Intelligent Design

UB Takes Down a Bogart

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My dictionary defines a “bogart” as: “a person who hogs or monopolizes something; or a person who acts in a tough or aggressive way.”

In a recent exchange Upright Biped took down a bogart in his usual inimitable way. The last paragraph pointing out the position of many materialists is ultimately faith-based is a gem.

Acartia_bogart:

Finally: Scientists clearly admit that they don’t know how life originated, and will never know (unless they invent time travel). But they will narrow it down to a small number if good contenders. And intelligent design won’t be amongst them because that still leaves the question of how the intelligent designer originated. By definition, an intelligent designer must be alive. You can call it a spirit, a god, the Holy Ghost, whatever. It thinks, it plans, it is alive.

Upright Biped:

bogart,
Design theory cannot identify the designer because a means to do so is not in the material evidence. Mankind’s inability to name the intelligence does not suddenly increase the capacity of inanimate to organize itself into a semiotic translation apparatus and fill a medium with functional form when translated. Yet, the living cell cannot be organized otherwise.
Design theory posits the only verifiable source for a semiotic system based on a finite set iterative representations arranged in a linear dimensional code. It can be falsified by a single example of such a system rising without intelligent guidance.

On the other hand, a theory that is ultimately defended by “We don’t know how it happened yet, but we know it wasn’t guided and we’ll prove it someday” is a theory that can never be falsified, and therefore must be taken on faith alone.

28 Replies to “UB Takes Down a Bogart

  1. 1
    GBDixon says:

    Nice comment, but I would amend it to say, “We have not yet found material evidence that identifies the designer”. Asserting a means to do so is not in the material evidence assumes too much.

  2. 2
    Evolve says:

    ///On the other hand, a theory that is ultimately defended by “We don’t know how it happened yet, but we know it wasn’t guided and we’ll prove it someday” is a theory that can never be falsified, and therefore must be taken on faith alone.///

    This is stupid.
    A scientific investigation only rules out something based on the lack of supporting evidence, not on the basis of personal whims or bias.

    We don’t know whether the origin of life was “guided”. All we know is that, currently, there isn’t sufficient evidence to support a design theory. Such a theory requires at least two things:

    1. Evidence for extra-terrestrial designers who have intervened with matters on earth

    2. Lack of a better explanation than intelligent design

    Evidence for extra-terrestrial designers with a special interest on earth is totally lacking. And explanations other than design have not been ruled out at all. Far from it; because life is nothing more than chemistry. The building blocks of DNA, RNA, proteins and other biomolecules are universally present. Chemistry happens spontaneously in nature without any external “guidance”. Origin of life researchers are trying to figure out the primordial earth chemistry that could have led to the first living cells. And they have made slow, but promising, progress.

    That’s infinitely better than ID proponents’ pet hypothesis which does nothing more than drawing poor analogies of living systems with man-made objects and concluding “there’s design in both cases, therefore the case is closed”.

  3. 3
    Acartia_bogart says:

    Actually, Bogart is the name of my cat and your definition describes him quite well.

    With out invoking God, as ID claims it does not, please provide me with a theory as to how an intelligent designer originated. Saying that you don’t have to because it is beyond man’s ability to know this is just “kicking it upstairs”. For ID to work, the Intelligent designer must be God, or created by God. And, personally, I don’t have a problem with people believing this as an explanation of the origin of life and its evolution. But if it is a belief based on faith, it can’t be studied scientifically. This is not intended as an insult of religion. This is a limitation that the scientific process has placed on itself. And it is a process that works very well inspire of the scientists involved who have all the same strengths, weaknesses and character flaws as every other human being.

  4. 4
    Bateman says:

    Hi Bogart:

    I love your admission about the cat!

    When you say faith can not be studied scientifically, I believe that is depending on what you mean by faith. I tend to see faith as related to its Latin root “fides.” Romans saw it as “reliability” or trust within a relationship -healthy trust is based on evidence and consistency. My faith is not a leap in the dark, and the evidence I base it on is open to logical and scientific query.

    So I slightly disagree with your assertion that faith (at least of the Christian thinker’s variety) can’t be tested scientifically; the basis of faith can. It’s one of the reasons I love the Christian religion, it dares the believer and nonbeliever alike to put it to the test!

    I wonder what others may think of my assertion .

    Good luck out there, Bogart; and your cat!

  5. 5
    Eric Anderson says:

    Evolve @2:

    We don’t know whether the origin of life was “guided”. All we know is that, currently, there isn’t sufficient evidence to support a design theory. Such a theory requires at least two things:

    1. Evidence for extra-terrestrial designers who have intervened with matters on earth

    2. Lack of a better explanation than intelligent design

    Your “extra-terrestrial” assertion is superfluous, but I’ll overlook that for a moment. Contrary to what you say, there is excellent evidence that an intelligent agent “intervened with matters on earth.” As UB mentioned, ID presents the only plausible source capable of producing the systems in question. Furthermore, we have everyday experience that supports the inference.

    And explanations other than design have not been ruled out at all. Far from it; because life is nothing more than chemistry. The building blocks of DNA, RNA, proteins and other biomolecules are universally present. Chemistry happens spontaneously in nature without any external “guidance”.

    Oh, boy. Not this again. We devoted a whole thread to this recently. Life most definitely does not arise solely by dint of chemistry.

    Origin of life researchers are trying to figure out the primordial earth chemistry that could have led to the first living cells. And they have made slow, but promising, progress.

    You are misunderstanding the problem. It is not so much a question of finding out the right chemistry. It is a question of how — even with the “right” chemistry — the chemistry could come together on its own to create systems that go beyond the chemistry, such as the translation apparatus UB points to.

    I’ll spot you all the chemistry you want. Show us how life arises with such chemistry.

  6. 6
    Eric Anderson says:

    A_B @3:

    Consider two questions:

    1. Is X designed?
    2. Who designed X?
    3. Where did the designer come from?

    These are logically distinct questions and can be asked separately. ID only addresses the first question.

    The second and third questions are interesting. We can even add some additional questions about the purpose or intent or motives of the designer. And we could have some interesting and possibly even enlightening discussions about those questions. But all those things go beyond ID.

    ID is a very limited question. It does not seek to answer all things. It is not and has never claimed to be a theory of everything.

    In so many cases we find that people are uncomfortable with the implications of an affirmative answer to #1. I say, tough. ID is not in the business of pandering to someone’s philosophical preferences on the later questions. ID asks a very simple, limited question; a purely objective and scientific one. If the answer to that question is affirmative, then so be it. Let the implications fall where they may.

  7. 7
    Acartia_bogart says:

    Bateman, certainly, the existence if Jesus, the timelines and historic depictions in the bible can be examined scientifically. But many parts of the Christian religion are taken on faith and can’t be examined scientifically. For example, did angels appear? Did God turn anyone into a pillar of salt? Did Moses part the Red Sea? Was Mary a virgin? And the ultimate questions, does God exist and was Jesus the son of God. All of these can be studied philosophically, but not scientifically.

  8. 8
    Bateman says:

    I hear you, Bogart. I combine the forensic evidence that you mention with the Minimal Facts approach, then extrapolate from there. I don’t base my faith first on the historicity of Genesis! I didn’t say everything is testable; but we are on the similar pages, I think.

  9. 9
    Upright BiPed says:

    Here is the evident materialist’s position in a nutshell:

    1) We are not profited by having an interest in, or discussions about, the evidence of design in biology.

    2) We are not profited by accurate descriptions of the propositions that design advocates make.

    3) We are profited by insisting that ID advocates adhere to standards that we do not apply to ourselves.

    – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

    I have tried repeatedly to engage both of you (Evolve and Bogart) in some of the evidence of design in biology. One of you responds by leaving the conversation, and the other simply ignores me at every turn.

    If either of you want to engage in a discussion, then why don’t you pick up on a recent discussion with AVS, who just like you, argues that living systems are completely explicable by chemistry.

    Make an argument if you wish.

  10. 10
    Upright BiPed says:

    Here is the relevant text from that conversation:

    AVS:
    The transcription and translation processes are entirely based on chemistry.

    Can you explain why functional sequence specific DNA cannot be reduced to chemistry?

    UB:
    Because there is a chemical discontinuity between the nucleic medium and the amino acid effect that must be preserved in order for translation to be obtained.

    AVS:
    And what is this chemical discontinuity exactly, Upright?

    UB:
    There is nothing you can do to the nucleic pattern GCA to relate it to Alanine, except translate it. Which is what the cell does.

    AVS:
    It’s related by another nucleic pattern, bound to alanine, that has a specific sequence that associates with that GCA.

    UB:
    The base pairing that enables transcription between nucleotides does not establish a relationship to alanine. That relationship is established by the protein aaRS before the transfer RNA ever enters the ribosome.

    UB:
    AVS, is there an inexorable chemical relationship between pattern GCA and alanine, or is it a contingent relationship?

    AVS:
    But there is a relationship. You just explained it. The amino acid is associated with the aaRS, which associates with tRNA, which associates with mRNA. This relationship is the product of the evolution of these molecules.

    UB:
    Correct. The relationship is established in spatial and temporal isolation by the protein aaRS.

    So, there is a physical discontinuity between the nucleic pattern and the amino acid, which is contingent on the structure of the protein aaRS. Therefore, there is nothing about the pattern that determines the amino acid, and consequently, chemistry cannot explain the association. It can only explain the operation of the system with the association in place.

    AVS:
    The association of the tRNA with aaRS determines the amino acid as I said. The chemical evolution that occurred would explain the why these molecules associate in our cells now, an ultimately arbitrary decision, driven by chemical interactions that occurred in early cells.

    UB:
    The cells decided huh? cool

    AVS, there is a chemical discontinuity between the nucleic medium and the amino acid effect, and that discontinuity must be preserved in order for translation to be obtained.

    Do you know why?

    (…think about it)

    AVS:
    That chemical discontinuity between nucleotide and protein is bridged by more chemical interactions though, UB, which as I said are the product of evolution. Yes the cells “decided” for lack of a better word. This is one of the problems with you guys, scientists try to put things in the simplest terms an you completely blow these terms out of proportion.

    UB:
    I’m glad you now recognize the discontinuity.

    My question is: Do you know why it’s there, and why the system must preserve it during translation?

    (hint: it’s not evolution)

    AVS:
    It is evolution UB. Early organisms evolved this translating system to carry out more diverse functions with better efficiency. The system we see today is the result of the chemical evolution that occurred in these early organisms and has been conserved to this day.

    UB:
    This is not an answer to the question. Do you know why it’s there, and why the system must preserve it during translation? There is an identifiable reason. What is it?

    AVS:
    UB, there obviously needs to be a connection to nucleotide and amino acid that is conserved. The system we have been talking about does this and it does this based on chemical interactions. And the evolution of this system was based on chemical interactions. That’s it. Make your point already.

    UB:
    AVS,

    I was giving you the benefit of the doubt, hoping you could think for yourself. Why would a physical discontinuity be required in a chemo/mechanical system in order to get a particular amino acid presented at the peptide binding site? Why would such a system need to preserve that discontinuity in order to produce the effect?

    The physical effect of having a particular amino acid presented at a binding site at a particular point in time is not something that can be derived from physical law – it’s not some innate property to be drawn from, or activated in, the atomic composition of matter. So a discontinuity will naturally exist in any system that produces such an effect. That discontinuity is required in order to allow the input of formal constraint (information) into the system, where it can produce an effect that operates under physical law, but is not determined by it. In other words, it’s an operational necessity to achieve the result.

    And the system must preserve that discontinuity for much the same reason. From a purely mechanical standpoint, if the effect were derivable directly from the physical properties of the medium, then it would be so by the forces of inexorable law, and those inexorable forces would limit the system to what can be physically derived from that medium, thus making the input of form (not derived from that medium) impossible to achieve.

    However, incorporating the discontinuity by preserving it allows the effect to be determined by a second arrangement of matter operating in the system. This second arrangement establishes a local relationship between the medium and its effect (bridging the discontinuity while preserving it). This relationship then becomes an identifiable regularity of the system, allowing the system the capacity to produce lawful effects not determined by physical law.

    UB:
    …by the way.

    This entire arrangement is a necessary precondition of the genotype-phenotype distinction. It must be in place prior to the onset of Darwinian evolution. To say this system is the product of Darwinian avolution, is to say that a thing that does not yet exist on a pre-biotic earth can cause something to happen.

    Which is obviously false.

    *crickets*

  11. 11
    Dr JDD says:

    You know what makes me crack up about these sorts of arguments? One of the first threads I ever read on UD – entitled something like “A world famous chemist tells the truth – there is noone alive that understands evolution.” The thread about a nobel laureate in CHEMISTRY that claims noone can rationally explain how evolution works.

    And you know what made me chuckle in the pro-evolution camp in one of their first responses on that thread I saw and just laughed? ALong the lines of:

    “Well he isn’t an evolutionary biologist is he.”

    Oh right. So you have to be an evolutionary biologist to “get” evolution do you? It’s OK to not make sense in other parts of proven science, because they just do not understand as it is only the evolutionary biologists who understand.

    For evolution to be true, it has to hold to the laws within the system it is in, and one of those is chemistry. Now we have people who know much less about chemistry and building things that a nobel prize winner in that field telling us it is all simple and easy and natural chemistry. It just happens, as that is what chemistry does!

    Just like that circuit board in this rectangular thing I have that appeared after I went to work this morning and now is translating when I press the “A” on it to type an “A” on the screen. It just self assembled, after all its just chemistry.

    Apologies but when someone makes a ridiculous statement the only way to answer is with an equally ridculous statement.

    I’m so glad we have our resident chemistry expert in evolution here to reassure us it is all just plain old chemistry!

    Reminds me of another story – that one that Creationists in the past used to use. That old beetle story that fires acid out of its backside. The one Dawkins like to mock Creationists for using as mixing the chemicals does nothing…without a catalyst (enzyme). But its all just chemistry so it will happen anyway. Like the Creationists wrongly using that argument, so too was Dawkins (i.e. how in the world do you evolve separate compartments with the components of the reaction then an enzyme that allows it to catalyse that reaction in a defense mechanism against predators?!).

  12. 12
    tjguy says:

    GBDIXON @ 1

    “Nice comment, but I would amend it to say, “We have not yet found material evidence that identifies the designer”. Asserting a means to do so is not in the material evidence assumes too much.”

    Although it doesn’t provide scientific evidence, I personally believe we do have material evidence that identifies the designer.

    We call it “God’s Word”.

  13. 13
    Acartia_bogart says:

    UB:

    “We call it “God’s Word”.”

    This is why it is pointless to debate. But if you seriously want to discuss evidence for ID, bring it on. But use real evidence that supports ID, not just point out what you perceive as flaws with the evolutionary theory. Cherry picking research errors and bad behaviour by scientists who support one theory is not proof that the theory is wrong. It is just proof that scientists are human.

    By all accounts, Newton was paranoid and vindictive. But that doesn’t mean that his theories were wrong. It just means that he was a sad excuse for a human being.

  14. 14
    Dionisio says:

    Dr JDD @ 11

    Just like that circuit board in this rectangular thing I have that appeared after I went to work this morning and now is translating when I press the “A” on it to type an “A” on the screen. It just self assembled, after all its just chemistry.

    Of course, that’s all it is, just chemistry. What else? The reason UB, the famous chemist you mentioned, you and I don’t agree is because we are ignorant creationist IDiots who don’t understand ‘n-D evo’ at all. That’s the best explanation we can get from some folks out there. Really pathetic, isn’t it? Welcome to this world.

    Sarcasm aside, I enjoy reading your comments. Thank you.

  15. 15
    Upright BiPed says:

    bogart,

    Why attribute something to me that I clearly did not say?

    Is this easier than taking on in earnest the points I’ve actually raised here and elsewhere? (which, by the way, have nothing whatsoever to do with “flaws with evolutionary theory” or “cherry picking research errors” or the “bad behaviour by scientists”).

  16. 16
    Dionisio says:

    Acartia_bogart @ 13

    UB:

    “We call it “God’s Word”.”

    Please, can you write the comment # where you quoted UB from?

    Thus one can see the quote within the original context it was copied from.

    Or was it from UB’s OP?

    Thank you.

  17. 17
    Dionisio says:

    Upright BiPed @ OP, @ 9, @ 10

    Well done! Thank you.

  18. 18
    Mung says:

    A + bogart (the cat):

    But if you seriously want to discuss evidence for ID, bring it on. But use real evidence that supports ID, not just point out what you perceive as flaws with the evolutionary theory.

    Hasn’t Upright BiPed presented that evidence, repeatedly?

    What evidence would support ID?

    (Predicted response: Evidence of the designer.)

  19. 19
    Andre says:

    Bogart….

    Who designed the designer is a cop-out, What you are actually asking for is an explanation of the explanation, of course doing this is illogical because you might as well then ask who designed the designer that designed the designer….. ad infinitum…..

    Maybe you should ask yourself this?

    Why do I find the idea of a designer so repulsive?

    You simply can not assert that what we observe was the product of mindless random events, there is absolutely no evidence for that.

    Can we get some honesty for a change?

  20. 20
    ScuzzaMan says:

    @Acartia_bogart

    But Newton WAS wrong.

    He was one of history’s greatest scientists, and a Christian, and he was wrong.

    I seem to have mislocated your point …

  21. 21
    Evolve says:

    Eric,

    ///Contrary to what you say, there is excellent evidence that an intelligent agent “intervened with matters on earth.” ///

    Oh really? Then produce it.

    ///ID presents the only plausible source capable of producing the systems in question. Furthermore, we have everyday experience that supports the inference.///

    There’s no point in repeating the same old mistake again & again, Eric.
    You just cannot conclude that a designer created life by drawing an analogy to humans and human-designed objects.

    Man-made objects do not occur naturally, they don’t grow, metabolize, reproduce & evolve on their own. Life does all this without any external intervention (as far as we can see). In addition, the history of life and the relationship between organisms show, more or less, the exact pattern predicted by common ancestry and evolutionary theory.

    When it comes down to the building blocks of life such as nucleotides & amino acids, they are present throughout the cosmos, not just on earth. They occur even in meteorites and interstellar dust, places that don’t harbour any life. Life operates at the basic level through biochemistry and chemistry happens spontaneously in nature.

    Moreover, if you’re comparing your designer to humans, then it’s only fair to expect that the designer should have acted like humans and he must also be subjected to the same limitations humans have. For example, why did he take billions of years to create all life forms? Humans leave ample traces of their activity. Where are the tools and traces of your designer? Why does life show a pattern of nested hierarchy, but man-made pbjects do not?

    All these are devastating to your claim that a designer created life. Your strategy is dead in the water as the past several decades have shown. ID has totally failed to break into the mainstream. The only way you can prove your claim is by producing solid evidence and by making testable predictions.

    Specifically, you got to produce direct evidence of a designer (beyond inferring from human examples) and then predict how he acted to create the various life forms. Those predictions can then be tested to see if they offer better explanations for the data than evolutionary theory.

    All you’re doing now is taking any and every discovery and retrofitting it to your design hypothesis. Your designer is so unknown and imaginary that he’s capable of doing anything! That won’t work in science, sorry.

  22. 22
    Acartia_bogart says:

    @Scuzzaman:

    “But Newton WAS wrong.”

    True. But he was right enough to get us to the moon and back and to send a probe outside the universe.

  23. 23
    Andre says:

    Evolve….

    Are you joking? The evidence for design in biological systems are not a mere analogy they are real and who ever said that intelligence is only human? Ever consider the problem how the hell biological of matter miraculously coming alive and build itself? How did random processes create a network in a single human that has more cabling than made made cabling on earth? How about a processing unit that is 49 000 times more powerful than the best unit we’ve ever built to date, how about the fact that that all the information we have ever created fits into less than 1% of your storage capacity? And what about the fact that each one of your 100 trillion cells each have a 100 000 chemical reactions every second and you don’t blow up? That not scientific enough for you? Then how about the fact that all the atoms in your body has been replaced with new ones in the last year yet you are still you warts and memories and all?

    Embrace how beautifully you have been engineered the universe has now equal to the marvel you are….

  24. 24
    Andre says:

    Evolve….

    Not from a phone this time 🙂

    Are you joking? The evidence for design in biological systems are not a mere analogy they are real (error correction, encoding, decoding inputs outputs) and who ever said that intelligence is only human?

    Ever consider the problem of how inanimate matter by itself could become animate? How did random processes create a network in a single human that has more cabling than all the man made cabling on earth? How about a processing unit that is 49 000 times more powerful than the best unit we’ve ever built to date? How about the fact that that all the information we have ever created fits into less than 1% of your very own storage capacity? And what about the fact that each one of your 100 trillion cells, each have a 100 000 chemical reactions every second and you don’t blow up?

    That not scientific enough for you? Then how about the fact that all the atoms in your body has been replaced with new ones in the last year yet here you are warts, memories and all?

    Embrace how beautifully you have been engineered the universe has no equal to the marvel you are.

    But take this home with you, You are entitled to your own opinion, you are however not entitled to your own facts.

    You are beautifully engineered accept it.

  25. 25
    tjguy says:

    A+Bogart @ 13

    I am the one who said that we have evidence and said the evidence was God’s Word, not UB.

    UB’s points are valid. The Bible doesn’t count as evidence for you guys, but for me it does. Certainly it is not scientific evidence, but evidence none the less.
    This has nothing to do with Intelligent Design; it is my personal belief.

  26. 26
    Dionisio says:

    tjguy @ 25
    We enjoy pure science, because it reveals God’s creation. But this is nothing new. The pioneers of the modern science saw it this way too.
    There’s no scientific explanation for anything that is supernatural, i.e. transcendent to matter and energy, transcendent to this universe [or any multiverse variant].
    Our belief is the product of our renewed minds, because our Maker opened our spiritual eyes. We have been saved through our faith in Christ’s redemptive death on the cross, we have been reconciled with God, Christ’s righteousness has been imputed on us, and we have received the promise of eternal life in the glorious presence of your Creator. We should sing hallelujah! And share these good news!

  27. 27

    Tj,

    I would say it’s testimonial evidence. Some of the testimony may actually be scientific in the strictest sense; much of it historical, much of it eyewitness, etc… why limit it to mere science? 🙂

  28. 28

    Dionisio

    “There is no scientific explanation for anything that is supernatural.”

    And you know this because? I see that you are theist. What causes you to jump to a conclusion that there can be no scientific explanation for anything supernatural? Could it be because we humans haven’t tried? Could it be that we are so superstitious about that sort of thing that we dare not? Apparently that’s how some in he TE movement operate. In anycase, how would you propose to answer a very valid charge here that you are begging the question?

    My own assessment is that the scientific ommunity has been soaking in the materialist bathwater for so long, it’s become numb to just what constitutes legitimate science and what it can and can’t answer. I personally believe that science CAN answer whether something is designed or not. That’s as far as perhaps it can go; however, that does not preclude that what science has discovered was designed could not, therefore have arisen “supernaturally.”

    You will notice I put “supernatural” in quotes, because many materialists will invoke it as an out-of-bounds explanation without defining or even knowing exactly what they mean by it. It’s their form of superstition.

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