Intelligent Design

The Materialist Double Standard

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Yet again a materialist comes into these pages (this time rvb8) and asserts that ID necessarily entails a supernatural designer.  The conversation usually goes something like this:

Materialist:  ID is not science, because it studies the supernatural.

ID Proponent:  No, that’s wrong.  ID is the study of design in nature.  While the designer may be supernatural, he is not necessarily so.

Mat:  No, you are dissembling.

ID:  Why do you say that?

Mat:  Because the design of living things would require a miracle, and miracles are, by definition, supernatural.

ID:  Let me get this straight.  You believe that blind, unguided natural forces are sufficient to account for the staggering complexity and diversity of life.

Mat:  That’s right.  That is why it is a superior scientific explanation to ID, which requires a miracle-working designer.

ID:  Wait.  If the design of life is not beyond the reach of blind unguided natural forces, it must follow on your own premises that the design of life involves nothing but chemistry; no miracles are necessary.

Mat (starting to feel queasy as the logic begins to unfold):  Well, yeah.

ID:  And if blind unguided natural forces can manipulate the chemicals sufficiently to create life without a miracle, surely there is nothing in principle that would preclude a designer wielding super-sophisticated technology from doing the same thing without resort to a miracle.

Mat:  Well, who designed the designer?  And besides ID is part of an international plot to establish a theocracy.  You’re a poopyhead. . . .

The double standard on display here is quite amusing.  The materialist swallows right down the camel that blind unguided natural forces can design staggeringly complex life forms.  Then he strains at the gnat of a non-supernatural designer wielding sophisticated technology doing the same thing.

147 Replies to “The Materialist Double Standard

  1. 1
    Bob O'H says:

    Seriously, what is the IDers’ answer to the “who designed the designer” question?

    (failure to answer this will – of course – immediately condemn all IDers as poopyheads, despite any efforts by the Federation of Creationist Scientists, International/Overseas to suppress this categorisation)

  2. 2
    Barry Arrington says:

    Bob O’H:

    Seriously, what is the IDers’ answer to the “who designed the designer” question?

    Bob, have you ever heard the old saw “there’s no such thing as a stupid question?” It is false. Stupid questions abound. The one you just asked is one of them. As has been pointed out on these pages 1,303,261 times (all of which apparently sailed right over your head), the design inference is independent of the provenance of the designer.

  3. 3
    asauber says:

    If anyone wants a specific example of what trolls do, look at comment #1.

    Andrew

  4. 4
    Bob O'H says:

    Ah, so the serious answer is Abuse.

    Oh poo, I came here for an Argument.

  5. 5
    asauber says:

    I came here for an Argument

    Looks like you came here ta do sum trollin’.

    Andrew

  6. 6
    Bob O'H says:

    If I wanted to do sum trollin’, I’d use the blackboard in our departmental coffee room. 🙂

  7. 7
    asauber says:

    If I wanted to do sum trollin’, I’d use the blackboard in our departmental coffee room.

    How about you just go to the coffee room and not come back here for awhile?. 😉

    Andrew

  8. 8
    Macauley86 says:

    Seriously, what is the IDers’ answer to the “who designed the designer” question

    Irrelevant. Hamlet cannot deny the existence of Shakespeare because he would then have to account for Shakespeare’s origin. Besides, the same question can be asked to a materialist; who designed the singularity or the multiverse?

  9. 9
    EricMH says:

    If ID cannot be explained by materialism, then the designer must necessarily be immaterial, i.e. supernatural. The whole point of ID is that materialism is inadequate to explain design. Ergo, the designer is supernatural.

    Avoiding this very straightforward logic puts ID proponents in a bad light. It makes us look dishonest.

    Really, we need to instead be arguing that supernaturalism is not unscientific, and providing methodologies to rigorously handle supernaturalism.

  10. 10
    asauber says:

    EricMH,

    I don’t think you can equate immaterial with supernatural, strictly speaking. ‘Natural’ cannot be clearly defined, therefore, neither can ‘supernatural’.

    Andrew

  11. 11
    Bob O'H says:

    EricMH – another possibility would be to provide a plausible material explanation of the designer. Either approach would be fine by me (as if that really matters). The problem with ID saying that the designer is supernatural is that it makes the “creationism in a cheap tuxedo” accusation harder to counter.

  12. 12
    john_a_designer says:

    Even though I think I.D. provokes some interesting questions, I am actually not an “I.D. proponent” as Barry is defining it here, because I don’t think I.D. is “science” (the empirical study of the natural world) any more than naturalism/materialism is science. So questions like “who designed the designer” are not scientific questions; they are philosophical theological questions. However, many of the question have philosophical/theological answers. For example, the theist would answer the question, “who designed the designer,” by arguing that the designer (God) has always existed. The materialist can’t honestly reject that explanation because historically materialism has believed that the universe has always existed. Presently they are trying to shoehorn the multiverse into the discussion to get around the problem of the Big-Bang. Of course, this is a problem because there is absolutely no scientific evidence for the existence of a multiverse. In other words, it just an arbitrary ad hoc explanation used in an attempt to try to wiggle out of a legitimate philosophical question.

    However, this is not to say that science can’t provoke some important philosophical and theological questions– questions, which at present, can’t be answered scientifically.

    For example:

    Scientifically it appears the universe is about 14.5 billion years old. Who or what caused the universe to come into existence? If it was “a what”– just natural causes– how do we know that?

    Why does the universe appear to exhibit teleology, or design and purpose? In other words, what is the explanation for the universes so-called fine tuning?

    How did chemistry create the code in DNA or RNA?

    How dose mindless matter “create” consciousness and mind? If consciousness and mind are “just an appearance” how do we know that?

    These are question that arise out of science which are philosophical and/or theological questions. Is it possible that they could have scientific explanations? Possibly. But even if someday some of them could be answered scientifically that doesn’t make them at present illegitimate philosophical/theological questions– because we don’t know if they have, or ever could have, scientific answers.

  13. 13

    Intelligent design theory does not identify the Designer. It merely claims that intelligence is the best explanation for what modern science reveals. I agree with that assessment.

  14. 14
    Phinehas says:

    EricMH:

    If ID cannot be explained by materialism, then the designer must necessarily be immaterial, i.e. supernatural. The whole point of ID is that materialism is inadequate to explain design. Ergo, the designer is supernatural.

    No, no, no, a thousand times no!

    The whole point of ID is that non teleological forces are inadequate to explain design.

    ID doesn’t really say anything at all about whether the requisite teleological forces are immaterial vs. material or supernatural vs. natural. It really can’t answer those questions. All it can really say is that whatever teleological forces were responsible, they are capable of affecting or influencing the material and the natural. That’s it.

    If you believe ID can say more, then what mechanism do you propose ID use to determine the immaterial or supernatural nature of the designer? Please lay it out for us.

  15. 15
    RodW says:

    The “Who designed the designer” argument is not a bad argument, despite what Barry and others (such as Willam L Craig) have said.
    The problem is that theists always interpret this argument as if it is making some claim about God. The claim that its bad contains the unspoken assumption that God exists. I think this is obvious in Macaulay’s comment. But of course if the whole point of the argument is to challenge the idea that God exists in the first place you cant assume that God exists to refute that argument. Thats actually the definition of “begging the question”
    I think if the argument was properly phrased it would be along the lines of: You cannot use the existence and complexity of the world as evidence for God. If you could then Gods existence and complexity would require the existence of another God, ad infinitum.

  16. 16
    Phinehas says:

    RodW

    The “Who designed the designer” argument is not a bad argument, despite what Barry and others (such as Willam L Craig) have said.

    The “Who designed the designer” argument may not be a bad argument against some proposition or another out there, but it isn’t an argument at all against ID, let alone a bad one.

    To demonstrate this, what is it in ID that this question is arguing against? Please be specific.

  17. 17
    RodW says:

    but it isn’t an argument at all against ID, let alone a bad one.

    No, it isnt an argument against ID at all, if ID is construed in the most general sense.

  18. 18
    Phinehas says:

    No, it isnt an argument against ID at all, if ID is construed in the most general sense.

    In the most general sense? No. Only as ID actually presents itself rather than as its detractors would really rather it presented itself. I don’t doubt that detractors feel more comfortable attacking their own straw men, but that says more about them than about ID.

  19. 19
    RodW says:

    In the most general sense? No

    If the designer is God then an argument agaist God is an arguement against the designer. If the designer can be aliens then its not. And its certainly not if one takes ID in the general sense of detecting design in nature, whether the design is in Stonehenge or the Yonaguni temple.

  20. 20
    Phinehas says:

    If the designer is God then an argument agaist God is an arguement against the designer. If the designer can be aliens then its not.

    And whether the designer is God or an alien is of absolutely no concern to ID*. It may be of concern to some (though not all) who hold an ID view of life’s origins, but it is of no concern to ID. It cannot be of any concern to ID unless ID has within it a mechanism for determining whether the designer was God or an alien. ID has no such mechanism. If you believe it should have such a mechanism, then feel free to propose one.

    * However, it often appears to be of immense concern to those who oppose ID, often to the point that they cannot seem to let go of their concern in the face of countless corrections.

  21. 21
    Eric Anderson says:

    Bob O’H @1:

    Seriously, what is the IDers’ answer to the “who designed the designer” question?

    Why should answering this (potentially faulty) question be an obligation of ID?

    Do you recognize that identifying design is logically separate from identifying a designer? And that identifying a designer is logically separate from questions about where such designer came from?

    As I have said previously and will repeat here:

    ID is not an attempt to answer all questions. It is a limited inquiry into whether something was designed. Questions about who, why, how, when are all interesting second-order questions that can be asked only after an inference to design is drawn. You may want, deeply in your heart of hearts, for ID to answer all of those questions. But that is a failure of your expectations, not ID itself.

  22. 22
    asauber says:

    they cannot seem to let go of their concern in the face of countless corrections

    This is a characteristic of those who live under bridges.

    Andrew

  23. 23
    Sebestyen says:

    Seriously, what is the IDers’ answer to the “who designed the designer” question?

    I can’t speak for others, but my stance is as follows:

    No matter if the designer is part of this universe (e. g. an alien lifeform of any sort) or if the designer exists outside our universe (e. g. a God or someone who runs our universe as some sort of computer simulation), we’d have to identify this designer before we could even begin to investigate. Until then, any discussion regarding this topic is purely philosophical/speculative simply because there’s no data available.

    This and the fact that ID doesn’t even work on identifying the designer should make it obvious that ID doesn’t have an answer, nor does it strive to find one.

    Sebestyen

  24. 24
    Eric Anderson says:

    Let me also add this critical point:

    Design does not have to answer a “how” in the same way that purely natural explanations need to. That is because we are dealing with two different domains. Design is not a mechanistic theory. It is a theory about choice, about intentionality, about intelligence. You don’t need to know how the ancients built the pyramids or stonehenge, or the precise design and manufacturing process for how a solid state flash drive was built, to know that such things were designed.

    In stark contrast, chance and natural-law-driven processes are all about the mechanism. They are purely mechanistic theories that live or die by identifying a natural physical mechanism.

    Many materialists (because, again, they can’t see past their materialism), want to demand that ID provide some kind of detailed mechanistic explanation for design. That demand is based on a misunderstanding, because ID is not a mechanistic theory. That is not a failure of ID. It is a failure by the materialist to understand the different domains we are dealing with.

  25. 25
    Eric Anderson says:

    Sebestyen @23:

    . . . we’d have to identify this designer before we could even begin to investigate?

    Investigate what? Whether something is designed? Certainly not.

    Unfortunately you apparently don’t understand the design inference and how it works, whether in biology or in any other field (archaeology, forensics, etc.). You need to think through the chain of inquiry more carefully.

  26. 26
    RodW says:

    And whether the designer is God or an alien is of absolutely no concern to ID*

    Whether or not there is design apparent in living things, it should be irrelevant who the designer is. That seems obvious. On the other hand, I dont think its unreasonable to think that the nature of the designer will have some influence on the type of design, though I cant think of an example now.

    I think Stephen Meyer has actually contradicted this core principle of ID. In recent years he’s tied the justification for using ID for biology to the ‘fine-tuning’ argument. Fine tuning of the physical constants could only be accomplished by God

  27. 27

    It seems rather foolish to eliminate intelligent design as a POSSIBLE answer to the origin of life question, especially in light of modern molecular biology and chemistry.

    To me, the evidence for intelligent design is overwhelming. The real question is who (or what) caused it.

    Also, the intelligent design community has done a great service to science by highlighting the many difficulties in the theory of neo-Darwinian evolution (of all varieties).

    Jonathan Wells points out the many fraudulent icons of Darwinian theory and a/mats hate him. Not because he pointed out the proven frauds, but because he dares to challenge the theory of Darwinian evolution.

    Michael Behe points out the highly efficient nano-machinery within the cell and is hated by a/mats because he argues against Darwinian theory being able to build those machines.

    Stephen Meyer points out the computer-like coding and information bearing properties within the DNA molecule and a/mats hate him for daring to think that such coding might have arose from an intelligent source.

    Me thinks the a/mats doth protest too much!

  28. 28
    asauber says:

    The thing is, the EvoTrolls that swarm here don’t have an explanation for the universe, or complexity in biology, or the mind, or… or… or…

    BUT

    they don’t like Christians, so here we are.

    Andrew

  29. 29
    Barry Arrington says:

    I direct everyone to Weak Argument Corrective Number 22 (under “Resources”) on our home page. This has been up for several years:

    Intelligent design theory seeks only to determine whether or not an object was designed. Since it studies only the empirically evident effects of design, it cannot directly detect the identity of the designer; much less, can it detect the identity of the “designer’s designer.” Science, per se, can only discern the evidence-based implication that a designer was once present.

    BTW, the weak argument corrective section is specifically for boring zombie-like arguments such as the one Bob O’H raised. We drive a stake through the heart of these arguments over and over and over; yet no matter how many stakes and garlic and holy water we use, these arguments keep rising from grave. I take comfort from the certain knowledge that we must be onto something if the best our opponents can do is to recycle tired old arguments that were discredited many years ago.

  30. 30
    Origenes says:

    RodW @26

    I think Stephen Meyer has actually contradicted this core principle of ID. In recent years he’s tied the justification for using ID for biology to the ‘fine-tuning’ argument.

    Can you provide a quote?

    Fine tuning of the physical constants could only be accomplished by God

    Given some sort of multiverse, there are multiple other options. Moreover, perhaps we live in a computer simulation, designed by some alien scientist.

  31. 31
    Bob O'H says:

    Eric @ 21 (and some of my comments are also responses to other comments: sorry for not listing them all) –

    Seriously, what is the IDers’ answer to the “who designed the designer” question?

    Why should answering this (potentially faulty) question be an obligation of ID?

    The short answer is because you should follow the evidence where it leads.

    Now the long answer…

    First, I asked the question as Barry had stated it, and it’s only a sensible question under certain assumptions. So if I might shift my goalposts a bit, I think better questions would be “who or what is the designer?”, and “what can we say about the designer?”. The first question is the obvious one to ask, once one has identified the activity of a designer. But it may not be answerable (or, it may not be answerable by science). In this case, the second question becomes more important, and providing answers to that is probably the route to answering the first anyway.

    Why should we answer these questions anyway? Well, because we want to learn about the world, how it operates, how it came to be etc. So once we’ve identified something important about it, e.g. that there has been intelligent design going on, curiosity compels us to ask about that design. I mean, why would we give up trying to explore a great mystery?

    One possible response is that we can’t say anything about the designer. But I think this is mis-guided. If the designer is super-natural then yes, at some point we’ll find we can’t make progress (or we find we have definitive evidence of supernatural behaviour). But until then, we can certainly make advances. For example, if we have a fairly reliable design detector, then we can use it to look for where design has happened, and then try to classify what has and has not been designed. This can help us try to identify the intent of the designer. Perhaps there is an excess of design in beetles, justifying the Haldane thesis. This will give us a clue as to what the designer can or wants to do.

    If we have an idea about what the designer has done, we might be able to look for motivation. Does the pattern of design point to the designer trying to push Life in some direction, for example.

    All of this would be for the future of Intelligent Design. But the point is that there is potential to start asking about the designer, and even if ID can’t give definitive answers, it may help those who are looking for answers in other ways by pointing them in the right direction.

  32. 32
    Bob O'H says:

    Andrew @ 28 – FWIW, I like and admire a lot of Christians. So I guess I’m not an EvoTroll. 🙂

  33. 33
    Origenes says:

    Bob O’H @31

    Why should we answer these questions anyway? Well, because we want to learn about the world, … I mean, why would we give up trying to explore a great mystery?

    You are correct, we should not and we do not. However it is outside the domain of ID. ID is a modest limited inquiry into whether something was designed. That’s all.

  34. 34
    Dionisio says:

    asauber @28:

    The thing is, the EvoTrolls that swarm here don’t have an explanation for the universe, or complexity in biology, or the mind, or… or… or…
    BUT
    they don’t like Christians, so here we are.

    They lack serious arguments, they don’t have what it takes to get into a serious scientific discussion, hence they simply try to derail the threads. That’s all.

    In the beautiful Norwegian fjords I saw many trolls, but they really were much nicer than the ones we encounter here. Actually, most tourists want to have pictures (or selfies) taken next to them.

    I don’t think they dislike Christians as much as they hate Christ. Actually, many self-proclaimed “Christians” act as worldly as the spiritually lost folks. Maybe because they are just Christ’s “fans”, not His followers. That’s quite a difference. Perhaps sometimes I do that too. As the Apostle Paul wrote, we do things we don’t want to do, and don’t do things we want to do. We want to serve our God and thankfully worship Him. That’s why the more we look like our Lord, the more the world will hate us. Because they really hate Him, not us. Their real problem is not with us, but with our Maker, our sovereign King of kings.
    One day every knee will bow and every tongue will confess that Christ is Lord. But then it will be too late for many who did not accept His gracious saving offer now.

  35. 35
    Pindi says:

    Origines, you don’t think finding some answers to Bob’s questions would provide supporting evidence for the design hypothesis? A conclusion that intelligent design occurred would surely be much stronger if the designer was also identified?

  36. 36

    RodW and Bob O’H:

    What produces the behavioral regularities of matter and energy which we call universal constants and natural laws?

  37. 37
    Eric Anderson says:

    Bob O’H @31:

    Thank you for the willingness to backtrack a little bit and discuss things more substantively.

    As you know, the “who designed the designer” question has never served as a genuine effort at discussion and understanding. It is a red herring that is put forward only as an attempt to discredit the concept of design before even addressing it. It is philosophically questionable and does not address intelligent design scientifically.

    However, there are some other interesting questions that could be asked — second-order questions that might be worth investigating after we have concluded design.

    I agree with you that we can certainly say something about the designer. Specifically, at the very least we can say that the designer was capable of producing the particular design in question.

    There are some other inquiries that could be made, but we have to be extremely cautious that we are not going beyond the evidence and into speculative or philosophical territory. Some may want to do so. Fine. Others may wish to stick closer to what can be demonstrated by the science.

    I don’t have any problem with someone speculating about things beyond ID — as long as they clear that they are going beyond ID, and as long as critics are intellectually honest enough to acknowledge the difference.

    —–

    So, if you want to reframe your question along the following lines, you might get a better reception:

    “I realize that intelligent design is limited to inferring design in specific cases and that it doesn’t seek to identify the precise how or by whom. Once we have concluded design, however, what else can we conclude about the designer and what kinds of additional questions can we ask that would help us learn more about the designer? I understand these things go beyond the design inference itself, but they might be worthwhile follow-up questions.”

  38. 38
    Dionisio says:

    Origenes @33:

    ID is a modest limited inquiry into whether something was designed. That’s all.

    Well stated. That’s it.
    Why is it so difficult for some politely-dissenting interlocutors here to understand such a simple concept?

    Could it be that they just don’t want to understand it?

    That’s why philosophically and theologically ID is literally a very rich and colorful “eintopf”. The association of ID with Christianity is superficial.
    The main three monotheistic beliefs (the one that started in BC, the one that started AD and the one that started in the 6th century) agree on most ID precepts. There are different shades of those three major groups here in this blog. Also there are ID proponents beyond those three major groups. We see them here too.

    Basically ID is what you wrote:

    ID is a modest limited inquiry into whether something was designed. That’s all.

    The ultimate reality is beyond the revelatory power of science.

    Only Our Creator Himself can reveal to us the mysteries that are hidden to science. What, when, how and to whom He reveals is totally up to Him, according to the purpose of His immutable will. We ask Him for wisdom to understand the evidences and interpret correctly their meaning.

  39. 39
    Origenes says:

    Pindi @35

    I am not sure. Is a flash drive “more designed” once we know the person who designed it?

    WJM once posed the question:

    … were we to find certain kinds of objects/phenomena on distant, uninhabited and otherwise desolate planets, would we be able to infer that such were most likely specifically designed by intelligent creatures of some sort for some purpose?

    WJM offered a battleship as an example .
    Here the same questions apply: Is there any doubt about such a thing being designed? Does its ‘designedness’ increase once we know the designer?

  40. 40
    Sebestyen says:

    @Eric:

    Investigate what? Whether something is designed? Certainly not.

    The question who designed the designer, of course. That’s what this whole discussion was about and what should be obvious from the rest of my post…

  41. 41
    Macauley86 says:

    Bob @ 31

    The short answer is because you should follow the evidence where it leads.

    And where does the evidence lead?

    When you have a universe that, from the first instant of its life, has been governed by a precise subset of mathematical and chemical parameters (http://physics.info/equations/), where does the evidence lead?

    When we send into space a purely informational 210-byte Arecibo message that should constitute evidence to its recipients that it is the product of intelligent minds, and then we turn around and see that we are the product of a sophisticated and supremely resilient base-4 digital code that in only 750 MB can assemble sentient and procreative life forms in a structure in many ways similar to human computer code (https://ds9a.nl/amazing-dna/), where does that evidence lead?

    I find ironic that rational people try to convince other rational people that to infer that a rationally intelligible universe is the product of a rational mind is irrational, and that the intellectual high ground should by conceded to those who infer that such universe is instead the product of a causal entity with the thinking ability of a rock.

  42. 42
    Eric Anderson says:

    Pindi @35:

    Origines, you don’t think finding some answers to Bob’s questions would provide supporting evidence for the design hypothesis? A conclusion that intelligent design occurred would surely be much stronger if the designer was also identified?

    It isn’t clear what you are asking, but a few things:

    1. If by “identify” the designer, you mean that we should speculate or guess, then, no, that doesn’t strengthen the design inference. It would just be unhelpful speculation.

    2. If by “identify” the designer, you mean that we should use what we know about the design to try and infer who the designer might be, then, no, that doesn’t really impact the design inference itself. It might be an interesting second-order issue, and we would then have a separate, additional inference about the possible identity of the designer, but it would not be particularly important to the initial inference of design regarding the artifact itself.

    3. If by “identify” the designer, you mean that if we knew who the designer was then our confidence about design would be stronger, then, yes, confirmed, observational knowledge is stronger than an inference. But the whole point of the design inference is to have a reliable way to infer design in the absence of actual observational evidence. (And we can’t avoid the design issue by simply asserting that we can’t even consider design until we know it was designed — a favorite rhetorical ploy of circular reasoning by critics of intelligent design.)

    —–

    P.S. Also, we should not overestimate the difference between actual observational confirmation of design and the inference to design. Undoubtedly there are gradations of the strength of inference, but in many cases it is nearly as conclusive.

    For example, if I watch someone build an impressive sand castle on the beach, I now have actual observational evidence that they designed the sand castle. In this case I don’t need an inference to design, because I have actual knowledge. Let’s even assume for good measure that I know who the person is and can concretely “identify” them.

    Later after we leave a stranger walks down the beach and sees this impressive sand castle. They will not have actual observational knowledge, they will not know the identity of the designer. They will have to infer design.

    We could argue that I have more evidence or stronger evidence or a better reason to support my conclusion of design. And perhaps at the edges that is true. But the difference in the strength of our conviction, the correctness of our conclusion is exceedingly slight, to the point of hardly being a factor in most practical instances.

    So while an inference will always be somewhat less conclusive than actual observational evidence, that does not mean that an inference is weak or that it is subject to reasonable attack by hyper-skeptical rhetorical games and refusals to address the evidence already at hand.

  43. 43
    hammaspeikko says:

    WJM:

    What produces the behavioral regularities of matter and energy which we call universal constants and natural laws?

    If ID were happy with limiting the designer’s influence to establishing the universal constants, you would have a point. But most of us believe that it goes well beyond that, being intimately involved in the origin of life and the changes thereafter.

    The designer must interact with the material world at some point. I think that it is a fair criticism of ID that it doesn’t make any attempts to do research into identifying and explaining these interactions.

  44. 44
    Eric Anderson says:

    Sebestyen @40:

    Thanks for the clarification. I apologize if I misread your earlier comment.

    I thought you were suggesting that “we’d have to identify this designer before we could begin to investigate” [the question of design], and that a problem with ID is that “it doesn’t even work on identifying the designer.”

    I see now that you were explaining why people should not expect an answer to “who designed the designer” from ID, because ID doesn’t seek to address that question.

    Good points.

    Please accept my sincere apologies.

  45. 45

    hammaspeikko @43,

    Please don’t assume you know where I am going with my question; instead, just answer the question – or Bob O’H, RodW or Pindi:

    What produces the behavioral regularities of matter and energy which we call universal constants and natural laws?

    The designer must interact with the material world at some point. I think that it is a fair criticism of ID that it doesn’t make any attempts to do research into identifying and explaining these interactions.

    It would be fair criticism of ID if if ID was about identifying and explaining either the designer or the processes the designer used. It is not, and so it is not a fair criticism. It’s a criticism of a straw man. Anti-IDists are impervious to education about this point because “who designed the designer” has become a central piece of anti-ID rhetoric and ID denialism.

    We can determine that some things are designed without knowing the first thing about the designer or his/her/its methods. Until you can admit this, you’re residing in ID denialism.

  46. 46
    EricMH says:

    @asauber, @bob & @phinehas: the reason why all material explanations are inadequate is that nothing material can instantiate teleology, insofar as material is defined as “operates according to the laws of physics.”

    Newtonian physics are deterministic.
    Quantum physics are probabilistic.
    Neither are teleological.

    Therefore, any instance of ID, whether from humans, God or something else, originates with a supernatural being. ID can be transmitted via material means, but the origin is always with something immaterial/supernatural.

    This is the inescapable conclusion of ID, and should be accepted regardless of PR. Otherwise, we are like the materialists we disparage.

  47. 47
    rvb8 says:

    WJM,

    asks the patronising question; ‘What produces the behavioural regularities of matter and energy which we call uniersal constants and natural law?’

    My question’ ‘What allows design folk the right to ask deep scientific questions when their contribution to basic science is zero?’

    Time and time again IDists ask questions while providing zero research. Is this the model for ID investigation?

    And then, the nature of the question. So outlandishly obscure as to make the eyes water; What the hell does, ‘behavioural regularities of matter and energy’, mean?

    It’s matter it doesn’t ‘behave’, it is constrained by universal laws. These are the same laws that govern nature, cause particles to interact, and ultimately, on a tiny insignificant rock, led to us.

    If you choose to call these constraining laws God, or the Designer, fine, I have no proble with that. It’s just your intentionalist interferer with the natural world I, and other atheists object to.

    And rightfully so, given the absolute non-existant evidence, you never profer for said mallingering outside help.

  48. 48
    hammaspeikko says:

    WJM:

    Please don’t assume you know where I am going with my question; instead, just answer the question – or Bob O’H, RodW or Pindi:

    Where you were going is obvious. My answer is God.

    It would be fair criticism of ID if if ID was about identifying and explaining either the designer or the processes the designer used. It is not, and so it is not a fair criticism.

    Nonsense. Of course it is fair criticism. Archaeologists don’t stop at identifying artifacts or ancient sites. They also make efforts to identify the culture that produced them, the tools they use, when they were built, etc. And they publish extensively on these. ID frequently draws analogy to archaeology, language, etc. but makes no effort to perform the types of extended research that are integral parts of these fields.

    I must admit that when I try to defend ID to others, I have no rational argument as to why ID scientists resist extending their research to the logical next steps.

  49. 49
    Pindi says:

    hammaspeikko, re your last point, yes, especially when ID claims to have succeeded already in detecting design in life. Now what? Pack up and go home?

    WJM I have no idea of the answer to your question or if its even a valid question. Whats your answer – do you claim to know what produced those things?

  50. 50
    Eric Anderson says:

    hammaspeikko @43:

    I think that it is a fair criticism of ID that it doesn’t make any attempts to do research into identifying and explaining these interactions.

    Can you give us 2 or 3 concrete examples of what you are thinking of in this regard?

  51. 51
    hammaspeikko says:

    EA:

    Can you give us 2 or 3 concrete examples of what you are thinking of in this regard?

    That’s a good question. I wish I had a definitive answer, but I don’t. But I guess a starting point would be to hypothesize how the designer could possibly interact with the material world and then look for evidence of this. All I know is that our adamant refusal to do anything does not reflect well on ID.

  52. 52
    Origenes says:

    W J Murray:

    What produces the behavioral regularities of matter and energy which we call universal constants and natural laws?

    I do not know the answer to that question. However, I know one thing: it is NOT matter and energy. Matter and energy do neither influence the universal constants nor the laws.
    Theoretical physicist Paul Davies wrote:

    Physical processes, however violent or complex, are thought to have absolutely no effect on the laws. There is thus a curious asymmetry: physical processes depend on laws but the laws do not depend on physical processes. Although this statement cannot be proved, it is widely accepted.

    What does it mean for naturalism if the laws have no (bottom-up) explanation?

    Paul Davies: There has long been a tacit assumption that the laws of physics were somehow imprinted on the universe at the outset, and have remained immutable thereafter.

    ‘Immutable laws which were somehow imprinted’ doesn’t have a nice clear naturalistic ring to it.

    Paul Davies: What is the origin of these laws? Why do they have the form that they do, as opposed to a limitless number of other forms?

    Naturalism cannot answer these questions. It must also be pointed out that it is unknown where the laws reside or how they compel matter and energy to follow their ‘instructions’.
    Cosmologist Joel Primack once posed the question: “What is it that makes the electrons continue to follow the laws?”
    Indeed, what power compels physical objects to follow the laws of nature?

    Given that universal constants and laws cannot be explained by matter and energy, does that make them “supernatural”?
    The answer must be ‘yes.’

  53. 53
    kairosfocus says:

    EMH, 46:

    Actually, the point is that we start as rationally contemplative, responsible, designing creatures ourselves. We know from the inside that design is possible as it is actual.

    Indeed, the s-t-r-i-n-g data structures filled with functionally specific, complex organised, information-rich glyphs provided by objectors as above, are cases in point. That is, on a trillion-member data base, we know that FSCO/I is a reliable signature of design. We know, too, on analysis of search challenge in large fields of possibilities, that blind chance and mechanical necessity have negligible plausibility as explanations of said FSCO/I — cf the Davies-Walker clip to follow.

    What we do not fully know is the ultimate nature of functional, responsibly free intelligence. Though, we can see that just to have a discussion, we must be responsibly and rationally self-moved and significantly free. Or else, we will be trapped in blindly mechanical and/or stochastic GIGO-limited computation on some sort of substrate that boils down to some form of refined rock. Where such computation is inherently not free, rational contemplation, it is Leibniz’s mill-wheels grinding against one another blindly.

    So, the empirical analysis points to the categorical difference between cause-effect chains (however organised up to the GIGO limits as we just saw with MS and the holes exploited for the ransom ware attacks) and genuinely free, self-moved, conscience impelled striving towards truth, reason and right i/l/o ground-consequent or best explanation-unifying inferences and the like.

    We can, I suppose say such are super-natural, as meaning not driven and controlled by blind dynamic-stochastic causal chains.

    But to go on beyond that is to traipse into ontology, perhaps not realising that the domain of investigation and appropriate methods have changed; where, materialists are typically blind to that point. Note, for a couple of months now at UD, across several still very live threads, we have explored that wider context.

    Part of my motivation in taking initiative on such is to illustrate the sort of contrast I just pointed out, and to help make it clearer. One implication is, we need to ponder the issue that on alternatives, a temporal-causal, stage-wise order — cf our world — points to a finitely remote, necessary being world-root. Likewise, our being responsibly and rationally free demands that such a root provide an adequate framework for moral government.

    But all of this is across the border in philosophy.

    We have more than adequate empirical and logical grounds to infer from FSCO/I as observable sign, to intelligently directed causal process as key responsible factor.

    This is only controversial because it challenges sacred cows of our day in views of origins of cell based life and an evidently fine tuned cosmos.

    KF

    PS: Davies and Walker, with food for thought:

    In physics, particularly in statistical mechanics, we base many of our calculations on the assumption of metric transitivity, which asserts that a system’s trajectory will eventually [–> given “enough time and search resources”] explore the entirety of its state space – thus everything that is phys-ically possible will eventually happen. It should then be trivially true that one could choose an arbitrary “final state” (e.g., a living organism) and “explain” it by evolving the system backwards in time choosing an appropriate state at some ’start’ time t_0 (fine-tuning the initial state). In the case of a chaotic system the initial state must be specified to arbitrarily high precision. But this account amounts to no more than saying that the world is as it is because it was as it was, and our current narrative therefore scarcely constitutes an explanation in the true scientific sense.

    We are left in a bit of a conundrum with respect to the problem of specifying the initial conditions necessary to explain our world. A key point is that if we require specialness in our initial state (such that we observe the current state of the world and not any other state) metric transitivity cannot hold true, as it blurs any dependency on initial conditions – that is, it makes little sense for us to single out any particular state as special by calling it the ’initial’ state. If we instead relax the assumption of metric transitivity (which seems more realistic for many real world physical systems – including life), then our phase space will consist of isolated pocket regions and it is not necessarily possible to get to any other physically possible state (see e.g. Fig. 1 for a cellular automata example).

    [–> or, there may not be “enough” time and/or resources for the relevant exploration, i.e. we see the 500 – 1,000 bit complexity threshold at work vs 10^57 – 10^80 atoms with fast rxn rates at about 10^-13 to 10^-15 s leading to inability to explore more than a vanishingly small fraction on the gamut of Sol system or observed cosmos . . . the only actually, credibly observed cosmos]

    Thus the initial state must be tuned to be in the region of phase space in which we find ourselves [–> notice, fine tuning], and there are regions of the configuration space our physical universe would be excluded from accessing, even if those states may be equally consistent and permissible under the microscopic laws of physics (starting from a different initial state). Thus according to the standard picture, we require special initial conditions to explain the complexity of the world, but also have a sense that we should not be on a particularly special trajectory to get here (or anywhere else) as it would be a sign of fine–tuning of the initial conditions. [ –> notice, the “loading”] Stated most simply, a potential problem with the way we currently formulate physics is that you can’t necessarily get everywhere from anywhere (see Walker [31] for discussion). [“The “Hard Problem” of Life,” June 23, 2016, a discussion by Sara Imari Walker and Paul C.W. Davies at Arxiv.]

  54. 54
    Bob O'H says:

    Origenes @ 33, Dinosio @ 38: But why does ID limit itself to just saying “this might was designed”? It seems an arbitrary restriction, and is probably detrimental to detecting design (if we know something about how the designer works, it’s easier to tune our design detector. This is a bit like the NFL argument).

    Of course, you could keep this restriction,and then invent a new research area (Intelligent Designer Studies?) which asks questions about the possible intentions and methods of the designer, in the way I outlined above.

  55. 55
    kairosfocus says:

    RVB8:

    Time and time again IDists ask questions while providing zero research.

    A lie.

    (For, to speak with willful disregard to truth in hope that what you say or suggest will be taken as true is to lie.)

    First, as has been repeatedly pointed out, there are dozens of peer-reviewed and edited articles supportive of design theory. In fact people have completed PhD’s in related fields, investigating ID-linked topics, most notably Durston. Directly linked, there is a large zone of articles in the general peer reviewed and edited or professional literature; articles that provide highly relevant findings.

    Of course, that is all being conveniently ignored.

    But the real agit-prop target is, shut-up rhetoric meant to tag, denigrate, smear, brand, shame, disqualify and dismiss those who are discussing ID favourably in this forum or similar venues. Such are few but are obviously sufficiently influential to attract prolonged attacks by evolutionary materialism advocates and fellow travellers. Nowadays, they like to wear lab coats. In Plato’s day, they set up as teachers of worldly wisdom who offered a final polish to the ambitious young man of the ilk of an Alcibiades.

    Instantly, the apt reply is, this is a double standard as the vast majority of objectors to ID found in the ranks of the agit prop armies and stalkers are not exactly noted for major contributions in the professional literature. The selectively hyperskeptical double standard game is its own refutation.

    But in fact, this specific forum and others like it have provided important openly accessible discussions on developments, and have provided a base for significant thought and insights.

    That reminds me of how a good newspaper can save a nation under siege, such that the most important discussion is there in the open, not in some obscure journal or conference. Had MNI had such an open, transparent, well-backed up public discussion since c. 1986 – 88 when the key studies were provided to officials, we would not be where we are today.

    Policy, knowledge and related issues of existential character are far too important to be left to the closed shop guilds of today’s schoolmen, and to the political deals struck behind the closed doors of the proverbially smoke-filled rooms. Though, these days, those who smoke have to go outside to indulge. (I testify, that some of the most important conversations are during those smoking breaks; never mind I am actually allergic to the stuff.)

    Of course, there is an obvious, widespread campaign to de-platform and disqualify or discredit those who are standing up to champion needed reforms in the key institutions of our culture. A culture that seems to be all too literally hell-bent on a ruinous march of folly to the point that black shirts again haunt our streets and campuses and far too much of the major media are playing out the crudest of spin doctor shadow show games.

    Agit-prop, in short.

    (How naive we are! Do you think the same sort of folks who offer to shape demand for soap, soup, cars, paper tubes full of cancer-causing shredded, dried leaves and the like at a cost of, cumulatively, billions, will suddenly turn around and play it straight-arrow with news, education and pundit views? Really, now.)

    Under such circumstances, platforms like UD are doubly important. We should support, visit, chew on food for thought, share with our circles.

    And that’s the secret sauce: years ago, I learned that if most people come to an event because they saw the adverts, the campaign failed. If most came because of the buzz, the campaign worked.

    We are getting a lot of flak, we are getting close to the target. That’s why the ack-ack belts are there and are shooting for all they are worth.

    Hold the line on the bombing run, though that means we will take casualties. It’s good bombing runs that take out targets.

    (And as at Ploesti in 1943, it helps to be converging from all sort of directions at once; whether or not that is pre-planned.)

    KF

  56. 56
    kairosfocus says:

    RVB8:

    What the hell does, ‘behavioural regularities of matter and energy’, mean?

    Oh, let’s guess, Physics for one.

    As in, say, this from Newton in Opticks, Query 31:

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

    As in, the same context where he said:

    Now by the help of [[the laws of motion], all material Things seem to have been composed of the hard and solid Particles above-mention’d, variously associated in the first Creation by the Counsel of an intelligent Agent. For it became him who created them to set them in order. And if he did so, it’s unphilosophical to seek for any other Origin of the World, or to pretend that it might arise out of a Chaos by the mere Laws of Nature; though being once form’d, it may continue by those Laws for many Ages . . . .

    And if natural Philosophy in all its Parts, by pursuing this Method, shall at length be perfected, the Bounds of Moral Philosophy will be also enlarged. For so far as we can know by natural Philosophy what is the first Cause, what Power he has over us, and what Benefits we receive from him, so far our Duty towards him, as well as that towards one another, will appear to us by the Light of Nature. ” [[If you are tempted to dismiss this as an afterthought imposed in old age (and to do much the same for Newton’s General Scholium in Principia), with insinuations of senility hovering in the background, it would help to read here and here. HT, VJT of UD. Newton was a thoroughgoing design- evident- in- nature oriented theist from at least his prime years on, on the record of primary materials in the Newtonian corpus, and had probably always been a theist, albeit evidently not an orthodox Nicene Creed believer.]

    KF

  57. 57

    In response to my question:

    What produces the behavioral regularities of matter and energy which we call universal constants and natural laws?

    We still have some assuming they know where I’m going with the question, others who answer honestly with “I don’t know”, and another who refuses to answer.

    So, the honest answer is, “I don’t know”. Now, when the naturalist/materialist says that gravity or inertia or the weak nuclear force is the explanation for certain phenomena, do they then immediately demand to know what causes those causes?

    No. And they would reject anyone claiming that the inability to identify and explain what causes natural laws and universal constants represents a fatal flaw in their naturalist or materialist models/descriptions.

    Is it a valid criticism of naturalist descriptions to ask, “what causes those causes”, and if it cannot be answered, dismiss naturalist models? No, because science doesn’t claim to have those answers nor does it even claim to ever be able to answer those questions because they may in fact be outside of the purview of science (since methodological materialism can only refer descriptions to the regularities/laws/constants, what causes those things are outside of the set of what those things describe).

    That what causes laws/constants is at least currently outside the scope of scientific inquiry and is completely unknown doesn’t mean that descriptions utilizing those laws/constants should be ignored or dismissed. Similarly, the question of “what designed the designer” or “what/who caused the designer” is not within the scope of ID investigation, nor does the inability to answer that question invalidate the usefulness of finding ID as the best cause of a phenomena.

    hammaspeikko said:

    Nonsense. Of course it is fair criticism. Archaeologists don’t stop at identifying artifacts or ancient sites. They also make efforts to identify the culture that produced them, the tools they use, when they were built, etc. And they publish extensively on these.

    ID is not archaeology, hammaspeikko. It is a much more narrow discipline, focusing purely on the capacity to discern the product of intelligent design in certain cases. You may want ID to be about more than that, and you may think ID should be about more than that, but that’s your problem, not ID’s. Until you accept what ID is actually about, and focus your ID arguments on that, then you are making fallacious, misinformed, straw-man arguments.

    ID is applicable to archaeology, cryptology, forensics, SETI, and other fields because it represents the very narrow arena of identifying some phenomena as best explained as the result of intelligent design/cause. In archaeology, it would be the initial discernment of an object as being of artificial origin instead of natural. Same with SETI. With forensics, it would be determining that a fire or a death was not the result of accident or natural causes. In cryptology, it would be the determination that a pattern represented a deliberate, hidden code.

    The investigation from that point on is the province of other fields of inquiry, not ID.

  58. 58
    kairosfocus says:

    RVB8:

    If you choose to call these constraining laws God, or the Designer, fine, I have no proble with that. It’s just your intentionalist interferer with the natural world I, and other atheists object to.

    Actually, laws point to lawgiver, and that is of redoubled force in a day when the physics of the cosmos is plainly fine tuned and set to a deeply isolated operating point for C-chemistry, aqueous medium cell based life.

    Note Walker and Davies, yet again this morning, on the significance of fine tuning in the light of statistical thermodynamics issues and the underlying consituttion of our cosmos:

    In physics, particularly in statistical mechanics, we base many of our calculations on the assumption of metric transitivity, which asserts that a system’s trajectory will eventually [–> given “enough time and search resources”] explore the entirety of its state space – thus everything that is phys-ically possible will eventually happen. It should then be trivially true that one could choose an arbitrary “final state” (e.g., a living organism) and “explain” it by evolving the system backwards in time choosing an appropriate state at some ’start’ time t_0 (fine-tuning the initial state). In the case of a chaotic system the initial state must be specified to arbitrarily high precision. But this account amounts to no more than saying that the world is as it is because it was as it was, and our current narrative therefore scarcely constitutes an explanation in the true scientific sense.

    We are left in a bit of a conundrum with respect to the problem of specifying the initial conditions necessary to explain our world. A key point is that if we require specialness in our initial state (such that we observe the current state of the world and not any other state) metric transitivity cannot hold true, as it blurs any dependency on initial conditions – that is, it makes little sense for us to single out any particular state as special by calling it the ’initial’ state. If we instead relax the assumption of metric transitivity (which seems more realistic for many real world physical systems – including life), then our phase space will consist of isolated pocket regions and it is not necessarily possible to get to any other physically possible state (see e.g. Fig. 1 for a cellular automata example).

    [–> or, there may not be “enough” time and/or resources for the relevant exploration, i.e. we see the 500 – 1,000 bit complexity threshold at work vs 10^57 – 10^80 atoms with fast rxn rates at about 10^-13 to 10^-15 s leading to inability to explore more than a vanishingly small fraction on the gamut of Sol system or observed cosmos . . . the only actually, credibly observed cosmos]

    Thus the initial state must be tuned to be in the region of phase space in which we find ourselves [–> notice, fine tuning], and there are regions of the configuration space our physical universe would be excluded from accessing, even if those states may be equally consistent and permissible under the microscopic laws of physics (starting from a different initial state). Thus according to the standard picture, we require special initial conditions to explain the complexity of the world, but also have a sense that we should not be on a particularly special trajectory to get here (or anywhere else) as it would be a sign of fine–tuning of the initial conditions. [ –> notice, the “loading”] Stated most simply, a potential problem with the way we currently formulate physics is that you can’t necessarily get everywhere from anywhere (see Walker [31] for discussion). [“The “Hard Problem” of Life,” June 23, 2016, a discussion by Sara Imari Walker and Paul C.W. Davies at Arxiv.]

    That is what atheists have to answer to on the physics side.

    Nor its this new, here is Newton in his General Scholium to Principia:

    . . . This most beautiful system of the sun, planets, and comets, could only proceed from the counsel and dominion of an intelligent and powerful Being. And if the fixed stars are the centres of other like systems, these, being formed by the like wise counsel, must be all subject to the dominion of One; especially since the light of the fixed stars is of the same nature with the light of the sun, and from every system light passes into all the other systems: and lest the systems of the fixed stars should, by their gravity, fall on each other mutually, he hath placed those systems at immense distances one from another.

    This Being governs all things, not as the soul of the world, but as Lord over all; and on account of his dominion he is wont to be called Lord God pantokrator , or Universal Ruler; for God is a relative word, and has a respect to servants; and Deity is the dominion of God not over his own body, as those imagine who fancy God to be the soul of the world, but over servants. The Supreme God is a Being eternal, infinite, absolutely perfect; but a being, however perfect, without dominion, cannot be said to be Lord God; for we say, my God, your God, the God of Israel, the God of Gods, and Lord of Lords; but we do not say, my Eternal, your Eternal, the Eternal of Israel, the Eternal of Gods; we do not say, my Infinite, or my Perfect: these are titles which have no respect to servants. The word God usually signifies Lord; but every lord is not a God. It is the dominion of a spiritual being which constitutes a God: a true, supreme, or imaginary dominion makes a true, supreme, or imaginary God. And from his true dominion it follows that the true God is a living, intelligent, and powerful Being; and, from his other perfections, that he is supreme, or most perfect. He is eternal and infinite, omnipotent and omniscient; that is, his duration reaches from eternity to eternity; his presence from infinity to infinity; he governs all things, and knows all things that are or can be done. He is not eternity or infinity, but eternal and infinite; he is not duration or space, but he endures and is present. He endures for ever, and is every where present; and by existing always and every where, he constitutes duration and space. Since every particle of space is always, and every indivisible moment of duration is every where, certainly the Maker and Lord of all things cannot be never and no where. Every soul that has perception is, though in different times and in different organs of sense and motion, still the same indivisible person. There are given successive parts in duration, co-existent puts in space, but neither the one nor the other in the person of a man, or his thinking principle; and much less can they be found in the thinking substance of God. Every man, so far as he is a thing that has perception, is one and the same man during his whole life, in all and each of his organs of sense. God is the same God, always and every where. He is omnipresent not virtually only, but also substantially; for virtue cannot subsist without substance. In him are all things contained and moved [i.e. cites Ac 17, where Paul evidently cites Cleanthes]; yet neither affects the other: God suffers nothing from the motion of bodies; bodies find no resistance from the omnipresence of God. It is allowed by all that the Supreme God exists necessarily; and by the same necessity he exists always, and every where. [i.e accepts the cosmological argument to God.] Whence also he is all similar, all eye, all ear, all brain, all arm, all power to perceive, to understand, and to act; but in a manner not at all human, in a manner not at all corporeal, in a manner utterly unknown to us. As a blind man has no idea of colours, so have we no idea of the manner by which the all-wise God perceives and understands all things. He is utterly void of all body and bodily figure, and can therefore neither be seen, nor heard, or touched; nor ought he to be worshipped under the representation of any corporeal thing. [Cites Exod 20.] We have ideas of his attributes, but what the real substance of any thing is we know not. In bodies, we see only their figures and colours, we hear only the sounds, we touch only their outward surfaces, we smell only the smells, and taste the savours; but their inward substances are not to be known either by our senses, or by any reflex act of our minds: much less, then, have we any idea of the substance of God. We know him only by his most wise and excellent contrivances of things, and final cause [i.e from his designs]: we admire him for his perfections; but we reverence and adore him on account of his dominion: for we adore him as his servants; and a god without dominion, providence, and final causes, is nothing else but Fate and Nature. Blind metaphysical necessity, which is certainly the same always and every where, could produce no variety of things. [i.e necessity does not produce contingency] All that diversity of natural things which we find suited to different times and places could arise from nothing but the ideas and will of a Being necessarily existing. [That is, implicitly rejects chance, Plato’s third alternative and explicitly infers to the Designer of the Cosmos.] But, by way of allegory, God is said to see, to speak, to laugh, to love, to hate, to desire, to give, to receive, to rejoice, to be angry, to fight, to frame, to work, to build; for all our notions of God are taken from. the ways of mankind by a certain similitude, which, though not perfect, has some likeness, however. And thus much concerning God; to discourse of whom from the appearances of things, does certainly belong to Natural Philosophy.

    It looks like the rhetorical ack ack belts put up by atheists and fellow travellers, we can understand where the key targets are.

    KF

  59. 59
    EugeneS says:

    The best ever answer I saw to the question, who designed the designer, is this.

    Asking who designed the designer is the same as asking who painted the painter of a picture.

    It is indeed amusing to see people tripping over the same hurdles they themselves posted when they established ‘the rules of the game’. Either you follow the same rules or do not play the game. You cannot redefine the rules all the time.

  60. 60
    kairosfocus says:

    RVB8:

    the absolute non-existant evidence, you never profer for said mallingering outside help

    Of course, this is just a bluff of selective hyperskepticism. A lot of evidence has been discussed in recent weeks and months here at UD, cf the still live thread here on just for one (which also refutes your own talking points you used to confuse young converts), but oh it is so convenient to lie by sweeping it away with a brazen denial of evidence.

    By the lying evidentiary double-standards of the atheists shall ye know them.

    Sad.

    RVB8, I suggest you take time to think again on what you have been doing and saying.

    KF

  61. 61
    EugeneS says:

    Rbv

    It’s just your intentionalist interferer with the natural world I, and other atheists object to.

    Objections are fine, but you do not have a case. Take the small example of an information translation architecture and explain how it could have emerged purely naturalistically.

  62. 62
    kairosfocus says:

    HP,

    as it turns out, the investigation of computation vs rational contemplation, aka the hard problem of consciousness is a major research question that addresses the issue you name.

    My own thought on it is that Eng Derek Smith has had a useful insight when he talked of a cybernetic loop with a two-tier controller. The higher order controller interacts informationally with the lower one, and likely uses a shared memory with it. The lower one is an i/o loop controller computational device. With this framework we can ponder possibilities. My own thought is, we live in a world where the dominant micro-level explanation is quantum-based, and we know that we have a population of possibilities on initial conditions, so a quantum level influence process that pushes the outcome looks like a good place to start pondering. We know the observer is a key aspect of quantum physics, and the act of observing has significant influence, e.g. quantum double slit exercises.

    As touching OoL on earth, that is readily explainable on the onward path of the world of folks like Venter et al, i.e. nothing in cell based life requires more than a molecular nanotech lab some generations beyond Venter et al, and I think we will synthesise artificial cell based life within a century. (This is a point that has been made any number of times at UD, and BTW, you would profit from a reading of the UD weak argument correctives and definition of ID also the glossary under the resources tab at the tiop of this and every UD page.)

    Origin of the cosmos as a whole is another story, right now that is in the province of ontology, and we have discussed the implication of a necessary, world root being at finite remove from the current stage of this temporal-causal system we call our observed cosmos.

    A power capable of putting up a cosmos fine tuned for cell based life is something we can conceive and discuss but that is currently done under a different subject, philosophy; as this is not a place where there are direct observations to do science on. Though, it should be noted that the logic of being and origin is just as much a serious logical exercise as a linked subject, the logic of structure and quantity. AKA mathematics — and yes, science is impossible without the branch of applied philosophy we call mathematics. Where, FYI, Logic is one of the six or so main divisions of philosophy.

    For that matter, for cause, physics used to be called natural philosophy. To this day, Physics is a thinly veiled form of the Greek, PHUSIS, nature. meta-physics was originally just the name for Aristotle’s collected works beyond those that studied nature.

    When we embarked on that discussion over recent months, folks like RVB8 were studiously not seriously involved.

    And, it is unavoidably quite technical.

    Mind you, the discussions just outlined are also quite technical in their own ways, too.

    It may help you to realise that I came to ID through pondering thermodynamics and information systems, starting from the technical end. To see an outline, click on my handle.

    KF

  63. 63
    hammaspeikko says:

    Kairosfocus

    We know the observer is a key aspect of quantum physics, and the act of observing has significant influence, e.g. quantum double slit exercises.

    I think you misunderstand what is meant when referring to the observer effect. Let me copy from Wiki as a correction:

    In quantum mechanics, there is a common misconception that it is the mind of a conscious observer that only causes the observer effect in quantum processes. It is rooted in a misunderstanding of the quantum wave function ? and the quantum measurement process.

    As touching OoL on earth, that is readily explainable on the onward path of the world of folks like Venter et al, i.e. nothing in cell based life requires more than a molecular nanotech lab some generations beyond Venter et al, and I think we will synthesise artificial cell based life within a century. (This is a point that has been made any number of times at UD, and BTW, you would profit from a reading of the UD weak argument correctives and definition of ID also the glossary under the resources tab at the tiop of this and every UD page.)

    I’m afraid this is flawed logic. Just because we might be able to create life is not evidence that this is how life originated. We can also create diamonds. That doesn’t mean that diamonds mined from the earth were mined.

  64. 64
    kairosfocus says:

    HP,

    I suspect I was likely studying quantum physics when you were in diapers. Quantum physics is a domain where the observer is integral to the overall construction of the theory. That is why we still see Schroedinger’s cat being discussed, and it manifests itself in the quantum double slit phenomenon. Likewise in the uncertainty principle that there is irreducible uncertainty in observing certain pairs of state-defining variables, e.g. position and momentum or energy and time.

    In short, the observer is at the pivot.

    And no, I never said in that context that the only relevant observers were conscious, but I did point out that there is room for quantum level influence on states. Nothing I have seen rules out intentional and effective influence at that level.

    In short, you set up and knocked over a strawman caricature.

    Next, I pointed out that we see empirical pointers to an empirically adequate explanation of the FSCO/I rich phenomena of cell based life on earth. Where already we see actual engineering in molectular nanotech labs by Venter et al. I highlighted that I think within a century we should be able to synthesise artificial cells.

    That shows a path to an explanation that would be causal and points to adequate mechanisms, mechanisms that are already at functional albeit primitive level. Indeed we already have artificial additional bases for genomes (6 not the natural 4 as of last I saw) and more.

    In short, mechanisms were put on the table, answering earlier demands and even boasts that such do not exist.

    Your reaction?

    this is flawed logic. Just because we might be able to create life is not evidence that this is how life originated. We can also create diamonds. That doesn’t mean that diamonds mined from the earth were mined.

    That logic with a swivel shifting of goal posts shows a clear indication of selective hyperskepticism being at work.

    FYI, I never claimed that Venter et al prove that life was created. I inferred that they point to empirically adequate causal frameworks that manifest design.

    I now augment: the systems in question, cells, are chock-full of FSCO/I, which on trillions of cases in directly observed point come from just one source, intelligently directed configuration. Your objecting comments add to that observational base, as meaningful text is FSCO/I. This is backed up by blind search challenge analysis for config spaces of 500 – 1,000+ bits.

    The necessary implication — cf Walker and Davies — of fine tuned islands of function in large config spaces is that it is maximally implausible for blind search on dynamic-stochastic processes to hit on them within available resources from arbitrary initial start-points.

    So, we have good reason to know an effective mechanism, and a direct testable prediction is on the table: attempts to produce FSCO/I by blind search will reliably fail. We have an analytical reason for the reliable failure.

    Thus, we meet the criteria for inference to best current explanation of FSCO/I, including in cell based life.

    Design.

    To overturn, simply provide a good observed counter-example: _______

    Prediction, that will not be forthcoming.

    KF

  65. 65
    kairosfocus says:

    PS: To save the scroll up to 58, here are W & D again:

    In physics, particularly in statistical mechanics, we base many of our calculations on the assumption of metric transitivity, which asserts that a system’s trajectory will eventually [–> given “enough time and search resources”] explore the entirety of its state space – thus everything that is phys-ically possible will eventually happen. It should then be trivially true that one could choose an arbitrary “final state” (e.g., a living organism) and “explain” it by evolving the system backwards in time choosing an appropriate state at some ’start’ time t_0 (fine-tuning the initial state). In the case of a chaotic system the initial state must be specified to arbitrarily high precision. But this account amounts to no more than saying that the world is as it is because it was as it was, and our current narrative therefore scarcely constitutes an explanation in the true scientific sense.

    We are left in a bit of a conundrum with respect to the problem of specifying the initial conditions necessary to explain our world. A key point is that if we require specialness in our initial state (such that we observe the current state of the world and not any other state) metric transitivity cannot hold true, as it blurs any dependency on initial conditions – that is, it makes little sense for us to single out any particular state as special by calling it the ’initial’ state. If we instead relax the assumption of metric transitivity (which seems more realistic for many real world physical systems – including life), then our phase space will consist of isolated pocket regions and it is not necessarily possible to get to any other physically possible state (see e.g. Fig. 1 for a cellular automata example).

    [–> or, there may not be “enough” time and/or resources for the relevant exploration, i.e. we see the 500 – 1,000 bit complexity threshold at work vs 10^57 – 10^80 atoms with fast rxn rates at about 10^-13 to 10^-15 s leading to inability to explore more than a vanishingly small fraction on the gamut of Sol system or observed cosmos . . . the only actually, credibly observed cosmos]

    Thus the initial state must be tuned to be in the region of phase space in which we find ourselves [–> notice, fine tuning], and there are regions of the configuration space our physical universe would be excluded from accessing, even if those states may be equally consistent and permissible under the microscopic laws of physics (starting from a different initial state). Thus according to the standard picture, we require special initial conditions to explain the complexity of the world, but also have a sense that we should not be on a particularly special trajectory to get here (or anywhere else) as it would be a sign of fine–tuning of the initial conditions. [ –> notice, the “loading”] Stated most simply, a potential problem with the way we currently formulate physics is that you can’t necessarily get everywhere from anywhere (see Walker [31] for discussion). [“The “Hard Problem” of Life,” June 23, 2016, a discussion by Sara Imari Walker and Paul C.W. Davies at Arxiv.]

  66. 66
    Dionisio says:

    Bob O’H @54:

    Your questions were already answered @38.
    Read that comment carefully. Take your time. Read it again.
    Yes, I know somebody could argue how could you answer @38 the questions @54? Well, that’s the way things are.
    🙂

  67. 67
    asauber says:

    FWIW, I like and admire a lot of Christians.

    BobO’H,

    Sure. By a lot, do you mean 5 or 5 million?

    Andrew

  68. 68
    hammaspeikko says:

    Kairosfocus:

    Quantum physics is a domain where the observer is integral to the overall construction of the theory.

    No. The theory is constructed with the full knowledge that the observer has an impact on any measurement made. That does not mean that the observer has some sort of supernatural affect on what is observed. The affects are purely physical. I guess you weren’t paying attention during your studies when I was still in diapers.

    I suspect I was likely studying quantum physics when you were in diapers.

    I suspect that you are likely an arrogant little jerk who can’t stand to be corrected. If you are going to be this insufferably rude to someone who is just trying to have a friendly discussion, this discussion is over. Cheers.

  69. 69
    Bob O'H says:

    Dionisio @ 66 – I don’t think 38 is really an answer, unless you’re rejecting the idea that the designer could be material. But we’re repeatedly told that ID doesn’t do that.

    if you want to go down that route, then fine. But don’t complain when ID is accused of being creationism in a cheap tuxedo.

  70. 70
    Bob O'H says:

    Andrew @ 67 – somewhere between the two. 🙂 I don’t have an exact count, but on average Christians are no worse than any other group of people, and quite a few are really to be admired for their kindness and generosity of spirit. It’s something I think we all should try to emulate, regardless of religious persuasion.

  71. 71
    kairosfocus says:

    HP, Kindly stop twisting what I have said into ideologically loaded strawman caricatures. Just for one, can you kindly tell me about the significance of the uncertainty issue and how the energy-time version came about? What was the significance of that conference and the objection that was being put up by Einstein? What contribution did the resolution make to the onward path of Quantum Physics? KF

  72. 72
    hammaspeikko says:

    Bob O’H@70, I will take that as a compliment. 🙂

    But I would go a step further and say that your sentiment applies to most identifiable groups on earth. Christians, Jews, atheists, Muslims, Buddhists, democrats, republicans, communists, etc. Unfortunately, each one of these groups also have their fair share of self-righteous insufferable hate mongers. Too bad they don’t wear a label. But, luckily, they are usually easily identified by their actions.

  73. 73
    kairosfocus says:

    FFT: Just for record I clip App 5 my longstanding and always linked note:

    20 –> More generally, mind and knowing cannot be reduced to input -> mechanical processing -> output based algorithms that deterministically grind out complete sets of “known truths” premised on sufficiently rich, but elegantly sparse sets of axioms acceptable to all sufficiently informed rational agents. (Often, the relevant processing is not based on meanings, but on mechanical manipulation of well-chosen symbols; based on axioms, theorems and physical realisations of mathematical operations and variables.)

    21 –> Thus, deductive proof and associated mechanical computing algorithms are now no longer credible as escape-hatches from the inextricable intertwining of reasoning and believing in the core of our worldviews, mathematics, science, real-world thinking and real-world information technology. This, in short, is the end of mechanical necessity as an engine to generate the field of knowledge and associated effective, algorithm-based function. Creativity, imagination, intuition and provisionality — do I daresay, “faith” — have won the day, even in mathematics. (Indeed, in recent days, Hawking is inclining to the view that this is also the end of the decades-long project in physics to construct a global “theory of everything.”)

    22 –> So, we see Douglas Hofstadter — a critic, BTW, of such extensions of Gödel –conceding in his Gödel, Escher, Bach: an Eternal Golden Braid:

    . . . Godel’s proof suggests — though by no means does it prove! — that there could be some high-level way of viewing the mind/brain, involving concepts which do not appear on lower levels, and that this level might have explanatory power that does not exist — not even in principle — on lower levels. It would mean that some facts could be explained on the high level quite easily, but not on lower levels at all. No matter how long and cumbersome a low-level statement were made, it would not explain the phenomena in question. It is analogous to the fact that, if you make derivation after derivation in [Peano arithmetic], no matter how long and cumbersome you make them, you will never come up with one for G — despite the fact that on a higher level, you can see that [the Godel sentence] is true. What might such high-level concepts be? It has been proposed for eons, by various holistically or “soulistically” inclined scientists and humanists that consciousness is a phenomenon that escapes explanation in terms of brain components; so here is a candidate at least. There is also the ever-puzzling notion of free will. So perhaps these qualities could be “emergent” in the sense of requiring explanations which cannot be furnished by the physiology alone [p. 708; emphases added.]

    23 –> Pulling the various threads together, we may now find a way for conscious reason to be credible [even if provisional], thus for the conscious reasoning mind that is sufficiently independent of — though obviously strongly interacting with — the brain-body system, that we can be confident in our thought. Otherwise, science itself falls into self-referential incoherence, absurdity and confusion. A first step to that, would be to examine some implications of quantum uncertainty and related phenomena for the brain and the mind. For instance, Harald Atmanspacher, writing in the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy observes:

    It is widely accepted that consciousness or, more generally, mental activity is in some way correlated to the behavior of the material brain. Since quantum theory is the most fundamental theory of matter that is currently available, it is a legitimate question to ask whether quantum theory can help us to understand consciousness . . . .

    The original motivation in the early 20th century for relating quantum theory to consciousness was essentially philosophical. It is fairly plausible that conscious free decisions (“free will”) are problematic in a perfectly deterministic world,[1] so quantum randomness might indeed open up novel possibilities for free will. (On the other hand, randomness is problematic for volition!)

    Quantum theory introduced an element of randomness standing out against the previous deterministic worldview, in which randomness, if it occurred at all, simply indicated our ignorance of a more detailed description (as in statistical physics). In sharp contrast to such epistemic randomness, quantum randomness in processes such as spontaneous emission of light, radioactive decay, or other examples of state reduction was considered a fundamental feature of nature, independent of our ignorance or knowledge. To be precise, this feature refers to individual quantum events, whereas the behavior of ensembles of such events is statistically determined. The indeterminism of individual quantum events is constrained by statistical laws.

    24 –> This brings in a new level of considerations, but is itself not unproblematic. For, mere randomness is not enough; we need a viable mechanism of orderly, intelligent interaction.

    25 –> To get to that, we may not only use the above noted indeterminacy of particle behaviour as is found in Quantum theory; but also, we apply Einstein’s energy-time form of the Heisenberg uncertainty principle. For, at microscopic level force-based interactions between bodies can be viewed in terms of exchanges of so-called “virtual particles.” That is, once the product of the energy and time involved in a particle being exchanged between two interacting bodies falls below the value of Planck’s constant h (suitably multiplied or divided by a small constant), bodies may interact through exchanging undetected — so, “virtual” — particles. We can in effect have a situation crudely similar to two people tugging or pushing on opposite ends of a stick: they interact through the means of the intervening stick; which we then see as attractions or repulsions between the bodies. Thus, as the just linked explains in more details, the quantum theory of forces and interactions between bodies is now strongly based on Heisenberg’s principle of uncertainty; yet another case where the deterministic view has been undermined, and one that opens the doorway to a model of the workings of the brain-mind interface.

    26 –> As Scott Calef therefore observes:

    Keith Campbell writes, “The indeterminacy of quantum laws means that any one of a range of outcomes of atomic events in the brain is equally compatible with known physical laws. And differences on the quantum scale can accumulate into very great differences in overall brain condition. So there is some room for spiritual activity even within the limits set by physical law. There could be, without violation of physical law, a general spiritual constraint upon what occurs inside the head.” (p.54). Mind could act upon physical processes by “affecting their course but not breaking in upon them.” (p.54). If this is true, the dualist could maintain the conservation principle but deny a fluctuation in energy because the mind serves to “guide” or control neural events by choosing one set of quantum outcomes rather than another. Further, it should be remembered that the conservation of energy is designed around material interaction; it is mute on how mind might interact with matter. After all, a Cartesian rationalist might insist, if God exists we surely wouldn’t say that He couldn’t do miracles just because that would violate the first law of thermodynamics, would we? [Article, “Dualism and Mind,” Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy.]

    27 –> Within this broad framework, there have been several interesting suggestions. Of these, the Penrose- Hameroff proposal is quite original:

    It is argued that elementary acts of consciousness are non-algorithmic, i.e., non-computable, and they are neurophysiologically realized as gravitation-induced reductions of coherent superposition states in microtubuli . . . . Penrose’s rationale for invoking state reduction is not that the corresponding randomness offers room for mental causation to become efficacious (although this is not excluded). His conceptual starting point, at length developed in two books (Penrose 1989, 1994), is that elementary conscious acts must be non-algorithmic. Phrased differently, the emergence of a conscious act is a process which cannot be described algorithmically, hence cannot be computed. His background in this respect has a lot to do with the nature of creativity, mathematical insight, Gödel’s incompleteness theorem, and the idea of a Platonic reality beyond mind and matter . . . . With his background as an anaesthesiologist, Hameroff suggested to consider microtubules as an option for where reductions of quantum states can take place in an effective way, see e.g., Hameroff and Penrose (1996). The respective quantum states are assumed to be coherent superpositions of tubulin states, ultimately extending over many neurons. Their simultaneous gravitation-induced collapse is interpreted as an individual elementary act of consciousness. The proposed mechanism by which such superpositions are established includes a number of involved details that remain to be confirmed or disproven.

    28 –> In short, there is much room for both potentially fruitful speculation and future empirical research to test the ideas. (Yet another instance where the design-oriented view is anything but a science-stopper.)

    29 –> The Derek Smith model for cybernetics offers a further fruitful line of thought for understanding the mind-brain interface and also for developing an architecture for artificially intelligent robotic systems. Take a multiple input-multiple output control loop, with many effectors, sensors and feedback loops. A lower order controller acts to co-ordinate the processes, based on a projected path and a moment by moment comparison between actual and projected. Corrective action is taken to adjust performance to desired. A higher order controller provides a supervisory level, with the creative, imaginative insight and projections that lay out the path for action for the lower order motion etc. controller. Thus, the brain here can be viewed as the mind’s front-end input-output controller, with informational interfaces going both ways: brain-body and mind-brain . . .

    KF

  74. 74
    EugeneS says:

    Bob #69,

    ID is a classifier. Why does the nature of the Designer matter as far as biology is concerned?

    We are studying a painting, not a painter. The painting is material and is therefore subject to scientific analysis. How does it affect ID being science?

    The epistemological problem of the origin stands irrespective of one’s philosophical commitments because the origin of nature by necessity cannot be natural.

    Some hard-core materialists like Hawking argue that all that is necessary to explain nature is gravity (or any other law) and that gravity comes from M-theory. Fundamentally, law is a description of a natural regularity. It has zero causal power. Regularity does have causal power. However, the question is how this regularity came about.

    Another issue, as far as biological life is concerned, is that life is inherently irreducible to natural regularities. And this in itself is an immense problem for reductionism.

  75. 75
    EricMH says:

    @KairosFocus, we appear to agree.

    It bugs me when IDers don’t acknowledge that we are proposing a radically new substance in our ontology of scientific explanation. When IDers say ID is detectable on the one hand, and then say that it’s unclear whether the agent is material or not, that is a lack of consistency.

    The agent may be embodied, like ourselves, but our ability to design is inherently immaterial, it cannot be reduced to the laws of physics and neither is it an emergent, supervening thing either. The design ability is radically different than anything material, and can in no way be ascribed to materiality. If we don’t want to call that supernatural, fine, but being able to design is a super something or another.

  76. 76
    EricMH says:

    @RVB8, it is patent ignorance and sloppiness now for any critic to say ID has contributed nothing scientifically. We only have a handful of contributions, but our numbers are small. The contributions we do have are clear evidence for our most central claims, especially work by the Biologic Institute and the Evolutionary Informatics lab.

    Instead of being lazy, critics need to start engaging with the work that exists and pointing out holes, inconsistencies and incorrect premises. If you really want to reach people like me, this is what you need to do.

  77. 77
    john_a_designer says:

    Whether you are someone who considers I.D. to be a scientific theory, or someone like me who considers I.D. to be a philosophical inference from the scientific evidence, the identity of “the designer” is not something that one can prove or establish scientifically.

    (See my comment above @ #12.)

    https://uncommondescent.com/intelligent-design/the-materialist-double-standard/#comment-631607

    Notice, that naturalism/materialism is also a philosophical inference from the scientific evidence, which claims that that natural causes alone can explain the origin of the universe, the origin of the universes’ physical laws and constants, the origin of life and the DNA/RNA code as well as the origin of mind and consciousness. However, if you believe that those claims can be proven in a rigorous scientific way then you need to demonstrate it and not just equivocate and obfuscate about it.

  78. 78
    Axel says:

    Maybe ID has contributed some positive things to science, but nowhere near as many as RD (random design). Isn’t that right, rvb8 ?

    Retro-randomosity, for one… knocks spots off retro-engineering.

  79. 79
    kairosfocus says:

    FFT: Back in my u/grad days, Landau & Lifschitz (yup, those Russkies again) was a go-to reference. Its opening remarks on Quantum Theory are well worth pondering, thanks to Web Archive:

    >>>>>>>>

    When we attempt to apply classical mechanics and electrodynamics to explain atomic phenomena, they lead to results which are in obvious conflict with experiment. This is very clearly seen from the contradiction obtained on applying ordinary electrodynamics to a model of an atom in which the electrons move round the nucleus in classical orbits. During such motion, as in any accelerated motion of charges, the electrons would have to emit electromagnetic waves continually. By this emission, the electrons would lose their energy, and this would eventually cause them to fall into the nucleus. Thus, according to classical electrodynamics, the atom would be unstable, which does not at all agree with reality.

    This marked contradiction between theory and experiment indicates that the construction of a theory applicable to atomic phenomena—that is, phenomena occurring in particles of very small mass at very small distances— demands a fundamental modification of the basic physical concepts and laws.

    As a starting-point for an investigation of these modifications, it is convenient to take the experimentally observed phenomenon known as electron diffraction.^ It is found that, when a homogeneous beam of electrons passes through a crystal, the emergent beam exhibits a pattern of alternate maxima and minima of intensity, wholly similar to the diffraction pattern observed in the diffraction of electromagnetic waves. Thus, under certain conditions, the behaviour of material particles—in this case, the electrons—displays features belonging to wave processes.

    How markedly this phenomenon contradicts the usual ideas of motion is best seen from the following imaginary experiment, an idealisation of the experiment of electron diffraction by a crystal. Let us imagine a screen impermeable to electrons, in which two slits are cut. On observing the passage of a beam of electrons^ through one of the slits, the other being covered, we obtain, on a continuous screen placed behind the slit, some pattern of intensity distribution; in the same way, by uncovering the second slit and covering the first, we obtain another pattern. On observing the passage of the beam through both slits, we should expect, on the basis of ordinary classical ideas, a pattern which is a simple superposition of the other two: each electron, moving in its path, passes through one of the slits and has no effect on the electrons passing through the other slit. The phenomenon of electron diffraction shows, however, that in reality we obtain a diffraction pattern which, owing to interference, does not at all correspond to the sum of the patterns given by each slit separately. It is clear that this result can in no way be reconciled with the idea that electrons move in paths.

    Thus the mechanics which governs atomic phenomena— quantum mechanics or wave mechanics —must be based on ideas of motion which are fundamentally different from those of classical mechanics. In quantum mechanics there is no such concept as the path of a particle. This forms the content of what is called the uncertainty principle, one of the fundamental principles of quantum mechanics, discovered by W. Heisenberg in 1927.f

    In that it rejects the ordinary ideas of classical mechanics, the uncertainty principle might be said to be negative in content. Of course, this principle in itself does not suffice as a basis on which to construct a new mechanics of particles. Such a theory must naturally be founded on some positive assertions, which we shall discuss below (§2). However, in order to formulate these assertions, we must first ascertain the statement of the problems which confront quantum mechanics. To do so, we first examine the special nature of the interrelation between quantum mechanics and classical mechanics. A more general theory can usually be formulated in a logically complete manner, independently of a less general theory which forms a limiting case of it. Thus, relativistic mechanics can be constructed on the basis of its own fundamental principles, without any reference to Newtonian mechanics. It is in principle impossible, however, to formulate the basic concepts of quantum mechanics without using classical mechanics. The fact that an electron^ has no definite path means that it has also, in itself, no other dynamical characteristics.|| Hence it is clear that, for a system composed only of quantum objects, it would be entirely impossible to construct any logically independent mechanics. The possibility of a quantitative description of the motion of an electron requires the presence also of physical objects which obey classical mechanics to a sufficient degree of accuracy. If an electron interacts with such a “classical object”, the state of the latter is, generally speaking, altered. The nature and magnitude of this change depend on the state of the electron, and therefore may serve to characterise it quantitatively

    In this connection the “classical object” is usually called apparatus, and its interaction with the electron is spoken of as measurement. However, it must be emphasised that we are here not discussing a process of measurement in which the physicist-observer takes part. By measurement, in quantum mechanics, we understand any process of interaction between classical and quantum objects, occurring apart from and independently of any observer. The importance of the concept of measurement in quantum mechanics was elucidated by N. Bohr.

    We have denned “apparatus” as a physical object which is governed, with sufficient accuracy, by classical mechanics. Such, for instance, is a body of large enough mass. However, it must not be supposed that apparatus is necessarily macroscopic. Under certain conditions, the part of apparatus may also be taken by an object which is microscopic, since the idea of “with sufficient accuracy” depends on the actual problem proposed. Thus, the motion of an electron in a Wilson chamber is observed by means of the cloudy track which it leaves, and the thickness of this is large compared with atomic dimensions; when the path is determined with such low accuracy, the electron is an entirely classical object

    Thus quantum mechanics occupies a very unusual place among physical theories: it contains classical mechanics as a limiting case, yet at the same time it requires this limiting case for its own formulation.

    We may now formulate the problem of quantum mechanics. A typical problem consists in predicting the result of a subsequent measurement from the known results of previous measurements. Moreover, we shall see later that, in comparison with classical mechanics, quantum mechanics, generally speaking, restricts the range of values which can be taken by various physical quantities (for example, energy): that is, the values which can be obtained as a result of measuring the quantity concerned. The methods of quantum mechanics must enable us to determine these admissible values.

    The measuring process has in quantum mechanics a very important property: it always affects the electron subjected to it, and it is in principle impossible to make its effect arbitrarily small, for a given accuracy of measurement. The more exact the measurement, the stronger the effect exerted by it, and only in measurements of very low accuracy can the effect on the measured object be small. This property of measurements is logically related to the fact that the dynamical characteristics of the electron appear only as a result of the measurement itself. It is clear that, if the effect of the measuring process on the object of it could be made arbitrarily small, this would mean that the measured quantity has in itself a definite value independent of the measurement.

    Among the various kinds of measurement, the measurement of the coordinates of the electron plays a fundamental part. Within the limits of applicability of quantum mechanics, a measurement of the co-ordinates of an electron can always be performed-]- with any desired accuracy.

    Let us suppose that, at definite time intervals At, successive measurements of the co-ordinates of an electron are made. The results will not in general lie on a smooth curve. On the contrary, the more accurately the measurements are made, the more discontinuous and disorderly will be the variation of their results, in accordance with the non-existence of a path of the electron. A fairly smooth path is obtained only if the co-ordinates of the electron are measured with a low degree of accuracy, as for instance from the condensation of vapour droplets in a Wilson chamber.

    If now, leaving the accuracy of the measurements unchanged, we diminish the intervals At between measurements, then adjacent measurements, of course, give neighbouring values of the co-ordinates. However, the results of a series of successive measurements, though they lie in a small region of space, will be distributed in this region in a wholly irregular manner, lying on no smooth curve. In particular, as A* tends to zero, the results of adjacent measurements by no means tend to lie on one straight line.

    This circumstance shows that, in quantum mechanics, there is no such concept as the velocity of a particle in the classical sense of the word, i.e. the limit to which the difference of the co-ordinates at two instants, divided by the interval At between these instants, tends as At tends to zero. However, we shall see laier that in quantum mechanics, nevertheless, a reasonable definition of the velocity of a particle at a given instant can be constructed, and this velocity passes into the classical velocity as we pass to classical mechanics. But whereas in classical mechanics a particle has definite co-ordinates and velocity at any given instant, in quantum mechanics the situation is entirely different. If, as a result of measurement, the electron is found to have definite co-ordinates, then it has no definite velocity whatever. Conversely, if the electron has a definite velocity, it cannot have a definite position in space. For the simultaneous existence of the co-ordinates and velocity would mean the existence of a definite path, which the electron has not. Thus, in quantum mechanics, the co-ordinates and velocity of an electron are quantities which cannot be simultaneously measured exactly, i.e. they cannot simultaneously have definite values. We may say that the co-ordinates and velocity of the electron are quantities which do not exist simultaneously. In what follows we shall derive the quantitative relation which determines the possibility of an inexact measurement of the co-ordinates and velocity at the same instant.

    A complete description of the state of a physical system in classical mechanics is effected by stating all its co-ordinates and velocities at a given instant; with these initial data, the equations of motion completely determine the behaviour of the system at all subsequent instants. In quantum mechanics such a description is in principle impossible, since the co-ordinates and the corresponding velocities cannot exist simultaneously. Thus a description of the state of a quantum system is effected by means of a smaller number of quantities than in classical mechanics, i.e. it is less detailed than a classical description.

    A very important consequence follows from this regarding the nature of the predictions made in quantum mechanics. Whereas a classical description suffices to predict the future motion of a mechanical system with complete accuracy, the less detailed description given in quantum mechanics evidently cannot be enough to do this. This means that, even if an electron is in a state described in the most complete manner possible in quantum mechanics, its behaviour at subsequent instants is still in principle uncertain. Hence quantum mechanics cannot make completely definite predictions concerning the future behaviour of the electron. For a given initial state of the electron, a subsequent measurement can give various results. The problem in quantum mechanics consists in determining the probability of obtaining various results on performing this measurement. It is understood, of course, that in some cases the probability of a given result of measurement may be equal to unity, i.e. certainty, so that the result of that measurement is unique.

    All measuring processes in quantum mechanics may be divided into two classes. In one, which contains the majority of measurements, we find those which do not, in any state of the system, lead with certainty to a unique result. The other class contains measurements such that for every possible result of measurement there is a state in which the measurement leads with certainty to that result. These latter measurements, which may be called predictable, play an important part in quantum mechanics. The quantitative characteristics of a state which are determined by such measurements are what are called physical quantities in quantum mechanics. If in some state a measurement gives with certainty a unique result, we shall say that in this state the corresponding physical quantity has a definite value. In future we shall always understand the expression “physical quantity” in the sense given here.

    We shall often find in what follows that by no means every set of physical quantities in quantum mechanics can be measured simultaneously, i.e. can all have definite values at the same time. We have already mentioned one example, namely the velocity and co-ordinates of an electron. An important part is played in quantum mechanics by sets of physical quantities having the following property: these quantities can be measured simultaneously, but if they simultaneously have definite values, no other physical quantity (not being a function of these) can have a definite value in that state. We shall speak of such sets of physical quantities as complete sets; in particular cases a complete set may consist of only one quantity.

    Any description of the state of an electron arises as a result of some measurement. We shall now formulate the meaning of a complete description of a state in quantum mechanics. Completely described states occur as a result of the simultaneous measurement of a complete set of physical quantities. From the results of such a measurement we can, in particular, determine the probability of various results of any subsequent measurement, regardless of the history of the electron prior to the first measurement.

    In quantum mechanics we need concern ourselves in practice only with completely described states, and from now on (except in §14) we shall understand by the states of a quantum system just these completely described states . . .

    >>>>>>>

    In short, measurement and observation are in effect close to synonymous, and the issue of uncertainty is central. Where, from 35 years ago when we would go to the Uni Science Library to consult these men, the point on nature of observation was well taken.

    Notice, they start from the quantum double-slit.

    And, observation/ measurement is pivotal and crucially interacts with the quantum system, sometimes shifting the very nature of the result.

    So, quantum influence is exactly suspect no 1 where we should go hunting to find how mind and body interact.

    Which is what I spoke to.

    KF

  80. 80
    Dionisio says:

    Bob O’H @69:

    Dionisio @ 66 – I don’t think 38 is really an answer, unless you’re rejecting the idea that the designer could be material. But we’re repeatedly told that ID doesn’t do that.

    if you want to go down that route, then fine. But don’t complain when ID is accused of being creationism in a cheap tuxedo.

    I see you want to discuss. Alright, let’s do it.

    I have stated in this UD website –more than once– that my reading comprehension is rather poor, but now it looks as though you’re trying to tell me “join the club!” – aren’t you?

    Or perhaps it’s just that you have missed my comments in this blog where I have clearly stated that I’m not an ID proponent. My opinion, my points of view, my comments, aren’t necessarily associated with ID. I’m not an OEC or YEC either. None of those acronyms identify me.

    My identity is solely in Christ, who made you, me, our cousins and the whole nine yards. That’s written and none of us can change it, regardless of whether we like it or not.

    There was a time when I did not care about God at all. I was an atheist and could teach theoretic atheism to all the atheists out there. Educated –and brainwashed– in the capital of the Soviet Union, I was firmly convinced that the whole world will one day enjoy the benefits of the communist society, which never existed anywhere –not even in the Soviet Union– because they could not create the “new communist person” required in order to build that idyllic social system. That’s known history.

    But now I want to be Christ’s follower, though I’m not there yet. Still I think and behave worldly even against my own desire. But He has graciously forgiven me and has made me His own eternally. Amazing grace! How sweet the sound that saved a wretch like me. I once was lost, but now I’m found. Was blind, but now I see.

    BTW, good news! The same saving faith is available to all who want to have it. Just ask Him. Don’t wait. Tomorrow it could be too late. Think about this. Test everything and hold what is good. Christ is the embodiment of Goodness. There’s nothing better than belonging to Him.

    The main scientific concepts proposed by the ID folks –specially our beloved Italian doctor GP– sound like music to my ears, i.e. I agree with most of them. But the buck stops right there. The ID conglomerate is a philosophical/theological “eintopf”. The ID folks –whom I fully respect– cover a wide spectrum of worldviews. I’m surprised you had not noticed this before. It’s about time, buddy! 🙂

    Next time you may want to do some homework before rushing to write a comment like the one you posted @69. Also you may want to ask questions to clarify any misunderstanding.
    Asking questions is fine, even if a Canadian professor deems them as dishonest. 🙂

  81. 81
    Dionisio says:

    Bob O’H:
    [#80 addendum]
    You may want to read the comments posted by EugeneS:

    @59:

    The best ever answer I saw to the question, who designed the designer, is this.

    Asking who designed the designer is the same as asking who painted the painter of a picture.

    It is indeed amusing to see people tripping over the same hurdles they themselves posted when they established ‘the rules of the game’. Either you follow the same rules or do not play the game. You cannot redefine the rules all the time.

    @61:

    Take the small example of an information translation architecture and explain how it could have emerged purely naturalistically.

    @74:

    ID is a classifier. Why does the nature of the Designer matter as far as biology is concerned?

    We are studying a painting, not a painter. The painting is material and is therefore subject to scientific analysis. How does it affect ID being science?

    The epistemological problem of the origin stands irrespective of one’s philosophical commitments because the origin of nature by necessity cannot be natural.

    Some hard-core materialists like Hawking argue that all that is necessary to explain nature is gravity (or any other law) and that gravity comes from M-theory. Fundamentally, law is a description of a natural regularity. It has zero causal power. Regularity does have causal power. However, the question is how this regularity came about.

    Another issue, as far as biological life is concerned, is that life is inherently irreducible to natural regularities. And this in itself is an immense problem for reductionism.

  82. 82
    Dionisio says:

    Bob O’H:
    [#81 addendum]
    You may want to read the comment posted by KF @79.

  83. 83
    Dionisio says:

    Bob O’H:

    If you would prefer a biology-related discussion, go to the thread “Mystery at the heart of life” and pick any of the questions that are posted there. BTW, there are no waiting lines in that thread. Most politely-dissenting interlocutors prefer other discussions. Pure science doesn’t seem too entertaining these days. 🙂
    Perhaps because that’s the scientific front where the Darwinian ideas are being beaten harder almost daily.

  84. 84
    asauber says:

    atheists

    I wonder if this group has ever produced internet EvoTrolls?

    Andrew

  85. 85
    Eric Anderson says:

    Bob O’H, hammaspeikko, Pindi, others:

    Here is the bottom line:

    It is important to distinguish between (1) the design inference, (2) second-order questions, and (3) research done within a design framework.

    1. The design inference is just that. Very simple. Nothing more. This is the initial edge of the knife, so to speak, and we need to be very clear about what it means and what it does not mean, what it can do and what it can’t.

    The problem with the anti-ID insistence on going beyond the design inference to investigate the how’s and the who’s, and the why’s is that such insistence is almost never borne of real intent, but is rather a rhetorical ploy and debating tactic to try to get design proponents to “admit” the designer is God, or to score points and prove that intelligent design is just “creationism in a cheap tuxedo,” and similar false assertions.

    Design proponents are thus appropriately cautious to recognize the design inference for what it is and to not go beyond the mark.

    2. As we have discussed in this thread, particularly with Bob O’H, there are a number of additional second-order questions that could be examined. Those go beyond the design inference per se, but some might be illuminating.

    It is wrong to claim that no-one is willing to ask these questions or address them. To the extent that such questions can be done in a scientific and rigorous way, ID proponents are certainly willing to entertain them. To the extent such questions are philosophical in nature (such as who the designer is), some ID proponents have been upfront about their own personal philosophical position and have addressed that question. However, they make it clear that this is their opinion and is not part of the design inference.

    3. There is much research happening within a design framework. Although the number of researchers who have admitted to accepting intelligent design is small, they are making a disproportionately positive contribution to their areas of study. The work they are doing leads them to ask questions that traditionally don’t even get asked under a Darwinian framework.

    For example, What is the edge of evolution? (what can it actually accomplish with real organisms in real populations in the real world?) Is there another possible explanation for the pattern we see in the fossil record, given that it obstinately still refuses to confirm the Darwinian narrative? Is it easy to transverse the protein space from one protein to the next and one protein family to the next? To what extent can molecular machines be perturbed and continue to function, what constraints exist on mutations to remain functional?

    Darwinism, unfortunately, is unhelpful in addressing these kinds of research questions. Indeed, it has shown itself to be a science stopper. It doesn’t even ask these kinds of questions, just naively and simplisticly assuming answers — answers that become less and less supportable the more we learn about biology.

    —–

    All three of the above could, in a broad sense, be treated as part of intelligent design theory, certainly as part of the broader design framework. Indeed, that is precisely the view that Dembski laid out years ago.

    The accusation that intelligent design proponents are doing nothing more than drawing a design inference and then “walking away” is false. The assertion that design proponents are unwilling to address follow-up questions is a red herring.

    But if there is a debate about the design inference itself, about whether design can be detected in biology, then, yes, you should expect a careful and nuanced discussion that limits itself to that very specific question and that does not delve into speculations or go beyond the mark.

  86. 86
    asauber says:

    going beyond the design inference

    Indeed EA, EvoTrolls who are atheists must distract from the design inference itself, which is obvious to everyone, because it initiates a logical progression that renders atheism/materialism/naturalism complete nonsense as it not only allows for the possibility of a designer, it logically requires a designer.

    “Who designed the designer” is *designed* to simply distract from the design inference and what it illustrates.

    Andrew

  87. 87
    Bob O'H says:

    EugeneS @ 74 (& Dinosio @ 81) –

    ID is a classifier. Why does the nature of the Designer matter as far as biology is concerned?

    We are studying a painting, not a painter. The painting is material and is therefore subject to scientific analysis. How does it affect ID being science?

    In science we want to know how the natural world came about, so inevitably we are asking about the painter. Just as people who study are ask about who painted in (and why). It deepens our appreciation of the painting. Even if we can’t get all of the answers we want, we can still still learn more.

    Thus far the answer to my question “why doesn’t ID investigate the designer?” seems to be either “because ID doesn’t investigate the designer”, or “because the designer is supernatural”. the latter argument ignores one of the points I was trying to make @ 31, that it is still possible to learn something from the patterns of what is designed.

  88. 88
    kairosfocus says:

    BO’H: How the world came about is the subject of cosmology, and the issue there is fine tuning and its import. This is utterly separate from the usual design inference on FSCO/I or the like, as applied to the biological world. If you mean instead the origin of C-Chemistry, Aqueous medium cell based life, this is indeed a focus of ID investigation, and of particular relevance is the FSCO/I found in D/RNA and proteins. On that basis, i/l/o the power of the design inference on sign, it is inferred as best current empirically anchored explanation that the text in DNA and the result of processing in the NC machinery that uses that text, proteins are designed. This is backed up by the clear evidence of islands of function in AA sequence space. A few weeks back, GP did a short series here on how those islands factor out in the usual timeline of origins. Right here at UD. The empirical evidence points to design of life and design of a cosmos fitted for life. Taken together, that cluster of evidence has worldview level import, but so does the usual imposed a priori Lewontin-Sagan evolutionary materialism. KF

    PS: the character of designs does reflect on the designer, at least in constraining ways. Cell based life could be designed in a molecular nanotech lab. The observed cosmos set up for life, requires an extra-cosmic designer capable of building a cosmos. As for the rather unlikely case of a massive simulation — the world is too fine grained for that to be seriously credible — we need a designer of the software and the hardware to run a cosmos scale sim [90+ bn LY across . . . ] that has in it things observed down to what 10^-23 s or so? The scope of such a computer is so big that we might as well infer to a physical cosmos instead or a cosmic mind that is as capable. In any case we are looking at a temporal causal system that on relevant logic of cause and of being, requires a finitely remote necessary being world root. But that is across the border in phil, not physics.

  89. 89
    Bob O'H says:

    Eric @ 85 –

    It is wrong to claim that no-one is willing to ask these questions or address them. To the extent that such questions can be done in a scientific and rigorous way, ID proponents are certainly willing to entertain them.

    OK, I’ll bite. Can you point me to the people who are addressing these questions, and the ID research that has been done to address them?

  90. 90
    Bob O'H says:

    Also Eric @ 85 –

    Darwinism, unfortunately, is unhelpful in addressing these kinds of research questions. Indeed, it has shown itself to be a science stopper. It doesn’t even ask these kinds of questions, just naively and simplisticly assuming answers — answers that become less and less supportable the more we learn about biology.

    I don’t think that’s true. To take he questions you don’t think evolution answers:

    For example, What is the edge of evolution? (what can it actually accomplish with real organisms in real populations in the real world?)

    Ary Hoffman has reviewed these issues, for example. There are other people who have written about this too.

    Is there another possible explanation for the pattern we see in the fossil record, given that it obstinately still refuses to confirm the Darwinian narrative?

    I’ve no idea what you mean here. Palaeontologists think the fossil records does “confirm the Darwinian narrative”. We’ve had no sitings of Cambrian rabbits yet.

    Is it easy to transverse the protein space from one protein to the next and one protein family to the next?

    This is precisely what is studied when looking at fitness landscapes. There’s a whole literature (both experiments to estimate the landscapes, and theoretical work about the shapes of the landscapes, and what determines that).

    To what extent can molecular machines be perturbed and continue to function, what constraints exist on mutations to remain functional?

    That can be seen as a subset of the issues dealt with in the estimation of fitness landscapes. It’s also related to the concept of canalisation. What makes this even more fun is that canalisation is positively linked to the potential to evolve through beneficial mutations.

  91. 91
    Bob O'H says:

    kf @ 88 – OK sorry. That was loosely worded by me. Perhaps I should have written something like “how the world came to be the way it is today”. That would, I think, cover much more than cosmology.

  92. 92
    kairosfocus says:

    BO’H: Sounds like origins and historical sciences. A span from cosmology to astrophysics and planetary sciences, to biology, geology and geography, on to origins of man, culture, sociology, anthropology and even archaeology and history plus issues in linked philosophy, economics, political science and more, even technology and military science. A huge span, but I suspect you will find things in UD that cover much of that span. In much of that, the design inference on relevant sciences will be applicable. KF

  93. 93
    EugeneS says:

    Bob,

    I understand. I am sorry if my answer is not well-structured but anyhow…

    There are many takes on ID. In my view, the Designer is supernatural. I guess many would argue that this is a science stopper. Well, if it is, than so be it. It is much better to know where it stops than to invent unrealistic answers. After all, that scientific inquiry has no limits is a scientistic belief. It may be argued that it is a pragmatically useful belief but it is a belief nonetheless. Somewhere the scientific method has to misfire. I believe this is exactly the question of how it all started, where science can only elucidate so much. By necessity anything we say about the beginning is a hypothesis. In my opinion, naturalism is in principle incapable of unravelling the problem of origins simply because the origin of nature necessarily cannot be natural. On the contrary, ID at least can match reality e.g. in maintaining that for a holistic teleological decision making system such as the proto-cell to come about, decision making (and hence intelligence) must have been required. Realistically, there is no other option in this world.

    I still think that ID even in this limited form of reasoning about the artefact not the Designer, is science in the same way as forensics or archaeology is science. By the way, science has got this far not in the least degree because of creationism of its great contributors of the past.

    The assumption that rational principles are at the basis of how this world (including the living nature) operates is extremely fruitful scientifically. This assumption is so powerful that mainstream science cannot help accepting it, albeit tacitly. And this is, in fact, why it has achieved what it has achieved.

    What is really important in my view is:
    – the scientific agenda ID generates is non-trivial and vastly different from the current mainstream agenda.
    – ID is able to generate testable hypotheses that are richer and have more explanatory power than those generated by mainstream evolutionist science (note that evolutionism and evolution as a phenomenon are different things).
    – the current mainstream view is in principle incapable of explaining observed goal-directedness of living nature because it apriori excludes choice from the set of causal factors.
    – mainstream biology runs into insurmountable difficulties just for the same reason.

    Which is better: to have the right but uncomfortable answer or to have the wrong answer?

    Building upon the correct set of assumptions gets your further towards the right answer.

    What I don’t quite like about this blog is it spends too much effort on philosophical questions trying to be too broad. Instead it should really focus on developing ID per se as applied to biosystems. This is why I think that OPs like ones by gpuccio are great.

  94. 94
    kairosfocus says:

    ES, thing is, if we try to focus science q’s, we get pestered with phil issues. If we take time out and highlight those to answer, we get accused of not dealing with science. Where, of course, there is never any evidence of design as far as some objectors are concerned, save for actually videotaping the designer at work. The matter looks like decision already made, what was the argument to get there without seeming to be too much the kangaroo court, hence word games like methodological naturalism and redefining science etc. Those are phil q’s and the matter becomes unavoidable. As another case in point the issue of an infinite past came up a year and half ago, and the logic of temporal causal succession raised issues on infinity and traversing endlessness, nature of being, world roots etc. And more. KF

  95. 95
    Pindi says:

    WJM @57: yes, of course they ask those questions. There are a number of theories on what causes gravity for example, eg the bending of space/time around a massive object. Gravity is further analysed as to whether it is composed of particles or waves etc. Scientists are constantly asking the next questions. I think you just shot yourself in the foot.

  96. 96
    kairosfocus says:

    BO’H (Attn ES):

    I should add a thought or two, i/l/o Newton’s rules for things not accessible to direct inference.

    In essence, the remote reaches of space and the remote past alike are not amenable to direct close hand inspection, sampling, direct testing etc. Accordingly we must reckon from traces to their credible causes and relevant narratives. Star light to spectra to comparative spectra to inferred composition etc. Likewise, traces of the past to causal processes that produce the like result in our at close hand observation, to inferred likely or at least plausible account.

    Thus, we see inference to best explanation and need to appeal to causal processes shown to be adequate to the observed effects.

    This is of course a discussion of logic of induction (support, not demonstration) and warrant of knowledge claims in the soft, defeatable, sense of knowledge. and it is weaker than with cases we can make repeated observations of phenomena close at hand.

    And so yes, some philosophical considerations are inevitable.

    In all of this, FSCO/I is observable (cf texts in this thread, or something like a watch, or — in principle — a von Neumann kinematic self-replicator, etc. On trillions of cases, its reliably observed causal process involves intelligently, purposefully directed configuration. This is also backed up by blind search challenge analysis.

    Thus, we see cases of inferred design that do not sit well with the evolutionary materialist establishment and their Internet footsoldiers. Who will never be pleased with any inference to design in an origins science context of any relevance.

    That boils down to, if you keep rigging the game, at some time Charlie is going to walk away, Lucy. And he ain’t ever coming back once that happens.

    KF

    PS: The rules:

    Rule I [[–> adequacy and simplicity]

    We are to admit no more causes of natural things than such as are both true [[–> it is probably best to take this liberally as meaning “potentially and plausibly true”] and sufficient to explain their appearances.

    To this purpose the philosophers say that Nature does nothing in vain, and more is in vain when less will serve; for Nature is pleased with simplicity, and affects not the pomp of superfluous causes.

    Rule II [[–> uniformity of causes: “like forces cause like effects”]

    Therefore to the same natural effects we must, as far as possible, assign the same causes.

    As to respiration in a man and in a beast; the descent of stones in Europe and in America; the light of our culinary fire and of the sun; the reflection of light in the earth, and in the planets.

    Rule III [[–> confident universality]

    The qualities of bodies, which admit neither intensification nor remission of degrees, and which are found to belong to all bodies within the reach of our experiments, are to be esteemed the universal qualities of all bodies whatsoever.

    For since the qualities of bodies are only known to us by experiments, we are to hold for universal all such as universally agree with experiments; and such as are not liable to diminution can never be quite taken away. We are certainly not to relinquish the evidence of experiments for the sake of dreams and vain fictions of our own devising; nor are we to recede from the analogy of Nature, which is wont to be simple, and always consonant to [398/399] itself . . . .

    Rule IV [[–> provisionality and primacy of induction]

    In experimental philosophy we are to look upon propositions inferred by general induction from phenomena as accurately or very nearly true, notwithstanding any contrary hypotheses that may be imagined, till such time as other phenomena occur, by which they may either be made more accurate, or liable to exceptions.

    This rule we must follow, that the arguments of induction may not be evaded by [[speculative] hypotheses.

  97. 97
    EugeneS says:

    KF

    “And so yes, some philosophical considerations are inevitable.”

    Don’t read me wrong. Of course, some philosophy is unavoidable and even desirable because it helps chart the territory. But it feels a bit more focus won’t harm. That is, of course, IMHO.

  98. 98
    Macauley86 says:

    Who designed the designer?

    “So you think you understand the cosmological argument?” by Edward Feser

    http://edwardfeser.blogspot.co.....stand.html

  99. 99
    kairosfocus says:

    F/N: The who designed the designer objection is actually a philosophically loaded objection. We are interested to assess causal process credibly accounting for X on signs relevant to X. The objection implies that designs require designer so you cannot properly discuss X without discussing the — in the nature of the case, unobserved — designer D1, and then the further inferred unobserved designers in cascade D2, D3 etc. So, the shift is to pull away from empirical signs and warranted causes per observation to a projected infinite regress, itself likely to be loaded with a priori evolutionary materialist assumptions and talking points. The red herring is dragged away from the empirical evidence and inductive warrant issue to shift to a strawman designer chain, to be soaked in loaded accusations and set alight. Meanwhile, the point that evidence of design is by reasonable second inference evidence of a designer with relevant capabilities, is distracted from and tainted by switching to an ideologically polarised debate not anchored in evidence. Frankly, I find this trifecta rhetorical tactic — and in various forms it repeatedly comes up in contexts discussing design evidence — to be cynically dishonest. It is high time such shabby and deceitful stratagems were acknowledged as improper, retracted and apologised for. Of course, some of the more naive objectors don’t realise the nature of the dirty tactics in the talking points they are being misled to use by those they look to for leadership. KF

    PS: I have already recently argued as to why a temporal-causal successive chain will be finite and non-circular in the past, pointing to a world-root of necessary being character. But that result is of course across the border, in philosophy. And no, “everything has a cause” is ignorance to be addressed through studying the nature of being, for which I find a possible worlds approach useful. the phil just will not go away.

  100. 100
    Axel says:

    As an atheist, Bob O’Hare, it’s none of your business whether the Designer was God. Just answer the question, theological enquiries can follow.

    If the Designer is God, and not the Personification of Randomness, you’re plum out of luck. If you prefer to assume the Designer is God, however, in order to further science, by answering the actual questions, that’s OK, too.

    When you look at a new car, do you ask who was the designer of the designer ? Of course not.

  101. 101
    Axel says:

    ‘Mat: Because the design of living things would require a miracle, and miracles are, by definition, supernatural.’

    Insofar as all matter ultimately issuing from the Singularity at the Big Bang has a non-local dimension, it must all be supernatural. What is your beef ?

  102. 102
    Pindi says:

    Axel @100: seriously, you don’t know who or what designs cars?

  103. 103

    Haters are gonna hate, and a/mats are really good at hating.

  104. 104
    Origenes says:

    If we must know the designer of the designer, in order for a designer to be a “proper cause”, then there are no proper causes at all.

    “Natural” causes included.

    First we ask: “If our universe is just one of many in a multiverse, where did the multiverse come from? And where did the multiverse’s cause come from, and where did its cause come from?” And so on, ad infinitum.

  105. 105
    Bob O'H says:

    Axel – I’ve no idea who this Bob O’Hare is, but with a name like that they’re probably Catholic.

  106. 106

    Pindi @ 95 said:

    WJM @57: yes, of course they ask those questions. There are a number of theories on what causes gravity for example, eg the bending of space/time around a massive object. Gravity is further analysed as to whether it is composed of particles or waves etc. Scientists are constantly asking the next questions. I think you just shot yourself in the foot.

    Pindi has a habit of not actually addressing what is said, but rather addressing some straw man. I don’t know if this is deliberate or if Pindi doesn’t really understand what is actually said.

    First, a descriptive model is not a cause, Pindi. It is a description of what occurs. Second, I didn’t say that scientists don’t ask those questions; I asked if it was reasonable to dismiss those descriptions if the causes of those behaviors were currently unknown or could not be explained. The point being that while “who designed the designer” is a valid question, it is irrelevant to ID theory because ID doesn’t even attempt to identify the first designer, much less any designer of that designer.

    So, dismissing or criticizing ID theory because it doesn’t address the question of “who designed the designer” is dismissing or criticizing a straw man.

  107. 107
    Bob O'H says:

    WJM –

    The point being that while “who designed the designer” is a valid question, it is irrelevant to ID theory because ID doesn’t even attempt to identify the first designer, much less any designer of that designer.

    To get back to my question – why not? Why does ID restrict itself so that it will not even make the attempt? Why doesn’t it even refuse to address the simpler problem of what does the pattern of design say about the designer?

  108. 108
  109. 109
    Marfin says:

    BoH , Who designed the designer ? I don`t know.
    How did life begin, what were its origins , if you can`t answer this you must be a poopyhead I assume.

  110. 110
    Bob O'H says:

    kf – that doesn’t help – I agree with people that “who designed the designer” is a poor question (see my post @ 31), and the ideas I laid out in 31 can still be applied to a finite and short chain of designers.

  111. 111
    kairosfocus says:

    BO’H:

    I will pick up your first point:

    >>First, I asked the question as Barry had stated it, and it’s only a sensible question under certain assumptions.>>

    1 –> That is, it is not a good question, though it seems to be a favourite rhetorical resort.

    2 –> As in, cf 99 supra.

    >> So if I might shift my goalposts a bit, I think better questions would be “who or what is the designer?”,>>

    3 –> That is, subject changes, under challenge.

    4 –> This now becomes the more generic, subject-shifting red herring, with a dash of question begging.

    5 –> The prior question is, empirically grounded warrant on signs (e.g. FSCO/I, fine tuning of complex unified systems, etc) that leads to a well founded conclusion that an entity X is designed.

    6 –> On the proper order, we then move to the issue, what sort of approach, what difficulties, what solutions, how elegant.

    7 –> This then allows us to see what sort of capabilities are needed, and how well did the designer fulfill them. Given Jutland + 101 is coming up end of month, ponder British vs German WW 1 era battlecruisers, and onward evolution.

    8 –> We may then fill out a job eval on the designer that allows us to move on to a list of candidates.

    9 –> But by dragging away from warrant and proper methodical approach to a rhetorically loaded question, prejudiced dismissal is invited.

    >> and “what can we say about the designer?”. >>

    10 –> Back ways around.

    11 –> Design is process, leading to artifact that often has revealing traces in it. Again, ponder Mauser’s G98 vs Lee’s design and the SMLE, as well as the P14 that copied the Mauser philosophy. (This became the US Enfield.) Sidelight the Ross. Contrast the Swiss straight-pull rifles.

    12 –> From Artifact we may make inferences on designers. But first, we settle the issue of “archaeology vs natural” in the terms of that discipline.

    KF

  112. 112
    Bob O'H says:

    kf – are you agreeing with me that those who espouse ID can do more to “make inferences on designers”?

  113. 113
    Origenes says:

    Bob O’H: To get back to my question – why not? Why does ID restrict itself so that it will not even make the attempt?

    First, only persons restrict themselves.
    Second, you might as well have asked “Why does radiocarbon dating restrict itself so that it doesn’t even attempt to explain what caused time?”

    We are informing you what ID is and what it is meant to do. You are wondering why radiocarbon dating is not about the origin of time. Well Bob, it is not about that, because it was not intended (by persons) to be about that.

  114. 114
    asauber says:

    “who designed the designer” is a poor question (see my post @ 31)

    BobO’H,

    See your post @ #1

    Andrew

  115. 115
    kairosfocus says:

    BO’H: A long time ago now, I first heard of TRIZ from ID thinkers, and have discussed it here at UD many times. This very week, I have pointed out the relevance of Venter et al and molecular nanotech labs to what can be said abbout OOL on earth. And that same basic point I can trace to Thaxton et al in TMLO 30+ years ago, which is readily accessible and which has been discussed as to import many times at UD. Uniformly, it is objectors who refuse to actually consider what is discussed in this vein, in haste to rush on to knocking over strawmen — which speaks volumes and not in their favour. The problem still remains, that the first, foundational question is warranted inference to design. Until I see some semblance of willingness to acknowledge that, I have to see the demand to go elsewhere as red herrings led away to strawmen duly set up to be pummelled rhetorically, if they are lucky. KF

  116. 116
    Bob O'H says:

    Origenes – well, quite. But it fails to answer the question of why it is that way. Why shouldn’t we ask questions about the nature of the designer? “Because that’s not what we do” is not a convincing answer, I’m afraid.

    Andrew – to repeat, see my post at 31.

  117. 117
    Origenes says:

    Bob O’H: Why shouldn’t we ask questions about the nature of the designer?

    Obviously, we are perfectly free to ask questions about the nature of the designer. I think we should ask those questions. We are also free to ask questions about the origin of time. However, ID and radiocarbon dating are not helpful in answering those questions.

    Bob O’H: “Because that’s not what we do” is not a convincing answer, I’m afraid.

    That was not the answer I gave you. “Because that’s not what ID does”, was my answer.

    See ID as a tool, an instrument, which can provide an answer to a specific question during research — “is it designed?” Don’t think of ID as steering and dominating the entirety of the research.

  118. 118
    KRock says:

    The only thing I’ve learned from rvb8 here at UD is that he/she is a devoted and avid hate-theist—particularly Christianity.

  119. 119

    KRock @ 118: Agreed. He/she is a true hater. Consumed by hate.

  120. 120

    Origenes @ 117: Your kind patience toward these a/mats is admirable. Saintly.

  121. 121
  122. 122
    Axel says:

    @Pindi, your #102

    You must have responded before I noticed I had ‘left out a designer’. The Amended version of my post reads :

    ‘When you look at a new car, do you ask who was the designer of the designer ? Of course not.’

    Yes, I know the designed of all designers, but you claim not to know the designer of any of them. But you don’t ask the car salesman if he knows the proto-designer, do you ?
    —————
    Bob O’H, sorry I got your name wrong, though an ‘O’H’ intrigues me as also an abbrevaition for a uniquely Irish surname.

  123. 123
    kairosfocus says:

    F/N: Looks like I need to bring forward my comment at 111, to BO’H:

    >>>>>>>

    111
    kairosfocusMay 17, 2017 at 6:08 am

    BO’H:

    I will pick up your first point:

    >>First, I asked the question as Barry had stated it, and it’s only a sensible question under certain assumptions.>>

    1 –> That is, it is not a good question, though it seems to be a favourite rhetorical resort.

    2 –> As in, cf 99 supra.

    >> So if I might shift my goalposts a bit, I think better questions would be “who or what is the designer?”,>>

    3 –> That is, subject changes, under challenge.

    4 –> This now becomes the more generic, subject-shifting red herring, with a dash of question begging.

    5 –> The prior question is, empirically grounded warrant on signs (e.g. FSCO/I, fine tuning of complex unified systems, etc) that leads to a well founded conclusion that an entity X is designed.

    6 –> On the proper order, we then move to the issue, what sort of approach, what difficulties, what solutions, how elegant.

    7 –> This then allows us to see what sort of capabilities are needed, and how well did the designer fulfill them. Given Jutland + 101 is coming up end of month, ponder British vs German WW 1 era battlecruisers, and onward evolution.

    8 –> We may then fill out a job eval on the designer that allows us to move on to a list of candidates.

    9 –> But by dragging away from warrant and proper methodical approach to a rhetorically loaded question, prejudiced dismissal is invited.

    >> and “what can we say about the designer?”. >>

    10 –> Back ways around.

    11 –> Design is process, leading to artifact that often has revealing traces in it. Again, ponder Mauser’s G98 vs Lee’s design and the SMLE, as well as the P14 that copied the Mauser philosophy. (This became the US Enfield.) Sidelight the Ross. Contrast the Swiss straight-pull rifles.

    12 –> From Artifact we may make inferences on designers. But first, we settle the issue of “archaeology vs natural” in the terms of that discipline.

    >>>>>>>

    Sets the context for 115:

    A long time ago now, I first heard of TRIZ from ID thinkers, and have discussed it here at UD many times. This very week, I have pointed out the relevance of Venter et al and molecular nanotech labs to what can be said abbout OOL on earth. And that same basic point I can trace to Thaxton et al in TMLO 30+ years ago, which is readily accessible and which has been discussed as to import many times at UD. Uniformly, it is objectors who refuse to actually consider what is discussed in this vein, in haste to rush on to knocking over strawmen — which speaks volumes and not in their favour. The problem still remains, that the first, foundational question is warranted inference to design. Until I see some semblance of willingness to acknowledge that, I have to see the demand to go elsewhere as red herrings led away to strawmen duly set up to be pummelled rhetorically, if they are lucky.

    KF

  124. 124
    critical rationalist says:

    Since ID claims human designers are so improbably well adapted, they must have been designed, it’s unclear how ID proponent can suggest a designer is the most probable explanation for the biosphere.

    Since we couldn’t have designed ourselves, which highly probably designer did it? Where are they now? What traces did they leave when designing us?

    For example, if we take ID seriously, wouldn’t a highly advanced alien civilization be just as well adapted to serve a purpose, and therefore just improbable as us?

  125. 125
    asauber says:

    ID claims human designers are so improbably well adapted

    I don’t think ID claims this. I’m not even sure what it means. It could be that humans aren’t “adapted” at all.

    Andrew

  126. 126
    kairosfocus says:

    CR:

    Who in or around UD has ever argued that:

    ID claims human designers are so improbably well adapted, they must have been designed

    To my best recall on being here for about a decade, nil.

    I would suggest that an ID advocate may argue that the human body plan and/or genome exhibit sufficient of functionally specific complex organisation and/or associated information that we may freely infer design on empirically reliable sign. One particular focus would be our linguistic ability or possibly our upright walking stance, which requires a lot of differences between our skeletons and those of apes, etc.

    I suggest the two are about as similar as chalk and cheese would be in a grilled sandwich.

    KF

  127. 127
    Origenes says:

    CR: Since ID claims human designers are so improbably well adapted, they must have been designed, it’s unclear how ID proponent can suggest a designer is the most probable explanation for the biosphere.

    Wait a sec … Because ID claims that humans are designed, it is unclear why ID proposes that other lifeforms are also designed?
    I would say that this is not ‘unclear’ at all. In fact it is unclear how anyone, like you apparently, can find this ‘unclear’.

    CR: Since we couldn’t have designed ourselves, which highly probably designer did it?

    Perhaps we went back in time to design life on earth. We do not know.

    CR: Where are they now?

    I think we do not know.

    CR: What traces did they leave when designing us?

    Us, other life forms and arguably a universe fine-tuned for life. Didn’t you know that already?

    CR: For example, if we take ID seriously …

    Well, so far you have given us zero reason not to do that.

    CR: … wouldn’t a highly advanced alien civilization be just as well adapted to serve a purpose, and therefore just improbable as us?

    You seem to be asking “if we are designed by aliens, are those aliens also designed?”
    Well, maybe. But, how can we know for certain prior to scientific investigation? Keep an open mind will you?!

  128. 128
    Eric Anderson says:

    Bob O’H:

    Cambrian rabbits? Seriously?

    Remind me who the clueless person was who first proposed this rhetorical red herring as though it actually constituted a rational response to the issues raised by the fossil record — issues noted by Darwin himself? It was a brilliant rhetorical ploy, to be sure, given that Darwinian minions would swallow this red herring and regurgitate it for years to come.

    Look, if you are serious about the substance, rather than regurgitating Darwinian propaganda talking points, please think through (1) why Darwin himself thought the fossil record presented a grave objection to his theory, and (2) what discoveries have happened in paleontology in the last 150 years to completely overturn the understanding of the fossil record so that now it supports Darwinism rather than being a grave objection to it.

    —–

    Incidentally, your single-minded obsession in going on and on and on and on with your assertion that design proponents have no interest in any other questions is growing quite tiresome.

    Let’s put it to rest:

    Do you or do you not understand that there is a difference between (1) an initial inference to design, (2) additional questions that might be asked, and (3) general research carried out under a design framework?

    It doesn’t make any difference whether you think ID researchers are doing good work or making important discoveries or whether you agree with what they are doing. Your tiresome insistence that they aren’t doing what they are doing is both patently false and smacks of a dogmatic rhetorical stance, rather than a willingness to look at objective facts.

  129. 129
    wd400 says:

    (1) why Darwin himself thought the fossil record presented a grave objection to his theory, and (2) what discoveries have happened in paleontology in the last 150 years to completely overturn the understanding of the fossil record so that now it supports Darwinism rather than being a grave objection to it.

    Are you for real? Darwin was concerned about fossils because their were few transitionals known at the time, no fossils of soft-bodied animals and no fossils that pre-dated the Cambrian.

    So, the discoveries of, from the top of my head Pikaia, Kimberella,Archaeopteryx, Ichthyostega, Tiiktalik pre-cambrian sponge spicules and Homo erectus have all done rather a lot to address his concerns!

  130. 130
    Origenes says:

    wd400 @129

    As nature does jump, exclusive gradualism is dismissed. Saltatory evolution is a natural phenomenon, provided by a sudden collapse of the thresholds which resist against evolution. The fossil record and the taxonomic system call for a macromutational interpretation. [van Waesberghe, H. 1982. “Towards an alternative evolution model.” Acta Biotheoretica 31:3-28.]

    We offer evidence for three independent instances of saltational evolution in a charismatic moth genus with only eight species. … Each saltational species exhibits a markedly different and discrete example of discontinuous trait evolution [Rubinoff, D., J. Le Roux. 2008. “Evidence of repeated and independent saltational evolution in a peculiar genus of sphinx moths (Proserpinus: Sphingidae).” PLoS One 3:e4035.]

    Major transitions in biological evolution show the same pattern of sudden emergence of diverse forms at a new level of complexity. The relationships between major groups within an emergent new class of biological entities are hard to decipher and do not seem to fit the tree pattern that, following Darwin’s original proposal, remains the dominant description of biological evolution. The cases in point include the origin of complex RNA molecules and protein folds; major groups of viruses; archaea and bacteria, and the principal lineages within each of these prokaryotic domains; eukaryotic supergroups; and animal phyla. In each of these pivotal nexuses in life’s history, the principal “types” seem to appear rapidly and fully equipped with the signature features of the respective new level of biological organization. No intermediate “grades” or intermediate forms between different types are detectable. [Koonin, E. 2007. “The Biological Big Bang model for the major transitions in evolution.” Biology Direct 2:21.]

    Here we provide for the first time evidence of major phenotypic saltation in the evolution of segment number in a lineage of centipedes [Minelli, A., A. Chagas-Júnior, G. Edgecombe. 2009. “Saltational evolution of trunk segment number in centipedes.” Evolution & Development 11:318-322.]

    Thank you dr. Hunter

  131. 131
    critical rationalist says:

    @Origenes

    ID only claims that human beings are designed? That’s it?

    I thought it thought ID claims we were designed because we are improbably well adapted to serve a purpose. Our being well adapted is the appearance of design, which needs to be explained.

    As for traveling back in time to design ourselves, why would we design ourselves as we are? I mean, why not do a better job? Also, our best, current theory of time travel is that traveling back in time would mean traveling to another universe in the many worlds interpretation of quantum mechanics. You could kill your grandfather in a different universe without causing a paradox in regards to yourself, but we couldn’t design the human race unlesss we were already designed in at least one universe.

    Also, I was asking what traces other than us, which woluld be begging the question.

    You seem to be asking “if we are designed by aliens, are those aliens also designed?”

    I’m asking the question I asked, which was how can ID consider the existence of some other designer like us probable if ID thinks we are improbably well adapted?

    Or does ID not imply that a designer is the most probable explanation for the biosphere? What is the inference?

  132. 132
    wd400 says:

    I guess you’ll have to tell me what these links have to do with the question, Origenes. A moth evolved yellow wings some time over 5 million years of evolution? OK. Koonin’s paper is interesting, but almost entirely about microbes and not fossils.

  133. 133
    Eric Anderson says:

    wd400:

    Yes, I’m quite for real. Are you? It sounds like you need to get up to speed on the general state of paleontology.

    A handful of alleged, in some cases quite controversial, examples of supposed intermediates certainly does not address Darwin’s acknowledgement and concern that under his theory there should be “innumerable” transitional forms. Even if the questionable cases are accepted as gospel, they are the exceptions that prove the rule.

    I also had to laugh at your reference to soft bodied fossils as a support for Darwinian theory. It wasn’t too long ago that one of the Darwinists’ favorite claims was that we don’t have transitionals because soft bodies generally don’t fossilize. Now, as you point out, many soft bodied organisms have been found, putting to rest that all-too-convenient claim. Unfortunately for the Darwinian narrative, those soft bodies are unable to serve as reasonable transitional forms to later fossils in the record.

    We have to look at the record as a whole. We can’t rely on a few questionable fossils to support a theory that is supposed to have acted broadly across the Earth and across innumerable organisms and vast periods of time. As Gould, Eldridge, and most serious paleontologists have recognized over the years, the record is discontinuous and unsupportive of the gradual, “slight-successive changes,” to “plastic” organisms, over vast periods of time that underlies Darwin’s whole expectation. That is the whole reason Gould and Eldridge came up with their similarly-convenient artifact hypothesis. And the problem still exists today, with other researchers beginning to be a bit more open about the problem.

    Darwin’s approach was to blame the data. The same is still true of those who try to shoehorn the data into his theory today.

    All this, without mentioning other problems, such as the broad failure of the record to corroborate his bottom-up expectation of slow, inevitable change from species on up to phylum.

  134. 134
    wd400 says:

    Yes, I’m quite for real. Are you? It sounds like you need to get up to speed on the general state of paleontology.

    Certainly one of us does….

  135. 135
    Marfin says:

    wd 400- Colin Patterson when questioned about fossil ancestry re archaeopteryx ,said there is no way of putting it to the test.
    So my question to you is what test can be done on any fossil to prove it is ancestral to any other fossil.

  136. 136
    Origenes says:

    Most of the animal groups that are represented in the fossil record first appear, “fully formed” and identifiable as to their phylum, in the Cambrian, some 550 million years ago. These include such anatomically complex and distinctive types as trilobites, echinoderms, brachiopods, molluscs, and chordates. … The fossil record is therefore of no help with respect to the origin and early diversification of the various animal phyla…[R.S.K. Barnes, P. Calow and P.J.W. Olive, The Invertebrates: A New Synthesis, pp. 9-10 (3rd ed., Blackwell Sci. Publications, 2001).]

    The absence of fossil evidence for intermediary stages between major transitions in organic design, indeed our inability, even in our imagination, to construct functional intermediates in many cases, has been a persistent and nagging problem for gradualistic accounts of evolution.” [Stephen Jay Gould, “Is a new and general theory of evolution emerging?” Paleobiology, 6(1): 119-130 (1980)].

    We are still in the dark about the origin of most major groups of organisms. They appear in the fossil record as Athena did from the head of Zeus — full-blown and raring to go, in contradiction to Darwin’s depiction of evolution as resulting from the gradual accumulation of countless infinitesimally minute variations … [Jeffrewy Schwartz, Sudden Origins: Fossils, Genes, and the Emergence of Species, p. 3 (Wiley, 1999).]

    Source: evolutionnews.org

  137. 137
    wd400 says:

    Marfin,

    It’s true that it is very hard to test whether a particular fossil is an ancestor (rather than a cousin) of modern groups.Thankfully that doesn’t matter very much. The tree here is a nice example of how you do not need to assume a fossil is ancestral to any particular group in order to reconstruct and evolutionary history.

  138. 138
    Origenes says:

    CR @131

    CR: ID only claims that human beings are designed? That’s it?

    Who said that?
    ID WRT life:

    Intelligent design challenges the idea that natural selection and random mutation (and other similarly undirected materialistic processes) can explain the most striking appearances of design in living organisms. Instead, it affirms that there are certain features of living systems that are best explained by the design of an actual intelligence—a conscious and rational agent, a mind—as opposed to a mindless, materialistic process. The theory of intelligent design does not reject “evolution” defined as “change over time” or even universal common ancestry, but it does dispute Darwin’s idea that the cause of major biological change and the appearance of design are wholly blind and undirected.
    Nor does the theory seek to insert into biology an extraneous religious concept. Intelligent design addresses a key scientific question that has long been part of evolutionary biology: Is design real or illusory?
    [Stephen Meyer, ‘Darwin’s Doubt’, Ch.17]

    CR: I thought it thought ID claims we were designed because we are improbably well adapted to serve a purpose.

    Can you provide a quote? Specifically, what purpose does ID claim humans have? And to whom?

    Our being well adapted is the appearance of design, which needs to be explained.

    I’m not sure where you get the idea that ‘adaptability’ is central to ID. A flash drive that doesn’t fit a computer is just as much designed as an ‘adapted’ flash drive.

  139. 139
    Marfin says:

    WD-400 No not very hard , impossible to test, if you disagree show me the test. You say I don`t need to assume ,then you show me a tree which is nothing but assumptions.
    It is someone best assumption of lineage based on another assumption that Darwinian evolution happened in the first place.
    Show me how you know beyond a reasonable doubt that archaeoptryx is or is not on a direct line in bird evolution , you can`t as there is no way to test this assumption, and this is the case with all fossils.
    The evidence is that we have fossils, anything after that is interpretation, not fact , not tested , interpretation,someones opinion.

  140. 140
    Origenes says:

    Eric Anderson: It sounds like you need to get up to speed on the general state of paleontology.

    wd400: Certainly one of us does….

    I’m fairly sure that the following will help determining who needs to get up to speed.

    Source: S.Meyer, ‘Darwin’s Doubt’, Ch.3.

    Over the past 150 years or so, paleontologists have found many representatives of the phyla that were well known in Darwin’s time (by analogy, the equivalent of the three primary colors) and a few completely new forms altogether (by analogy, some other distinct colors such as green and orange, perhaps). And, of course, within these phyla there is a great deal of variety. Nevertheless, the analogy holds at least insofar as the differences in form between any member of one phylum and any member of another phylum are vast, and paleontologists have utterly failed to find forms that would fill these yawning chasms in what biologists call “morphological space.” In other words, they have failed to find the paleontological equivalent of the numerous finely graded intermediate colors (Pendleton blue, dusty rose, gun barrel gray, magenta, etc.) that interior designers covet. Instead, extensive sampling of the fossil record has confirmed a strikingly discontinuous pattern in which representatives of the major phyla stand in stark isolation from members of other phyla, without intermediate forms filling the intervening morphological space.
    Foote’s statistical analysis of this pattern, documented by an ever increasing number of paleontological investigations, demonstrates just how improbable it is that there ever existed a myriad of as yet undiscovered intermediate forms of animal life—forms that could close the morphological distance between the Cambrian phyla one tiny evolutionary step at a time. In effect, Foote’s analysis suggests that since paleontologists have reached repeatedly into the proverbial barrel, sampled it from one end to the other, and found only representatives of various radically distinct phyla but no rainbow of intermediates, we shouldn’t hold our breath expecting such intermediates to eventually emerge. He asks “whether we have a representative sample of morphological diversity and therefore can rely on patterns documented in the fossil record.” The answer, he says, is yes.55
    By this affirmation, he doesn’t mean that there are no biological forms left to discover. He means, rather, that we have good reason to conclude that such discoveries will not alter the largely discontinuous pattern that has emerged. “Although we have much to learn about the evolution of form,” he writes, the statistical pattern created by our existing fossil data demonstrates that “in many respects our view of the history of biological diversity is mature.”56

    – – – – –
    55. Foote, “Sampling, Taxonomic Description, and Our Evolving Knowledge of Morphological Diversity,” 181. Another statistical paleontologist, Michael J. Benton, and his colleagues have reached a similar conclusion. They note that “if scaled to the . . . taxonomic level of the family [and above], the past 540 million years of the fossil record provide uniformly good documentation of the life of the past” (Benton, Wills, and Hitchin, “Quality of the Fossil Record Through Time,” 534). In another article Benton also writes: “It could be argued that there are fossils out there waiting to be found. It is easy to dismiss the fossil record as seriously, and unpredictably, incomplete. For example, certain groups of organisms are almost unknown as fossils. . . . This kind of argument cannot be answered conclusively. However, an argument based on effort can be made. Paleontologists have been searching for fossils for years and, remarkably, very little has changed since 1859, when Darwin proposed that the fossil record would show us the pattern of the history of life” (“Early Origins of Modern Birds and Mammals,” 1046).

    56. Foote, “Sampling Taxonomic Description, and Our Evolving Knowledge of Morphological Diversity,” 181. I should note that there is one way in which my analogy to colored marbles in a barrel fails to capture the nature of the challenge of Cambrian fossil discontinuity. If after pulling samples from a barrel for a while you finally came up with a green and orange ball to go along with the piles of red, blue, and yellow balls, you still wouldn’t have much confidence that the barrel had a rainbow of ball colors finely grading from one to another. Yet you could at least say that the orange ball stands between the yellow and red ball, and the green ball stands between the blue and yellow balls (like the hybrid produced from two plants). But many of the new Cambrian animal forms that have been discovered since Darwin’s time aren’t seen as intermediates between the previously known animal forms representing known phyla. They aren’t evolutionary intermediates between one existing phylum and another. Instead, scientists consider them as existing out in morphological space all their own, standing not as intermediates but as phyla that themselves are in need of intermediate forms—almost as if, by stretching my analogy, some new primary color had been discovered.

  141. 141
    Eric Anderson says:

    wd400, it is also worth pointing out that your claim that Darwin was concerned about the lack of soft-bodied fossils is revisionist history and misrepresents the line of argumentation.

    Darwin was concerned about the pervasive lack of transitional forms. His reference to soft bodies was all part of his attempt to explain — rather, explain away — the fossil record. In The Origin he asserted that the fossil record is “an extremely imperfect and intermittent record,” and that “no organism wholly soft can be preserved.”

    His disciples latched onto this artifact hypothesis and used it for generations to attempt to explain (i.e., explain away) the lack of transitionals. And it has turned out to be false.

    Darwin also stated that “Those who believe that the geological record is in any degree perfect, will undoubtedly at once reject my theory.” The fossil record doesn’t have to be perfect for Darwin’s theory to be in trouble. Just perfect “in any degree”.

    Darwin was keenly aware that the fossil record not only did not support his theory, but strongly contradicted it. A handful of alleged transitionals (which he also had in his day) doesn’t help much. It is quite telling that we have about as many identified phyla as we do decent alleged individual transitionals. Yet under Darwin’s theory we should have tens of thousands, if not millions (“innumerable progenitors”, to use his words), of transitionals leading up to each phylum.

    Finally, it is worth noting that Darwin additionally argued that “periods of elevation” of the land would be favorable to formation of new species but would be unlikely to preserve fossils, while “during subsidence”, when the record would be more complete, it is unlikely that new species would be formed. Even setting aside the now-overturned elevation/subsidence view of geology, there is no scientific reason (or reason under random variation + natural selection) why elevation would be more favorable to the formation of new species than subsidence. It was just another attempt to explain away the fossil record.

    That Darwin was a skilled rhetorician is unquestionable. He was skilled at talking his way out of the many difficulties of his theory, conjuring up rhetorical stances that, although lacking in substance, would be believed by his followers. His willingness to objectively stack his theory up against the evidence — not so much.

  142. 142

    Origenes @ 140: Nice use of Meyer’s research. Very interested to see how WD400 responds.

  143. 143

    Bob O’H asks:

    To get back to my question – why not? Why does ID restrict itself so that it will not even make the attempt? Why doesn’t it even refuse to address the simpler problem of what does the pattern of design say about the designer?

    ID theorists are free to argue about or investigate what can be inferred or evidenced about a designer, just as evolutionary biologists are free to argue about or investigate various theories about abiogenesis. However, just as abiogenesis is not within the formal scope of evolutionary theory, designer identification/profiling is not within the formal scope of ID theory because ID is about design detection, not designer identification.

    Lack of an abiogenesis theory doesn’t invalidate evolutionary theory; not identifying the designer (much less the designer of the designer) doesn’t invalidate ID theory.

    If you are asking why don’t the main design theorists add “designer identification” to the theory, I’d say that unnecessarily broadens the scope of the theory at this time. It’s hard enough to get people to agree to just the detection of a design without additionally getting into the question of who or what may have done the design and how the design was implemented. Let’s get the first step established first, then we can work on what follows.

  144. 144
  145. 145
    wd400 says:

    Marfin,

    Inferring ancestral relationships is hard, not impossible: http://journals.plos.org/plosc.....bi.1003919. “Reasonable doubt” is not a scientific concept, even so, it is very unlikely that any Archaeoptryx fossil is an ancestor of modern birds. (You can see this just by simulating phylogenies and placing fossils on them — most will fall on branches that have no descendants, which is just a property of birth-death processes).

    Phylogenetics is about much more than someone’s opinion, you should check it out.

    EA,

    I’m afraid very little of this is informed by any understanding of paleontology, Darwin’s ideas or modern evolutionary biology. Have you read any non-creationists works on these topics? An intro textbook like Carl Zimmer’s one would be a start.

    The few substantive points you make are just weird. Do you really think we should have fossils for all the intermediate forms near the root of the animal tree? Which fossil bed has this uninterrupted series of millions of years of deposition? It’s not true that Darwin though the fossil record contradicted his theory (just that it did not provide a pefect record of the transitions he envisaged) and none fo the small subset of transitional fossils I listed in my comment where known when the Origin was published (Archaeoptryx was described shortly after)

  146. 146
    Macauley86 says:

    Bob @ 87
    This guy takes a stab at the nature of the designer based mostly on the evidence from nature. He’s a German YEC.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DA0Ojxr4pv0

  147. 147
    Eric Anderson says:

    wd400:

    You seem to be extremely selective in your interpretation, ignoring the broad and clear picture obtained over many decades of dedicated and extensive research in favor of a small handful of possible, maybe, could-be, transitionals here and there.

    We should also note that some of alleged transitionals you mentioned, such as Kimberella aren’t legitimate transitionals to the Cambrian anyway. And there is certainly no rational transitional leading up to Kimberella. As a result, such forms represent yet another relatively-abrupt arrival, without transitionals of their own, just adding to the problem, not solving it.

    Do you really think we should have fossils for all the intermediate forms near the root of the animal tree?

    I have certainly not argued that we should have fossils for all intermediate forms. This isn’t a question of a perfect record, but it is a question of rational acceptance of the record that we do have as broadly accurate. Sure, we can continue to claim bad data, but that is a pretty poor excuse for an argument.

    When, under Darwin’s theory, we are supposed to have “innumerable” predecessors leading up to a phylum, and when we don’t have those predecessors preserved in the record but we do have the phylum, then any rational and objective person should seriously start to question whether the predecessors actually existed. With apologies to Darwin, we don’t just get to assume they did, but didn’t get preserved. That is a little too convenient.

    It’s not true that Darwin though[t] the fossil record contradicted his theory (just that it did not provide a pefect record of the transitions he envisaged) . . .

    You are misrepresenting the level of the problem. Darwin most certainly did not think that the fossil record was pretty good in supporting his theory but just did not quite “provide a perfect record.” He realized that the fossil record, if accepted at face value, was fundamentally problematic and fatal to his theory. I’ve quoted some relevant language from The Origin above, so let’s take what he said seriously, rather than trying to gloss over it and pretend that the problem didn’t exist.

    Darwin wasn’t just worried about a few minor missing links here and there needed to complete the picture. He was quite aware that the record was problematic across the board. He argued that the fossil record needed to be severely and extensively faulty in order for his theory to stand. He admitted that if we accepted the fossil record as largely accurate, then his theory would fail. Most paleontologists now do, and it does.

    The failure of the fossil record to support Darwin’s approach doesn’t mean that the materialist creation story is dead quite yet. But it is on life support.

    After all, even as we acknowledge the realities of the fossil record we could still try to salvage the broader claims of evolutionary theory by making up a new story — one that doesn’t require slight, successive changes in broad geography over long periods of time. We could make up a new story to “explain” that organisms tend to evolve in places that, conveniently, always seem to be just out of reach of our observations or the fossil record. We could even come up with a fancy name, like, say, “punctuated equilibrium,” to describe our new idea.

    But we would hopefully then acknowledge that our new idea doesn’t really explain how evolution works, but that we are, like Darwin and his disciples after him, instead attempting to explain away the gaping evidentiary chasm that separates Darwin’s theory and the realities of the fossil record.

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