Humor Intelligent Design

The Theistic Geologist

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Three geologists stand at the foot of Mt. Rushmore. The first geologist says, “This mountain depicts perfectly the faces of four US presidents, it must be the work of a master sculptor.” The second says, “You are a geologist, you should know that all mountains were created by natural forces, such as volcanos and plate movements, the details were then sculpted by erosion from water and wind. How could you possibly think this was the work of an intelligent sculptor? Only a person completely ignorant of geophysics could think those faces were designed.”

The third geologist says to himself, “I don’t want to be seen as ignorant, but the faces in this mountain sure do look like they were designed.” So he thinks a moment and says to the second geologist, “Of course you are right, these faces were sculpted by natural forces such as erosion. Only an ignorant person would think they were designed.” Then he turns to the first and says, “But what a magnificent result, there obviously must have been a master sculptor standing by and watching.”

33 Replies to “The Theistic Geologist

  1. 1
    Joe says:

    Yeah, but what if those geologists didn’t know anything about US history nor sculptures? And what about 3 geologists from another planet who had never seen humans? And what if their planet didn’t have sculptures?

    😎

  2. 2
    Collin says:

    The difference between this and design in nature is that we don’t know what nature corresponds with. A better analogy would be that aliens, not knowing what humans look like, saw Mt. Rushmore and tried to decide if it were designed.

  3. 3
    Arthur Hunt says:

    I wonder who the designer had in mind when she made this sculpture, and what message she was sending when she caused it to come crashing down.

  4. 4
    kairosfocus says:

    C: We don’t know what normally creates complex algorithmic code? Or sets up systems to fine tuned operating points that are functional in ways that suggest a likely target? KF

  5. 5
    JGuy says:

    @Joe

    I’m going to guess that misses the point of recognizing complex specified patterns.

    For example:
    “adnkjn osidfjo asds vgh asdadwe ca asdaas hjyte33s aasevh”

    That sequence could either be entirely random type or it could be meaningful type when decoded from some language or information encoding system. Perhaps, it is an alien language we don’t recognize.

    But. If you could find ANY existing language system that is not patterned itself because of that sequence, and where that pattern also carried recognizable information (means something) then it is practically a certainty that it was designed.

    In the above example, it just so happens that the first geologist and third clearly know about the existence of that system. The second does too, but he’s innumerate. B)

  6. 6
    Robert Byers says:

    Thats well said.
    Creation does show a creator.
    The bible says creation is the origin of a creator.
    Its unreasonable to see happanchance as creating glorious complexity.

  7. 7
    Granville Sewell says:

    Joe, Collin,

    If you don’t think the president’s faces are good examples of obvious design, change the faces to something you think more obviously exhibits design; that is not really relevant to the main point of the story, which is the third geologist.

  8. 8
    bornagain77 says:

    Dr. Sewell, given your past run in with the Darwinian Gestapo,,,

    How the Scientific Consensus is Maintained – Granville Sewell (Professor of Mathematics University of Texas – El Paso) – video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZFMXR6PqGtg

    I think you may appreciate Plantinga’s take on how Darwinism is actually formulated philosophically:

    Darwinism Not Proved Impossible Therefore Its True – Alvin Plantinga – video
    http://www.metacafe.com/w/10285716

    Supplemental notes:

    “The probability for the chance of formation of the smallest, simplest form of living organism known is 1 in 10^340,000,000. This number is 10 to the 340 millionth power! The size of this figure is truly staggering since there is only supposed to be approximately 10^80 (10 to the 80th power) electrons in the whole universe!”
    (Professor Harold Morowitz, Energy Flow In Biology pg. 99, Biophysicist of George Mason University)

    Dr. Morowitz did another probability calculation working from the thermodynamic perspective with a already existing cell and came up with this number:

    DID LIFE START BY CHANCE?
    Excerpt: Molecular biophysicist, Horold Morowitz (Yale University), calculated the odds of life beginning under natural conditions (spontaneous generation). He calculated, if one were to take the simplest living cell and break every chemical bond within it, the odds that the cell would reassemble under ideal natural conditions (the best possible chemical environment) would be one chance in 10^100,000,000,000. You will have probably have trouble imagining a number so large, so Hugh Ross provides us with the following example. If all the matter in the Universe was converted into building blocks of life, and if assembly of these building blocks were attempted once a microsecond for the entire age of the universe. Then instead of the odds being 1 in 10^100,000,000,000, they would be 1 in 10^99,999,999,916 (also of note: 1 with 100 billion zeros following would fill approx. 20,000 encyclopedias)
    http://members.tripod.com/~Black_J/chance.html

    “The statistical probability that organic structures and the most precisely harmonized reactions that typify living organisms would be generated by accident, is zero.”
    Ilya Prigogine, Gregoire Nicolis, and Agnes Babloyantz, Physics Today 25, pp. 23-28

    “The formation within geological time of a human body by the laws of physics (or any other laws of similar nature), starting from a random distribution of elementary particles and the field, is as unlikely as the separation by chance of the atmosphere into its components.”
    Kurt Gödel, was a preeminent mathematician/logician who is considered one of the greatest to have ever lived. Of Note: Godel was a Christian Theist!

    In Barrow and Tippler’s book The Anthropic Cosmological Principle, they list ten steps necessary in the course of human evolution, each of which, is so improbable that if left to happen by chance alone, the sun would have ceased to be a main sequence star and would have incinerated the earth. They estimate that the odds of the evolution (by chance) of the human genome is somewhere between 4 to the negative 180th power, to the 110,000th power, and 4 to the negative 360th power, to the 110,000th power. Therefore, if evolution did occur, it literally would have been a miracle and evidence for the existence of God.
    William Lane Craig

    William Lane Craig – If Human Evolution Did Occur It Was A Miracle – video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GUxm8dXLRpA

  9. 9
    Barry Arrington says:

    Arthur Hunt @ 7: What is you point?

    It is almost as if you are suggesting that since natural forces could carve Old Man on the Mountain, a design inference is unwarranted at Rushmore and therefore Dr. Sewell’s thesis is disproved. Of course such a suggestion would be idiotic, and I assume you are not an idiot. So, pray, tell us what you point is, because I confess I am unable to smoke it.

  10. 10
    bornagain77 says:

    corrected link:

    How the Scientific Consensus is Maintained – Granville Sewell (Professor of Mathematics University of Texas – El Paso) – video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vRLSwVRdNes

  11. 11

    Dr. Sewell:

    Great analogy. We can always quibble about analogies, because they are at some level only approximations of what they analogizing too. However, I think this one really hits home and is great to get people thinking. I’ll probably shamelessly borrow this from you in the future.

  12. 12

    Arthur Hunt:

    Did anyone actually think the Old Man of the Mountain was purposely sculpted by someone? Seems like even the earliest explorers recognized it as the result of natural processes.

    Why didn’t they think it was purposely sculpted?

    Answer that question, and you’ll have a better idea about what the design inference is about.

  13. 13
    Arthur Hunt says:

    The Old Man:Mt. Rushmore::life:machines

  14. 14
    Alan Fox says:

    Unlike Profesor Hunt, Barry and Eric think design detection is well established. How about having a go at this list then. It’s been published for quite a while now.

  15. 15
    kairosfocus says:

    EA; I don’t know it you may find this discussion helpful also? KF

    PS: AH, I think you will find that Old Man of the Mountain, Mt Rushmore, Stonehenge, the Giant’s Causeway and the Voynich manuscript have all been long since discussed there in the just linked. Later, here on, the concept of the nodes and arcs structure reducible to a structured sequence of strings [similar to how AutoCAD works], is used to bring out the way in which functionally specific complex organisation implies information and to suggest how specificity can be assessed, which discriminates between a barely recognisable generic face like Old Man and a distinct specific portrait like Mt Rushmore. As in, this is not exactly news or inaccessible. I am again thinking the materials here may help us understand why complex information processing systems are so strongly indicative of design. Such systems are deeply embedded in the cell, as the Vuk Nikolic video shows. I need to ask you why you and ilk are so often found repeating long since adequately answered objections as though the all too predictable fallacies already long since properly corrected have vanished this time around?

  16. 16
    kairosfocus says:

    AF:

    I note on points re your list of eight challenges.

    This gets tiresomely repetitive, in a pattern of refusal to be answerable to adequate evidence, on the part of too many objectors to design theory:

    >>1 Publish a mathematically rigorous definition of CSI>>

    It has long since been shown, objections and censorship games notwithstanding, that reasonable quantitative metrics for FSCO/I and so for CSI, can be built and have been built. Indeed Durston et al have used such to provide a published list of values for 15 protein families.

    >> 2 Provide real evidence for CSI claims >>

    Blatant, all around you. But, a man convinced against his will is of the same opinion still.

    Just to pick an example, a phone number is obviously functionally specific (ever had a wrong number call?) and — within a reasonable context [though not beyond the 500 bit threshold] complex.

    >> 3 Apply CSI to identify human agency where it is currently not known >>

    FSCO/I is routinely intuitively used to identify artifacts of unknown cause, as IIRC, WmAD has pointed out regarding a room in the Smithsonian full of artirficts of unknown purpose but identified to be credibly human.

    >> 4 Distinguish between chance and design in archaeoastronomy >>

    The pattern of Nazca lines or the like, fit within the nodes-arcs pattern and collectively exhibit FSCO/I similar to other complex drawings. The 500 bit threshold is easily passed. If you want to contrast odds of a marker wandering randomly in a random walk, the difference will be trivial.

    In short this is a refusal to use simple common sense and good will.

    >> 5 Apply CSI to archaeology >>

    Just shown, this is a case or repeating much the same objection in much the same context as though drumbeat repetition is capable of establishing a claim by erasing the underlying fallacies. Being wrong over and over and over again, even in the usual anti-design echo chambers, does not convert long since corrected fallacy into cogent reasoning.

    >> 6 Provide a more detailed account of CSI in biology
    Produce a workbook of examples using the explanatory filter, applied to a progressive series of biological phenomena, including allelic substitution of a point mutation. >>

    There are book-length cogent treatments of CSI as applied to biology [try Meyer’s SITC for starts], and that is not enough for the objectors, there will never be enough details.

    Similarly, the objection starts within an island of existing function and demands a CSI based explanation of a phenomenon known to be well within teh threshold of complexity. This is a strawman tactic.

    >> 7 Use CSI to classify the complexity of animal communication As mentioned in Elsberry and Shallit (2003: 9), many birds exhibit complex songs. >>

    What?

    Is there any doubt that bird or whale songs or bee dances for that matter are long enough and complex enough to be FSCI? That they function in communication? That we did not directly observe the origin of the capacities for such but have reason to see that they are grounded in CSI in the genome and related regulatory information expressed in embryological development that wires the relevant nerve pathways?

    So, are you demanding a direct observation of the origin of such, which we do not have access to and cannot reasonably expect, when we do have access to the fact that we have indications of FSCO/I and so raise the question as to what FSCO/I is a known reliable, strongly tested sign of as best causal explanation?

    >> 8 Animal cognition
    Apply CSI to resolve issues in animal cognition and language use by non-human animals. >>

    Capacity for language, of course, is biologically rooted, genetically stamped and embryologicaly expressed. So it fits into the same set of issues addressed under 7 just now.

    Repetitive use of fallacies does not suddenly convert them into sound arguments.

    Nor, can one reasonably dmand solutions to any number of known unresolved scientific problems as a condition of accepting something that is already well enough warranted on reasonable appliation of inductive principles. That is, it is well established on billions of test cases without significant exception, that FSCO/I is a reliable sign of design as cause.
    ____________

    To suddenly demand that design thinkers must solve any number of unsolved scientific questions or the evidence already in hand will be rejected, is a sign of selective hyeprskepticism and a red herring tactic led away to a strawman misrepresentation, not a case of serious and cogent reasoning.

    KF

  17. 17
    bornagain77 says:

    Mr. Fox, it seems the gist of your eight ‘questions’ from ten years ago is that you doubt whether or not information, as a distinct entity, is even in the cell? In fact I remember many arguments with neo-Darwinists on UD, not so many years back, who denied information, as a distinct entity, was even in the cell. Is this still your position? If so, may I enlighten you to this recent development???,,,

    Harvard cracks DNA storage, crams 700 terabytes of data into a single gram – Sebastian Anthony – August 17, 2012
    Excerpt: A bioengineer and geneticist at Harvard’s Wyss Institute have successfully stored 5.5 petabits of data — around 700 terabytes — in a single gram of DNA, smashing the previous DNA data density record by a thousand times.,,, Just think about it for a moment: One gram of DNA can store 700 terabytes of data. That’s 14,000 50-gigabyte Blu-ray discs… in a droplet of DNA that would fit on the tip of your pinky. To store the same kind of data on hard drives — the densest storage medium in use today — you’d need 233 3TB drives, weighing a total of 151 kilos. In Church and Kosuri’s case, they have successfully stored around 700 kilobytes of data in DNA — Church’s latest book, in fact — and proceeded to make 70 billion copies (which they claim, jokingly, makes it the best-selling book of all time!) totaling 44 petabytes of data stored.
    http://www.extremetech.com/ext.....ingle-gram

    That DNA stores information is pretty much the mainstream position now Mr. Fox,,,

    Venter: Life Is Robotic Software – July 15, 2012
    Excerpt: “All living cells that we know of on this planet are ‘DNA software’-driven biological machines comprised of hundreds of thousands of protein robots, coded for by the DNA, that carry out precise functions,” said (Craig) Venter.
    http://crev.info/2012/07/life-is-robotic-software/

    That information is a distinct entity in the cell is pretty uncontroversial Mr. Fox, so why the list of eight questions? The only question that really matters is can purely material processes generate these extreme levels of functional information? Perhaps you would like to be the first Darwinist on UD to produce evidence that material processes can produce enough functional information for say the self assembly of a novel molecular machine?

  18. 18
    bornagain77 says:

    Mr. Fox, as to the fact that a cell contains functional information, I would like to, since Dr. Sewell approaches this from the thermodynamic perspective, point out something that gets missed in the definition of functional information in the specific sequences of DNA, RNAs, and proteins. There is a deep connection between entropy and information,,

    “Is there a real connection between entropy in physics and the entropy of information? ….The equations of information theory and the second law are the same, suggesting that the idea of entropy is something fundamental…”
    Siegfried, Dallas Morning News, 5/14/90, [Quotes Robert W. Lucky, Ex. Director of Research, AT&T, Bell Laboratories & John A. Wheeler, of Princeton & Univ. of TX, Austin]

    “Bertalanffy (1968) called the relation between irreversible thermodynamics and information theory one of the most fundamental unsolved problems in biology.”
    Charles J. Smith – Biosystems, Vol.1, p259.

    Demonic device converts information to energy – 2010
    Excerpt: “This is a beautiful experimental demonstration that information has a thermodynamic content,” says Christopher Jarzynski, a statistical chemist at the University of Maryland in College Park. In 1997, Jarzynski formulated an equation to define the amount of energy that could theoretically be converted from a unit of information2; the work by Sano and his team has now confirmed this equation. “This tells us something new about how the laws of thermodynamics work on the microscopic scale,” says Jarzynski.
    http://www.scientificamerican......rts-inform

    And what is particularly interesting about this deep connection between information and entropy is that,,,

    “Gain in entropy always means loss of information, and nothing more.”
    Gilbert Newton Lewis – preeminent Chemist of the first half of last century

    And yet despite the fact that entropic processes tend to degrade information, it is found that the thermodynamic disequilibrium of a ‘simple’ bacteria and the environment is,,,

    “a one-celled bacterium, e. coli, is estimated to contain the equivalent of 100 million pages of Encyclopedia Britannica. Expressed in information in science jargon, this would be the same as 10^12 bits of information. In comparison, the total writings from classical Greek Civilization is only 10^9 bits, and the largest libraries in the world – The British Museum, Oxford Bodleian Library, New York Public Library, Harvard Widenier Library, and the Moscow Lenin Library – have about 10 million volumes or 10^12 bits.” – R. C. Wysong
    http://books.google.com/books?.....;lpg=PA112

    Moleular Biophysics – Information theory. Relation between information and entropy: – Setlow-Pollard, Ed. Addison Wesley
    Excerpt: Linschitz gave the figure 9.3 x 10^12 cal/deg or 9.3 x 10^12 x 4.2 joules/deg for the entropy of a bacterial cell. Using the relation H = S/(k In 2), we find that the information content is 4 x 10^12 bits. Morowitz’ deduction from the work of Bayne-Jones and Rhees gives the lower value of 5.6 x 10^11 bits, which is still in the neighborhood of 10^12 bits. Thus two quite different approaches give rather concordant figures.
    http://www.astroscu.unam.mx/~a.....ecular.htm

    Moreover we now have good empirics to believe that information itself is what is constraining the cell to be so far out of thermodynamic equilibrium:

    Information and entropy – top-down or bottom-up development in living systems? A.C. McINTOSH
    Excerpt: It is proposed in conclusion that it is the non-material information (transcendent to the matter and energy) that is actually itself constraining the local thermodynamics to be in ordered disequilibrium and with specified raised free energy levels necessary for the molecular and cellular machinery to operate.
    http://journals.witpress.com/paperinfo.asp?pid=420

    Does DNA Have Telepathic Properties?-A Galaxy Insight – 2009
    Excerpt: DNA has been found to have a bizarre ability to put itself together, even at a distance, when according to known science it shouldn’t be able to.,,, The recognition of similar sequences in DNA’s chemical subunits, occurs in a way unrecognized by science. There is no known reason why the DNA is able to combine the way it does, and from a current theoretical standpoint this feat should be chemically impossible.
    http://www.dailygalaxy.com/my_.....ave-t.html

    In fact, Encoded ‘classical’ information such as what Dembski and Marks demonstrated the conservation of, and such as what we find encoded in computer programs, and yes, as we find encoded in DNA, is found to be a subset of ‘transcendent’ (beyond space and time) quantum information/entanglement by the following method:,,,

    Quantum knowledge cools computers: New understanding of entropy – June 2011
    Excerpt: No heat, even a cooling effect;
    In the case of perfect classical knowledge of a computer memory (zero entropy), deletion of the data requires in theory no energy at all. The researchers prove that “more than complete knowledge” from quantum entanglement with the memory (negative entropy) leads to deletion of the data being accompanied by removal of heat from the computer and its release as usable energy. This is the physical meaning of negative entropy. Renner emphasizes, however, “This doesn’t mean that we can develop a perpetual motion machine.” The data can only be deleted once, so there is no possibility to continue to generate energy. The process also destroys the entanglement, and it would take an input of energy to reset the system to its starting state. The equations are consistent with what’s known as the second law of thermodynamics: the idea that the entropy of the universe can never decrease. Vedral says “We’re working on the edge of the second law. If you go any further, you will break it.”
    http://www.sciencedaily.com/re.....134300.htm

    And yet, despite all this, we have ZERO evidence that material processes can generate even trivial amounts classical information much less generate massive amounts transcendent ‘non-local’ quantum information/entanglement,,,

    Stephen Meyer – The Scientific Basis Of Intelligent Design
    https://vimeo.com/32148403

    Stephen Meyer – “The central argument of my book is that intelligent design—the activity of a conscious and rational deliberative agent—best explains the origin of the information necessary to produce the first living cell. I argue this because of two things that we know from our uniform and repeated experience, which following Charles Darwin I take to be the basis of all scientific reasoning about the past. First, intelligent agents have demonstrated the capacity to produce large amounts of functionally specified information (especially in a digital form). Second, no undirected chemical process has demonstrated this power. Hence, intelligent design provides the best—most causally adequate—explanation for the origin of the information necessary to produce the first life from simpler non-living chemicals. In other words, intelligent design is the only explanation that cites a cause known to have the capacity to produce the key effect in question.”

    Verse and Music:

    John 1:1-4
    In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind.

    The Afters – Every Good Thing – Lyric Video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FY2ycrpbOlw

  19. 19
    Gregory says:

    “Can you tell me who sculpted it, or when, or how?”

    Who: Borglums and workers.

    When: 1927-1941.

    How: Look here for clues and links.

    And if you’re curious:
    Where: S. Dakota, U.S.A.

    Why: National Memorial, tourism, etc.

    Those must be pretty unintelligent, introverted hypothetical ‘geologists’ in the electronic-information age to have such a debate about ’cause-effect’ re: Mt. Rushmore instead of just checking historical art-e-facts (which one can’t do re: origins of life)!

    The real kicker here is that Dr. Sewell also seems to think that Mt. Rushmore ‘evolved,’ by which he (and Dembski, Meyer, Wells, et al.) simply mean ‘changed-over-time.’ IDists at DI accept the 3rd definition of ‘evolution’ as ‘change-over-time.’ So, of course, according to Sewell, Mt. Rushmore ‘evolved’ too.

    Mt. Rushmore ‘evolved/changed-over-time’ with purpose, direction, plan, goal, etc. But it was humans, not supernatural or superhuman forces with chisels and hammers in their hands, right? Hmm…does that sound like ‘theistic evolution’ for a ‘theistic geologist’ to explore?!

    One could call Sewell’s postition as something-like supporting ‘theistic intelligent design evolution of artefacts,’ but the ‘theistic’ enters not from any ‘scientific’ logic. Rather, Sewell is a theist and so is his ‘theistic geologist’ (awkward name) type-cast, so therefore his ‘change-over-time’ must be explained theistically.

    Axiomatically, in scientific language it makes sense to say: human-made things (like Mt. Rushmore) are (usually, but not always) ‘designed’ (and we don’t often ask geologists for their educated opinions about such things, one way or another; we ask others) and non-human-made things are ‘not designed.’ Only univocal predication anthropo-theology (even if called by another name) and universal designist ideology (i.e. there’s nothing that’s not ‘designed,’ whether we can scientifically prove/infer it or not) allow IDists to suggest otherwise.

    If Sewell wants to redefine ‘[natural] science’ to include and address [trans-natural] ‘Intelligence,’ without possible reference to Who, When, Where and How, he should start by giving examples with more ‘intelligent’ scientists.

  20. 20
    Granville Sewell says:

    The ONLY point I was trying to make with this post was the silliness of the theistic evolution point of view: “God had nothing to do with evolution, and yet He had everything to do with it.” Obviously I didn’t make my point very clearly, as no one but Erik seems to have noticed what the point was.

    And Gregory doesn’t seem to have noticed the post was filed under “humor”.

  21. 21
    Andre says:

    Gregory

    I have to ask you this;
    Do you consider intelligence a human property only? Can other non-humans (natural or not supernatural) not exhibit intelligence? Does design only come from humans? Why do you think design principles are only human and not universal? Let us look at some examples;

    1.)Rotary motor designed in the early 20th century, found in living systems in the late twentieth century
    2.)FORTRAN, the first ever computer code written in 1954, DNA has been around for how long?

    Design principles are universal they are not human “traits” they are intelligence “traits”

    Lastly to close off, Non-intelligence could never give rise to intelligence because that would mean an effect has become greater than its cause and that is not how it works in science.

    But please explain why you think design is a human only ability?

  22. 22
    kairosfocus says:

    F/N: Cf here on beavers as designers. There is no good reason to infer that humans exhaust the set of possible designers, and — as the very existence of SETI as a serious, funded scientific project shows — this is therefore a talking point for rhetorical effect, not a serious issue. It is (as with the list of NCSE talking points answered above) diversionary from the real issue, that there are inductively strong, credible, observable, reliable signs of design such as FSCO/I. And if you reject the reality of FSCO/I for rhetorical effect, that too is not serious and is a diversion. Everybody knows that mechanical necessity does not produce high contingency, maybe an oscillation like SKSKSKSK . . . , and everyone knows that blind chance is overwhelmingly likely to produce gibberish:jgijgq9fihj . . . so that when one sees functionally specific text in English like this and other posts in this thread, one naturally and properly infers to the only known capable source, intelligence. And this can be quantified on config spaces and how by its very nature of specific constraint multiplied by complexity FSCO/I will be found in islands of function isolated in the space of unconstrained possibilities. All of this has been pointed out and adequately warranted, over and over, but is dismissed because it does not fit comfortably with an ideology that demands commitment to a priori materialism as the only “acceptable” explanation of origins, or at least a view not effectively different from that. The problem with that is, it is a blatant case of question-begging that seeks to take science ideological captive to atheism, chucking overboard the basic commitment that brought science its credibility in our civilisation: a reputation for fearless seeking of the discoverable truth about or world based on empirical evidence. KF

  23. 23
    Joe says:

    Granville-

    In case you hadn’t realized it, I was joking. I was just trying to think what anti-IDists would say to your post.

    And the funny part is I was going to post what Art Hunt posted-

    Note to Art- New Hampshire’s “Old Man” didn’t look designed. And it only looked like an old man from certain angles.

  24. 24
    kairosfocus says:

    Dr Sewell: Unfortunately, the issues are so hot button that the humour got lost in the rush to design-objecting rhetoric, by my estimate by comment no 3. KF

  25. 25
    Joe says:

    Earth to Alan Fox,

    Neither you, Shallit, Elsberry nor the NCSE need concern yourselves with CSI. That is because all of you can render CSI moot just by stepping up and demonstrating that blind and undirected processes can account for what we call CSI.

    It is that simple- demonstrate blind and undirected processes can produce CSI and our argument wrt CSI, falls.

    However seeing that you all are nothing but cowards, you won’t do that because that means actually having to make a positive case. And everyone in the world knows that you cannot do such a thing.

    The point being is that your misguided attacks on ID are NOT going to provide positiove evidence for your position. And only positive evidence for blind and undirected processes producing CSI is going to refute our arguments.

  26. 26
    kairosfocus says:

    BA77: The connexion between entropy and information is indeed important. I like the expression of it that runs like: the entropy of a body is the average missing info to specify the exact microstate of its constituent particles, that exists if what one knows about the system is the thermodynamic macrostate defined by its macro-level thermodynamic properties. This of course implies the degree of freedom or lack of constraint on the particles, and links to the situation where a rise in entropy is often linked to a rise in disorder, a degradation of availability of energy. KF

  27. 27
    nightlight says:

    Collin #2: The difference between this and design in nature is that we don’t know what nature corresponds with.

    The pattern encoded in DNA corresponds (or fits in) tightly via the myriad of phenotypic traits it produces with as numerous environmental conditions where the organism will live once it unfolds (gets decoded) from that DNA.

    A better analogy would be that aliens, not knowing what humans look like, saw Mt. Rushmore and tried to decide if it were designed.

    They could detect it easily no matter how they look, provided they know some science such as physics, chemistry, rock formations mechanisms,… etc. This is no different than you or me being able to detect such artifacts on an alien planet where we have no clue how they may look like.

  28. 28

    kf @15:

    Good stuff.

  29. 29
    StephenB says:

    Granville Sewell

    The ONLY point I was trying to make with this post was the silliness of the theistic evolution point of view: “God had nothing to do with evolution, and yet He had everything to do with it.” Obviously I didn’t make my point very clearly, as no one but Erik seems to have noticed what the point was.

    GS, I read your post for the first time today, and I picked up on the punch line immediately. You make a very good point in just a few words: In the wacky world of Christian Darwinism: the “master sculptor” is just “standing by and watching,” which means that isn’t really sculpting at all — except that he is.

    You scenario, however, transcends the category of humor. Christian Darwinists are very serious about their mythical God who designs an undesigned process. If we dare to question their logic or sincerity, they will immediately inform us about how “devout” they are. That claim is supposed to settle the matter in their favor.

  30. 30
    Gregory says:

    If that was an attempt at humour, Granville, I’d rather listen to ‘knock-knock’ jokes I heard in childhood dozens of times.

    Your ID theory answers not a Who, When, Where, How or Why question, and yet you seem to think it has explanatory power! That’s funny = )Implicationistic para-consistent logic.

    “God had nothing to do with evolution, and yet He had everything to do with it.” – Sewall defines TE

    That is one of the funniest and most misinformed definitions of ‘theistic evolution’ I’ve heard for some time, especially coming from a ‘technological evolutionist’ like Granville Sewell! Is it intentional distortion? (And note please, Dr. Sewell, I am *not* a ‘theistic evolutionist.’)

    The silliness of this post is surely not a blight on ‘theistic evolution,’ but rather on ‘Intelligent Design,’ with the term ‘designed’ included three times in the ‘joke’ and no meaningful distinction made between human beings ‘sculpting’ and a ‘master sculptor,’ i.e. as Sewell has his personal worldview secretly referring to the Abrahamic-Intelligent Designer God. Or it is seen in the ‘universal design principles’ as Andre ideologically exaggerates a similar univocally predicated anthropo-theological fantasy.

    It is not really that funny watching the IDM try to hide and disguise the hyper-design *language* it thus far uses, as if everyone else doesn’t see right through it. ‘master sculptor’ = has *nothing* to do with theology or worldview, but just with ‘natural science’? Yeah, right! 😉

    Thanks for stoking the laughs, Dr. Sewell!

  31. 31
    CS3 says:

    The third geologist is, I think, an accurate caricature of what it really means to be a theistic evolutionist. And certainly there are people who seem to hold an illogical view like that, especially perhaps on Internet message boards. However, in “real life”, it has been my experience that most people who consider themselves “theistic evolutionists” actually hold views that are compatible with intelligent design. However, ID has been so vilified, and equated with traditional “creationism” by some scientists, and in popular culture, that, unless they have taken the time to independently research ID, they are eager to distance themselves from it, in order not to appear to be ignorant, just as the third geologist in Sewell’s example.

    For example, in grad school, I had a few discussions on this topic with someone who considered herself a theistic evolutionist and had a low opinion of intelligent design. She even had BOTH a Christian fish ornament AND one of those fish with legs and the word DARWIN on the back of her car. However, after learning more about what intelligent design actually says, and reading a little of Behe’s Edge of Evolution (especially the “No Interference” section on pages 229-232), she had this to say (quoting an e-mail):

    “I do agree with the view of creation given in those pages. Thus, I agree to agree with you about creation…The book (and my own views) holds that God may have used natural selection (fit animals eating less fit animals) and evolution as part of his creation process….[However] I think “Theistic Evolution” is a perfectly valid term, and better suited to describe our shared views than “Intelligent Design,” and one which will be palatable to more people (as the term “Intelligent Design” and its followers have had a bad rap in recent years). In short, I agree with you about creation. But I will continue to be a “theistic evolutionist” when people ask about my creation views. Although I do have more respect for the “intelligent design” perspective now.”

    For those who have not previously read it, I think this article is a pretty interesting read on the topic of what I think is, in many cases, an issue of “confrontational agreement” rather than true disagreement between “real life” theistic evolutionists and ID.

  32. 32
    StephenB says:

    CS3 @31, Richards gets it right in every phase of this analysis. In my judgment, he is ID’s premiere philosopher.

  33. 33
    Timaeus says:

    Arthur Hunt:

    Regarding your expression of proportionality:

    The Old Man: Mt.Rushmore :: life : machines

    Without argument, it’s merely an assertion.

    We can of course explain, in terms of chance and known natural laws, how a rock face (or for that matter a portion of a cloud) might come to look superficially like a human face. We have no similar explanation of how, say, the first living cell could have come into being. Therefore, at first glance, the relationship you affirm is unwarranted by the evidence.

    Of course, you are free to provide the evidence, e.g., to show us how the first living cell could have come into being without any intelligent input.

    I look forward to your answer.

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