Intelligent Design

The Strongest Arguments Against Design

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In any debate, it is good strategy to acknowledge your opponent’s strongest points up front, effectively taking them off the table. Critics of Intelligent Design have two strong arguments, discussed below, and virtually nothing else. Direct evidence that natural selection or any other unintelligent cause can actually do intelligent things, like design plants or animals, is nonexistent.

  1. The first argument is this: in every other field of science, methodological naturalism has been spectacularly successful, why should evolutionary biology be different? Evolutionary biologists understandably don’t want to be the only scientists at scientific meetings appealing to the workings of an unseen intelligent agent to explain phenomena in their field of study. When we have an approach that has worked so well on so many other problems, we need some powerful justification to switch to another paradigm to attack the problem of evolution, and it is understandable that there is so much resistance to this.But it has long been obvious to the layman that evolution is different, and requires a fundamentally different type of explanation. In recent years, a significant number of scientists have begun to recognize this also. In “A Second Look at the Second Law” I have attempted to express what is obvious to the layman in more scientific terms. A version of this argument written for a more general audience is here. I believe that this argument is the “powerful justification” needed to consider a new methodology in evolutionary biology, and shows why methodological naturalism hasn’t worked, and won’t work.
  2. The second argument is this: there are many things about evolution—the long periods involved, the evidence for common descent, the many evolutionary dead ends, examples of imperfect design—that simply give a strong impression of natural causes. This argument, used repeatedly by Charles Darwin himself in Origin of Species, is basically “a Creator wouldn’t do things this way.” Perhaps a more accurate way of stating the
    argument is, “I wouldn’t have done things this way if I were the Creator.” But, in fact, it does look a lot like the way we humans create things now, though testing and improvements over time. In fact, the similarities actually go beyond that, as brought out in my Mathematical Intelligencer article A Mathematician’s View of Evolution and, more briefly, in this video.Many people feel silly attributing the development of each species directly to God, yet understand that a completely unintelligent process could not possibly have produced the magnificent species we see today. Darwin wrote, in a letter to Sir John Herschel, “One cannot look at this Universe with all living productions and man without believing that all have been intelligently designed; yet when I look to each individual organism, I can see no evidence of this.” This paradox has left many looking for a compromise, such as
    “theistic evolution.”

    At the end of the “Epilogue” of my Discovery Institute Press book In the Beginning… I attempted an explanation for why a Creator might indeed “do things this way.” But of course it is only speculation, and although I often find that explanation reasonable, sometimes it does not even seem convincing to me. Perhaps a more obvious explanation is, our Creator creates through testing and improvements (sometimes trying modifications that don’t work out so well) for the same reason we create this way: it is probably the only way any intelligent agent could create things. If the only other intelligent agents we have experience with cannot create perfect designs by snapping their fingers, why would we assume our Creator could do this?

    I believe the evidence for design in the origin and development of life is scientific and overwhelming. Speculation as to what the designer might be like, or might have been thinking (or should have been thinking, as Darwin often argued ) is of course theology, not science. But I also have a purely scientific resolution of this paradox that I find quite satisfactory. It is simply: “evolution may leave an impression that it is an entirely natural process, but it isn’t.”

103 Replies to “The Strongest Arguments Against Design

  1. 1
    Stu7 says:

    Well if we’re talking specifics, for me personally chromosomal fusion (chromosome 2) has been one of the better arguments raised, certainly compared to a vast majority of others.

  2. 2
    Joe says:

    Yup, the “strongest” arguments against ID are the weakest arguments that can be raised.

    Talk about repetitious and boring… 😛

  3. 3
    allanius says:

    Joe, I heartily aqree. You are repetitious and boring.

  4. 4
    Joe says:

    Sed the unoriginal repetitious bore… 😛

    Any more weak arguments?

  5. 5
    gpuccio says:

    Grenville:

    My brief answers:

    1. Methodological naturalism fails not only in the field of biological information, but also in other important fields, especially thoeries of consciousness. And acceptin ID theory in no way prevents a seriosu research for “naturalistic” (whatever it means) explanations. The point is: neo dariwnists have tried not to explain, and to affirm that their non explanation works. That is bad science. Naturalistic reserach must always go on: it is, indeed, the best source of evidence for ID, where ID is needed.

    2. The problem of how a Creator would do things is not scientific. Darwinists are using a philosophical, indeed religious arguments here. That is not allowed in science.
    The evodence for common descent is evidence for common descent. Whether one accepts it or refutes it, it has nothing to do with ID prpoper.

    Is that all they have?

  6. 6
    Scootle says:

    “Direct evidence that natural selection or any other unintelligent cause can actually do intelligent things, like design plants or animals, is nonexistent.”

    Well the Darwinists would disagree there. They certainly believe there are examples of natural selection creating new information. The Nylon and DNT degrading enzymes are two examples that people like Ken Miller often cite. I think those are actually the strongest arguments against design.

  7. 7
    Joe says:

    Scootle,

    1- What is the evidence that Nylon and DNT degrading arose via random mutation?

    2- The argument was NOT about “new” information- your response is a non-sequitur

  8. 8
    DrREC says:

    “What is the evidence that Nylon and DNT degrading arose via random mutation?”

    And here begins the “you can’t prove something apparently natural is actually natural” game. Always room for the designer. Intelligent falling anyone?

  9. 9
    Scootle says:

    I didn’t say I agreed with it, I just said its their best arguments.

  10. 10
    Joe says:

    And here begins MORE of DrREC’s obfuscation, non-sequiturs and plain ignorant spewage.

    Design is natural “doc”. Dr Spetner wrote about “built-in responses to environmental cues” some 14 years ago- your ignorance is not a refutation.

    And BTW, gravity is evidence for a designer- how does your position explain the 4 forces- gravity, weak nuclear force, strong nuclear force and electro-magnetism?

    I’ll tell you how Hawking says your position “explains” them- “They just are (the way they are)”- IOW your whole position is just for the crapper…

  11. 11
    gpuccio says:

    Scootle:

    I am afraid you are not up to date. The emergence of nylonase through frameshift mutation, as suggested by Ono, is one of the greatest errors of darwinian science.

    As recognized by all, nylonase derives form penicillinases, throuhgh a very small mutational transitions in the plasmis system, not more relevant to our discussion than well known microevolutionary resistance to antibiotics. No significant complexity added. No trace of macroevolution.

    So, you should change your example.

    This is Wikipedia very prudent reporting of that:

    “This discovery led geneticist Susumu Ohno to speculate that the gene for one of the enzymes, 6-aminohexanoic acid hydrolase, had come about from the combination of a gene duplication event with a frame shift mutation.[2] Ohno suggested that many unique new genes have evolved this way.
    A 2007 paper that described a series of studies by a team led by Seiji Negoro of the University of Hyogo, Japan, suggested that in fact no frameshift mutation was involved in the evolution of the 6-aminohexanoic acid hydrolase.[3]”

    If you look at the literature, as I have done, you will see that there is no doubt that Ono was wrong.

    I wish you better luck next time.

  12. 12
    Joe says:

    Yes and antibiotic resistance is also one of their best arguments. That is until you take a look:

    Is Bacterial Resistance to Antibiotics an Appropriate Example of Evolutionary Change?

  13. 13
    Scootle says:

    gpuccio,

    I know. I’m not saying I agree with the Darwinists I’m just saying those sorts of arguments are their best arguments because they actually attempt to address the design argument that functional complexity and novel functions can’t arise by Darwinian means.

    Negoro et al (2005) on Nylonase:

    6-Aminohexanoate-dimer hydrolase (EII), responsible for the degradation of nylon-6 industry by-products, and its analogous enzyme (EII´) that has only ~0.5% of the specific activity toward the 6-aminohexanoate-linear dimer, are encoded on plasmid pOAD2 of Arthrobacter sp. (formerly Flavobacterium sp.) KI72.

    EII´ has 88% homology to EII but has very low catalytic activity (1/200 of EII activity) toward the 6-aminohexanoate-linear dimer (Ald), suggesting that EII has evolved by gene duplication followed by base substitutions from its ancestral gene.

    We have found that of the 46 amino acid alterations that differed between the EII and EII´ proteins, two amino acid replacements in the EII´ protein (i.e. Gly to Asp (EII-type) at position 181 (G181D) and His to Asn (EII-type) at position 266 (H266N)) are sufficient to increase the Ald-hydrolytic activity back to the level of the parental EII enzyme. The other 44 amino acid alterations have no significant effect on the increase of the activity.

    [IMAGE]

    The activity of the EII´-type enzyme is enhanced ~10-fold by the G181D substitution and ~200-fold by the G181D/H266N double substitutions. Nylon oligomer hydrolase utilizes Ser112/Lys115/Tyr215 as common active sites, both for Ald-hydrolytic and esterolytic activity, but requires at least two additional amino acid residues (Asp181/Asn266), specific for Ald-hydrolytic activity.

    These results indicate that the G181D and H266N are amino acid alterations specific for the increase of nylon oligomer hydrolysis. Thus, the nylon oligomer-degrading enzyme (EII) is considered to have evolved from preexisting esterases with beta-lactamase folds.

    On DNT:

    Harvey then pointed to a paper about the alleged evolution of a complex biochemical pathway. The pathway allows bacteria to metabolize DNT (similar to TNT), which is a man-made compound. Obviously DNT doesn’t exist naturally, so if bacteria can metabolize it, then obviously it had to have evolved very recently. Apparently some air-force scientists found a way to get DNT to be metabolized as part of a project to decompose this waste product using microorganisms. (This is similar to the project to use bugs to eat oil slicks. A little claim once made by a professor of mine once said that the oil-eating microorganisms have never been used in the real world because of fears that they might get into the world’s oil supply, and eat it all.) In any case, Harvey tried to claim that this paper showed some important example of evolution. Minnich replied to Harvey “you don’t understand my position.” Minnich, who had previously read the paper, explained that to evolve this pathway required the modification of maybe 2 or 3 preexisting enzymes. There was really nothing new here, and certainly nothing approaching an irreducibly complex biomolecular machine. Minnich called this microevolution.

    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....01301.html

  14. 14
    gpuccio says:

    Scootle:

    you have asnwered yourself. Those are examples of microevolution of the active site, implying only a couple of aminoacid substitution, or at worst 3 or 4.

    The micorevolution of active sites is discussed by Gauger and Axe in this paper:

    http://bio-complexity.org/ojs/.....O-C.2011.1

    the point is, mictoevolution of the active site is in the range of a microevolutionary system and of NS, at least as long as the number of necessary substitutions is very low (I would say no more than 5-6, as I have already argued in another post).

    That does not mean that does transitions are really darwinian and not designed, but it does mean that we cannot make any design inference in those cases, and we can accept the neo darwinian explanation, at least until new data allow more precise computations.

    I would never use any of those few examples as an argument for design. But, obviously, they are not arguments for macroevolution at all.

    Ono’s theory of a frameshift mutation for mylonase was a very strong argument for macroevolution, because a complex protein arising de novo after a frameshift from a different functional protein is really against all principles of ID.

    Luckily, that theory was completely wrong.

    If I were a darwinist, I would strictly avoid to mention nylonase at all. It is a wonderful example of consensus on a wrong, unsupported theory. (I have nothing against Ono, his theory could seem reasonable at the time. It’s the adherence to that wrong theory for so many years by darwinists, without any real empirical support, and only because that theory was comfortable for their position, that is a very bad example of cognitive bias. Do you know how many times out antagonists have brought the frameshift theory of nylonase against ID, and against me personally, until a couple of years ago, maybe even more recently?).

    The true problem that darwinists cannot even begin to approach is not miocroevolution of the active sites, but macroevolution of basic protein domains. Ask them an explanation for that, if you want. Again, see Axe here:

    http://bio-complexity.org/ojs/.....O-C.2010.1

  15. 15
    Florabama says:

    How can Darwinists know whether a design is bad or good since according to them design can’t be recognized in nature? If Darwinists can recognize bad design, isn’t the flip side of that argument that it is legitimate to look for “Intelligent Design?”

    Seems to me that by setting themselves up as the arbiters of what is or isn’t a flawed design, Darwinists have hoisted themselves on their own petard.

  16. 16
    APM says:

    #2 is part of the reason why I count myself a Creationist rather than a theistic evolutionist. My answer to “why would God do it that way” is “well, actually, I don’t believe it happened that way at all.”

    Still, you make a good point that it takes some hubris for us to decide what God would or would not do.

  17. 17
    Mytheos says:

    Good one F.
    No getting around the Design Inference.

  18. 18
    MrDunsapy says:

    Have you ever thought, God, did things in ways that the ‘evolutionists’ and ID, or uncommon, scientists did not think of.
    For example, what if God actually built animals from preceding animals. In other words not evolving over time, but the use of one animals DNA,bones, muscles, blood etc., to create another type of animal. The new animal would contain a record of previous life. That also would explain, similar traits in life.
    What if he said, that is exactly what he did!
    Would that change how all scientists look at life?
    More at:
    http://patternsofcreation.weebly.com/

  19. 19
    Mytheos says:

    Ive thought that he may have used his own DNA and tweaked it for each kind of creature.
    That would also explain similar traits in life.

  20. 20
    tjguy says:

    “Perhaps a more obvious explanation is, our Creator creates through testing and improvements (sometimes trying modifications that don’t work out so well) for the same reason we create this way: it is probably the only way any intelligent agent could create things. If the only other intelligent agents we have experience with cannot create perfect designs by snapping their fingers, why would we assume our Creator could do this?”

    This is the problem that creationists have with ID proponents. When Genesis is rejected, when the Fall as the means of introducing evil and design flaws into the world is rejected, then it reflects poorly on the Creator. And then you get all kinds of weird ideas about the Creator – like “this is the best the Creator could have done”, or “why would we assume our Creator could create things differently than we do?”

    God’s glory is impugned and His name is raked in the mud like this. I have no idea who this guy believes the Creator to be, but one thing is for certain, his idea of a Creator is a far cry from how God reveals Himself to us in His Word. His Creator is NOT the God of the Bible. I think he needs to stick to science rather than use his ideas about science to tell us what the Creator must be like. The word of the Creator Himself holds a bit more credibility for me than this guy’s ideas.

  21. 21
    tjguy says:

    That sounds very reasonable. Why would the Designer make up whole new designs for each creature He creates? This design seems to work quite well. It allows for diversity to emerge in each created kind and each created kind is based on the same genetic code stored in the DNA. Artists often have a common style that identifies their work. The genetic code in the DNA is the Creator’s identifying style/mark. Just because all of life uses this same genetic code does not automatically mean that all life is related in an evolutionary sort of way.

  22. 22
    tjguy says:

    Good answer. I agree. I don’t believe it happened that way at all either. Why? God tells us that He didn’t do it that way in His Word.

    So yes, it does take some hubris for us to decide what the Creator would or would not have done. It takes a good bit of hubris for us to reject what He has told us and come up with our own theories about how He did it as well. Taking God at His word? I think that is what He would expect of us. That is not hubris.

  23. 23
    MrDunsapy says:

    DNA is used for material life on earth. So the same process is used for all earthly life , and as a result, we see similarities. It would be efficient design , to create one from another. That could explain, what ‘evolutionists’ see, and also ID and uncommon descent. There is a line of descent but not just one line , there would be many. So that also explains uncommon descent. ID looks for design, so even the efficiency of this method, supports design.

  24. 24
    MrDunsapy says:

    This is not only reasonable, but the creator actually said he did it this way. That account was written thousands of years ago, and scientists today are discussing that very issue. The bible has always been ahead of the scientists.
    I think this also explains why scientists are seeing histories of previous kinds of animals. Also creation by breeding would also be an option. Just as man has created a Poodle.

    http://patternsofcreation.weebly.com/

  25. 25
    Mytheos says:

    Are you the ghost of Gould?

  26. 26
    APM says:

    To put it another way:

    Theoretically, God could have done it any way he chose to do it. But my God is not mere theory. He actually made a choice and acted upon it.

    What was his choice? Science claims it can show how the world came to be; but time and again, it’s methods have proven deficient. The best it can give are educated guesses, most of which are contradicted by later evidence.

    And yet, we do have a history. A story, said to have been given from God to man. A book that is casually tossed aside as non-evidence by those who wish so desperately to uncover the past.

    But you’ve got to wonder. Might this be a terribly futile exercise, much like trying to reconstruct ancient Roman history from the bones of the caesars, while tossing aside the Latin and Greek languages as irrelevant.

  27. 27
    MrDunsapy says:

    Are you the ghost of Gould?

    Ha. Ha I don’t think so. As far as I know I’m an original!
    I came up with these ideas a while back and have been testing it out.

    I also use these 3 facts

    1 life comes from life
    2 a human comes from humans
    3 there is design in life.

    There is no evidence that goes against these 3 facts.
    Yet evolutionary scientists go against all 3 facts
    and with the Patterns of Creation( that’s what I call God creating from other life), I think it explains a lot of
    discrepancies, between Evolution ID and creation.
    I explain it on this web site.
    I just started that site so go and comment.
    http://patternsofcreation.weebly.com/

  28. 28
    APM says:

    And now that we are finding a sort of “language” in our very DNA, a lot of scientists are getting uncomfortable. Information should not exist in cold, dead matter.

  29. 29
    Ultimately Real says:

    Life. Isn’t that really the biggest mystery?? Everything that is alive on the planet got that life “spark” from something else that was alive. Where did that “spark” originate? How many millions or billions of years has it been passed along? The movie Frankenstein could only have been concocted without the knowledge of the inner workings of the cell. To think you could zap dead flesh with a lighting bolt and somehow start the life process again is preposterous in light of everything we know now about the cell. I recently watched a video of a single cell floating in “cellular fluid”. The cell membrane was punctured, and the “plasma” (ha!) began to leak from inside the cell. The question for the materialists was, “how many millions or billions of years before the cell put itself together again. There wasn’t only the correct amino acids or proteins, but the actual coded information now contained in the fluid. What does your gut say? How long or what would it take for that punctured cell to come back to life? My “instinct” says NEVER. If we deny the Designer, what cosmic Dr. Frankenstein could start that cell up again??

  30. 30
    Gregory says:

    “I also have a purely scientific resolution of this paradox that I find quite satisfactory. It is simply: “evolution may leave an impression that it is an entirely natural process, but it isn’t.” – Granville Sewell

    Could you elaborate, please, on what makes the above statement an example of a ‘purely scientific resolution’ (said the mathematician to the biologist) rather than just an opinion that personally satisfies you?

    “But it isn’t” is a classic anti-realist retort.

    What are you opposing to/substituting for ‘entirely natural’ in your ‘resolution,’ i.e. something non-natural or extra-natural, or…with a (positive) name unrelated (totally?) to ‘natural,’ like ‘intelligence/Intelligence’?

  31. 31
    gpuccio says:

    MrDunsapy:

    As I have already said, I don’t believe that religious arguments should be used in a scientific discussion, so I will not use them.

    But I perfectly agree with you in the general argument that new design can, and probably has been, inputted in existing “hardware”, that is in existing beings.

    I have stated here many times that, for purely scientific reasons, I accept common descent. The only way to accept common descent and ID is, as far as I can see, to hypothesize that evolution proceeds through new inputs of functional information, more or less gradual (that’s a separate problem, and I really believe it was not gradual in most cases), in what already exists. That explains the continuity we observe, for example in the proteome, and also the discontinuities.

    The alternative is that each new implementation of design is made from scratch. That would not explain the many evidences in favour of common descent. A mere “common design” explanation can certainly explain some of them, but to explain all of them in the name of functionality constraints seems really stretched.

  32. 32
    Jon Garvey says:

    Gregory – I suspect a tongue is in a cheek somewhere. Biology’s thrived happily for 150 years on the “scientific” claim that the appearance of design is an illusion, with just as little evidence.

  33. 33
    Granville Sewell says:

    Tjguy,

    I’m not trying to tell you what the Creator “must be like”, I’m just guessing, trying to explain the evidence, which is that God created, not entirely gradually, but building on previous designs. If you don’t like this theory, get a copy of my book and read the Epilogue, you might like that theory a bit better.

    I’m not sure the idea of God “seeing what he had made” and proceeding to improve on it is incompatible with the Gensis 1 story of creation. And when I said “why would be assume our Creator could” create things differently than we, I was only referring to the fact that we have to actually get involved in the details, not snap our fingers and someone else takes care of the details; I of course recognize that the Creator’s designs in living things are infinitely more clever than our best designs. (And if God only has to snap His fingers and perfect designs appear, why did He have to “rest from all the work that He had done” on the last “day”?)

    All of this is just speculation, the only thing I’m sure of is that the origin and evolution of life were not entirely the result of unintelligent processes; that much is obvious to anyone who hasn’t been through intensive indoctrination.

  34. 34
    Joe says:

    Chromosome 2 is only evidence for a fusion event, nothing more.

  35. 35
    gpuccio says:

    Stu7:

    That kind of argument is at best an argument for common descent, not an argument against design.

  36. 36
    Gregory says:

    Yes, perhaps you are right, Jon. Hard to tell sometimes where the tongues are kept while blogging. ; )

    A supposed “purely scientific resolution” about ‘evolution’ based on “but it isn’t” wouldn’t go far towards gaining a ‘scientific’ publication for the blogger. I.e. wouldn’t be trustworthy.

    There’s still lots of ‘design-like’ language present in biology, of course. It would be an illusion to think ‘design’ is the only term than matters or that it necessarily deserves priority ‘in biology’ (by decree of ‘outsiders’) over related terms, though it did serve as a veritable 19th century flash-word. Can you think of any more relevant terms than ‘design’ for the 21st century, that might avoid ‘tangled banks’ between teleology and ateleology?

    Sometimes it takes a non-specialist in biology, like Dr. Sewell, you or myself, to write such things (recently published) as:

    “In effect, to see life as the product of intelligent design is to conceive of biology as divine technology.” (2011)

    Or, more to the ‘extra-natural’ or ‘intelligent’ guidance of ‘evolution’ topic:
    “Intelligent design theory, in its quest to achieve intellectual respectability [in biology] as an opponent to Neo-Darwinism, has somewhat mimicked its opponent by adopting a conception of ‘intelligent designer’ just as open as that of the Neo-Darwinist conception of ‘evolution’. I argue that neither strategy works well, either epistemologically or politically.”

    Or, to a not ‘purely scientific resolution’ on this theme:
    “I believe is necessary to return to theology as the source of theoretical guidance on the nature of the intelligent designer.”

    That’s from one of the constructor’s of ‘intelligent design theory,’ in case some are confusing friend with foe.

  37. 37
    gpuccio says:

    Ultimately Real:

    Welcome in the very small group of neovitalists! (I am always looking for company…) 🙂

    I agree with you. Biological information is probably not the whole answer to life, although everyone seems to think that way.

    Your reasoning about the cell is absolutely correct, and should teach something to the likes of Venter and his minimal genome concept.

    Various OOL researchers, that are so ready to try impossible explanations for the rise of biological information, should also try to answer the following simple question: how is it that, even with all the necessary biological information available, nobody can still generate a living cell in the lab from non living parts? Even with all the intelligence and human resources and protected artificail environment that the lab can allow?

    So, how do they think it happened “in the wild”?

    But the reasoning about life does not in any way exclude the reasoning about biological information. Even if information alone is not enough to ensure life, there is no doubt that information is necessary. We know no life that can exist without a minimal genome, proteome, and cell architecture.

    So, the design argument is completely valid. The step from information to life remains a possible further issue, at least for us neovitalists! 🙂

  38. 38
    MrDunsapy says:

    gpuccio
    Though if your talking about creation and science, they are the same thing. The creator used science to build life.
    I went to ‘evolutionary’ scientists to get the toughest
    criticism, I could get, to substantiate the claims I made. They could not , by use of the science, break what I have said about this. Though to them the theory is what is important. Not the science.
    Actually the ‘evolutionary’ scientists, do not test for creation or ID. Their method of doing science, does not look for that, and they wouldn’t see it at all. Which of course is a huge flaw in their methods.As I have said before the design of their theory, can not detect design.
    So what we get is the “The Greatest Snow Job on Earth.”
    A blizzard of bits of info. that buries the design in life.
    They never can get to the point of actual proof. The reason is the science does not support them.That’s why 150 years, of theories.
    There is no such thing as common descent, in that there are many starts for life on earth. But there does seem to be some lines of descent, from these many starts. And no transitional life. Which is what you would see from creating life from existing life.
    ID is a bit of a cop out. In that, they say life was designed,but make no attempt to find out who the designer is. So just like the ‘evolutionary’ scientists, they want to distance themselves to any creator, unless it is Aliens. It is unpopular to support religions today, so that also is in keeping with the spirit of the world.
    Though because of an interest in who the creator is, we get answers to these question that could only be from the creator himself. That is why ‘ID’ and ‘evolution’ missed this now obvious, solution.
    Though religious people have also missed this for thousands of years. Well it wasn’t important till now, because now we have scientists looking into these things.
    But the bible has always been ahead of the scientists.

    http://patternsofcreation.weebly.com/

  39. 39
    MrDunsapy says:

    Ultimately Real
    What you said is correct. As humans we can understand creation or design, because we were given that ability to do that also. So really there is no excuse. Even in a loaf of bread, shows design, but the ‘evolutionary’ scientists would spend thousands of years trying to prove how it could come about on its own. And I’m sure they would have mounds of theories on how that could happen. But could they ever prove it? No!
    That’s why ‘abiogenesis’ and ‘evolution’ are only theories and not facts. They are missing the design, and building of life.
    http://patternsofcreation.weebly.com/

  40. 40
    MrDunsapy says:

    Gregory
    Of course anyone can believe what they want. It was the job of the scientists to nail these ideas, so that there is no controversy. Yet what do we find? People are just as controversial as ever. Why is that? People want to believe what they want. They carry baggage, that they bring with them to find solutions. That’s probably the most difficult part to deal with. It is not easy to read your own motives. That of course goes for religions as well. That is why there are so many religions.
    Many people call this the information age . I call it the misinformation age.
    It is designed to confuse. Would the scientists have a method of detecting that design? They don’t realize they are part of that, just the same as many religions.

    http://patternsofcreation.weebly.com/

  41. 41
    Doveton says:

    We don’t have to be able to recognize design in nature to evaluate someone else’s claim of design.

    As for evaluating the claimed design itself, that’s easy – we merely compare the item that is claimed to be designed against the human approach to designing something similar and against other objects of the same type in nature, taking into account that a “more advanced” designer would have fewer reasons to create shortcuts, use inferior materials, have resource limitations, etc – particular if said “designer” is supposed a god.

    Hence the reason that most biologists criticize the claim that the human eye (and any eye actually) is designed. Given the human engineering approach to such a item, the human eye is objectively a terrible design – particularly in light of the far superior eye “designs” out there in nature that would suit humans far better for the type of activities we engage in (the cuttlefish’s for instance).

  42. 42
    Joe says:

    What is your evidence that other vision systems would be better suited for humans?

    Has someone actually tried the transplant?

    And BTW:

    “Biomimetics” Exposes Attacks on ID as Poorly Designed

  43. 43
    Petrushka says:

    We could flip the question around with a hypothetical.

    Suppose the human eye were built with the nerve fibers exiting from behind the receptor cells instead of in front, and if this design were not in the ape lineage, it would be strong evidence for intervention, as opposed to common descent.

    Yes or no?

  44. 44
    Petrushka says:

    That sounds very reasonable. Why would the Designer make up whole new designs for each creature He creates?

    A more interesting question is why a designer wouldn’t employ newer and better designs in newer creatures? Why stick with the limitation of descent with small modifications, when other lineages have some superior features?

    Human designers don’t stick with descent. They steal horizontally. In fact that concept is used in court cases involving copyright and patent infringement.

  45. 45
    Petrushka says:

    how is it that, even with all the necessary biological information available, nobody can still generate a living cell in the lab from non living parts?

    Are you suggesting that humans have assembled a cell?

    If not, your question makes no sense. I cannot assemble a microchip, and yet it can be done. To the best of my knowledge we do not have the technology to assemble a cell from scratch, although I believe simple strands of DNA have been synthesized.

    How is it when I suggest it is impossible to determine the utility of a random coding sequence, you assert it is just a matter of time and technology, but you seem to be asserting here that technology will never be able to create the vital spark?

    Is there a disconnect here?

  46. 46
    Doveton says:

    What is your evidence that other vision systems would be better suited for humans?

    You mean aside from other systems detecting greater ranges of electromagnetic light, pulling in more light allowing for detailed vision at lower light levels, degrading far less often and far less frequently under greater stress conditions, having greater lens flexibility and thus greater detail clarity at a broader range of distances as well as the ability to focus both in and out of water, having polarization and the ability to adjust for light levels, and requiring fewer muscles to operate thus incurring less strain? All of this without ever having to adjust either close focusing or long distance focusing with man-made lens/surgery?

    You’re right…I can’t imagine why anyone, from those who read books or computer screens to pilots, sightseers, or swimmers would ever find those things an advantage…

    Has someone actually tried the transplant?

    Why? Do you need to transplant Blu-Ray technology into an 8-track player before you find the capability of the former to be superior to the latter?

    And BTW:

    “Biomimetics” Exposes Attacks on ID as Poorly Designed

    Yes…thank you Joe! Casey does a very nice job of actually exposing the fallacy of Florabama’s question. Funny how those human designers recognize those characteristics in nature that are superior not only to our own designs, but also other similar objects objects in nature, even without accepting that natural objects are “designed”. You’re link is very helpful in that respect. And while Casey is free to question beg that objects in nature are actually designed, that fact remains that no one arguing against such need buy into that claim to make the argument.

  47. 47
    ScottAndrews2 says:

    That was Darwin’s game – set up ridiculous standards for the falsification of his theory.
    If this stuff is designed, someone is operating on a level way over your head and mine. It’s like me reading the C++ source code for Windows 7 and saying that what they did makes no sense. I don’t program on that level, so how could I possibly know why they did anything?
    At least I know what the function of Windows 7 is. We can enumerate some of the functional components that make up an ape, but what is the function of an ape? Why have an ape vs. not having an ape?
    That we don’t know is not evidence against design, as everything from the DNA up points to design. I don’t know what motivates someone to build a birdhouse, but it doesn’t really matter.

    First tell me what the ape is for, and then tell me how it should have been designed or how one design should differ from another, and why.

    This is an argument from ignorance. If we don’t understand it then it must not make sense. It relies on the assumption of our own omnipotence, but other than that it makes perfect sense.

  48. 48
    Doveton says:

    We could flip the question around with a hypothetical.

    Suppose the human eye were built with the nerve fibers exiting from behind the receptor cells instead of in front, and if this design were not in the ape lineage, it would be strong evidence for intervention, as opposed to common descent.

    Yes or no?

    If you’re asking me, I’d say that all other factors being equal, such would very much imply that something is wrong with our current understanding of evolution. I would not, however, immediately say such was evidence for intervention. It seems to me that the contention that evidence that is a problem for evolution is automatically evidence that supports design is a very weak line of reasoning.

  49. 49
    Petrushka says:

    I would not, however, immediately say such was evidence for intervention.

    I disagree. Horizontal gene transfer exists, but more often among microbes than in metazoans. Humans splice genes, sometimes across kingdoms. Finding a hawk’s eye in humans, but not in other apes, would not prove design, but it would certainly be supporting evidence.

  50. 50
    MrDunsapy says:

    The one thing I think is important with this, that the ‘evolutionary’ scientists are not totally wrong. In that they did point out a line of similar kinds of life. From the fossils and biology, they see a connection. They think it happened naturally.
    But from God creating one life from other life you get the same results from the evidence, and without transitional animals. That is what you find. Even the history in preceding life , even though it may be a different type of animal. So ‘evolutionary’ scientists, may have even discovered the line of descent that God did creation in.
    For ID they are also correct in that they noticed that life only comes from ID and the ability to build it. They are also correct when they say there is no common descent for all life.
    Now with God telling us, that is how he created things, both views on the science, should look at this differently. It doesn’t need to be adversarial.
    It’s the answers that are important, not the the theories. Isn’t it?

    http://patternsofcreation.weebly.com/

  51. 51
    ScottAndrews2 says:

    Doveton,

    You have nailed it! On the head!

    If you’re asking me, I’d say that all other factors being equal, such would very much imply that something is wrong with our current understanding of evolution.

    Nothing, nothing, nothing can ever be evidence against evolution, even if human eyes were completely rearranged from ape eyes. Evolution is a fact, regardless of the evidence. If the evidence doesn’t make sense or completely contradicts the theory, the theory isn’t falsified. It just means that something is wrong with our understanding of the theory.

    Why even bother discussing it when you’ve stated outright that no contradiction of darwinian predictions would make a difference to you? Here we are wasting our time on actual evidence, and you’re telling us that even hypothetical evidence wouldn’t matter.

    That’s what I call loyal.

  52. 52
    Doveton says:

    I disagree. Horizontal gene transfer exists, but more often among microbes than in metazoans. Humans splice genes, sometimes across kingdoms. Finding a hawk’s eye in humans, but not in other apes, would not prove design, but it would certainly be supporting evidence.

    Ok. I misunderstood your meaning. When you wrote, “Suppose the human eye were built with the nerve fibers exiting from behind the receptor cells instead of in front” I presumed you were thinking of the current mammalian eye configuration with that one modification, not an entire configuration change. If humans had an eye that was completely different from not only other primates, but other mammal as well, then yes that would be compelling evidence for design.

  53. 53
    Petrushka says:

    I disagree, and I published my disagreement and my specific reason for disagreeing before your snide remarks.

    The nested hierarchy is extremely important, and a radical departure would be evidence for design.

    It’s the kind of evidence that shows up in legal arguments for copyright and patent infringement.

  54. 54
    Joe says:

    What is your evidence that other vision systems would be better suited for humans?

    You mean aside from other systems detecting greater ranges of electromagnetic light, pulling in more light allowing for detailed vision at lower light levels, degrading far less often and far less frequently under greater stress conditions, having greater lens flexibility and thus greater detail clarity at a broader range of distances as well as the ability to focus both in and out of water, having polarization and the ability to adjust for light levels, and requiring fewer muscles to operate thus incurring less strain?

    Those other systems need all of that because of their environment. That doesn’t mean it would work for humans in ours.


    Has someone actually tried the transplant?

    Why? Do you need to transplant Blu-Ray technology into an 8-track player before you find the capability of the former to be superior to the latter?

    You couldn’t transplant blu-ray technology into an 8-track player. You couldn’t replace the head with a laser- won’t work. You would have to redesign the whole thing.

    If you have a blu-ray player and 8-track tapes, you get nothing. If you have an 8-track player and blu-rays disks, you get nothing.

    Funny how those human designers recognize those characteristics in nature that are superior not only to our own designs, but also other similar objects objects in nature, even without accepting that natural objects are “designed”.

    Funny that those superior designs in nature were actually designed and that is why engineers recognize them as such- they recoginize the work of a superior designer.

    Your position sure as heck can’t explain the vision system.

  55. 55
    Joe says:

    Yet evolution does not expect a nested hierarchy as evidenced by the fact we do not observe one amongst prokaryotes.

  56. 56
    Doveton says:

    Doveton,

    You have nailed it! On the head!

    If you’re asking me, I’d say that all other factors being equal, such would very much imply that something is wrong with our current understanding of evolution.

    Nothing, nothing, nothing can ever be evidence against evolution, even if human eyes were completely rearranged from ape eyes. Evolution is a fact, regardless of the evidence. If the evidence doesn’t make sense or completely contradicts the theory, the theory isn’t falsified. It just means that something is wrong with our understanding of the theory.

    Umm…hold the phone there Scott. Perhaps you didn’t read what I wrote. I specifically noted in what you responded to that I thought this would most definitely be evidence against evolution. What did you think I meant by, “evidence that is a problem for evolution” means?

    Why even bother discussing it when you’ve stated outright that no contradiction of darwinian predictions would make a difference to you?

    Errm…because I didn’t state such?

    Here we are wasting our time on actual evidence, and you’re telling us that even hypothetical evidence wouldn’t matter.

    Mmm…might want to actually read what I wrote there again.

    That’s what I call loyal.

    Apparently.

  57. 57
    Petrushka says:

    I confess to confusing the adaptations of the hawk’s eye with that of the squid’s eye (the anatomy of the retina). Makes no difference to my argument, but it was a mistake.

  58. 58
    Doveton says:

    What is your evidence that other vision systems would be better suited for humans?

    You mean aside from other systems detecting greater ranges of electromagnetic light, pulling in more light allowing for detailed vision at lower light levels, degrading far less often and far less frequently under greater stress conditions, having greater lens flexibility and thus greater detail clarity at a broader range of distances as well as the ability to focus both in and out of water, having polarization and the ability to adjust for light levels, and requiring fewer muscles to operate thus incurring less strain?

    Those other systems need all of that because of their environment. That doesn’t mean it would work for humans in ours.

    Doesn’t mean they wouldn’t either. And given that these other organisms’ eyes do, in fact, work in our environment in the lab, I’d say there’s strong evidence against your assumption.

    Has someone actually tried the transplant?

    Why? Do you need to transplant Blu-Ray technology into an 8-track player before you find the capability of the former to be superior to the latter?

    You couldn’t transplant blu-ray technology into an 8-track player. You couldn’t replace the head with a laser- won’t work. You would have to redesign the whole thing.

    Funny that. I’ll take that as a “no” then.

    If you have a blu-ray player and 8-track tapes, you get nothing. If you have an 8-track player and blu-rays disks, you get nothing.

    Odd that you evaded my actual question…

    Funny how those human designers recognize those characteristics in nature that are superior not only to our own designs, but also other similar objects objects in nature, even without accepting that natural objects are “designed”.

    Funny that those superior designs in nature were actually designed and that is why engineers recognize them as such- they recoginize the work of a superior designer.

    Begging the question…

    But please feel free to explain how you know all biomimetric engineers only use natural object characteristics because they know the natural objects are designed, particular given that Bharat Bhushan, among others, actually notes otherwise.

    Your position sure as heck can’t explain the vision system.

    Well, that makes sense given that I had no intention of explaining the vision system when I set out to respond to Florabama.

  59. 59
    Joe says:


    Those other systems need all of that because of their environment. That doesn’t mean it would work for humans in ours.

    Doesn’t mean they wouldn’t either.

    That is why the transplant is necessary. You don’t have any idea.

    And given that these other organisms’ eyes do, in fact, work in our environment in the lab, I’d say there’s strong evidence against your assumption.

    Can they respond to a 95mph fastball?

    >
    Do you need to transplant Blu-Ray technology into an 8-track player before you find the capability of the former to be superior to the latter?

    You couldn’t transplant blu-ray technology into an 8-track player. You couldn’t replace the head with a laser- won’t work. You would have to redesign the whole thing.

    Funny that. I’ll take that as a “no” then.

    Take my response to your your irrelevant nonsense any way you want to.

    Odd that you evaded my actual question…

    Your question doesn’t have anything to do with what we are discussing.


    Funny that those superior designs in nature were actually designed and that is why engineers recognize them as such- they recoginize the work of a superior designer.

    Begging the question…

    Not given tne evidence and a complete lack of an explanation from your side.

    But please feel free to explain how you know all biomimetric engineers only use natural object characteristics …

    Begging the question- how do you they are natural as opposed to artificial?

    Well, that makes sense given that I had no intention of explaining the vision system when I set out to respond to Florabama.

    You can’t, so it isn’t that you had no intention…

  60. 60
    Gordon Davisson says:

    But it has long been obvious to the layman that evolution is different, and requires a fundamentally different type of explanation. In recent years, a significant number of scientists have begun to recognize this also. In “A Second Look at the Second Law” I have attempted to express what is obvious to the layman in more scientific terms. A version of this argument written for a more general audience is here. I believe that this argument is the “powerful justification” needed to consider a new methodology in evolutionary biology, and shows why methodological naturalism hasn’t worked, and won’t work.

    I don’t think either of these are very convincing from a scientific perspective; there are significant errors in the thermodynamics, and the parts that are correct are not relevant. I’ve pointed this out before (mainly here and here), but I’ll summarize:

    – The part of your “Second Look” paper that is correct concerns diffusion (of heat and other things) through a solid. But since nobody has suggested that life originated solely via diffusion, it’s a little hard to see how this is relevant. Some of the same principles apply more generally, but the analysis in the paper doesn’t provide any way of knowing which principles generalize and/or what the general form is.

    – You say that “Since thermal entropy measures randomness (disorder) in the distribution of heat, its opposite (negative) can be referred to as ‘thermal order’ …”, but entropy is not the opposite of order in general. For example, I think most of us would agree that a human is more ordered than a typical bacterium, but humans have much higher absolute entropy than bacteria (mostly because we’re bigger, and entropy is proportional to size).

    – You say that you can define entropies other than thermal entropy (“X-entropy”, e.g. carbon-entropy), and claim that the second law applies independently to all of these (“Furthermore, Eq. (5) does not simply say that the X-entropy cannot decrease in a closed system; it also says that, in an open system, the X-entropy cannot decrease faster than it is exported through the boundary, because the boundary integral there represents the rate at which X-entropy is exported across the boundary.”). In the first place, these entropies cannot always be defined, and in the second place when they are defined, the second law only applies collectively, not individually. I gave an example here of carbon-entropy decreasing at the “expense” of a larger increase in thermal entropy (and a temporary increase in thermal order).

    – You object to the idea that the second law could allow an entropy decrease at one location, compensated by an equal-or-larger increase somewhere else; but your paper shows exactly how this can happen (specifically, if the right side of equation 5 — the entropy flux through the boundary of the system — is negative). You describe this as entropy being exported (see quote above), but that’s really just another way to describe compensation.

    (Note that compensation, properly understood, requires that the entropy decrease be causally coupled to the compensating increase. They cannot be independent events. This coupling requirement is sometimes left out of descriptions (and even applications) of the principle; however, this sloppiness does not invalidate the basic principle.)

    – You confuse improbable events with second-law violations: “But after we define a sufficiently low threshold, everyone seems to agree that ‘natural forces will rearrange atoms into digital computers’ is a macroscopically describable event that is still extremely improbable from the microscopic point of view, and thus forbidden by the second law—at least if this happens in a closed system.” This is simply an error in logic. If something violates the second law, it is highly improbable. But the reverse is not true; there are plenty of things that are vanishingly improbable, but for reasons that have nothing to do with the second law. For example, the second law strongly favors hydrogen fusion at standard temperature and pressure, but a jar of hydrogen gas unde those conditions is amazingly unlikely to fuse into helium.

    – In your conclusion, “If an increase in order is extremely improbable when a system is closed, it is still extremely improbable when the system is open, unless something is entering which makes it not extremely improbable”, it’s unclear if you’re talking about improbability-due-to-the-second-law, or improbability-for-some-other-reason (see above). If the former, the net entropy flux out of Earth is pretty clearly sufficient to allow evolution to happen (see my flux calculation here). If it’s improbability-for-some-other-reason, then what is that other reason and what does it have to do with thermodynamics?

    The second of your links, “Evolution is a Movie Running Backward”, is not any better. It uses the thermodynamic principle that things always run toward equilibrium to argue that evolution makes no sense in the forward direction. However, this thermodynamic principle only applies to isolated systems and open systems with equilibrium boundary conditions. Since the earth is in thermal contact with both the sun’s photosphere (at an absolute temperature of around 6,000 Kelvin) and deep space (near 3 Kelvin), it is clearly inapplicable to earth.

    The analogy to a river running backward is actually highly appropriate, since rivers effectively run both forward and backward: In the “forward” direction, fresh water runs downhill, and mixes with the salt water of the ocean. In the “backward” direction, the sun’s heat evaporates water from the ocean (purifying and desalinating it), atmospheric circulation (again driven by the sun) carries it to high altitude and over land, where it falls as rain, and refills the rivers from above. The “forward” direction may make more intuitive sense (everyone knows that water runs downhill, right?), but both directions are allowed thermodynamically and both actually happen.

  61. 61
    Petrushka says:

    So evaporation and rainfall are a river running backwards.

  62. 62
    Ultimately Real says:

    Petrushka, you failed to respond to my last questions so I am not hopeful you will have any meaningful comment here. My question was… forget amino acids self-assembling, forget proteins self assembling. Take an actual cell and puncture the membrane, spilling all the contents into a lab created cellular fluid. My question was, what does your gut instinct tell you about how long it will take to get the cell to self assemble back into a cell, not with random proteins, but with all the correct pieces to the puzzle present. My “common sense” says… “Humpty will never put itself back together again. Shock it, radiate it, fire some neutrino’s at it. Heck, throw in a few Higgs Boson particles and shake it around. It’s not going to become a cell again. Since all the high priests of materialism like Dawkins and Hawkins don’t have an answer, what makes you think you do? Admit it, the origin of life is a DEEP mystery that is going to take alot smarter people than are alive today to solve. I’m guessing it will never be solved, because so called scientists have lost their minds. To borrow from Star Wars… your sad devotion to that ancient religion (materialism) defies logic. I think they call that “suspension of dis-belief”. Your dna is crying out with the correct answer but your need to believe you control your own life is crushing that nawing instinct from inside your information code that tells you there is something more.

  63. 63
    Gordon Davisson says:

    Not exactly, but it has the same effect, just by a different path. If it were thermodynamically forbidden, there would be no path to that state.

    Maybe I should explain in a little more detail: Professor Sewell’s argument is that by looking at two states, you can tell which came first (i.e. which turned into the other). But here’s a counterexample: in state A, some water is desalinated (“fresh”) and at high altitude; in state B, the water is at low altitude (sea level) and mixed with the salty ocean. In a system with equilibrium boundary conditions, A can turn into B, but not the reverse (*). In a system with nonequilibrium boundary conditions (like earth) either one can turn into the other, so you can’t tell which came first.

    (* I need to add a caveat to the above: in a system with equilibrium boundary conditions, B could turn into A if there’s an internal nonequilibrium source — stored energy, or something like that. But in that case the non-eq source would run down, an if you take that into account, the principle still holds.)

  64. 64
    kairosfocus says:

    GD:

    Pardon, but I think something is seriously wrong with how you are thinking about thermodynamics matters.

    The relevant context for thinking related to the point that design thinkers and theorists raise, is not the classical, macro-level variables [P, T, V etc], but the micro-scale, microstates view, wherein many microstates are compatible with given sets of macro-observable state variables. For brief instance, the point of the 2nd law is that the direction of spontaneous change is dominated by where the bulk of microstates lies, i.e. towards increasing disorder. (Cf my nanobots in vats thought exercise here to see what this is getting at. Rivers running downhill, or water evaporating from surfaces is simply misdirected, as order is not what is to be explained, but functional, complex, specific organisation.)

    I have discussed the matter in more details here on and here on, in my always linked — as I have previously brought to your attention.

    Let me clip a bit from the first, highlighting on how the informational view of thermodynamics has over the past several years been winning respect in the wider community of thermodynamicists, and why (but notice that thinkers like Lewis, Brillouin, and Szilard — or even Jaynes and Robertson — are not to be exactly brushed away with a wave of the hand):

    Further to this, we may average the information per symbol in the communication system thusly (giving in termns of -H to make the additive relationships clearer):

    – H = p1 log p1 + p2 log p2 + . . . + pn log pn

    or, H = – SUM [pi log pi] . . . Eqn 5

    H, the average information per symbol transmitted [usually, measured as: bits/symbol], is often termed the Entropy; first, historically, because it resembles one of the expressions for entropy in statistical thermodynamics. As Connor notes: “it is often referred to as the entropy of the source.” [p.81, emphasis added.] Also, while this is a somewhat controversial view in Physics, as is briefly discussed in Appendix 1below, there is in fact an informational interpretation of thermodynamics that shows that informational and thermodynamic entropy can be linked conceptually as well as in mere mathematical form. Though somewhat controversial even in quite recent years, this is becoming more broadly accepted in physics and information theory, as Wikipedia now discusses [as at April 2011] in its article on Informational Entropy (aka Shannon Information, cf also here):

    At an everyday practical level the links between information entropy and thermodynamic entropy are not close. Physicists and chemists are apt to be more interested in changes in entropy as a system spontaneously evolves away from its initial conditions, in accordance with the second law of thermodynamics, rather than an unchanging probability distribution. And, as the numerical smallness of Boltzmann’s constant kB indicates, the changes in S / kB for even minute amounts of substances in chemical and physical processes represent amounts of entropy which are so large as to be right off the scale compared to anything seen in data compression or signal processing.

    But, at a multidisciplinary level, connections can be made between thermodynamic and informational entropy, although it took many years in the development of the theories of statistical mechanics and information theory to make the relationship fully apparent. In fact, in the view of Jaynes (1957), thermodynamics should be seen as an application of Shannon’s information theory: the thermodynamic entropy is interpreted as being an estimate of the amount of further Shannon information needed to define the detailed microscopic state of the system, that remains uncommunicated by a description solely in terms of the macroscopic variables of classical thermodynamics. For example, adding heat to a system increases its thermodynamic entropy because it increases the number of possible microscopic states that it could be in, thus making any complete state description longer. (See article: maximum entropy thermodynamics.[Also,another article remarks: >>in the words of G. N. Lewis writing about chemical entropy in 1930, “Gain in entropy always means loss of information, and nothing more” . . . in the discrete case using base two logarithms, the reduced Gibbs entropy is equal to the minimum number of yes/no questions that need to be answered in order to fully specify the microstate, given that we know the macrostate.>>]) Maxwell’s demon can (hypothetically) reduce the thermodynamic entropy of a system by using information about the states of individual molecules; but, as Landauer (from 1961) and co-workers have shown, to function the demon himself must increase thermodynamic entropy in the process, by at least the amount of Shannon information he proposes to first acquire and store; and so the total entropy does not decrease (which resolves the paradox).

    Summarising Harry Robertson’s Statistical Thermophysics (Prentice-Hall International, 1993) — excerpting desperately and adding emphases and explanatory comments, we can see, perhaps, that this should not be so surprising after all. (In effect, since we do not possess detailed knowledge of the states of the vary large number of microscopic particles of thermal systems [typically ~ 10^20 to 10^26; a mole of substance containing ~ 6.023*10^23 particles; i.e. the Avogadro Number], we can only view them in terms of those gross averages we term thermodynamic variables [pressure, temperature, etc], and so we cannot take advantage of knowledge of such individual particle states that would give us a richer harvest of work, etc.)

    For, as he astutely observes on pp. vii – viii:

    . . . the standard assertion that molecular chaos exists is nothing more than a poorly disguised admission of ignorance, or lack of detailed information about the dynamic state of a system . . . . If I am able to perceive order, I may be able to use it to extract work from the system, but if I am unaware of internal correlations, I cannot use them for macroscopic dynamical purposes. On this basis, I shall distinguish heat from work, and thermal energy from other forms

    This too, was brought to your attention recently, but appears to have been missed.

    Notice the bridge from informational concepts to thermodynamics ones.

    Simply opening up a formerly isolated system to raw inflows of energy does not explain adequately system movement to states or clusters of states that are functional based on highly specific, rare and atypical groups of configs in the space of possible configs. Indeed, injection of raw energy strongly tends to add further possible microstates in the bulk, i.e to break down functional configs; a common enough observation.

    The issue to be explained, then is first the spontaneous arising of a self-replicating, digitally coded metabolic entity, the cell. Then, the creation of many complex cell based organisms on major body plans that have to be feasible from embryogenesis forward.

    And until there is a credible and serious explanation backed up by repeatable actual experiments — computer sims will not do — the evolutionary materialist narrative will properly belong to the world of origins myth, not science. never mind the current ideological dominance of such myth-makers and myth propagators in institutions of science.

    Dr Sewell and Dr Dembski have a very serious point.

    GEM of TKI

  65. 65
    Doveton says:

    That is why the transplant is necessary. You don’t have any idea.

    As usual Joe, you missed the point here. A transplant is not necessary to recognize some object has superior quality and capability to another object. Humans do not need to have hawk eyes transplanted to us in order to assess that a hawk’s visual acuity, sensory transmission speed, and visual system longevity would be superior for activities like piloting an aircraft.

    Can they respond to a 95mph fastball?

    Absolutely. Falcons are capable of avoiding not only trees at such speeds, but other birds (which are also moving in perpendicular directions compared to the hawk’s orientation) at such speeds, so a fastball would be easy by comparison.

    But of course, that has to do with hawks’ muscle reflex speed and body control as well, which is irrelevant to this discussion, once again demonstrating you’ve missed the point.

    If you’re curious, have a peek:
    http://www.springerlink.com/co.....5436734m7/

    http://texasnature.blogspot.co.....er-on.html

    Take my response to your your irrelevant nonsense any way you want to.

    Nothing irrelevant about pointing out that other organisms have superior features and that such evidence is a problem for the concept of ID and not for evolutionary theory.

    Odd that you evaded my actual question…

    Your question doesn’t have anything to do with what we are discussing.

    Oh, indeed it does. You just don’t seem to understand what is actually being discussed apparently.

    Funny that those superior designs in nature were actually designed and that is why engineers recognize them as such- they recoginize the work of a superior designer.

    Begging the question…

    Not given tne evidence and a complete lack of an explanation from your side.

    Still beginning the question…

    But please feel free to explain how you know all biomimetric engineers only use natural object characteristics …

    Begging the question- how do you they are natural as opposed to artificial?

    Sorry Joe, but this does not help you. One does not have to presume the null-hypothesis until there is evidence against it. Thus far, the only question raised is on your side claiming there is evidence for design. Failing to provide evidence for this supposed design does not put the burden on others to disprove it any more than there is a burden to disprove the existence of invisible pink unicorns.

    But further, you made a specific claim as to the assumptions of biomimetric engineers concerning the design of objects in nature in the face of claimed statements (that Casey Luskin noted in the article you linked to) to the contrary. So I ask again – how do you know all biomimetric engineers only use natural object characteristics because they know the natural objects are designed?

    Well, that makes sense given that I had no intention of explaining the vision system when I set out to respond to Florabama.

    You can’t, so it isn’t that you had no intention…

    When you provide valid, scientific answers the questions poised to you, Joe, I’ll explain the visual system to you.

  66. 66
    Joe says:

    As usual Joe, you missed the point here. A transplant is not necessary to recognize some object has superior quality and capability to another object.

    As usual you don’t have a point. That some vision systems are better than ours does not mean they would work in a human.


    Can they respond to a 95mph fastball?

    Absolutely.

    Yet hawks cannot hit a fastball. You lose.

    Nothing irrelevant about pointing out that other organisms have superior features and that such evidence is a problem for the concept of ID and not for evolutionary theory.

    How is it a problem for ID? Also evolutionary theory still cannot explain vision systems! That should be a problem for it.


    Not given tne evidence and a complete lack of an explanation from your side.

    Still beginning the question…

    Nope, but all your position is is question begging. That must be your confusion.


    Begging the question- how do you they are natural as opposed to artificial?

    Sorry Joe, but this does not help you.

    So they don’t know.

    One does not have to presume the null-hypothesis until there is evidence against it.

    Actuall you need evidence FOR it and you don’t.

    Thus far, the only question raised is on your side claiming there is evidence for design.

    And it has been presented and obviously all you can do is chole on it.

    Heck your position can’t even muster a testable hypothesis.

    But further, you made a specific claim as to the assumptions of biomimetric engineers concerning the design of objects in nature in the face of claimed statements (that Casey Luskin noted in the article you linked to) to the contrary.

    They- those biometric engineers- don’t have any evidence for their claims.

    When you provide valid, scientific answers the questions poised to you, Joe, I’ll explain the visual system to you.

    You can’t so stop lying.

  67. 67
    Joe says:

    BTW nice of you to switch between cephalopod eyes and hawk eyes.

    Sure sign of a loser…

    Thank

  68. 68
    Petrushka says:

    Yet evolution does not expect a nested hierarchy as evidenced by the fact we do not observe one amongst prokaryotes.

    What would common descent even mean in populations where “species” exchange genes with other “species”?

    As a partial answer, you should read the Koonin book, in which he discusses the variation and descent of genes. Since the book was promoted here and was free, I’m sure most UD readers downloaded it and read it.

  69. 69
    Petrushka says:

    forget amino acids self-assembling, forget proteins self assembling. Take an actual cell and puncture the membrane, spilling all the contents into a lab created cellular fluid. My question was, what does your gut instinct tell you about how long it will take to get the cell to self assemble back into a cell, not with random proteins, but with all the correct pieces to the puzzle present.

    What does this have to do with anything? No one suggests that such a scenario ever happened. Even rocks will not reassemble, but no one suggests that the shape of a typical rock is the result of a specific intervention.

    As for responding, I check for new posts to the forum several times a day, but obviously miss some.

  70. 70
    kairosfocus says:

    F/N: I add, that from the statistical perspective, the second law obtains from dominance of the space of possibilities by clusters of states near what is called equilibrium. The direction of spontaneous change is strongly towards such clusters, e.g. consider the situation with tiny marbles in a cylinder here and how it strongly tends towards a Maxwell-Boltzmann distribution, and how we can also account for phenomena such as diffusion, viscosity, etc. But, it is strictly logically possible for the situation to go back to the initial condition, just the likelihood is so low that for systems of significant size — 10^20 to 10^26 or so molecules is typical — the likelihood of observing such on the gamut of a lab or the solar system or the observed cosmos is not appreciably different from zero. The second law does not artificially force an outcome, but is the summary of the strong tendency of systems where mass and energy at micro levels are relatively unconstrained, to move towards clusters of distributions that are statistically dominant.

  71. 71
    Doveton says:

    As usual you don’t have a point. That some vision systems are better than ours does not mean they would work in a human.

    Sorry Joe, you’re making a category mistake here – one does not need the actual system to necessarily get the features. If that were the case, we’d all still be stuck listening to only live music. The very fact that we humans can enhance our vision with things like glasses, night vision goggles, underwater masks, telescopes, and binoculars, to say nothing of such enhancements as LASIK demonstrates the error in your thinking.

    Can they respond to a 95mph fastball?

    Absolutely.

    Yet hawks cannot hit a fastball. You lose.

    Evade the goalposts much? That’s some red herring you’ve concocted. Hope it tastes good. LOL!

    Nothing irrelevant about pointing out that other organisms have superior features and that such evidence is a problem for the concept of ID and not for evolutionary theory.

    How is it a problem for ID?

    I, among others on this thread, already noted this. See 6.2 above as an example.

    Also evolutionary theory still cannot explain vision systems! That should be a problem for it.

    There are a number of perfectly valid evolutionary explanations for the vision system out there Joe. I’ve even offered to provide you one myself when you provide valid answers to the questions put before you.

    Begging the question- how do you they are natural as opposed to artificial?

    Sorry Joe, but this does not help you.

    So they don’t know.

    I’m not taking your red herring bait, Joe. Until you can come up with specific evidence, it doesn’t matter one way or the other.

    One does not have to presume the null-hypothesis until there is evidence against it.

    Actuall you need evidence FOR it and you don’t.

    I find it interesting that you are the only one on this blog who makes this claim. It’s also interesting to me that not a single leader in the ID movement agrees with you on this point. I wonder what evidence they see that you don’t…

    Thus far, the only question raised is on your side claiming there is evidence for design.

    And it has been presented and obviously all you can do is chole on it.

    Heck your position can’t even muster a testable hypothesis.

    Where exactly is the rigorous mathematical definition of CSI that Mathgrrl/Patrick and Elizabeth Liddle requested? That has yet to be posted after how many months of inquiries? For a concept such as design that you claim has valid evidence, it is notable that not only is there resistance by most of the commenters to even produce such a definition, but that few commenters here even agree on what that definition should be. Until you have agreement here on what ID is, there’s no way to really evaluate any evidence for it.

    As to mustering a testable hypothesis, see above.

    But further, you made a specific claim as to the assumptions of biomimetric engineers concerning the design of objects in nature in the face of claimed statements (that Casey Luskin noted in the article you linked to) to the contrary.

    They- those biometric engineers- don’t have any evidence for their claims.

    Which claims exactly are you referring to, Joe? Can you link to them please? The specific claims, btw, not the reference to them in Casey’s article.

    When you provide valid, scientific answers the questions poised to you, Joe, I’ll explain the visual system to you.

    You can’t so stop lying.

    Sorry Joe. Ball’s in your court. I can’t be a liar unless I fail to deliver on this deal. It’s not my problem if you reject the deal.

  72. 72
    Doveton says:

    BTW nice of you to switch between cephalopod eyes and hawk eyes.

    I’m sorry Joe, but what part of:

    particularly in light of the far superior eye “designs” out there in nature

    from 6.2 above limited me to referencing only cephalopod visual features in this discussion?

  73. 73
    Joe says:

    Doveton:

    We don’t have to be able to recognize design in nature to evaluate someone else’s claim of design.

    Right, we just have to have some knowledge of cause and effect relationships.

    As for evaluating the claimed design itself, that’s easy – we merely compare the item that is claimed to be designed against the human approach to designing something similar and against other objects of the same type in nature, taking into account that a “more advanced” designer would have fewer reasons to create shortcuts, use inferior materials, have resource limitations, etc – particular if said “designer” is supposed a god.

    I smell a strawman.

    Hence the reason that most biologists criticize the claim that the human eye (and any eye actually) is designed.

    That is because they don’t know anything about designing.

    Given the human engineering approach to such a item, the human eye is objectively a terrible design – particularly in light of the far superior eye “designs” out there in nature that would suit humans far better for the type of activities we engage in (the cuttlefish’s for instance).

    Strawman. Ya see doveton the human vision system has to be embedded in something that does not have it, namely the gametes of humans. Not one human engineer could pull that off.

    IOW all you are doing is providing may ways of how not to argue against ID.

  74. 74
    Joe says:

    Whatever. Descent with modification does not expect a nested hierarchy based on characteristics.

    And thanks to genetic recombination we wouldn’t expect one at the level of genes either.

  75. 75
    Joe says:

    doveton:

    Where exactly is the rigorous mathematical definition of CSI that Mathgrrl/Patrick and Elizabeth Liddle requested?

    It has been provided and they choked on it. Where exactly is your position’s rigorous anything?

  76. 76
    Ultimately Real says:

    “No one suggests that such a scenario ever happened”

    I think you just made my point.

  77. 77
    Joe says:

    doveton:

    There are a number of perfectly valid evolutionary explanations for the vision system out there Joe.

    What do you mean by “valid”? There isn’t one that is scientifically testable. Heck we don’t even know the genes responsible- all we know is-

    Andrea Bottaro said the following over at the panda’s thumb:

    Eyes are formed via long and complex developmental genetic networks/cascades, which we are only beginning to understand, and of which Pax6/eyeless (the gene in question, in mammals and Drosophila, respectively) merely constitutes one of the initial elements.

    IOW the only evidence for the evolution of the vision system is that we have observed varying degrees of complexity in living organisms, from simple light sensitive spots on unicellular organisms to the vision system of more complex metazoans, and we “know” that the first population(s) of living organisms didn’t have either. Therefore the vision system “evolved”.

    Isn’t evolutionary “science” great!

    I say the above because if Dr Bottaro is correct then we really have no idea whether or not the vision system could have evolved from a population or populations that did not have one.

  78. 78
    Ultimately Real says:

    That is precisely my modern take on the watchmaker, “the iPod maker”. There is innate logic and reasoning programmed into our dna that allows us to recognize design. No one would ever come across an iPod in the forest and just think that all those 0’s and 1’s just happened to align in a precise pattern that when passed through a DA converter and fed to transducer actually produce Beethoven’s 5th Symphony. Actually, forget the o’s and 1’s that code the symphony, how did the flash memory, DA converter and Transducer get there??!?!?!? Like I said above, it is the “suspension of disbelief” that allows people to live as if there is no Designer, because to accept the Designer, would require you to actually change the way you are living.

  79. 79
    Doveton says:

    We don’t have to be able to recognize design in nature to evaluate someone else’s claim of design.

    Right, we just have to have some knowledge of cause and effect relationships.

    I don’t see that as a requirement either. Care to explain why you think it is?

    As for evaluating the claimed design itself, that’s easy – we merely compare the item that is claimed to be designed against the human approach to designing something similar and against other objects of the same type in nature, taking into account that a “more advanced” designer would have fewer reasons to create shortcuts, use inferior materials, have resource limitations, etc – particular if said “designer” is supposed a god.

    I smell a strawman.

    Hence the reason that most biologists criticize the claim that the human eye (and any eye actually) is designed.

    That is because they don’t know anything about designing.

    Given the human engineering approach to such a item, the human eye is objectively a terrible design – particularly in light of the far superior eye “designs” out there in nature that would suit humans far better for the type of activities we engage in (the cuttlefish’s for instance).

    Strawman. Ya see doveton the human vision system has to be embedded in something that does not have it, namely the gametes of humans. Not one human engineer could pull that off.

    IOW all you are doing is providing may ways of how not to argue against ID.

    Your response above is incoherent. “the human vision system has to be embedded in something that does not have it, namely the gametes of humans” does not mean anything, aside from not even referencing anything I noted. Care to try again?

    As for your claim that scientists don’t know anything about design, that would be your opinion I guess as you provided no substantiation for the claim.

  80. 80
    Doveton says:

    Where exactly is the rigorous mathematical definition of CSI that Mathgrrl/Patrick and Elizabeth Liddle requested?

    It has been provided and they choked on it. Where exactly is your position’s rigorous anything?

    I notice you didn’t link to this supposedly provided rigorous definition. Funny how no one here seems to be able to do that. I’ll take your non-response as an admission it’s still not been provided.

    As to your inquiry about my position’s rigorous anything, our deal is still in effect. I will provide you with such explanations when/if you provide the valid answers to the questions posed to you. If you wish to break that deal, that’s up to you.

  81. 81
    Joe says:


    Right, we just have to have some knowledge of cause and effect relationships.

    I don’t see that as a requirement either. Care to explain why you think it is?

    That is how it is done in archaeology, forensic science and SETI- to name a few venues.

    Your response above is incoherent.

    That is because you are cluelss.

    “the human vision system has to be embedded in something that does not have it, namely the gametes of humans” does not mean anything, aside from not even referencing anything I noted.

    So you don’t understand how the vision systems come about?

    As for your claim that scientists don’t know anything about design,

    BIOLOGISTS- and only the BIOLOGISTS you were referring to. They sure as heck can’t provide anything to substantiate their claims of a poor design.

  82. 82
    Joe says:

    doveton:

    I notice you didn’t link to this supposedly provided rigorous definition.

    CSI- Complex Specified Information.

    Information- see Shannon, Claude

    (When Shannon developed his information theory he was not concerned about “specific effects”:

    The word information in this theory is used in a special mathematical sense that must not be confused with its ordinary usage. In particular, information must not be confused with meaning.- Warren Weaver, one of Shannon’s collaborators

    And that is what separates mere complexity (Shannon) from specified complexity.)

    Specified Information is Shannon Information with meaning/ function

    Complex Specified Information is 500 bits or more of specified information

    Complex specified information is a specified subset of Shannon information. That means that complex specified information is Shannon information of a specified nature, ie with meaning and/ or function, and with a specified complexity.

    Now choke on it.

  83. 83
    gpuccio says:

    Doveton:

    For your convenience, I paste here one of the many recent summries of my definition of dFSCI (digital functionally specified complex information) I have given recently here. Just to start the discussion:

    “Please go back to my (quick) definition of dFSCI in my post number 9 here. I quote myself:

    “No. The dFSCI of an object is a measure of its functional complexity, expressed as the probability to get that information in a purely random system.

    For instance. for a protein family, like in Durston’s paper, that probability is the probability of getting a functional sequence with that function through a random search or a random walk starting from an unrelated state (which is more or less the same).”

    Well, maybe that was too quick, so I will be more detailed.

    a) We have an object that can be read as a digital sequence of values.

    b) We want to evaluate the possible presence of dFSCI in that object.

    c) First of all we have to explicitly define a function for the digital information we can read in the object. I we cannot define a function, we cannot observe dFSCI in that object, It is a negative. Maybe a false negative. There are at different ways to be a false negative. The object could have a function but not be complex enough: it could still be designed, but we cannot say. Or we could not be able to understand the code or the function in the object.

    d) So, let’s say that we have defined a function explicitly. Then we measure the dFSCI for that function.

    e) To do that. we must measure the functional (target) space and the search space. Here various possiblities can be considered to approximate these measures. For proteins genes, the best way is to use the Durston method for protein families.

    f) The ratio of the target space to the search space if the complexity of our dFSCI for that object and that function. What does it express? As I said, it expresses one of two things, which are more or less equivalent:

    f1) The probability of obtaining that functional sequence from scrtach in a purely random system: IOWs, for a protein gene, the probability of obtaining any sequence that produces a protein with that function in a system that builds up sequences just adding randomly nucleotides.

    f2) The probability of obtaining that functional sequence through a random walk. That is more relevant to biology, because the usual theort for genes is that they are derived from other, existing sequences through variation. But the important point, that IO have explicitly stated in my previous post, is that it expresses “the probability of getting a functional sequence with that function through … a random walk starting from an unrelated state.

    Starting from an unrelated state. That’s the important point. Because that’s exactly what happens in biology.

    Basic protein domains are unrelated states. They are completely unrelated at the sequence level (you can easily verify that going to the SCOP site). Each basic protein domain (there are at least 2000) has less than 10% homology with any other. Indeed, the less than 10% homology rule bears about 6000 unrelated domains.

    Moreover, they also have different structure and folding, and different functions.

    So the question is: how does a new domain emerge? In the example I cited about the human de novo gene, it seems to come from non coding DMA. Many examples point to transposon activity. In no case a functional, related precursor is known. That’s why dFSCI is a good measure of the functional information we have to explain.”

    Any inquiries are welcome.

  84. 84
    Petrushka says:

    Just out of curiosity, is there any conceptual problem with functional sequences arising out of non-functional sequences.

    As I recall, I once asked you if you could identify a sequence that is just one base pair from being functional. Could you pick it out from a batch of purely random sequences?

    What is the dFSCI of a sequence that is just one base pair from being functional?

  85. 85
    Doveton says:

    There are a number of perfectly valid evolutionary explanations for the vision system out there Joe.

    What do you mean by “valid”? There isn’t one that is scientifically testable.

    This would your claim without any substantiation against the research performed and published out there in scientific journals and research papers.

    Heck we don’t even know the genes responsible- all we know is-

    Andrea Bottaro said the following over at the panda’s thumb:

    Eyes are formed via long and complex developmental genetic networks/cascades, which we are only beginning to understand, and of which Pax6/eyeless (the gene in question, in mammals and Drosophila, respectively) merely constitutes one of the initial elements.

    Moving the goalposts. Whether we know the specific development process of the specific genes of eye development in a given species (or multiple species) is not the same thing as having a valid explanation for the evolution of vision.

    Btw, you do know that a more fundamental understanding of those genes has been gained since Bottaro’s comment?

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK10024/

    That’s the thing about science – unlike ID, it isn’t static.

    IOW the only evidence for the evolution of the vision system is that we have observed varying degrees of complexity in living organisms, from simple light sensitive spots on unicellular organisms to the vision system of more complex metazoans, and we “know” that the first population(s) of living organisms didn’t have either. Therefore the vision system “evolved”.

    Isn’t evolutionary “science” great!

    That would be an inaccurate summary at best, but it did provide me a chuckle.

    I say the above because if Dr Bottaro is correct then we really have no idea whether or not the vision system could have evolved from a population or populations that did not have one.

    That would be incorrect. Aside from your generalization of what constitutes understanding the visual system, your conclusion rests on a false dichotomy. While certainly understanding specific gene development in specific species would be great, and more so understanding the specific evolutionary path between ancestral species, such does not prevent understanding the evolution of the visual system at a more general level. Indeed, it is because of such a general understanding and the ability to make predictions based on that understanding that the PAX6 genes as control mechanisms were investigated in the first place. See:

    http://www.accessexcellence.or.....e_gene.php

  86. 86
    Doveton says:

    Right, we just have to have some knowledge of cause and effect relationships.

    I don’t see that as a requirement either. Care to explain why you think it is?

    That is how it is done in archaeology, forensic science and SETI- to name a few venues.

    Not so much. Archaeology in part compares human artifacts of unknown origin to artifacts of known origin to provide an explanation about the unknown culture. In another part, archaeology studies artifacts from two known origins and determines the cultural differences.

    Forensic science certainly relies heavily upon the analysis of cause and effect since it’s main focus is providing an explanation for the cause of some crime being investigated. However, the here is being able to evaluate someone’s claim that something is designed. We don’t have to know what caused the design (as ID proponents are so fond of noting) in order to evaluate whether the claim of design has merit.

    SETI, otoh, is not looking to identify the cause of radio (or other electo-magnetic) transmissions. Rather, SETI is focused upon evaluating transmissions from a very narrow frequency range. Signals in that range are not known to occur naturally. Investigating any cause and effect in this case is impractical to say the least of a little value at this point.

    Bottom line, none of these demonstrate that cause and effect analysis, while certainly useful, is required to evaluate someone’s claim of design in nature.

    Your response above is incoherent.

    That is because you are cluelss.

    This response does not make your previous response any more coherent or valid.

    “the human vision system has to be embedded in something that does not have it, namely the gametes of humans” does not mean anything, aside from not even referencing anything I noted.

    So you don’t understand how the vision systems come about?

    Irrelevant to your response above and my note that it is incoherent.

    As for your claim that scientists don’t know anything about design,

    BIOLOGISTS- and only the BIOLOGISTS you were referring to. They sure as heck can’t provide anything to substantiate their claims of a poor design.

    My mistake in extending this to all scientists, however your claim regarding biologists not knowing anything about designing still remains your opinion without substantiation. Craig Venter, as an example, would likely have a different opinion.

  87. 87
    Joe says:

    Not so much. Archaeology in part compares human artifacts of unknown origin to artifacts of known origin to provide an explanation about the unknown culture.

    That is how we develop our knowledge of cause and effect relationships.

    Forensic science certainly relies heavily upon the analysis of cause and effect since it’s main focus is providing an explanation for the cause of some crime being investigated. However, the here is being able to evaluate someone’s claim that something is designed. We don’t have to know what caused the design (as ID proponents are so fond of noting) in order to evaluate whether the claim of design has merit.

    Exactly.

    SETI, otoh, is not looking to identify the cause of radio (or other electo-magnetic) transmissions.

    I didn’t say they were.

    Rather, SETI is focused upon evaluating transmissions from a very narrow frequency range. Signals in that range are not known to occur naturally.

    Yes, because of our knowledge of cause and effect- that is how we know what signals will not occur naturally.

    Thanks, 3 for 3 for me.

    As for my remark about DNA, again obviously you don’t understand how the vision system develops and you think someone can just design one and install it anywhere.

    My mistake in extending this to all scientists, however your claim regarding biologists not knowing anything about designing still remains your opinion without substantiation. Craig Venter, as an example, would likely have a different opinion.

    LoL! You can’t even follow along- is Venter one of the biologists that claim our vision system is a poor design?

  88. 88
    Joe says:

    1- Understanding development is not the same as undersatnding its evolution.

    2- In order to undersatnd its evolution you have to understand A) Its origin B) The origin of eukaryotes C) the origin of metazoans and cellular differentiation

    That said all you have are generalizations that cannot be tested.

  89. 89
    Doveton says:

    Complex specified information is a specified subset of Shannon information. That means that complex specified information is Shannon information of a specified nature, ie with meaning and/ or function, and with a specified complexity.

    Sorry, but both Mathgrrl and Lizzie noted this is not a rigorous mathematical definition and does not match Dembski’s definition of CSI. You’ll have to come up with something new.

  90. 90
    Joe says:

    Doveton- RE vision systems-

    The reason why the designer(s) did not give us the vision of hawks or cephalopods is because we have the ability to duplicate their vision. Humans do not need it but can haz it if they want.

  91. 91
    Joe says:

    BTW in a common design scenario I would expect to find similar HOX genes (ie control mechanisms) for similar structures. The funny part about control mechanisms is that your position can’t explain them but they make very good sense in light of design.

  92. 92
    Joe says:

    Just out of curiosity, is there any conceptual problem with functional sequences arising out of non-functional sequences.

    No. A well written GA should be able to do that

  93. 93
    Doveton says:

    1- Understanding development is not the same as undersatnding its evolution.

    That would be an evasion. I’ll take that as you agree that you have a false dichotomy.

    2- In order to undersatnd its evolution you have to understand A) Its origin B) The origin of eukaryotes C) the origin of metazoans and cellular differentiation

    Your opinion that such is required is erroneous. Your argument is no different than insisting that in order to understand the evolution of hurricanes, we must first understand the evolution of air molecules. While the latter might actually help explain some expects of hurricane evolution better, not knowing such does not preclude understanding the larger evolutionary processes at work.

    That said all you have are generalizations that cannot be tested.

    The work done in the area demonstrate otherwise.

  94. 94
    Joe says:

    Both MathGrrl and Lizzie are wrong.

    Ya see the complexity part was taken from Dembski, as was everything else.

    One clueless person supporting two other clueless people does not make you less clueless.

  95. 95
    Joe says:


    1- Understanding development is not the same as undersatnding its evolution.

    That would be an evasion.

    What am I evading? Be specific.

    And hurricanes do NOT evolve. But to understand hurricanes we sure as hell have to understand much more than wind.

    And what work are you talking about? What work demonstrates a vision system can arise in a population that never had one?

  96. 96
    DrREC says:

    “The reason why the designer(s) “….

    For a group that chastises “bad design” arguments and says we can’t infer the will of the designer, you seem to know a lot about the design plans when you want to.

    Threads 7 and 8 also.

  97. 97
    MrDunsapy says:

    If you go one step further, ‘evolution’ did not know, it was making a human, and that a human could make it own clothes, build binoculars, or make a car so he can get around faster.
    So we really should be all hairy, have better eye sight, and be faster and stronger. And there are no almost humans or ex-humans. The tiny steps that separate us, from animals.
    It almost looks like we were designed to be like we are!

    http://patternsofcreation.weebly.com

  98. 98
    gpuccio says:

    Petrushka:

    The answer to your point was in the following part of the post I have pasted here. To keep the complete flow of the reasoning, I will paste here again the whole post, including the comment (by Gordon Davisson) to which I answer:

    I discussed some general problems with this approach earlier, but let me take a closer look at this particular argument. I think it’s pretty clear that evolutionary processes can produce increases in dFSCI, at least if your measure of dFSCI is sufficiently well-behaved. Consider that there exist point mutations that render genes nonfunctional, which I assume that you’d consider a decrease in dFSCI. Point mutations are essentially reversible, meaning that if genome A can be turned into genome B by a single point mutation, B can also be turned into A by a single point mutation. Therefore, the existance of point mutations that decrease dFSCI automatically implies the existance of point mutations that increase dFSCI.

    Ah! Now we are coming to something really interesting. I must say that I have really appreciated your discussion, and this is probably the only point where you are explicitly wrong. No problem, I will try to show why.
    Please go back to my (quick) definition of dFSCI in my post number 9 here. I quote myself:
    “No. The dFSCI of an object is a measure of its functional complexity, expressed as the probability to get that information in a purely random system.
    For instance. for a protein family, like in Durston’s paper, that probability is the probability of getting a functional sequence with that function through a random search or a random walk starting from an unrelated state (which is more or less the same).”
    Well, maybe that was too quick, so I will be more detailed.
    a) We have an object that can be read as a digital sequence of values.
    b) We want to evaluate the possible presence of dFSCI in that object.
    c) First of all we have to explicitly define a function for the digital information we can read in the object. I we cannot define a function, we cannot observe dFSCI in that object, It is a negative. Maybe a false negative. There are at different ways to be a false negative. The object could have a function but not be complex enough: it could still be designed, but we cannot say. Or we could not be able to understand the code or the function in the object.
    d) So, let’s say that we have defined a function explicitly. Then we measure the dFSCI for that function.
    e) To do that. we must measure the functional (target) space and the search space. Here various possiblities can be considered to approximate these measures. For proteins genes, the best way is to use the Durston method for protein families.
    f) The ratio of the target space to the search space if the complexity of our dFSCI for that object and that function. What does it express? As I said, it expresses one of two things, which are more or less equivalent:
    f1) The probability of obtaining that functional sequence from scrtach in a purely random system: IOWs, for a protein gene, the probability of obtaining any sequence that produces a protein with that function in a system that builds up sequences just adding randomly nucleotides.
    f2) The probability of obtaining that functional sequence through a random walk. That is more relevant to biology, because the usual theort for genes is that they are derived from other, existing sequences through variation. But the important point, that IO have explicitly stated in my previous post, is that it expresses “the probability of getting a functional sequence with that function through … a random walk starting from an unrelated state.
    Starting from an unrelated state. That’s the important point. Because that’s exactly what happens in biology.
    Basic protein domains are unrelated states. They are completely unrelated at the sequence level (you can easily verify that going to the SCOP site). Each basic protein domain (there are at least 2000) has less than 10% homology with any other. Indeed, the less than 10% homology rule bears about 6000 unrelated domains.
    Moreover, they also have different structure and folding, and different functions.
    So the question is: how does a new domain emerge? In the example I cited about the human de novo gene, it seems to come from non coding DMA. Many examples point to transposon activity. In no case a functional, related precursor is known. That’s why dFSCI is a good measure of the functional information we have to explain.
    Let’s go to your argument. You say:
    “Consider that there exist point mutations that render genes nonfunctional, which I assume that you’d consider a decrease in dFSCI.”
    No. That’s wrong. We have two different objects. In A, I can define a function and neasure dFSCI. In B, I cannot define a function, and dFSCI cannot be measured. Anyway, I could measure the dFSCI implicit in a transition from B to A. That would indeed be of one aminoacid (about 4 bits).
    And so? If you have a system where you already have B, I will be glad to admit that the transition from B to A is of only 4 bits, and it is perfectly in the range of a random system. IOWs. the dFSCI of that specific transition is of only 4 bits.
    But you have to already have B in the system. B is not unrelated to A. Indeed, you obtained B from A, and that is the only way you can obtain exactly B.
    So, can you see why your reasoning is wrong? You are not using the concept of dFSCI correctly. dFSCI tells us that we cannot obtain that object in a purely random system. It is absolutely trivila that we can obtain that object in a random system starting from an almost identical object. Is that a counter argument to dFSCI and its meaning? Absolutely not.
    For instance, if you can show that a basic protein domain could have originated from an unrelated state thorugh an intermediate that is partially related and is naturally selectable(let’s say from A to A1 to B, where A and B are unrelated, A1 is an intermediate between A and B, and A1 is naturally selectable), , then we are no more interested in the total dFSCI of B. What we have to evaluate is the dFSCI of the transition from A to A1, and the dFSCI of the transition from A1 to B. The assumption is that A1 can be expanded, and its probabilistic resources multiplied. Therefore, if the two (or as many as you want) transitions have low dFSI, and are in the range of the biological systems that are supposed to generate them, then the whole system can work.”

  99. 99
    Joe says:

    DrREC,

    You obviously don’t have any clue as to what I say. Youyn would think that you would have learned by now but nope, you press on putting words into my mouth.

    Pathetic…

  100. 100
    Doveton says:

    Doveton- RE vision systems-

    The reason why the designer(s) did not give us the vision of hawks or cephalopods is because we have the ability to duplicate their vision. Humans do not need it but can haz it if they want.

    Doesn’t exactly explain why this/these “designer(s)” left the rest of the mammalian class with such comparatively weak structures. Did this/those “designer(s)” expect us to make up the difference for them too? If so, why not leave the entire animal kingdom with the same visual system and have their one tool make correct all of them?

    But I will give you credit here Joe – at least you tried to provide an explanation for a given phenomenon.

  101. 101
    Joe says:

    Doesn’t exactly explain why this/these “designer(s)” left the rest of the mammalian class with such comparatively weak structures.

    They seem to working just dandy though.

    But I do like your strawmen, they are getting funnier and more desperate sounding…

  102. 102
    Petrushka says:

    There are at different ways to be a false negative. The object could have a function but not be complex enough: it could still be designed, but we cannot say. Or we could not be able to understand the code or the function in the object.

    I’m told the code itself is completely arbitrary. That is to say there is an intermediate function that translates the symbols into some chemical result.

    So it would seem that unless you have the reader/translator function, you cannot tell a random sequence from a meaningful one.

    My question is, in real DNA, assuming the existing cell machinery, can you discriminate a sequence that is just one base pair from being functional from one generated by a random sequence generator?

    You don’t seem to be answering the question. I’m not sure what question you are addressing, but it isn’t mine.

    In practical terms, it would seem that a sequence that can become functional with one change has more of something than a purely random sequence. But can you spot the almost functional sequence without doing the chemistry?

  103. 103
    Gordon Davisson says:

    KF: I haven’t been ignoring your reply to me here, and I certainly don’t mean to blow you off, I just haven’t had time to reply properly (I have a reply about half written…). I also desperately owe gpuccio a reply in that discussion.

    GD:

    Pardon, but I think something is seriously wrong with how you are thinking about thermodynamics matters.

    The relevant context for thinking related to the point that design thinkers and theorists raise, is not the classical, macro-level variables [P, T, V etc], but the micro-scale, microstates view, wherein many microstates are compatible with given sets of macro-observable state variables.

    Actually, both classical thermodynamics (the macro-only view you describe) and statistical mechanics (which includes the micro view) give essentially the same results. There are subtle differences, but for the sorts of things I’m criticizing Professor Sewell’s work on they’re fully equivalent.

    For brief instance, the point of the 2nd law is that the direction of spontaneous change is dominated by where the bulk of microstates lies, i.e. towards increasing disorder.

    This is the increasing-entropy form of the second law, which only applies to isolated systems (and that’s true in both classical thermo and stat mech). Entropy decreases (changes not dominated by where the bulk of microstates lies) in open system are entirely common and unremarkable.

    (Cf my nanobots in vats thought exercise here to see what this is getting at. Rivers running downhill, or water evaporating from surfaces is simply misdirected, as order is not what is to be explained, but functional, complex, specific organisation.)

    I was discussing Sewell’s claims, which are about order & disorder, not functional organization. Your arguments, which do relate to functionality, complexity, and organization, are quite different than Sewell’s.

    To quickly address your argument, though, I believe that you are making two mistakes: the first is precisely that thermo and stat mech are about order and disorder (and energy), and have very little to say about functionality, complexity, and organization. Entropy is a function of how unconstrained the precise state (technically, the microstate) of a system is — it doesn’t matter if the constraints on it are functional, or the simple constraints of order (e.g. in a crystal). To borrow from Abel’s terminology, thermo and stat mech don’t distinguish between ordered complexity and functional complexity; and since the laws of thermodynamics certainly allow for the production of ordered complexity (e.g. crystals), I don’t see how they can forbid the production of functional complexity.

    Second, your argument that “…from the statistical perspective, the second law obtains from dominance of the space of possibilities by clusters of states near what is called equilibrium. The direction of spontaneous change is strongly towards such clusters…” is almost exactly what I refuted above in my discussion of the uphill phases of the hydrologic cycle. The second law requires that isolated systems and those with equilibrium boundary conditions will move toward equilibrium; it makes no such requirement for systems with nonequilibrium boundary conditions (like earth), and it is entirely normal for such system to move far away from equilibrium. The earth’s water is an example of this: sunlight drives it far from equilibrium, and keeps it there.

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