products.”

Unless some Darwinist can mount some kind of sensible objection, then I guess we here at UD can safely, and reasonably, conclude that whoever the Designer is, he ‘designs’ like human engineers do. Thusly, the opposite is true: if we find human engineering-like design in biological systems, then we can conclude that we have encountered the/a Designer. And Darwinists can kindly drop this type of argument from their repetoire.

75 Replies to “The Designer Apparently Designs Like Humans Do

  1. 1
    Tommy V says:

    It’s a silly argument and I don’t think it really needs to be addressed all that much.

    I don’t even believe in a designer, and I don’t think you need to know who the designer is to detect design.

    Certainly knowing the designer amps up your certitude, but in no way is it necessary.

    At some point you have to have confidence in your ability to call BS, and that’s a BS argument. The Darwinists determination to hold on to it as something viable is a far bigger indication of the psychology of their position rather than its intellectual validity. If they honestly believe that is a defensible position than they are far too committed to their beliefs for inference through argument and logic to ever change their mind.

  2. 2
    magnan says:

    This seems to be another example of what in embryology is called developmental plasticity. The growing organism can adjust to some errors by subsequent compensation in the supporting structures finished later. Like all the blood vessels, nerves, muscles and ligaments of a limb adjusting to an initial error causing the limb to be very short or very long.

    Of course this adjustment isn’t transmitted to the genome, but the incredible system that accomplishes it is. It appears to be a sophisticated fail safe design engineering approach. Since Darwinism can’t be falsified, the Darwinists will naturally claim that this (like anything and everything else) somehow came about purely through RV + selection.

  3. 3
    Reg says:

    I guess we here at UD can safely, and reasonably, conclude that whoever the Designer is, he ‘designs’ like human engineers do. Thusly, the opposite is true: if we find human engineering-like design in biological systems, then we can conclude that we have encountered the/a Designer.

    That sounds like a premature — even presumptuous — judgment on the sensibilities of the designer. Such an argument is frequently raised but weak.

  4. 4
    jerry says:

    Tommy V,

    The number or incredulous defenses the anti ID proponent takes are what can I say “incredulous.” But that is what it is like to be anti ID. It is not something I would be proud of.

    I have only found one honest Darwinist here since I have been here which is over 3 1/2 years. Maybe you can make #2.

  5. 5
    Lenoxus says:

    Here’s a way “who is the designer” might be rephrased: Maybe there is a “who”, or maybe not, but in any case, the central ID claim is that there is a design phenomenon that has produced some of the species we see today. And the question of how this phenomenon works — not just what this phenomenon is like — is very pertinent to how we can evaluate it. If we found that certain biological structures resembled “blind watchmaking”, that wouldn’t serve as sufficient evidence for “blind watchmaker” evolution until that how of evolution is explained.

    What I’m always struck by is how hestitant ID experts seem to outright label current phenomena as design in action — “See that mutation in the lab right there — that was design!”. I have yet to see how uniformitarianism enters the picture, or by what underlying principles design starts and stops. It’s like how things would be for Darwinism if mutations or death were never observed.

    Of course, I will admit that certain parallels might be found in some areas of science; for example, we don’t have any dark matter on hand, so how can we claim what it is? Yet even then, we generally try to find an explanation that fits with the substances we do know to exist. I have yet to see any demonstrated evidence that the “design phenomenon” always happens, the way that gravitation always happens.

  6. 6
    alan says:

    Blind men looking at the Sun / Son
    Romans 1 – “they are without excuse”, not excuses though as they have plenty of them. AH – the mystery of what you WANT to be true… and it turns out, I very strongly suggest, that the Designer will give you what you want – “they have their reward” – let the dead bury the dead” The “arguments” from “science” will continue back and forth until the end of our “time” – therefore when I post it is with some hope of getting words that may conquer that eternal beast.

    To THE Author and Finisher

  7. 7
    Mapou says:

    Nice post. Human beings design objects in order to get around the exponential explosion that would emerge if they were to rely on random trial and error. All genetic algorithms quickly run up against the exponential barrier: they can only solve trivial problems. This is the reason that software engineers design code as opposed to counting or picking numbers at random. After all, a computer program is just a massively huge number.

    No evolutionary mechanism can be effective unless its search space is severely restricted. This is what is observed in living organisms. We can only conclude that that evolution was engineered.

  8. 8
    Lenoxus says:

    While I’m asking uninformed questions, I’ll throw out another one here: Why does ID not start with the one design hypothesis most in the realm of the “known designers” — genetic engineering by ETs? Why is that not being thoroughly explored and broadcasted, as the first and most likely possible explanation for evolution’s shortcomings, by the leaders of the field?

  9. 9
    Alan Fox says:

    Human beings design objects in order to get around the exponential explosion that would emerge if they were to rely on random trial and error.

    Is that really how humans design things? Most useful things that humans design aren’t produced from thin air. Very often they are modifications of earlier attempts. Further modifications follow road testing. Do you rush to the store to buy the latest new gadget, or do you wait until the bugs in a new product have been ironed out?

  10. 10
    Mapou says:

    Alan Fox @9:

    Is that really how humans design things?

    Sorry. My post had nothing to do with how humans design things the way they do. It had to do with why they design things at all as opposed to using random trial and error. They just don’t want to wait forever.

  11. 11
    Tommy V says:

    Jerry,

    Don’t get me wrong. I am not a Darwinist. I may not believe in a designer, but I do find ID compelling and an exciting and worthwhile pursuit.

    The reason I do not believe in God or a designer is that my imagination cannot fathom such a thing. But I am not so bold to think that the universe is somehow limited by what I can or cannot imagine.

    A finite imagination cannot possibly comprehend the full reality of an infinite God. I can understand this fact, but it still does not expand my imagination enough to accept how a designer might actually manifest itself.

    Until then I am open to all reasonable assertions and possibilities.

    Just my thoughts of course.

  12. 12
    jerry says:

    “Why is that not being thoroughly explored and broadcasted, as the first and most likely possible explanation for evolution’s shortcomings, by the leaders of the field?”

    Because the moment you mention this, the anti ID people roll their eyes and ask you where the little green men came from. These are the same people who saw the movie, “Contact”, and will tell you how great Carl Sagan is (who believed in millions of other possible worlds with intelligence) and isn’t SETI a fantastic project.

    To get one off my back, I once suggested he check out synthetic biology. They have conferences on the topic and I suggested the designer was probably using some more advanced techniques but this subject area might give them some ideas. It was ignored because they thought I was not serious and just joking. They do not really care who or how it was done. They only want to get you in an embarrassing comment or bogged down in some useless discussion that goes no where.

    Stick around long enough and you will see it repeat itself over and over again. Right now there are a couple people roaming this site doing exactly that.

  13. 13
    DATCG says:

    Alan brings up how do humans really design?

    With forethought and planning of possible consequences of the designed objects interactions with surrounding environment in which the object functions through future probable outcomes over a period of time. Cars for 5-10yrs. Homes for 30-50 or more, Pacemakers for life, etc.

    and Tommy V. makes some interesting statements about how a Designer arises, plus Jerry mentions synthetic design.

    Great time for Design Matrix, by Mike Gene:

    Church in the Matrix

    Mike looks at how today’s Life Design Engineer approaches his work. He quotes George Church:

    “That’s what we mean when we’re talking about basic life. And that’s sort of what we’re trying to get at when we’re doing synthetic biology; we’re trying to increase diversity, increase replicated complexity, and maintain our ability to continue to do that for many many years, and we don’t want to endanger that by doing something that’s too risky.”

    Mike Gene:
    “Whoa. The design of life comes with the design objectives of increasing diversity and increasing replicated complexity, while maintaining the ability to continue the input from design. What you have here, in embryonic form, is the thinking of a front-loading designer.”

    “To design life is to design evolution. Eventually, the designers will have to confront the following question (again, from the Design Matrix):

    If a designer is trying to use reproduction to perpetuate a design far into the future, how does one control for all the noise that Darwinian evolution will produce along the way?

    “Now, I should point out that I am not trying to imply that Church is some type of closet IDer or sympathetic to ID. On the contrary, the significance of the echoes is stronger when you consider that Church is not in anyway associated with ID and would probably dismiss it as nonsense.”

    “He is a designer and he is trying to design life. He, in essence, doesn’t know we’re watching and becomes a model – a model for a designer of life. And oddly enough, as the DM(Design Matrix) ponders what biology has taught us about life and potential ways evolution could be designed, it effectively sketches out the broad outlines of ….George Church. In an oblique sort of way, Church’s timely musings, luckily and conveniently captured by Edge, have worked to throw a bit of corroboration toward my speculations about how “natural” life may have been designed.”

    I asked a question along similar lines to Allen MacNeil. I did not receive an answer. The question was how Deign Engineers of Life would approach the same issue that Mike Gene brings up. The point was to raise the fact that by looking into the future Life Engineers may discover many reasons for specific design elements of evolutionary modeling in the present, in which limitations are better understood, thus predictable outcomes and patterns arise.

    In short, as Life Engineers design new life forms to replicate themselves with growing complexity based off the present, then what we see is the possible result of front loading or prescriptive information. A suite of algorithmic design tools that allow for replication of increasing complexity.

    We know by the thought process itself utilizing George Church’s own comments that Engineered evolutionary life cannot be ruled out. He and others are thinking about it today. Since it cannot be dismissed anymore, the next logical question is if this direction in scientific research is a fruitful endeavor? A new theoretical construct that may deliver better research outcomes for solving current problems in disease and organ replacement and lengthening life times.

    It appears it will rapidly become a fruitful heuristic process as Life Engineers struggle to answer real questions that require real solutions for the present. This moves evolution out of the past.

    Essentially ID becomes the front runner as Life Engineers transfer knowledge of present reproductive life to design new life forms that evolve into the future.

    Intelligence sees past, present and future and understands the implications of transferring information from one application to another. We sit in a unique perspective of increasing evolutionary progress by Intelligent Design. And by doing so, being self-aware what scientist may produce in the future can eventually become self-aware.

    Which raises more interesting questions. Is morphology that important? Or the eventual triumph of design to recreate intelligence through designed evolutionary processes that will spread the seeds of life around? This brings up the Panspermia solution.

    This is why an argument against design solely for discrediting it along lines of God(s) is not a valid rebuttal. And why Design metrics for life should not be ruled out from discussons either in high schools, colleges or research.

    To do so, is to dumb down minds and the natural curiosity of inquiring minds.

  14. 14
    Seversky says:

    How is the original post anything other than a re-statement of Paley’s Argument from Design and the argument from incredulity?

  15. 15
    Lenoxus says:

    (Even though I’m quoting jerry, my questions remain open to all.)

    Because the moment you mention this, the anti ID people roll their eyes and ask you where the little green men came from.

    Okay, but that’s just the naysayers. You can’t allow eye-rolling to stop progress. (Saying people came from monkeys sounds silly too, but somehow that managed to be part of mainstream biology.) Why isn’t the laboratory work in ID being done with a “green men” assumption? And if not, what scientifically-known-to-be-possible phenomenon is being assumed instead of green men?

    The thing about synthetic biology, for instance, is that it remains an analogy or metaphor of design, and not a literal description, so long as the designer remains a nebulous being capable of anything, or whose motivations might be anything. (By “more advanced techniques”, do you in fact mean more sophisticated physical technology, larger test tubes, or what? If the techniques are utterly beyond our comprehension, why even bother to talk about them?) The designer can still be omnipotent so long as its actual design process works in a specific, non-omnipotent way. You’re getting somewhere if you can say “in its interfering with biological life, the designer does X and only X”. Message Theory comes closest to this of all the hypotheses I’ve heard.

    I really hope I don’t seem like a troll with my questions — I’m honestly curious, and am genuinely pleased to hear about concrete ideas like Message Theory and the like. (I still admit that my mind is 95% made up that evolution explains it all, but that remaining 5% drags the rest of me here on the possibility that you’ve maybe got something here…)

  16. 16
    Bantay says:

    Tommy V @ 1 “It’s a silly argument and I don’t think it really needs to be addressed all that much.”

    I hear that denial is a powerful influence.

    Tommy V @ 11 “The reason I do not believe in God or a designer is that my imagination cannot fathom such a thing. But I am not so bold to think that the universe is somehow limited by what I can or cannot imagine.

    A finite imagination cannot possibly comprehend the full reality of an infinite God.” That could be true. However, a rational mind can comprehend that intelligence begets intelligence, and that in all of human history, intelligent minds do things that nature, by itself, does not do.

    “Until then I am open to all reasonable assertions and possibilities.”….You mean, all reasonable assertions and possibilities….except design. Right?

    Tommy V….software programs do not spontaneously come into existence unaided by intelligent agents. Likewise, a rational, intelligent message does not come from an irrational, unintelligent source. Consider that the next time you look at a DNA double-helix.

  17. 17
    sparc says:

    The Designer Apparently Designs Like Humans Do

    I’ve heard that there are valid reports about the designer employing non-human aka super-natural techniques.
    In addition, the designer created self reproducing entities which is quite different from common human design.

  18. 18
    Tommy V says:

    Bantay & rvb8:

    Awesome! I have been posting lightly for a few months now and this is the first time I have actually been attacked.

    Though I must say I’m not sure why.

    Bantay, I am honestly not sure what you’re accusing me of. Do you not think design can be discussed with someone until they believe in God? Do you not think someone can be sympathetic to another’s search for a designer without first believing in God themselves?

    I’m not sure what you’re getting at.

    I do think it’s an interesting dilemma. I can see design in the pattern, and I’m curious about the work others might perform later down the line to create more certainty, but I am still unable to draw the same conclusion of design because of my inability to comprehend a designer.

    This is part of the human experience and I don’t think it deserves to be attacked. It is very much an aspect of this discussion.

    RVB8, you seem to think I am so sympathetic to God that I must be lying and really do believe. Because why, exactly? I don’t feel the need to crush or mock those who do posit a designer? So I must be lying about my faith (or lack of). Because no one could possibly respect someone who has different views of the world than themselves? They must secretly share them?

    You can still find ID as silly as want, my respect for it should have no bearing on your disdain. For some reason you are threatened by a non-believer having respect for ID. I’m not sure why that is.

    I don’t think I deserve the hostility I received from either one of you. I mean no offense by this, but I think your comments reveal far more about the baggage you bring to the discussion than they reveal about me.

  19. 19
    BVZ says:

    Without knowing who or what the designer is, the best you can possibly do is concluding that something LOOKS designed, but you will not be able to conclude that it HAS BEEN.

    If you disagree, give me an example with the following requirements:

    Identify design in an object but:
    1) You should not know if it has been designed or not before you apply ID to it.

    2) ID should conclude that it has been designed, not that it LOOKS designed.

    3) No information about the designer must be available.

    4) None of your premises should be your conclusion.

    Can you do this?

    Note: resons for requirements

    1) If you already know the object has been designed, ID is useless.
    2) Snowflakes LOOK designed, but they are not.
    3) To address the claim made in the OP.
    4) This would be a circular argument.

  20. 20
    Mapou says:

    Snowflakes LOOK designed, but they are not.

    I am not so sure. Maybe the designer had the look of snowflakes in mind when he/she designed oxygen and hydrogen atoms. Just a thought.

  21. 21
    Upright BiPed says:

    Its is truly hard to believe that anyone is still arguing over snowflakes.

  22. 22
    BVZ says:

    @20

    I am not so sure. Maybe the designer had the look of snowflakes in mind when he/she designed oxygen and hydrogen atoms. Just a thought.

    I agree that this is possible. However, you need to assume knowledge about the designer (that he designed oxygen and hydrogen because he wanted snowflakes).

    In other words, snowflakes may very well be designed, but not without first assuming that the designer wants snowflakes.

    Read the OP again. The whole point the OP tries to make is that no knowledge about the designer is nessesary. My point is that it is neccesary if you want to reach ‘the object is designed’. Without knowledge (assumed or otherwise) about the designer you can only reach ‘the object LOOKS designed’.

    That is my only point.

  23. 23
    Joseph says:

    BVZ,

    In the absence of direct observation or designer input, the ONLY possible way to make ANY scientific determination about the designer(s) or the specific processes used, is by studying the design in question.

    That is the way it works in ALL design-centric venues.

    If we knew the designer of an object then we wouldn’t be trying to figure out whether or not the object was designed- design would be a given.

    That said when an object “looks designed” we must be allowed to look into that possibility- that it was designed by some agency.

    Now to refute the design inference for something that “looks designed” all one has to do is demonstrate that nature, operating freely, can account for it.

  24. 24
    Joseph says:

    Also we INFER design, not conclude.

    And as with ALL scientific inferences future research can either confirm or refute it.

    Science cannot and does not wait for what the future may or may not bring.

    We go with the knowledge at hand.

    And experience has taught us that it matters a great deal to any investigation whether or not that which is being investigated arose by nature, operating freely or agency involvement.

  25. 25
    Tommy V says:

    BVZ:

    ID is not “if something looks designed then it probably is.” which your questions imply.

    ID looks for enough complexity in the natural system so to rule out randomness.

    Snowflakes may look designed, but they do not exhibit any kind of complexity in the information that would rule out natural processes.

  26. 26
    BVZ says:

    Joseph:

    Thank you for your response.

    I agree with everything you said.

    My point is that before you can infer (infer is indeed more accurate, thanks for the correction) that design has taken place, you need to either assume, or observe something about the designer you are invoking. Without this knowledge, you are left with something that ‘looks’ designed, but is not neccesarily designed.

    For instance, look at SETI. Before they can even BEGIN to look for ID in the iniverse, they have to assume a list of things about the designers they are looking for. And even if they find something, they can only infer design as long as they hold on to these assumptions. The strength of thier assumptions should be well supported, because whatever they find (if they ever do) can only be supported as well as they can support thier assumptions.

    If you want to infer design from an object, you cannot do so without first gaining knowledge about the designer, even if you have to assume said knowledge.

    Ask yourself, why are ID supporters ridiculed so much more than SETI? The only real difference lies in the assumptions. Where SETI base thier assumptions about the intelligence they are looking for on knowledged gathered from nature, ID supporters don’t.

  27. 27
    BVZ says:

    Tommy V:

    ID looks for enough complexity in the natural system so to rule out randomness.

    Snowflakes may look designed, but they do not exhibit any kind of complexity in the information that would rule out natural processes.

    Even if you rule out random processes, all you have shown is that the object could not have come into existence through a random process.

    This does not leave design as the only alternative, because (for instance) the object could have come about through a natural process that is NOT random.

  28. 28
    Joseph says:

    BVZ:

    My point is that before you can infer (infer is indeed more accurate, thanks for the correction) that design has taken place, you need to either assume, or observe something about the designer you are invoking. Without this knowledge, you are left with something that ‘looks’ designed, but is not neccesarily designed.

    1- We can test the premise of “it looks designed but was not”. We do that by figuring out what it takes to produce what we are observing.

    If it is reducible to matter, energy, chance and necessity then the design inference is not warranted.

    2- We can assume anything we want to about the designer(s)- namely that it was capable of producing what we are observing.

    As for SETI they look for things that nature, operating freely would not or could not produce.

    If something like that is found they then dig deeper.

    To sum it up we can assume that as with all successful designers, the designer(s) tat we don’t know about had the capability of designing what it is they designed.

    We test that against our experience with what nature, operating freely, is capable of- we know what agencies can do with nature.

  29. 29
    Joseph says:

    BVZ,

    ID requires two things before design is inferred:

    1- Complexity- enough to rule out necessity, high and intermediate probabilities

    2- Specification

    Then we dig deeper. We try to find out if agency involvement was really necessary by testing it against what nature, operating freely, can do.

  30. 30
    Bantay says:

    Tommmy V @ 18

    “Awesome! I have been posting lightly for a few months now and this is the first time I have actually been attacked.”

    Tommy V…Interestingly, the only people who consider design a “silly argument” are those who aren’t open to where the evidence best points.

    It goes something like this. The ID critic starts with making tired accusations of ID being religious. This of course introduces a theological component to the discussion, so that ID can then be claimed to be “religious”. When no religious premise can be demonstrated, all of a sudden ID proponents themselves are accused of having a Christian agenda. When it is then shown that some ID advocates are Jewish, agnostic and atheist, then all of a sudden it becomes “irrelevant” and “silly”. When faced with the obvious implication from what is known, (yes, the data!) that intelligence always begets other intelligence, and that intelligent agents routinely do what nature cannot, unaided, do…then the argument becomes “silly”. Right? When the dogmatic ID critic’s ways are publicized, the ID critic then “assumes the position”, and resorts to a most irrational, unscientific bias toward faith (yes, faith!) in chance, undirected natural causes that in some cases would require a miracle to occur.

    Is that more or less silly than simply acknowledging that some features of the universe and in nature are best explained by design?

    And finally, when this willful bias against ID (and favoring chance miracles) is exposed…all of a sudden the ID critic erupts into emotional appeal to others as if they are the ones who are being oppressed. FYI, there are some here to simply call it as they see it. You’ll have to excuse my being honest with you, and with myself.

    Tommy V again at 18

    “Bantay, I am honestly not sure what you’re accusing me of. Do you not think design can be discussed with someone until they believe in God? Do you not think someone can be sympathetic to another’s search for a designer without first believing in God themselves?”

    I’m not accusing you of anything. I respect your faith in chance, naturalistic miracles. As a layman ID supporter, I simply ask for your faith to not be imposed on the rest of humanity, at least not without being held to the same standard of “evidence” that ID is held to.

    Now, to answer your questions.

    #1. You asked “Do you not think design can be discussed with someone until they believe in God?”

    My answer…I think ID can be discussed without introducing a theological component. Let’s be imaginitive here. You assume your car is designed because previous data indicates that only intelligent agents design cars. You don’t need to know the exact identity of the designer to know this. Likewise, previous data shows that only intelligent agents produce meaningful, semantic information that represents something other than itself. DNA has just this type of information. There is no reasonable reason to necessarily exclude design in this case, just because it is an organic object. Neither the case of the car, or of DNA, requires knowledge of the exact identity of the designer, yet in both cases design is the best inference based on the data.

    Your other question…

    “Do you not think someone can be sympathetic to another’s search for a designer without first believing in God themselves?”

    My answer….It is well known that some ID supporters are atheist and agnostic. Thus, I don’t think that “believing in God first” is even an issue.
    I am more supportive(or sympathetic?) toward anyone who is honest about whether they are searching for truth regardless of it’s implications, or just some reassuring, naturalistic explanation that avoids ultimate moral accountability. In other words, I think it’s important to determine if one’s “search for a designer” is not merely a search for any explanation EXCEPT God.

  31. 31
    Tommy V says:

    BVZ,

    No, it does not leave design as the only alternative. But it does leave it as an alternative. No one claims ID is definitive, only a path of inquiry worth pursuing.

    Please remember that evolution itself is actually only inferred. We observe certain data and facts and infer a chain of events over the last billion years that we did not actually witness.

    Design Inference is done every day on many levels. It is itself not controversial. The hostility towards this ID is simply a hostility towards religion itself.

    I have only been on this blog for a few months, but it really is amazing how many people come on here thinking they’re bringing up clever points that no one has ever thought of! The same questions every few weeks and then the slow progression to cutesy attitude and hostility.

    I will never understand the controversy of trying to determine what exactly nature is capable of creating on its own and what, if anything, would require outside agency.

    It seems a valid and worthwhile question. To say otherwise seems to require a vast assumption that nothing is outside the powers of nature’s undirected forces. A giant assumption indeed, considering how little we actually understand about these processes.

    That might eventually prove to be true (I suspect it will), but to state it as indisputable fact seems to me more a belief system and an assertion of a greater truth than an honest pursuit of the truth.

    I personally believe nature will ultimately prove the culprit here, probably in a mechanism that we may have yet to even imagine, but the idea that these questions are not valid ones or that the design inference is somehow unreasonable and not worth pursuing seems a rather shallow and dogmatic approach to science.

  32. 32
    alan says:

    BVZ – hope you don’t get a hernia – your trying to make something very light very heavy. Straining at gnats. I mean if you are going to suggest that Mt. Rushmore is only able to be inferred to design or a watch or etc. etc. all day long – then you are really trying hard more to justify something than making a salient point.

  33. 33
    Upright BiPed says:

    BVZ,

    “Even if you rule out random processes, all you have shown is that the object could not have come into existence through a random process.

    This does not leave design as the only alternative, because (for instance) the object could have come about through a natural process that is NOT random.

    You’ve bit off quite a bite there.

    Have anything specific in mind? Can you even offer, say, even a wild conceptualization of what it might be?

    And while you are drumming up your wild conceptualization, please remind yourself how design proponents make unfounded assumptions.

  34. 34
    Nakashima says:

    Mr Magnan,
    Since Darwinism can’t be falsified, the Darwinists will naturally claim that this (like anything and everything else) somehow came about purely through RV + selection.

    You really should say KJV + selection, since the RV was only published in 1881-1895.

  35. 35
    Tommy V says:

    Upright:

    What I think, at least I hope, BVZ is trying to say there is that there might be natural processes that we do not have a full understanding of yet.

    Which I think is true. If we don’t know about them, then it is hard to imagine them until someone initially does. Someone has to do it first.

    I think the greatest damage the dogma of Darwinism has done is that the bulk of biology has stopped looking for any process that does not follow in the line of natural selection as the primary mechanism. They have tons of ideas that complement selection but any idea that might uproot it is actually vilified and targeted for destruction.

    ID will always be inference, I think, because we will not ever be able to rule out what we don’t know. We can rule out randomness from the Darwinian perspective, but can we rule out a process that we don’t know even exists? So it will probably always be a scientific venture that seeks to improve certainty, but never obtain that 100%.

  36. 36
    Nakashima says:

    Mr PaV,
    Thusly, the opposite is true: if we find human engineering-like design in biological systems, then we can conclude that we have encountered the/a Designer.

    So from the first time humans imitated nature, the Designer could be inferred? You need to find some way of eliminating bio-mimesis as an issue.

    Further, you seem to be positing features as simple as “feedback” as design. I think that is quite overstated.

  37. 37
    Nakashima says:

    Mr BiPed,

    Have anything specific in mind? Can you even offer, say, even a wild conceptualization of what it might be?

    Crystallization?

  38. 38
    Upright BiPed says:

    I’m listening Nakashima…go ahead.

  39. 39
    Nakashima says:

    Mr BiPed,

    Sorry, that’s all there is – an example of a natural process that is not random. Isn’t that what you wanted?

  40. 40
    Upright BiPed says:

    Hello, Tommy

    If I hold up an apple and ask you what it is, you will say a word, “apple”.

    Now, an apple did not come out of your mouth, a word did – a representation, a meaning, a symbol that respresents something else.

    For you and I to understand what has just happened we must first agree that the word “apple”, annunciated a-p-p-l-e, means that red -or sometimes green- fruit that is white in the center and looks like this and smells like this and taste like this.

    The word does not have to be “apple” it could be “dumpklif”. There is no physicality involved. It could be WHATEVER we both agree that it is. It is a representation without physical contigency whatsoever. In other words, a non-physical choice arrangenment has been made (between meaning and symbol) in order to create a langauge from chaos (between you and I).

    This is exactly the same dynamic scenario at work in the language and meaning that exist inside the information that animates inanimate matter into functioning living tissue.

    To explain this, we have what we know.

    Its idle to speculate wildly on what we may know someday in order to patently ignore what we already know today.

    Given that we know there is no physical necessity involved, that leaves chance to account for the agreement within the symbol system, not to mention the vast organizational information to follow.

    In a post on an earlier thread I asked these questions. I leave them here for you to consider:

    1) Is Life the result of (functionalized by) a physically-inert symbol system of information embedded into living tissue that builds, organizes, and coordinates discreet chemical objects and activities?

    2) Chance has been observed to only operate at maximum uncertainty (this is the very definition of chance). Does any individual chance result ever lead to the next chance result not operating at maximum uncertainty?

    3) What aspect of a mechanism that only repeats maximum uncertainty is expected to not only build complex discreet objects, but to organize and coordinate those discreet objects into a complex functioning whole?

  41. 41
    Upright BiPed says:

    Nakashima, what you prescribe is order.

    Order is as far from what is observed in molecular biology as it can get. (careful not conflate order with organization or coordination, they are nowhere near the same thing)

  42. 42
    Mapou says:

    Tommy V @35:

    I think the greatest damage the dogma of Darwinism has done is that the bulk of biology has stopped looking for any process that does not follow in the line of natural selection as the primary mechanism. They have tons of ideas that complement selection but any idea that might uproot it is actually vilified and targeted for destruction.

    The reason has to do with the hatred of religion that is shared by many scientists. The truth is caught in the middle.

    ID will always be inference, I think, because we will not ever be able to rule out what we don’t know. We can rule out randomness from the Darwinian perspective, but can we rule out a process that we don’t know even exists? So it will probably always be a scientific venture that seeks to improve certainty, but never obtain that 100%.

    Yes, but a deductive inference is as good as a direct observation, in my opinion. Otherwise, all of science would come to naught. In fact, direct observation of the external world is a convenient myth. Everything is inferred when you stop to think about it.

  43. 43
    Nakashima says:

    Mr BiPed,

    And yet, there are respected theories in OOL research that focus on crystallization as an important process of biological precursors. I don’t have to infer design if alternatives involving simple non-random processes can contribute significantly to the biology we see today.

  44. 44
    Tommy V says:

    Yes, but a deductive inference is as good as a direct observation, in my opinion. Otherwise, all of science would come to naught. In fact, direct observation of the external world is a convenient myth. Everything is inferred when you stop to think about it.

    I agree that inference is valuable but it is not the same as direct observation. I do not think ID is any less because it is inference. It has to be by its nature. Without direct observation just about everything is inference. (The Darwinian explanation is all inference and it drives me up the wall to hear people say otherwise).

    I have a lot of respect for ID so please don’t get me wrong.

    But the difference between inference and absolute certainty is important because of what Upright Biped challenged me on just a few posts earlier. While I usually find myself in agreement with him, I do not in this case.

    Inference is different from certainty because inference must take into account what we don’t know, when certainty does not.

    We can point to the “best available” explanation, and that is no small thing, but it is still the best available explanation, not THE answer.

    This is not to “ignore” what we know now, as Upright suggested I was implying, but a simple acknowledgment of humility. Putting ourselves in an either/or situation when knowledge is not 100% is folly, I believe.

    I believe the ID movement should be very careful about this and not claim they have the absolute answers. I believe it to be an exciting endeavor and very much worth the effort and resources but if one is asking for academic freedom and the cutting loose of dogma, they need to be supplying such things as well.

  45. 45
    Upright BiPed says:

    Nakashima,

    I suggest further reading.

    If the sequencing of nucleotides is physico-dynamically inert – showing absolutely no order in that sequencing (but choice contingency for function instead), then what aspect of order are you suggesting is fit to create the sequencing necessary?

    – – – – – – –

    If I remember correctly, you are familiar with these two papers, but choose to ignore them or not address there conclusions forthrightly. I post them here for others who might be more open to the a rational discussion.

    http://www.pubmedcentral.nih.g.....obtype=pdf

    http://www.pubmedcentral.nih.g.....obtype=pdf

    – – – – – –

    By the way Nakashima, you are certainly welcome to address any of the three questions I raised in #40

  46. 46
    Upright BiPed says:

    Tommy,

    “Inference is different from certainty because inference must take into account what we don’t know, when certainty does not.”

    There are no certainties in science, this goes without saying. I have never used “certainty” as a bullhorn for ID.

    The (overwhelming) inference to a volitional act in biology and cosmology is what ID is fighting for – not for a claim of certainty.

    This is a red herring. And I must tell you, given the nature of the debate and the power structure in play, I find it a little nauseating to be told that ID should show a little “humility”.

    If we can define humility as being scorned at throughout the university and its puppet media…then humility is all we’ve got.

    The NCSE didn’t release a movie ducumenting how Big Design was keeping them down.

    Give that one a rest.

  47. 47
    Upright BiPed says:

    By the way Tommy, the questions I asked were based upon observations. Inference comes in the conclusion that fits the observation.

  48. 48
    Tommy V says:

    Upright

    Since I am essentially on your side, sympathetic to ID, and have not said anything that would normally be considered controversial, and yet still feel the need to be aggressive because I do not subscribe to ID the way you would like me to, I feel like a call to relax in perfectly in order.

    I stand by my statement. Claiming that ID is far enough that it supplies THE answer is premature. The idea that we know all we will know that matters shows a distinct lack of humility.

    Appeals to victimhood do not impress me when you feel the need to attack those you feel might be slightly different from you.

    (And yes, suggesting what we might learn later could not contradict what we know now, is basically asserting certainty. Whether you use the word or not is moot.)

  49. 49
    DATCG says:

    17 Sparc said,

    “In addition, the designer created self reproducing entities which is quite different from common human design.”

    That is only true until humans design self-reproducing orgamisms. They already create self-replicating entities, like computer viruses. Thus the human created dichotomy of good and bad viruses in the future. Right now, good forces fight hacker viruses from centralized centers. But I suspect they will create their own “white blood cells” in the future which can evolve to fight viruses. Any new information collected by such battles can then be passed back to central distribution.

    My post original post above included comments by George Church who is thinking critically about reproducing issues in synthetic life. He is contemplating the very issues of evolution as a Front Loaded mechanism of Design.

    I think the only question left is “when” will humans create Reproductive organisms that evolve.

    How far away is intelligence from producing simple Reproductive life forms that include variation?

    I do not know, but I suspect for Intelligence to increase, it needs to create such organisms and the space and resources for them.

    Supernatural to me is an exclusive term for a Designer outside of the universe as we know it. But it does not limit human design efforts, unless the original designer limits the potential.

    Also, does complexity of specific informational content follow exponential curves? If so, then evolutionary design is a given.

  50. 50
    DATCG says:

    Tommy V,

    I think you’re being reasonably open minded. You are stating you are unsure about the current state of knowledge. And you think that ID may be a possible answer. Correct?

    What do you think about George Church’s comments and Mike Gene’s review of such comments that I posted above at comment #13? Mike Gene states that current speculative design issues show that Front Loading is a Design option for evolution.

    Please review the link I posted in the comment. I think you’ll find it interesting. I’m curious what you think. Because it specifically relates to humans engineering reproductive life forms and on PaV’s comments.

  51. 51
    Barb says:

    Seversky: what if it’s a restating of Paley’s argument? No one’s ever actually disproven it, after all.

  52. 52
    Upright BiPed says:

    Tommy: “Since I am essentially on your side, sympathetic to ID, and have not said anything that would normally be considered controversial, and yet still feel the need to be aggressive because I do not subscribe to ID the way you would like me to, I feel like a call to relax in perfectly in order.”

    I wasn’t even responding to you until you jumped in for BVZ at 35, making the observation that ID can’t say anything for certain because we might not know it all.

    I responded by posting a question to you on 40. I did nothing to insult you, or call into question your ability to think. My exact words were “In a post on an earlier thread I asked these questions. I leave them here for you to consider”

    Personally, that doesn’t sound too confrontational, but if you find that kind of language too intimidating for your sensibilities, then you certainly have my fullest apology.

    – – – – – – – –

    Tommy: “I stand by my statement. Claiming that ID is far enough that it supplies THE answer is premature. The idea that we know all we will know that matters shows a distinct lack of humility.”

    I stated above that “There are no certainties in science, this goes without saying. I have never used “certainty” as a bullhorn for ID…The (overwhelming) inference to a volitional act in biology and cosmology is what ID is fighting for – not for a claim of certainty.”

    I would only add that the inferences to a volitional act are coming in from just about every sector of science, many of those inferences have been unanswered for dozens of years, even generations. Since you are determined to be as fair minded as possible, you might ask yourself at what point these inference will become mature, or why they should be ignored at all.

    And as far as your repeated reference to humility, I suggest you take it up with Behe, or Sternberg, or Crocker, or Gonzales.

  53. 53
    Upright BiPed says:

    By the way Tommy, I noticed that you decided not to address any of the questions of evidence I raised in #40.

    Why is that?

  54. 54
    Joseph says:

    Nakashima,

    All OoL scenarios took a big hit when the Tracey/ Lincoln paper came out:

    Self-Sustained Replication of an RNA Enzyme by Tracey A. Lincoln and Gerald F. Joyce.

    It was touted as evidence for self-replicating RNA and “evolution in a bottle” (SciAm).

    The research is leading edge stuff and should give us a glimpse at the reducibility of living organisms.

    If this paper is any indication, origin of life research isn’t looking so good.

    I say that because all the synthesized RNA did was make- catalyze- ONE connection.

    It took two pre-synthesized sections and joined them together.

    The “evolution” came with variance of sequence but the new sequences still performed the same function (the original sequence “died out”).

    This is a start and I hope they continue to see how far they can go-

    Sooner or later the “mainstream” will come to realize what IDists have been telling them- living organisms are not reducible to matter, energy, chance and necessity.

  55. 55
    Nakashima says:

    Mr BiPed @45,

    Thanks, I am familiar with the second Abel paper, but I had read the first. I have posted comments on the second Abel paper here on UD, in the thread opened for it by Mr Cordova.

    To your questions:
    1 – I reject the dichotomy of a symbol system and “living tissue”. Especially the second phrase sounds powerfully to me like vitalism. Life is chemistry. The selective advantage of the ability to store information has evolved DNA. It has also evolved synaptic memory. It could have evolved other systems as well, such as bits captured as changes in polarization in some protein.

    2 & 3 – My English is not good enough to understand these questions.

  56. 56
    Nakashima says:

    Mr Joseph,

    I am not sure why you think this paper is particulary devastating.

    Previous work had shown RNA catalyzing other RNA assembly. The point of this paper was the mutual catalysis of two different RNAs on each others precursors. You say ONE like it was a bad thing. They weren’t trying to make a Swiss Army knife RNA and reporting failure. They were trying to build an extremely small network of two nodes and two relationships, which they succeeded in doing. This is meant to be a very simple model for a genetic system that can undergo change (due to copying error) and thereby build up variety, which can lead to new opportunities.
    As you note, the original pair was out-competed for resources by a new pair. Evolution in action. This paper is a triumph for OOL studies, not the opposite.

  57. 57
    Tommy V says:

    Upright,

    I have not answered your questions because I don’t see the need to.

    As I have stated before, I find ID a compelling argument, and I do not find chance persuasive at all. This is why I am confused by your desire to debate me as if I am arguing against ID.

    I do not think that, even amongst ID advocates, there is the belief that this is settled science, so I find your resistance to me stating the obvious rather strange.

  58. 58
    Tommy V says:

    DATCG

    I think you’re being reasonably open minded. You are stating you are unsure about the current state of knowledge. And you think that ID may be a possible answer. Correct?

    I think that is accurate, yes. I do not think you need to believe in a designer to respect ID and find its arguments compelling (but perhaps not convincing just yet). To say otherwise, I think, is to lend credence to the accusation that ID is essentially religious in nature, which I do not believe is true when applied properly.

    I do not buy the Darwinian view persuasive at all, and if forced to choose I would go with ID in a heartbeat. I personally do not think we have to choose between the two just yet, however, and I am excited about the next 50 years of discovery, ID included.

    Bantay:

    Tommy V…Interestingly, the only people who consider design a “silly argument” are those who aren’t open to where the evidence best points.

    If you read my post more carefully and not have assumed that I was someone challenging ID, I think you would have noticed that what I was calling a “silly argument” was the assertion that one must first know the designer to infer design.

    (I suspect when you reread my post with that in mind you will find something different than the person you think you’re arguing with)

    I understand you guys get a lot of critics around here, most of them unreasonable, but you really need to stop going after people who are actually sympathetic to ID and find it an extremely worthwhile endeavor, despite the fact that I do not believe in a designer.

  59. 59
    Upright BiPed says:

    Nakashima,

    First, please allow me to say something about your second answer – I am quite certain that your English is just fine.

    However, if you object (as you have) to the “dichotomy of a symbol system and living tissue” then perhaps it is my English that is lacking.

    dichotomy: a division into two especially mutually exclusive or contradictory groups or entities.

    Do the terms symbol system and living tissue represent mutually exclusive groups or contradictory entities? I was not aware that these were even controversial terms. If the terms genetic information and life are less offensive to you, you may use them at will.

    Either way, it does not change the existence of a physically-inert symbol system being embedded in all living things. It also does nothing to help chance and necessity to become fit in creating this information, or the symbol system that contains it.

    You go on to say “Life is chemistry. The selective advantage of the ability to store information has evolved DNA.”

    So if I understand you correctly, there was a time when perhaps chemistry itself was being selected, but there was no ability to store information. Then a moment in time came when the ability to store information appeared where it wasn’t before, and this ability was then selected. So the process of selecting information was in existence prior to the ability to store information, and when this new ability came along, selection selected it, and then perfected the system. And that’s where DNA came from.

    And this ability emerged in something that was apparently already reproducing (so that it could eventually be selected for). So prior to that it must have been selected for some other combination of features, which it came upon without the assistance of any information (for which it could not store anyway) and then it stored it anyway. And that was a good thing.

    And then you say it went on to “evolve synaptic memory” and “other systems as well”.

    – – – – – – – – – – –

    Nakashima, I am certain you are a nice person; I think that shows in your posts. There is no doubt about it. But I must say, I think the treatment you give the information paradox (and the other issues in general) is weak. I am not in the least bit offended that you passed on the 2nd and 3rd questions I asked.

  60. 60
    PaV says:

    Nakashima in#36:

    So from the first time humans imitated nature, the Designer could be inferred? You need to find some way of eliminating bio-mimesis as an issue.

    There’s a not so subtle difference between what you think I’m saying, and what I’m actually saying. I haven’t said that humans imitating what they find in nature allows us to infer design. While I think this is true, that is not what is at issue here—which I’ll make clear in response to the second part of your post. Nevertheless, whatever dim view you might have of this ‘feedback system’, let’s note that it wasn’t I who called these networks ‘designed’ but the scientists who investigated them.

    Further, you seem to be positing features as simple as “feedback” as design. I think that is quite overstated.

    I’m not doing that. The scientists who are reporting their results are doing that. But, again, this isn’t the point here. The point here is that those who attack ID play a game of willful ignorance, saying that since “we don’t know who the Designer is, then we can’t possibly know how he would design anything.” But you see, in this article, the scientists tell us that the genetic networks they are examining function ‘just like’ the kinds of networks that engineers design. Thus, whoever the Designer is, He designs like humans.

    Now, if we were to approach this theologically, the argument would simply run backwards: that is, God made man. Man is rational. God made man rational. If man’s reason is different than that of God, then man possesses something that God does not—which is impossible. Hence, man’s reason is ordered to God’s reason. Further, when ‘man’ designs, it will look like ‘God’s designs’.

    However, we’re dealing with science and so we should steer clear of theological arguments (something that Darwinists fail to do, beginning with Darwin and (not) ending with Dawkins). So, let us again note that in this instance it is the scientists themselves who declare that the ‘design’ of the genetic networks are like those that human engineers design. They present this as a demonstrable fact, not an article of faith.

  61. 61
    Joseph says:

    Nakashima,

    When synthesized RNA can only make ONE connection out of the hundreds if not thousands that need to be made, then there is trouble.

    Also the “evolved” forms did the SAME thing. No change in function.

    So what do you think “evolved”?

    There has never been an experiment that demonstrates an RNA catalyst can arise from a broth of chemicals.

    Heck there isn’t anything which demonstrates all the nucleotides can arise outside of a living cell.

    And just look at the cell- amino acids packes in very close proximity and they do NOT spontaneously form polypetide chains.

    Nucleotides also closely packed that do not spontaneously form into RNA nor DNA.

    But as I said I hope this sort of research continues because sooner or later those scientists will realize they are chasing their tails.

  62. 62
    Nakashima says:

    Mr BiPed,

    Thank you for your kind words.

    So prior to that it must have been selected for some other combination of features, which it came upon without the assistance of any information (for which it could not store anyway) and then it stored it anyway.

    Yes, for example, in the systems of RNA mutual catalysis that I recently discussed with Mr Joseph, the sequence of RNA nucleotides is not storing any more information than its own functional shape. When tRNA eventually developed, its sequence carried no more information than its structural function.

    Similarly, there are people in the nanotech field who are interested in using DNA as a building material, not as an information storage mechanism. The point here is that these macromolecules, which we think of almost exclusinvely in terms of embodied information, do have other selectable properties.

    I’d like to respond to your other questions, but I really don’t understand this phrase “chance operating at a maximum level of uncertainty”. Can you explain it? Thank you.

  63. 63
    Nakashima says:

    Mr PaV,

    How far are you willing to push your argument? Is it true that when the Designer designs, he must design like humans? Is it true that when the Designer designs, he only designs like humans? Does ‘like humans’ mean occasionally better, and occasionally worse than humans?
    Is the Designer constrained in his designs? Why does a giraffe have the same number of neck bones I do, not the same number as an apatosaurus?

    If your argument comes down to “The Designer can design like humans design, whenever he wants to, but he can design in other ways too, and we have no way of knowing which method is in use at any point”, well, Mr StephenB would say that you’ve stated a tautology, A and not-A. Always true, no information value. Is your agrument more specific than that? In what way is God built in Man’s image?

  64. 64
    Nakashima says:

    Mr Joseph,

    Again, there was no attempt to build a system of multiple catalysis by single RNA strands. Why do you think this is even possible at the scale you posit? Most catalysis is much more specific.

    What evolved is the same functional network, but operating faster. In the limited environment of the experiment, would you have any reason to expect something different to evolve? There are no selection pressures in any other direction but ‘faster’.

  65. 65
    Upright BiPed says:

    Nakashima,

    You might have missed the point.

    DNA contains poly-functional information which is written in a digital language of symbols that operate under an established convention which is chemically and physically inert – just as physically inert as the information it contains.

    Any scenario you propose has to make this jump.

    What you are suggesting is that we divert our eyes from the empirical facts surrounding the presence of non-physically-caused symbol systems, poly-functionality, code conventions, and information, so that we may suppose life with no need for any information at all. In other words, it just happened.

    That is patently silly, and its bad science as well.

    – – – – – – – – –

    Given the gulf between our two understandings as what is at issue in my first question (at #40), I can’t see getting any further in my other two questions, but I am certain willing to try.

    You say “I really don’t understand this phrase “chance operating at a maximum level of uncertainty”. Can you explain it?”

    Nakashima, if you toss a pair of dice, then pick them up and toss them again, how much is whatever result you get in the second toss dependent upon the first toss? The answer is none. This is chance operating at maximum uncertainty. This is not about the results of either throw; it’s about the uncertainty of both throws. At no time does one toss of the dice affect the uncertainty involved in the next toss of the dice.

    In other words, such a mechanism (repeated tosses of complete uncertainty) is understandably incapable of formulating language, establishing conventions between symbols and the meanings of those symbols, organizing discreet molecular objects, or coordinating functions between those molecular objects and processes.

    – – – – – – – – – –

    Nakashima, you are hopeless to explain the observations of DNA by chance and necessity. There is a cut in the pathway between those things that are physically dependent, and those things that are inert to such physicality and beyond the reach of maximum uncertainty.

    Those are the facts.

  66. 66
    PaV says:

    Nakashima [63]:

    How far are you willing to push your argument? Is it true that when the Designer designs, he must design like humans? Is it true that when the Designer designs, he only designs like humans? Does ‘like humans’ mean occasionally better, and occasionally worse than humans?
    Is the Designer constrained in his designs? Why does a giraffe have the same number of neck bones I do, not the same number as an apatosaurus?

    Quite a number of questions, and not entirely related to the point of this thread. However, . . .

    (1) Is it true that when the Designer designs, he must design like humans?

    RESPONSE: The author of reason and the embodiments of reason both ‘design’ using ‘reason’. Why introduce the word “must”. Is this just a debating trick?

    (2) Does ‘like humans’ mean occasionally better, and occasionally worse than humans?

    RESPONSE: Why the introduction of comparatives? Is this a method of obfuscation? Why don’t we put things this way: when human beings can completely understand how life operates, and can, using only the basic elements of life (nucleotides, fatty acids, etc.), design original life forms, then, and only then, can we make judgments about whether our ‘designs’ are ‘better or worse’ than those of the Designer.

    (3) Is the Designer constrained….?

    RESPONSE: Aristotle would tell us that all that exists consists of matter and form. The various forms that matter can take depends on the properties of the matter. If the Designer works with ‘matter’, and since matter isn’t infinite in scope, a constraint has been introduced. Thus, once a Designer “creates” matter, constraints are necessarily introduced. There is such a thing as wisdom. Wisdom involves, for want of better definitions, a balancing of constraints.

    I hope this isn’t simply an attempt to deflect us from the principal point being made here; i.e., that the design directly observed in nature is just like the design observed in human engineering.

  67. 67
    Nakashima says:

    Mr BiPed,

    Thanks for being patient with me!

    I think it is wrong to say DNA is physically inert. Obviously, it participates in a lot of chemistry inside our cells, so inert is either wrong (in the sense that gold or helium is inert) or relative. DNA is less active than RNA, and you may notice that we have been talking past each other if I have been making points about RNA and you have been making points about DNA.
    I’m basically arguing from within a framework of thinking about OOL where storage of information in DNA is a relatively late addition to the repetoire of life. I don’t see how a DNA-first explanation of OOL can work. So as marvelous as DNA is, it is an upgrade to a function the existed in some less functional way earlier

    To your explanation of chance operating at maximum uncertainty – the example you gave was very helpful. I think that the concept you are describing is more commonly known as independence of trials.

    I think you have touched upon a very important point. I agree that independent trials cannot produce the interesting complexity we see in the world. This is why it is critical for evolution to have access to prior trials to work. Evolution is contingent and all about dependent trials.

    Combining the two streams of thought above, this is why bignum arguments about how unlikely a DNA strand that codes for specific protein is are so unrealistic.
    1 – No one thinks you start with DNA.
    2 – No one thinks evolution proceeds by independent trials.

  68. 68
    Nakashima says:

    Mr PaV,

    Thank you for responding. A lot people start a thread, and then let the comments wander off in any old direction. I appreciate your participating in the discussion over a longer term, and helping it to maintain structure.

    Here is my basic problem. Especially with respect to DNA coding information, I read several commenters here breathlessly describing the wonder of a poly functional information storage (just like a computer language!) with compression and layers of meaning that will wind the cat and whiten my teeth just by reading about it. The conclusion is – the Designer is so much better at design than even the best human programmer.
    Then your post comes along and says “Look, the Designer uses feedback, just like us!” So I get confused. Is the design apparent in Nature transcendantly better than Man’s design, pointing to the transcendance of God? Or is God just like us?

    I do think design in nature is like human design, mostly because we are clever imitators of nature. But then there are places where we effortlessly invent things unseen in nature, even simple things like the pulley.

    Having listened to the podcast on miR-7 from Cell, I think you are placing too much emphasis on a casual use of language.

  69. 69
    Joseph says:

    Nakashima,

    The experiment pretty much squashed abiogenesis.

    Ya see in order for abiogenesis to be realistic RNA has to come together without agency involvement, as do proteins.

    And I noticed you ignored the point of my previous response.

  70. 70
    Nakashima says:

    Mr Joseph,

    I’m sorry, I don’t see any support for your statement about the implications of the experiment. The experiment is one small step in the process of understanding what a pre-biotic world could have looked like. Can you cite anyone in the scientific literature with such a negative view? Was SciAm of this opinion in their article?

    You are correct that I ignored your other comments while trying to get at the basis for your misconception about this experiment.

    I agree that we don’t see nucleotides and amino acids forming polymers in the cell, except under very controlled conditions. Given that the cell is the result of a few billion years of evolution, that doesn’t tell us much about the conditions in OOL scenarios. The cell is a chemical factory, ne? It is not safe to allow experiments on the factory floor.
    Such controls did not exist in the era we are considering. Chemists are still working out what the scaffolding for RNA synthesis might have been, such as PAHs. We only recently discovered that boron was important to the creation of ribose.

    I can see that you are quite critical of the current directions in OOL research. What is a better alternative line of research? Is OOL a scientific subject, in your view, or is it a religious subject that cannot be fruitfully questioned by science?

  71. 71
    spark300c says:

    Being a engineer student I can say the Designer designs on much higher level than humans. Biological system has chemical computing system that we have not much of a clue how it works. If we did our supercomputer will feel slow. Standford book tells us that nature is unable to preserve design. There fore there must be designer. Nature is too imperfect to be the designer. Even before read Standford I knew this to be true. It is clear to all parties that nature can not build things up and only make imperfect modification . In fact i think I can difference between nature sloppy workmanship and the designer perfect workmanship.

  72. 72
    Joseph says:

    Makashima:

    The experiment is one small step in the process of understanding what a pre-biotic world could have looked like.

    That is false. Even getting the first RNA molecule that is capable of being a catalyst is beyond chance and necessity.

    I say that because the syntheiszed RNAs were only capable of ONE bond.

    With abiogenesis you don’t even get those first catalysts.

    Heck without agency involvement you can’t even get the four required nucleotides.

    So where does that leave OoL research?

    Also by reading your posts it would appear that you think it is OK to say that Stonehenge is a natural formation and we should study it as such until we find that non-telic explanation.

    Strange.

    Also you say:

    Given that the cell is the result of a few billion years of evolution, that doesn’t tell us much about the conditions in OOL scenarios.

    Yet the alleged first signs of cells appeared in less than a billion years.

  73. 73
    Joseph says:

    BTW I have already stated I want OoL research to continue.

    That is the ONLY way they are going to learn that living organisms are not reducible to matter, energy, chance and necessity.

  74. 74
    Nakashima says:

    Mr Joseph,

    Again, your assertion is not supported by evidence. As a matter of fact, the article you brought to my attention is now cited by another. Here is the abstract .

    The dawn of the RNA World: Toward functional complexity through ligation of random RNA oligomers
    Carlos Briones, Michael Stich and Susanna C. Manrubia

    Centro de Astrobiología (CSIC-INTA), 28850 Torrejón de Ardoz, Madrid, Spain
    Abstract
    A main unsolved problem in the RNA World scenario for the origin of life is how a template-dependent RNA polymerase ribozyme emerged from short RNA oligomers obtained by random polymerization on mineral surfaces. A number of computational studies have shown that the structural repertoire yielded by that process is dominated by topologically simple structures, notably hairpin-like ones. A fraction of these could display RNA ligase activity and catalyze the assembly of larger, eventually functional RNA molecules retaining their previous modular structure: molecular complexity increases but template replication is absent. This allows us to build up a stepwise model of ligation-based, modular evolution that could pave the way to the emergence of a ribozyme with RNA replicase activity, step at which information-driven Darwinian evolution would be triggered.

    One of the things I found interesting in that abstract was the statement that the tertiary structures are often hairpins. As I’m sure you know, tRNA is composed of two such hairpins.

    re cells – the point was that the ability of cells today, with complex internal compartmentalization, to control polymerization doesn’t tell us much about proto-cells, which are assumed to be much much simpler, to the point of being just bubbles with no internal structure at all. The length of time cells have been evolving merely underscores this point.

    re Stonehenge – did I really say such a thing? I remember seeing comments on Stonehenge in previous threads, but I don’t remember making any myself. Google cannot distinguish words in the recent comments sidebar from words in the thread, which makes it very difficult to search back. If I said something amusing about Stonehenge, please refresh my memory!

  75. 75
    Joseph says:

    Nakashima:

    Again, your assertion is not supported by evidence.

    Which assertion?

    Is there a paper which demonstrates the 4 nucleotides can arise without agency involvement? No.

    Is there a paper which demonstrates a RNA catalyst can arise without agency involvement? No.

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