Intelligent Design

UD Commenter ES’s pro-con worldview and scientific issues summary on ID

Spread the love

Dr ES has kindly provided an English translation (much better than the inevitable oddities of  Google Translate!) of his current blog post summarising in brief the worldview and the scientific level pro and con on ID, and has also kindly given his permission to post here at UD.

Clipping, the English Language version (pardon some formatting challenges due to Blogger vs Word Press):

_____________________________

>> Thoughts blog, Wednesday, 30 November 2011

 

Intelligent Design: pro et contra
Recently I have been closely following the debate on uncommondescent.com. I just thought it would be a good idea for me to come up with my summary of it. I hope it could be useful to others.

 

That blog is one of very few outlets for a fair debate between  evolutionists and those who are for various reasons not happy with evolutionism, in particular supporters of Intelligent Design. I must say there are some commenters from both sides whose reasoning is particularly strong. This is why I think this blog is interesting.

 

The debate is around a new theory, the theory of Intelligent Design, which maintains that under some conditions it is in principle possible to infer purposeful design by intelligent agency just analysing the structure of a given object (regardless of any particulars of the design process).

 

What follows is my own interpretation of the debate on the blog. I will try and present it from two different points, the religious/philosophical (because I am Orthodox Christian, I will naturally found my position on Christian thinking), and the scientific.

 

Philosophical/Religious Arguments in Favour of ID

 

So Intelligent Design. One can only welcome the presence of theories alternative to the ubiquitous evolutionism. Due to the nature of scientific investigation, science per se should be blind towards the motivations of particular scientists. The only important criterion is, in the end of the day, the quality of theories proposed to explain experimental data. The fair pursuit of scientific truth can never be adversely affected by the presence of competing theories. Theories that are flawed or those lacking generality will eventually go away themselves. However, in official science and education today there is a strong prejudice against anything that goes contrary to the naturalistic mainstream thought which is understood in a utilitarian way as a means not to “let a divine foot in the door of science”. This bias reaches the point of ideological censorship, which, in my opinion, violates the  freedom of scientific thought. Hidden ideological agendas are capable of hindering science.

 

This situation brings back memories of the Soviet years when every scientist in the USSR was obliged to do science in agreement with “the only true” Marxist-Leninist teaching whatever the field of their professional interests, even mathematics or chemistry. Of course, today there is hardly anyone who speaks about this teaching in earnest. However, one has to think hard about how to avoid such ideological bias in future. Perhaps those scientists who live and work in countries which never experienced harsh ideological censorship as yet, should take this warning seriously.

 

As far as I am concerned, I can see nothing wrong in evolution per se. Obviously, we can speak about the evolution of a system over time meaning its dynamic behaviour. But not only that. I think  that it can still be legitimate  scientifically to speak about evolution in a more precise sense as about the development or manifestation of some hidden properties or properties that were present in the system only potentially up to a certain moment. I can see here nothing that goes against traditional Orthodox Christian thought. One can think that the Creator has imparted  the property of spontaneous self-ordering to matter. As an aside remark, I would wish to avoid using the word self-organisation in this context. I will explain why in a minute. Examples of self-ordering are crystallisation, the chemical clock, formation of stable wave interference patterns such as standing waves and so on.

However, the acceptance of evolution in principle comes with a few important reservations. First, the question about the limits of self-organisation of matter is open. Indeed, self-organisation understood as spontaneous emergence of formal semiotic relationships between components of complex systems has never been observed to date (in contrast to emergence of redundant low-information regularity of structure which I will refer to as self-ordering following David Abel). ID makes this distinction clear. It introduces a threshold, a measure of specific information content which allows the determination of whether purposeful intelligent agency has been involved in the creation of an object or in the fine-tuning of its parameters. Spontaneous (i.e. without purposeful intelligent agency) generation of specific information content in quantities beyond the threshold value (> 1000 bits) is, according to ID, impossible.

Secondly, the possibility of self-ordering (spontaneous emergence of regularity in matter) leads us to the question of parameter tuning: is it a mere coincidence that the parameters of our universe allow for the existence of matter in the forms we know,  as well as of C-chemistry or von Neuman replicators?

There are two very important aspects of Orthodox Christian theology that have a bearing on evolution (in particular, common descent). These are the ecclesiastical teachings (a) about the Person of Jesus Christ and (b) about death. In the Orthodox Christian perspective, the authority of Divine Revelation expressed in Holy Scripture and Sacred Tradition is higher than that of any philosophy or rational thinking including scientific theories. We must not forget that (a) the scientific method itself is necessarily limited: scientific knowledge in the form of theories is constantly being corrected and sometimes partly reconsidered in accordance with the internal logic of scientific investigations; and (b) the scope of rational thinking is also limited as contemporary science itself maintains (cf. e.g. non-computability results by Gregory Chaitin).

I will not discuss here the validity of revelation in general as a source of knowledge. The only thing I will mention is that science itself can be thought of as a form of revelation. I will also assume for the purposes of this discussion that genuine Revelation exists in principle and is accessible to man. I will leave out the very important question of how we can test what claims to be Divine Revelation for authenticity.

Whenever we have (perhaps, temporary) contradictions between the revealed religious truth that is not susceptible to change and the constantly corrected scientific big picture, I believe the former should be preferred at the price of having to live with problems for a while.

Revelation maintains that before the fall man did not know death. But in what sense were we immortal? Was the initial immortality a property of human nature or a state supported by uncreated divine energies  i.e. by grace? There is no apparent consensus between the fathers of the Church on it: some saints have it that man was created immortal by nature, others argue that this immortality was maintained by grace supposing that, in the true sense, immortality belonged exclusively to God. So the first group of the Church fathers were of the opinion that sin was followed by the removal of graceful immortality and, as a result, we became naturally necessarily mortal. The others however thought that death was foreign to human nature. However, all fathers in unison taught that sin was the cause of death entering the universe through man. This is in fact accepted by the Orthodox Church as an axiom of religious experience.

 

So death in Christianity follows the fall, a catastrophic event in the beginning of the history of the world, whose  consequences we face even today every moment of our lives and which reflects itself everywhere in the universe (dissipation of energy, local imperfections in bodies as it were superimposed on structure bearing signs of what was then perfect order, e.g. dislocations in crystal lattice). In contrast, evolutionism posits that death is natural in the world and is merely a termination of physico-chemical processes in the organism). Furthermore, death in evolutionism is even necessary. By the relentless logic of Darwinian evolution, less fit life forms must go to leave room for better adapted species. In other words, we have a contradiction in the interpretation of death between mainstream modern scientific thought and Divine Revelation.

Classical Darwinism also maintains descent of all known life forms from one or several common ancestors. This is also in contradiction with the traditional ecclesiastical perspective, in particular with the teaching about  the Person of Christ. Revelation has it that God put on human flesh and does not say anything positive on whether it follows that God through his incarnation in the Person of Jesus Christ has also put on animal flesh. On the contrary, even though the building blocks of human and animal flesh are the same, human and animal natures are different. In Judeo-Christian revelation there are pointers to a striking difference between the creation of man and the creation of other life. Of course, we do not know how exactly it was done, but while man came into being by some kind of direct mysterious act of creation the other forms of life that preceded him were created indirectly (cf. “Let Us make man in Our image” (Gen. 1:26), and “let the land produce leaving creatures” (Gen.1:24)).

If we look further, not only Christianity but all known religions have it in common that man bears in himself something divine. I think this commonality alone deserves serious consideration.

Finally, ID posits that biological systems bear a signature of intelligent agency  and consequently they are not a result of some spontaneous undirected processes. For this reason, in contrast to evolutionism, ID is not in conflict with Orthodox Christian theology.

 

Philosophical arguments against ID

The only philosophical argument I can think of that may appear to be against Intelligent Design theory is its central claim itself, i.e. the scientific inference to design as the cause of life. Strictly speaking, ID does not infer to the existence of God because it does not claim it can say anything definite about the properties of the intelligent designer (or designers) nor about any characteristics of the design process. It seems that it logically follows that if our designer is in fact the Creator of the universe, we have a scientific means to prove that God exists. This apparently contradicts the basic principle of freedom of religious faith: why am I to be judged if I had a smaller chance to believe than somebody else? To believe or not to believe should be a free choice unbiased by scientific or any other consideration by way of reasoning and consequently it should be an act of our heart rather than mind. If we develop this consideration a bit further, we will see that a scientist proficient in ID has a fairer chance to believe than someone blissfully unaware of the intricacies of this theory, which may appear to be a violation of the principle of fairness. But on the other hand, we all live in different conditions, some of us are richer than others, some better educated or may have been less exposed to various sorts of evil in childhood, etc. And all this does not free us from the final judgement in principle.

Scientific arguments in favour of ID

 

1. Irreducible Complexity

 

Scientific advances over the entire 20-th century have lead to a better understanding of what is going on at the ground – biochemical – level of life. Biochemical evidence suggests the legitimacy of what is known as irreducible complexity of life, a holistic view that life is only explicable as a combination of many tightly integrated components (which is in a sense to say that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts). In contrast, classical evolutionism is reductionistic, although there exist holistic evolutionist paradigms. Consider DNA for example.

 

It is known that DNA is a code for protein synthesis. Protein domain functionality is discrete in principle notwithstanding the possibility of functional exaptation (e.g. through gene duplication). Empirical evidence suggests that the feasibility of such functional switches is tightly limited (see the works of D. Axe, A. Gauger, M. Behe and others). In other words, in order to be subjected to natural selection protein must be functional a priori.  These considerations of course remain valid not only in relation to DNA. So irreducible complexity is one of the key characteristics of biological systems.

 

Evolutionists keep trying to disprove the generality of this principal point. One of the recent attempts to refute it was by Prof. Ken Miller in relation to the flagellum of E. coli (the archetypal example of an irreducibly complex system). In essence, all such attempts claim that between two different functional states of a  biological system there always is or was in the past a path in its state space. In other words, evolutionism posits that the graph of functional states is by necessity connected. However it may not be the case in general and this claim in its generality is unsupported. On the contrary, control theory suggests that, in the general case, the sets of functional states form isolated islands in the configuration space. It is important to realise that homeostasis is made possible through multiple dynamic equilibrium adjustment and regulation mechanisms which necessitate parameter tuning and control. The notion of irreducible complexity in algorithmic complexity theory is conceptually the same as the biological one (see the works by Gregory Chaitin on the halting probability of a random program of a given length). It also has analogies in engineering denoting phenomena brought about by a compound action of several factors such as resonance, and in set theory (see maximal sets), to name a few.

 

On another point, evolution presents an explanation of modification of existing functionality rather than of emergence thereof. The central point of debate is therefore whether evolution can generate large amounts of biological information. Evidence suggests that large quantities of information can be generated by organising and controlling processes aimed at achieving a goal. In contrast to this, evolution does not have a goal and it claims that all biological diversity is a result of an unguided process and is a side effect of adaptation.

 

Irreducible complexity in biology suggests that life can (and I believe should) be considered as a given. It is very likely that it cannot be ‘mechanically’ reduced to physics and chemistry as was noted by Niels Bohr decades ago. I am not advocating here for something like vitalism. The origin of life may well present a case where there cannot be an all-encompassing mathematical theory whereby every true fact is true for a reason (see the works of Gregory Chaitin here he argues about the existence of an infinite number of mathematical truths that cannot be logically proven).

2. Discrete Nature of Information Transfer and Processing Systems

 

It is symptomatic that some evolutionist commenters on the blog refuse to consider information transfer/processing systems as discrete and semiotic. Evidence suggests however that in any such system including living organisms there are three different components that are always represented by different material entities:

  • input signal from the source; recorded information is actualised in the form of specific patterns of matter;
  • output signal out of the receiver;
  • the encoding/decoding protocol that materialises the relationship between the material object the information is about and its informational representation.

Commenters on the blog present a nice example of recorded information, the music box, a device producing musical sounds by the use of pins placed on a revolving cylinder/disc which pluck the tuned teeth of a steel comb. Information comes in the system as a pattern of pins on the cylinder. The protocol sets the physical correspondence between the positions of various pins and the teeth. The output signal is the sequence of sounds of different frequencies. Clearly, the protocol should exist a priori to enable proper functioning of the music box. Similarly, in a conversation the participants’ common language acts as the protocol for information exchange. In the same way, the alphabet and the dictionary constitute the protocol for information exchange between the reader and the author of a text.

Again, these three components are always present and are always different in any information processing system.

In my opinion, the strongest argument against spontaneous abiogenesis as it stands today and, at the same time, the strongest argument in favour of ID is the absence of any evidence of spontaneous emergence of control as opposed to mere low-information redundant regularity of structure.

 

3. Specification + incredibly small probability = signature of purposeful intelligent agency

 

In my opinion, this criterion due to William Dembski is a sound scientific method of inference to purposeful intelligence agency in the design of an object (creation or parameter tuning). An archetypal example of design inference is perhaps the bas-relief of Mt Rushmore memorial near Keystone, South Dakota, USA. It complies with the necessary requirements for design inference: (a) a very small probability of the curvatures of the cliff representing the portraits of four US Presidents and (b) the patterns/pictures of the faces of G. Washington, T. Jefferson, A. Lincoln and T. Roosevelt given independently of the bas-relief. For comparison, the neighbouring parts of the same cliff do not have an independently given pattern/specification even though the probability to encounter their geometric form is also very small.
Mt Rushmore Memorial (USA)

It is worth noting that the probability of the observed event should be sufficiently small to qualify for design inference and to exclude factors of chance contingency and (or) law-like necessity. This is done by comparing the said probability against what are called universal plausibility bounds (see the works of David Abel) that are obtained by calculating the maximum number of Planck quantum states in the reference system of interest  since the beginning of its existence. E.g. the threshold plausibility in the gamut of the entire universe is 1 out of 10^140 supposing the commonly accepted estimate of the age of the universe since the Big Bang, 14 billion years.

We often use explanatory filters in practice even without realising it. An explanatory filter is an algorithm that helps filter out certain possibilities in a stepwise manner (see for example the Turing test, coma scales or forensics). The full set of possibilities is {chance contingency, choice contingency, law-like necessity}. A priori filtering out of choice contingency is scientifically illegitimate.

 

4. Design is sometimes the best explanation

 

Abductively, choice contingency under certain circumstances is the best explanation (in the sense of Occam’s Razor). An example can be the existence of fine-tuned complex systems; as well as the existence of high-information content multi-part systems with control that allow for formal descriptions of interactions between the components. Spontaneous emergence of such systems has never been observed to date in contrast to emergence of redundant low-information regular structure such as chemical clocks, crystallisation and other spontaneous transitions to order from chaos, which we mentioned earlier.

 

5. In the wide sense, ID does not contradict evolution as a principle

 

This can be  easily demonstrated by the  existence of artificial systems capable of evolving within varying limits (e.g. expert systems, self-learning algorithms, etc.). However, based on the principles of weak Artificial Intelligence, ID posits that the scope for evolution in such systems is limited by the amount of information initially injected in them . In other  words, such systems are designed to evolve within known limits. Spontaneous generation of sufficient quantities of specific information (500-1000 bits),  according to ID is not possible. This claim presents the theoretic possibility to falsify ID.

 

Scientific Arguments Against ID

I will mention two arguments that are in my opinion the strongest. The first is the universality of genetic code interpreted as evidence of common descent. The commonly accepted metric of proximity of two given species in terms of common descent is based on genome universality: the higher the common percentage of their genome is, the closer the two species are related to each other. While I do not preclude the possibility of speciation in principle, I believe the combinatorial nature of the above parameter feasibility issues preclude Darwinian formation of high enough taxonomic entities.The other serious scientific argument against ID is the apparent absence of implications for further research, i.e. for formulation and testing of further hypotheses and theories based on ID. Therefore I would call ID a methodology rather than a theory at this moment. On the other hand, I believe it is likely that the question of the origin of life, which is where ID and evolutionism are in principal disagreement, we will eventually hit against the wall of mathematical non-computability (see Chaitin’s work on the omega, the halting probability of a random program).

However, when we think of this carefully, evolutionism does no longer provide any real impetus or entailments as far as actual biological research is concerned. Rather, it provides an ideological background for interpretation of research findings. As such, ID may in the same manner provide an alternative framework and I am sure is capable to inject enough vigour in research activity. E.g. bioengineering can well be interpreted as ID proof of concept. Indeed, intelligence agency ultimately amounts to heuristic guidance when searching for optimality/feasibility in vast configuration spaces. In addition, intelligence is much more creative as a factor of biological novelty generation than passive adaptation is. >>

______________

 

This is a very useful summary from one who is not a part of the North American debate, so it is good to be able to see what he state of the debate looks like through fresh eyes.

 

In this case, one whose eyes are shaped by having grown up during the Soviet and post Soviet era in Russia, who is a qualified physicist, a theologian, and a practising computer programmer.

 

So, let us take due note. END

22 Replies to “UD Commenter ES’s pro-con worldview and scientific issues summary on ID

  1. 1
    Joe says:

    I will mention two arguments that are in my opinion the strongest. The first is the universality of genetic code interpreted as evidence of common descent.

    And ID is OK with that but is also OK with a common design which would explain the same evidence.

    The other serious scientific argument against ID is the apparent absence of implications for further research, i.e. for formulation and testing of further hypotheses and theories based on ID.

    Wow- the design inference opens up new avenues for research- one would be to figure out the “how”. Another would be to figure out the “who”. And yet others to figure out the “why, when and where”.

  2. 2
    gpuccio says:

    Joe:

    You are perfectly right, on everything.

    I don’t know why the problem of common descent is still conflated with ID. Whatever the individual positions, it should be clear that they are two different things. Otherwise, there should not be so many ID supporters (including me) who believe in common descent.

    The absence of implications is a complete strawman. The implications are amazing. The forst and most important is that all biological research can be reinterpreted in the light of ID, and reveal completely different meanings.

    I have often analyzed scientific papers quoted here by darwinists in support of their views, and found them incredibly favourable to the ID theory. ID is more than a partial theory: it is a new paradigm, with huge consequences for all the aspects of science.

    And, obviously, all the points you mention (who is the designer, when and how was information implemented in biological beings, and so on), are open to empirical investigation.

  3. 3
    kairosfocus says:

    As in, reverse engineering, here we come!

  4. 4
    Eugene S says:

    GP,

    “The forst and most important is that all biological research can be reinterpreted in the light of ID, and reveal completely different meanings.”

    Absolutely.

    Joe,

    It is impossible to squeeze everything in one post. However, if you look at Chaitin’s mathematical work, there’s much food for thought there in terms of “who”, “when” or “how”. Based on his work, I hazard a guess that it is likely that science will be incapable of addressing those questions.

    As to “why”, it depends what you mean. If you mean the cause, that is one thing, but if you mean “for what purpose?”, then contemporary science cannot (does not) answer it either because then it is a philosophical problem.

  5. 5
    Joe says:

    GP, I forgot about that!:

    The implications are amazing. The first and most important is that all biological research can be reinterpreted in the light of ID, and reveal completely different meanings.

    Absolutely- Philip Johnson talked about and even Richard Dawkins said we would be looking at a totally different type of biology.

    And even if we cannot determine the “who, how, why, when, where” we can still study the design in hopes to be able to A) duplicate it and especially B) maintain it.

  6. 6
    Joe says:

    Are you suggesting that we cannot reverse engineer accumulations of random mutations? 😉

  7. 7
    kairosfocus says:

    Joe:

    The otherwise obvious fact of the power to reverse engineer, is obscured by the “ID is a science stopper” rhetoric.

    So, the need to underscore the — otherwise — obvious.

    KF

  8. 8
    gpuccio says:

    Eugene S:

    I can agree that probably some fundamental questions will remain scientifically unsolved, and will have to be addressed, as always, at a philosophical level. Who is the designer could be one of them.

    But other questions are much more amenable to scientific inquiry. Let’s take the “when”, for example.

    OOl has a rather definite temporal setting (at least if we believe that life originated on our planet). That setting can certainly be refined, as new facts accumulate.

    Let’s consider the origin of protein domains. They emerge throughout natural history, and the timeing of many of them can be determined with good approximation.

    One of the papers I have “reanalyzed” recently is the one about a novel human protein gene. If confirmed (the protein must be isolated, and its structure and function defined), that could be a very good example of a new protein domain emerged in humans, from a non coding DNA sequence emerged as novel in primates. The model is very much in favour of ID, because the supposed protein is long (almost 200 AAs), and it became an ORF only in humans, which excludes the intervention of NS in all previous modifications.

    Let’s go to the “why”. I can agree that the ultimate purpose of biologcial design is not easily amenable to empirical enquiry. But there are many intermediate “whys”. If we stick to the immediate function of a protein domain, for instance, we can easily try to understand why that biochemical function was needed in a specific context, and what kind of problems the designer intended to solve with that specific design. That could be a clue to understand bigger scenarios of the design plan, even if the ultimate motication may remain transcendentally unsolved.

  9. 9
    Upright BiPed says:

    Nicely done Dr Selensky. Thank you.

  10. 10
    Eugene S says:

    GP,

    Of course you are right as to “when”. Approximations of timing of increasing quality can be obtained scientifically. I can also cautiously agree with the “when” but I will have to think more about that one. And yes, strictly speaking common descent and ID are of course not mutually exclusive.

    UP,

    Cheers.

  11. 11
    Joe says:

    Do you want a science stopper?

    Try the “mechanism” of accumulations of random variations over vast eons of time. But what do you expect from a position that relies on imagination for evidence- as in “I can imagine how [insert IC structure here] “evolved”, therefor it did”.

    Q- So how do we test this “it evolved via accumulations of random variations (over vast eons of time)?

    A- “You’re a scientifically illiterate IDIOT!”

    Q- So we test the claims of your position by declaring that I am a scientifically illiterate IDIOT?

    A- “Thar ain’t no darn evodense, no siree”

    Q- So we test the claims of your position by mocking a strawman of your opponets?

    A- Just google “evolution”

    Q- So we test the claims of your position by equivocating?

    ……

  12. 12
    Joe says:

    It is impossible to squeeze everything in one post. However, if you look at Chaitin’s mathematical work, there’s much food for thought there in terms of “who”, “when” or “how”. Based on his work, I hazard a guess that it is likely that science will be incapable of addressing those questions.

    Thankfully science is not the only way to get answers to questions or addressing questions.

    That said there isn’t anything to stop scientists from trying.

    As for “purpose” well we are trying to fifgure out the purpose of Stonehenge and other artifacts.

    Methinks you are limitng scientific inquiry. For example if there is a purpose to our existence then by following the evidence we should be able to deduce what that is.

  13. 13
    Eugene S says:

    Joe,

    Well, one can certainly experiment to their heart’s content. I can see no problem with this. However, I put much more weight in the word “purpose”, which transcends science. However, if purpose is to be understood pragmatically, then I agree.

  14. 14
    gpuccio says:

    Eugene:

    thank you for your thoughtful answers, and for your wonderful contribution. I appreciate it very much.

  15. 15
    bornagain77 says:

    gpuccio, you may appreciate this study:

    A Top-Down Approach to Infer and Compare Domain-Domain Interactions across Eight Model Organisms
    Abstract: Knowledge of specific domain-domain interactions (DDIs) is essential to understand the functional significance of protein interaction networks. Despite the availability of an enormous amount of data on protein-protein interactions (PPIs), very little is known about specific DDIs occurring in them. Here, we present a top-down approach to accurately infer functionally relevant DDIs from PPI data. We created a comprehensive, non-redundant dataset of 209,165 experimentally-derived PPIs by combining datasets from five major interaction databases. We introduced an integrated scoring system that uses a novel combination of a set of five orthogonal scoring features covering the probabilistic, evolutionary, evidence-based, spatial and functional properties of interacting domains, which can map the interacting propensity of two domains in many dimensions. This method outperforms similar existing methods both in the accuracy of prediction and in the coverage of domain interaction space. We predicted a set of 52,492 high-confidence DDIs to carry out cross-species comparison of DDI conservation in eight model species including human, mouse, Drosophila, C. elegans, yeast, Plasmodium, E. coli and Arabidopsis. Our results show that only 23% of these DDIs are conserved in at least two species and only 3.8% in at least 4 species, indicating a rather low conservation across species. Pair-wise analysis of DDI conservation revealed a ‘sliding conservation’ pattern between the evolutionarily neighboring species. Our methodology and the high-confidence DDI predictions generated in this study can help to better understand the functional significance of PPIs at the modular level, thus can significantly impact further experimental investigations in systems biology research.
    http://www.plosone.org/article.....ne.0005096

    gpuccio, the reason I find such drastic divergence (23% in two species and only 3.8% in at least 4 species) in DDI’s across species interesting is that Michael Behe has shown that it is extremely difficult to generate Protein-Protein binding sites in the first place, thus such drastic restructuring of the entire DDI network is extremely problematic for neo-Darwinism!!!:

    “The likelihood of developing two binding sites in a protein complex would be the square of the probability of developing one: a double CCC (chloroquine complexity cluster), 10^20 times 10^20, which is 10^40. There have likely been fewer than 10^40 cells in the entire world in the past 4 billion years, so the odds are against a single event of this variety (just 2 binding sites being generated by accident) in the history of life. It is biologically unreasonable.”
    Michael J. Behe PhD. (from page 146 of his book “Edge of Evolution”)

    further notes:

    Protein-Protein Interactions (PPI) Fine-Tune the Case for Intelligent Design – Article with video – April 2011
    Excerpt: The most recent work by the Harvard scientists indicates that the concentration of PPI-participating proteins in the cell is also carefully designed.
    http://www.reasons.org/protein.....ent-design

  16. 16
    APM says:

    I disagree with every aspect of the statement, “The other serious scientific argument against ID is the apparent absence of implications for further research, i.e. for formulation and testing of further hypotheses and theories based on ID.”

    First of all, the truth of an assertion should not be weighed on the basis of whether or not further theories or research can be drawn from it.

    Second of all, if it is true that no further research or theories can follow from ID, then that should be equally true of Darwinism, since both are dealing with the same issue.

    Third, I think he is just flat wrong that ID leads nowhere in terms of science. To give one example, a scientist’s position on ID is going to make a big difference in terms of his attitude toward “vestigal organs” or “junk DNA”.

  17. 17
    gpuccio says:

    BA:

    Thanks for the very interesting paper: as usual, your recommandations are precious.

    The article is truly interesting. This kind of analysis is new, and opens new scenarios in our understanding of biological complexity. The paper has a lot of quantitative evaluations and data that are really stimulating, and I believe that we will come back to those data frequently.

    I agree with you: at first sight, the huge non conservation of DDIs seems another element of complexity and diversification that neo darwinian theory cannot even begin to approach. Tons of species specific interactions multiply the complex network of functionality, whose ever increasingly intricate structure can only be seen as a wonderful, amazingly rich design.

    One of the best arguments made by Gil some time ago is that, if some reality seems designed but is not, the more detailed the observation becomes, the less the appearance of design will be there.

    What we see in biology is exactly the opposite: as our knowledge becomes more detailed, the evidence for design increases a thousandfold.

    The reson is simple: what we are observing is truly, wonderfully designed.

  18. 18
    bornagain77 says:

    gpuccio, glad you appreciate it. It truly is very interesting.

  19. 19
    DLH says:

    ES
    Thanks for an excellent insightful evaluation.

    Re: 2. Discrete Nature of Information Transfer and Processing Systems

    Your argument is extended by Werner Gitt. See:
    In the Beginning was Information: A Scientist Explains the Incredible Design (Google books) or PDF. See Gitt’s website for other languages and articles.
    To communicate from sender to recipient, Gitt lays out five levels of information required between information transmission and reception:

    Statistics: Compose words using an agreed upon alphabet comprising individual symbols (code.)
    Syntax: Arrangement according to the rules of grammar.
    Semantics: Convey the intended meaning.
    Pragmatics: Expected/implemented action.
    Apobetics: intended/achieved purpose.

  20. 20
    Upright BiPed says:

    Hello DLH,

    I certainly could be mistaken (ES will hopefully correct me if I am wrong) but I think Dr Selensky was summarizing the argument made here, which is a summary itself, laying out the observation that the information transfer in the genome is semiotic in nature, and not merely analogous to to other forms of information transfer. By satisfying the individual physical entailments of recorded information, it confirms not only its semiotic state, but also core prediction of ID.

  21. 21
    kairosfocus says:

    UB: Dr ES was summarising, for his Russian-language audience, who are unfamiliar by and large with the anglophone debates. I visited his site (as I occasionally do), and used Google Translate, then asked permission to get an English version up. KF

  22. 22
    kairosfocus says:

    JDH, the PDF is most welcome! KF

Leave a Reply