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Where do we get the probabilities?

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What is the probability of a structure like the bacterial flagellum evolving under Darwinian processes? This is the question on which the entire debate over Darwinian evolution turns. If the bacterial flagellum’s evolution is absurdly improbable, than Darwinism is false. On the other hand, if the flagellum is reasonably probable than Darwinism looks like a perfectly plausible explanation for life.

Dembski’s development of specified complexity depends on having established that the probability of structures like the bacterial flagellum is absurdly low under Darwinian mechanisms. Specified complexity provides the justification for rejecting Darwinian evolution on the basis of the absurdly low probability. It does nothing to help establish the low probability. Anyone arguing the Darwinian evolution has a low probability of success because of CSI has put the cart before the horse. You have to show that the probability of the bacterial flagellum is low before applying CSI to show that Darwinism is a bad explanation.

So what is the probability of a bacterial flagellum under Darwinian mechanisms? Obviously, we can’t expect to know the exact probability, but can we at least determine whether or not its absurdly improbable? That’s the question on which the whole debate rests. It seems that any arguments over Darwinism should be focused on arguments about this probability. It is the key to the whole discussion.

Intelligent design proponents have long offered a number of arguments attempting to show that Darwinian evolution accords a low probability to structures such as the bacterial flagellum. Darwin’s Black Box argues that irreducible complexity is highly improbable to evolve. The Edge of Evolution argues that non-trivial constructive mutations are too improbable for Darwinian evolution. Doug Axe’s protein work argues that protein evolution is too improbable. The fact is, almost every work by intelligent design proponents has been directed towards arguing that Darwinian evolution is too improbable to work. There is no mystery about why we intelligent design proponents think that evolution is improbable.

Intelligent design critics are going to dispute all of these arguments I mention. That’s fine. But dispute those arguments. Don’t act as though we’ve never given explanations for why we think that Darwinism is an improbable account of the complexity of life. Don’t attack specified complexity for not showing that Darwinism is improbable. That was never the intent of specified complexity. It is the intent of a host of other arguments put forward by intelligent design proponents.

Arguing over who has the burden of proof might be ok if there were no arguments on the table attempting to establish that question. But there are arguments on the table. There is no need to fall back on trying to shift the burden of proof onto someone else. Its a dubious tactic at the best of times, and totally pointless in the face of the arguments developed by intelligent design proponents.

So please, discuss the actual arguments put forward about the probabilities.


And no one doubts that it is easier to be a rock than it is a living organism. The point being is nature tends towards the simple and easy- the path of least resistance. And throwing time at that isn’t going to help in the quest for the OoL.
Too true. Eric Anderson
Anti-IDists get in such a tizzy over the probabilities argument. They don't seem to understand that since their position is dogma it doesn't have any models to test nor does it make any predictions of note. And that is why we have to work with probabilities. Spiegelman's monster is evidence against stochastic processes producing more complex structures. And no one doubts that it is easier to be a rock than it is a living organism. The point being is nature tends towards the simple and easy- the path of least resistance. And throwing time at that isn't going to help in the quest for the OoL. Joe
Lest I forget- "Where do we get the probabilities?" Why from "Probability's Nature and Nature's Probability", of course. And the numbers are hugely in favor of design. Joe
Behe does in fact suggest probabilities for the flagellum, but it's been a long day, and I'm not going to hunt down his book just to provide a number. The critical piece is that the working flagellum requires a whole series of independently arising components before the complete assembly performs any useful function at all. So constructing the base by itself is a waste of precious energy and resources. And this continues to be true with each of the components until the entire assembly is available. Additionally, if the components appear out of sequence, the likelihood of quick death for the mutated individual increases significantly. So the chance that a mutated individual appears but does NOT reproduce increases. And Darwinism requires that each mutation be passed on to the next generation, some small portion of which get "dad's" mutation AND, by chance, have an additional unique mutation ("descent with modification"). Etc., etc. The odds are worse than 1 million to 1. And, for the Bayesians out there, yes, every single mutation is part of a series, and you either run the entire series or you fail. I much prefer Behe's description of Blood Clotting. It has something like 85 separate components, and you either have ALL of the components working on Day 1, or you DIE. For example, if you inherit the mechanism that causes blood to clot before you inherit the mechanism that causes blood NOT to clot, all of the blood in your veins clots, and you DIE. As an embryo, a very long time before you're even born, let alone are mature enough to reproduce. So, the odds against any one of a hundred necessary biological systems are on the order of the number the seconds since the Big Bang. And complex life has many biological systems. But for starters, there is no logical random path that takes you from single celled Life to multi-celled Life. Single celled beasties are one kind of life, and multi-celled beasties are an entirely different configuration baseline. Something like suggesting that a bullet can be modified into a gun that can fire it. It just don't work that way. mahuna
A few more notes as to the probability of 'random chance' ever producing a functional protein. It turns out that truly random variation/mutation to the genome is now known to be highly constrained:
What Scientific Idea Is Ready To Be Retired? Fully Random Mutations – Kevin Kelly – Jan. 2014 Excerpt: What is commonly called “random mutation” does not in fact occur in a mathematically random pattern. The process of genetic mutation is extremely complex, with multiple pathways, involving more than one system. Current research suggests most spontaneous mutations occur as errors in the repair process for damaged DNA. Neither the damage nor the errors in repair have been shown to be random in where they occur, how they occur, or when they occur. Rather, the idea that mutations are random is simply a widely held assumption by non-specialists and even many teachers of biology. There is no direct evidence for it.,,, Mutations have also been shown to have a higher chance of occurring near a place in DNA where mutations have already occurred, creating mutation hotspot clusters—a non-random pattern.,,, ,,,the lack of direct evidence for actual random mutations has now reached a stage where the idea needs to be retired. There are several related reasons why this unsubstantiated idea continues to be repeated without evidence. The first is fear that non-random mutations would be misunderstood and twisted by creationists,,, http://www.edge.org/responses/what-scientific-idea-is-ready-for-retirement
Why thanks for pointing that out Dr. Kelly. I sure don't want anyone misunderstanding that mutations to the genome not being truly random, but directed, is completely antithetical to Darwinian presuppositions!
Revisiting the Central Dogma in the 21st Century – James A. Shapiro – 2009 Excerpt (Page 12): Underlying the central dogma and conventional views of genome evolution was the idea that the genome is a stable structure that changes rarely and accidentally by chemical fluctuations (106) or replication errors. This view has had to change with the realization that maintenance of genome stability is an active cellular function and the discovery of numerous dedicated biochemical systems for restructuring DNA molecules.(107–110) Genetic change is almost always the result of cellular action on the genome. These natural processes are analogous to human genetic engineering,,, (Page 14) Genome change arises as a consequence of natural genetic engineering, not from accidents. Replication errors and DNA damage are subject to cell surveillance and correction. When DNA damage correction does produce novel genetic structures, natural genetic engineering functions, such as mutator polymerases and nonhomologous end-joining complexes, are involved. Realizing that DNA change is a biochemical process means that it is subject to regulation like other cellular activities. Thus, we expect to see genome change occurring in response to different stimuli (Table 1) and operating nonrandomly throughout the genome, guided by various types of intermolecular contacts (Table 1 of Ref. 112). http://shapiro.bsd.uchicago.edu/Shapiro2009.AnnNYAcadSciMS.RevisitingCentral%20Dogma.pdf How life changes itself: the Read-Write (RW) genome. - 2013 Excerpt: Research dating back to the 1930s has shown that genetic change is the result of cell-mediated processes, not simply accidents or damage to the DNA. This cell-active view of genome change applies to all scales of DNA sequence variation, from point mutations to large-scale genome rearrangements and whole genome duplications (WGDs). This conceptual change to active cell inscriptions controlling RW genome functions has profound implications for all areas of the life sciences. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23876611
In fact there is a severe contradiction to Darwinian theory just with the presence of highly sophisticated repair mechanisms in the cell (much less the fact that mutations are being directed)
The Evolutionary Dynamics of Digital and Nucleotide Codes: A Mutation Protection Perspective - February 2011 Excerpt: "Unbounded random change of nucleotide codes through the accumulation of irreparable, advantageous, code-expanding, inheritable mutations at the level of individual nucleotides, as proposed by evolutionary theory, requires the mutation protection at the level of the individual nucleotides and at the higher levels of the code to be switched off or at least to dysfunction. Dysfunctioning mutation protection, however, is the origin of cancer and hereditary diseases, which reduce the capacity to live and to reproduce. Our mutation protection perspective of the evolutionary dynamics of digital and nucleotide codes thus reveals the presence of a paradox in evolutionary theory between the necessity and the disadvantage of dysfunctioning mutation protection. This mutation protection paradox, which is closely related with the paradox between evolvability and mutational robustness, needs further investigation." http://www.arn.org/blogs/index.php/literature/2011/04/26/dna_repair_mechanisms_reveal_a_contradic Contradiction in evolutionary theory - video - (The contradiction between extensive DNA repair mechanisms and the necessity of 'random mutations/errors' for Darwinian evolution) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dzh6Ct5cg1o The Darwinism contradiction of repair systems Excerpt: The bottom line is that repair mechanisms are incompatible with Darwinism in principle. Since sophisticated repair mechanisms do exist in the cell after all, then the thing to discard in the dilemma to avoid the contradiction necessarily is the Darwinist dogma. https://uncommondesc.wpengine.com/intelligent-design/the-darwinism-contradiction-of-repair-systems/
#25 Joe, is not 'ecological selection' an example of teleological evolution, and generally referred to as evolutionary plasticity? I think the stickleback fish is a great example. When the fish invades freshwater, it reduces it's spines and other bony elements because they are no longer needed. If memory serves, when reintroduced to sea water, they will regain the 'ancestral' state, and the principle mechanism involves turning on and off genes, not RM plus NS. I do not know what Richie means by "the environment selects", but essentially, the population responds (adapts) to environmental stimuli, obviously, by design. littlejohn
Oh no he didn't! Over on the TSZ sister thread petrushka brings up Spiegelman Monster- That funny part it shows that replcators tend towards simplicity, not added complexity- should be darwinian monster Thank you p... Joe
Actually, the real argument is about irreducible complexity, and the specified complexity argument is totally parasitic upon that.
Nick, can you clarify or provide just a bit more detail about what you mean? I'm genuinely curious to know whether you have a point, or if you are just bluffing again. It would seem, if anything, you have it exactly backwards. ----- As far as burden of proof goes, it is relevant. Nearly everyone, and that includes people like Dawkins, acknowledges that life "appears" designed. Furthermore, we know for a fact that intelligent agents can design systems similar to the kinds of things we find in life. Additionally, there has never been a single verified example of purely natural processes producing those kinds of systems. Finally, there have been cogent reasons put forward to doubt the ability of purely natural processes to do so. The burden of proof -- for anyone who is not stuck in a philosophical pit of a priori materialism -- is clearly on the materialist to propose a rational, realistic scenario under which anyone should give even the least bit of credence to the idea that life arose and developed to its current state of diversity and complexity through purely natural processes. ----- Lizzie via Joe @21:
And, of course, by ID itself – ID if all “materialist” explanations are rejected. ID explains nothing – it is merely a default if all other explanations fail.
I sure hope that isn't what she is saying. She should know better. She has been corrected on this score more times than we can count. Sadly, we can only assume her refusal to at least properly describe the design inference as it is proposed by ID proponents is intentionally deceptive, rather than unintentionally misinformed. Eric Anderson
Richie Hughes and his literature bluff:
Here’s some peer reviewed articles on Ecological Selection for our evolution-challenged friends at Uncommon Descent: http://scholar.google.com/scholar?hl=en&q=ecological+selection&btnG=&as_sdt=1%2C44&as_sdtp= Clearly the environment selects.
Mayr says differently:
From "What Evolution Is" page 117: What Darwin called natural selection is actually a process of elimination. Page 118: Do selection and elimination differ in their evolutionary consequences? This question never seems to have been raised in the evolutionary literature. A process of selection would have a concrete objective, the determination of the “best” or “fittest” phenotype. Only a relatively few individuals in a given generation would qualify and survive the selection procedure. That small sample would be only to be able to preserve only a small amount of the whole variance of the parent population. Such survival selection would be highly restrained. By contrast, mere elimination of the less fit might permit the survival of a rather large number of individuals because they have no obvious deficienies in fitness. Such a large sample would provide, for instance, the needed material for the excercise of sexual selction. This also explains why survival is so uneven from season to season. The percentage of the less fit would depend on the severity of each year’s environmental conditions.
True no palm trees in the arctic, but that doesn't = the envidronment selecting Joe
It is very amusing to see both Jerry Coyne (at whyevolutionistrue.wordpress.com/2014/01/23/the-edge-question-two-bad-answers-about-evolution/) and Jason Rosenhouse (at scienceblogs.com/evolutionblog/2014/01/24/probability-and-evolution-2/) get so irate when asked about the probabilities for Darwinian evolution. They try so hard to say that this is the 'wrong question'! Almost as if they know that they have something to hide. Ian Thompson
Oh gezz, it just got worse: “Hey Lizzie use Dawkins’ “weasel”, remove the target phrase from the program, run it and see if that phrase ever pops up, ie have the program halt when it hits it or comes within some % > 50- without also using it as a selection coefficient. That would model unguided evolution.” cupcake:
The *most* basic model is RM&NS. I’m not sure why you’d offer this strawman of RM only. The environment clearly selects as evidenced by survival not being orthogonal to environmental factors.
The environment doesn't select. Mayr goes over this in "What Evolution Is". It just eliminates. And I was letting Lizzie keep everything- it isn't sexual reproduction after all. But fine, have Lizzie eliminate a certain % each generation. But that elimination factor can't have anything to do with the target phrase. Joe
OK, Lizzie thinks that models are the best way to go, as opposed to probabilities. Maybe Lizzie can provide a model for unguided evolution producing a bacterial flagellum. Hey Lizzie use Dawkins' "weasel", remove the target phrase from the program, run it and see if that phrase ever pops up, ie have the program halt when it hits it or comes within some % > 50- without also using it as a selection coefficient. That would model unguided evolution. Joe
Lizzie is on a roll:
And, of course, by ID itself – ID if all “materialist” explanations are rejected. ID explains nothing – it is merely a default if all other explanations fail.
PRATT- The EF proves that design is not a default of any kind. And forensic science and archaeology prove that any given design inference has special meaning, ie it means that an intelligent agency acted. And that tells us how to guide our investigation. How something came to be, ie design or not, is one of the 3 basic questions science asks. You have to first determine something was designed before you can figure out how it was manufactured. Geologists aren't studying Stonehenge as a natural formation for a reason- it has been determined, beyond any doubt, that it is an artifact. And we study it accordingly. Seriously, Lizzie is supposed to be a scientist? Joe
Seqenenre #14,17
The flagellum is too complex to have been designed. According to Niwrad it is: 1 / 2.5*10^26019. ... What are the chances that an Intelligent Designer is capable of designing a flagellum?
Human designers routinely design things whose probability of occurring by chance is even less than that (example: a book). To greater reason the Intelligent Designer is capable of designing a flagellum. So "the chances" are certainty (probability=1). niwrad
Which is interesting since gravity is now known to be extremely fine tuned for life:
Finely Tuned Gravity (1 in 10^40 tolerance; which is just one inch of tolerance allowed on a imaginary ruler stretching across the diameter of the entire universe) - video http://www.metacafe.com/w/7659795/
In fact it was, in large measure, by studying the entropic considerations of black holes that Roger Penrose was able to deduce the gargantuan 1 in 10^10^123 number as to the necessary initial entropic condition for the universe:
Roger Penrose – How Special Was The Big Bang? “But why was the big bang so precisely organized, whereas the big crunch (or the singularities in black holes) would be expected to be totally chaotic? It would appear that this question can be phrased in terms of the behaviour of the WEYL part of the space-time curvature at space-time singularities. What we appear to find is that there is a constraint WEYL = 0 (or something very like this) at initial space-time singularities-but not at final singularities-and this seems to be what confines the Creator’s choice to this very tiny region of phase space.” How special was the big bang? – Roger Penrose Excerpt: This now tells us how precise the Creator’s aim must have been: namely to an accuracy of one part in 10^10^123. (from the Emperor’s New Mind, Penrose, pp 339-345 – 1989) "The 'accuracy of the Creator's aim' would have had to be (one) in 10^10^123" Hawking, S. and Penrose, R., The Nature of Space and Time, Princeton, Princeton University Press (1996), 34, 35.
In fact, entropy is found to be pervasive in its explanatory power for physical events that occur in this universe,,
Shining Light on Dark Energy – October 21, 2012 Excerpt: It (Entropy) explains time; it explains every possible action in the universe;,, Even gravity, Vedral argued, can be expressed as a consequence of the law of entropy. ,,, The principles of thermodynamics are at their roots all to do with information theory. Information theory is simply an embodiment of how we interact with the universe —,,, http://crev.info/2012/10/shining-light-on-dark-energy/
Thus when Darwinist says that a random chance event has occurred in this universe, what they really mean is that a entropic event has occurred in the universe! But, as we have seen, the "Creator’s aim must have been to an accuracy of 1 part in 10^10^123” in order to explain that initial entropic state! This number is gargantuan. If this number were written out in its entirety, 1 with 10^123 zeros to the right, it could not be written on a piece of paper the size of the entire visible universe, even if a number were written down on each sub-atomic particle in the entire universe, since the universe only has 10^80 sub-atomic particles in it! But what is even more devastating for the atheist, (as if that was not devastating enough), who wants ‘it just happened randomness’ to be the source for all creativity in the universe, is that randomness, (i.e. the entropic processes of the universe), are now shown through information theoretic equations, scientifically, to be vastly more likely to destroy functional information within the cell rather than ever building it up’. Here are my notes along that line:
“Is there a real connection between entropy in physics and the entropy of information? …. The equations of information theory and the second law (entropy) are the same, suggesting that the idea of entropy is something fundamental…” Tom Siegfried, Dallas Morning News, 5/14/90 – Quotes attributed to Robert W. Lucky, Ex. Director of Research, AT&T, Bell Laboratories & John A. Wheeler, of Princeton & Univ. of TX, Austin in the article
And finally, after years of intense effort, a direct connection was finally made between the entropy and the information inherent in a cell:
Demonic device converts information to energy – 2010 Excerpt: “This is a beautiful experimental demonstration that information has a thermodynamic content,” says Christopher Jarzynski, a statistical chemist at the University of Maryland in College Park. In 1997, Jarzynski formulated an equation to define the amount of energy that could theoretically be converted from a unit of information2; the work by Sano and his team has now confirmed this equation. “This tells us something new about how the laws of thermodynamics work on the microscopic scale,” says Jarzynski. http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=demonic-device-converts-inform
,,having a empirically demonstrated direct connection between entropy of the universe and the information inherent within a cell is extremely problematic for Darwinists because of the following principle,,,
“Gain in entropy always means loss of information, and nothing more.” Gilbert Newton Lewis – preeminent Chemist of the first half of last century “Bertalanffy (1968) called the relation between irreversible thermodynamics and information theory one of the most fundamental unsolved problems in biology.” Charles J. Smith – Biosystems, Vol.1, p259.
and this principle is confirmed empirically:
“The First Rule of Adaptive Evolution”: Break or blunt any functional coded element whose loss would yield a net fitness gain – Michael Behe – December 2010 Excerpt: In its most recent issue The Quarterly Review of Biology has published a review by myself of laboratory evolution experiments of microbes going back four decades.,,, The gist of the paper is that so far the overwhelming number of adaptive (that is, helpful) mutations seen in laboratory evolution experiments are either loss or modification of function. Of course we had already known that the great majority of mutations that have a visible effect on an organism are deleterious. Now, surprisingly, it seems that even the great majority of helpful mutations degrade the genome to a greater or lesser extent.,,, I dub it “The First Rule of Adaptive Evolution”: Break or blunt any functional coded element whose loss would yield a net fitness gain. http://behe.uncommondescent.com/2010/12/the-first-rule-of-adaptive-evolution/ etc.. etc..
Thus, Darwinists are found to be postulating that the ‘random’ entropic events of the universe, which are found to be consistently destroying information in the cell, are instead what are creating the information in the cell. ,,, It is the equivalent in science of someone (in this case a ‘consensus of scientists’) claiming that Gravity makes things fall up instead of down. And that is not overstating the bizarre situation we find ourselves in in the least, since Gravity can now rightly be thought of as arising as an ‘entropic force’ from space-time. It is also very interesting to note that Ludwig Boltzmann, an atheist, when he linked entropy and probability, did not, as Max Planck a Christian Theist points out in the following link, think to look for a constant for entropy:
The Austrian physicist Ludwig Boltzmann first linked entropy and probability in 1877. However, the equation as shown, involving a specific constant, was first written down by Max Planck, the father of quantum mechanics in 1900. In his 1918 Nobel Prize lecture, Planck said: “This constant is often referred to as Boltzmann’s constant, although, to my knowledge, Boltzmann himself never introduced it – a peculiar state of affairs, which can be explained by the fact that Boltzmann, as appears from his occasional utterances, never gave thought to the possibility of carrying out an exact measurement of the constant.” http://www.daviddarling.info/encyclopedia/B/Boltzmann_equation.html
I hold that the primary reason why Boltzmann, an atheist, never thought to carry out, or even propose, a precise measurement for the constant on entropy is that he, as an atheist, had thought he had arrived at the ultimate ‘random’ explanation for how everything in the universe operates when he had link probability with entropy. i.e. In linking entropy with probability, Boltzmann, again an atheist, thought he had explained everything that happens in the universe to a ‘random’ chance basis. To him, as an atheist, I hold that it would simply be unfathomable for him to conceive that the ‘random chance’ (probabilistic) events of entropy in the universe should ever be constrained by a constant that would limit the effects of ‘random’ entropic events of the universe. Whereas on the contrary, to a Christian Theist such as Planck, it is expected that even these seemingly random entropic events of the universe should be bounded by a constant. In fact modern science was born out of such thinking:
‘Men became scientific because they expected Law in Nature, and they expected Law in Nature because they believed in a Legislator. In most modern scientists this belief has died: it will be interesting to see how long their confidence in uniformity survives it. Two significant developments have already appeared—the hypothesis of a lawless sub-nature, and the surrender of the claim that science is true.’ Lewis, C.S., Miracles: a preliminary study, Collins, London, p. 110, 1947.
Verse and Music:
Romans 8:20-21 For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the glorious freedom of the children of God. Phillips, Craig & Dean – When The Stars Burn Down – Worship Video with lyrics http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rPuxnQ_vZqY
Supplemental note: That consciousness did not 'emerge' from the entropic forces of the universe is perhaps most easily demonstrated by the 'Quantum Zeno effect:
Quantum Zeno effect Excerpt: The quantum Zeno effect is,,, an unstable particle, if observed continuously, will never decay. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quantum_Zeno_effect
i.e. Why in blue blazes should conscious observation put a freeze on entropic decay, unless consciousness was/is more foundational to reality than entropy is? And seeing that entropy is VERY foundational to explaining events within space-time, I think the implications are fairly obvious that consciousness precedes the 1 in 10^10^123 entropy of the universe! bornagain77
Although the probability/chance of even a single protein occurring in this universe is astronomically unlikely, let's go deeper and ask what does it even mean for something to happen by 'chance' in this universe? Is chance, by itself, something that has causal adequacy within itself? i.e. Is 'it just happens by chance' an adequate scientific explanation? Any child telling a parent that the reason a vase broke was because 'it just happened by chance' would not get too far. But apparently Darwinists think such lame excuses are acceptable in science!! i.e. The term “chance” can be defined several ways: a mathematical probability, such as the chance involved in flipping a coin; however, when Darwinists use the term, generally it’s substituting for a more precise word such as “cause,” especially when the cause is not known.
“To personify ‘chance’ as if we were talking about a causal agent,” notes biophysicist Donald M. MacKay, “is to make an illegitimate switch from a scientific to a quasi-religious mythological concept.” Similarly, Robert C. Sproul points out: “By calling the unknown cause ‘chance’ for so long, people begin to forget that a substitution was made. . . . The assumption that ‘chance equals an unknown cause’ has come to mean for many that ‘chance equals cause.’” Nobel laureate Jacques L. Monod, for one, used this chance-equals-cause line of reasoning. “Pure chance, absolutely free but blind, [is] at the very root of the stupendous edifice of evolution,” he wrote. “Man knows at last that he is alone in the universe’s unfeeling immensity, out of which he emerged only by chance.” Note he says: ‘BY chance.’ Monod does what many others do—he elevates chance to a creative principle. Chance is offered as the cause by which life came to be on earth.
As well, the noted physicist Pauli, of 'Not Even Wrong!' fame, called Darwinists on this slight of hand:
Nobel Prize-Winning Physicist Wolfgang Pauli on the Empirical Problems with Neo-Darwinism – Casey Luskin – February 27, 2012 Excerpt: While they (Darwinian Biologists) pretend to stay in this way completely ‘scientific’ and ‘rational,’ they become actually very irrational, particularly because they use the word ‘chance’, not any longer combined with estimations of a mathematically defined probability, in its application to very rare single events more or less synonymous with the old word ‘miracle.’” Wolfgang Pauli (pp. 27-28) - http://www.evolutionnews.org/2012/02/nobel_prize-win056771.html
Which reminds me of this quote by Einstein:
"There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle." Albert Einstein
Talbott, as well, calls Darwinists on giving causal adequacy to 'chance':
Evolution and the Illusion of Randomness – Talbott – Fall 2011 Excerpt: In the case of evolution, I picture Dennett and Dawkins filling the blackboard with their vivid descriptions of living, highly regulated, coordinated, integrated, and intensely meaningful biological processes, and then inserting a small, mysterious gap in the middle, along with the words, “Here something random occurs.” This “something random” looks every bit as wishful as the appeal to a miracle. It is the central miracle in a gospel of meaninglessness, a “Randomness of the gaps,” demanding an extraordinarily blind faith. At the very least, we have a right to ask, “Can you be a little more explicit here?” http://www.thenewatlantis.com/publications/evolution-and-the-illusion-of-randomness
So, in an attempt to find 'causal adequacy', let's ask again, "What exactly what does it mean for something to happen by 'random chance' in this universe?" Basically, if the word random chance were left in this fuzzy, undefined, state one could very well argue as Theistic Evolutionists argue, and as even Alvin Plantinga himself has argued at the 8:15 minute mark of this following video,,
How can an Immaterial God Interact with the Physical Universe? (Alvin Plantinga) – video http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2kfzD3ofUb4
,,, that each random/chance event that occurs in the universe could be considered a ‘miracle’ of God. And thus, I guess the Theistic Evolutionists would contend, God could guide evolution through what seem to us to be ‘random’ events. And due to the synonymous nature between the two words, random and miracle, in this ‘fuzzy’, undefined, state, this argument that random events can be considered ‘miraculous’, while certainly true in the overall sense, would none-the-less concede the intellectual high ground to the atheists since, by and large, the word random, as it is defined in popular imagination, is not associated with the word miraculous at all but the word random is most strongly associated with unpleasant ‘random’ events. Associated with ‘natural’ disasters, and such events as that. Events that many people would prefer to distance God from in their thinking, or that many people, even hardcore Christian Theists, are unable to easily associate an all loving God with (i.e. the problem of evil, Theodicy). Such events as tornadoes, earthquakes, and other such horrific catastrophes. Moreover, Darwinists, as Casey Luskin and Jay Richards pointed out in a disagreement with Alvin Plantinga, have taken full advantage of the popular definition of the word ‘random event’, (as in the general notion of unpredictable tragic events being separated from God’s will), in textbooks to mislead the public that a ‘random’ event is truly separated from God’s divine actions,,,
Unguided or Not? How Do Darwinian Evolutionists Define Their Theory? – Casey Luskin – August 11, 2012 Excerpt: While many new atheists undoubtedly make poor philosophers, the “unguided” nature of Darwinian evolution is not a mere metaphysical “add on.” Rather, it’s a core part of how the theory of Darwinian evolution has been defined by its leading proponents. Unfortunately, even some eminent theistic and intelligent design-friendly philosophers appear unaware of the history and scientific development of neo-Darwinian theory. http://www.evolutionnews.org/2012/08/unguided_or_not_1063191.html "Random: A Carefully Selected Word" Dr. Michael Behe - video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x-MuGUVWeFs
But, because of the advance of modern science, we need not be armchair philosophers that must forever, endlessly, wrangle over the precise meaning of the term random chance being synonymous with the word miraculous, (all the while conceding the public relations battle to the Darwinists over the word ‘random’), we can now more precisely define exactly what the term random chance means, as to adequate causal chain, so as to see exactly what a Darwinist means when he claims a ‘random chance’ event has occurred in the universe! ,, In this endeavor, in order to bring clarity to the word random, it is first and foremost very important to note that when computer programmers/engineers want to build a better random number generator for any particular computer program they may be building then a better source of entropy is required to be found by them in order for them to achieve the increased randomness they desire for their program:
Cryptographically secure pseudorandom number generator Excerpt: From an information theoretic point of view, the amount of randomness, the entropy that can be generated is equal to the entropy provided by the system. But sometimes, in practical situations, more random numbers are needed than there is entropy available. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cryptographically_secure_pseudorandom_number_generator By the way, if you need some really good random numbers, go here: http://www.random.org/bytes/ These are truly random (not pseudo-random) and are generated from atmospheric noise. per Gil Dodgen
Also of interest, not that computer programmers will ever tap into it, but the maximum source for entropy (randomness) in the universe is now known to be within the chaos associated with black holes,,,
Entropy of the Universe – Hugh Ross – May 2010 Excerpt: Egan and Lineweaver found that supermassive black holes are the largest contributor to the observable universe’s entropy. They showed that these supermassive black holes contribute about 30 times more entropy than what the previous research teams estimated. http://www.reasons.org/entropy-universe
In fact, it has been persuasively argued that Gravity itself arises as an ‘entropic force’,,
Evolution is a Fact, Just Like Gravity is a Fact! UhOh! – January 2010 Excerpt: The results of this paper suggest gravity arises as an entropic force, once space and time themselves have emerged. https://uncommondesc.wpengine.com/intelligent-design/evolution-is-a-fact-just-like-gravity-is-a-fact-uhoh/
The flagellum is too complex to have been designed. According to Niwrad it is: 1 / 2.5*10^26019. My guess is that no designer is intelligent enough to design something that complex. Question remains: where does the d*mn thing come from? Seqenenre
Fantastic- Lizzie proves my point, but then chokes:
And ID can’t be compared with scientific models because it has no predictive power.
And what, exactly, is the predictive power of unguided evolution? Or are you happy to be a hypocrite? Joe
Designers are capable of designing the things they design. :) How do we know that ancient humans could design Stonehenge? Stonehemge. How do we that ancient humans could design the Antikythera mechamsim? The Antikythera mechanism. Joe
What are the chances that an Intelligent Designer is capable of designing a flagellum? Seqenenre
And Richie Hughes chokes:
No – only one camp is making probability based claims – the ID camp.
That is false. Your position sez that it is probable and yet it can't demonstrate that it is. Are you really that stupid, Richie? Really? And then Richie gets really stupid:
Of course arguments from improbability come from ID’s creationist roots – Hoyle’s junkyard tornado, for example.
Except Hoyle wasn't a Creationist. And then the final gem:
Without probabilities the first gate of the E.F. is impassable, and the design inference is unreachable.
Wrong. As I have done we can use the preer-reviewed literature- and it is totally void of support for unguided evolution. And without probabilities your position has nothing but imagination. Joe
In the TSZ sister thread to this one William Murray said:
ID isn’t opposed to “evolution” at all; what it lies in opposition to is the metaphysical claim that unintelligent, non-teleological forces are up to the task of generating complex, specified, functional, organizations of code and machinery.
Allan Miller coughs up a big hairball::
Good thing that isn’t the claim being made, then!
How can you debate with someone who is ignorant of their own position? Natural selection is blind and mindless- it is unitelligent and non-teleological. Talk about not posting in good faith... Joe
hi nick. here is a challenge for you. can you, as intellegent designer make a cell phone in small steps, when each step is functional by itself? its impossible even for intellegent designer. so evolution cant do this. and if we need a steps of 2-3 parts each step, its mean 2-3 proteins. a minimmal protein is about 50-70 so we will need somthing like 200 amino acid for each step. from papares in the field of bioinformatics it mey be less then one in 10^80 mutations. its a lot! mk
Nick Matzke:
So, according to Ewell, “specified complexity” is an irrelevant part of the argument,
Nope, that is just your misunderstanding.
Some of us figured this out over a decade ago.
Too bad you haven't figured out to test the claim that natural selection is a designer mimic. All your whining about ID is very telling, Nick. According to the EF your position has all the power and capability to stop ID dead. And yet you don't choose to support the claims of your position. How little of you, Nick. Joe
So, according to Ewell, "specified complexity" is an irrelevant part of the argument, just some verbiage thrown in to make it look like Dembski was adding something useful to the ID argument. Actually, the real argument is about irreducible complexity, and the specified complexity argument is totally parasitic upon that. Some of us figured this out over a decade ago. NickMatzke_UD
Michael Behe: "The bacterial flagellum is necessarily composed of at least three parts - a paddle, a rotor, and a motor - it is irreducibly complex. [...] A cilium [which is simpler] contains over two hundred different kinds of proteins." (Darwin's black box, pag. 72) Under the generous assumptions that (1) the proteins are 100 amino acid long, (2) spatial positions and geometric relations don't matter, (3) countless other chemical/physical mechanisms are not considered, the probability of the flagellum's arise in a single event is: 1 / 2.5*10^26019 (well beyond all cosmic possibilities). That said, Darwinists have to explain not only the flagellum but also how evolved the near 500 million organisms appeared on earth. Any of them is incomparably more complex than the flagellum. Best wishes. niwrad
It is up to the Darwinists to provide the probabilities for their claims. THEY are making the claim that unguided evolution can produce it. THEY are the ones who need to defend that claim with actual scientific evidence. But they cannot and they actually think that is our problem, ie ID's problem. Strange, that. Joe
cold coffee- There isn't any chance hypothesis and no one knows the probabilities of unguided evolution producing a bacterial flagellum. The TSZ ilk don't seem the realize that is a reflection of the lameness of THEIR position. Donald Johnson goes over this in "Nature's probability and probability's nature". That is why instead of Dembski's equation, I use the EF: Evolutionists say they have seen the explanatory filter used for anything dealing with biology. That must be because they haven't looked. What is the explanatory filter? It's just a process that forces you to follow science's mandate. See Newton's Four Rules. (page 13 of No Free Lunch shows the EF flowchart. It can also be found on page 37 of The Design Inference, page 182 of Signs of Intelligence: Understanding Intelligent Design, and page 88 of The Design Revolution) The flowchart for the EF is set up so that there are 3 decision nodes, each node capable only of a Yes or No decision. As are all filters it is eliminative. It eliminates via consideration/ examination. That is why the design inference cannot be the default. START ? CONTINGENCY? ?No ? Necessity (regularity/ law) ?yes COMPLEXITY? ?No ? Chance ?yes SPECIFICATION? ?No ? Chance ? yes Design Take the ribosome: A ribosome consists of over 50 proteins and 3-4 different kinds of rRNA (ribosomal), plus free-floating tRNA (transfer). Each tRNA has a 3 nucleotide sequence- the anti-codon to the mRNA’s codon plus it carries the appropriate amino acid molecule for its anti-codon. To attach the appropriate amino acid to the correct anti-codon an enzyme called amino-acid synthetase is used.
There, large workbenches made of both protein and nucleic acid grab the mRNA so the correct amino acids can be brought up to the mRNA. Each amino acid is escorted by a module called tRNA or transfer RNA. It is important to note that the escort molecules have three bases prominently exposed on their backsides and that these molecules also use the base U instead of T. The kind of amino acid is determined precisely by the tRNA escort’s anticodon, or triplet set of bases on the escort’s backside.-(from Bioinformatics, Genomics, and Proteomics: Getting the Big Picture by Ann Finney Batiza, PhD, pg 23
There isn't anything in peer-review that demonstrates any ribosome can evolve via accumulations of/ culled genetic accidents in a population that never had one. With Dr. Lenski's long running E. coli experiment there hasn't even been any new proteins, let alone new multi-protein complexes. As Jerry Coyne said, these things are true, no math needed. As as Christopher Hitchens said “That which can be asserted without evidence, can be dismissed without evidence.”  The necessity and chance hypotheses are hence dismissed. As if I have to do the work of the evolutionists. So the first two decision boxes have answered "Yes". Moving to the third node: The criteria for inferring design in biology is, as Michael J. Behe, Professor of Biochemistry at Leheigh University, puts it in his book Darwin ‘ s Black Box: “Our ability to be confident of the design of the cilium or intracellular transport rests on the same principles to be confident of the design of anything: the ordering of separate components to achieve an identifiable function that depends sharply on the components.” He goes on to say: ” Might there be some as-yet-undiscovered natural process that would explain biochemical complexity? No one would be foolish enough to categorically deny the possibility. Nonetheless, we can say that if there is such a process, no one has a clue how it would work. Further, it would go against all human experience, like postulating that a natural process might explain computers.” The bacterial ribosome is both complex and specified. Therefor given our current state of knowledge of cause and effect relationships, ie science, we can say with confidence that the ribosome is designed.
"Thus, Behe concludes on the basis of our knowledge of present cause-and-effect relationships (in accord with the standard uniformitarian method employed in the historical sciences) that the molecular machines and complex systems we observe in cells can be best explained as the result of an intelligent cause.In brief, molecular motors appear designed because they were designed” Pg. 72 of Darwinism, Design and Public Education
And there you have it. Joe
You might want to join a similar discussion at TSZ coldcoffee
I suggest that if you have to make an argument that a fully functioning, computerized battleship (or its organic equivalent) cannot be sufficiently accounted for by appeal to unintelligent, non-teleological mechanisms, you're wasting your time. Only the relentlessly ideological or stupid can possibly look at the highly organized, code-driven nanotechnology present inside every living cell, let alone what those cells organize into, and deny the obvious. On second thought: unless they have prior belief commitments, even the stupid can look at what goes on in a cell and understand that teleological intelligence is required for such precise and wondrous integration of function and form. You cannot rationally argue anyone out of their irrational attachments. Back when it was believed that the "protoplasm" of a cell held some kind of simple, self-organizing "life" property, it might have been possible - in a kind of unexamined, mystic way - to think that living cells could have "self-organized" and become increasingly complex over time out of some kind of innate, basic "life" essence randomly mixing chemicals chanced upon. But we know better now, and the only reason the Victorian-age myth of Darwinism survives now is out of religious faith in materialism, an ideology so out of touch with modern science (especially quantum mechanics) that those adhering to it might as well be flat-Earthers. The only real question is: if we know naturalism/materialism to be false, should we still be using methodological naturalism as a framework for scientific study? William J Murray
This goes well with the video in #2: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4NzFr4lM-lc JGuy
Dawkins admits he has a "kind of faith": http://www.arn.org/docs/dawkins.mpg JGuy
Of all the simple bumps you can modify to a protein or DNA sequence... go figure the ratio of selectable beneficial ones to the ones that are not... Evolutionists or ID scientists could start with a TTSS sequence and TRY to evolve it into a b.flagellum? If they can't do it by artificial selection... well then, since it would be shown to be a pathway that doesn't even exist, it would be an absolute no-brainer that natural selection could't select for a pathway to the flagellum. Is that too difficult a task? Then I guess there is a question about 'why the faith' to believe it even exists. JGuy

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