Uncommon Descent Serving The Intelligent Design Community

The Upside of Amazon Manipulation


THE DESIGN OF LIFE is being shamelessly manipulated by the Darwinists at Amazon (go here). Not only are they posting negative reviews that give no indication that the reviewers have read the book but they are also voting up their negative reviews so that these are the first to be seen by potential buyers.

The following 1-star review, posted 8 hours ago, illustrates the Darwinists’ level of discourse at Amazon:

By E. Duran (San Jose, CA USA) – See all my reviews
I just finished reading this book without vomiting. I had to go back and read Darwin’s “Origin of Species” again to remove the bad taste out of my mouth.

This is the whole review, unedited and unabridged. Even more pathetic is that “44 of 50 people found the following review [i.e., Duran’s review] helpful.” (As of 4:10pm CST, 20Dec07)

While such behavior by Darwinists may seem unjust, there are two upsides:

(1) As the saying goes, there’s no negative publicity. Sales are brisk, especially through www.thedesignoflife.net.

(2) I’ve been talking with the producers of EXPELLED (www.expelledthemovie.com) about making this book a companion volume to Ben Stein’s film.* Thanks PZ Myers, Wesley Elsberry, Peter Irons, and others for strengthening my hand in these negotiations.

*Recall that Carl Zimmer’s THE TRIUMPH OF EVOLUTION was the companion to the 2001 PBS Evolution Series.

H'mm: Two more reviews over the weekend, which further underscore what is going on at Amazon on Design of Life: 1] D Moore ["Evolutionary biologist"]:
Another waste of trees. Chocked full of speculation and misinformation. If we survive the next thousand years, this book and others by the same author will be laughed at. Too bad publishers feel obligated to print this drivel, but maybe that's the point.....collecting money from the ignorant fools.
Vs, 2] Sean McDowell "High School Teacher":
As a high school teacher and co-author of the upcoming Understanding Intelligent Design (Harvest House, 2008), I have been eagerly awaiting the release of The Design of Life. While there are many ID books on the market, TDOL is clearly the most up-to-date, well-researched, and eye-opening book--period. It is formatted perfectly for either individual study or university classroom use. While some may disagree with the conclusions of the book, any fair-minded reader would have to admit that TDOL is the most compelling case yet for design in biology. Despite some of the comments listed here at amazon.com (by people who clearly have not read TDOL), it deserves a fair-minded hearing by supporters and opponents alike. Wells and Dembski have done a stellar job of highlighting huge gaps in the theory of Darwinian evolution and making a persuasive case for ID. Anyone who is interested in the question of our origins must get a copy and read it for themselves. On the back of the book Michael Behe says, "When future intellectual historians list the books that toppled Darwin's theory, The Design of Life will be at the top." I couldn't agree more.
Now, no prizes for guessing which of these is credibly an actual review of the book by someone who has read and thought seriously about it, and which is a 1* dismissal without having seriously considered that the "reviewer" may not have exactly cornered the market on the truth. In short, the game continues. But, Darwinistas, we are watching, and we are not impressed by the calibre of arguments we have been seeing. IDC et al, this means you -- the rest of the 1* crowd's mindless ad hominems and the like don't even rise to the level of arguments. [NB: I use CROWD very deliberately: the 1* dismissals plainly and objectively show a a breakdown of moral responsibility resulting from being one of an unaccountable, impulsive and easily manipulated group that can act out its aggressive impulses without regard to consequences. Think, long and hard, about what that is telling us on what you Darwinistas are liable to do if you gain the unchecked power in our civilisation that you plainly crave. Or should that be: "do AGIAN," given what your intellectual progenitors HAVE repeatedly done over the past 100 or so years, in the name of "science" and "progress" and "Darwin" . . .] So, if you would take time to read books such as DOL and actually seriously grapple on the merits with what they are raising, we would be more impressed. And, less inclined to view your behaviour as a warning that calls us to act in self defense before a long train of abuses and usurpations gets beyond possibility of restraint. As it is, it looks a whole lot like what Socrates must have felt like on coming back into the Athenian cave to try to open minds and thus liberate the denizens, only to be viciously -- and in his case, fatally -- attacked. GEM of TKI PS: Onlookers, why not do a straight or spin test on the reviews over at Amazon, across the 5*, 1* and 3* reviews? Who passes, who fails, why? What should we do? kairosfocus
Trib, Ari and onlookers: Thanks for the remarks. As I continue to review the “reviews” [and comments] at Amazon, I appreciate that Amazon disclaims LEGAL responsibility for the comments on their site. However, I suspect that does not remove moral culpability for hosting slander, personal attacks and outright BIGOTRY. (Cf below.) Of course if the powers that be there are unresponsive to moral suasion, maybe they deserve to suffer the loss of credibility that Wikipedia is currently suffering, and maybe they will respond when it affects their bottom-line. On track record of say the ending of the slave trade and slavery, such moral suasion will be stoutly resisted and yielding to loss of financial viability will only be a slow process. In short, yet another battle of financial and public opinion attrition. Back at Amazon, we are still at 65 reviews, and it is worth the while to feature one of the positive reviews, not least because it exposes the deceptive and contempt-driven nature of the now commonly encountered “standard” Darwinista rebuttal tactics. I guess they have no shame, but we need to understand how they argue in “live” situations, so we can anticipate and/or respond effectively. So, now, Techie of Kansas, Dec 30: He is first noteworthy for pointing to UD as a place where the other side of the story can be heard, and second for pointing to the central issue of CSI:
Good Book - Nice summary of Evo RMNS problems, December 30, 2007 By Techie (Kansas) - See all my reviews See www.uncommondescent.com for more details. I read the book. This review deals with the issues in the book not the heritage of it's authors, their shoe sizes, their preference in automobiles or other irrelevant twaddle. This is an outstanding review of the range of issues facing the Evo RMNS disciples. The best chapter was Chapter 7 - Specified Complexity, which is the biggest issue they face. How do complex and specified things just arise?
S Allen and IDC of course try to rebut, and -- predictably -- have a triumphalistic Darwinista cheering section. Excerpting:
[SA] How is the refuted nonsense of specified complexity a "big issue" for anybody? Dembski doesn't even understand the proper use of the term complexity as it applies to information theory. He mixes concepts from two different theories of information(which is like trying to build a house using standard AND metric measurements). He also conflates complex with information and improbable. Not to mention the entire thing is a tautology. According to his theory evolution can't produce specified complexity by definition, therefore how else is his theory of "specified complexity" going to respond but by stating that life is "designed"? Dembski's theory is little better then a quasi math version of Abbot and Costello's "Who's on first". [IDC:] How do complex and specified things 'just arise'? The answer is trivially simple through natural processes of regularity and chance. In fact, few realize that Dembski has accepted this. For instance the work by Tom Schneider shows how the processes of variation and selection can trivially create complex specified information. Dembski 'argues' that this information is smuggled in, but it is not different from the information 'smuggled in' by the environment.
1 --> In short, the question is distorted then begged by exploiting the ignorance and presumed disinclination of the likely audience to check out the other side of the story. [Cf my always linked, for details.] 2 --> SA, first, FYI: as my always linked, Appendix 3 will show,WD DID NOT ORIGINATE THE CONCEPT OF COMPLEX, SPECIFIED INFORMATION. Leslie Orgel et al did, in the natural course of OOL research across the 1970's; as they realised that living things exhibited a pattern that is not just complex in the sense of high contingency, and not just ordered in the sense that say a crystal (or a vortex) are ordered, i.e. -- and as I outline for newbies in my always linked -- living systems exhibit functionally specified, often fine-tuned [i.e adversely sensitive to random perturbations beyond as very limited scale], organised complexity that requires algorithmic, coded information to work:
Living organisms are distinguished by their specified complexity. Crystals fail to qualify as living because they lack complexity; mixtures of random polymers fail to qualify because they lack specificity.6 [Source: L.E. Orgel, 1973. The Origins of Life. New York: John Wiley, p. 189.]
3 --> In short, CSI, originally developed as a DESCRIPTION of on- the- ground- facts to be explained by thinkers on the origin of life. FYI IT IS A LITTLE HARD TO REFUTE A MASSIVELY DOCUMENTED -- not at all "refuted" -- FACT. 4 --> Next, however "complexity" may be used by other thinkers on information in other situations, it is an obviously valid use of the term to describe situations of extremely high contingency such that the configuration space taken up by all possible permutations involves significantly more "cells" than the number of possible quantum states taken up by the 10^80 or so particles in our observed cosmos across its credible lifetime. (This quantifies "complexity" by use of a greater than metric. In effect if there are more than about 500 - 1,000 bits worth of information storing capacity in a system, it is complex in the sense that is relevant.) 5 --> Further to this, the complexity is used not just in any old random way, but to effect functionally specified, algorithmically coded -- i.e. complex -- information that carries out life processes that are sensitive in general to random perturbation. In short, there are well defined relatively isolated points, islands and archipelagos of relevant functionality within the config spaces in question. For instance, minimally functional cells, as Meyer reported in the PBSW article, require roughly 300 – 500,000 DNA bases in their genetic code, to cover the proteins etc for life to work. Just 300k 4-state elements sets a config space of order 9.94 *10^180,617 cells. [This is vastly more than the 10^150 or so states that the 10^80 particles of our observed cosmos will take up across its credible lifespan.] “Complexity” is a reasonable description, and the functionally specified cells are plainly going to be seriously isolated int eh relevant config space. 6 --> Thus, a random-walk search [even with functionality filtering at each stage – aka “natural selection” of one kind or another] that begins at any arbitrary point in that space, will be maximally unlikely to EVER reach a functional configuration relevant to life, on the gamut of our observed universe. 7 --> At the same time, we see, even routinely, a source of just such FSCI. Namely, intelligent agents. Indeed, in EVERY observed case of such – pace IDC – where we do know directly the causal story, the directly observed source of FSCI is agency. And, given what we just outlined, that is highly unsurprising [Cf here, my discussion of nanobots and microjets in a vat, to see the force of the underlying statistical thermodynamics and information theory issues and principles at work.] Thus, on inductive inference to best explanation, the most credible source for such FSCI where we just happened not to have seen it s cause directly is again agency. 8 --> When therefore IDC attempts to “reduce” agency to chance + necessity [as has been long since addressed above, fr. Comments 29 – 30 and onward to the summary in 86 – 87, which stand unanswered by him to this date], he is whistling in the dark as he goes by the graveyard. BOO! [And, BTW, Mr Schneider over at Talk Origins, as is all too usual for that utterly untrustworthy and even at points plainly intellectually shabby site, does not know what he is talking about -- on a charitable reading.] 9 --> In this context, IDC's last comment at Dec 28, is all too revealing of the whistling past the graveyard in the dark mentality:
As others have already pointed out, CSI is an incredibly UNRELIABLE indicator of design as it is an argument from ignorance which cannot even compete with the 'we don't know' explanation as it proposes nothing. So why call the null hypothesis 'design'? [NB: In the explanatory filter of course the null hyp is non-design and the filter is chosen to be so biased towards making false negatives that would affirm the nuill if a design is not sufficiently complex that it would be ridiculous in any other contexts! And, since when is the vast experience and observation of agents directly producing FSCI “nothing”?] Why should 'design' be granted such a privileged position? [Actually, as it is structured, the EF gives its NULL: necessity and/or chance, the privileged positions as the two successive defaults: [a] non-contingent, necessity; [b] non-specific, chance.] There seems to be no scientific reason although I can understand that there may be some strong religious motivations that would help explain such a choice . . . [he then cotes the "logos comment made by WD in a Touchstone commentary in his role as a philospher with theorlogical qualifications. IDEAs FAQs have long since answered this quote-mining distortion of ID here.]
10 --> IDC, since when has chance + necessity alone been shown through direct observation to create FSCI in the sense described above? By whom, where, and with what credibility? [Not to mention, if there is a law of the universe that forces the emergence of cell-based life, what would that imply, given the issues raised in my always linked, section D on cosmological fine-tuning? (Hint: what would best account for the required algorithmic information written into the laws and parameters of the cosmos, given that they are exquisitely finely tuned in the aggregate? H'mm: wouldn't that count as "in the beginning LOGICALLY AND DYNAMICALLY STRUCTURED INFORMATION was . . . and WITHOUT THIS LOGOS WAS NOT ANYTHING MADE, THAT WAS MADE?) Nah . . . justa coincidence! NOT] 11 --> And of course, IDC then (having failed to resolve the matter on the merits) improperly resorts to igniting the usual anti-theistic hostility of Darwinistas. There is a name for that IDC: BIGOTRY. In short, IDC: BOOO! GEM of TKI kairosfocus
KF --(Are not the Amazon people responsible for the contents of their web site?) As I understand it, no as pertaining to reader comments -- providing the post are not edited by the website owner. tribune7
"I’m also tired of the ID argument that similarity in living things could be explained just as well by a common designer as by a common ancestry (140); this seems terribly ad hoc to me. God could just as well be entirely original with each new species." So life should look like it was the result of multiple designers instead? Looks like somebody needs to read the Biotic Message by ReMine. ari-freedom
well, I actually have the book and I love it. And yes it discusses the latest Douglas Axe's research...the book is worth it just for this section alone. What else is covered: pseudogenes, therapsids, whales, panda thumbs, evo-devo, co-options, origin of life and a lot more. ari-freedom
PS: For the record,and for fair-minded onlookers, here is DI's list of ID-supportive peer-reviewed etc scientific research. IMHCO,this alone is more than sufficient to give the lie to the mindlessly repeated claim that ID thinkers do not do publishable professional grade research, and the associated philosophically question-begging and historically unjustified allegation that ID is "not science." [Cf Dan Peterson's telling review on the culture war that has now exploded even into reader reviews at Amazon. Notice in particular his remarks on the contribution of design thinkers to the advance of science.] Moreover, in light of the notorious events over Mr Sternberg and Mr Gonzalez, we ALSO know that there is a Darwinista campaign of censorship, career busting, calumny, slander and libel to discredit such ID research and researchers. [Surprise, the DOL pseudo-review campaign is plainly yet another stanza on this sickening song of oppression and injustice by advocates of a world view that is in a lot of trouble on the merits: evolutionary materialism. Shades of the deceptive en-darkenment and destructive power games by the power-brokers in Plato's Cave!] That, too should tell us a lot, and none of it good on the evo mat agendas, which -- as the pseudo-reviews at Amazon on DOL all too bluntly tell us -- plainly ARE about political control by a destructive ideological agenda that has corrupted science, education and the culture at large, not free play of informed discussion on serious ideas and issues. Cho man, do betta dan dat! GEM of TKI kairosfocus
3] Strike-out! Darby M'Graw then completes the Darwinista strike-out:
You were expecting original arguments in an ID book? Dude, you have so not been paying attention for the last century and a half. IDers don't do any research. Go read the Wedge Document and find out what ID is really about.
--> I guess the list of peer -reviewed publications at the DI web site does not count. Nor, plainly, does Minnich's research presented in open court to Judge "Copycat" Jones who then went on to deny the facts in front of him, on the advice of the dishonest advocates over at ACLU and NCSE. As to socio-cultural agendas, I guess the obvious evidence that the response of DI is to an existing and open secularist agenda does not count: HE HIT BACK FIRST again. 4] On the Wedge strategy . . . BTW, for readers' information, this is what the "infamous" Wedge Strategy is, in core essence [the entire document can be perused at the linked page]:
In 1996 Discovery Institute established the Center for the Renewal of Science and Culture (since named the Center for Science and Culture—CSC). Its main purposes were (1) to support research by scientists and other scholars who were critical of neo- Darwinism and other materialistic theories of origins, and to support those who were developing the emerging scientific theory of intelligent design; (2) to explore the larger philosophical or world-view implications of the scientific debate about design as well other philosophically-charged issues in modern science, and (3) to explore the cultural implications of competing philosophies of science and worldviews. With respect to (2) and (3), it has been a particular interest of the Center to counter the idea that science supports the unscientific philosophy of materialism. From the beginning the Center has focused its attention on scientific discoveries and theories that raise larger philosophical, world-view or cultural issues.1 For this reason, Center Fellows examined theories of biological and cosmological origins as well as theories in the social and cognitive sciences that raise questions about human nature. More recently, the Center has begun to address bioethical issues arising from developments in bio-medical technology. It is in the context of our concern about the world-view implications of certain scientific theories that our wedge strategy must be understood. Far from attacking science (as has been claimed), we are instead challenging scientific materialism—the simplistic philosophy or world-view that claims that all of reality can be reduced to, or derived from, matter and energy alone. We believe that this is a defense of sound science. With this in mind, we have supported research that challenges specific theories (such as neo-Darwinism, chemical evolutionary theory and various “many worlds” cosmologies) that provide support for the materialistic vision of a self-existent and self-organizing universe. We also have supported research that challenges theories (such as behaviorism, strong AI (artificial intelligence) and other physicalist conceptions of mind) that have portrayed humans as completely determined animals or machines. Naturally, many of our scholars and scientists are also working to develop competing hypotheses and theories, including theories of intelligent design and theories that defend the reality and irreducibility of human agency, responsibility and consciousness. As it happens, many of these fellows think that new discoveries in science either support, or are consonant with, a “broadly theistic” world-view. The “Wedge Document” makes the philosophical significance of our work—its challenge to scientific materialism and its favorable implications for theism—known to potential supporters. Even so, the case that our scientists have made against neo-Darwinism or for design is based on scientific evidence. Scientists of various (and no) religious persuasions have formulated such arguments (see below). Their work stands on its own. In any case, the “Wedge Document” articulates a strategy for influencing science and culture with our ideas through research, reasoned argument and open debate. As our not-so-secret secret document put it, “without solid scholarship, research and argument, the project would be just another attempt to indoctrinate instead of persuade.” We fail to see any scandal in this. Nor have we been able see how any fair-minded person who had actually read the “Wedge Document,” or who had any acquaintance with our actual work, could attribute to us the nefarious views and motives that Professor Forrest and others have assigned us. The “Wedge Document” articulates a plan for reasoned persuasion, not political control.
For shame, Dr Forrest and fellow Darwinistas! Uncle Charlie is turning in his grave over at Westminster Abbey on what his supporters have become! GEM of TKI kairosfocus
Dr Dembski, Dr Wells and Ms O'Leary: I took a further follow-up look at the Darwinista "reviews" and see evidence of outright slander and possible libel. (Are not the Amazon people responsible for the contents of their web site?) At minimum, several of the tactics and claims exposed below need to be brought to the attention of the public so they can see for themselves what is going on on the ID issue on the part of the Darwinistas. Maybe the below and some previous stuff needs to become part of Expelled, as someone else suggested. Okay, to monitoring: --> The reviews count on DOL is the same this AM, 65. --> The Darwinista "gaming" pseudo-reviews still dominate the "most helpful" list. I decidewd to take a look at the Marshall, 3* review and see what happened with comments: 1] Strike ONE . . . For instance, here is S Allen's attempt to answer to Marshall's unanswered request on "instances of mutations that produce helpful biological innovations":
1. Antibiotic resistance in bacteria 2. Lactose tolerance 3. Resistance to atherosclerosis 4. Immunity to HIV Just to name a few. You can find a larger list plus details here: http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/mutations.html
--> In short, this Darwinista -- duly having been misled by TalkOrigins and the like ilk of dishonest advocates -- has not seen that there is a major difference between minor changes to existing biological information systems and the required evo mat mechanisms to credibly sustain origin of life and body-plan level biodiveristy. This alone is sufficient justification for the need for a current basic, textbook level survey of the issue of design as it pertains to biological systems that are rich in functionally specified, complex information. Of course, DOL is precisely such a textbook, pace all the Darwinista objections to such a presentaiton. Their own ignorance betrays their arguments! 2] Strike TWO . . and TWO-A Peter Irons [of "Mr Kwok can freely personally attack Dr Dembski in the name of a review but Dr Dembski cannot properly complain about it" infamy, rated as the no 1 "most helpful review . . ."]] then weighs in with this "helpful" piece:
David Marshall's review provides a good place to note that the "Star Wars" battle over Dembski's book was actually started (on Dec. 20) by Denyse O'Leary on the Uncommon Descent blog she co-edits with Dembski, who had whined on UD about the very first one-star review by John Kwok. Dembski briefly persuaded the Amazon people to remove Kwok's review
--> In fact, Denyse responded at Dr Dembski's request to an already mounting Darwinista gaming of the reviews, DECEMBER 19, here. Opening words:
Bill Dembski has drawn my attention to the Darwinists who vote up negative reviews at Amazon of Design of Life, his textbook supplement with Jonathan Wells, on whose behalf I blog at Design of Life blog. He writes, >>[WD] The Design of Life has 13 five-star reviews and 4 one-star reviews. None of the one-star reviews give evidence of the reviewer having read the book. [This, I confirmed here at comment no 7 on the Dec 19 O'Leary thread in my own first review on the "reviews."] Yet the three reviews placed front and center by Amazon are the one-star reviews and none of the five-star reviews appear there. That’s because the Darwinists keep voting up the negative reviews and voting down the positive reviews. Please go to the link right now, look at the reviews, and vote on them (toward the bottom of a review are “yes” and “no” buttons for whether a review was helpful).>> These naysayers may not be people who have read the book. Any more than the Darwinbots who assailed the showing of The Privileged Planet at the Smithsonian can be presumed to have seen the film. (Had they done so, they would have known that the film was not “anti-evolution”, as a New York Times reporter had incorrectly reported). The Darwinbot’s duty is not to see or hear or know, but merely to stupidly protest.
--> And now there is a twisting of the truth of the narrative through this second "HE HIT BACK FIRST" complaint. Later in the same commen Mr Irons goes on to claim that "I caught Dembski in a case of "attempted copyright violation" in his book." Namely, he claims that:
The problem for Dembski is that the illustration (a still capture from a video) is from a pro-ID video called "Unlocking the Mystery of Life," while the "as seen at" footnote refers to a video called "The Inner Life of the Cell." What happened was that Dembski originally wanted to use (without permission of the "Inner Life" copyight holders) a still from their video, and put the purloined still in his book. But, after Dembski was caught using the "Inner Life" video in a lecture in September at the University of Oklahoma, prompting the copyright holders to complain loudly, Dembski stripped the "Inner Life" still from his book and substituted the "Unlocking" still. But he forgot to also strip the incriminating footnote, citing the "Inner Life" still. Not a really big deal, since Dembski aborted his intended copyright violation. But this episode, IMO, reflects poorly on his integrity and undermines the book's credibility.
--> As I understand it of course there is a very different side to that story, as was reported here at UD Nov 22 by Dr Dembski:
in September of 2006 I announced at my blog UncommonDescent that a “breathtaking video” titled “The Inner Life of Cell” had just come out . . . The video was so good that I wanted to use it in some of my public presentations, but when I tried to purchase a DVD of it (I sent several emails to relevant parties), I was informed it wasn’t ready . . . . Although the video was at the time and remains to this day widely available on the web (YouTube has many copies — go, for instance, here), most simply have some background music that do not explain the relevant biology. A few months after announcing the video at UncommonDescent, I found on the Internet a version of the video that did add a voiceover, giving the relevant biology, and was in a format that allowed me to incorporate it into my PowerPoint presentations. I used the video a handful of times, including at a talk in Oklahoma this September. In consequence, some biologist(s) in the audience contacted the makers of the video, falsely suggesting to them and on the web: (1) That I myself had modified the video and given it a new soundtrack. (2) That I had stripped it of its copyright information. (3) That I had retitled it “The Cell as an Automated City.” Each of these allegations is false. Regarding (1), I downloaded from the Internet a version of the video with a voiceover describing the relevant biology. It seemed to me accurate and to have the best educational value for my listeners. The version I used took the original soundtrack, which simply had music, and added a voice. I had nothing to do with modifying or recrafting or authorizing the production of the video (in particular, that is not my voice on the video). The video I showed is the one I downloaded. Regarding (2), the version I used omitted the opening credits (a fact about which I became aware only in the last few days), beginning instead with the actual animation; however, at the end of the video that I showed, there is the following copyright notice: Conception and Scientific Content by Alain Viel and Robert A. Lue Animations by John Liebler / XVIVO Supported by the Howard Hughest Medical Institute Copyright (c) 2006. The President and Fellows of Harvard College . . . . Finally, regarding (3), the phrase “The Cell as an Automated City” was simply a caption for the video as it appeared in my PowerPoint presentation (a caption I used in context with the preceding slide). It was never meant to be a retitling of the video. Indeed, that caption never bled into the actual video but was always separate from it in my PowerPoint presentation. I continue to this day to think that “The Inner Life of the Cell” is the best animation illustrating cellular activity. But there are other videos that make the same point. From now on, I will no longer use it and instead go back to using a clip from “Unlocking the Mystery of Life.”
--> this puts a very different colour on Mr Irons' claims, and not in his favour at all. But also, notice the CONSISTENT rhetorical pattern: we see yet again the use of unjustified personal attack in the hope that it will distract people from looking at the case on the merits. --> And, if one uses a clip from a source pending permission while a book is in draft, but withdraws it from the book on failing to obtain permission [which is what the cited evidence obviously substantiates], that is NOT stealing, Mr Irons. --> Worse, the actual evidence of the videos is that the macromolecules of life in play in the cells information systems are of course vastly beyond the reach of chance + necessity on the gamut f the observed cosmos. [ . . . ] kairosfocus
Stephen B: VERY well said! I think I can let your remark stand as the final word on the substantial issues raised by Q. On observing that Q reportedly works in the US education system, with ACLU et al breathing over his shoulder and lawsuits or dismissals threatening at the drop of a hat or an unguarded politically incorrect remark -- shades of of days and places one had thought were relegated to the darker pages of history -- I think we can now understand the dilemma he faces; thanks to the Judge "copycat" Joneses et al of this world. --> For shame, ACLU! For shame, NCSE! --> For double-shame, Ms Barbara Forrest! --> For double-dip double-shame, US and world Media! --> For triple-dip, triple-shame, educators and academics! For quintuple-dip, five- times- five- thousand- quintillion- times over shame, educated people as a class! For, it is plain that the design inference is so strong that it is compelling on the merits. So strong in fact that the only way to resist it in the secularism-distorted educational setting of the USA is to resort to patent absurdirties stemming from rejecting self-evident truth about ourselves and other intelligent agents! The above thread is proof enough of that. Maybe, Design of Life and other similar works can help us climb out of the hole we have dug ourselves into. That of course brings us to the look at the state of the Amazon "reviews" mess. A second reasonable review has happened in recent days, though marred by an unreasonable expectation of the book, that it should be in effect a new research compilation and the dismissal of cogent arguments. But read it, the second 3* review, here. A flavour-giving excerpt of Mr Marshall's effort:
It's actually a pretty good overview of the ID position, by and large. I was surprised to find it came in the form of a sort of textbook, with study questions at the end of each chapter -- I was hoping for something more on the order of original research and arguments. Strangely, though, at times the authors explain very elementary terms, then later will use several technical terms in short order, without explaining them. The book is well-illustrated. The chapter on the origin of life sets the issues out particularly well. I'm wary, though, of the post hoc view of chemical evolution (230) -- what's the chance of lucky combinations of amino acids forming a certain protein, for example. The real question is, what structures would they form, and would those structures prove useful? But the authors make some good points about chemical barriers to biogenesis. As reflected by the reviews, it seems to me the authors often take positions that are too argumentative. "Analyzing existing species to support one or another theory of speciation, however, is not the same as observing speciation in action." (98) Of course not, but come on -- you can't just ignore the similarities. "The fossil record doesn't support the Darwinian claim that the major taxonomic groups are connected to one another by biological descent." Doesn't support at all? Such a sweeping generalization strikes me as folly. Or have they found a rabbit in the Cambrian? I'm also tired of the ID argument that similarity in living things could be explained just as well by a common designer as by a common ancestry (140); this seems terribly ad hoc to me. God could just as well be entirely original with each new species.
I should note en passant, that when one is providing a balancing work and is int he context of comparative difficulties across live options, one is not making a circular argument. It is the unreasonable demand to present the evolutionary materialist view of origins as though it were established unquestionable fact doubted only by the "ignorant, stupid, insane or wicked" that is circular and in this context an utterly indefensible resort to indoctrination and mind manipulation in the classroom. A glance at the comments on the Jurassicmark review starts with John Kwok's -- obviously habitual -- personal attack and name-calling, then it heads south from there. Brent Mortimer replied at first in kind, then after several comments presented a reasonable outline of the ID case -- it was voted down just like his other comments; so that one has to explicitly request that the post be shown. [And, Mr Kwok -- a self-proclaimed libertarian! -- has the nerve to call Dr Dembski a "fascist" and advocate of censorship for objecting to Mr Kwok's own earlier personal attack in the name of a "review"???] Sad, and ever so telling on Mr Kwok and ilk. With the long train of abuses and usurpation now on repeated public view, we would be well advised to recognise the Darwinistas as would-be tyrants, and to turn back their power grabs -- before it is too late. GEM of TKI kairosfocus
Q: Again, you drop a rhetorical bomb and then ask for an immediate postponement of dialogue; do one or the other, but not both.. Your comments on induction make it clear that you are still bound by the Hume/Kant imperative, which, in effect, reduces all inferences to a presupposition.. Unless, you consult Adler’s “little error at the beginning,” you will continue to doubt the integrity of your own mind. In approaching this problem, we have only two choices. Either we accept the paradox of theism (dualism) or we must live with the contradictions and self refuting absurdities of materialism (monism). In other words, we have a choice between truth (in the form of “virtual certainty” not apodictic certainty) and error (unreasonable uncertainly or hyper-skepticism) A designer’s mind is not bound to the physical laws of cause and effect, even though the designer’s body most certainly is. This is a paradox; it is not a contradiction. Our mind is independent of and can cause changes in the physical universe, while our brain is, at the same time, subject to those same laws. If you cannot understand or refuse to accept the distinction between the mind and the brain, you cannot acknowledge the connection between the immaterial agent and the material causal chain. Hearken back to my example about the mind as the causal agent that arranges matter in such a way that a house is brought into existence. By your logic, we cannot, without having had prior experience on the matter, safely assume that an intelligent agent started the ball rolling. In effect, you are rejecting the kind of self-evident truth the makes rationality possible in the first place. You are doing the very same thing that Hume/Kant influenced so many to do---reject the correspondence between our mind and the real world. I notice that you did not follow up on my suggestion to consult Adler and his explanation of the “little error in the beginning,” Instead you chose to visit Wikipedia, who has made it their business, either through ignorance or malice, to institutionalize this error. So why would you send us to that site for “instruction.” In fact, there is nothing to prevent us from reasoning our way all the way back to the first agent as an originating cause. The ultimate designer, as immaterial agent (perhaps a pure non- material spirit and not a composite of body and soul [mind] as we are), need not be "in" the causal chain to be a causal agent. Remember, the non-material can influence the material without being material. If the ultimate designer is God, then God is outside those laws even as He brings them into being and sustains them. That means that he in not bound by his own laws. If you question this argument, then you must also question Aristotle’s “prime mover” argument as well. Moving backwards in the causal chain allows us to conclude only the EXISTENCE of an intelligent agency---not its essence or its identity. The designer’s ATTRIBUTES must be a matter or philosophical speculation or religious belief, or, as in the case of human agency, prior experience, because science simply cannot take us there. We should think neither too little (Hume/Kant skepticism) nor too much (apodictic certainty) concerning what reason can do. There is no real disagreement between kairosfocus and myself about the level of confidence involved. I am not positing, as you suggest, that the inference is merely a best guess. My conditional language acknowledges only the line between "virtual certainty" and "apodictic certainty." From a scientific perspective we accept virtual certainty as truth because it is the only rational way to live. Hyper-skepticism bids us to live in the twilight zone between virtual certainty and apodictic certainty. Cynics often visit that land but no really lives there. As someone once put it, “even the solipsist looks both ways before crossing the street.” StephenB
Kairosfocus said in 101, "The crucial error is in the highlighted: we are agents ourselves, so investigating inference to design is NOT a black-box investigation. It is an open box explanation." Wow. How about this course correction: We are agents ourselves, so when we investigate ourselves and the world around us, we can consider it as an open box investigation. But, nothing in the known world binds the properties of the intelligent designer of ID to our properties. This alone imposes limitations on how far we can extrapolate our knowledge to make claims about the intelligent designer. The intelligent designer of ID is in a metaphorical black box, to us. You have no evidence - because none is physically or logically available - that the intelligent designer is or must be bound by the same laws that provide the observations about the real world. As such, your arguments that extend to make positive assertions about the intelligent designer of ID must be modified to avoid making such claims. The confidence of those claims must be reduced to that appropriate to extrapolation, a weak form of induction. BTW: I did read your linked information. Your comments about induction on that site even confirm that your explicit claims about the intelligent designer on this site are stated with unfounded confidence. Check here http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Inductive_reasoning to see the limits of the inductive claims you've made about the intelligent designer of ID. Kairosfocus says "I have pointed out that science is inherently provisional and workds by empirixcally anchored inference to best explanation — AKA abduction. The design inference is of just this order and is therefore scientific." I agree with you on this, and have not been arguing that point - unless the inferences are extended to make positive claims the intelligent designer of ID. You've made such claims several times on this thread. I think StephenB helped me to see the difference in our arguments. Claims about the "best" explanation have implicit limits. That is, they are constructed around some external criteria, to provide the basis of "best". "Best", for example, may be "that which most correlates to observation." I don't dispute that much of your argument includes the element of "best explanation." But, "best" is not necessarily the same as "truth". Your claims, when extended to the intelligent designer so that they give positive claims about the designer, are framed as though they are "truth" -i.e. this is how the designer is. Maybe we're just talking past each other. Perhaps you implicitly meant that your specific and explicit claims about the intelligent designer are open to doubt, and that your best explanations don't really extend to making claims about the intelligent designer as though they are truth. I don't know. Can we delay this for a different time? I am concerned about the back and forth in a threadjack. Q
PS: Q, kindly read what I have repeatedly said, cited and linked on the inherent, inescapably provisional nature of scientific inference, here, and even here [for teachers] or here. [for students and the wider public]. In short, your implication -- even possibly insinuation -- of unwarranted dogmatism on my part is in the teeth of easily available evidence to the contrary. I have pointed out that science is inherently provisional and workds by empirixcally anchored inference to best explanation -- AKA abduction. The design inference is of just this order and is therefore scientific. What is happening, onlookers, is that well-warranted implications and explanations of evidence [cf the always linked and the above] are cutting across the expectations of a dominant worldview in the academy, and so selective hyperskepticism in the form of Cliffordian/ Saganian evidentialism is being trotted out in its defence. We must not let that happen. Happy New Year. GEM of TKI kairosfocus
I: StephenB: Thanks for the correction. Your G K Chesterton cite is spot on. II: Q: RE:
we don’t know the options with regards to the intelligent designer of ID. Because, we have no way of knowing the nature of the designer. We might infer the nature, but that is no more than a guess. I say a guess, even though some may argue that the guess/inference makes sense. But, identifying any of the options about the designer of ID, including its mental activities, is no more than a black-box invstigation.
--> The crucial error is in the highlighted: we are agents ourselves, so investigating inference to design is NOT a black-box investigation. It is an open box explanation. --> Then, we are able to detect reliable signs of intelligent agency in action, e.g. FSCI. --> Absent adverse worldview implications for the evo mat view, we would not hesitate to confidently induce that on the evidence in hand the nanotech of the cell, the increments in informatio0n to get body plan level biodiversity and the underlying organised complexity of the life facilitating cosmos are on reliable induction also designed by agents. --> In short, selective hyperskepticism. III] Re Amazon watch: Nos of reviews is the same overnight. IDC's review is up to "211 of 234" finding it "helpful." I now see a page 2, up to Dec 28, and that IDC has yet to deal with his decisive blunder. So great and fundamental is his blunder that it deserves to be again highlighted:
If something can be explained as intelligently designed, the amount of information is zero.
THAT is the level of what "211 of 234" find "helpful." To this sort of Darwinista ignorance, my simple direct response is, again:
. . . the posts on this thread, and over at Amazon were plainly intelligently designed. Would IDC care to defend the thesis that the information content of these posts including his own is ZERO because they are intelligently designed?
Over to you, IDC and co. The unplayed ball is plainly in your court. GEM of TKI kairosfocus
kairosfocus: In the spirit of full disclosure I must acknowledge that I am not a moderator---only a humble blogger. StephenB
StephenB, yes, including the caveat of "the most likely" as part of the explanation makes much sense. Kairosfocus was making his position in more absolutes, however. Q
Q: Wouldn't it be a lot easier to simply say, "You know, I just can't think of any other options, so intelligent agency is the most likely explanation." As G. K. Chesterton once said, "the purpose of opening the mind is to close it on something solid (truth). Somehow, you seem fearful or unwilling to do the closing---even when a ton of evidence from above and below is trying to push your jaw shut. Bless your heart. StephenB
StephenB - I agree with you that this diversion should be brought to an end in this thread. To do so, I'll give the answer to your final question of "If we cannot safely infer that the design is a product of mental activity (intellectual innovation?), what would the option or options be." As you suggested in [1] above, we don't know the options with regards to the intelligent designer of ID. Because, we have no way of knowing the nature of the designer. We might infer the nature, but that is no more than a guess. I say a guess, even though some may argue that the guess/inference makes sense. But, identifying any of the options about the designer of ID, including its mental activities, is no more than a black-box invstigation. That is, we first make observations about our experiences that describe links between agency and causality. Then, we examine the observable results of another event, and extraplate the causality - like that the intelligent designer of ID must have mental activity. The underlying assumption is that the new situation shares similar properties as the earlier situations. But, we know with certaintude that the designer need not operate with the same properties - because the designer could be in all of time and space, not experiencing beginning or end, and have other differences that have been considered through history. This is why I've been insisting, but will discontinue doing so in this thread (unless others bring it up again for clarification), that the claims about agency and causality must not be phrased so broadly as to make positive assertions about the intelligent designer of ID. Contrary to the assertion of Kairosfocus that I want to "push designers out of the picture", the opposite is true. I'm suggesting that options for the designer be left open - and not excluded through inferential arguments - lest the arguments unduly exclude the true nature of the intelligent designer of ID. Even logical inferences need not pan out every time. Q
Q: Re your:
My point is that I am not making claims about the designers. I am asking that claims about intelligence/agency/causality be structured so that they do not provide inferences about the designer.
To this, I respond:
1 --> Kindly provide an empirical case where [1] design, or [2] traces of design such as FSCI occur and where [3] we directly know the causal story, where [4] an agent as designer is not implicated. [This you have not been able to do all along this thread. Cases of design by agents in action are routinely available, including your own posts here. More on the increasingly evident purpose of your actions below.] 2 --> Note, too, I have explicitly and repeatedly pointed out that [on much experience and observation] FSCI is an index of design (i.e of purposeful, creative, intelligent action), not only on observation and experience but also on good grounds based on the vast improbability of chance searching out large configuration spaces to find islands of functionality. [Natural regularities trracing to mechanical necessity simply do not lead to high contingency: oxidiser + fuel + heat --> fire.] 3 --> Also, I have separated the empirical detection of design based on a sign thereof, from the secondary inference to its known, routinely observed source: intelligent agency. 4 --> Then, I have drawn the conclusion on inference to best explanation that even where we do not see an agent at work directly, we have good inductive reason to hold that FSCI is a reliable sign of design. 5 --> I have then drawn atrtention to key cases: OOL, body plan level biodiversity, and the organised, fine-tuned complexity of the physics of the cosmos we observe. These all on IBE are cases of design. 6 --> Thus, no scientific theory, research programme or worldview associated therewith that is unable to address the evidence poiniting to such design, is properly credible. 7 --> Thus, evolutionary materialism is intellectually bankrupt and should not be foisted on pupils in our schools or students in College or the general public as "science."
That you, at this point, evidently insistently refuse to see the force of or respond appropriately -- cogently, on the merits -- to this chain of argument is telling. For, dismissals and repeated question-begging assertions in the teeth of common sense and experience [such as the cite above] are not cogent arguments. To wit, I am very close to concluding that your intent here is more to play rhetorical games and distract attention from a serious issue, the proper focus for this thread; than to deal with any really serious issue. Indeed, your last comment is precisely a classic example of the attempt to unwarrantedly push designers out of the picture, that I pointed out earlier today. You have no just cause for complaint against my fair comment to that effect. I would therefore caution you to pay heed to the advice of StephenB above, a Moderator. Meanwhile, over at Amazon: 30 x 5*, 33 x 1*, 1 X 3*. The Darwinista gamers still hold the "most helpful" reviews slots. Jurassicmark's review is exemplary. In toto:
As a biologist I read this book with much interest. And as I was very familiar with the arguments for macroevolution, both pro and con, I had a knowledge base on which to judge this book. My conclusion is, it is an excellent, very balanced, well documented review of the evidence. The authors, both PhDs in the math and science area, in this work relied heavily, not on their opinions, but on the peer reviewed literature to produce this balanced work. It will be of much use to all readers no matter which side of this now very hot and contentious controversy the reader is on. Often this controversy produces more heat than light, but this work provides much more light than heat. The authors show that an inbuilt mechanism for adaptation exists in all life and gives two excellent examples. One is people in hot, humid climates tend to be tall and thin and people in cold climates short and heavy. The authors then explain why. One reason is all life has 2 or more genes for most traits and all populations have a set of 2 or more genes for most all traits. These produce different gene combinations that can be selected, or are epigenetically influenced, resulting in the body shape differences found in different climates. These examples demonstrate that microevolution often occurs due to inborn systems that create adaptation to local environments, and often not due to classical Neo-Darwinism. This fact is support for design (this is my conclusion) not evolution, defined as time, chance, and mutations producing variations selected by natural selection, or the goo to you by way of the zoo creation story. The author shows that everyone is a creationist, the difference is disagreement over who or what did the creating. I also read all of the negative reviews and it is clear that most all of these reviewers did not read the book. One way I know this is, in the first part of the book, are several very glaring errors and not one of the negative reviewers caught them. If they even read the first few chapters they would have caught these errors. Every book that I have read has mistakes (especially textbooks, something I have learned from first hand experience).
--> BTW, JM, could you itemise the errors you observed; so they can be corrected pronto? --> I agree on the issue of errors. Indeed, way back my own profs used to caution that their lectures were not perfect and students were responsible at that level to pick up and correct errors. Unfortunately, by sharp contrast, 210 of 232 claim to find IDC helpful, and he is still missing in action on his blunder that intelligent agents do not produce information. GEM of TKI kairosfocus
Q: Since we have come this far, I may as well ask the final question: If we cannot safely infer that the design is a product of mental activity (intellectual innovation?), what would the option or options be. StephenB
As for misquoting, Kairosfocus, I suggest that you rethink my position, if not only slightly. You mentioned to me "you would at once have seen the obvious answer to your labourious attempts to push designers as far away from recognisability as you can get." My point is that I am not making claims about the designers. I am asking that claims about intelligence/agency/causality be structured so that they do not provide inferences about the designer. Your argument still provides inferences about the designer. Just like you did immediately did above in 93 when you wrote "we are immediately familiar with the fact that design is a mental activity ..." How can you know or even safely infer that the designer has mental activities? (rhetorical, no additional reply needed.) Nontheless, I agree that this turned into a threadjack - I did not intend to, but in my interest of pursuing the topic, I lost track. I apologize for that. Q
Q: RE your response to StephenB's Intelligent innovation is different from mechanical necessity. For that reason we can only detect the EFFECTS of intelligent agency. …”, i.e.:
Q: That was an essential part of the point I was trying to make - that with the intelligent designer of ID, any claims about the causality of its agency must stop at effect, and can’t extend back to cause. Which is different from other analyses of causality, in which cause and effect can be included.
First, here is SB's context:
Intelligent innovation is different from mechanical necessity. For that reason we can only detect the EFFECTS of intelligent agency . . . . Intelligence is by definition non-material, but it can influence the material world. Your mind is non-material, for example, but you can design a house and build it by organizing matter in a purposeful arrangement.
In short, you have quote-mined SB, Q; distorting what he ACTUALLY said -- a general point about agents we can observe every day in the here and now -- into a strawman making a point that "supports" your agenda. That's not cricket. Worse, had you simply and plainly addressed the point SB DID make, you would at once have seen the obvious answer to your labourious attempts to push designers as far away from recognisability as you can get. Namely, that we are immediately familiar with the fact that design is a mental activity that manifests itself in reliably empirically recognisable and identifiable material traces: e.g. the FSCI in a house, such as the one in which you may live. (Thus, any attempt to restructure science [and reasoning about cause-effect more generally], that -- as we have now seen repeatedly in this thread -- cannot account for something as familiar as the houses in which we live, is blatantly intellectually bankrupt.) Please, please, rethink Q; and consider what you are still diverting this thread from dealing with. GEM of TKI kairosfocus
StephenB mentioned "Here is the answer I suspect that you would probably like to give: ...". I understand why you may be cynical, but that is not a fair assumption. I appreciate your comments - especially the comment that [1] (I assume the first [1] in post 90) would be sufficient. Specifically, you mentioned "[1] Mr. Q answers: Intelligent innovation is different from mechanical necessity. For that reason we can only detect the EFFECTS of intelligent agency. ..." That was an essential part of the point I was trying to make - that with the intelligent designer of ID, any claims about the causality of its agency must stop at effect, and can't extend back to cause. Which is different from other analyses of causality, in which cause and effect can be included. I apologize for being so wordy or clumsy that it wasn't clear. Besides, in a high-school science class, that form of answer correlates to the answer of the big-bang - science can't answer what caused it, but it can try to answer what it caused. Q
I] StephenB: Thanks for the kind words. I hope my remarks at 86 - 87 give an adequate summary on what is in fact the main focus, proper, of this thread of discussion. However, I see the exchange with Q on incidental and tangential matters continues, and I see you havbe pointed out a significant summary on the core issues and objections Q has made. I do think a remark or two on causality additional to your clear comments, will help. So, DV I will speak to them, and then briefly turn to the Amazon "reviews" watch. II] Q: I see your:
Essential to the classroom presentations is the message of causality - presented as action and reaction - and that an agent that causes action is at a different time, an agent on which the result of the causality acts. Essentially, at the high-school level, almost everything presented in science must be consistent with Newtonian mechanics - an agent is involved either in the cause or the effect, which leads to new causes and effects. In that regard, most of Kairosfocus’ arguments would fit in such a classroom. However, working causality backwards to when an intelligent designer is introduced into the process, the logic eventually fails. Astute students will immediately observe this . . . [89]
I remark, and bearing in mind the educartional issues of the advanced High School and College contexts [having successfully taught science and related areas, as well as critical thinking (and even introductory philosophy), at both levels]:
1--> Now, your working causality backwards to when an intelligent designer is introduced into the process reveals a key gap in your conception. Intelligent designers do not have to be “introduced” by “ working causality backwards” until we get to the remote past, they are present here and now, and their patterns of behaviour and traces of action are very experience-able and observable. 2 --> Thus, we may properly form the first level of an empirically anchored understanding of agency by looking around us and reflecting on our own actions. For instance, as has been raised multiple times above, consider the tossing of dice to play a game, or the typing up and posting of messages on a PC to go to this blog thread. Also, an analysis of cause through even the classic material, efficient, final and first causes would help clarify the concept. In particular, cause is at least simultaneous with effect [consider a fire], but in some cases is prior to it. [BTW, overnight, thanks to one of those shower-time brainwaves [a manifestation of creativity beyond mere logic . . .], I added a discussion to my always linked, on how we could create an information system out of dice and so we can contrast random arrangements of dice with meaningful ones, here.] 3 --> Once we do that, we can see that intelligent designers use mind and intelligence, which affect the material world in ways that manifest themselves informationally, as already discussed and as admirably summed up by StephenB: : Intelligent innovation is different from mechanical necessity. For that reason we can only detect the EFFECTS of intelligent agency . . . . Intelligence is by definition non-material, but it can influence the material world. Your mind is non-material, for example, but you can design a house and build it by organizing matter in a purposeful arrangement. 4 --> In particular, functionally specified complex information is an important manifestation of intelligence in action, and is a reliable indicator – when it is present – of such agency. In particular, we have no known cases where, having observed FSCI [NB a subset of CSI that is particularly recognisable as to specification] and directly knowing the causal history of an object or event, it does not trace to agent action. So, we confidently but of course provisionally inductively generalise: FSCI is a reliable empirical, observable sign of intelligent design, thus of agent action behind that design. 5 --> Further to this, reflection on the underlying statistical thermodynamics principles of situations with large contingency spaces and linked Information Theory [cf the always linked, App 1 section 6 for a clarifying thought experiment case study] leads us to see why. Namely, when we have a sufficiently large config space – over 10^150 – 10^300 cells [corresponding to ~ 500 – 1,000 bits of storage capacity], then a random walk based search – even with stage by stage functional filtering – that starts at an arbitrary location in the config space is maximally unlikely to find points, islands or archipelagos of relevant functionality. [BTW, given the old statistician's mnemonic, NOIR, the information storage capacity part is measurable in bits or similar units, and specification and fine-tuning can be sen through functionality and isolation in the config space. We may also rank complexity on a scale from simple to extreme complexity using the scale of the relevant configuration space.] 6 --> In certain cases of scientific interest, we see FSCI: nano tech of the cell, increments in same to get to the body-plan level of biodiversity. The organised, fine-tuned complexity of the physics of the cosmos to get to a life-facilitating cosmos is also a case in point. (Cf my discussion in the always linked.) Thus, on empirically anchored, provisional – and classically scientific – inference to best explanation, these cases are agent-produced. 7 --> As Thaxton et al discussed ever so long ago in their classic TMLO [the actual foundational technical level book of the modern design theory, Barbara Forrest, NCSE, ACLU and Judge “Copycat” Jones etc notwithstanding – cf Appendix 2 the always linked], the agent in the former two may, on the evidence we have, be within or beyond the observed cosmos. Of course, the former raises the onward issue of the first case of life in our cosmos – and to date we have no evidence that decisively points to life anywhere else in our observed universe. Thence, too, we face the issue of the fine-tuned, life facilitating cosmos. 8 --> Now, the inferred cosmogenetic agent would necessarily be beyond the observed cosmos, and would be vastly powerful and intelligent, probably also – if s/he exists – being the necessary being behind our observed cosmos of contingent beings that on current scientific thought credibly itself had a beginning at the Big Bang some 13.7 BYA. 9 --> These attributes of this agent are indeed some of the characteristics of the idea of God that is at least vaguely familiar to us from the historically important worldview known as Theism [which was the worldview of many of the founders of modern science and arguably contributed tot he birth of science], but strictly speaking, inference to such an agent while consilient with such a Deity, is not a proof of his existence beyond rational dispute. Thus, we see some of the debates over multiverses. And since those debates plainly go far beyond the reach of empirical data, they are worldview-level debates: no-one should be allowed to get away with “titular credibility” rhetorical games through labelling his thinking on such matters “Scientific,” especially if s/he is going to use that label to then dismiss alternatives without serious consideration. 10 --> Instead, the discussion should be based on sound philosophical method: comparative difficulties across live options on factual adequacy, coherence and explanatory power [elegant, not simplistic or ad hoc]. That is, one has a right to his or her opinions, but should be prepared to discuss it ands alternatives on an objective, civil and fair but fearless basis among the circle of the informed. This is a requirement of sound citizenship and leadership. (Want of this is part of the reason our civilisation is in deep and rapidly deepening trouble.) 10 --> In short, the logic of my argument, plainly, does not falter or fail; whatever Q may wish to assert. [Onlookers, follow back up the thread for details.].
III -- > Amazon “reviews” watch: 62 reviews as of this post, 28 x 5 *, 33 x 1 * , 1 x 3 *. The 1-star “reviews” still dominate the “most helpful,” an none of the three posted are actually credibly reviews based on reading and seriously responding tot he book, DOL. “208 of 230” claim to find IDC's “review” helpful. He has been unresponsive to the corrections of his gross blunders here at UD, especially his notion that intelligent agents do not create information, as was most recently addressed by me in 87, point 12. So great and fundamental is his blunder that it deserves to be again highlighted:
If something can be explained as intelligently designed, the amount of information is zero.
To this, my simple direct response is:
. . . the posts on this thread, and over at Amazon were plainly intelligently designed. Would IDC care to defend the thesis that the information content of these posts including his own is ZERO because they are intelligently designed?
Over to you, IDC. The unplayed ball is plainly in your court. GEM of TKI PS: Would one of UD's readers or commenters who has a customer account at Amazon care to post a summary of the correctives by myself and others as a part of a review of IDC et al? kairosfocus
Here are three answers that you could give: [1] Mr. Q answers: Intelligent innovation is different from mechanical necessity. For that reason we can only detect the EFFECTS of intelligent agency. We can detect the design in an ancient hunter’s spear, but we cannot discern the process by which he constructed it. [2] Mr. Q answers: Intelligence is by definition non-material, but it can influence the material world. Your mind is non-material, for example, but you can design a house and build it by organizing matter in a purposeful arrangement. [3] Mr. Q answers: One cannot establish the identity of the designer scientifically, because it can only detect the effects of intelligent innovation. The designer may well be God, but it need not be. Our best philosophers believed that it was God, so that’s probably the best answer. Here is the answer I suspect that you would probably like to give: [1] Mr. Q answers: There is no such thing as immaterial realities, minds, or any such thing as design in nature. How can there be design when everything is in flux and by definition cannot be a product of a purposeful creator. We live in a mechanistic universe that can be explained by physical laws and determined behavior. Why complicate things by introducing such a thing as God, mind, soul, spirit, and free will. There are only brains and you are nothing but an accident of nature. Answer [1] will suffice for answers [2] and [3]. StephenB
StephenB, I understand your concerns about what looks like a meandering argument. The problem I had in the construction of my argument is that I was trying to avoid the explicit introduction of religious principles. But, those priniciples were in the background of my argument from the first post, where I questioned the relationship of causality and agency. I admit, my method was far less than stellar. To provide some context to my motivations, in another thread, I pointed out that my interest in various aspects of ID is related to my career as a high school science instructor. Essential to the classroom presentations is the message of causality - presented as action and reaction - and that an agent that causes action is at a different time, an agent on which the result of the causality acts. Essentially, at the high-school level, almost everything presented in science must be consistent with Newtonian mechanics - an agent is involved either in the cause or the effect, which leads to new causes and effects. In that regard, most of Kairosfocus' arguments would fit in such a classroom. However, working causality backwards to when an intelligent designer is introduced into the process, the logic eventually fails. Astute students will immediately observe this. For example, I immediately expect such a discussion to be something along "Evidence suggests that life is too complex to have arisen through materialistic means. The best answer for the origin, and variation, of life is that it was the result of the actions of an intelligent designer." With the reply, "But Mr. Q, how?", expecting some materialistic extrapolation of cause and effect. Or with the reply, "Then Mr. Q, does that mean that the designer is materialistic or not?", observing the potential conflict of the constraints on a designer vs the constraints on the "real world". Or with the reply, "Mr. Q doesn't that mean that the designer must be God?", immediately realizing that the constraints on the "real world" need not apply to an understanding of the intelligent desginer. My point was meant to be that whatever arguments are used to link causality, agency, etc. in the observable world, they leave a void in how to address those student's questions. That tells me that the arguments used to link causality, agency, etc. must have limitations applied so that they do not make false inferences about a designer. Q
Q: This analysis will be brief, because I am not going to try to resolve issues that, apparently, you do not want to resolve. Frankly, I am beginning to wonder if even you can make sense out of your multiple objections. I suspect that either postmodern skepticism has rendered you impervious to reason, or else you were simply creating a distraction to the main theme of the thread. You begin with a [who-made-God] argument, followed by an [inference-is-a-presupposition] argument, followed by a [agent-cause-could-be-a-material-cause] argument, followed by a [creator can’t be a cause] argument, followed by a [mind-is only-a-brain] argument, followed by a [cause/effect-relationship-is-unfathonable] argument, followed by a [philosophical-reality-is-different-from-physical reality] argument, followed by a [cause-is-only-an-inference] argument, followed by a [self-evident-truth-is-really-a-presupposition] argument], topped off with an [I’m-not-a-materialist-but-I-really-am] argument. I stop here not because it completes the picture, but rather because I have pity on the poor onlooker, who may not want to process any more of them in one sitting. Perhaps I am being unfair, and perhaps I am not. My experience has taught me that as intellectual objections increase in number, the probability that they are sincere decreases proportionally. That and the fact that all of these "distractions" run concurrently with all of these mindless reviews of Dembski’s new book causes me to be suspicious of your motives as well. For what it is worth, I suggest that you abandon the errors of Hume/Kant and return to the principles of right reason. Begin with Mortimer Adler and work your way back to the "little error in the beginning." Equally important, reread kairosfocus' well-thought-out-posts without "looking for loopholes." StephenB
10] In point 9, I answered to IDC's attempted dismissal that “Kairosfocus understands that his position is not one of science but philosophy .” Namely:
observe: I have put the science in its philosophical context,and have explicitly identified that the explanatory filter is an application to a “novel” case of a well-proved, commonly applied mechanism of inference used in scientific contexts.
11] IDC then went out, dragging a red hering behind, to the predictable oil-soaked strawman: the claim by ID that design is that which remains once we have eliminated known (and unknown) processes of regularity and chance, fails to show that the remainder is either the empty set (when all known and unknown processes have been eliminated), or ‘false positives’ when not all unknown processes have been eliminated or ‘the supernatural’ which cannot be captured by natural processes of regularity and chance. --> But in fact, “the actual fact that we routinely see chance, necessity and agency in action is dodged, to try to cloud the atmosphere with the burning smoke of the philosophical strawman “ --> Notice, too that IDC simply refuses to engage even the simple case of a tumbling die as an instance of how comprehensive and subtly sophisticated the analysis of causal factors as tracing to chance, necessity and agency is. --> He then reverts to blind faith in the rubber-cheques issued by evo mat advocates in the name of the promise of the progress of “Science.” Sorry, too many bounced cheques and IOUs, we ain't taking anything but raw cash here today. --> How can we forget that IDC advocated NOTHING – the empty set! -- as a credible causal force! --> The notion of false positives onteh excpanatory filter was trotted out, without a single cited instance, i.e another rubber cheque. --> And of course, the strawman is then ignited, clouding the air with noxious smoke: ‘the supernatural’ 12] This astonishing bit of ignorance working as rhetoric on IDC's part has to be remembered for posterity: If something can be explained as intelligently designed, the amount of information is zero. --> First, the posts on this thread, and over at Amazon were plainly intelligently designed. Would IDC care to defend the thesis that the information content of these posts including his own is ZERO because they are intelligently designed? --> In passing, in 54 – 55 above, I addressed an attempt to dismiss the flagellum by reference to a recent dubious paper published in that now ever so compromised journal, nature. Excerpting and directly referring to and excerpting detailed technical rebuttals of the arguments used by Pallen and Matzke. --> Now, not only did IDC claim that intelligent agents produce no information, but in his onward comments on my comments, he kept it up. So, we see that he later said, Dec 24:
What I am showing is that Dembski’s reliance on probabilities fails since whether design is explained by natural processes or by an appeal to agency, both have high probabilities and thus low information.
--> I excerpted this in 76, point 3 and gave an introductory level technical response using F R Connor etc from 4 on – this is a “flunking Info theory 101”- level remark on IDC's part, as I warned him. (In my classes on the topic if he had said something like this in a quiz answer he would have got a richly deserved 0 for the question.) --> The heart of the point is as F R Connor so eloquently summarised in his classic Signals:
Information is not what is actually in a message but what could constitute a message. The word could implies a statistical definition in that it involves some selection of the various possible messages. The important quantity is not the actual information content of the message but rather its possible information content. This is the quantitative definition of information and so it is measured in terms of the number of selections that could be made. Hartley was the first to suggest a logarithmic unit . . . and this is given in terms of a message probability. [p. 79]
--> As I amplified, what happens is that symbols selected from a vocabulary are transmitted and appear in messages that have relative frequencies for given symbols sj which can then be turned into an a priori probability pj, which may then be detected correctly a fraction of the time corresponding to the after the fact probability dj. So, we wuantify information as: I = log [dj/pj] , which in the case where we and more or less put dj = 1, gives us: I = log [1/pj] = - log pj , so that when we have two sub-messages i and j, Itot = log1/(pi *pj) = [-log pi] + [-log pj] = Ii + Ij . --> Thus, the information content of messages can be quantified, and of course we routinely observe intelligent agents giving out information, which may be so quantified say in bits as in the messages int this thread and over at Amazon. --> But also, and ever so tellingly,
the question of receiving information arises AFTER an apparent symbol sj has been detected and decoded. That is, the issue of information inherently implies an inference to having received an intentional signal in the face of the possibility that noise could be present.
--> IDC of course routinely makes that inference when he tries to rebut Dembski and Wells or even the far more humble undersigned, but to do so, he roputinely accepts that FSCI is a reliable index of agent action. --> Why then – apart from, e.g., selective hyperskepticism rooted in a closed-minded, question-begging commitment to evolutionary materialism -- does he wish to reject the same implication when he sees say the far more information-rich, functionally specific and fine-tuned content of DNA? GEM of TKI kairosfocus
ALL: On the Darwinista "reviews" of Design of Life at Amazon: 1] My original observation on the first four negative “reviews” of books that by and large were not read, is here at no 7 on Ms O'Leary's original Dec 19th thread on how Darwinistas don't believe in information. 2] I then followed up with a summary on some of the then existing positive reviews, at no 9. By contrast the positive reviewers gave evidence of having read and trying to actually review, the book. 3] Dec 22, Gil Dodgen followed up with a thread on how the spin campaign backfired. Larry Fafarman raised the issue of John Kwok's “review.” I had included it as one of my four original reviews on the reviews, not realising that this was a particularly controversial case. I commented at no 15, concluding with reasons given:
In short, this is a case of unjustified personal attack, propagation of what Mr Kwok should know is blatant and slanderous misrepresentation and associated tyrannical miscarriage of justice carried out in the teeth of easily accessible facts to the contrary, AND it is coming from a Judge who under the US Constitution as properly understood, simply has not got jurisdiction on what he claims to be ruling on. It is certainly NOT a well-structured, fair minded book review. . . . . IMHCO, the “review” should not be hosted at Amazon. Those who are so uncivil that they can’t see why, are telling us a lot about themselves. Not to mention, also about why it would be dangerous to give such evo mat- driven secularists further power over the public square and key science, education and governmental institutions. What was that about “long train[s] of abuses and usurpations,” again . . . ?
4] in no 17, I followed up on what is the apparent root of Kwok's remarks, namely:
Mr Kwok’s core reason for rejecting the design inference on OOL and body-plan level biodiversity — and, one presumes, probably on the best explanation of the fine-tuned, organised complexity of the physics of a life-facilitating cosmos [cf my always linked for details] — is his advocacy of so-called methodological naturalism, compounded by his acceptance of Hume et al over Paley et al. The basic problem with this is, of course, that it in effect baldly asserts or implicitly assumes that no scientific explanation may properly infer outside or beyond the entities permitted by evolutionary materialist views of the origin of the cosmos [considered to be THE TRUTH] and what we see in it, up to and including the wholly endogenous emergence of intelligent agents such as ourselves. This is of course the same view taken by “Copycat” Jones in his notorious Dover Ruling, duly and slavishly following the ACLU’s post trial script [errors, misrepresentations and all], the NCSE’s advocacy, and the NAS’ declamations, etc. [Cf my always linked, Appendix 2.] But in fact, this boils down to a basic error in logic: the basic question is closed-mindedly begged at the outset, and is disguised under the alleged authority of today’s “consensus” of scientists and associated philosophers and historians of science.
--> I then went on to explain just why I drew that conclusion. 5] In turn that brings us to this thread, which Dr Dembski started Dec 20, by highlighting a particularly blatant case of Darwinista defensiveness and want of basic civility:
The following 1-star review, posted 8 hours ago, illustrates the Darwinists’ level of discourse at Amazon: >>By E. Duran (San Jose, CA USA) - See all my reviews I just finished reading this book without vomiting. I had to go back and read Darwin’s “Origin of Species” again to remove the bad taste out of my mouth.>> This is the whole review, unedited and unabridged. Even more pathetic is that “44 of 50 people found the following review [i.e., Duran’s review] helpful.” (As of 4:10pm CST, 20Dec07)
--> That tells us a lot, and none of it is pretty as we go into the new year – traditionally a time for good cheer and happy hopes.. --> But, that grim prospect is what we will have to face and answer and counter if Western Civilisation is to survive in any form worth the keeping. 6] As the above will show, my first remarks were at 29 – 30, responding to IDC's claimed knockdown rebuttal to the design inference. I showed that he simply does not know what he is talking about. [Onlookers who want a fast look at the issue in a bit broader context may want to look at my always linked.] 7] Of course, IDC came back to this at his review on Amazon, and in so doing further showed up his gaps in understanding and associated arrogantly dismissive hostility. [Also, at this point, Q's interventions came up . . .] 8] I came back to IDC in 41 – 42, noting the overlap in cases made by him and Q, and using that to structure my response. This same theme of overlap came back up in 45, later that Christmas Day. 9] In 46, I specifically took up IDC again, stareting at point 7 on IDC's atempt to reduce agency to chance + necessity: In other words, agency is nothing different from chance and regularity. --> To do that, I focussed on the significance of FSCI:
observe how neatly IDC side-steps explicitly addressing the key “circumstantial evidence” and “physical evidence” issue that agents routinely leave empirical traces of their actions, i.e. organised complexity, often seen as FSCI. For, it is precisely the presence of functional, information-bearing patterns towards credible goals that would otherwise be vastly improbable that fingers agent action in forensic, archaeological or similar scientific situations. In that context, motive, means, and opportunity are obviously factors relating to purpose.
--> in point 8, I challenged IDC to come up with a well demonstrated account of his claimed fallacy on my part: the fallacious claims of materialism being impotent to account for a credible mind . --> Of course, he has never answered the case on the dynamical impotence and resulting logical incoherence of materialism in accounting for mind, which can be seen here for the price of a single click, but also which I laid out in 41 to Q [then I was under the impression Q was a plain simple evo mat advocate, based on the remarks he had made hitherto]. [ . . . ] kairosfocus
6] When making claims about causation that are so broad as to include the designer, can you even safely assert that “creation” even occured? To consider that creation -- onlookers, observe my use of the lower case "c" -- is a possible action of an agent is not to declare affirmatively and a priori that it has occurred. That is, to refuse to rule out agents as a possible empirically detectable causal force is to refuse to beg metaphysical level questions. And, that brings us back to Kant's blunder by self-contradiction (his “little error at the beginning”) -- again, as long since commented on correctively but unfortunately overlooked or ignored. In effect Kant asserted that we can “only” know within the circle of our minds, i.e the phenomenal world of things as they appear to us, not the actual world of things in themselves. So, our knowledge relates to a mental infrastructure of categories that we impose on sense-data that may flow in and be filtered through our senses. So, to infer to agent cause is “necessarily” to impose within our minds the category of agents and to invite all sorts of triumphantly strawman-battering rhetorical issues on how such an assumption is a priori, ill-founded, unnecessarily limiting etc, etc, etc. [All of this should by now sound quite familiar.] But in fact, all of this is utterly unnecessary. For as the philosphers Kreeft and Tacelli note on Kant's philosophy in their ever so useful modern resurrection of that classic medieval genre known as the “summa” -- Aquinas' was only one of many, on many domains of learning -- quite aptly:
[Kant's] “Copernican Revolution in philosophy” was the claim that our knowledge does not conform to a real object but vice versa . . . All the form, determination, specificity or knowable content comes from the mind and is projected out onto the world rather than coming from the world and being impressed upon the mind . . . . Kant's “Copernican revolution” is self-contradictory, just as simple [radical or selective] skepticism is. After all, if Kant was right, how could he possibly have known he was right in terms of his system? He couldn't. He could never know that there are “things- in- themselves,” onto which the knowing self projects all knowable content. That would be knowing the unknowable, thinking both sides of thought's limit. There is a half truth in Kantianism. Some knowledge is conditioned by our forms of consciousness(e.g. Colors by the eye, measurements by artificial scales and ideological positions by personal preferences). But even here there must be some objective content first that is received and known, before it can be classified or interpreted by the knowing subject.[Handbook of Christian Apologetics, (Crowborough, England: Monarch, 1995) pp. 372 – 373.]
In short, Kant inescapably claims to know what he, on the premises of his system, cannot; refuting himself. So, we can freely take it that we do in fact receive objective though potentially fallible information from the external world, which we then respond to. So, for instance, as Royce pointed out: “error exists” implies that there is knowable truth. (To see that just try to deny that little claim – it is undeniably true as the attempted denial will instantiate its truth.) So, we ARE discussing what may objectively be in the external world not just in our perceptions considered as pre-filtered mental data, and preconceived infrastructure of ideas. So, we can experience and observe agency, and can identify recognisable empirical signs of it, at least on the provisional basis that is the inevitable constraint on scientific reasoning. Then, we can note that such agents routinely leave recognisable traces of their actions: from the digital text of messages all the way to the pyramids, cave-paintings, burials in beds of flowers and flint-knappings of ancient men. But in fact, all of these reflect the characteristic that agents as we observe them from our daily experience, are creative, so creation objectively occurs as a mark of agent action, as I noted all the way back to point 3 in post 29, to IDC over at Amazon:
H’mm I always thought Napoleon used to say that when you have an opposing general pinned down to one of two options, each bad, he will “predictably” choose the third one. That is the unpredictable option. IDC, FYI, the essence of intelligence is that it is rational, and so will follow logic in general, but [is] also creative, and so is able to do the utterly unexpected and unforeseen.
In short, small-c creation occurs, and is a sign of agent action based on the creative power of mind. Thus, my response to the original remark by Q, that “God, i.e. intelligent designer, may produce results without causation. Or, may produce reaction before action. This intelligent designer/God may even be able to produce results in our domain of experience without any causality in our domain of experience” was well warranted. That brings us to the capstone of all the above remarks by Q: 7] those of us that are not the intelligent designer may observe something being “created”. But a designer that exists in all of space and time? Creation to the designer may be meaningless. On the corrective contrary:
1 --> Once we observe that something is created, as discussed, creation occurs and is known to be a manifestation of agency. 2 --> In the products of such creative action, we observe organised, purposeful complexity. 3 --> In particular, the results of creative activity often show functionally specified, complex information [FSCI]. 4 --> And, in EVERY case where that happens, and we directly know the cause, FSCI is a reliable sign of agent causation. 5 --> Thus we are well warranted to infer inductively relative to empirical evidence, that FSCI is a marker of agency. 6 --> Thus, we are well-warranted to use the explanatory filter to identify cases of FSCI and to infer from its presence that design is present and agent action has occurred. 7 --. Cases of interest include – as is discussed in my always linked – origin of life, body plan level biodiversity, and the fine-tuned, organised complexity of the physics of the observed cosmos. 8 --> Thus, the evolutionary materialist paradigm and its cascade of evolutions by chance + necessity only from hydrogen tot he first humans, is plainly and objectively and credibly shown to be deeply, probably inescapably factually inadequate.
And thereby hangs a long tale on the increasing desperation of the Darwinistas. GEM of TKI kairosfocus
Q: Apology accepted. I see there are additional points that require further remarks, and I will then move back to main focus, first by outlining and linking to the key comments I have made on the Amazon Darwinista “reviews” of Design of Life. That is after all, the central issue of this thread, and it is an important one as it exposes the agenda and tactics that we face. So now, by way of a few (hopefully closing off) remarks on the side issues that have dominated this thread to date: 1] Q, 83: I’ve not been questioning the explanatory filter. In fact, Q has been repeatedly challenging the logic of the explanatory filter -- and frankly, a LOT of thought in sci and even phil or day to day common sense reasoning – which rests on recognising that causality is real and leaves detectable traces that point to its source. These traces relate to one or more of the three generic causal factors, chance, necessity and agency. Each is a logically possible (and in fact often observed) cause [which is all the metaphysical commitment that the EF needs or makes], and in many situations all act, as in the prime example I have repeatedly given:
heavy objects tend to fall under the natural regularity we call gravity. If the object is a die, the face that ends up on the top from the set {1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6} is for practical purposes a matter of chance. But, if the die is cast as part of a game, the results are as much a product of agency as of natural regularity and chance. Indeed, the agents in question are taking advantage of natural regularities and chance to achieve their purposes!
As I noted immediately following this excerpt from Section A of my always linked: [t]his concrete, familiar illustration should suffice to show that the three causal factors approach is not at all arbitrary or dubious -- as some are tempted to imagine or assert. 2] your arguments are too broad, and end up making claims about the intelligent designer. Onlookers, the only commitment I have made at the outset -- and Dembski before me, and statistical inference based on null hypothesis rejection etc for that matter -- is that the three commonly observed causal factors may be acting into a given situation. So, the EF sets out to filter out cases that may beyond reasonable doubt be attributed to design even though we may not have been there to see the relevant agents in action. Inference to the specific candidate agents is a step that then may occur under whatever label is relevant, whether science, or archaeology or forensics or philosophy. In short, there is one thing that5 Q has NOT done, i.e. he has NOT shown that the claims I have made are unsupportable in their breadth. Indeed too often above, he has put in my mouth claims that were not there and has as a result tilted at strawmen. Sadly, even at the end, haveing had to accept that he misattributed a series of claims to me, he still seems unable to see that he has been tilting at a strawman in general. 3] When you mention “But Q, a god, or God, is by definition, an agent.”, you are making the same point I’ve made. But, you did not address my concerns about the previous claims you’ve made regarding the relationship between causality and agency. First, AGAIN, the only commitment I have made is that we commonly -- and without clearly identifiable exception [onlookers, observe that even after dozens of posts, Q cannot come up with a clear exception that does not fit in under one of the three factors] -- observe that there are three major causal factors: chance, necessity , agency. In particular, I observed that gods, or God, would be agents. That is, intelligent actors capable of having purposes and creatively synthesising plans and effecting them towards those ends. Now, above in 75, Q identified "a God" as a proposed "exception" to thew cuausal pattern of factors, chance, necessity, agency. I simply pointed out that a god or God would obviously be an agent. Indeed, in my always linked, in addresing what intelligence is, I long since noted:
. . . let us identify what intelligence is. This is fairly easy: for, we are familiar with it from the characteristic behaviour exhibited by certain known intelligent agents -- ourselves. Specifically, as we know from experience and reflection, such agents take actions and devise and implement strategies that creatively address and solve problems they encounter; a functional pattern that does not depend at all on the identity of the particular agents. In short, intelligence is as intelligence does. So, if we see evident active, intentional, creative, innovative and adaptive [as opposed to merely fixed instinctual] problem-solving behaviour similar to that of known intelligent agents, we are justified in attaching the label: intelligence. [Note how this definition by functional description is not artificially confined to HUMAN intelligent agents: it would apply to computers, robots, the alleged alien residents of Area 51, Vulcans, Klingons or Kzinti, or demons or gods, or God.] But also, in so solving their problems, intelligent agents may leave behind empirically evident signs of their activity; and -- as say archaeologists and detectives know -- functionally specific, complex information [FSCI] that would otherwise be improbable, is one of these signs.
4] When the claims are so broad as to make assertions about the intelligent designer of ID, it is necessary to drop the claim that all agency is related to causality the same. The agency of the designer must be expected to be wholly different than the agency of a person playing a game - that designer may be a God, but the game player isn’t. Note on the idea of God: in short, we see here the concept that God is so utterly other that a human cannot be made in his image! That may be true of Islam's view of God, but it is certainly not the only possible position on the relationship between humans and God. More seriously, I have long since pointed out that the concept intelligent agency can be grounded in our own experience and observation. Once we do so, we can identify a functional pattern that we can then use to recognise an agent by his or her -- or for that matter, it's [I make no commitments on agents needing to be in sexes like we humans are] -- actions and the empirically observable traces thereof. Especially, organised, functionally specified, information-rich complexity. Indeed, as I discussed at length in my always linked, Appendix 1 section 6, on the principles that underly statistical thermodynamics [and linked information theory] we have excellent reason to accept that this inference is highly reliable. 5] But, the study of ID is to infer the results of a designer. Your arguments, however, do so by making claims about agency and causality, and then because your arguments aren’t sufficiently limited, they include the inference that the intelligent designer of ID is consistent with those claims. Your arguments need to be revised to avoid making inferences about the limitations under which the designer may operate. Excuse me. This is like complaining that because Cricket is not like Football it is not a legitimate game. To see what I mean: I have long since noted that the design inference process, per Dembski, is interested in one specific area of study -- one which addresses specific cases of highly significant interest:
intelligent design begins with a seemingly innocuous question: Can objects, even if nothing is known about how they arose, exhibit features that reliably signal the action of an intelligent cause? . . . Proponents of intelligent design, known as design theorists, purport to study such signs formally, rigorously, and scientifically. Intelligent design may therefore be defined as the science that studies signs of intelligence.
To study a delimited area, with significant implications, is not at all to make claims about all that agent causation can do, it is simply to provide a way to reliably identify based on characteristic traces of agents in action that may occur in such cases, that agents have acted in certain situations where we were not there to watch. This is not at all to constrain agents to "have" to act in such ways in all cases, nor is it a global a priori commitment on the nature of any one being that may be called a god or God, etc. Nor is it the case that the arguments are not "sufficiently limited." They are simply studying one case of interest -- given that agents are known in some cases to leave traces of their action that show characteristics of organised complexity. That we identify such a case on the nanotechnology of the cell "only" entails that the evolutionary materialist account is empirically and factually inadequate. That is, it is a paradigm in crisis in the face of the ever expanding knowledge of the complexity of the information systems and technologies now known to be operating in the cell. On the organised complexity of the cosmos, it is now increasingly evident as well that agency is a credible candidate explanation of what we observe. The resort to the ad hoc metaphysical prop of multiverses in the guise of "science," simply reflects the broadening and deepening crisis that now engulfs evolutionary materialism as a paradigm of science and as a broader worldview. (And that is what is reflected in the desperate tactics of the Darwinistas over at Amazon.] [. . . ] kairosfocus
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