Extraterrestrial life Intelligent Design

The New York Times runs an “aliens are maybe real” story

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So we hear from Gizmodo:

The New York Times published a story Thursday night about the likelihood that aliens have visited Earth. The main takeaway? Aliens could be real and the U.S. government has been conducting classified briefings in recent years about things left behind by “off-world vehicles.”

So what does the new article have to say about the possibility of little green men—aside from the ones currently in Portland? A well-funded group inside the Office of Naval Intelligence is actively investigating unexplained encounters between members of the military and unidentified flying objects. And while some of the “materials” recovered by U.S. government sources have turned out to have perfectly innocent explanations, some materials are still a total mystery.

Matt Novak, “New York Times Casually Drops Another Story About How Aliens Are Probably Real” at Gizmodo

Here at the New York Times (paywall).

There are many total mysteries out there. We need more to go on than mere mystery to take aliens seriously. One remembers the astronomer who convinced himself recently that space detritus Oumuamua was an extraterrestrial light sail and accused the rest of us of being too dumb to see that.

Like we said, as long as there’s an Out There Out There, they’ll be Out There

See also: Tales of an invented god

74 Replies to “The New York Times runs an “aliens are maybe real” story

  1. 1
    ET says:

    There isn’t any maybe aliens are real. There isn’t any doubt. But sure, people will resist just because they haven’t been introduced to any.

    There are too many reports from expert witnesses to discard them.

  2. 2
    doubter says:

    It is unfortunate that such a vast, deep and ultimately alarming topic can be so easily glossed over. UFOs and the extraterrestrial hypothesis for them refuse to go away, because many real physical encounters obstinately continue to occur (especially with Navy and Air Force aircraft), and continue to exhibit flight characteristics vastly beyond current or any projected technology.

    In my opinion the extraterrestrial hypothesis remains plausible as the explanation for the major category of UFO-related phenomena, vehicle sightings and encounters especially with optical media, radar and EMI interaction.

    Some of the theoretical arguments against the extraterrestrial hypothesis (ETH) for UFOs are that there is zero knowledge of other life much less other intelligent life, if it actually exists it is apparently impossible for it to get here, the apparent ridiculousness and absurdity of some of the phenomena (such as alien abductions, many UFOnaut encounter accounts, brilliant “advertising” lights), the supposed parapsychological connection, and the supposed similarities with historical accounts of things like fairy sightings.

    But as far as I am concerned real data, evidence, always trumps theory. These following cases and many others of the same sort were real events in the world, in space-time, occurring to real people that presented as described. Their testimony and other evidence can’t reasonably be dismissed just because they appear fantastic or theoretically preposterous. Especially with good observers like pilots and police officers (sometimes multiple) whose testimony would otherwise be accepted in a court of law. The burden is on the skeptic to credibly demonstrate how these cases are actually misperceptions, hallucinations, errors, hoaxes, useless anecdotes, etc. And on the skeptic of the ETH to come up with a more credible general explanation for the many cases of physical interaction with physical apparent vehicles.

    Some people have observed strange apparently structured material objects in the atmosphere that give the strong impression of being vehicles, somebody else’s hardware.

    The best cases stand on their own merits as evidence that on some rare occasions what seem to be alien vehicles appear to humans, sometimes producing physical effects including radar returns, radio interference, ground traces and leaving images preserved on photographic film or electronic media.

    For a detailed summary scientific review and analysis of the various types of physical evidence related to UFOs, there was the Sturrock panel report, see https://ufoscoop.com/physical-evidence-related-to-ufos/.

    The relatively recent (in 2004 and 2015) sightings and radar trackings of small UFOs shadowing US Navy carrier battle groups, featuring multiple pilot and ship radar reports and HUD video display recordings amount to some of the best data. Some of these HUD videos were released by the Defense Department a few months ago.

    This is just a sampling of some of the better older data, really just the tip of the iceberg:

    – The 1947 Kenneth Arnold sighting
    Except for the WWII “foo fighters”, this begins the modern era of UFOs. A good analysis is at http://www.martinshough.com/ae.....lysis2.pdf . There do not seem to be any valid optical, geometric, geographical, psychological or other reasons to doubt the major features of Arnold’s sighting as reported and they are internally consistent. The analysis results in a range of 16-20 miles, a minimum length of 70-90 feet, and a speed of 890 to 1200 mph. Arnold described the objects as trimmed-off in the rear thin shiny “saucer-like” discoids reflecting sunlight blindingly like metal at certain angles.
    – The Chiles-Whitted Case – Montgomery, Alabama, United States – July 24, 1948
    – The Nash-Fortenberry Sighting (aircraft encounter with formation of UFOs) – Virginia, United States – July 14, 1952
    – The RB-47 UFO Encounter – Gulf Coast Area, United States – July 17, 1957
    – Socorro / Zamora UFO Incident – Socorro, New Mexico, United States – April 24, 1964
    – Coyne Helicopter Incident – Mansfield, Ohio, United States – October 18, 1973
    – “Dogfight over Tehran”, the 1976 Iranian Air Force Incident, a multiple pilot/ground/radar/visual/EMI signal case. Details at http://www.nicap.org/760919tehran_dir.htm .
    – The Cash-Landrum Case – Huffman, Texas, United States – December 29, 1980
    – Japan Air Lines Flight 1628 Over Alaska – Alaska, United States – November 17, 1986
    – Belgium Triangle UFO Sightings – Belgium – October, 1989
    – Illinois Triangle UFO Sighting (by multiple police officers) – Illinois, United States – January 5, 2000

    There was the 1999 French Cometa committee report, summarized at https://www.ufocasebook.com/cometamain.html . This was an in-depth study of UFOs conducted by a science professional group with close ties to the French military and government, covering many aspects of the subject, especially questions of national defense. The study was done over several years by a group at the Institute of Advanced Studies for National Defense, or IHEDN, and by other qualified experts from various fields. They took the extraterrestrial hypothesis very seriously when considering the many excellent French cases.

    For an exhaustive analysis of electromagnetic effects generated by UFOs, see Fifty-Six Aircraft Pilot Sightings Involving E-M Effects – Haines (1992), at http://www.nicap.org/papers/92apsiee.htm .

  3. 3
    AaronS1978 says:

    @ET you are probably real *bah dumb cha*
    I’ll be here all night

  4. 4
    AaronS1978 says:

    Now what if these things aren’t alien? We never see them in space only at planet level
    Maybe, they are of a super natural nature

  5. 5

    What makes you say we’ve never seen them in space, AaronS1978 ?

  6. 6
    JVL says:

    While I would not be surprised at all if we find electromagnetic evidence of intelligent beings in other solar systems the vast distances involved make physical visitation extremely difficult. Besides, given that they might want to hide their presence why are there so many reports of contact and even abductions? If they know their cloaking and mind wiping technologies are severely flawed why would they keep using them?

    They’ve got incredibly advanced technology but they can’t prevent us from seeing them on occasion or remembering encounters?

  7. 7

    .

    While I would not be surprised at all if we find electromagnetic evidence of intelligent beings

    How would we know if we found “electromagnetic evidence of intelligent beings”? What would that be?

  8. 8
    JVL says:

    <Upright BiPed: How would we know if we found “electromagnetic evidence of intelligent beings”? What would that be?

    Something like in the movie Contact. A signal that’s very clearly NOT produced by unguided processes. A signal which, after inspection, was shown to have compressed data. It’s a good question and there have been a few false alarms in the past so a possible bit of alien signal should be extremely closely scrutinised.

  9. 9

    .
    Right.

    So when we find a signal that presents itself as a narrow-band carrier wave, we will assume intelligent activity because in our universal experience, narrow-band radio waves are the unique product of a transmitter, not a natural noise-maker. In other words, the operational definition of intelligent action for SETI is the reception of a narrow-band radio wave.

    Oh but however, if we want to be absolutely certain of intelligent activity, we will check that signal for an even more formidable operational definition of intelligent activity, which absolutely no one will argue with; a finding that will confirm without question an act of intelligence. We will look for an aperiodic coding structure — semiosis — the very phenomenon that was predicted and confirmed inside of every living cell on earth, JVL. And in response to this documented historical/scientific fact, you ask to see the designer’s toilet instead.

    So, why the instantaneous double standard?

  10. 10
  11. 11
    JVL says:

    Upright BiPed: So when we find a signal that presents itself as a narrow-band carrier wave, we will assume intelligent activity because in our universal experience, narrow-band radio waves are the unique product of a transmitter, not a natural noise-maker. In other words, the operational definition of intelligent action for SETI is the reception of a narrow-band radio wave.

    Actually, I did not say most of those things. Not specifically

    Oh but however, if we want to be absolutely certain of intelligent activity, we will check that signal for an even more formidable operational definition of intelligent activity, which absolutely no one will argue with; a finding that will confirm without question an act of intelligence. We will look for an aperiodic coding structure — semiosis — the very phenomenon that was predicted and confirmed inside of every living cell on earth, JVL. And in response to this documented historical/scientific fact, you ask to see the designer’s toilet instead.

    I definitely did not say some of that. I don’t want to keep having the same conversation over and over again.Upright BiPed seems to put everything in the same terms all the time.

    So, why the instantaneous double standard?

    It seems that no matter what I choose to contribute to this forum Upright BiPed is bound and determined to bring it back to a disagreement he has with me. I did think, about this particular topic I might contribute something that would be interesting. But if everying I offer is just going to be attacked then I shan’t bother.

    What is the point of UD really? To just support the views of its few consistent contributors or to actually foster a dialogue and and increase of mutual understanding?

    Clearly that is not my call to make. But it is my choice to stay or go.

    If you guys just prefer to have an echo chamber of what you already believe then that’s fine with me. I did get the impression, perhaps mistaken, that at least some of you wanted a discussion of the issues. Perhaps I was wrong.

    ?

    Sorry I didn’t respond as quickly as you wanted. I do have other things to do.

  12. 12
    Barry Arrington says:

    JVL
    “What is the point of UD really?”
    I don’t suppose there is a single point. We have many points. One of them is to demonstrate that every time a materialist gets his feet held to the fire on the subject of semiosis, they lie, dissemble, whine, try to change the subject and otherwise obfuscate. Thank you for helping us make that point JVL.

  13. 13

    .

    Actually, I did not say most of those things. Not specifically.

    It is of course relevant however that SETI says these things. You already know this because I told you this exact thing back in May, and went on to provide you with quotes that explain the SETI position:

    – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

    SETI: “Narrow-band signals – perhaps only a few Hertz wide or less – are the mark of a purposely built transmitter. Natural cosmic noisemakers, such as pulsars, quasars, and the turbulent, thin interstellar gas of our own Milky Way, do not make radio signals that are this narrow”.

    “There is no consensus on a strict definition of intelligence, and there likely never will be because intelligence is what is known as a fuzzy concept; it lacks well-defined boundaries and contains multiple components.? However, the study of intelligence lies firmly in the domain of empirical science because its features can be operationally defined and its correlates can be quantified and measured.” – Lori Marino PhD (SETI/NASA Virtual Resource Center for Interdisciplinary Inquiry into Intelligent Life)

    – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

    I definitely did not say some of that. I don’t want to keep having the same conversation over and over again. Upright BiPed seems to put everything in the same terms all the time.

    You are applying a double-standard to ID evidence that you do not apply to the exact same evidence in other disciplines, and you are being asked to substantiate that double standard.

    In your comments above you stated very directly what phenomena you consider to be a decisive and unambiguous correlate of intelligence. The correlate you stated above does indeed provide a rationally justified inference based on our universal experience of the phenomenon in question. It is also the exact same phenomena that ID uses to infer intelligence, and you are being asked to state why you deny it in one instance and accept it in another. You came here saying over and over again that you just wanted to understand ID thinking. I am wondering if there is any possible scenario that you could become involved in that would help you understand ID proponents better than having to genuinely explain why you deny them the same rationale that which you emphatically (and even excitedly) allow yourself.

    If you are genuinely seeking to understand, and genuinely seeking to have a conversation, then why are you so clearly avoiding the opportunity?

    What is the point of UD really? To just support the views of its few consistent contributors or to actually foster a dialogue and and increase of mutual understanding?

    Again, why are you avoiding the opportunity to have the conversation? What is your rationale behind the obvious and unambiguous double standard?

  14. 14
    bornagain77 says:

    JVL asks

    “What is the point of UD really?”

    JVL really needs to get in touch with what the atheistic materialism of his Darwinian worldview actually entails. According to the atheistic materialism of Darwinian evolution, there is no point to anything.

    “There is no self in, around, or as part of anyone’s body. There can’t be. So there really isn’t any enduring self that ever could wake up morning after morning worrying about why it should bother getting out of bed. The self is just another illusion, like the illusion that thought is about stuff or that we carry around plans and purposes that give meaning to what our body does. Every morning’s introspectively fantasized self is a new one, remarkably similar to the one that consciousness ceased fantasizing when we fell sleep sometime the night before. Whatever purpose yesterday’s self thought it contrived to set the alarm last night, today’s newly fictionalized self is not identical to yesterday’s. It’s on its own, having to deal with the whole problem of why to bother getting out of bed all over again.”
    – Alex Rosenberg, The Atheist’s Guide to Reality, ch.10

    As Dr. Michael Egnor explains, “It is purpose that must be denied in order to deny design in nature. So the mind, as well as teleology, must be denied. Eliminative materialism is just Darwinian metaphysics carried to its logical end and applied to man. If there is no teleology, there is no intentionality, and there is no purpose in nature nor in man’s thoughts.”

    Teleology and the Mind – Michael Egnor – August 16, 2016
    Excerpt: From the hylemorphic perspective, there is an intimate link between the mind and teleology. The 19th-century philosopher Franz Brentano pointed out that the hallmark of the mind is that it is directed to something other than itself. That is, the mind has intentionality, which is the ability of a mental process to be about something, rather than to just be itself. Physical processes alone (understood without teleology) are not inherently about things. The mind is always about things. Stated another way, physical processes (understood without teleology) have no purpose. Mental processes always have purpose. In fact, purpose (aboutness-intentionality-teleology) is what defines the mind. And we see the same purpose (aboutness-intentionality-teleology) in nature.
    Intentionality is a form of teleology. Both intentionality and teleology are goal-directedness — intentionality is directedness in thought, and teleology is directedness in nature. Mind and teleology are both manifestations of purpose in nature. The mind is, within nature, the same kind of process that directs nature.
    In this sense, eliminative materialism is necessary if a materialist is to maintain a non-teleological Darwinian metaphysical perspective. It is purpose that must be denied in order to deny design in nature. So the mind, as well as teleology, must be denied. Eliminative materialism is just Darwinian metaphysics carried to its logical end and applied to man. If there is no teleology, there is no intentionality, and there is no purpose in nature nor in man’s thoughts.
    The link between intentionality and teleology, and the undeniability of teleology, is even more clear if we consider our inescapable belief that other people have minds. The inference that other people have minds based on their purposeful (intentional-teleological) behavior, which is obviously correct and is essential to living a sane life, can be applied to our understanding of nature as well. Just as we know that other people have purposes (intentionality), we know just as certainly that nature has purposes (teleology). In a sense, intelligent design is the recognition of the same purpose-teleology-intentionality in nature that we recognize in ourselves and others.
    Teleology and intentionality are certainly the inferences to be drawn from the obvious purposeful arrangement of parts in nature, but I (as a loyal Thomist!) believe that teleology and intentionality are manifest in an even more fundamental way in nature. Any goal-directed natural change is teleological, even if purpose and arrangement of parts is not clearly manifest. The behavior of a single electron orbiting a proton is teleological, because the motion of the electron hews to specific ends (according to quantum mechanics). A pencil falling to the floor behaves teleologically (it does not fall up, or burst into flame, etc.). Purposeful arrangement of parts is teleology on an even more sophisticated scale, but teleology exists in even the most basic processes in nature. Physics is no less teleological than biology.
    https://evolutionnews.org/2016/08/teleology_and_t/

    Of course, as JVL himself made clear with his question, “What is the point of UD really?”, nobody really lives their life as if their life is completely without any meaning or purpose. In fact, it is impossible for JVL, nor any other atheist, to live his life as if it was truly without any meaning or purpose.

    This is made evident by the fact that leading atheists self-admittedly ‘invent’ meaning and purpose for their lives. That is to say, Atheists choose not to live their life as if it really had no meaning and purpose, as their worldview actually entails, and, in an self-admitted exercise of self-delusion, choose to create illusory meanings and purposes for their lives.

    The Absurdity of Life without God – William Lane Craig
    Excerpt: Meaning of Life
    First, the area of meaning. We saw that without God, life has no meaning. Yet (atheistic) philosophers continue to live as though life does have meaning. For example, Sartre argued that one may create meaning for his life by freely choosing to follow a certain course of action. Sartre himself chose Marxism.
    Now this is utterly inconsistent. It is inconsistent to say life is objectively absurd and then to say one may create meaning for his life. If life is really absurd, then man is trapped in the lower story. To try to create meaning in life represents a leap to the upper story. But Sartre has no basis for this leap. Without God, there can be no objective meaning in life. Sartre’s program is actually an exercise in self-delusion. Sartre is really saying, “Let’s pretend the universe has meaning.” And this is just fooling ourselves.
    The point is this: if God does not exist, then life is objectively meaningless; but man cannot live consistently and happily knowing that life is meaningless; so in order to be happy he pretends life has meaning. But this is, of course, entirely inconsistent—for without God, man and the universe are without any real significance.
    https://www.reasonablefaith.org/writings/popular-writings/existence-nature-of-god/the-absurdity-of-life-without-god/

    Yet contrary to whatever self-delusion JVL and other atheists may prefer to believe, the fact of the matter is that the scientific evidence itself strongly supports the fact that out lives truly do have meaning and purpose.

    Atheistic Materialism vs Meaning, Value, and Purpose in Our Lives – video
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aqUxBSbFhog

    In fact, it is completely impossible to even do science without presupposing teleology on some level. For instance, it is completely impossible for JVL, nor any other atheist, to describe the complexities of molecular biology without using words that directly invoke teleology and/or purpose.

    “the most striking thing about living things, in comparison with non-living systems, is their teleological organization—meaning the way in which all of the local physical and chemical interactions cohere in such a way as to maintain the overall system in existence.
    Moreover, it is virtually impossible to speak of living beings for any length of time without using teleological and normative language—words like “goal,” “purpose,” “meaning,” “correct/incorrect,” “success/failure,” etc.”
    – Denis Noble – Emeritus Professor of Cardiovascular Physiology in the Department of Physiology, Anatomy, and Genetics of the Medical Sciences Division of the University of Oxford.
    http://www.thebestschools.org/.....interview/

    Life is literally, from top to bottom, infused with purpose and teleology and that purpose and teleology, in and of itself, refutes JVL’s atheistic worldview that holds that their is no purpose to his life, nor to any other life.

    1 Corinthians 2:9
    But just as it is written, “Things that no eye has seen, or ear heard, or mind imagined, are the things God has prepared for those who love him.”

  15. 15
    Querius says:

    JVL,

    From my perspective, Upright BiPed is raising good points, although I have no idea what your conversation covered back in May.

    Determining whether signals encode information from an “intelligent” source can be extremely difficult. This is why in cryptography, the encrypted signal is supposed to be as close to noise as possible and why streams of encrypted data don’t start and stop, but are continuous, possibly merged with noise. Compressed data is similar, but obviously optimized for brevity. So, assuming a radio signal comes from an intelligent alien source, wouldn’t it likely be compressed, encrypted, or both?

    We know that DNA obviously does carry encoded information and, coupled with apparently multiple overlapping epigenetic codes, indicates a fantastically advanced source of intelligence by some of the same requirements as SETI has looked for in radio signals.

    Unfortunately, the information encoded in DNA is commonly assumed to have a natural source, while a radio signal encoding similar information would not. That’s the irony that Upright BiPed is trying to convey to you. Did you not understand this or are you just rejecting the concept?

    Incidentally, if you want to quote someone don’t use the b tag, but rather the blockquote tag in angle brackets.

    -Q

  16. 16
    JVL says:

    Barry Arrington: One of them is to demonstrate that every time a materialist gets his feet held to the fire on the subject of semiosis, they lie, dissemble, whine, try to change the subject and otherwise obfuscate. Thank you for helping us make that point JVL.

    I did not lie, dissemble, whine or try to change the subject excepting in that Upright BiPed wanted to revisit a conversation he and I had previously. In that conversation I agreed with all the work done by Dr Howard Pattee but disagreed with Upright BiPed that the work necessarily implied design. I was very straight and honest about that. I also mentioned that Dr Pattee himself never made any statement or comment that his work implied design. I was also able to find a comment in one of his papers where he specifically discussed one of the weak (his characterisation, not mine) arguments of “intelligent design” (his quotes, not mine). All of this is quite true, no lying, no dissembling, none of that.

    Upright BiPed has been quite put out by all this. It seems to bother him immensely that I and Dr Pattee do not agree with his conclusion whereas it doesn’t bother me at all that Upright BiPed conclusion differs from mine and Dr Pattee’s. He even accused me of being part of some . . . group that wants to deny people the truth. Something like that. Unlike him I DO NOT copy and save everything he writes whereas he seems to remember everything I’ve written to him in the last two months or more.

    I was happy to discuss the issues with Upright BiPed, I thought it was interesting and I learned to understand his position better. I came to a different conclusion partially supported by Dr Pattee’s lack of support for ID. What’s the big deal?

    I thought, on this thread, we could discuss what kind of signal we might find possibly indicative of being generated by an intelligent alien race but Upright BiPed immediately tossed in a bunch of technical details and assumptions (some from SETI itself, grated) that I had not brought up and then asked why I had a double standard.

    If he’s going to stalk me on this forum then I’m going to deprive you of your stated goal of trying to get people to “lie, dissemble, whine, try to change the subject and otherwise obfuscate”, at least as far as I am concerned.

    I would like to encourage Retired Physicist and Seversky and the rest of the liars, obfuscators, clowns (yes, that has been used), EvoTards, etc to give this forum a break for a couple of weeks at least and see what kind of conversations occur aside from the constant pats on the backs from the acolytes., Just think, it might be like it was a few years ago when you had purged everyone you disagreed with and the site traffic went way, way down. You may have stopped the bans but you still have the same underlying attitude: you must be a liar or a lunatic to disagree with us and it’s fair game to question any dissenter’s mental state or motivation or even intelligence level.

  17. 17
    ET says:

    LoL! Neither JVL, Dr Pattee nor anyone else in the world has a viable scientific alternative to the design inference with respect to the genetic code. The only reason people disagree with the design inference is due to personal biases and it has nothing to do with science.

    So yes, while open discussions are great, openly denying reality is for fools.

  18. 18

    JVL,

    It seems the problem is that you are willing to agree that X would be evidence that a thing, like an E-M transmission, was intelligently designed (created deliberately by intelligent entities), but you insist Y is not necessarily evidence that a thing is intelligently designed (existence of semiotic code and relationships in biological life.)

    I think UB and Mr. Arrington are of the opinion that you know X and Y are actually, factually the same thing but using a different substrate (like a painting on a cave wall vs a painting on a canvas), but that you are trying to avoid admitting this. IMO, you are actually unaware that X and Y are the same thing because it is a cognitive blind spot IOW, I think you are unable to see that which you are subconsciously committed against Y being clear evidence of intelligent design.

    The semiotic code found in DNA is **exactly** the same thing as getting a transmission from space with systemic, even if alien, letters, punctuation and syntax that we successfully translated into meaningful words, sentences, paragraphs and books. I don’t know how it would be possible to have more clear, undeniable, and convincing evidence of intelligent design.

    The discovery and translation of DNA and the observation of it’s semiotic relationships with mechanisms in the cell is **exactly** like finding the computer code that runs an unimaginably huge and complex automated factory. To say that this code wasn’t necessarily intelligently designed, if honestly said, can IMO only be the result of subconscious-driven cognitive blindness.

  19. 19
    JVL says:

    William J Murray: The semiotic code found in DNA is **exactly** the same thing as getting a transmission from space with systemic, even if alien, letters, punctuation and syntax that we successfully translated into meaningful words, sentences, paragraphs and books.

    I disagree. One is alive and subject to evolutionary processes and pressures the other is inanimate. Big difference.

    I think you are unable to see that which you are subconsciously committed against Y being clear evidence of intelligent design.

    To say that this code wasn’t necessarily intelligently designed, if honestly said, can IMO only be the result of subconscious-driven cognitive blindness.

    Like I said: if anyone disagrees with you they must be wrong. No way you could be.

  20. 20

    .

    One is alive and subject to evolutionary processes and pressures the other is inanimate.

    So you disagree with the logic and physical evidence of Pattee and Von Neumann that semiosis enabled description-based evolution (i.e life) to exist. Instead, you believe that description-based evolution caused semiosis to exist.

    Is that correct?

    Like I said: if anyone disagrees with you they must be wrong. No way you could be.

    Is it too much to ask you to explain how description-based evolution existed without descriptions?

    – – – – – – – – – – – – –

    EDIT: If A requires B in order for A to exist, then A cannot be the source of B.

    If that statement seems logical to you, then your objection to WJM fails logic, and I ask once again: can you go ahead and explain the double standard you apply?

  21. 21
    Querius says:

    JVL,

    Vlatko Vedral is a professor of Physics at the University of Oxford who specializes in quantum theory and whose research papers are widely cited. Here’s how he views reality:

    The most fundamental definition of reality is not matter or energy, but information–and it is the processing of information that lies at the root of all physical, biological, economic, and social phenomena.

    So, obviously you disagree with professor Vedral. Perhaps you can explain why he’s wrong and tell us something about the source of information. For example, what distinguishes biological information from physical information? Are you familiar with the double-slit experiment?

    Oh, and for variety, you might want to try different tags than just bold. There’s i for italics, and blockquote when you want to quote someone.

    -Q

  22. 22
    doubter says:

    I find it interesting that my post @2 has been studiously ignored. It seems that not only materialist pseudo-skeptics can have closed minds to the evidence. The only difference is what sort of evidence is ignored as supposedly impossible according to a fixed belief system or ideology. Different fixed in stone belief system or ideology, different evidence ignored without examination.

  23. 23

    JVL said:
    “I disagree. One is alive and subject to evolutionary processes and pressures the other is inanimate. Big difference.”
    “Like I said: if anyone disagrees with you they must be wrong. No way you could be.”

    Let me begin by saying yes, there is a BIG difference, but the question is, is the big difference a difference that matters in terms of what is being argued?

    Perhaps we can get to the bottom of it with the following question: Is semiotic code necessary for biological evolution to begin?

  24. 24

    Doubter @23:

    Indeed. The evidence is overwhelming, if one but takes the time to find it and examine it.

  25. 25
    Querius says:

    Doubter @ 23,

    Your post was certainly noted and not ignored. I read it and agree with you that strange things do occur on our planet that are unidentified. In high school, I read “Project Bluebook” and anything else I could find on the subject. My dad was a EE, who once observed ball lighting move across the floor of his room, attributed many sightings as electromagnetic or atmospheric phenomena. As you wrote, recent sightings and even fighter jet radar lock-on encounters provide compelling evidence that something’s there, however speculations as to their cause range from terrestrial, extraterrestrial, and even trans-dimensional spiritual sources. Similarities worldwide in megalithic architecture such as cyclopean masonry and similarities in mythologies worldwide are also intriguing.

    Unfortunately, we just don’t know enough to come to scientific conclusions yet.

    -Q

  26. 26
    JVL says:

    Upright BiPed: So you disagree with the logic and physical evidence of Pattee and Von Neumann that semiosis enabled description-based evolution (i.e life) to exist. Instead, you believe that description-based evolution caused semiosis to exist.

    They themselves did not argue against unguided processes being responsible.

    Is it too much to ask you to explain how description-based evolution existed without descriptions?

    What is your alternative? Specifically? Not just “design”. But how and when and why and who.

    If that statement seems logical to you, then your objection to WJM fails logic, and I ask once again: can you go ahead and explain the double standard you apply?

    I don’t think the standard for inanimate systems should be the same as for living systems.

  27. 27
    JVL says:

    Querius: So, obviously you disagree with professor Vedral. Perhaps you can explain why he’s wrong and tell us something about the source of information.

    What does Dr Vedral think is the source of the ‘information’?

    For example, what distinguishes biological information from physical information? Are you familiar with the double-slit experiment?

    Yes I am aware of very famous physics experiments.

    Oh, and for variety, you might want to try different tags than just bold. There’s i for italics, and blockquote when you want to quote someone.

    I’m quite happy with my methods.

  28. 28
    JVL says:

    William J Murray: Let me begin by saying yes, there is a BIG difference, but the question is, is the big difference a difference that matters in terms of what is being argued?

    I would say so.

    Perhaps we can get to the bottom of it with the following question: Is semiotic code necessary for biological evolution to begin?

    I don’t know but I think it’s worth trying to find out.

    Indeed. The evidence is overwhelming, if one but takes the time to find it and examine it.

    Nice to see you have an open mind.

  29. 29
    Querius says:

    JVL,

    Oh, you’re simply fleeing from professor Vedral’s conclusion and leaving a smoke screen question to cover your retreat. Go and read his papers yourself. They clearly refute materialism.

    I’m quite happy with my methods.

    Haha, you won’t even accept information about correctly using html tags. I’m not surprised. 😉

    -Q

  30. 30

    So, here’s the problem, JVL.
    You said there is a big difference between semiotic code found in biology that has been evolving for millions of years, and semiotic code found in a transmission or a non-evolving artifact. You said there is a “Big” difference. The implication here is that millions of years of evolving biology might be able to produce semiotic code – otherwise, it wouldn’t even be relevant to the debate and wouldn’t be a “difference” in terms of what we are discussing = that finding semiotic code is evidence of intelligent design of that code.

    I asked: “Perhaps we can get to the bottom of it with the following question: Is semiotic code necessary for biological evolution to begin?”

    You replied: “I don’t know but I think it’s worth trying to find out.”

    If you don’t know whether or not biological evolution can occur without semiotic code, then there’s no way to know whether or not millions of years of evolution is a “big difference,” If semiotic code was necessary for evolution to take place, “millions of years of evolution” had not yet taken place. In fact, if semiotic code is necessary for evolution to occur, then not a second of evolution had to occur to produce the semiotic code because there would have been no evolution without it. Semiotic code would have predated evolutionary processes altogether.

    Would you agree that if it could be proven that semiotic code had to exist before evolution could begin that it is evidence the semiotic code found in life is intelligently designed?

  31. 31
    JVL says:

    William J Murray: Would you agree that if it could be proven that semiotic code had to exist before evolution could begin that it is evidence the semiotic code found in life is intelligently designed?

    As far as I know that is impossible to prove which is why an expert like Dr Howard Pattee declared that no one knows how it all began.

  32. 32
    JVL says:

    Querius

    Haha, you won’t even accept information about correctly using html tags. I’m not surprised. ????

    I am quite aware of how to use ‘blockquote’ but bold is an easier tag to use because it’s so much shorter and no one else has ever complained. My use is very clear.

    I was not initially discussing materialism. If you want to discuss that then talk to someone else.

  33. 33
    JVL says:

    The common answer is that there was some kind of original creator of this information. The trouble is that this answer doesn’t really solve anything because as a physicist I’d also like to understand this being itself. I’d like to explain the origin of God. And then you encounter the same infinite regression. For a scientist, “Why is there a universe? Well, because something even more complicated created it the way it is” isn’t an explanation. We want a better answer than that. You can argue that science will never get there, that it’s an open-ended enterprise. Maybe this is faith.

    -Vlatko Vedral

    Not exactly a ringing endorsement of intelligent design nor a death knell for materialism.

    https://www.theguardian.com/science/2010/mar/07/vlatko-vedral-interview-aleks-krotoski

  34. 34
    ET says:

    Again, no one knows how materialistic processes could have done it. No one even knows how to test that claim. Therefore it is not part of science.

    Yes, we know how to test the claim that some intelligent agency did it. And the genetic code passes that test with ease.

  35. 35
    ET says:

    The trouble is that this answer doesn’t really solve anything because as a physicist I’d also like to understand this being itself.

    It does solve something and too bad that he wants to understand the intelligent designer. The only way to do so is through studying the design an all relevant evidence.

    We cannot study the designers of ancient artifacts. And yet archaeology is still fruitful.

    Clearly Vlatko Vedral doesn’t know what he is talking about. I would never ask him to find the root cause of some object, event or structure. He would be lost in his only hubris.

  36. 36
    ET says:

    JVL:

    One is alive and subject to evolutionary processes and pressures the other is inanimate.

    Wow. Before life there was inanimate matter. So according to materialism life came from inanimate matter.

    The whole problem is JVL’s side cannot account for life. That means they have nothing to say about its diversity as the OoL is directly linked to it.

  37. 37

    JVL,

    If it can’t be proved one way or another, then how can you reach the decision that it is a “Big” difference, when in fact evolutionary processes could be completely unnecessary in generating the presence of semiotic code, and may in fact require its presence before evolution could begin?

    Also, I didn’t ask you if it could be proved, I asked that if it was proved, would you accept that as strong evidence that the semiotic code found in biology was intelligently designed?

  38. 38

    .

    WJM: Would you agree that if it could be proven that semiotic code had to exist before evolution could begin that it is evidence the semiotic code found in life is intelligently designed?

    JVL: As far as I know that is impossible to prove which is why an expert like Dr Howard Pattee declared that no one knows how it all began.

    This isn’t an answer to the question you were being asked; it is a deliberate and calculated deflection of that question instead.

    Pattee says no one knows how the system originated, but spent five decades documenting that a semiotic system is indeed required for life and evolution to begin and persist over time. A semantically-closed semiotic system is the specific physical organization that enables both life and open-ended evolution to exist and function in a universe controlled by inexorable and unchanging physical law. And before Pattee was Von Neumann, who famously demonstrated that a high-capacity system of symbols and constraints were the fundamental requirements of open-ended self-replication. He referred to it as the “threshold of complication” – a threshold where below it was degeneration, but above it was open-ended potential.

    So you’ve abused Pattee’s science here to deflect the force of a question. You used Pattee’s proper refrain from drawing a firm conclusion that cannot be proven about the source of the system, and leveraged it to imply that he doesn’t demonstrate that semiosis is required at the origin of the system. You are in fact implying the exact opposite of his entire life’s work. In other words, this is a dissembler’s maneuver that is absolutely false, right there in black and white for all to see.

    Cue your denial and more of the same.

  39. 39
    JVL says:

    ET and Querius

    Clearly Vlatko Vedral doesn’t know what he is talking about. I would never ask him to find the root cause of some object, event or structure. He would be lost in his only hubris.

    Well, ET, Querius cited his work as proving materialism is false. I’ll leave it to you two to fight it out.

  40. 40
    JVL says:

    ET: Wow. Before life there was inanimate matter. So according to materialism life came from inanimate matter.

    Yup, it would have to have.

    The whole problem is JVL’s side cannot account for life. That means they have nothing to say about its diversity as the OoL is directly linked to it.

    Neither can you actually. Except to hypothesise some mysterious designer(s) whom we’ve never seen or heard from and who have left no physical artefacts behind except, of course, what you inferred was designed. A bit elusive your designer(s). It’s almost like they didn’t exist! 🙂

  41. 41
    JVL says:

    WJM: If it can’t be proved one way or another, then how can you reach the decision that it is a “Big” difference, when in fact evolutionary processes could be completely unnecessary in generating the presence of semiotic code, and may in fact require its presence before evolution could begin?

    Could be. But a living, evolving code could change or get modified over the eons. We do see some variations in the genetic code on earth. How could that happen if it was subject to variation?

    Also, I didn’t ask you if it could be proved, I asked that if it was proved, would you accept that as strong evidence that the semiotic code found in biology was intelligently designed?

    Like I said, I don’t see how that could be done but if you want to have a go please do by all means.

  42. 42
    JVL says:

    Upright BiPed: This isn’t an answer to the question you were being asked; it is a deliberate and calculated deflection of that question instead.

    Sometimes I try and cut to the chase as it were.

    Pattee says no one knows how the system originated, but spent five decades documenting that a semiotic system is indeed required for life and evolution to begin and persist over time. A semantically-closed semiotic system is the specific physical organization that enables both life and open-ended evolution to exist and function in a universe controlled by inexorable and unchanging physical law. And before Pattee was Von Neumann, who famously demonstrated that a high-capacity system of symbols and constraints were the fundamental requirements of open-ended self-replication. He referred to it as the “threshold of complication” – a threshold where below it was degeneration, but above it was open-ended potential.

    Sure but he didn’t conclude it was designed either.

    So you’ve abused Pattee’s science here to deflect the force of a question. You used Pattee’s proper refrain from drawing a firm conclusion that cannot be proven about the source of the system, and leveraged it to imply that he doesn’t demonstrate that semiosis is required at the origin of the system. You are in fact implying the exact opposite of his entire life’s work. In other words, this is a dissembler’s maneuver that is absolutely false, right there in black and white for all to see.

    I also pointed out how he, in a published paper, mentioned the weakness (his characterisation, not mine) of an “intelligent design” (his quotes, not mine) argument. He did not have to include that in the paper in question, he chose to put it there. The paper doesn’t gain or loose any academic standing with that comment. Why do you think he made that statement and put intelligent design in quotes?

    AND, again, there is no reason in the world that Dr Pattee has anything to fear by saying his working points to design if that’s what he thinks. He can’t lose anything at this point. He’s considered one of the founders of the field. His work is taken very seriously. And that means nothing to you I guess.

    Anyway, you have no evidence that he infers design and I think I have pointed out a couple of reasons at least that he doubts it.

    Cue your denial and more of the same.

    Hey, I’m not making anything up. I’m telling you stuff anyone can find in Dr Pattee’s own work. He has never, ever endorsed a design interpretation of his work. Ever. You can choose to come to that conclusion and, frankly, I can see how that would be a pretty clear path. But, so far, I have no evidence that Dr Pattee agrees with you.

  43. 43

    .

    UB comment #883:

    Just to clear this up for you JVL. Listen carefully: Howard Pattee is not an ID advocate. Howard Pattee is not an ID advocate. And here is another: That does not change the science he produced. That does not change the science he produced.

    But if you just can’t bring yourself to listen to me, then just listen to you instead:

    “Good science is good science no matter where it comes from or who discovered it. If it’s repeatable, predictable and observer independent then I’m good.” – JVL

    JVL comment #884:

    I don’t think he does support intelligent design. At the very least, you have no evidence that he does support intelligent design.

    – – – – – – – – – –

    UB: I believe only someone bent on deception and rhetoric could possibly make that comment.

    It’s just incredible.

    WJM, you may be right.

    Subconscious. Entirely unaware.

  44. 44
    JVL says:

    Upright BiPed: It’s just incredible. WJM, you may be right. Subconscious. Entirely unaware.

    Show me where Dr Pattee agrees with you. If you can’t then you have no evidence that he does. That doesn’t mean he doesn’t actually agree with you but I’m talking about actual evidence. I’m going to take Dr Pattee as being the best person to interpret and draw conclusions from his own work since, as you say, he’s thought about it for a very long time.

    Also, as I mentioned in another reply: there are some variations in the genetic code observed on earth. How could that happen if it wasn’t subject to unguided modifications and change? (I mistyped a similar comment earlier and didn’t catch it. Ooops.)

  45. 45

    .
    What is wrong with you?

    Do you not understand the words being displayed on this page? It is a fair question.

    Do you understand the words in comment #38. Forget answering the content , just demonstrate to me that you can actually apprehend what is being said to you, please.

    Do you understand the words in comment #43.

    I’ll check back later.

  46. 46

    JVL: I asked:

    “If it can’t be proved one way or another, then how can you reach the decision that it is a “Big” difference, when in fact evolutionary processes could be completely unnecessary in generating the presence of semiotic code, and may in fact require its presence before evolution could begin?”

    You responded: “Could be. But a living, evolving code could change or get modified over the eons. We do see some variations in the genetic code on earth. How could that happen if it was subject to variation?”

    You agree that it “could be” that semiotic code necessarily predates organic evolutionary processes. My question was, and I’ll rephrase it, until one knows whether or not it necessarily predates evolutionary processes, how can you assert that the “big difference” between organic and inorganic semiotic code is “millions of years of evolutionary processes?” Whether or not the semiotic code changes over millions of years would not change the point that it may have been necessary before any evolution occurred in order for evolution to begin. How can you say “millions of years of organic evolution” is a big difference in assessing whether or not the semiotic code indicates intelligent design, when you don’t know whether or not semiotic code was necessary for biological evolution to occur? It seems to me that until you know that, there’s no way to assess the importance (“bigness”) of millions of years of evolution in making that determination.

    Which is why I asked you the question, if someone proved that semiotic code necessarily predates evolution, would you then consider the semiotic code found in biology evidence of intelligent design? If you do not, then I don’t know why you would call millions of years of biological evolution a “big difference” in terms of this discussion.

    YOu said: “Like I said, I don’t see how that could be done but if you want to have a go please do by all means.”

    I didn’t say I could. Even if someone were to try, why would they when you won’t commit to accepting it as evidence if they could. That’s what I’m getting at here. We agree there is semiotic code in biology and in non-biological artifacts. In non-biological artifacts, you agree it is evidence of intelligent design. For some reason, you disagree that it is evidence when it is found in biological entities. The “big difference” you gave was “millions of years of evolution.” I infer (perhaps incorrectly?) that if one could prove that the semiotic code found in biology necessarily predated those millions of years of evolution, you would then agree it is good evidence of intelligent design.

  47. 47

    JVL,
    After reading your and UB’s comments, it seems you’ve answered my question: “millions of years of evolution” is not a “big difference” in terms of whether or not you see the semiotic code as evidence of intelligent design when it comes to inorganic artifacts vs organic artifacts.

    So, what then is the difference? From what I’ve read, the big difference seems to be (in terms of the discussion here) is that Dr. Pattee doesn’t consider the presence of pre-evolutionary semiotic code, in fact the necessity of it for evolution to occur, evidence of intelligent design?

    Is there some other difference? Is it just the fact that the semiotic code is found in biological entities?

  48. 48

    UPB: To be fair, we all have our cognitive blind spots and biases. I think this is why the principle of charity should be applied and assume good faith. I’ve run into my own blind spots and biases often enough.

  49. 49
    Querius says:

    JVL concluded regarding professor Vedral’s explanation of the origin of the universe and of God.

    Not exactly a ringing endorsement of intelligent design nor a death knell for materialism.

    But, I’d remind you that the actual question you haven’t answered is about the source of the information that’s being conserved and is fundamental to existence. Professor Vedral’s conclusion does indeed refute materialism.

    However, Dr. Vedral does get tripped up by the origin of God. But space-time did not exist before the origin of the universe, so there’s no “before” when considering the existence of God.

    Let’s compare Dr. Vedral’s description to the beginning of the Gospel of John in the New Testament:

    In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things came into being through Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being. In Him was life, and the life was the Light of men. The Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it. – John 1:1 (NASB)

    “Word” here is translated from the Greek word logos, which encompasses meanings in English that include a word, a thought, a concept, a plan, reasoning, and logic—all of which represents information.

    Do I understand how all of this works? No, I sure don’t. But, I still work to get a better scientific understanding of what is attainable to us.

    -Q

  50. 50
    JVL says:

    Upright BiPed: What is wrong with you?

    I think I might have a rash. Do you want the details?

    Do you not understand the words being displayed on this page? It is a fair question.

    So your patronising tone I take to mean: how can you disagree with me? I am clearly right! It that it?

    Do you understand the words in comment #38. Forget answering the content , just demonstrate to me that you can actually apprehend what is being said to you, please.

    Yes, I do speak English. Pretty well actually. Sorry I still disagree with you.

    Do you understand the words in comment #43.

    Yup, and you still have a problem with someone disagreeeing with you. I do get that.

  51. 51
    ET says:

    JVL:

    Except to hypothesise some mysterious designer(s) whom we’ve never seen or heard from and who have left no physical artefacts behind except, of course, what you inferred was designed.

    That’s is how it goes. All alleged artifacts start out as “some mysterious designer(s) did it”. Stonehenge- design was determined and then they started asking the who, how, when and why.

    If there was any evidence that nature could do it we wouldn’t have that issue. All you have is some unknown process did something that we didn’t and still do not observe. And what it allegedly did runs counter to everything we know.

    No one has a viable scientific alternative to Intelligent Design. That is because no one knows how to test the claim that materialistic processes did it. And that is also why the 10+ million dollar bounty for anyone demonstrating nature can produce coed information processing systems will forever remain unclaimed.

  52. 52
    ET says:

    JVL:

    Hey, I’m not making anything up. I’m telling you stuff anyone can find in Dr Pattee’s own work. He has never, ever endorsed a design interpretation of his work. Ever. You can choose to come to that conclusion and, frankly, I can see how that would be a pretty clear path. But, so far, I have no evidence that Dr Pattee agrees with you.

    Seeing that Dr. Pattee has not even tried to collect the 10.1 million dollar prize.

    But then again he has NEVER endorsed the materialistic interpretation of his own work. Not ever.

    So far there isn’t any evidence that Dr. Pattee disagrees with the design inference

  53. 53
    JVL says:

    WJM: Whether or not the semiotic code changes over millions of years would not change the point that it may have been necessary before any evolution occurred in order for evolution to begin.

    Are you sure? Think about it. If a code was necessary, that is the whole system depended upon it being there and defined, then how can the system adapt to variations in that system? And, more importantly, what if the varaitions are holdovers from a previous system?

    We don’t know. I don’t know. Why decide with such limited data?

    Which is why I asked you the question, if someone proved that semiotic code necessarily predates evolution, would you then consider the semiotic code found in biology evidence of intelligent design? If you do not, then I don’t know why you would call millions of years of biological evolution a “big difference” in terms of this discussion.

    Yes, I know, you’re trying to play some clever argumentative game. You want me to bite the bait and then you’ll reel me in.

    If you can prove what you ask then just do it. No games. No posturing. Can you deliver the goods?

    I didn’t say I could. Even if someone were to try, why would they when you won’t commit to accepting it as evidence if they could. That’s what I’m getting at here. We agree there is semiotic code in biology and in non-biological artifacts. In non-biological artifacts, you agree it is evidence of intelligent design. For some reason, you disagree that it is evidence when it is found in biological entities. The “big difference” you gave was “millions of years of evolution.” I infer (perhaps incorrectly?) that if one could prove that the semiotic code found in biology necessarily predated those millions of years of evolution, you would then agree it is good evidence of intelligent design.

    Can you do it? Yes or no? Stop playing a game, do the work. What fool would concede before they saw the evidence? Not me.

  54. 54
    JVL says:

    Querius: However, Dr. Vedral does get tripped up by the origin of God. But space-time did not exist before the origin of the universe, so there’s no “before” when considering the existence of God.

    Well, I think I’ll take his word for it thank you. He’s spent years and years thinking about it and he’s put his reputation on the line with his publications and his very public intervies.

    I appreciate that you think that scriptural references are pertinent. I don’t think that Dr. Vedral thinks so though. And I”m not sure he’d agree with your interpretation of his work.

  55. 55
    JVL says:

    ET: So far there isn’t any evidence that Dr. Pattee disagrees with the design inference

    Yes there is. I presented it. You should try harder to pay attention.

  56. 56
    Querius says:

    JVL,

    Well, I think I’ll take his word for it thank you. He’s spent years and years thinking about it and he’s put his reputation on the line with his publications and his very public intervies.

    Dr. Vedral has spent years studying and thinking about Quantum Mechanics, not God. He’s concluded that information is the true nature of reality. His thoughts on God end with

    Well, because something even more complicated created it the way it is” isn’t an explanation. We want a better answer than that. You can argue that science will never get there, that it’s an open-ended enterprise. Maybe this is faith.

    Yes, I agree with him that “maybe this is faith.”

    But I noticed that you haven’t addressed the question about the source of information. This is a very important and relevant question since information is what DNA encodes.

    -Q

  57. 57

    JVL:
    You asked. “Are you sure?”

    No, I’m not. That was my whole point. I’m not the one that said that “millions of years of evolution” is a “big difference” without knowing whether not it made any difference at all wrt whether or not its presence should be regarded as evidence of ID. I don’t know that “millions of years of evolution” represents any significant difference or not in that regard. Yet, you seemed to be confident it was a “big difference.”

    You asked: “We don’t know. I don’t know. Why decide with such limited data?”

    I didn’t decide whether or not millions of years of evolution represented a big difference. You did. Why did you decide this and assert it if you admit you don’t know?

    You said: “Yes, I know, you’re trying to play some clever argumentative game. You want me to bite the bait and then you’ll reel me in.”

    Why are you assigning me duplicitous and devious motivations? It seems to me that the basis for most of the conversation here depends on whether or not this point is even worth pursuing. If “millions of years of evolution,” and the potential that semiotic code necessarily predates evolution isn’t going to make a difference to you in terms of whether or not you find that semiotic code to be evidence as ID, it’s unnecessary to go down that path. What would be the point?

    Perhaps we can identify some other avenue of exploration that would be fruitful.

    JVL said: “Can you do it? Yes or no? Stop playing a game, do the work. What fool would concede before they saw the evidence? Not me.”

    Why are you characterizing what I’m doing here as “playing a game?” I’m not asking you to “concede before you see the evidence.” What I’m doing is trying to determine if pursuing this avenue of discussion will even matter in the end.

    It’s not my plan to get you to commit to agreeing that if X could be proved, then you’ll agree that it is evidence of ID, then present supposed evidence that I claim proves X. I’m not going to present any evidence of anything here, and I’m not going to try to prove anything. That was never my intention.

    What I’m doing is having a discussion with you. My motivation thus far: I’m trying to determine (1) why you will accept semiotic code as evidence of ID when it appears in one kind of substrate and not another, and (2) if you can support that decision rationally. To this end, I’ve challenged your view that “millions of years of evolution” represents a “big difference” between the two substrates we find semiotic code on or in.

    To this end I posed a hypothetical “what if” question that led to a point I think we both can agree on: your objection to the organic substrate semiotic code as evidence of ID doesn’t rely on the existence of millions of years of evolution. You agree that semiotic code may or may not be necessary for evolution to even begin. This is something you don’t know; so how can it be a “big difference” if you don’t know the answer to that question? For all you know, semantic code is necessary for evolution to begin.

    This isn’t an exercise in “gotcha,” unless you consider exploring the reasoning behind one’s views a “gotcha” process. Personally, if I have flaws in my views or reasoning, I welcome – hell, I seek out civil criticism. I find it enjoyable. I’m not saying you have flaws in your views – even if you did, so what? Everyone does. EVERYONE has cognitive blind spots and biases that affect their reasoning. That doesn’t make anyone a bad person or unintelligent; it just makes them human.

    I”m sorry if you found this to be a mischievous exercise on my part. We can discontinue the conversation if you wish 🙂 No worries.

  58. 58
    JVL says:

    Querius: But I noticed that you haven’t addressed the question about the source of information. This is a very important and relevant question since information is what DNA encodes.

    I think the information enters into the system as it is affected and influenced by the environmental pressures. Some configurations respond ‘better’ to the environmental conditions than others.

  59. 59
    JVL says:

    WJM: Why are you assigning me duplicitous and devious motivations?

    Because you keep asking me to draw a conclusion based on something that hasn’t happened yet. That’s a rhetorical ploy.

    What I’m doing is trying to determine if pursuing this avenue of discussion will even matter in the end.

    Who cares what you or I think? It’s the truth that matters. Come up with the goods or don’t. Take your chances as to whether or not I’d concede. I do not believe you’d choose to prove the point based on how I’d respond. You’re playing a game.

    I”m sorry if you found this to be a mischievous exercise on my part. We can discontinue the conversation if you wish ???? No worries.

    I’m happy to continue as long as the discussion does not depend on how I might or might not respond to a point that might or might not be made. I appreciate your considerations for possible misunderstandings and reasoning flaws but let’s just get to it eh.

    Just do it or don’t. If you’re right and I deny your results then it will be obvious. If you’re right and I accept your results then bully for you. If you’re wrong then you have to accept that.

    This isn’t a dance, it’s science. Can you come up with the goods or not?

    In science you don’t ask people ahead of time how they’d react if you found something; you march up to the table and lay down your results and invite people to take their best shot at it. If you’ve got the data and the results then present them. Just do it.

  60. 60
    ET says:

    JVL:

    Yes there is. I presented it. You should try harder to pay attention.

    You posted something about his disagreeing with probability arguments. The design inference doesn’t rely on probability arguments. So you failed to show that he disagrees with the design inference with respect to the genetic code. Probabilities don’t even enter into consideration.

    The only reason probability arguments exist is because there isn’t anything else to consider- no evidence and no way to test the claims being made.

  61. 61
    ET says:

    JVL:

    This isn’t a dance, it’s science. Can you come up with the goods or not?

    Your understanding of science is deficient. And we have presented the goods. You choked.

  62. 62
    ET says:

    Who says the system (genetic code) adapted to variations? That’s question-begging.

  63. 63
    Querius says:

    JVL,

    I think the information enters into the system as it is affected and influenced by the environmental pressures. Some configurations respond ‘better’ to the environmental conditions than others.

    I don’t understand. How are you imagining that information enters into “the system” and what do you mean by “configurations”? Are you talking about environmental “pressures” creating new alleles in an organism in a Lamarckian sense or do you have something else in mind?

    -Q

  64. 64
    JVL says:

    ET: You posted something about his disagreeing with probability arguments. The design inference doesn’t rely on probability arguments. So you failed to show that he disagrees with the design inference with respect to the genetic code. Probabilities don’t even enter into consideration.

    Dr Dembski’s argument is probability based. Dr Behe’s argument is probability based. The design inference, as it stands depends on probability arguments. And Dr Pattee recognised that and said so.

    The only reason probability arguments exist is because there isn’t anything else to consider- no evidence and no way to test the claims being made.

    So it’s not ID’s fault that they have to resort to probability arguments, it’s the fault of the people they disagree with? Comical.

    Who says the system (genetic code) adapted to variations? That’s question-begging.

    Why are there variations in the genetic code then?

  65. 65
    JVL says:

    Querius: I don’t understand. How are you imagining that information enters into “the system” and what do you mean by “configurations”? Are you talking about environmental “pressures” creating new alleles in an organism in a Lamarckian sense or do you have something else in mind?

    Configurations are particular collections of genetic materials as they were at the time. Environmental pressures don’t ‘create’ new alles but new alles might give an avantage when the environmental pressures change. Are you really so oblivious to evolutionary theory? You know what it says! It seems you are more interested in catching me out than actuatlly talking about the consensus theory.

  66. 66
    ET says:

    JVL:

    The design inference, as it stands depends on probability arguments.

    Your ignorance is not an argument. The fact remains that the design inference doesn’t rely on probability arguments.

    The only reason probability arguments exist is because there isn’t anything else to consider- no evidence and no way to test the claims being made.

    So it’s not ID’s fault that they have to resort to probability arguments, it’s the fault of the people they disagree with?

    Clearly you have reading comprehension issues. If you and yours had something besides your lies, denials and wishful then probability arguments would be moot.

    No one one this planet knows how to test the claims of unguided evolution. No one. That is why probability arguments exist. However, as Dr. Donald Johnson wrote, your side doesn’t even deserve a seat at the probability table.

    Why are there variations in the genetic code then?

    A design requirement for the organisms and their respective environments.

  67. 67

    .
    Patronizing?

    No, as I said, it is a fair question. You keep asking me for evidence to prove something I have never argued for. I have told you this (in the most unambiguous ways possible) on multiple occasions, yet you keep asking for the same thing. It is basically incoherent (i.e. I keep telling you I am a male, and you keep asking me to prove I’m not pregnant). At some point, a person begins to wonder if the other person (for some unknown reason) simply does not grasp what is being said. As an alternative, you could explain in straightforward terms why you keep asking me for proof of something I do not say, but you don’t appear to want to do that either. In the end, I write this all off as the intellectual price you are willing to pay in order to keep asking me a purely rhetorical question, and I leave it up to you to decide if being incoherent is profitable for you. ONCE AGAIN: Howard Pattee is not an ID advocate. That is his personal metaphysical position — and like everyone else who has ever lived on this planet — it may or may not be based on a whole wide variety of non-scientific factors. It is distinct and separate from his extensive scientific documentation of the gene system. This is a proper distinction which you are well aware of. You have already indicated that proper science is the critical issue in evaluating physical evidence, and you have made it clear that a researcher’s personal metaphysical position is irrelevant. So, you have choice between being incoherent and hypocritical, or dropping the rhetoric. If you do indeed drop the rhetoric, then you’ll be left with the fact that Howard Pattee’s physical analysis of the gene system demonstrates that a symbol system, a language structure, and semantic closure are all required for the origin of life, just as Von Neumann predicted – i.e. the exact system that Crick, Watson, Brenner, Hoagland, Zamecnik, and Nirenberg confirmed by experiment between 1953 and 1966. On this, Howard Pattee and I are in complete agreement.

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  69. 69
    JVL says:

    ET: Your ignorance is not an argument. The fact remains that the design inference doesn’t rely on probability arguments

    Of course it does. The constant refrain is: such and such is too improbable to have arisen via unguided processes.

    The only reason probability arguments exist is because there isn’t anything else to consider- no evidence and no way to test the claims being made.

    So, the ID argument isn’t based on probability arguments but you have tomake that argument because evolutionary science hasn’t disproved your hypothesis? Really?

    Clearly you have reading comprehension issues. If you and yours had something besides your lies, denials and wishful then probability arguments would be moot.

    See above.

    No one one this planet knows how to test the claims of unguided evolution. No one. That is why probability arguments exist. However, as Dr. Donald Johnson wrote, your side doesn’t even deserve a seat at the probability table.

    Okay. I guess. Whatever that all means.

    A design requirement for the organisms and their respective environments.

    So how does that work exactly? Variations in the genetic code arise from design requirements? Please explain why that would be necessary. Why not just introduce new code for new portions?

  70. 70
    Querius says:

    JVL,

    Environmental pressures don’t ‘create’ new alles but new alles might give an avantage when the environmental pressures change. Are you really so oblivious to evolutionary theory?

    No, I was simply asking what you meant about the source of information that DNA encodes. But it might help your credibility if you spelled “alleles” correctly each time you use it. Apparently, you don’t use that term a lot.

    However, the erroneous spelling might actually prove to your benefit!

    What started out as “alleles” mutated under your fingers into “alles,” the German word for “all,” which often bonds with another linguistic allele to form über alles, and after many other variations and a giant sneeze might result in “Deutschland über alles” or something else as you type. Eventually, after millions of years, all these mutations might produce a cogent response that doesn’t include an ad hominem attack. 😉

    We can only hope!

    -Q

  71. 71
    JVL says:

    Upright BiPed: You keep asking me for evidence to prove something I have never argued for.>/B>

    You have argued over and over and over again that Dr Pattee’s work implies design. I have said I don’t think it does and backed that up with statements from him. Then you doubled down. So THEN I’ve asked you for cases where he has backed up your statements. You are glossing over your long standing stance: i.e. there is design in nature and that Dr Pattee’s work shows that to be the case when I don’t think you have evidence for that. And that’s what I have asked you to show.

    ONCE AGAIN: Howard Pattee is not an ID advocate. That is his personal metaphysical position — and like everyone else who has ever lived on this planet — it may or may not be based on a whole wide variety of non-scientific factors. It is distinct and separate from his extensive scientific documentation of the gene system. This is a proper distinction which you are well aware of.

    So, support for ID is a metaphysical as opposed to scientific position? Or support for materialism is a metaphysical position? Are they both metaphysical positions?

    You have already indicated that proper science is the critical issue in evaluating physical evidence, and you have made it clear that a researcher’s personal metaphysical position is irrelevant. So, you have choice between being incoherent and hypocritical, or dropping the rhetoric.

    Gosh, I’m happy to accept support for ID is not a scientific position. But that’s not what yu want clearly. Because you think your position is scientific but mine is not. I think.

    If you do indeed drop the rhetoric, then you’ll be left with the fact that Howard Pattee’s physical analysis of the gene system demonstrates that a symbol system, a language structure, and semantic closure are all required for the origin of life,

    I don’t think he said that. AND you’re taking back what you said about ID being a metaphysical, non-scientific stance. Or you didn’t. I think you’re trying to sneak your view through the cracks in the system while still decrying that which you disagree with.

    Look, there is NO evidence that Dr Pattee thinks his work supports ID. There is evidence that he thinks it, at least partially, doesn’t. I can see why you think his work does support ID but I don’t think he does. And I think he is best able to judge his own work considering how much time he spent on it and how well his work has stood up to scrutiny.

    I would say it’s probably just best to leave it now except you won’t like me having the last word so you’ll just have to have another comment.

  72. 72

    .

    UB: If you do indeed drop the rhetoric, then you’ll be left with the fact that Howard Pattee’s physical analysis of the gene system demonstrates that a symbol system, a language structure, and semantic closure are all required for the origin of life,

    JVL” I don’t think he said that.

    The mask is finally off. The con man is now out in the open for all to see.

    – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

    Symbol systems first controlled material construction at the origin of life. At this molecular level it is only in the context of open-ended evolvability that symbol-matter systems and their functions can be objectively defined. Symbols are energy-degenerate structures not determined by laws that act locally as special boundary conditions or constraints on law-based energy-dependent matter in living systems. Physical and functional conditions for symbols, codes, and languages – Howard Pattee

    Evolution requires the genotype-phenotype distinction, a primeval epistemic cut that separates energy-degenerate, rate-independent genetic symbols from the rate-dependent dynamics of construction that they control. This symbol-matter or subject-object distinction occurs at all higher levels where symbols are related to a referent by an arbitrary code. The Physics of Symbol Systems , Howard Pattee

    Life originated with symbolic memory, and symbols originated with life. I find it gratuitous to use the concept of symbol, even metaphorically, in physical systems where no function exists. Symbols do not exist in isolation but are part of a semiotic or linguistic system (Pattee, 1969a).

    The necessary but not sufficient conditions for biological informational concepts like signs, symbols, memories, instructions, and messages are (1) an object or referent that the information is about, (2) a physical embodiment or vehicle that stands for what the information is about (the object), and (3) an interpreter or agent that separates the referent information from the vehicle’s material structure, and that establishes the stands-for relation. – Epistemic, Evolutionary, and Physical Conditions for Biological Information – Howard Pattee

    This additional self-referent condition for being the subject-part of an epistemic cut I have called semantic (or semiotic) closure (Pattee, 1982, 1995). This is the molecular chicken-egg closure that makes the origin of life problem so difficult. The Physics of Symbol Systems, – Howard Pattee

    Biosemiotics distinguishes life from inanimate matter by its dependence on material construction controlled by coded symbolic information. This irreducible primitive distinction between matter and symbol is necessary for open-ended evolvability and the origin of life. The Necessity of Biosemiotics: Matter-Symbol Complementarity, – Howard Pattee

    This second freedom is the freedom of interpretation of the symbols. This requires an arbitrary code, a condition necessary for a general-purpose language, a concept that I will discuss in Sec.5. The implementation of a code requires a subtle but essential physical condition. The code’s arbitrariness means that the constraint of the coding process must have freedom that is not completely under the control of the dynamics, but at the same time it must depend on the dynamics for execution of the coding rules. This requires that the constraint must have more degrees of freedom in its structural configurations than the laws allow in its energy-based dynamic behavior. (Pattee, 1968, 1972). – Physical and functional conditions for symbols, codes, and languages – Howard Pattee

    These are the physical conditions required to implement von Neumann’s logical closure. I have called this semantic closure, but Luis Rocha (2001) has more accurately called it semiotic closure because its realization also includes the syntax and pragmatic physical control processes. The Necessity of Biosemiotics: Matter-Symbol Complementarity, – Howard Pattee

    etc. etc. etc. etc.

  73. 73
    Querius says:

    Upright BiPed,

    What an excellent and interesting post! While you’re examining the content of Howard Pattee’s analysis, JVL is just taking potshots (and missing the point).

    As far as ID versus random chance or some innate and undiscovered self-organization capability, I believe we’re left only with the pragmatism of whether scientific understanding advances more quickly with one paradigm or the other. In numerous examples from history, ID is clearly superior.

    Hat’s off to you!

    -Q

  74. 74
    kairosfocus says:

    JVL, you obviously believe in something — complex, digitally coded, alphanumeric, string data structure algorithmic information and associated molecular nanotech (so, language and goal-directed process) — from nothing; molecular noise. You do so, not because empirical evidence warrants this, but because a domineering lab coat clad ideology demands it as part of its origins narrative. The patent absurdity in the teeth of abundant evidence tells us just where the true balance lies on the merits. Not just regarding an anonymous Internet objector, but about the desperation of the guardians of that ideology as the full weight of the evidence begins to sink home. KF

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