Intelligent Design

WJM is on a Roll

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In response to this post rich says:

It’s a bit like looking at a clock for a tenth of a second and lamenting you’ve witnessed no hours. Did you expect to?

To which WJM responds:

what I’m lamenting is not that we do not see hours pass on the clock, but rather, I’m lamenting the faith-based, infinite credulity and certitude expressed by those that have looked at “the clock” for a 10th of a second (as you say) and have extrapolated that into virtual certainty that “the clock”, over time, came into being by chance and natural forces and through those processes developed all the different kinds of functional, accurate time pieces found on Earth.

Even when there is no evidence obtained in that 10th of a second to believe that chance and natural forces are capable of creating a single clock.

And yet, that which is known to regularly create a wide variety of functioning clock-like mechanisms is dismissed out of hand.

That is what we call “selective hyper-skepticism” combined with “selective hyper-credulity”

442 Replies to “WJM is on a Roll

  1. 1
    Axel says:

    ‘Even when there is no evidence obtained in that 10th of a second to believe that chance and natural forces are capable of creating a single clock.’

    A single cog, William. Indeed, a single tooth of a cog. But I’m just being picky, aren’t I.

  2. 2
    Joe says:

    WJM is on a roll? Does that come with mayo? 🙂

    William has always been good at exposing others’ nationalities.

  3. 3
    Joe says:

    LoL! I misspelled irrationalities and clicked on “nationalities” to correct it

  4. 4
    Tamara Knight says:

    What exactly is your point Barry? It seems to have been obscured by your conflation of the creation/evolution of a clock with the history of the movement of its hands. Regardless of any subsequent extrapolation, I think rich’s quoted point is a very good one.

    We may well have only seen the hands move for a tenth of a second, but the evidence that the hands appear to have moved over many many hours in the past is beyond reasonable dispute. Discussion as to whether “Something” had to wind up the clock, or if and how “It” moved the hands from time to time is fine. Debate whether the extrapolation is justified by all means, but don’t expect to see events postulated to take tens of thousands of years happening in a human lifetime.

    And Querius, I did post again on the Where does the water come from thread if you are still interested

  5. 5
    velikovskys says:

    ‘Even when there is no evidence obtained in that 10th of a second to believe that chance and natural forces are capable of creating a single clock.’

    A sundial

  6. 6
    Joe says:

    So chance and natural forces produce sundials?

  7. 7
    Joe says:

    Tamara Knight- You need the entire context so you would have to read the OP that rich was responding to. It pertains to large evolutionary changes and rich says the reason we don’t see any is because of the time period in which we have been observing. William lays that claim bare.

  8. 8
    Dionisio says:

    Joe,

    LoL! I misspelled irrationalities and clicked on “nationalities” to correct it

    Well, not to make it less funny, but I’ve been there, done that. 🙂

    BTW, I wouldn’t be so concerned about the exact wording these days. Just go out there and read what is written everywhere. You’ll notice words don’t mean much anymore.
    🙁

    For example, check this out: Slovenia or Slovakia?
    http://www.drweevil.org/archives/000586.html

  9. 9
    Barry Arrington says:

    Tamera, I will elucidate the point. Darwinists insist that we cannot observe Darwinism on a macro scale in action because the amount of time we have observed the data is infinitesimal in comparison to the time that has elapsed. Fair enough. The irony to which WJM is pointing is that those same Darwinists insist that that same infinitesimal amount of time is sufficient to give them near certitude that their proposed mechanism is correct. WJM is highlighting the irony of saying “insufficient time” and “more than enough time” at the same time.

  10. 10
    Tamara Knight says:

    @Joe “William lays that claim bare”

    Really? I had not read the original post, but having looked, nothing changes. Rich says “Don’t expect to see anything”. WJM says “We don’t see anything”. Their positions are not mutually exclusive, maybe not even mutually inconsistent, so how is anything “laid bare”?

  11. 11
    Tamara Knight says:

    Our previous posts crossed Barry, but I still don’t see the point.
    Science documents the timeline for the development of life on Earth. Those you choose to call “Darwinists” think descent with modification is sufficient, WJM clearly thinks it is not. I have nothing vested in either camp. If WJM or anybody else feels the need to allow their god (or aliens, or sentient beings from another dimension) the space to tinker with the direction of development of life, I have nothing to debate with them until we are agreed on the timeline of that development.

  12. 12
    Barry Arrington says:

    Tamara (or should I call you Elizabeth?):

    Thank you very much for providing yet another example of “the faith-based, infinite credulity and certitude” of which WJM was speaking.

  13. 13
    tintinnid says:

    Joe G.:

    So chance and natural forces produce sundials?

    Yes. Every shadow is effectively a sundial.

  14. 14
    Joe says:

    So if you are in the middle of a thick forest you could tell the time from the shadow which encompasses everything around you? Really?

  15. 15
    Joe says:

    Tamara Knight:

    Rich says “Don’t expect to see anything”. WJM says “We don’t see anything”. Their positions are not mutually exclusive, maybe not even mutually inconsistent, so how is anything “laid bare”?

    Thick as a brick. Originally William said we haven’t observed macro evolution. Rich responded by saying we haven’t been looking long enough as if time fixes it. William came back with the response that is now the OP of this thread.

    The OP of this thread lays bare rich’s claim.

  16. 16
    Joe says:

    Tamara Knight:

    hose you choose to call “Darwinists” think descent with modification is sufficient,

    Nope, Darwinism and neo-darwinism entail more than just mere descent with modification. The neo-darwinian mechanism can’t even be modeled. Just how can one model differential accumulations of genetic accidents, errors and mistakes?

    There are evolutionary and genetic algorithms but they model intelligent design evolution, so they are of no help to NDE.

    So once again the whole problem is your misunderstanding of what is being debated.

  17. 17
    DavidD says:

    Barry A

    “Tamara (or should I call you Elizabeth?)”

    I have the feeling that the UD Amnesty program is like taking a computer and uninstalling all the security and virus software and allow yourself to cruise the Internet and see what happens. Should be interesting.

    BTW, don’t forget this in dealing with some

    http://img.allw.mn/content/ins.....say-is.jpg

  18. 18
    bb says:

    tintinnid @13 – Didn’t know it was possible to measure a 10th of a second with a naturally occurring sundial, which is of course useless to tell even minutes and hours without the purposeful markings added by an intelligent agent.

  19. 19
    DavidD says:

    bb

    “tintinnid @13 – Didn’t know it was possible to measure a 10th of a second with a naturally occurring sundial, which is of course useless to tell even minutes and hours without the purposeful markings added by an intelligent agent.”

    Never underestimate the power of blind faith from an ideologically driven Evo-Jihadist

  20. 20
    velikovskys says:

    bob
    tintinnid @13 – Didn’t know it was possible to measure a 10th of a second with a naturally occurring sundial,

    William”
    Even when there is no evidence obtained in that 10th of a second to believe that chance and natural forces are capable of creating a single clock.

    William did not specify a particular clock

    which is of course useless to tell even minutes and hours without the purposeful markings added by an intelligent agent.

    The fact remains it measures time

  21. 21
    Edward says:

    You could measure a tenth of a second with a sundial if it were tall enough and cast a long enough shadow.

    Ed

  22. 22
    Tamara Knight says:

    @12 Barry Tamara (or should I call you Elizabeth?):

    I have absolutely no idea why you should want to!

    @12 Barry Thank you very much for providing yet another example of “the faith-based, infinite credulity and certitude” of which WJM was speaking.

    How you can see such an example in a post essentially stating my indifference to competing points of view is beyond me. I see no merit in debating the “limits of evolution” without establishing what is already known first. Perhaps you are a total science denier? A quick google search for your name topped out with a site called “Rationalwiki” which I concede does not sound like an impartial source, but has comment “Arrington has claimed that using the fossil record to argue for evolution is cheating since the fossil record is based on science”. Is this a misrepresentation?

  23. 23
    Tamara Knight says:

    @16 Joe Nope, Darwinism and neo-darwinism entail more than just mere descent with modification.

    I have never heard anybody to whom the label “Darwinist” could be even remotely attached claim that anything beyond “Descent with modification” is required. Granted there may be many sources of the “modification”, some self evident, some proven, some very fanciful, but can you give me an example of a proposed evolutionary pathway based on something beyond “Descent with modification”?

  24. 24
    Joe says:

    Tamara Knight:

    I have never heard anybody to whom the label “Darwinist” could be even remotely attached claim that anything beyond “Descent with modification” is required.

    If the modification isn’t via differing accumulations of genetic accidents, errors or mistakes, then it isn’t Darwinism nor NDE.

    Granted there may be many sources of the “modification”, some self evident, some proven, some very fanciful, but can you give me an example of a proposed evolutionary pathway based on something beyond “Descent with modification”?

    That is too vague to be a theory. Heck YECs accept descent with modification. Dr Spetner’s “non-random evolutionary hypothesis” accepts descent with modification. ID is OK with descent with modification.

    Again NDE has specific entailments pertaining to the modification part. Mayr wrote about it in “What Evolution Is”. Dawkins called it the blind watchmaker.

  25. 25
    HeKS says:

    @Velikovskys #20

    which is of course useless to tell even minutes and hours without the purposeful markings added by an intelligent agent.

    The fact remains it measures time

    Actually, this is incorrect. To say that something measures time is to say that it is taking some action or using some mechanism to take a measurement. Neither a sundial nor any other even less complex object measures time. What they do is simply cast a shadow that an intelligent being can use, after accounting for other factors, to take a measurement of time.

    Conversely, an actual clock designed by an intelligent agent makes use of a mechanism to measure the passage of time independent of an observer and their reasoning powers.

    There is a vast difference between the two types of tools.

  26. 26
    Barry Arrington says:

    Is this a misrepresentation?

    Yes.

  27. 27
    HeKS says:

    @Barry #26

    Big surprise. RationalWiki seems anything but rational. It seems cobbled together by a bunch Darwin-happy pseudo-intellectuals. I’m currently chipping away at an article where I address one of their pages. I would have had it done a while ago but I’ve been sick for about a month and found out today I have bronchitis.

  28. 28
    RDFish says:

    Hi Barry,

    And yet, that which is known to regularly create a wide variety of functioning clock-like mechanisms is dismissed out of hand.

    You seem to be referring to human beings. We don’t dismiss human beings as the cause of biological complexity out of hand; rather, it is just that it is a particularly poor hypothesis for obvious reasons.

    But neither do you posit human beings as the cause of biological complexity, of course – you posit something that you refrain from describing. The problem is that this undescribed thing is NOT “known” to regularly create mechanisms, or anything else. It is merely a hypothetical abstraction that you call “intelligent agency”, but refuse to acknowledge the need to provide evidence for.

    In other words, your position is that there exist (one or more) non-human entities that have mental and physical abilities similar to those of human beings (by virtue of our sense organs, nervous systems, musculature, and so on). If such things existed that might help explain how life arose on Earth. But without any evidence that such things exist, your hypothesis can’t be considered to be an empirically supported theory.

    Cheers,
    RDFish/AIGuy

  29. 29
    rich says:

    Hi all – sorry got stuck in meatspace.

    RDFish brings up a point I was also thinking of, and it speaks the heart of ‘ what we call “selective hyper-skepticism” ‘ combined with “selective hyper-credulity” ‘ with a side of unwarranted extrapolation:

    All the designs that we know of that have any sophistication and identifiable designers come from HUMANS. Not “intelligence”. Unless we’re reopening the “Designer could be a time traveler” reasoning, we’re very confident that humans weren’t around back then. But I have no reason to think that heritability, selction and differential reproduction weren’t around.

    You seem to complain about the missing peaces of my jigsaw, whilst having no jigsaw at all yourselves?

  30. 30
    Eric Anderson says:

    RDFish @28:

    In other words, says RDFish, if we knew that a designer other than human beings existed then we would be able to infer that a designer other than human beings existed.

    Hello. That is why the ID inference is an inference. And, no, it is not invalid to analogize, as long as we understand it is not a deduction, but rather an analogy. Further, we have multiple examples of the kinds of things we are talking about and a sense of what is required to build these kinds of systems.

    Your position is completely unsupportable, is inconsistent with historical science, and represents a close-minded unwillingness to consider possibilities that you prefer not to think about.

    Logic fail.

  31. 31

    At least as far as I can see, I agree that for our Darwinist friends, intelligent agency is indeed nothing more than a hypothetical abstraction.

  32. 32
    tjguy says:

    Tamara @2

    What exactly is your point Barry? It seems to have been obscured by your conflation of the creation/evolution of a clock with the history of the movement of its hands. Regardless of any subsequent extrapolation, I think rich’s quoted point is a very good one.

    Rich did make an excellent point as did WJM. This points out the limitations of historical science. Neither those who see tiny changes and extrapolate them out to infinity or those who claim it cannot happen can prove their point.

    We have left the realm of science where the scientific method and experiments have much influence on our ideas.

    Tiny little changes resulting from a reshuffling of the genome is one kind of change, but if you want to extrapolate that out and claim it accounts for all the changes ever made in nature, then you have to say that these types of tiny changes can also account for the huge changes in body plans, the volumes of new information necessary to create them, and all the seemingly irreducibly complex systems in existence in nature. This is where it gets a bit incredulous for many. However, this hypothesis cannot be verified or falsified. Lacking such evidence, it is something that simply has to be taken by faith. Or, denied based on the fact that in our experience, these types of changes, these types of machines, information and systems, always require intelligence.

    HOWEVER, since it can neither be verified or completely falsified, why is it that evolutionists refuse to even allow the design hypothesis to be on the table?

  33. 33
    rich says:

    Hi Tjguy:

    you say “HOWEVER, since it can neither be verified or completely falsified, why is it that evolutionists refuse to even allow the design hypothesis to be on the table?”

    Maybe one day it will. Currently I think it is a conjecture and needs some actual work (like an empirical CSI hurdle and calcs that can pass a test of identifying things) before it becomes a hypothesis.

  34. 34
    tjguy says:

    Velikovskys @5

    ‘Even when there is no evidence obtained in that 10th of a second to believe that chance and natural forces are capable of creating a single clock.’

    A sundial

    Heks already commented on this, but there is a huge difference between a clock and a sun dial which you are trying to hide to make your point. A clock is something that was built specifically for the purpose of measuring time. Even a sundial, a real sun dial, was built for that purpose. But naturally occurring shadows have no such purpose. That is not why they exist. People wanting to tell the time can use shadows as a way of measuring time to a certain very imprecise degree, but there is a vast difference between a shadow and a clock!

  35. 35
    velikovskys says:

    Heks:

    Actually, this is incorrect. To say that something measures time is to say that it is taking some action or using some mechanism to take a measurement

    The rotation of the earth is an action

    . Neither a sundial nor any other even less complex object measures time. What they do is simply cast a shadow that an intelligent being can use, after accounting for other factors, to take a measurement of time.

    You seem to be saying that a sundial only has information when it is observed by an intelligent being. If that is so did DNA also have no information before it was discovered?

  36. 36
    velikovskys says:

    Apologies,

    heks:
    Neither a sundial nor any other even less complex object measures time. What they do is simply cast a shadow that an intelligent being can use, after accounting for other factors, to take a measurement of time.

  37. 37
    tjguy says:

    Rich @33

    Maybe one day it will. Currently I think it is a conjecture and needs some actual work (like an empirical CSI hurdle and calcs that can pass a test of identifying things) before it becomes a hypothesis.

    Dawkins is OK with it as long as the designer is not God. Little green men are OK, but not a supernatural being.

    This is the Materialist bias affecting how one interprets the data.

    Question: IF the world was designed by a supernatural entity, would science be able to determine this?

    Do you think there would there be evidence of design in the universe?

    What might that evidence look like? Is the evidence for design that we see like multiple overlapping independent codes, thousands of nano molecular machines, software, information processing, storage, & retrieval system and other systems(cardiovascular, circulatory, reproductive, nervous, etc), etc.

    Do you think these things might fit that hypothesis as well as if not better than the Materialist explanation?

    Why or why not?

    In other words, given the evidence just stated, and the impossibility of showing that blind random natural forces could actually create these things(not to mention how incredulous that idea is at face value), why is it that the design hypothesis is not the first one on the drawing board?

    Why aren’t scientists looking for the Designer like they are looking for little green men? They seem to be sure that little green men exist, even though they have no evidence of their existence whatsoever. But many seem equally sure that the Designer does not!

    Isn’t this because of their Materialist bias?

    Why is that?

  38. 38
    rich says:

    Tjguy:

    “IF the world was designed by a supernatural entity, would science be able to determine this?”

    I’m not sure.

    “Do you think there would there be evidence of design in the universe?”

    That’s one for IDists, I think. maybe.

  39. 39
    velikovskys says:

    Tiguy
    A clock is something that was built specifically for the purpose of measuring time.

    So if a human built sundial it measures time, but the exact same device occurring by chance and nature does not.

    Even a sundial, a real sun dial, was built for that purpose. But naturally occurring shadows have no such purpose.

    The shadow knows whether it was intended to measure time?

    That is not why they exist.

    And yet they still measure time in exactly the same way as those shadows which were intended to measure time.

    People wanting to tell the time can use shadows as a way of measuring time to a certain very imprecise degree, but there is a vast difference between a shadow and a clock!

    There also is a vast difference between a living organisms and clocks.

  40. 40
    bb says:

    velikovsky @20

    “William did not specify a particular clock”

    What Barry call this type of “argument”? Definition Deficit Disorder? He was right to label it such and point out the folly.

    “The fact remains it measures time”

    Measures time or is used by an intelligent agent for the purpose of measuring time? Of couse the passing of time indicated on a sundial doesn’t matter to anything else.

  41. 41
    bb says:

    I apologize to the level-headed on this post, for helping some divert the discussion. Rich brought up the clock, not WJM, and rich mentioned a clock that can mark tenths of a second. Clearly not the sundial that tintinn threw in to distract. The nature of the clock is of course irrelevant.

  42. 42
    rich says:

    bb, I actually said “looking at a clock for a tenth of a second” – the clock doesn’t have to be configured in any way for that to be possible, only my gaze.

  43. 43
    HeKS says:

    @velikovskys #35

    Heks:

    Actually, this is incorrect. To say that something measures time is to say that it is taking some action or using some mechanism to take a measurement

    The rotation of the earth is an action

    The rotation of the earth is an independent feature of the natural world that happens to create the necessary conditions for an intelligent being to create a rudimentary tool like a sundial, or to use shadows as a rough indicator of the time of day under different circumstances. The rotation of the earth is not a mechanism of the sundial. Any way you look at, neither a sundial nor any other basic object casting a shadow actually measures time.

    HeKS:

    Neither a sundial nor any other even less complex object measures time. What they do is simply cast a shadow that an intelligent being can use, after accounting for other factors, to take a measurement of time.

    You seem to be saying that a sundial only has information when it is observed by an intelligent being. If that is so did DNA also have no information before it was discovered?

    I’m saying that the information that answers the question, “What time is it?”, comes from the compilation of a number of different data points when one is attempting to answer that question based on a shadow being cast by some object, and those data points are considered in advance in the construction of a sundial, which is to say that the construction of a sundial benefits from the up-front infusion of information from an intelligent being so that the shadow it casts provides the final data point to answer the question.

    DNA includes functionally specified information corresponding to functional amino acid sequences as part of a self-contained system for protein synthesis. The information existed in it and was fulfilling a function prior to and independent of human discovery and observation, much like a clock that actually measures time as part of a self-contained, designed system even when nobody is in the room.

    All this having been said, I don’t see the point of any of this sundial nonsense to begin with. The point of the OP was clear. The problem of the origin of life, the creation of new protein domains and the construction of developmental programs to control morphogenesis is somewhat similar to the matter of the construction of a complex clock (though indescribably more difficult), since both involve the creation of complex functionally specified systems. Starting to talk about a sundial, or even worse the simply casting of a shadow, is just silly and a case of willfully ignoring context to derail the point. I would normally be a little more patient even with this kind of pointless tactic but I’m coughing my lungs out from bronchitis and not feeling particularly charitable.

    bb said:

    What Barry call this type of “argument”? Definition Deficit Disorder? He was right to label it such and point out the folly.

    Actually, I think this would fall under the Desperate Distraction category.

  44. 44
    rich says:

    great dialogue – it made me remember “the evolution of clocks”: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eFjhGG6j6ro

  45. 45
    RDFish says:

    Hi Eric Anderson,

    In other words, says RDFish, if we knew that a designer other than human beings existed then we would be able to infer that a designer other than human beings existed.

    This makes no sense. If we knew it, then we wouldn’t need to infer it.

    Again, my point is that if ID is proposing that a known cause of complexity is responsible for biological complexity, then ID is proposing that human beings were responsible – clearly a poor hypothesis. Alternatively, ID can propose an unknown cause that somehow has the same sort of mental and physical abilities as human beings. But in that case, ID would need to show evidence that this sort of thing exists.

    Hello.

    Hello!

    And, no, it is not invalid to analogize, as long as we understand it is not a deduction, but rather an analogy.

    Huh? Who said analogies were invalid?

    Further, we have multiple examples of the kinds of things we are talking about and a sense of what is required to build these kinds of systems.

    What are you talking about?

    Your position is completely unsupportable, is inconsistent with historical science, and represents a close-minded unwillingness to consider possibilities that you prefer not to think about.
    Logic fail.

    That’s funny.

    Now, does anyone actually have a response to my point?

    Cheers,
    RDFish/AIGuy

  46. 46
    DillyGill says:

    RDFish @45

    ‘ID can propose an unknown cause that somehow has the same sort of mental and physical abilities as human beings. But in that case, ID would need to show evidence that this sort of thing exists’

    As an observer I have to say this…
    They already did. The evidence is the complexity of life and the fine tuning in the universe. Their expalnation is a causally adequate, logical and rational argument. Unlike your argument which is little more than wild speculation
    So far as reasonably possible they have made the argument. They can only use what evidence there is (your demand they reveal the designer beyond the evidence available is unreasonable). If the designer does not want to reveal himself any further than he already has then that is not their fault.
    I see it like a ‘being’ created in a computer program. It can look at the ‘natural’ world around it and make deductions however it can only really know anything about its designer apart from that through special revelation or through the designer inserting himself into the program
    The evidence really is all about design.

  47. 47
    kairosfocus says:

    RDF:

    Pardon, but this — after all this time — needs correction:

    my point is that if ID is proposing that a known cause of complexity is responsible for biological complexity, then ID is proposing that human beings were responsible – clearly a poor hypothesis. Alternatively, ID can propose an unknown cause that somehow has the same sort of mental and physical abilities as human beings. But in that case, ID would need to show evidence that this sort of thing exists.

    Let’s take in slices:

    >> my point is that if ID is proposing that a known cause of complexity>>

    1: Design theory does not address simple complexity, but specified complexity, and particularly functionally specified complexity that requires a cluster of correct, properly arranged and coupled parts to achieve a function, often in life forms at cell based level using molecular nanotech, codes and algorithms . . . such as the protein synthesis process.

    >> . . . is responsible for biological complexity,>>

    2: Biological, FUNCTIONALLY SPECIFIC complex organisation, e.g. the protein synthesis system etc. (More generally, functionally specified, complex organisation and/or associated information, FSCO/I, requires many well-matched components, correctly arranged and coupled to achieve function, such as the glyph strings in this English text, or the algorithmic function of strings in D/RNA used to guide protein assembly in the ribosome. Where that constraint on configuration to achieve function locks us to isolated islands of function in the configuration space of possible arrangements of components. Thus, beyond 500 – 1,000 bits of specified complex arrangement to achieve function, we see a material blind search challenge on chance and mechanical necessity that is readily solved by intelligence, whether human [this text, underlying software and hardware] or beavers [dams adapted to stream specifics in a feat of impressive engineering] etc. Where we may simply measure FSCO/I using the Chi_500 threshold metric:

    FSCO/I on the gamut of our solar system is detected when the following metric goes positive:

    Chi_500 = I*S – 500, bits beyond the solar system threshold [with 1,000 bits being adequate for the observed cosmos]

    in which I is a reasonable info metric, most easily seen as the string of Y/N questions to specify configuration in a field of possibilities, such as is commonly done with AutoCAD files or the like

    with S a dummy variable defaulting to zero ( chance as default explanation of high contingency, cheerfully accepting the possibilities of false negatives), and set high on noting good reason and evidence of functional specificity, e.g. key-lock fitting of proteins sensitive to sequence and folding

    where 500 bits gives us a “haystack” sufficiently large to overwhelm the capacity of 10^57 atoms for 10^17 s, each making 10^14 observations of chance configs for 500 bits per second [a fast chem rxn rate],

    comparable to taking a one straw sized sample blindly from a cubical haystack of possible configs for 500 bits [3.27*10^150] that is 1,000 light years on the side, comparably thick as our galaxy . . . light setting out when William The Conqueror attacked Saxon England in 1066 AD would still not have crossed the stack today

    so that if S = 1 and I > 500 bits, Chi_500 going positive convincingly points to design as best explanation as such a blind search of a haystack superposed on our galactic neighbourhood would with moral certainty beyond reasonable doubt produce naught but the typical finding: a straw

    but by contrast, on trillions of observed cases, design is the reliably known cause of FSCO/I

    3: The rhetorical substitution made here therefore dodges a substantial case and sets up a strawman caricature, for which — given longstanding, repeated corrections across months and years — the error involved unfortunately has to be willful.

    >> then ID is proposing that human beings were responsible – clearly a poor hypothesis.>>

    4: Strawman.

    5: First, the very names involved are the design inference and the theory of intelligent design. At no point is there a process of inference to human action or any particular agent, only, to a process that is observed and known per observations to not only be adequate to produce the phenomenon FSCO/I, but on trillions of cases, the ONLY observed process to do this.

    6: This, multiplied by needle in haystack blind search challenge analysis that points to the gross inadequacy of blind chance and mechanical necessity on the gamut of the solar system or observed cosmos to find relevant deeply isolated islands of function.

    7: Where, starting with beavers and the like, we have no good reason to infer that humans exhaust actual much less possible intelligences capable of intelligently directed contingency or contrivance, i.e. design.

    8: As a further level of misrepresentation, the design inference is about causal process not identification of specific classes of agents or particular agents. One first identifies that a factory fire is suspicious and then infers arson on signs, before going on to call in the detectives to try to detect the particular culprit. Signs, that indicate that more than blind chance and the mechanical necessities of starting and propagating a fire were at work.

    9: This willful caricature, after years of correction, then sets up the next step:

    >>Alternatively, ID can propose an unknown cause that somehow has the same sort of mental and physical abilities as human beings.>>

    10: As has been pointed out to you, RD,F over and over again and stubbornly ignored in the rush to set up and knock over a favourite strawman caricature, the design inference process sets up no unknown cause [here a synonym for an agent], but compares known, empirically evident causal factors and their characteristic or typical traces.

    11: Mechanical necessity is noted for low contingency natural regularities, e.g. guavas and apples reliably drop from trees under initial acceleration 9.8 N/kg, and attenuating for the surface of a sphere at the distance to the moon, the force field accounts aptly for its centripetal acceleration, grounding Newtonian gravitation analysis.

    12: Blind chance tends to cause high contingency, but stochastically controlled contingency similar to how a Monte Carlo simulation analysis explores reasonably likely clusters of possibilities in a highly contingent situation.

    13: But, some needles can be too isolated and some haystacks too big relative to sampling resources, for us to reasonably expect to find one needle, much less the thousands that are in just the so-called simple cell, i.e. the cluster of proteins and the nanomachines involved.

    14: So, we are epistemically entitled to infer that the only vera causa plausible process that accounts for the needles coming up trumps is design. That is, intelligently directed contingency or contrivance.

    15: Where also, the base of trillions of observations showing that design is the reliably known — and ONLY actually observed — causal process accounting for such FSCO/I makes it also a very strong, reliable sign of design as key causal factor involved where it is observed.

    16: This bit of inductive reasoning then exposes the selectively hyperskeptical rhetorical agenda in:

    >>But in that case, ID would need to show evidence that this sort of thing exists.>>

    17: Designers exist, human, beaver and more. Where, we have no good reason whatsoever to assume, assert, insinuate or imply that human and similar cases exhaust possible cases of designers. So, designers exist and are therefore possible.

    18: Likewise, FSCO/I on very strong empirical basis, is a highly reliable index of design.

    19: Therefore, until someone can reasonably show otherwise empirically, we are inductively entitled to take the occurrence of FSCO/I — even in unexpected or surprising contexts — as evidence of design as relevant causal process.

    20: So, why the implicit demand for separate, direct empirical evidence of designers in the remote unobserved past of origins? Why, by contrast with being very willing to assign causal success to very implausible mechanisms for FSCO/I such as chance and necessity — not needle in haystack plausible, not ever observed to account for FSCO/I?

    21: Selective hyperskepticism joined to flip-side hypercredulity to substitute a drastically inferior explanation. In the wider context, typically for fear and loathing of the possibility of . . . shudder . . “A Divine Foot” in the door of the halls of evolutionary materialism dominated science.

    22: Of course, ever since 1984, with Thaxton et al, design theorists have been careful to be conservative, noting that in effect for the case of what we see in the living cell and wider biological life, a molecular nanotech lab some generations beyond Venter et al would be adequate. But so locked in a death-battle with bogeyman “Creationists” are the materialists and fellow travellers that they too often will refuse to acknowledge any point, regardless of warrant, that could conceivably give hope to Creationists.

    23: So, the issues of duties to reason, truth and fairness are predictably given short shrift.

    24: Oddly, most such activists are typically missing in action when we point out, from the thought of lifelong agnostic and Nobel-equivalent Prize-holding Astrophysicist, Sir Fred Hoyle and others, the evidence of cosmological fine tuning that sets up a world in which we can have C-chemistry, aqueous medium, protein using cell based life on the five or six most abundant elements points to cosmological design; most credibly by a powerful, skilled and purposeful designer who set up physics itself to be the basis for such a world.

    25: Here’s a key comment — just one of several — by Sir Fred:

    From 1953 onward, Willy Fowler and I have always been intrigued by the remarkable relation of the 7.65 MeV energy level in the nucleus of 12 C to the 7.12 MeV level in 16 O. If you wanted to produce carbon and oxygen in roughly equal quantities by stellar nucleosynthesis, these are the two levels you would have to fix, and your fixing would have to be just where these levels are actually found to be. Another put-up job? . . . I am inclined to think so. A common sense interpretation of the facts suggests that a super intellect has “monkeyed” with the physics as well as the chemistry and biology, and there are no blind forces worth speaking about in nature. [F. Hoyle, Annual Review of Astronomy and Astrophysics, 20 (1982): 16.]

    It seems that ideology rules the roost in present day origins science thinking (and in science education), even at the price of clinging to the inductively implausible in order to repudiate anything that might conceivably hint that design best accounts for our world.

    Sadly revealing.

    KF

  48. 48
    kairosfocus says:

    F/N: Corrective headlined as DDD # 16, here. KF

  49. 49
    Joe says:

    rich:

    All the designs that we know of that have any sophistication and identifiable designers come from HUMANS.

    Not true. Humans did not design termite mounds. Humans did not design bee hives. Humans did not design ant hills.

    Not “intelligence”.

    LoL! Intelligence is defined as being able to manipulate nature for a purpose and humans definitely fit that definition.

    Unless we’re reopening the “Designer could be a time traveler” reasoning, we’re very confident that humans weren’t around back then.

    Humans from earth weren’t around, but that is moot. If humans weren’t around then we infer some other intelligent agency was as nature doesn’t miraculously get the power just because humans weren’t there.

    But I have no reason to think that heritability, selction and differential reproduction weren’t around.

    Umm those processes can explain the OoL so you lose, again. Also when observed those processes don’t do anything of note- they only change allele frequency. So you lose, again.

    You seem to complain about the missing peaces of my jigsaw, whilst having no jigsaw at all yourselves?

    That is because you are ignorant. Intelligent design evolution is modeled by genetic and evolutionary algorithms. OTOH yours can’t even be modeled.

  50. 50
    Joe says:

    Sundials are moot unless there is an intelligent agency around to make sense of it.

  51. 51
    Joe says:

    RDFish:

    Again, my point is that if ID is proposing that a known cause of complexity is responsible for biological complexity, then ID is proposing that human beings were responsible

    That is incorrect and demonstrates just how low on the scientific pole you are.

    But in that case, ID would need to show evidence that this sort of thing exists.

    The existence if design is such evidence, duh.

    ID uses a scientific methodology to determine design. First we try to determine if nature, operating freely could produce what we are observing. If not we see if it matches the design criteria. If nature, operating freely couldn’t have produced it AND it matches the design criteria, we infer some intelligent agency was involved.

    Science 101.

    But all that is moot to you because this has been explained to you many times and each time you either choked or ignored it.

  52. 52
    Joe says:

    If we determine that something is intelligently designed and then determine that humans could not have designed it (perhaps because we were not around), what are we supposed to do? Are we to deny the design inference and think that mother nature somehow had the power to do something that is far beyond her known capability? Or do we infer it was some non-human intelligent agency that was involved?

    Or is all of that too complicated for our anti-ID guests?

  53. 53
    Heartlander says:

    Are rocks alive? The answer is obviously ‘no’ – but wait:

    1. They can chemically react
    2. They can metabolize (uranium), produce energy and waste
    3. They can catalyze and form new kinds
    4. They divide and recombine
    5. They have memory (magnet)

    But we know rocks are not alive… We also know that a stick in the ground casting a shadow is not a clock – or sitting on the ground and waiting on continental drift is not a mode of travel.

    It appears some people on this forum believe a stick in the ground is a clock – which brings me back to my first question, “Are rocks alive”? – if you get my (continental) drift…

  54. 54
    Tamara Knight says:

    @24 Joe

    If I may paraphrase your post as “Yes, you are right but..” then we are agreed as far as that goes. Far from claiming Darwinism needs “more than mere descent with modification”, you now accept there is no “mere” about it and it can form the basis of almost all descriptions of the development of life. I am happy to accept that the scope and nature of the “modification” is far from settled.

    I would add one other point though. My understanding is that YECism is very much a twentieth century concept. I think an eighteenth century position would have been to regard Creation as essentially static and unchanging, and its age would have been of little concern, even to the tiny numbers who did not have more pressing things to think about. Only with the nineteenth century realisation that creatures became extinct did the need for any “modification” at all raise its head.

  55. 55
    rich says:

    Joe, your threshold for ‘sophistication’ is MUCH lower than mine.

  56. 56
    Tamara Knight says:

    @51 Joe

    ID uses a scientific methodology to determine design. First we try to determine if nature, operating freely could produce what we are observing. If not we see if it matches the design criteria. If nature, operating freely couldn’t have produced it AND it matches the design criteria, we infer some intelligent agency was involved.

    Here though I have more problems. If mainstream science “believes” that natural processes are sufficient but can’t explain exactly how (and they might add “yet”) then all it can ever do is investigate what is not yet understood, and apply limits to when and where “design” could have contributed. If ID proposes some intervention in the “modification”, there is a chance that this could leave evidence if the intervention produced rapid change. For example, a 55 million year old fossil of a creature pregnant with a primative cat and a primative dog would require not only a designer, but one who was happy to forge his designs in the furnace of natural selection.

    But I’m not comfortable with claims that things are “impossible” implying anything more than the limits of our knowledge. After forty years in the electronics business, I now see things which were theoretically impossible when I graduated at the heart of trivial consumer electronic products. ID has to address at least the What and When aspects of the required design inputs, and even possibly the How. The Why aspects are probably beyond the realm of any science. I also can’t see how the “intelligence” required can be meaningfully less than ours. Once you accept that “design” can be achieved by the “intelligence” possessed by termites, where do you stop? Plants that grow in cliffs can design root systems that perfecly fit the cracks around them. And the monk’s head toadstool can design some pretty impressive fairy-rings too.

  57. 57
    Joe says:

    Tamara Knight:

    I think an eighteenth century position would have been to regard Creation as essentially static and unchanging,

    Linneaus was from the 18th century and he disagrees with that.

  58. 58
    bb says:

    velikovskys @35

    You seem to be saying that a sundial only has information when it is observed by an intelligent being. If that is so did DNA also have no information before it was discovered?

    A sundial only has information because an intelligent agent designed and constructed it. But you’re saying that DNA cannot have the same type of origin?

  59. 59
    Joe says:

    rich:

    Joe, your threshold for ‘sophistication’ is MUCH lower than mine.

    Evidence please. I know your level of knowledge is MUCH lower than mine and I have proven that many times over.

  60. 60
    tintinnid says:

    BB #41:

    Clearly not the sundial that tintinn threw in to distract.

    Don’t blame me for the inability of some people to stay on track. Maybe it is some type of attention deficit disorder.

    Also, don’t blame me for bringing up the sundial, because it wasn’t me. Please review the comment threat.

  61. 61
    rich says:

    No problem. I asked for sophisticated examples – you proffered termite mounds..

  62. 62
    Joe says:

    Tamara Knight:

    If mainstream science “believes” that natural processes are sufficient

    What they “believe” is irrelevant to science.

    but can’t explain exactly how (and they might add “yet”) then all it can ever do is investigate what is not yet understood, and apply limits to when and where “design” could have contributed.

    We cannot explain how many artifacts came about yet that does not stop them from being artifacts.

    But I’m not comfortable with claims that things are “impossible” implying anything more than the limits of our knowledge.

    Science works via our knowledge. And all- even materialistic- inferences are tentative which means future knowledge can either refute or support it. That is the nature of science. But what we cannot do is put off the science of today for what the science of tomorrow may or may not uncover.

    ID has to address at least the What and When aspects of the required design inputs, and even possibly the How.

    The What is the design under investigation. The when and how always come after design has been determined. Always, unless there is direct observation or designer input.

    Once you accept that “design” can be achieved by the “intelligence” possessed by termites, where do you stop?

    Nature, operating freely is the stopping point. If nature, operating freely can produce something we do not infer it took an intelligent agency to produce.

    Plants that grow in cliffs can design root systems that perfecly fit the cracks around them.

    And when we determine that nature, operating freely, can produce plants…

  63. 63
    bb says:

    velikovskys @39

    “So if a human built sundial it measures time, but the exact same device occurring by chance and nature does not. ”

    I have never seen “the exact same device” occurring by chance. Are you saying there’s no difference between the object pictured here and this? Which object actually tells time? At what time of day was second photo taken? Can you tell me down to the tenth of a second?

  64. 64
    Joe says:

    Termite mounds are very sophisticated. Ant colonies are also sophisticated. Ask any entomologist.

  65. 65
    Joe says:

    Did you know that besides us ants are the only other species to domestic other animals?

  66. 66
    bb says:

    rich @42

    bb, I actually said “looking at a clock for a tenth of a second” – the clock doesn’t have to be configured in any way for that to be possible, only my gaze.

    Why a clock then? Why not a book, rock, wall, cat, tree outside…. Of course most of us, when we hear the word “clock”, think of a sundial or natural object that casts a shadow from sunrise to sunset. We all know what you meant. You don’t have to let others like velikovskys twist it into something else in your defense when you’re called out.

    My apologies tintinnid. Looking back I see it was clearly velikovskys that started that trail and you only joined him on it.

  67. 67
    Joe says:

    If we determine that something is intelligently designed and then determine that humans could not have designed it (perhaps because we were not around), what are we supposed to do? Are we to deny the design inference and think that mother nature somehow had the power to do something that is far beyond her known capability? Or do we infer it was some non-human intelligent agency that was involved?

    Or is all of that too complicated for our anti-ID guests?

    Tamara? RDFish? rich? Alan Fox?

  68. 68
    Tamara Knight says:

    @Joe “If we determine that something is intelligently designed…”

    Well once WE have, we have a world changer. In the mean time, we need to work at it.

  69. 69
    Joe says:

    We have and no one else can come up with a equivalent or better explanation for what we say is designed.

  70. 70
    Joe says:

    But thank you for avoiding the questions. It isn’t as of we predicted that much from people like you.

  71. 71

    IOW, TK simply will not say the obvious: that in such a case, such as if we find precisely carved sets of symbols in rocks on a planet we’ve never been to before or carved in strata 2 billion years old, even if we don’t know what those symbols mean, we must infer that a non-human intelligence was probably at work.

    Countless sci-fi movies and books are based upon this very widespread, common notion. But here, TK cannot even bring herself to admit it.

    It’s funny how non-human intelligence is considered either probable or certain when ID isn’t the subject. When Darwinists insist humans aren’t special and that other animals have forms of intelligence, or when they insist that humans are probably not anything special in the universe and other intelligent forms of life likely exist out there.

    But as soon as it comes to the origin of the unbelievably complex, organized and information-processing nano-technology we find in biology, suddenly intelligent agency becomes nothing more than a vague “hypothetical abstraction”.

    I guess nobody told those idiots trying to achieve artificial intelligence that intelligent agency is nothing but a hypothetical abstraction.

  72. 72
    tjguy says:

    Velikovskys @39

    OK, so you see no difference between the fact that a sundial was specifically made to tell time and the fact that naturally occurring shadows just happen to also be able to be used in that fashion?

    This is the kind of “wisdom” evolutionists believe?

    And you wonder why more people don’t join you in your belief?

    Of course, any shadow can be used to tell time to a certain extent, but you do see the difference of purpose and intent in your illustration I hope. Purpose and intent are hallmarks of design, intelligent design.

    I think the only thing I can agree with you about in your post was your last statement.

    There also is a vast difference between a living organisms and clocks.

    You can say that again!

  73. 73
    RDFish says:

    Hi DillyGill,

    Nobody here, including you, has actually addressed my point at all.

    Here is my argument, as clearly as I can state it:

    1) ID (for example, Barry in the OP of this very thread) explicitly states that ID proposes a known cause for the existence of biological complexity. This is a crucial part of ID’s argument – that there is a known cause of complex mechanisms that ID offers as the “best explanation” of living systems.

    2) HOWEVER, the only known cause that produces mechanisms similar to those we see in biological systems is a human being.

    3) We all agree (I assume) that human beings were not responsible for the original creation of living things.

    4) THEREFORE, ID does NOT propose a known cause at all – it is in fact proposing a cause that is UNKNOWN to us, which is something that isn’t human, but still has mental and physical abilities similar to that of a human being.

    5) It is up to ID to provide evidence that such a thing exists. If it exists, then it could help explain how living things came to exist. But until ID provides evidence, ID remains an unsupported hypothesis.

    Here is your attempt to counter my argument: ID’s evidence consists of the complexity of life and the fine tuning of the universe.

    But you are mistaken: these phenomena are what we are trying to explain, not evidence for some particular explanation.

    Various explanations for these observations have been offered (abiogenesis, evolution, multiverses, self-organizational principles, intelligent life forms, intelligent entities that are not life forms, etc). In my view, none of these explanations are satisfactory in the sense that they are without empirical support, or they are to vague and ill-defined to qualify as a good explanation, or both.

    Is there anyone here who can even attempt to address the specific point I’m making? I’m sure Barry can’t 🙂

    Cheers,
    RDFish/AIGuy

  74. 74
    RDFish says:

    Hi WJM,

    As usual, you can offer insults, sarcasm, and wildly mistaken interpretations of others’ arguments, but you can’t even begin to address a real argument. So sad.

    Read my argument @73, point by point, and tell me where I’m wrong. What’s that? Can’t do it? Ah, I thought as much.

    Cheers,
    RDFish/AIGuy

  75. 75
    Joe says:

    RDFish- you are an ignorant troll. I have not only addressed your points in the past, I have refuted them.

    If we determine that something is intelligently designed and then determine that humans could not have designed it (perhaps because we were not around), what are we supposed to do? Are we to deny the design inference and think that mother nature somehow had the power to do something that is far beyond her known capability? Or do we infer it was some non-human intelligent agency that was involved?

    Or is all of that too complicated for our anti-ID guests?

    Tamara? RDFish? rich? Alan Fox?

    Why are you guys too chicken to answer those questions?

  76. 76
    Joe says:

    William, Obviously they think we have to see the designer(s) in action. They do not care about science.

  77. 77
    RDFish says:

    Joe,

    Although you are a rude and worthless debater, once in a great while I deign to respond to you just in case someone here doesn’t realize why it is the best policy to simply ignore you.

    Here is my response:

    If we determine that something is intelligently designed…

    You are already confused here. We can determine that something has been created by a known cause (human beings, termites, beavers, running water, static electricity, and so on). If we cannot explain how something came to exist, then it remains unexplained until we come up with an explanation. The statement that a flagellum or an eyeball is “intelligently designed” is assuming your conclusion; the correct conclusion is “We do not know how this mechanism came to exist”.

    …and then determine that humans could not have designed it (perhaps because we were not around), what are we supposed to do?

    Again, what we are supposed to do is say “We do not know how this thing came to exist”.

    Are we to deny the design inference…

    By “design inference” you mean “jump to the conclusion that something that isn’t human but has the mental and physical abilities of human beings exists somewhere and produced what we observe”. So yes, you shouldn’t do that (unless of course you choose to hold faith-based beliefs that do not require empirical evidence, which is your prerogative).

    …and think that mother nature somehow had the power to do something that is far beyond her known capability?

    I think it’s quaint that you choose to personify nature 🙂 But yes, of course, there is a great deal about the world that we do not understand. It would be silly to imagine we understood everything about nature.

    Or do we infer it was some non-human intelligent agency that was involved?

    In order to conclude that something existed which had the mental and physical abilities of human beings, and this thing somehow created living systems, you would need to present some evidence to support your view. There is no such evidence.

    Cheers,
    RDFish/AIGuy

  78. 78
    Joe says:

    LoL! Worthless debater = being able to easily refute RDFish’s tripe.

    The statement that a flagellum or an eyeball is “intelligently designed” is assuming your conclusion;

    No it isn’t. That inference was reached after careful and thorough consideration of all of the evidence.

    Again the design is evidence of an intelligent designer. That alone is all that is required to show that an intelligent designer existed.

    I am not surprised that you cannot grasp that simple concept.

  79. 79

    RDFish,

    I have no argument that can penetrate willful ignorance.

    No ID proponent that I have ever read has ever proposed humans as the designers of the nanotechnology of living organisms. Well, besides me – I once opined that humans might have created life in a John Wheeler-ish, backwards-cause manner via time-traveling quantum collapse.

    Knowing that humans are not (yet) up to the task, they look at a specific quality of human beings that is known to produce qualitatively similar things – intelligence – and propose that some entity with greater intelligence (and engineering capacity) may be up to the task.

    Is this an unwarranted extrapolation of a human characteristic? Certainly not. Other characteristics that humans have – such as, the capacity to digest diverse foods, run, swim, make loud vocal noises, jump, etc. are often seen as being shared by non-human creatures, many of them with greater such capacities. Other, non-human creatures are seen to be sophisticated engineers, rudimentary tool makers and have some level of intelligence and perhaps even basic language.

    Even humans have a wide spectrum of intelligence and the capacity for intelligent agency/design – ranging from none to that which borders on the miraculous.

    Our literature and media is full of just such extrapolations; SETI is based on it, and AI depends on the idea that intelligence is not unique to humans in the universe. It is a common, even trivial extrapolation warranted both by the Copernican principle, the wide variation of intelligent agency in humans, and the earmarks of intelligence found in non-human animals.

    So, what IDists propose is the warranted, non-controversial extrapolation of a characteristic we know exists – intelligence – into the probable cause of artifacts the likes of which are only currently known to be generated by entities with intelligence, reaching the conditional conclusion that since that particular intelligent entity was not (as far as we know) around, some other entity with that characteristic is most likely responsible for those quantifiably similar artifacts.

    Nothing about this is controversial. It’s a rather pedestrian extrapolation or abductive inference to best explanation – that is, until it smacks up against those who have an ideological commitment otherwise.

    Then, all of a sudden, you find people that cannot even imagine intelligent non-human entities (even though they can imagine the most sophisticated 3D printing and programming in the world being constructed by chance. I guess when you read science fiction books are watch science fiction movies, you are utterly perplexed by the notion of non-human intelligence.

    I guess it’s okay to hypothesize that given enough time, chance can build a biological computer and self-replicating 3D printing machine, but it’s verboten to hypothsize non-human intelligence being responsible for it.

  80. 80
    Joe says:

    We can determine that something has been created by a known cause (human beings, termites, beavers, running water, static electricity, and so on).

    Right so when we observe something that looks like something a human being might have designed we have every right to look into it. For example we see running electricity in our bodies complete wityh pumping stations to keep the flow going.

    If we cannot explain how something came to exist, then it remains unexplained until we come up with an explanation.

    The “how” remains unexplained. That it is intelligently designed has already been settled. How always comes after design is determined.

    Saying something is the product of intelligent design tells us quite a bit. First it eliminates entire classes of causes and limits it to a known casual class. Secondly it tells us how the investigation is to proceed. For example Stonehenge would never reveal anything if we examined it as a natural formation.

  81. 81
    RDFish says:

    Hi WJM,

    I have no argument that can penetrate willful ignorance.

    Hahahahahaha!!! Perfect! So typical of you: When at a loss for anything relevant to say, simply insult! Nice job!!

    No ID proponent that I have ever read has ever proposed humans as the designers of the nanotechnology of living organisms.

    Uh, yes William, I’ve already said that we agree about that. Please refer to my #3: We all agree (I assume) that human beings were not responsible for the original creation of living things. Was this just a reading comprehension issue for you?

    Well, besides me – I once opined that humans might have created life in a John Wheeler-ish, backwards-cause manner via time-traveling quantum collapse.

    Sure, why not? That’s as well-supported a hypothesis as ID is!

    Knowing that humans are not (yet) up to the task, they look at a specific quality of human beings that is known to produce qualitatively similar things – intelligence – and propose that some entity with greater intelligence (and engineering capacity) may be up to the task.

    Again, hypothesize away! That is the creative part of the quest for knowledge: generating new hypotheses that could, if true, explain what we observe. But unless you’d like to hold purely faith-based beliefs (your prerogative, of course), the next step is to provide evidence that your hypothesis is true. ID fails to do this, and amazingly, fails to admit that it is even necessary!

    Is this an unwarranted extrapolation of a human characteristic? Certainly not. Other characteristics that humans have – such as, the capacity to digest diverse foods, run, swim, make loud vocal noises, jump, etc. are often seen as being shared by non-human creatures, many of them with greater such capacities. Other, non-human creatures are seen to be sophisticated engineers, rudimentary tool makers and have some level of intelligence and perhaps even basic language.

    Yes, many living things share mental and physical abilities, due to the similarities among life forms: The ability to record and process information from the environment using sense organs and nervous systems, the ability to affect the environment using musculature, and so on.

    Even humans have a wide spectrum of intelligence and the capacity for intelligent agency/design – ranging from none to that which borders on the miraculous.

    Absolutely true. There are savants who can perform amazing feats of mathematical or artistic ability, yet cannot hold a rational conversation. That is why the term “intelligence” is so meaningless unless it is carefully qualified: The term refers to particular abilities, and any given entity that one might call “intelligent” might have some abilities but not others. And that goes for all life forms – but something that isn’t even a life form (like an “immaterial intelligent agent”) would be so dissimilar from a human being that we would have no way of knowing what abilities it might have.

    Our literature and media is full of just such extrapolations; SETI is based on it,…

    SETI is a search for life forms – in their words, “life as we know it”.

    …and AI depends on the idea that intelligence is not unique to humans in the universe.

    HUH????? I don’t want to get too sidetracked here, but AI has nothing to do with ideas about what sorts of entities exist in the universe. AI assumes that the mental abilities human beings exhibit can be replicated by machines that are very physically different from human brains/bodies. Nobody yet knows if that assumption is correct or not. And by the way, as Wm Dembski has repeatedly pointed out, if the assumptions of AI are true then ID (and much religious dogma) is false.

    It is a common, even trivial extrapolation warranted both by the Copernican principle, the wide variation of intelligent agency in humans, and the earmarks of intelligence found in non-human animals.

    You aren’t being clear here – what extrapolation are you talking about? That extra-terrestrial life forms exist? Maybe, maybe not – most ID folks I talk to actually think SETI has failed to find any evidence of ET life forms, so there probably aren’t any. ID folks usually deny the Copernican principle too! I really don’t understand your argument, and I’m afraid you don’t either.

    So, what IDists propose is the warranted, non-controversial extrapolation of a characteristic we know exists – intelligence –

    It is not a warranted conclusion because we have no evidence for it. It is merely an hypothesis. SETI cannot conclude that ET life forms exist just because they exist on Earth – we actually need evidence that they exist somewhere. Same with ID.

    Nothing about this is controversial.

    What universe do you live in? In my universe, ID is very controversial. In fact, the vast majority of professional scientists think it’s nonsense. That doesn’t mean it’s wrong, but it is certainly ridiculous to imagine it isn’t controversial.

    Then, all of a sudden, you find people that cannot even imagine intelligent non-human entities (even though they can imagine the most sophisticated 3D printing and programming in the world being constructed by chance. I guess when you read science fiction books are watch science fiction movies, you are utterly perplexed by the notion of non-human intelligence.

    What a stupid thing for you to say! I can imagine all sorts of things, of course! That doesn’t mean they exist, William. What is wrong with you?

    I guess it’s okay to hypothesize that given enough time, chance can build…

    Another ridiculous thing to say. Chance doesn’t build anything, William.

    Cheers,
    RDFish/AIGuy

  82. 82
    Joe says:

    When we say “chance can build” we mean that blind and undirected process- accidents, errors, mistakes, not planned, haphazard- That has been spoon fed to you and you spit it up like a baby.

  83. 83
    RDFish says:

    Hi Joe,

    Right so when we observe something that looks like something a human being might have designed we have every right to look into it.

    Yes – and “look into it” you should! That means look for evidence of something that might have been responsible for these intricate biological mechanisms. Since we know a human being was NOT responsible, you need to look for something else.

    Saying something is the product of intelligent design tells us quite a bit.

    No, it tells us precisely nothing, which is why I always ask people what they mean when they say that, but they never respond.

    First it eliminates entire classes of causes and limits it to a known casual class.

    Every class of things must have some sort of inclusion criteria. What is the inclusion criterion for the class of intelligent agents?

    Cheers,
    RDFish/AIGuy

  84. 84
    Joe says:

    RDFish:

    That means look for evidence of something that might have been responsible for these intricate biological mechanisms.

    That is incoherent. Obviously it is not from this planet so how do you propose we do that and why do you think it is important? You do realize that what you are asking is not part of ID but is one of the questions we will try to answer, meaning ID is not a scientific dead-end.

    The who designed it and how it was designed ALWAYS come after design has been determined.

    Saying something is the product of intelligent design tells us quite a bit.

    No, it tells us precisely nothing,

    No, it tells YOU nmothing but it tells me and the rest of us with investigative experience, quite a bit

    which is why I always ask people what they mean when they say that, but they never respond.

    I have responded and you have been ignoring. Not my problem

    Every class of things must have some sort of inclusion criteria. What is the inclusion criterion for the class of intelligent agents?

    I am getting tired of constantly having to repeat myself. The inclusion criteria is as Behe said in DBB :

    “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.”– Behe

    and as Ratzsch said in “Nature, Design and Science” calls it “counterflow”. Read the book. You should love it.

  85. 85
    RDFish says:

    Hi Joe,

    So you are saying this:

    1) We can use evidence to support a “design inference” about something
    2) The “design inference” says that it was produced by something that belongs to the class of “intelligent agents”
    3) When asked what the inclusion criteria are for this class, you respond thus:

    “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.”- Behe

    Does this mean that an “intelligent agent” is something that can “order separate components to achieve an identifiable function that depends sharply on the components”? That is what separates “intelligent agents” from everything else? In other words, anything that can do that is an intelligent agent, no matter what else is true of it? And anything that cannot do that is not an intelligent agent?

    Cheers,
    RDFish/AIGuy

  86. 86

    RDFish said:

    SETI is a search for life forms – in their words, “life as we know it”.

    Apparently, RDFish doesn’t know what the acronym “SETI” stands for.

  87. 87
    bb says:

    After several rabbit trails, WJM’s comment on rich’s post still stands. After staring at a clock for only 1/10 of a second, an evolutionist/materialist/darwinist feels justified in concluding that only chance and necessity can produce the incredible technology and integration we find in biology.

  88. 88
    RDFish says:

    Hi WJM,

    Apparently, RDFish doesn’t know what the acronym “SETI” stands for.

    Hahahahahaha!!! Perfect! So typical of you: When at a loss for anything relevant to say, simply insult! Nice job!!

    You are indeed “on a roll” here, William!

    Again and again you are presented with my arguments, and rather than either concede or respond to my points, you regress into juvenile baiting. You are pathetic.

    For the rest of you, if you read SETI literature you will see clearly that the astrobiologists they employ make a number of assumptions about what they are looking for. Among these assumptions are that there is civilisation of life forms on some hospitable (temperate, water-containing) planet that has existed for a sufficient amount of time to evolve complex brains (which they quantify by means of an “encephalization quotient”) and technologies.

    Now that you’ve gotten that wrong, can you at least try to respond to my argument, William? No? I thought not 🙂

    Cheers,
    RDFish/AIGuy

  89. 89
    bb says:

    Continuing….without ever seeing something like thar occur.

  90. 90
    bb says:

    Didn’t mean to spell like a pirate. “Thar”=”that”.

  91. 91
    bb says:

    RDFish,

    WJM makes a valid point and gives your argument all the attention it deserves. What does the “I” in “SETI” stand for?

  92. 92
    Joe says:

    RDFish:

    Does this mean that an “intelligent agent” is something that can “order separate components to achieve an identifiable function that depends sharply on the components”? That is what separates “intelligent agents” from everything else?

    That and the presence of counterflow (Ratzsch). Also the number of separate components is key, as Behe makes very clear.

    Do you think you have something? Present it and get it over with.

    Or continue to play games. Your choice.

  93. 93

    bb:

    Obviously, the “I” in SETI stands for “Hypothetical Abstractions”.

  94. 94
    RDFish says:

    Hi Joe,

    RDF: Does this mean that an “intelligent agent” is something that can “order separate components to achieve an identifiable function that depends sharply on the components”? That is what separates “intelligent agents” from everything else?
    JOE: That and the presence of counterflow (Ratzsch). Also the number of separate components is key, as Behe makes very clear.

    I understand Behe’s inclusion criteria for the set of intelligent agents, but I don’t understand how Ratzsch’s notion of “counterflow” constitutes an additional criterion.

    Again, as far as I can make out from what you’ve said, an “intelligent agent” is something that can “order separate components to achieve an identifiable function that depends sharply on the components”. Any thing (entity, being, life form, process, system, spirit, mechanism, force, or whatever) that can do this belongs to the class of intelligent agents, and anything that cannot do that does not belong to that class.

    If you’d like to modify this idea regarding “counterflow” from Ratzsch, could you explain what other criteria are involved?

    Cheers,
    RDFish/AIGuy

  95. 95
    RDFish says:

    Hi WJM,

    Poor you, taking pot shots behind my back like a little schoolyard wimp, afraid to take on the arguments I’ve presented. Don’t worry, William, I won’t be too tough on you. Just give it a try – answer the points I’ve made like a man, and see where it goes! Don’t be such a coward. It’s all right there @73, points 1-5. What’s your response?

    Cheers,
    RDFish/AIGuy

  96. 96
    RDFish says:

    In case anyone else is confused about SETI, they are clear about what they are looking for: hospitable planets hosting civilizations of life forms who have developed advanced technology. See here for example: http://www.seti.org/faq#obs1

    They believe these might exist because WE ON EARTH are a civilization of life forms with advanced technology. We are a known cause of complex mechanisms and communication devices.

    ID pretends to be suggesting a known cause for life – is it really the same thing as SETI is looking for?

  97. 97
    Alan Fox says:

    Just to add if the SETI project finds evidence of intelligent (intelligent enough to construct and use radio transmission equipment of sufficient power to reach Earth) life-forms this will provide data for the Drake equation and thus boost the suggestion that abiogenesis is common, rather than being unique.

    (The recent flood of newly discovered exo-planets also improves the odds)

  98. 98
    HeKS says:

    RDFish,

    In #85 you say:

    Does this mean that an “intelligent agent” is something that can “order separate components to achieve an identifiable function that depends sharply on the components”? That is what separates “intelligent agents” from everything else? In other words, anything that can do that is an intelligent agent, no matter what else is true of it? And anything that cannot do that is not an intelligent agent?

    Let’s break this down:

    Does this mean that an “intelligent agent” is something that can “order separate components to achieve an identifiable function that depends sharply on the components”?

    No, that’s not what an intelligent agent is in the sense of it being a definition. Rather, that’s something that intelligent agents often do.

    That is what separates “intelligent agents” from everything else?

    It is certainly one of the things that separates intelligent agents from everything else.

    In other words, anything that can do that is an intelligent agent, no matter what else is true of it?

    No, to insist on that a priori as an absolute truth would be to essentially make a circular argument and a potentially meaningless claim. Rather, the claim is that only intelligent agents have ever been demonstrated to be capable of bringing about the type of effect described by Behe and that all such complex systems, when definitively traced back to their source, invariable are derived from intelligence, with trillions of examples supporting the claim and zero non-question-begging counter-examples.

    And anything that cannot do that is not an intelligent agent?

    No, that is no part of the claim. Some agent, like a one-year-old, may be intelligent but not yet have the necessary knowledge or capacity to bring about a complex system. All the evidence we have indicates that intelligence is a necessary condition to bring about the effect, but it is not a sufficient condition. The intelligent agent much also possess enough relevant knowledge to bring about the effect in question. That some agent had sufficient relevant knowledge and ability to produce an observed effect can be deduced from the existence of the effect.

    Moving to comment #88, you write:

    if you read SETI literature you will see clearly that the astrobiologists they employ make a number of assumptions about what they are looking for. Among these assumptions are that there is civilisation of life forms on some hospitable (temperate, water-containing) planet that has existed for a sufficient amount of time to evolve complex brains (which they quantify by means of an “encephalization quotient”) and technologies.

    SETI’s description of the type of agents they are looking for consists only of the minimal necessary characteristics that can be logically deduced from the type of effect they are hoping to find combined with the assumptions of Methodological Naturalism. And if they are anywhere going beyond that then they are making unwarranted (or at the very least unrelated) assumptions that are not connected to their design inference.

    As I’ve said before (and will say again), the design inference can only provide us with insight into the minimum set of characteristics that the designer must possess rather than the maximum set of characteristics the designer might possess. Furthermore, even this minimum set of characteristics must obviously be deduced as a matter of logical necessity rather than observed.

    The relevant point about SETI is the recognition that intelligent activity could be reliably recognized from its effect and that the finding of such evidence for intelligent activity could confirm the existence of previously unknown kinds of intelligent agents.

    In comment #73, you wrote:

    4) THEREFORE, ID does NOT propose a known cause at all – it is in fact proposing a cause that is UNKNOWN to us, which is something that isn’t human, but still has mental and physical abilities similar to that of a human being.

    5) It is up to ID to provide evidence that such a thing exists. If it exists, then it could help explain how living things came to exist. But until ID provides evidence, ID remains an unsupported hypothesis.

    Here you seem to be trying to suggest that science is not allowed to propose the existence of previously unknown entities as the best explanation for observed effects and that the observed effects that seem to make the existence of such unknown entities necessary cannot be allowed to count as evidence for their existence.

    If this is what you’re trying to claim – and I can’t figure out what else you could be trying to claim – this is obviously absurd. It’s recognized to be untrue in the case of SETI. It’s recognized to be untrue when it comes to the matter of elementary particles. And only ideologues (or people who really don’t understand the issues involved) deny it’s untrue in the case of ID.

    In #81 you said:

    SETI cannot conclude that ET life forms exist just because they exist on Earth – we actually need evidence that they exist somewhere. Same with ID.

    What you seem to be missing is the fact that if they found the effects of intelligence in a radio signal they would consider that to be powerful evidence of the existence of ET life forms. They would conclude that the existence of such ET life forms was the best explanation for the radio signal effects without requiring other independent evidence of their existence. The same goes for ID.

  99. 99
    Acartia_bogart says:

    Hi RSFish, it is nice to see a voice of reason back on UD. How long do you think this amnesty will last?

  100. 100
    HeKS says:

    RDFish #96

    Further to my last post, you said:

    They believe these might exist because WE ON EARTH are a civilization of life forms with advanced technology. We are a known cause of complex mechanisms and communication devices.

    Yes, We humans living on earth are known causal agents of complex mechanisms and systems. Non-human aliens living on another planet we’re unaware of are not known causal agents. But if SETI found the effects of intelligence in a radio signal they would consider that to be strong evidence that non-human aliens really do exist as causal agents somewhere out there in the vastness of space.

    The common feature between humans on earth and non-human aliens on another planet that would allow SETI to infer the existence of the latter on the basis of the former is intelligence capable of building complex systems.

    ID pretends to be suggesting a known cause for life – is it really the same thing as SETI is looking for?

    Yes, it really is the same, because both ID and SETI are based on finding the same feature or characteristic, which is intelligence capable of constructing complex systems. Both SETI and ID are proposing a known cause in an otherwise unknown causal agent. The only different between the two is that SETI is still looking for the effects of intelligent design in a radio signal while ID has actually found overwhelming amounts of evidence for intelligent design in life and in the cosmos at large.

  101. 101
    HeKS says:

    Hey Acartia_bogart,

    I’ve actually kinda missed your participation here. Though I admit I find it rather disappointing to see you citing RDFish’s arguments as examples of a “voice of reason” since they seem to me to contain everything but good reasoning. But to each his own I guess.

  102. 102
    rich says:

    I always thought SETI was about messages, not complexity?

  103. 103
    Mung says:

    Tamara Knight:

    @Joe “If we determine that something is intelligently designed…”

    Well once WE have, we have a world changer. In the mean time, we need to work at it.

    You’re probably right, but most of us ID supporters have no problem believing your posts are designed, so where do you think the problem is?

  104. 104
    StephenB says:

    WJM

    Apparently, RDFish doesn’t know what the acronym “SETI” stands for.

    Hahahahahaha!!! Perfect! So typical of you: When at a loss for anything relevant to say, simply insult! Nice job!!

    It’s generally bad form to do victory dance after being thrown out of a window.

    ID pretends to be suggesting a known cause for life – is it really the same thing as SETI is looking for?

    Do you mean, does it think of an intelligent cause in the same was as ID? Of course.

  105. 105
    Joe says:

    Alan Fox:

    Just to add if the SETI project finds evidence of intelligent (intelligent enough to construct and use radio transmission equipment of sufficient power to reach Earth) life-forms this will provide data for the Drake equation and thus boost the suggestion that abiogenesis is common, rather than being unique.

    LoL! That doesn’t follow at all. First the Drake equation has been superseded by both the “Rare Earth” hypothesis and the equation posited by Ward and Brownlee, and also by “The Privileged Planet” hypothesis posited by Gonzalez and Richards. And if those equations are met and the privileged planet hypothesis is borne out, then it is Intelligent Design all the way down. This to is the conclusion of Gonzalez and Richards.

    I know the last time I told you that you freaked out. But deal with it.

  106. 106
    Joe says:

    RDFish:

    I understand Behe’s inclusion criteria for the set of intelligent agents, but I don’t understand how Ratzsch’s notion of “counterflow” constitutes an additional criterion.

    Again, as far as I can make out from what you’ve said, an “intelligent agent” is something that can “order separate components to achieve an identifiable function that depends sharply on the components”. Any thing (entity, being, life form, process, system, spirit, mechanism, force, or whatever) that can do this belongs to the class of intelligent agents, and anything that cannot do that does not belong to that class.

    If you’d like to modify this idea regarding “counterflow” from Ratzsch, could you explain what other criteria are involved?

    I get it. You are trying to trap me. So let me try to educate you:

    With science each scenario is treated separately. With science necessity and chance are ALWAYS given priority- ALWAYS. So when we have swept clear necessity and chance AND we have Behe’s criteria, we infer intelligent design.

    However there are sometimes we may definitely just jump to the design inference. That includes counterflow. The presence of strong counterflow, an alien spacecraft as opposed to scratches on a rock, can only be accounted for via intelligent agency.

  107. 107
    Turbokid says:

    I wills second AB’s comment. Great to see RDFish back. Unfortunately his arguments have the effect of reducing ID proponents to incoherent spluttering. And then he gets banned.

  108. 108
    Joe says:

    LoL!@ Turbokid- RDFish has been left to incoherent sputtering. That is why he gets banned.

  109. 109
    Box says:

    HeKS in #98 and #100 is very effective in dissecting RDFish’s incoherent sputtering.
    I fully enjoyed this part:

    HeKS: Here you seem to be trying to suggest that science is not allowed to propose the existence of previously unknown entities as the best explanation for observed effects and that the observed effects that seem to make the existence of such unknown entities necessary cannot be allowed to count as evidence for their existence.

    If this is what you’re trying to claim – and I can’t figure out what else you could be trying to claim – this is obviously absurd. It’s recognized to be untrue in the case of SETI. It’s recognized to be untrue when it comes to the matter of elementary particles. And only ideologues (or people who really don’t understand the issues involved) deny it’s untrue in the case of ID.

    Indeed, was the proposal of Higgs boson illegitimate science? How about string theory is that not part of science? Why is RDFish not presenting his views on science at a physics forum?

  110. 110
    Turbokid says:

    Box @109 (and HeKS), it would be great if ID were to go through the process that physicists did to identify the Higgs boson. The attributes of the Higgs boson were hypothesised to staggering mathematical detail. Then the scientists used that data to try and determine if it existed. This is the opposite of what ID does.

  111. 111
    Mung says:

    Turbokid:

    Box @109 (and HeKS), it would be great if ID were to go through the process that physicists did to identify the Higgs boson.

    So the taxpayers should fund ID research? Great!

  112. 112
    Acartia_bogart says:

    HeKS: “I’ve actually kinda missed your participation here.”

    Thank you HeKS, but I have never been away. I have commented under many names until Barry checks the IP address and bans me again. The latest being Tintinnid.

    But I do think that UD is much more interesting with people like myself, RDFish and others. I did notice that at the height of the censorship era (2+ days ago) the comment threads on most OPs were extremely short, if present at all. We will have to see if Barry has the guts and foresight to aoe this partial amnesty to continue. Nobody would argue with banning people who are abusive and hateful, but banning them just because they are critical of the moderator, his approach and his often uncivil tone, is just proof that he can’t decent himself.

    I look forward to having some heated, but civil, disagreements.

  113. 113
    RDFish says:

    Hi HeKS,

    RDF:Does this mean that an “intelligent agent” is something that can “order separate components to achieve an identifiable function that depends sharply on the components”?
    HEKS: No, that’s not what an intelligent agent is in the sense of it being a definition. Rather, that’s something that intelligent agents often do.

    So you disagree with Joe here, who offered that as an inclusion criterion for the set of “intelligent agents”.

    It’s so hard to argue against ID when ID consists of so many mutually exclusive bad ideas.

    Rather, the claim is that only intelligent agents have ever been demonstrated to be capable of bringing about the type of effect described by Behe and that all such complex systems,

    So, you also refer to a class of things called “intelligent agents”, and I will simply repeat my question to you: What are the inclusion criteria for this class of things?

    That some agent had sufficient relevant knowledge and ability to produce an observed effect can be deduced from the existence of the effect.

    What you’ve said here is that for any effect, there must be some cause capable of producing that effect. I won’t argue against that 🙂

    SETI’s description of the type of agents they are looking for consists only of the minimal necessary characteristics that can be logically deduced from the type of effect they are hoping to find combined with the assumptions of Methodological Naturalism.

    You are mistaken; their assumptions come directly from the knowledge we have of ourselves. We are a civilisation of life forms who build technologies that employ narrow-band electro-magnetic signals to communicate. So, that’s what SETI looks for on other life-hospitable planets besides our own.

    As I’ve said before (and will say again), the design inference can only provide us with insight into the minimum set of characteristics that the designer must possess rather than the maximum set of characteristics the designer might possess. Furthermore, even this minimum set of characteristics must obviously be deduced as a matter of logical necessity rather than observed.

    In that case, ID is perfectly vacuous: It says only that the cause of life must have had characteristics sufficient to enable it to be the cause of life, which obviously tells us nothing at all.

    Here you seem to be trying to suggest that science is not allowed to propose the existence of previously unknown entities as the best explanation for observed effects and that the observed effects that seem to make the existence of such unknown entities necessary cannot be allowed to count as evidence for their existence.

    No, that’s not what I’m suggesting. Of course science must propose the existence of previously unknown things (forces, particles, entities, processes, whatever…). However, in order for us to decide if such a thing actually exists, the thing whose existence is being proposed must have some sort of characterization aside from causing the existence of that which we’re explaining. Otherwise, we could make up (hypothesize) any cause of any unexplained phenomenon, and simply point to the phenomenon itself as evidence that our hypothesis is true. Why does the Sun appear to rise in the East? Because Apollo drives His chariot from that direction. How do I know that? Because we see the Sun rise in the East!

    What you seem to be missing is the fact that if they found the effects of intelligence in a radio signal they would consider that to be powerful evidence of the existence of ET life forms.

    Of course that is what they are looking for (narrow-band EM signals, actually), and of course it would be evidence of a civilization of life forms.

    They would conclude that the existence of such ET life forms was the best explanation for the radio signal effects without requiring other independent evidence of their existence.

    Yes of course! SETI hypothesizes that ET life forms exist (because of the Copernican principle, belief in abiogenesis and evolution, evidence of hospitable planets, etc). IN ORDER TO TEST SETI’S HYPOTHESIS we look for evidence (in the form of narrow-band radio signals). If we find it, we consider that we have supported our hypothesis with evidence.

    The same goes for ID.

    No, not at all! ID hypothesizes that some non-human conscious agent designed living things (because of the complex mechanisms we observe in biological systems, and the fact that we are conscious, and that we can build complex mechanisms). IN ORDER TO TEST ID’S HYPOTHESIS….. well, uh, actually, there is no proposed way to test ID’s hypothesis, so we have no idea whether or not it’s true.

    Yes, We humans living on earth are known causal agents of complex mechanisms and systems. Non-human aliens living on another planet we’re unaware of are not known causal agents. But if SETI found the effects of intelligence in a radio signal they would consider that to be strong evidence that non-human aliens really do exist as causal agents somewhere out there in the vastness of space.

    That’s right.

    The common feature between humans on earth and non-human aliens on another planet that would allow SETI to infer the existence of the latter on the basis of the former is intelligence capable of building complex systems.

    We would infer just what the SETI folks say – some civilization of life forms exist somewhere with sufficiently well-developed brains (the SETI astrobiologists refer to this as a sufficiently high encephalization quotient) to design transmitters, etc. If you don’t understand how SETI thinks about intelligence, you need to read what they say about it.

    Yes, it really is the same

    In that case, ID is a terribly stupid theory. Once you accept that there exist life forms somewhere else in the galaxy or the universe, you might as well just hypothesize that the species on Earth are simply descendents of those life forms, rather than the product of their advanced bio-engineering.

    Both SETI and ID are proposing a known cause in an otherwise unknown causal agent.

    Nonsense. SETI operationally defines “intelligence” as the ability to produce communication technology that can send signals to Earth. SETI also assumes that intelligence is a property of the nervous system of living things, and looks for intelligent life forms – living things with complex nervous systems, sense organs, and so on. Again, I just don’t think you’re even familiar with SETI research. Try this for example: http://intelligence.seti.org/pages/intelligence

    The only different between the two is that SETI is still looking for the effects of intelligent design in a radio signal while ID has actually found overwhelming amounts of evidence for intelligent design in life and in the cosmos at large.

    Nonsense. SETI looks for narrow band EM signals, not “intelligent design”. It operationally defines “intelligence” simply as anything capable of producing such signals. It assumes that intelligence is a property of life as we know it, which requires complex nervous systems and other mechanisms, which are exactly the things that ID purports to explain!

    Cheers,
    RDFish/AIGuy

  114. 114
    RDFish says:

    Hi Acartia_bogart,

    Hi RSFish, it is nice to see a voice of reason back on UD. How long do you think this amnesty will last?

    Hi AB, thanks! For me I suppose amnesty will last until I can’t help myself and once again point out how confused Barry is 🙂

    Cheers,
    RDFish/AIGuy

  115. 115
    RDFish says:

    Hi Turbokid,

    Thanks! It’s actually a good thing that they ban me here – otherwise my wife yells at me for spending too much time on the computer 🙂

    Cheers,
    RDFish/AIGuy

  116. 116
    RDFish says:

    Hi Joe,

    I get it. You are trying to trap me.

    No, not at all! You do that all by yourself of course.

    So when we have swept clear necessity and chance AND we have Behe’s criteria, we infer intelligent design.

    You mentioned a class of things called “the class of intelligent agents”. I’m asking you what the inclusion criteria are for that class.

    You seem to keep changing your mind. First it was just Behe’s notion of ordering components into a functional whole. Then you seem to add something about “counterflow”. Now you start talking about necessity and chance.

    Can you please just tell me, all at once, what are the inclusion criteria for this class you have defined?

    Cheers,
    RDFish/AIGuy

  117. 117
    Acartia_bogart says:

    RDFish: “Hi AB, thanks! For me I suppose amnesty will last until I can’t help myself and once again point out how confused Barry is “

    I have already fallen over that cliff as Tintinnid. It took less than two days.

  118. 118
    StephenA says:

    RDFish

    However, in order for us to decide if such a thing actually exists, the thing whose existence is being proposed must have some sort of characterization aside from causing the existence of that which we’re explaining. Otherwise, we could make up (hypothesize) any cause of any unexplained phenomenon, and simply point to the phenomenon itself as evidence that our hypothesis is true.

    In that case, could you describe the properties of Dark Matter? Or do you regard that as an illegitimate hypothesis too?

  119. 119
    Joe says:

    RDFish:

    You do that all by yourself of course.

    Not yet, but anything is possible.

    You mentioned a class of things called “the class of intelligent agents”. I’m asking you what the inclusion criteria are for that class.

    Define “inclusion criteria”.

    You seem to keep changing your mind.

    No, I keep having to clarify myself because you want to obfuscate.

    First it was just Behe’s notion of ordering components into a functional whole. Then you seem to add something about “counterflow”.

    Counterflow was in from the start.

    Now you start talking about necessity and chance.

    And I explained why. What part of that didn’t you understand?

    Can you please just tell me, all at once, what are the inclusion criteria for this class you have defined?

    Once you have defined “inclusion criteria” I will. That is a term I have heard used for clinical studies- which subjects can be used and which cannot. That doesn’t make sense in this context.

    That is why I keep asking you to just make your case. What do you think matches Behe’s criteria and is not the result of intelligent design? Your games just expose you as a child and it gets tiring very quickly.

  120. 120
    Joe says:

    To RDFish:
    I get it. You are trying to trap me. So let me try to educate you:

    With science each scenario is treated separately. With science necessity and chance are ALWAYS given priority- ALWAYS. So when we have swept clear necessity and chance AND we have Behe’s criteria, we infer intelligent design.

    However there are sometimes we may definitely just jump to the design inference. That includes counterflow. The presence of strong counterflow, an alien spacecraft as opposed to scratches on a rock, can only be accounted for via intelligent agency.

    Attempt failed, why am I not surprised?

  121. 121
    Acartia_bogart says:

    Joe: “Define “inclusion criteria”.”

    I’m sorry, but you have demonstrated a definition deficit disorder. That is grounds for default. The judges have declared your argument to have failed. Next.

  122. 122
    velikovskys says:

    bb
    I have never seen “the exact same device” occurring by chance. Are you saying there’s no difference between the object pictured here and this?

    Nope not saying that sundials don’t come in lots of designs, but what they have in common is the motion of a shadow is a measure time, that same motion of a shadow that occurs naturally.

  123. 123
    velikovskys says:

    bb:

    A sundial only has information because an intelligent agent designed and constructed it.

    A naturally occurring sundial has no information for a human?

    But you’re saying that DNA cannot have the same type of origin?

    No but you seem to be saying that it can only have information if it is the result of intelligent agency.

  124. 124
    RDFish says:

    Hi StephenA,

    In that case, could you describe the properties of Dark Matter?

    I’m not a physicist, but there are certainly rigorous mathematical descriptions of Dark Matter, no?

    Or do you regard that as an illegitimate hypothesis too?

    Anyone can hypothesize anything; that is always legitimate. But one needs evidence in order to have a justified belief that the hypothesis is true.

    Cheers,
    RDFish/AIGuy

  125. 125
    RDFish says:

    Hi Joe,

    Define “inclusion criteria”.

    For some set S, the criteria (or tests) that are used to determine if something is a member of S are called the inclusion criteria for S.

    That is why I keep asking you to just make your case.

    I’ve made my case already. (See @73)

    What do you think matches Behe’s criteria and is not the result of intelligent design?

    That question reveals a deep confusion. You have defined “intelligent design” as the result of something that meets Behe’s criteria, and now you turn around and ask me for an example of something meets Behe’s criteria but is not the result of intelligent design. Good grief!

    The ball is in your court, Joe:
    1) You say there is a well-defined set of things called intelligent agents.
    2) I reasonably ask how to tell if something is a member of that set or not.
    3) You say (@84) that the criteria is Behe’s (the ordering of separate components to achieve an identifiable function etc).
    4) I ask (@85) if you really mean that and then you (@92) add the part about counterflow.
    5) I ask (@94) to explain what that means, and then you (@106) start talking about chance and necessity.

    So I will ask you once again: How does one determine if something is a member of set of intelligent agents?

    Cheers,
    RDFish/AIGuy

  126. 126
    bb says:

    velikovskys @122

    Nope not saying that sundials don’t come in lots of designs, but what they have in common is the motion of a shadow is a measure time, that same motion of a shadow that occurs naturally.

    The word “design” is hard to avoid isn’t it. But that’s equivocation because the tree isn’t designed to tell time meaningfully. At what hour of the day was this photo taken? If you can’t tell me, there isn’t the information needed to make it meaningful. If there were useful markings supplied by an intelligent agent, you would know. The time in this photo is approximately 10:15 AM.

    I will have no further comment on this aspect unless you can give me, without guessing, a time of similar approximate accuracy to that of the purposely constructed sundial. Proving an intelligent agent isn’t needed. Otherwise, you’re simply in denial, aka refusing to see the difference between a pile of sand and a sand castle.

  127. 127
    velikovskys says:

    tiguy:
    OK, so you see no difference between the fact that a sundial was specifically made to tell time and the fact that naturally occurring shadows just happen to also be able to be used in that fashion?

    There are many possible differences but the relevant difference seems to that one is specifically designed to measure time by the motion of shadows , the other does the same thing without being intelligently designed.

    Of course, any shadow can be used to tell time to a certain extent, but you do see the difference of purpose and intent in your illustration I hope. Purpose and intent are hallmarks of design, intelligent design.

    Of course, to be a clock the abilty to measure time is not sufficent, it must also be intelligently designed. Which bring us back to this

    William “Even when there is no evidence obtained in that 10th of a second to believe that chance and natural forces are capable of creating a single clock.”

    Since chance and natural forces are precluded from ever creating a clock, that seems like a bogus argument. It is impossible for there to be evidence
    .

  128. 128
    Box says:

    RDFish #124: Anyone can hypothesize anything; that is always legitimate.

    Great, finally we are getting somewhere. Thanks for your admittance. You have been rather hysterical about proposing “unknown causes” – in fact you have presented it ad nausea as if this is strictly forbidden in science.
    For instance in post #73 you wrote:

    RDFish #73: THEREFORE, ID does NOT propose a known cause at all – it is in fact proposing a cause that is UNKNOWN to us, (…)

    Now that you have been shown that physics advances by proposing “unknown causes” I do hope you have passed that phase now and that you will realize that Intelligent Design is simply the [legitimate] science of design detection — how to recognize patterns arranged by an intelligent cause for a purpose. Design detection is used in a number of scientific fields, including anthropology, forensic sciences that seek to explain the cause of events such as a death or fire, cryptanalysis and the search for extraterrestrial intelligence (SETI). An inference that certain biological information may be the product of an intelligent cause can be tested or evaluated in the same manner as scientists daily test for design in other sciences. (more here).

  129. 129
    Joe says:

    RDFish:

    For some set S, the criteria (or tests) that are used to determine if something is a member of S are called the inclusion criteria for S.

    OK then, my methodology in 120 stands.

    I’ve made my case already. (See @73)

    That is sloppy and includes at least one misrepresentation:

    ID’s evidence consists of the complexity of life and the fine tuning of the universe.

    That is false. ID is NOT determined by mere complexity.

    You have defined “intelligent design” as the result of something that meets Behe’s criteria,

    That is also incorrect- see 120- it’s as if you are unable to read, comprehend and learn.

    and now you turn around and ask me for an example of something meets Behe’s criteria but is not the result of intelligent design.

    Because Behe’s criteria is not the end-all, as I have explained. There very well could be a 3 part system that can arise without intelligent design.

    So I will ask you once again: How does one determine if something is a member of set of intelligent agents?

    It’s called science and the methodology is laid out in 120. The methodology you refuse to deal with.

    Grow up already.

  130. 130
    Joe says:

    Acartia_bogart:

    I’m sorry,

    Yes, you are

    but you have demonstrated a definition deficit disorder.

    And you have demonstrated that you are a moron and a liar.

  131. 131
    Joe says:

    From 84:

    “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.”- Behe

    and as Ratzsch said in “Nature, Design and Science” calls it “counterflow”. Read the book. You should love it.

    Counterflow was in from the start yet RDFish sez otherwise.

  132. 132
    Joe says:

    vel:

    Since chance and natural forces are precluded from ever creating a clock,

    Not precluded. It is just that they do not have the capability.

  133. 133
    Tamara Knight says:

    @Joe

    Linneaus was from the 18th century and he disagrees with that.

    I have always thought Linneaus regarded himself as the classifier of (static) Creation. But even if you are sure he was becoming aware of the implications of extinction, you could still address the core point.

  134. 134
    Joe says:

    Linneaus accepted change. He placed the Created Kind at the level of Genus.

    And if you read DR Spetner’s book “The Evolution Revolution” the Bible talks about it- organisms change.

  135. 135
    Joe says:

    rich:

    I always thought SETI was about messages, not complexity?

    Nope, it’s about artificiality.

  136. 136
    Tamara Knight says:

    @ mung

    You’re probably right, but most of us ID supporters have no problem believing your posts are designed, so where do you think the problem is?

    For the record, I categorically deny any involvement in the creation of life.

  137. 137
    Joe says:

    Tamara Knight:

    For the record, I categorically deny any involvement in the creation of life.

    And your lack of involvement is a good thing.

  138. 138
    Tamara Knight says:

    @Box 128

    An inference that certain biological information may be the product of an intelligent cause can be tested or evaluated in the same manner as scientists daily test for design in other sciences.

    If it is that simple, you should have no problem defining exactly what that “certain biological information” is, and how it gets into the genome. Is the Designer continuously adding new information into the genome, or adding Intelligent Selection to the results of random mutation?

    Take dogs for example. The huge diversity in their size and appearance is clearly a consequence of human Intelligent Selection over thousands of years of selective breeding. Turning a wolf into a Chihuahua requires some serious re-design, but who is the designer? Is the dog breeder taking advantage of random genetic mutation, or is an Intelligent Designer adding precise mutations? If a Chihuahua has a gene a wolf does not, did the Designer add it de novo to the first Chihuahua like dog, or subsequently remove it from every wolf? Or maybe he added every modern dog gene to one of the first wolf cubs stone-age man domesticated, so that every modern dog breed could subsequently arise by deleterious mutations alone? (And boy do modern pure-bred dogs carry a lot of deleterious mutations!)

    And I think every racehorse today can trace its ancestry back to one of three stallions in seventeenth century England. Did a Designer simply engineer some sort of super genes into those three, and let human intelligence do the rest? Any new scientific theory is only accepted when it shows the limits of the one it seeks to replace. That requires ID to be able to say “this creature” definitely evolved by “Darwinian” means, but “that creature” required the addition of genes x,y, and z by the Designer. If micro evolution is possible and macro evolution is not, ID has to thourougly explain the cross-over point.

    And Joe, if you are sure you have detected design, from your comments I assume you are now moving on to address the when and how questions, and looking forward to receiving your Nobel Prize

  139. 139
    Box says:

    TK #138: If it is that simple, you should have no problem defining exactly what that “certain biological information” is, and how it gets into the genome.

    Who said it was “that simple”? Would you ask SETI researchers these questions? What is the exact definition of the information in the signals that you have detected? Or “How did the information get into the signal?”. The question for a definition of information may be deemed reasonable, however asking how the information got into the signal surely is not. SETI researchers simply have no way of knowing.

    TK #138: Is the Designer continuously adding new information into the genome, or adding Intelligent Selection to the results of random mutation?

    Interesting questions, however they may very well be beyond the scope of ID research – which is restricted to design detection.

  140. 140
    RDFish says:

    Hi Box,

    RDF: Anyone can hypothesize anything; that is always legitimate.
    BOX: Great, finally we are getting somewhere. Thanks for your admittance.

    Hahahahahahaha that’s funny.

    You have been rather hysterical about proposing “unknown causes” – in fact you have presented it ad nausea as if this is strictly forbidden in science.

    You are delusional; I’ve never said anything of the sort.

    RDFish #73: THEREFORE, ID does NOT propose a known cause at all – it is in fact proposing a cause that is UNKNOWN to us, (…)

    The problem is not that you are hypothesizing something unknown!!!! The problem is that ID PRETENDS that it is a KNOWN cause!!!! Over and over, ID folks pretend that they are invoking a cause for living things that is already known to exist, when in fact nothing of the sort of is true. That is the problem.

    Try again.

    Now that you have been shown…

    What you’ve shown me is your poor reading comprehension.

    Intelligent Design is simply the [legitimate] science of design detection — how to recognize patterns arranged by an intelligent cause for a purpose. Design detection is used in a number of scientific fields, including anthropology, forensic sciences that seek to explain the cause of events such as a death or fire, cryptanalysis and the search for extraterrestrial intelligence (SETI). An inference that certain biological information may be the product of an intelligent cause can be tested or evaluated in the same manner as scientists daily test for design in other sciences. (more here).

    Utter nonsense, for all the reasons I’ve given here. Forensics, etc all deal with HUMAN BEINGS, which are the ONLY known cause of complex mechanism. And I’ve dealt with SETI at length (besides which, SETI is not a theory – it is a search).

    On second thought, don’t try again – you really are not very good at this.

    Cheers,
    RDFish/AIGuy

  141. 141
    RDFish says:

    Hi Joe,

    my methodology in 120 stands.

    You haven’t described any methodology at all. You gave an example about spaceships or something.

    That is sloppy and includes at least one misrepresentation:
    ID’s evidence consists of the complexity of life and the fine tuning of the universe.
    That is false. ID is NOT determined by mere complexity.

    That’s not the point – CSI, fCSI, dfCSI, irreducible complexity, codes, whatever you’d like to call it, I don’t care.

    I think we’re done again – you’re back to your usual – all you do is insult me, and refuse to answer any of my points. Not interesting.

    Cheers,
    RDFish/AIGuy

  142. 142
    Joe says:

    RDFish:

    You haven’t described any methodology at all.

    Yes, I did. And it is also described by the explanatory filter.

    Here it is AGAIN:

    So when we have swept clear necessity and chance AND we have Behe’s criteria, we infer intelligent design.

    And yes, you are done.

  143. 143
    RDFish says:

    Ok, then, once again I put forward an argument that contradicts ID, and nobody has any interest in even attempting to debate the argument.

    In case anyone missed it, the argument is that while ID pretends to offer a known, familiar cause for biological complexity – the truth is that ID proposes something that is completely unknown to us: Either some sort of extra-terrestrial life form (which SETI has searched for but never found) or, even more outside of our experience, something with the mental and physical abilities of human beings that isn’t even a life form! Since nobody has a shred of evidence that either of these sorts of things exist, ID is obliged to provide actual evidence in order to support their hypothesis. But of course ID does no such thing.

    This (like all my other arguments) demolishes any pretense that ID is an empirically supported theory of origins. And the response here? Just nonsense from the peanut gallery, and silence from anyone who might be able to actually debate it 🙂

    Cheers,
    RDFish/AIGuy

  144. 144
    Joe says:

    OK, then, once again I put forward the call of POE. ID is not about the designer. The evidence for an intelligent designer comes in the form of the presence of intelligent design.

    There isn’t any need to look for an intelligent designer BEFORE determining the presence of intelligent design. RDFish has it all backwards, as usual.

    First we determine the presence of intelligent design using the methodology that science mandates, namely the explanatory filter. Behe’s criteria comes into play at the final decision box.

    The evidence for ID extends beyond biology. “The Privileged Planet” makes the argument for ID in cosmology, physics, chemistry, geology and astronomy. All RDFish can do is to either ignore it or hand-wave it away.

    BTW like SETI, ID assumes the Intelligent Designer(s) was at least as clever as we are. Intelligent agencies can manipulate nature for a purpose. The evidence is in and it says nature has been manipulated for a purpose.

    Now we can start asking questions about the designer(s). However knowing Orville and Wilbur designed the first flying airplane does not help you understand airplanes.

  145. 145
    Joe says:

    Tamara Knight,

    It appears you are another who doesn’t know what ID says. ID is OK with evolution. The debate is about whether or not all the mutations are accidents, errors and mistakes. The debate also entails how far can genomic changes change the phenotype.

    Phenotypic plasticity- dogs and horses- that would be covered under Dr Spetner’s non-random evolutionary hypothesis. Do you really think selected genetic accidents did it?

    And I don’t see how knowing who designed helps out. I wouldn’t know how to go about finding out the who nor the how. Obviously the design is well above human understanding. That is where I would start- give us the labs and ID will produce the results that evolutionism cannot.

    My bet is that cells run on actual immaterial information- computer software is immaterial information. Only ID could flesh that out.

  146. 146
    Joe says:

    RDFish:

    That’s not the point – CSI, fCSI, dfCSI, irreducible complexity, codes, whatever you’d like to call it, I don’t care.

    So you don’t care about evidence yet you demand- wait for it- evidence.

    You are a sick fishy.

  147. 147
    Mung says:

    Tamara Knight:

    For the record, I categorically deny any involvement in the creation of life.

    Let’s pretend for a moment that posts here at UD are living things. That’s not too much of a stretch, is it?

    Do you also categorically deny any involvement in the intelligent causation of your posts here at UD?

    You just weren’t there when they were created, or what?

  148. 148
    Mung says:

    RDFish:

    the argument is that while ID pretends to offer a known, familiar cause for biological complexity – the truth is that ID proposes something that is completely unknown to us: Either some sort of extra-terrestrial life form (which SETI has searched for but never found) or, even more outside of our experience, something with the mental and physical abilities of human beings that isn’t even a life form!

    That’s not an argument.

    RDFish:

    ID proposes something that is completely unknown…

    Intelligent causation may be completely unknown to you and Tamara, but from that fact it does not follow that intelligent causation is unknown.

    Just for the record, do you deny that you are the intelligent cause of your posts that appear here at UD?

  149. 149
    HeKS says:

    @RDFish #113

    RDF:Does this mean that an “intelligent agent” is something that can “order separate components to achieve an identifiable function that depends sharply on the components”?
    HEKS: No, that’s not what an intelligent agent is in the sense of it being a definition. Rather, that’s something that intelligent agents often do.

    So you disagree with Joe here, who offered that as an inclusion criterion for the set of “intelligent agents”.

    Do you not see the difference between what you originally asked (which is what I answered) and what you are asking now?

    The wording of your first question (“an ‘intelligent agent’ is something that can…”) implied that the ability to functionally order separate components was the sole inclusion criteria for an “intelligent agent”. I said that was mistaken. I said instead that it was one of the inclusion criteria, even though I didn’t use the term “inclusion criteria”.

    Of course, if we want to be really precise then we could identify a category of “intelligent designers” as a subset of the category “intelligent agents” and say that the ability to “order separate components to achieve an identifiable function that depends sharply on the components” is actually an inclusion criteria of this subset.

    For the wider category of intelligent agents we could use the following inclusion criteria and say that an “intelligent agent” must be:

    – Living
    – Self-Aware
    – Capable of rational and abstract thought at maturation
    – Possess volition
    – Possess the ability to act in harmony with its volition

    I’m open to other criteria, and some could quibble about the last item in certain cases, but this would be a good working description of an “intelligent agent” for our purposes.

    It’s so hard to argue against ID when ID consists of so many mutually exclusive bad ideas.

    Maybe you should try to get the ideas straight. I’m not sure what you expect when you ask a question that misrepresents one ID proponent, get an answer from another that corrects your misrepresentation, then misinterpret that answer to mean pretty much exactly the opposite of what it says and act as though it was in response to a different question.

    So, you also refer to a class of things called “intelligent agents”, and I will simply repeat my question to you: What are the inclusion criteria for this class of things?

    See above.

    HeKS: That some agent had sufficient relevant knowledge and ability to produce an observed effect can be deduced from the existence of the effect.

    What you’ve said here is that for any effect, there must be some cause capable of producing that effect. I won’t argue against that 🙂

    What a pleasant surprise. One can never really know.

    HeKS: SETI’s description of the type of agents they are looking for consists only of the minimal necessary characteristics that can be logically deduced from the type of effect they are hoping to find combined with the assumptions of Methodological Naturalism.

    You are mistaken; their assumptions come directly from the knowledge we have of ourselves. We are a civilisation of life forms who build technologies that employ narrow-band electro-magnetic signals to communicate. So, that’s what SETI looks for on other life-hospitable planets besides our own.

    No. I’m not mistaken.

    First, you failed to include the next sentence in my previous comment:

    And if they are anywhere going beyond that then they are making unwarranted (or at the very least unrelated) assumptions that are not connected to their design inference.

    The assumptions they make about what they hope exists out there are guided by the assumptions of Methodological Naturalism, including evolutionary theory. If they found a message of some sort in a signal, which they inferred was the product of design, it would confirm a limited number of things:

    – There is an intelligent agent out there in space
    – The agent is capable of communication
    – The agent is capable of building some method to send narrow-band EM signals

    To this we could add whatever useful information might exist in the message itself if it is any way explicitly descriptive of the responsible agent.

    Finding such a signal, however, would not confirm that the agent belongs to any kind of larger civilization, that its mind or thinking ability is derived from a physical organ anything like the human brain or with a similar encephalization quotient, or how the agent came to exist or acquire intelligent agency in the first place, whether it was through a natural process or the product of design. Furthermore, they recognize that it is highly speculative to assign these kinds of additional characteristics to potential alien intelligent agents:

    “These associations between neural mass and complexity, individual cognitive ability, and social complexity point to the possibility that there may be general or even universal principles that shape intelligence on this planet – and perhaps, by extension, on others.”

    In spite of what the SETI researches think they might find out there in terms the specific nature and characteristics of alien intelligent agents, the actual program revolves around the more general and basic concept of looking for Extra-Terrestrial Intelligence. Period. And it does that by looking for the existence of complex technology in space, the existence of which is deemed to be a reliable indicator of the existence of an intelligent causal agent.

    “SETI, the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, is an exploratory science that seeks evidence of life [by which they mean evidence of intelligent life] in the universe by looking for some signature of its technology.”

    If SETI found the type of signal they were looking for but it ultimately turned out that the alien agents, though being intelligent and capable of building complex technology, were almost nothing like what SETI expected in terms of their nature and physical makeup, would that mean that SETI actually had not found Extra-Terrestrial Intelligence?

    HeKS: As I’ve said before (and will say again), the design inference can only provide us with insight into the minimum set of characteristics that the designer must possess rather than the maximum set of characteristics the designer might possess. Furthermore, even this minimum set of characteristics must obviously be deduced as a matter of logical necessity rather than observed.

    In that case, ID is perfectly vacuous: It says only that the cause of life must have had characteristics sufficient to enable it to be the cause of life, which obviously tells us nothing at all.

    You could apply exactly that kind of silly reductionism to what we could say we would know about the agents responsible for a signal found by SETI: The cause of the signal must have had characteristics sufficient to enable it to be the cause of the signal.

    Of course, what you would then actually do is deduce what that minimum set of characteristics would have to be, which would be the criteria for Intelligent Agents and the more specific subset of Intelligent Designers.

    No, that’s not what I’m suggesting. Of course science must propose the existence of previously unknown things (forces, particles, entities, processes, whatever…). However, in order for us to decide if such a thing actually exists, the thing whose existence is being proposed must have some sort of characterization aside from causing the existence of that which we’re explaining. Otherwise, we could make up (hypothesize) any cause of any unexplained phenomenon, and simply point to the phenomenon itself as evidence that our hypothesis is true. Why does the Sun appear to rise in the East? Because Apollo drives His chariot from that direction. How do I know that? Because we see the Sun rise in the East!

    I’m not sure how on earth you see the Apollo Hypothesis as remotely analogous. In reality, the Apollo Hypothesis simply shows the problem with making assumptions about a previously unobserved cause (or causal agent) that go beyond what can be directly deduced from the observed effect. There is no logical connection between the rising sun and Apollo’s chariot. As an hypothesis it’s on the level of, “I’ve got a theory, it could be bunnies” (if you don’t get the reference don’t worry about it).

    The Apollo Hypothesis is nothing at all like the inference that there exists a previously unobserved, non-human, intelligent causal agent possessing intellectual characteristics similar to, though greater than, our own. What kinds of intellectual characteristics? I’ve described them above. This is what we can reasonably and reliably infer from the evidence of biology. To go beyond these things and make further claims about the specific nature and qualities of the agent is to make philosophical assumptions that cannot be directly confirmed by the observable evidence itself. And yet, we do know that intelligence exists, that intelligent agency exists, and that it is, according to all evidence we have, uniquely causally adequate to produce complex functionally specified systems.

    So, ultimately, your criticism of ID stated in this thread boils down only to the fact that it proposes a previously unobserved causal agent. And to support your criticism you complain that the only evidence we have for the existence of this particular agent (who would be making use of a cause – intelligence – that we already know exists) is the evidence that directly points to the existence of that agent as a necessary explanatory entity.

    Furthermore, when it is pointed out to you that SETI uses precisely the same logic as to the implication of finding a certain kind of transmission from space, you try to distinguish it by pointing out that it makes additional assumptions (they are nothing more) about what alien intelligent agents might be like and about the very possibility of their existence itself based on at least two philosophical principles (Methodological Naturalism and the Copernican Principle).

    HeKS: What you seem to be missing is the fact that if they found the effects of intelligence in a radio signal they would consider that to be powerful evidence of the existence of ET life forms.

    Of course that is what they are looking for (narrow-band EM signals, actually), and of course it would be evidence of a civilization of life forms.

    Well, actually, what it would be direct evidence for is the existence of at least one intelligent agent/life-form capable of constructing complex technology.

    SETI hypothesizes that ET life forms exist (because of the Copernican principle, belief in abiogenesis and evolution, evidence of hospitable planets, etc). IN ORDER TO TEST SETI’S HYPOTHESIS we look for evidence (in the form of narrow-band radio signals). If we find it, we consider that we have supported our hypothesis with evidence.

    Yes, SETI’s hypothesis of the existence of alien life forms is based on philosophical assumptions. Here’s what they say:

    Our current understanding of life’s origin on Earth suggests that given a suitable environment and sufficient time, life will develop on other planets. Whether evolution will give rise to intelligent, technological civilizations is open to speculation.”

    As an empirical claim, that bold text is pure nonsense. However, it is absolutely necessary that it is true under Methodological Naturalism (for our planet) and the Copernican Principle (for other planets). Their philosophical commitments lead them to propose the hypothesis that naturally arising and evolving life, and perhaps intelligent life, exists elsewhere. They then propose a piece of evidence (a certain type of signal from space) that would lend support to their hypothesis. And yet, were that evidence to be found, it would only directly support a very limited part of their hypothesis, not the entire picture of it.

    Based on your line of argumentation, it seems like you would be satisfied if I simply made a philosophical argument for the existence of God and then cited the evidence of biology as pointing to the existence of a non-human intelligent designer, thereby lending limited support to my God Hypothesis. But of course, you wouldn’t accept that either.

    The other point you are ignoring here is one I mentioned last time but which you either ignored or dismissed (it’s a little hard to tell). SETI is proposing a type of evidence that has not yet been found that would reliably support, though only to a limited extent, the philosophically motivated hypothesis of so-far unobserved intelligent alien life on other planets. In the case of ID, we’re dealing with evidence that has already been found and are reasoning to a past cause of the already observed evidence (though, of course, it was widely believed prior to the discovery of the complex functionally specified biological systems and technology in living organisms that life was the result of a designer, not to mention the other philosophical arguments for the existence of God in particular).

    One does not need to specifically predict the existence of complex biological molecular machinery prior to its discovery in order for its discovery to count as valid evidence for the existence of an intelligent agent that caused it. That would be like saying that if scientists happened across a message from space prior to the formation of SETI or the philosophically-based hypothesis of life on other planets, the message from space could not be considered evidence that such life exists out there, which, of course, would be completely absurd. I can just imagine the discussion now:

    Person 1: “Guys! Guys! I can’t believe it! I just picked up a message from outer space. This is evidence that there’s other intelligent beings out there. Who would have guessed?”

    Person 2: “Yeah, but where’s your evidence that there’s any intelligent beings out there?

    Person 1: “…. Umm, the message in the radio signal from space. Didn’t you hear me?”

    Person 2: “Yeah, yeah, that’s cool. Message in a radio signal from space. Got it. That’s awesome. But what I want to know is whether you have any evidence that there’s any intelligent beings out there.”

    Person 1: “…. Are you having a stroke?”

    No, not at all! ID hypothesizes that some non-human conscious agent designed living things (because of the complex mechanisms we observe in biological systems, and the fact that we are conscious, and that we can build complex mechanisms). IN ORDER TO TEST ID’S HYPOTHESIS….. well, uh, actually, there is no proposed way to test ID’s hypothesis, so we have no idea whether or not it’s true.

    This is hopelessly confused.

    ID, at least insofar as the history of life is considered, is an historical science and uses abductive reasoning to identify a best causal explanation of the complex functionally specified systems and molecular machines in living organisms. It claims that an intelligent designer is the best explanation due to being not only causally adequate to explain the effect (intelligent agency can bring about complex functionally specified systems and machinery), but uniquely causally adequate to explain it (intelligent agency is the only cause we know about that is capable of bringing about complex functionally specified systems and machinery). It therefore claims that the existence of some intelligent designer of life is necessary to account for life based on all available evidence and that the effects in question that we observe could not have come about by undirected natural processes.

    How do you test the claim? Well, on the one hand you could challenge the claim that intelligent agency can bring about complex functionally specified systems and machinery, but that’s kind of a dead end, so instead you take the other path of trying to prove that undirected natural processes can do the job after all. However, simply claiming they can as a result of an a priori philosophical commitment to materialism doesn’t count as evidence that natural processes are sufficient to bring about the effect.

    We would infer just what the SETI folks say – some civilization of life forms exist somewhere with sufficiently well-developed brains (the SETI astrobiologists refer to this as a sufficiently high encephalization quotient) to design transmitters, etc. If you don’t understand how SETI thinks about intelligence, you need to read what they say about it.

    I do understand what they say, but it’s not at all clear to me that you do. And it’s kinda funny how studiously you avoid using the word intelligence or admitting that it is intelligence that is being searched for by an organization that has the name “Search for Extra Terrestrial Intelligence“.

    Finding a signal from space would not confirm for us that the intelligent agents responsible for the message had a minimum encephalization quotient any more than deciding that an intelligent agent really is necessary to explain life would confirm that said agent was immaterial. Furthermore, SETI doesn’t even say it would. They apply that characteristic to intelligent life on earth and speculate that it is possible that life on other planets may have similar physical characteristics, which is justified for them by certain philosophical presuppositions. Nonetheless, they recognize that attributing such characteristics to the alien intelligence would be speculative. What they are really searching for, pure and simple, is intelligence. The way they hope to find it is by finding a specific type of signal. Why? Because that signal would be the product of technology, and SETI considers technology to be operationalized intelligence.

    In that case, ID is a terribly stupid theory. Once you accept that there exist life forms somewhere else in the galaxy or the universe, you might as well just hypothesize that the species on Earth are simply descendents of those life forms, rather than the product of their advanced bio-engineering.

    I meant ID operates on the same logic as SETI in terms of certain things indicating intelligent causes, not that both ID and SETI are specifically looking for aliens.

    HeKS: Both SETI and ID are proposing a known cause in an otherwise unknown causal agent.

    Nonsense.

    No, it isn’t nonsense. And the fact that you think is makes it highly unlikely that a reasonable discussion with you is possible.

    SETI operationally defines “intelligence” as the ability to produce communication technology that can send signals to Earth.

    Yes, which is to say that the ability to develop technology is the specific aspect or operation of intelligence that they are using to indicate what type of evidence would count as proof of intelligent causation and thereby necessarily indicate the existence of a non-human intelligence.

    SETI also assumes that intelligence is a property of the nervous system of living things, and looks for intelligent life forms – living things with complex nervous systems, sense organs, and so on.

    I’ve already addressed this numerous times. No need to do it again here.

    HeKS: The only different between the two is that SETI is still looking for the effects of intelligent design in a radio signal while ID has actually found overwhelming amounts of evidence for intelligent design in life and in the cosmos at large.

    Nonsense. SETI looks for narrow band EM signals, not “intelligent design”.

    The fact that you can say that with (presumably) a straight face just goes to show you don’t know what you’re talking about and that discussion with you is pointless.

    Throughout your comment you exclusively drew attention to irrelevant distinctions between ID and SETI while completely ignoring the relevant distinctions as well as the relevant similarities. I have a hard time seeing a point in continuing a discussion with someone who operates that way.

  150. 150

    HeKS @149,

    This was a masterfully complete exposé of RDFish’s painful cognitive biases concerning the term “intelligence”, revealing something well beyond definition deficit disorder, where Darwinists simply refuse to employ standard definitions when addressing ID topics.

    This is more of a Design Derangement Syndrome, where Darwinists/Materialists display an apparent psychosis/derangement when it comes to certain uses of terminology – like intelligence, design, information, consciousness, intent, chance, etc.

    RDFish attempts to explain what SETI does in ways that avoid the use of the term “intelligence” at all costs, even though it is the essential characteristic of their very name. I remember back when the SETI site itself was far more straightforward about what they were attempting to do – finding the earmarks of intelligence in signals from space. I also remember the big brouhaha that occurred when someone from the ID community, many years ago, compared ID theory to SETI and SETI was caught in the middle trying to distance itself from ID. They put up a disclaimer that was hilariously hypocritical.

    Now, as a result, it appears that all the wording on the SETI site has been carefully reconstructed to avoid direct correlation to ID, and their definitional scope has been expanded into astrobiology (the search for ET life) in order to make their mission statement more palatable to the anti-ID crowd.

    All pointing towards Design Derangement Syndrome.

  151. 151
  152. 152
    Box says:

    RDF: Anyone can hypothesize anything; that is always legitimate.

    Box: You have been rather hysterical about proposing “unknown causes” – in fact you have presented it ad nausea as if this is strictly forbidden in science.

    RDF: You are delusional; I’ve never said anything of the sort.

    – –
    So I take it then that you are fine with proposing unknown causes. So what is the problem?

    RDF #140: The problem is not that you are hypothesizing something unknown!!!! The problem is that ID PRETENDS that it is a KNOWN cause!!!! Over and over, ID folks pretend that they are invoking a cause for living things that is already known to exist, when in fact nothing of the sort of is true. That is the problem.

    Aha. I see. So let’s say, for the sake of argument, that ID is wrong and that in fact it is proposing an unknown cause. You explicitely stated that you are fine with proposing unknown causes these days. So again, what is the problem this time?

  153. 153
    bb says:

    Dancing Darwinists

    In the course of this discussion, velikovskys called a sundial a clock. While they both are used to measure time and a sundial is a kind of clock, it isn’t what most of us think of when we hear the word “clock”. I mistakenly said that tintinnid first brought it up, and he was eager to distance himself from it saying in 60 “don’t blame me for bringing up the sundial”. I wouldn’t like to be credited with such a lame, and obviously squirming, point either.

    Rich said he didn’t specify what kind of clock he was referring to in his “tenth of a second” statement that spawned this post. As a clock that can mark the passing of one tenth of a second would have to be intelligently designed, he replied

    I actually said ‘looking at a clock for a tenth of a second’ – the clock doesn’t have to be configured in any way for that to be possible, only my gaze.

    If that were the case, why a clock of any sort when any object would do?

    Vel said a naturally occuring sundial, i.e. a tree casting a shadow, was the “exact same device occurring by chance and nature” as an intelligently designed model. When challenged on the claim that there was no difference between the two, he replied: “Nope not saying that sundials don’t come in lots of designs” then retreated to the least common denominator: “that same motion of a shadow that occurs naturally”.

    I challenged him twice to tell me the hour of the day this photo of a natural “clock” was taken and he is suddenly silent. I was able to say the time on the intelligently designed model was 10:15 AM meaning this: The “sundial” that became so by chance and necessity lacks sufficient information to make it possible for Vel to report the hour it indicates.

    If you can’t tell time with it, it must not be a clock. It isn’t “the exact same device” as the intelligently designed sundial with information added to make the shadow it casts meaningful. This has CSI that makes its function as a useful timekeeper possible. The tree does not, but can be modified to do the same by an intelligent agent, though not as accurately because its a tree, not a sundial.

  154. 154
    StephenB says:

    RDFish

    Nonsense. SETI looks for narrow band EM signals, not “intelligent design”. It operationally defines “intelligence” simply as anything capable of producing such signals. It assumes that intelligence is a property of life as we know it, which requires complex nervous systems and other mechanisms, which are exactly the things that ID purports to explain!

    It’s so hard to argue against ID when ID consists of so many mutually exclusive bad ideas.

    So, you also refer to a class of things called “intelligent agents”, and I will simply repeat my question to you: What are the inclusion criteria for this class of things?

    SETI operationally defines “intelligence” as the ability to produce communication technology that can send signals to Earth.

    You continue to ignore the essential fact that any definition of intelligence or any criterion for intelligent activity must be specific to the paradigm and the methods used to facilitate the design inference. The reason for this should be obvious: ID doesn’t study the nature intelligence from an ontological perspective; it studies the effects of intelligence from an epistemological perspective.

    SETI’s definition of intelligence should tell you something about the nature of developing a hypothesis and establishing a methodology for testing it. In fact, such an operational definition of intelligence is easily consistent with ID’s paradigms, which also provide operational definitions. As is the case with ID, SETI recognizes the key point: natural causes cannot produce signals or communication technology; only intelligence can do that.

    In keeping with that point, SETI emphasizes technology and signals because that is their unique methodological road to the intelligent agent, not because each specialty or sub-specialty from other disciplines should define intelligence in exactly that same way.

    Accordingly, some ID paradigms emphasize history (Meyer), some emphasize complexity (Dembski), others emphasize unity (Behe), and others emphasize counterflow (Ratzsch). Each aspect of intelligence is different from the other. The difference is expanded exponentially when moving from an intra-disciplinary perspective to an interdisciplinary perspective. For that reason, it is not possible establish, or even desirable to attempt, a singular, one-size-fits-all definition for intelligence. It is irrational to even ask for one.

    Like ID scientists, SETI researchers decide on the exact nature of the research question and develop a context specific paradigm to answer it. It is the individual scientist who must define intelligence in the context of a specific research question, which will depend, in large measure, on that researcher’s specialty. No one can provide a definition for him, and he cannot provide one for someone else.

    Everything turns on mission and purpose. The methods are there to serve that purpose. SETI uses signal processing technology to detect the presence of the intelligent agent that sent those signals, not, as you would have it, to detect signals for their own sake, which would be ridiculous and without purpose. That is why they give their research program the title of SETI rather than SETS.

  155. 155
    Silver Asiatic says:

    bb #153 – excellent. If everything remains normal around here, that should end the discussion. If things have somehow changed radically, then your opponents will congratulate you on providing an irrefutable response and they will pledge to rethink their own position on this topic.

  156. 156
    RDFish says:

    Hi HeKS,

    First, let me compliment you on a very well articulated response, and a good-faith effort to debate the points.

    Here is my response:

    Of course, if we want to be really precise…

    Considering the claim that ID is a scientific theory, it really does behoove you to provide a precise meaning for this theory’s sole explanatory concept.

    For the wider category of intelligent agents we could use the following inclusion criteria and say that an “intelligent agent” must be:

    – Living
    – Self-Aware
    – Capable of rational and abstract thought at maturation
    – Possess volition
    – Possess the ability to act in harmony with its volition

    BRAVO!!!! EXCELLENT!!!
    I’m so pleased to see someone here who is not afraid to say what they mean by “intelligent agency”! Thank you!!

    (Of course if I press ten other ID folks for their opinions, I will get twenty-five different answers, but let’s ignore that and pretend your definition what is meant in ID Theory in general).

    1) LIVING
    So the designer of all life was itself living? Hmmm. SETI folks talk a great deal about what it means for something to be “living”, and they settle on the concept of “life as we know it” – complex physical organisms that process information. Since that is precisely what ID purports to explain, it hardly suits ID to offer the very same thing as an explanation!?!? Lots of people (Francis Crick, the Raelians, etc) have speculated that life on Earth comes from life elsewhere in the universe, but these speculative hypotheses have failed to generate much interest because… there is no evidence for them.

    2) SELF-AWARE
    Pretty much the only thing we know about conscious self-awareness is that it requires a functioning brain. Some people (e.g. Dennett) think that any information processing system of appropriate characteristics would be conscious; others (e.g. Searle) think that consciousness is a biological function of the central nervous system, in the sense that digestion is a biological function of the GI tract. Still, even mind/body dualists don’t deny that the body (brain) is necessary, though not sufficient, for human thought. So it’s doubtful a priori that whatever produced the very first organisms could itself have a complex nervous system that seems (in our scientific experience) to be required to sustain consciousness. In any event, ID would clearly have to provide some specific evidence to support this claim. (Here most people start referring to NDEs, psychics, and other paranormal phenomena to bolster their belief that consciousness can exist without neural function. If you’d like to go there, simply admit that ID rests on the truth of these paranormal phenomena and I’ll be happy to leave it at that).

    3) CAPABLE OF RATIONAL AND ABSTRACT THOUGHT AT MATURATION
    First, your use of the term “at maturation” seems to imply that intelligent agents go through some aging/maturation process. Is that really what you mean? In any case, in order to provide evidence for this claim, it would be necessary to submit novel problems for the candidate agent to solve. Insects produce complex behaviors and artifacts, but are not capable of rational and abstract thought (and this can be revealed only by presenting them with novel problems). Same with computers, and even some human savants. Since we can’t test the cause of life to see if it can solve novel problems, we have no way of ascertaining if it had this characteristic either.

    4 & 5) POSSESS VOLITION, ACT WITH VOLITION
    I assume here you mean “volition” in the incompatibilist sense, as in libertarian free will. Since this is an untestable metaphysical speculation, it is certain that ID has no evidence that the cause of life possessed this trait. (While philosophers argue endlessly about this, they agree that there is currently no scientific test to resolve this ancient question, although folks like Libet and Wegner have made some progress).

    So given your criteria (thank you again!), we clearly see that ID is utterly unable to provide any evidence that the cause of life met your criteria for “intelligent agency”. Not one of your criteria can be supported with any evidence whatsoever – you are zero for five here.

    Finding such a signal, however, would not confirm that the agent belongs to any kind of larger civilization, that its mind or thinking ability is derived from a physical organ anything like the human brain or with a similar encephalization quotient, or how the agent came to exist or acquire intelligent agency in the first place, whether it was through a natural process or the product of design. Furthermore, they recognize that it is highly speculative to assign these kinds of additional characteristics to potential alien intelligent agents:

    Let’s dispatch this nonsense with SETI, shall we? SETI is not a theory of origins – it is not a theory of anything at all. It is a SEARCH.

    What are they searching for? Alien life forms with transmitters. If they received some sort of signal that looks like something we’d send, we’d have a big discussion of what that signal can tell us about the source. We have never received such a signal, so we’ve never gotten to that point. Most people figure that whatever would send such a signal would be substantially like us – complex beings who live and work in groups and build machines to communicate with. Would that be a scientific result of receiving some communication from outer space? If the signal displayed nothing but “artificiality” (SETI’s main criteria for detecting a signal), then it would be difficult to argue these things. If we could somehow decode the signal and find messages and/or pictures of groups organisms with their machines, then we’d have some clear results.

    HeKS: As I’ve said before (and will say again), the design inference can only provide us with insight into the minimum set of characteristics that the designer must possess rather than the maximum set of characteristics the designer might possess. Furthermore, even this minimum set of characteristics must obviously be deduced as a matter of logical necessity rather than observed.

    RDF: In that case, ID is perfectly vacuous: It says only that the cause of life must have had characteristics sufficient to enable it to be the cause of life, which obviously tells us nothing at all.

    HeKS: You could apply exactly that kind of silly reductionism to what we could say we would know about the agents responsible for a signal found by SETI: The cause of the signal must have had characteristics sufficient to enable it to be the cause of the signal.

    EXACTLY!! NOW WE ARE GETTING SOMEWHERE!!! (Except this has nothing to do with “reductionism”, just what sorts of conclusions can be warranted by empirical evidence).

    Saying that the cause of X must be capable of causing X is merely a truism – it tells us nothing at all. We agree that the cause of life must have been capable of causing life. What we disagree about is what other characteristics we can ascribe to this cause based on empirical evidence. The answer at the moment, of course, is nothing at all.

    Of course, what you would then actually do is deduce what that minimum set of characteristics would have to be, which would be the criteria for Intelligent Agents and the more specific subset of Intelligent Designers.

    See above. None of those chacteristics could ever be deduced from, say, a simple narrow-band EM signal. If we saw pictures of living organisms with their machines, however, we would be likely to conclude that those organisms were sufficiently like we humans that we could conclude their mental and physical abilities were similar as well.

    And yet, we do know that intelligence exists,…

    This is like saying “beauty exists” or “athleticism exists” or “love exists”. We all understand the truth of these claims, but these are not scientific propositions until the definitions for these qualities are operationalized.

    Essentially the problem you have with this concept (and most folks here) is that you reify “intelligence” – you act as though it is something that exists apart from the entity that exhibits particular behaviors that we might call “intelligent”. As far as we can tell, intelligence doesn’t exist apart from the thinking organism any more than athleticism exists apart from althletic organisms or beauty exists apart from beautiful things.

    So, ultimately, your criticism of ID stated in this thread boils down only to the fact that it proposes a previously unobserved causal agent.

    No, that’s wrong. My criticism is that ID commits one of two errors:
    1) Fails to say what they mean by “intelligence” (you have corrected this error!)
    2) Fails to point to any evidence – or even the need for any evidence! – that their paricular hypothesis regarding the origin of life might be true, because they cannot ascertain the truth of ANY particular characteristic of the entity (or entities) they propose as an explanation. The ONLY thing you can say is that the Designer was capable of producing the phenomena we are trying to explain, which of course is a truisim – true for ANY theory of origins, or any causal theory at all.

    ID, at least insofar as the history of life is considered, is an historical science and uses abductive reasoning to identify a best causal explanation of the complex functionally specified systems and molecular machines in living organisms.

    Yes, I get this a lot. What is lost in this rush to abduction is that in science, a “best causal explanation” is not taken to mean “the least unsupported guess”. You actually do need to have evidence in order to claim some conclusion has scientifically validity, and not just complain that everybody else’s explanations are even more ridiculous. Self-organizational principles? Abiogenesis/evolution? Natural teleology? Natural genetic engineering? Multiverses? Alien life forms? Immaterial spirit? Solipsistic dream? Anyone can come up with some explanation for anything, but the idea is not to decide which is the least ambiguous/incoherent/wrong/dumb and call that a scientific theory. Rather, you actually must have evidence that the explanatory concept invoked (1) exists and (2) accounts for the phenomnena in question. ID has none.

    IF there was some sort of entity that was conscious and sentient and could produce complex physical machinery and that prexisted living things, THEN that entity would be a very likely candidate for the cause of living things. You simply ASSUME the antecendent of that conditional to be true, but, being a scientist myself, I require some sort of evidence for that.

    Well, on the one hand you could challenge the claim that intelligent agency can bring about complex functionally specified systems and machinery, but that’s kind of a dead end, so instead you take the other path of trying to prove that undirected natural processes can do the job after all.

    You still don’t understand my position, I’m afraid. I do not take EITHER of those paths, of course! What I point out is that according to your definition of intelligent agency, ID has no way of demonstrating that WHATEVER was the cause of life had any of those particular characteristics!

    However, simply claiming they can as a result of an a priori philosophical commitment to materialism doesn’t count as evidence that natural processes are sufficient to bring about the effect.

    Completely irrelevant to anything I’ve ever said here.

    And it’s kinda funny how studiously you avoid using the word intelligence or admitting that it is intelligence that is being searched for by an organization that has the name “Search for Extra Terrestrial Intelligence“.

    I’ve shown you EXACTLY why the term “intelligence” is problematic (see above). You have obviated the problem, thankfully, by providing a perfectly fine definition of what it means to be an intelligent agent. The problem remaining for you, of course, is to show how it might be possible to ascertain if the cause of life actually meets those criteria. (hint: It isn’t).

    Finding a signal from space would not confirm for us that the intelligent agents responsible for the message had a minimum encephalization quotient any more than deciding that an intelligent agent really is necessary to explain life would confirm that said agent was immaterial. Furthermore, SETI doesn’t even say it would. They apply that characteristic to intelligent life on earth and speculate that it is possible that life on other planets may have similar physical characteristics, which is justified for them by certain philosophical presuppositions. Nonetheless, they recognize that attributing such characteristics to the alien intelligence would be speculative.

    YES!!! EXACTLY!!! And for EXACTLY the same reason, the conclusions of ID are nothing but speculation!!!

    What they are really searching for, pure and simple, is intelligence.

    YES!!! And how do they define “intelligence”? Read it again – I’ll quote it for you: “In the domain of SETI, intelligence has been operationalized as the presence of a technology detectable from Earth.”

    So OF COURSE they are searching for intelligence, but by “intelligence” ALL THEY MEAN is “able to produce a signal that is detectable from Earth”! They do not include consciousness, or volition, or encephalization, or any other characteristic in their definition of intelligence!

    The way they hope to find it is by finding a specific type of signal. Why? Because that signal would be the product of technology, and SETI considers technology to be operationalized intelligence.

    OMG! You didn’t understand what they said! They aren’t saying that technology is a sign of intelligence, or that technology requires intelligence… what they are saying is that in the domain of SETI, the term “intelligence” is operationally defined as the ability to send signals to Earth!!! This is simply a misunderstanding on your part. Here it is again, with the important part highlighted:

    Intelligence is a term that we use to describe a range of abilities that have to do with how an individual processes information. This includes learning, memory, problem solving, abstract thinking, creativity, behavioral flexibility, and rate of information processing. There is no consensus on a strict definition of intelligence, and there likely never will be because intelligence is what is known as a fuzzy concept; it lacks well-defined boundaries and contains multiple components. However, the study of intelligence lies firmly in the domain of empirical science because its features can be operationally defined and its correlates can be quantified and measured.

    In the domain of SETI, intelligence has been operationalized as the presence of a technology detectable from Earth. In the framework of astrobiology, however, there is no need to limit the study of intelligence to these criteria. Just as astrobiology is concerned with the study of the origin and evolution of life in the broader sense, it is critical to understand the origin and evolution of intelligence in order to create a scientific basis for guiding hypothesis-formation and searching strategies.

    Do you see? In SETI, all they mean by “intelligence” is that it can send a signal – nothing else. This is analogous to ID: ID should operationally define “intelligence” as “the ability to produce the sort of complex form and function we observe in biological systems”. However, in order to begin talking about any other mental aspect we often associate with the term “intelligence”, you must move into the domain of astrobiology (which deals with encephalization, etc). That is analogous to ID moving into the domain of theology, where you can discuss whether or not the Creator was conscious, had volition/free will, and so on.

    The rest of your post repeats the same mistakes. I look forward to your response.

    Cheers,
    RDFish/AIGuy

  157. 157
    RDFish says:

    Hi Box,

    I see. So let’s say, for the sake of argument, that ID is wrong and that in fact it is proposing an unknown cause. You explicitely stated that you are fine with proposing unknown causes these days. So again, what is the problem this time?

    The problem is this:

    While there is nothing wrong with hypothesizing the existence of some unknown sort of thing that would account for the phenomena (complex form and function in biological systems) we are attempting to explain, ID claims that their hypothesis enjoys evidential support.

    Please read my response to HeKS to see why no particular characteristic ID claims for the cause of life can be empirically supported.

    Cheers,
    RDFish/AIGuy

  158. 158
    RDFish says:

    Hi WJM,

    HeKS did a good job trying to respond to my argument, allowing me to respond to his points.

    In contrast, all you do is hide behind others and take pot-shots at me. Bad behavior, William – have you no pride, shame, or integrity at all?

    Cheers,
    RDFish/AIGuy

  159. 159
    RDFish says:

    Since folks here seem to like SETI a lot, I think it is worthwhile to repost the quote from the SETI about intelligence again, with some clarifying comments:

    Intelligence is a term that we use to describe a range of abilities that have to do with how an individual processes information. This includes learning, memory, problem solving, abstract thinking, creativity, behavioral flexibility, and rate of information processing.

    This is like the term athleticism, that describes a range of other sorts of abilities that have to do with physical actions, including running, jumping, throwing, lifting, aiming, and so on. Or the term “beauty”, which has to do with symmetry, proportion, colors, and so on.

    There is no consensus on a strict definition of intelligence, and there likely never will be because intelligence is what is known as a fuzzy concept; it lacks well-defined boundaries and contains multiple components.

    Anyone who has ever read any of arguments ought to understand this by now.

    However, the study of intelligence lies firmly in the domain of empirical science because its features can be operationally defined and its correlates can be quantified and measured.

    And this: In order to use a term like “intelligence” (or “beautiful” or “athletic”) in science, the term must be provided with an operational definition. This means that the definition must stated in terms that can be empirically evaluated in an objective way, so that independent researchers will reliably agree on what things meet the criteria.

    In the domain of SETI, intelligence has been operationalized as the presence of a technology detectable from Earth.

    This means that whenever SETI speaks of “intelligence”, all they mean is “able to transmit signals to Earth”. Nothing else is meant by that term in the domain of SETI. In ID, this would be analogous to saying that “intelligence” means “able to produce the sorts of complex mechanisms we observe in biological systems”.

    In the framework of astrobiology, however, there is no need to limit the study of intelligence to these criteria.

    In order to talk about other aspects of the sender of these signals, one must leave the domain of SETI and look to astrobiology instead. Astrobiology deals with brains, nervous systems, evolution, and other biological aspects of living organisms. In ID, this would be analogous to turning to theology in order to discuss other aspects of the cause of life. Theology deals with the nature of the Creator of Life – its consciousness, volition, goodness, and so on.

    Cheers,
    RDFish/AIGuy

  160. 160
    StephenB says:

    RDFish quoting from the SETI site

    Intelligence is a term that we use to describe a range of abilities that have to do with how an individual processes information. This includes learning, memory, problem solving, abstract thinking, creativity, behavioral flexibility, and rate of information processing. There is no consensus on a strict definition of intelligence, and there likely never will be because intelligence is what is known as a fuzzy concept; it lacks well-defined boundaries and contains multiple components. However, the study of intelligence lies firmly in the domain of empirical science because its features can be operationally defined and its correlates can be quantified and measured.

    Precisely, which is what I have been telling your for months, and what I repeated above. It refers to a “range of abilities.” There can be no consensus decision for intelligence, no one size fits all. It is always contextual, depending on the paradigm being used. Thank you for making my point. So much for your claim that ID proponents should standardize their definitions. For more details, consult my post @154.

    Please read my response to HeKS to see why no particular characteristic ID claims for the cause of life can be empirically supported.

    Absolute nonsense. ID can provide evidence for, among other things, the capacity to “choose between alternatives for a purpose” the capacity to “organize parts into a unified whole,” and to capacity to “produce ounterflow.”

  161. 161

    Honestly, now I just feel bad for him.

  162. 162
    RDFish says:

    Hi StephenB,

    You continue to ignore the essential fact that any definition of intelligence or any criterion for intelligent activity must be specific to the paradigm and the methods used to facilitate the design inference. The reason for this should be obvious: ID doesn’t study the nature intelligence from an ontological perspective; it studies the effects of intelligence from an epistemological perspective.

    I’m fully cognizant of that fact, Stephen. In fact, @159 describes just how different operationalized definitions of “intelligence” allow different sorts of analyses in different scientific domains.

    SETI’s definition of intelligence should tell you something about the nature of developing a hypothesis and establishing a methodology for testing it.

    Yes, exactly so!!

    In fact, such an operational definition of intelligence is easily consistent with ID’s paradigms, which also provide operational definitions.

    What do you think the operational definition of “intelligence” is in ID, Stephen? (I can hardly wait)

    As is the case with ID, SETI recognizes the key point: natural causes cannot produce signals or communication technology; only intelligence can do that.

    WHAT??? SETI makes no comment whatsoever about what might produce alien communication technology!!! That has nothing at all to do with SETI research!!! SETI defines “intelligence” as the presence of such technology, PERIOD. If you want to start talking about how that technology was likely produced, you must begin to study astrobiology!!

    You’re just dead wrong here. It’s all right here on the SETI site: http://intelligence.seti.org/pages/intelligence

    And review my clarifications @159 if you still don’t understand.

    In keeping with that point, SETI emphasizes technology and signals because that is their unique methodological road to the intelligent agent, not because each specialty or sub-specialty from other disciplines should define intelligence in exactly that same way.

    SETI defines “intelligence” as the presence of that technology detectable from Earth. That is what the word means in SETI. It means other things in astrobiology.

    What does the word mean in ID?

    Accordingly, some ID paradigms emphasize history (Meyer), some emphasize complexity (Dembski), others emphasize unity (Behe), and others emphasize counterflow (Ratzsch).

    It’s clear to me that ID is the paradigm – the explanation of the cause of biological systems. These people all just disagree on how to define that cause.

    But it doesn’t really matter – not one of these people succeed in establishing empirical support for anything that is associated with the word “intelligence” such as the qualities listed by HeKS (consciousness, volition, problem solving, etc.) These are truly the qualities that you are interested in, but if you actually operationalized them, you would see that ID can’t begin to provide evidence that any of them apply to the cause of life.

    Cheers,
    RDFish/AIGuy

  163. 163
    StephenB says:

    RDFish

    This means that whenever SETI speaks of “intelligence”, all they mean is “able to transmit signals to Earth”. Nothing else is meant by that term in the domain of SETI. In ID, this would be analogous to saying that “intelligence” means “able to produce the sorts of complex mechanisms we observe in biological systems”.

    No. SETI’s contextual definition of intelligence, which is tied to its methodology, deals with capacities. ID’s contextual definitions of intelligence, which are tied to their individual methodologies, deal with capacities.

  164. 164
    StephenB says:

    To be more precise, ID’s contextual definitions of intelligence, which are tied to their individual paradigms, deal with specific capacities can can be detected by those paradigms.

  165. 165
    StephenB says:

    RD

    What do you think the operational definition of “intelligence” is in ID, Stephen? (I can hardly wait)

    I gather that you missed the point that there can be no one-size-fits-all definition for the reasons indicated. However, one contextual definition is the capacity to choose between alternatives. There are others.

    SETI makes no comment whatsoever about what might produce alien communication technology!!!

    By defining intelligence as the capacity to send signals, it tacitly rules out nature as a potential cause. Otherwise, there would be no purpose in conducting the search. What would be the point of saying “guess what? we detected a signal from an intelligent agent..but never mind, it might have been nature doing its thing.”

  166. 166
    StephenB says:

    RDFish

    It’s clear to me that ID is the paradigm – the explanation of the cause of biological systems. These people all just disagree on how to define that cause.

    No, ID is not the paradigm. Irreducible complexity, specified complexity, counterflow, etc. are the paradigms. There is nothing to disagree about. Each provides its own contextual definition of intelligence.

  167. 167
    RDFish says:

    Hi StephenB,

    Again, I don’t care if you claim that each of these definitions from different ID folks are different, or even compatible. They are either operationalized (such as “the ability to produce CSI”), in which case they don’t have anything to do with our common, intuitive understanding of “intelligence” (consciousness, volition, etc); or they are not operationalized, in which case they are meaningless in the context of a scientific theory. This is just the same as in SETI: SETI operationally defines “intelligence” as “the presence of technology detectable on Earth”, which does not imply anything about learning, memory, problem solving, and so on. In order to discuss these more general aspects of what may be responsible, one must enter the domain of astrobiology.

    How this applies to ID is this: ID’s operational definition of “intelligence” may be “able to produce CSI” or “able to produce irreducible complexity” or whatever. These operational definitions imply nothing about the nature of what is producing these things. In order to discuss more general aspects of what may be responsible (such as consciousness, volition, learning, memory, and so on) one must enter the domain of philosophy (or theology).

    By defining intelligence as the capacity to send signals, it tacitly rules out nature as a potential cause.

    SETI defines intelligence as the capacity to send signals, period. It takes no position on whether the senders are natural, unnatural, supernatural, or anything else.

    Otherwise, there would be no purpose in conducting the search. What would be the point of saying “guess what? we detected a signal from an intelligent agent..but never mind, it might have been nature doing its thing.”

    WHAT??? That is such a weird thing to say! As if “nature” was a single thing, and we already knew everything about it? We would detect a signal that is not produced by any other cause we are aware of… that is a breakthrough result! In order to talk about what other inferences might be warranted, we would consult the astrobiologists.

    Cheers,
    RDFish/AIGuy

  168. 168
    franklin says:

    RDFish

    We would detect a signal that is not produced by any other cause we are aware of… that is a breakthrough result!

    absolutely! The discovery of pulsars seems like a prime example of such a breakthrough discovery.

  169. 169
    StephenB says:

    RDFish

    Again, I don’t care if you claim that each of these definitions from different ID folks are different, or even compatible. They are either operationalized (such as “the ability to produce CSI”), in which case they don’t have anything to do with our common, intuitive understanding of “intelligence” (consciousness, volition, etc); or they are not operationalized, in which case they are meaningless in the context of a scientific theory.

    You are mistaken. All the definitions of intelligence are framed scientifically and do relate to our common understanding of intelligence as it functions.

    SETI defines intelligence as the capacity to send signals, period.

    Obviously, you missed the point. ID paradigms also define intelligence as a capacity—period. What matters is why both define it as a capacity. SETI defines intelligence as the capacity to send signals as a means for detecting intelligent agents. Hence the I in SETI.

    It takes no position on whether the senders are natural, unnatural, supernatural, or anything else.

    On the contrary, SETI researchers search for the kinds of signal patterns in space that nature is not known to produce. That is exactly what ID scientists do, except for the fact that the latter searches for patterns in features rather than in signals.

    Now it is true that the secularists who manage that organization loathe ID and are terrified that the general public will discover that it uses similar methods. As a result, they have, for the last few years, begun to use tortured language, de-emphasizing the word, “intelligence” and skewing the discussion away from ET and toward astro-biology, which is more in keeping atheistic evolution.

    However, this deceptive political maneuver cannot change the fact that their approach remains the same as ID’s approach. There is simply no other way to search for intelligence other than to differentiate between what seems to be artificial from what seems to be natural. It is an inescapable fact.

  170. 170
    JWTruthInLove says:

    @RDFish:

    SETI defines intelligence as the capacity to send signals, period. It takes no position on whether the senders are natural, unnatural, supernatural, or anything else.

    Where did you get the definition from?

    Looking at Wiki or Google Scholar I find lots of mentions of non-“natural” with regard to SETI.
    Even SETI claims:
    “The main feature distinguishing signals produced by a transmitter from those produced by natural processes is their spectral width”

    I think more appropriate would be to say: SETI takes no position on whether intelligence is reducible to law and chance.

  171. 171
    Upright BiPed says:

    RDF: In case anyone else is confused about SETI, they are clear about what they are looking for … They believe these [intelligent aliens] might exist because WE ON EARTH are a civilization of life forms with advanced technology. We are a known cause of complex mechanisms and communication devices.

    HeKS: We humans living on earth are known causal agents of complex mechanisms and systems. Non-human aliens living on another planet we’re unaware of are not known causal agents. But if SETI found the effects of intelligence in a radio signal they would consider that to be strong evidence that non-human aliens really do exist as causal agents somewhere out there in the vastness of space.

    RDF: That’s right.

    RDF: SETI defines intelligence as the capacity to send signals, period. It takes no position on whether the senders are natural, unnatural, supernatural, or anything else.

    As RDF notes, SETI uses an operationalized definition of intelligence; the capacity to send narrow band signals detectable from earth. He also notes that they substantiate this operationalized definition by the universal observation that the capacity to send narrow band signals into space is coextensive with intelligence, in our case human intelligence. He goes on to acknowledge that finding the operationalized marker of intelligence is sufficient (“period”) to the task – i.e. that taking additional positions on the nature of the intelligence is unnecessary to the project of detecting an intelligence source. I agree with all these things.

    ID has no problem following this exact same methodology. Whereas SETI operationalizes the definition of intelligence as the capacity to send a narrow band signal through space, ID can operationalize intelligence as the capacity to encode information by the use of dimensional representations (i.e. representations with a dimensional orientation). Dimensional semiosis and human intelligence are coextensive.

    Anyone who has interacted with RDF will immediately realize that he simply cannot allow such a thing. Even though he cannot argue against the impenetrable physical evidence that demonstrates the fact of the matter, he is nonetheless emotionally obligated to his belief system. Any form of negative argument is sufficient to him under these circumstances.

  172. 172
    RDFish says:

    Hi StephenB,

    You are mistaken. All the definitions of intelligence are framed scientifically and do relate to our common understanding of intelligence as it functions.

    You don’t seem to grasp what an operationalized definition is. Say you define “intelligence” as “that which produces CSI”, and then you do some science with a result that you have found something “intelligent”, using your operational definition. Does this mean you have found something conscious? That can learn? That can has free will? No, Stephen, the science hasn’t told you any of that. It is has ONLY told you that you’ve found something that produces CSI.

    ID paradigms also define intelligence as a capacity—period. What matters is why both define it as a capacity. SETI defines intelligence as the capacity to send signals as a means for detecting intelligent agents. Hence the I in SETI.

    First, they don’t say “intelligent agents” – they say merely “intelligence”. And by “intelligence”, SETI declares that it means “something that can send signals detectable on Earth”. That doesn’t mean something that is necessarily conscious, or that can learn, or that has free will. It means just what it says.

    SETI researchers search for the kinds of signal patterns in space that nature is not known to produce.

    Yes, that only human beings produce.

    That is exactly what ID scientists do, except for the fact that the latter searches for patterns in features rather than in signals.

    SETI looks for patterns that are NOT found in nature in order to infer life forms on other planets. ID looks for patterns that ARE found in nature, to infer a non-life form outside of nature. I’d say that’s pretty darned different.

    But that still isn’t the point. The point you refuse to acknowledge is this: SETI’s operationalized definition of “intelligence” tells us nothing about the nature of the sender(s), including if it/they are single entities or civilisations, if it/they are conscious, if it/they have free will, and so on. If we found a signal, SETI would conclude that it has found “intelligence” – meaning nothing more than “something that can transmit signals to Earth”. Any further inferences would be outside of SETI’s domain (it would be in the domain of astrobiology).

    So, if ID aspires to be scientific, then it will provide an operational definition of “intelligence” such as “able to produce CSI”. Then – just like SETI – ID can claim that it has found signs of “intelligence” – meaning nothing more than “something that can produce CSI”. Any further inferences would be outside of ID’s scientific domain. Any other characteristics would come from philosophers (or theologists).

    As far as ID is concerned, all that has been shown is what we already know just by looking at biological systems – they are chock-full of CSI, so whatever caused them must have had the ability to produce CSI. That is simply a truism. Whether the cause can learn, solve novel problems, or exercise free will – ID can’t say. Whether the cause is an entity, a being, an organism, a system, a force, a property, a spirit, a multiverse, or anything else – ID can’t say. ID’s operational definition of “intelligence” doesn’t imply or exclude any of these things – it is outside the scope of what can be inferred from the evidence. Instead of turning to astrobiology for more general descriptions of the cause like SETI would, ID must turn to philosophy and theology.

    However, this deceptive political maneuver cannot change the fact that their approach remains the same as ID’s approach.

    Well, you CLAIM that approaches are the same. If ID ACTUALLY used the same approach, you would agree that the operational definition of “intelligence” used by ID cannot support inferences to characteristics not in evidence.

    Cheers,
    RDFish/AIGuy

  173. 173
    RDFish says:

    Hi UB,

    As RDF notes, SETI uses an operationalized definition of intelligence; the capacity to send narrow band signals detectable from earth.

    That’s right.

    He also notes that they substantiate this operationalized definition by the universal observation that the capacity to send narrow band signals into space is coextensive with intelligence, in our case human intelligence.

    Using that same operational definition, yes.

    He goes on to acknowledge that finding the operationalized marker of intelligence …

    It is not a “marker” of intelligence! It is “intelligence”. When SETI says that it is looking for “intelligence”, it doesn’t mean they are looking for some telltale sign that human-like intelligence exists – they mean they are looking for narrow-band signals from outer space. When they find those signals, astrobiologists may (or may not) be able to inform us of some likely characteristics of the source of the signals.

    ID has no problem following this exact same methodology.

    Oh yeah, it really does.

    Whereas SETI operationalizes the definition of intelligence as the capacity to send a narrow band signal through space, ID can operationalize intelligence as the capacity to encode information by the use of dimensional representations (i.e. representations with a dimensional orientation). Dimensional semiosis and human intelligence are coextensive.

    Sorry, you just made that up. Human intelligence is not “coextensive” with anything else that we understand, because we do not understand human intelligence.

    Cheers,
    RDFish/AIGuy

  174. 174
    Upright BiPed says:

    Taken solely as his words above, RDF has now tacitly acknowledged that ID can operationalize intelligence in the same manner as SETI, and can demonstrate the presence of intelligence in the coding of organic polymers – and it can do so without any need to take a position on whether the intelligence is “natural, unnatural, supernatural, or anything else”.

    Of course, we all recognize that RDF must argue against this situation regardless of the contradictions and biases that will be exposed by his retreat (see exhibit #173).

    – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

    RDF, you cannot argue against the physical evidence of dimensional semiosis in the coding of organic polymers. All you can do is deny it. As a direct consequence, it is hardly surprising that you’d say I’m “just making it up” as a means of a defense against that evidence.

    Furthermore, to agree (in the space of a single comment) that the capacity to send narrow band signals into space is coextensive with human intelligence, then say that human intelligence is not coextensive with “anything that we understand”, immediately demonstrates the contradiction and bias you are famous for.

  175. 175
    HeKS says:

    @RDFish #156

    HeKS: Of course, if we want to be really precise…

    Considering the claim that ID is a scientific theory, it really does behoove you to provide a precise meaning for this theory’s sole explanatory concept.

    Did you notice the use of the word really in there? I wasn’t suggesting that there is otherwise a general lack of precision but was simply saying that to avoid some confusion (and possible quibbling over minute details) it might be helpful for you if I made a distinction between the more general concept of an “intelligent agent” and the more specific concept of an “intelligent designer”, even though both are generally used to mean “intelligent designer” in the current context.

    BRAVO!!!! EXCELLENT!!!
    I’m so pleased to see someone here who is not afraid to say what they mean by “intelligent agency”! Thank you!!

    (Of course if I press ten other ID folks for their opinions, I will get twenty-five different answers, but let’s ignore that and pretend your definition what is meant in ID Theory in general).

    Really? You think you’re going to get 25 different answers (and presumably different than mine) from ID proponents about the main criteria defining an Intelligent Agent?

    1) LIVING
    So the designer of all life was itself living? Hmmm. SETI folks talk a great deal about what it means for something to be “living”, and they settle on the concept of “life as we know it” – complex physical organisms that process information. Since that is precisely what ID purports to explain, it hardly suits ID to offer the very same thing as an explanation!?!?

    The notion that life can only exist in a form very much like what we find here is a philosophical and metaphysical one. ID has no philosophical or metaphysical commitments on the forms life can take. It is at least theoretically possible that some physical form of life elsewhere in the universe could be quite different from us and perhaps be capable of complex intelligent thoughts while existing in a physical form that is much less complex and specified and therefore is less in need of an intelligent cause as an explanation of its existence. It’s also possible that life could exist in some form entirely different from what we’re familiar with on earth. If SETI imports philosophical and metaphysical presuppositions into their work, that does not make them more objective, empirical or scientific than ID, which does not. Oh, well, unless of course you count a priori philosophical presuppositions as the best indicator of objectivity and empiricism.

    I notice you continue to make a big deal about this “life as we know it” business. What does SETI mean by that? Well, they aren’t entirely sure…

    There is no clear-cut meaning for “life as we know it.” Usually this phrase refers to life based on DNA or RNA, probably also including viruses (although many biologists do not consider a virus to be alive). Sometimes the meaning is expanded to include any life that is based on the same sort of water-mediated carbon chemistry (with amino acids and proteins) that we have on Earth, but with some other inheritance mechanism that does not use DNA or RNA.

    Life as we don’t know it would include life that some speculate could exist on Saturn’s moon Titan, where the temperatures are far below the freezing point of water. However, even in this bitter cold, hydrocarbons like methane and ethane are liquid, and might conceivably form the basis for carbon-based life very different from that on Earth. Astrobiologists are uncertain how we could recognize or detect life as we don’t know it, although presumably any life would use energy to change its chemical environment, thus perhaps providing clues to its existence.

    You’ll note above that SETI does recognize the possibility of finding “life as we don’t know it”. Further on this, from an interview with Dr. Margaret Race of SETI:

    All our laws, ethical systems, and religions are based on life as we know it. But what if we find life as we don’t know it? What will that mean and how does that change everything on Earth – or not? That is why it’s important to bring other disciplines in to think about these questions – and to talk about how we might balance those many different perspectives. I find that fascinating!

    SETI is not wed to the idea that life itself necessarily means “life as we know it”, which they use primarily as a description to refer to life we study on earth rather than as a limit they place on what they are looking for in space.

    Also, you seem to be operating under the assumption that in order for an explanation of some effect or piece of evidence to be considered valid, you must also have an explanation of the explanation. You don’t. If the complex and functionally specified systems and machines present in organisms point to an intelligent cause – as they do, since every single other such system or machine that we can trace back to its source has an origin in an intelligent cause – then that’s where it points. If we cannot ultimately discover the identity and nature of that intelligent cause, then so be it. We don’t stop ourselves from learning what we can because of the possibility of not being able to learn what we can’t.

    In any case, the point of including “living” in the description is to avoid some attempt to attribute intelligence to inanimate natural processes.

    Regarding the issue of self-awareness, see what I’ve said above.

    3) CAPABLE OF RATIONAL AND ABSTRACT THOUGHT AT MATURATION
    First, your use of the term “at maturation” seems to imply that intelligent agents go through some aging/maturation process. Is that really what you mean?

    You’re right. I tagged the “at maturation” bit on after the fact to address someone trying to say that a one-year-old or a baby or any other young child isn’t an intelligent agent in some sense, but I realized after I posted it that it doesn’t really matter for our purposes whether someone says that. But if we want to leave it in then we could further tag on the end, “if the agent is of a sort that goes through a maturation process during its life”. But it would probably be just as good to leave the maturation bit off altogether based on the context we’re discussing.

    Since we can’t test the cause of life to see if it can solve novel problems, we have no way of ascertaining if it had this characteristic either.

    The ability to solve complex problems requiring forethought and abstract thinking is precisely what the biological evidence points to. You are trying to dismiss the evidence that points to an intelligent cause and the characteristics it must possess on the grounds that we already have the evidence instead of being in the position of still looking for it.

    Regarding volition, I mean only that there are times the intelligent agent wants to do something and that it has the ability to take some kind of action in attempting to attain its goal. I don’t see any need to rule on the philosophical question of the nature or existence of a particular type of free will for the purpose of this description.

    So given your criteria (thank you again!), we clearly see that ID is utterly unable to provide any evidence that the cause of life met your criteria for “intelligent agency”. Not one of your criteria can be supported with any evidence whatsoever – you are zero for five here.

    You are making philosophical and metaphysical assumptions about what kind of intelligent life could possibly exist while also wrongly assuming that every explanation must itself have an explanation that we are in a position to investigate. ID does neither of these things. The biological evidence firmly points to the need for an intelligent cause of its existence, one that is capable of solving complex problems and bringing complex functionally specified systems and machines into existence. We can know that this intelligent cause is not human (unless we’re going to go with the time travelling humans idea, but that would seem to create a logical paradox), but at this point the evidence we have available to us cannot tell us exactly what the designer was like or what form it took/takes.

    Let’s dispatch this nonsense with SETI, shall we? SETI is not a theory of origins – it is not a theory of anything at all. It is a SEARCH.

    This could not be more irrelevant. The point is that SETI recognizes that certain artifacts and effect clearly indicate intelligent agent causation, and this even if the intelligent agents responsible for the artifact were not previously known to exist. Furthermore, while they would most likely assume that the responsible intelligent agents are in some way and to some degree like “life as we know it”, they recognize that it could be otherwise. The physical features we find in “life as we know it” are not logically necessitated by the evidence of intelligent causation that they would find and are looking for.

    EXACTLY!! NOW WE ARE GETTING SOMEWHERE!!! (Except this has nothing to do with “reductionism”, just what sorts of conclusions can be warranted by empirical evidence).

    Sure it has to do with reductionism; I’m just not using that term in its philosophical sense here. You are reducing the specific characteristics of the cause that are directly indicated by the evidence to a statement (“the cause of life must have had characteristics sufficient to enable it to be the cause of life”) that is, as you recognize, a simple truism. The question is, What is being said once this simplified truism is unpacked? In other words, what characteristics must the cause have had in order to bring about the specific types of things we find in living organisms?

    HeKS: And yet, we do know that intelligence exists,…

    This is like saying “beauty exists” or “athleticism exists” or “love exists”. We all understand the truth of these claims, but these are not scientific propositions until the definitions for these qualities are operationalized.

    You seem to have lost a lot in that ellipsis. It’s a little hard to think you didn’t remove the rest so you would have something write in response. Here’s the whole sentence:

    And yet, we do know that intelligence exists, that intelligent agency exists, and that it is, according to all evidence we have, uniquely causally adequate to produce complex functionally specified systems.

    For the purposes of ID, this is often how intelligence is operationalized. ID looks for complex and functionally specified systems and machines the same way SETI looks for “technology detectable from Earth”. The specific and various natures of those systems and machines have been further specified by individual ID proponents who investigate the issue from different perspectives.

    The ONLY thing you can say is that the Designer was capable of producing the phenomena we are trying to explain, which of course is a truisim – true for ANY theory of origins, or any causal theory at all.

    See above.

    HeKS: ID, at least insofar as the history of life is considered, is an historical science and uses abductive reasoning to identify a best causal explanation of the complex functionally specified systems and molecular machines in living organisms.

    Yes, I get this a lot…. you actually must have evidence that the explanatory concept invoked (1) exists and (2) accounts for the phenomnena in question. ID has none.

    Actually, you don’t need to have either of those things. If you did, it would be impossible to hypothesize the existence of otherwise unknown entities on the basis that there existence is necessary in order to explain an observed effect. However, when it comes to ID, it does, in fact, have both. Again, you are only quibbling that the specific agent indicated by the evidence is not already known to exist independent of the evidence that suggests that agent’s existence is necessary. You are simply saying ID can’t invoke an intelligent agent that might not be very, very much like intelligent agents we observe on earth. This is a philosophical and metaphysical claim that has no logical force. It seems that instead you wan’t to invoke a kind of cause (chance combined with natural law) that we have no reason whatsoever to think is capable of producing the effect in question even when we allow that such things exist everywhere. Or maybe you just want people to say nothing on the subject at all.

    IF there was some sort of entity that was conscious and sentient and could produce complex physical machinery and that prexisted living things, THEN that entity would be a very likely candidate for the cause of living things. You simply ASSUME the antecendent of that conditional to be true, but, being a scientist myself, I require some sort of evidence for that.

    I refer you back to the sample dialogue between Person 1 and Person 2 in my last post. You are saying, “I need evidence of such an agent’s existence apart from the evidence that would seem to make its existence necessary. Oh, and I need evidence that the agent has the characteristics directly indicated by the evidence apart from the evidence that directly indicates them.”

    I return to a comment I made in my last post that you didn’t address:

    Based on your line of argumentation, it seems like you would be satisfied if I simply made a philosophical argument for the existence of God and then cited the evidence of biology as pointing to the existence of a non-human intelligent designer, thereby lending limited support to my God Hypothesis.

    Or maybe it would work the other way around, and the philosophical arguments would provide the evidence that the agent responsible for life really existed and is therefore a good candidate for the origin of life.

    Moving on…

    You still don’t understand my position, I’m afraid. I do not take EITHER of those paths, of course! What I point out is that according to your definition of intelligent agency, ID has no way of demonstrating that WHATEVER was the cause of life had any of those particular characteristics!

    Already addressed above.

    HeKS: Finding a signal from space would not confirm for us that the intelligent agents responsible for the message had a minimum encephalization quotient any more than deciding that an intelligent agent really is necessary to explain life would confirm that said agent was immaterial. Furthermore, SETI doesn’t even say it would. They apply that characteristic to intelligent life on earth and speculate that it is possible that life on other planets may have similar physical characteristics, which is justified for them by certain philosophical presuppositions. Nonetheless, they recognize that attributing such characteristics to the alien intelligence would be speculative.

    YES!!! EXACTLY!!! And for EXACTLY the same reason, the conclusions of ID are nothing but speculation!!!

    Ummm, if by “speculation” you mean “not completely certain” and “held tentatively as the most reasonable explanation based on the evidence we have to date but subject to revision if contrary evidence is discovered in the future”, then of course it’s speculation. Do you mean to tell me that all this time you’ve been operating under the mistaken belief that ID proponents say they have definitively proved that life has an intelligent cause? If so, I’ve been wasting my time in this discussion. I honestly cannot believe how many people I’ve run into on this site that spend hours arguing that ID’s inference to design has not been definitely proven with all certainty, as though anybody on the ID side has claimed otherwise.

    YES!!! And how do they define “intelligence”? Read it again – I’ll quote it for you: “In the domain of SETI, intelligence has been operationalized as the presence of a technology detectable from Earth.”

    So OF COURSE they are searching for intelligence, but by “intelligence” ALL THEY MEAN is “able to produce a signal that is detectable from Earth”! They do not include consciousness, or volition, or encephalization, or any other characteristic in their definition of intelligence!

    That is how they operationalize intelligence. Not how they define it. These are the kinds of things they include in the concept of “intelligence”:

    Intelligence is a term that we use to describe a range of abilities that have to do with how an individual processes information. This includes learning, memory, problem solving, abstract thinking, creativity, behavioral flexibility, and rate of information processing. There is no consensus on a strict definition of intelligence, and there likely never will be because intelligence is what is known as a fuzzy concept; it lacks well-defined boundaries and contains multiple components.

    Do you understand the difference between defining a concept and operationalizing it? Fuzzy concepts are operationalized because they “are directly difficult to observe … but their existence can be inferred by means of their observable effects.”

    The way they hope to find it is by finding a specific type of signal. Why? Because that signal would be the product of technology, and SETI considers technology to be operationalized intelligence.

    OMG! You didn’t understand what they said! They aren’t saying that technology is a sign of intelligence, or that technology requires intelligence… what they are saying is that in the domain of SETI, the term “intelligence” is operationally defined as the ability to send signals to Earth!!! This is simply a misunderstanding on your part.

    OMG? Really? Were you twirling your hair and chewing bubble gum while you wrote that?

    In any case, no, this is not my misunderstanding. It’s yours. And a ridiculous one at that. Especially this part:

    They aren’t saying that technology is a sign of intelligence, or that technology requires intelligence

    Of course, here’s what SETI says:

    SETI, the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, is an exploratory science that seeks evidence of life in the universe by looking for some signature of its technology….

    …Whether evolution will give rise to intelligent, technological civilizations is open to speculation. However, such a civilization could be detected across interstellar distances

    Honestly, your claim that SETI doesn’t say technology is a sign of intelligence or that technology requires intelligence is just downright ridiculous and obviously false. If I need to start parsing the sentences quoted above for you to show you that that is exactly what they are saying then there really is no point at all to our discussion.

    Do you see? In SETI, all they mean by “intelligence” is that it can send a signal – nothing else.

    I think you seriously need to figure out the difference between the meaning(s) included in a fuzzy concept and a particular operationalization of the concept. You seem to think they are the same thing. They aren’t. SETI operationalizes intelligence as “technology detectable from Earth” because that gives them an observable effect of extra terrestrial intelligence that would allow them to infer the existence of an extra-terrestrial possessing the fuzzy concept of intelligence.

    in order to begin talking about any other mental aspect we often associate with the term “intelligence”, you must move into the domain of astrobiology (which deals with encephalization, etc).

    No, that’s not true. Certain aspects could be logically inferred directly from the observable evidence. Furthermore, astrobiology considers things like an encephalization quotient to be a possible indicator or physical feature associated with intelligence that might carry over to life on other planets, but it has no commitment to the idea that intelligent alien life would absolutely have to have any particular encephalization quotient or anything else.

    I’ll be gone most of the day and evening Sunday, so any further response from me, if it comes at all, will likely be delayed.

  176. 176
    HeKS says:

    I feel the need to point out what seems to be a rather significant point of confusion. The idea of operationalization or operationalized definitions is being wildly misused by RDFish and I think to a certain extent others have started picking it up.

    I address this to a certain extent in my post #175, but operationalization is something you do to with a fuzzy concept because the concept is not directly observable. You “operationalize” a fuzzy concept because “some phenomena are directly difficult to observe … but their existence can be inferred by means of their observable effects”.

    When you operationalize a fuzzy concept you identify one of its effects, and if the effect is observed, you can infer the existence of the more “fuzzy” phenomenon. The fuzzy concept itself is the conceptual or theoretical definition of the concept. A given effect that you want to investigate is the operationalized definition.

    RDFish is arguing as though conceptual definitions and operational definitions are disconnected. They aren’t. The operational definition remains connected to the conceptual definition (the fuzzy concept) because it is simply a method (and not necessarily the only one) of measuring and/or inferring the existence of the concept itself, which is not directly observable.

    RDFish’s entire line of argument rests on this misunderstanding, which he keeps repeating over and over and over. The whole argument is fatally flawed and leads to claims that SETI doesn’t think narrow-band signals or the communications technology they come from are an indicator of actual conscious extra-terrestrial intelligence and that for SETI, the entire concept of intelligence is nothing more than “something sending a narrow band signal”, which is a complete misrepresentation of what they actually say about the subject.

  177. 177

    HeKS,

    You don’t really need to point it out. Nothing needs to be added to RDFish’s comments at this point in this thread; the absurdity of his rampant, escalating obscurantism is painfully obvious.

    SETI, obviously, is looking for what it considers to be evidence of intelligence in signals not known to be produced by humans. ID is looking for what it considers to be evidence of intelligence in artifacts not known to be produced by humans. It’s the same thing, whether or not those suffering from design derangement syndrome can admit it or not.

  178. 178
    Joe says:

    RDFish is a bloviating imbecile- He asks for evidence and when presented with evidence he sezs he doesn’t care about it.

    He is just a troll…

  179. 179

    HeKS:

    You “operationalize” a fuzzy concept because “some phenomena are directly difficult to observe … but their existence can be inferred by means of their observable effects”.

    When you operationalize a fuzzy concept you identify one of its effects, and if the effect is observed, you can infer the existence of the more “fuzzy” phenomenon. The fuzzy concept itself is the conceptual or theoretical definition of the concept. A given effect that you want to investigate is the operationalized definition.

    Not quite. In advocating operational analysis, Percy Bridgman sought to replace abstract theoretical concepts within physics with the analysis of the operations by which those concepts are measured. It was not an attempt to “infer” fuzzy theoretical phenomena by proxy operations, it was an attempt to eliminate them altogether in scientific contexts because meaningless apart from the operations required to measure them. It was an early influence upon logical positivism and ultimately behaviorism: the logical positivist Feigl spent a sabbatical with Bridgman in 1930, after which he joined the faculty at Harvard and brought Bridgman’s views to the attention of E.G. Boring and his students S. S. Stevens and B. F. Skinner. They ran with it. Although Bridgman subsequently softened his position regarding the scientific admissibility of theoretical constructs, and the logical positivists ultimately rejected Bridgman’s thesis as an unworkable oversimplification of the problem of scientific meaning, operational analysis came to be advocated by many behaviorists as a complete philosophy of science they called operationism, a term repeatedly rejected by Bridgman himself. Within the framework of Skinner’s operationism, for example, subjective experiences and cognitive activity were seen as beyond the reach of a truly scientific psychology.

    Although ultimately an insufficient basis upon which to found scientific meaning, the notion of “operational definition” remains a very useful guide to designing empirical research, as it compels one to be procedurally and methodologically explicit in advance of executing the actual research. Without that, replicability becomes impossible and fishing trips ensue. Operationalizing a definition removes ambiguity and enables one to define in advance the sorts of observations that will “count” as confirmation/disconfirmation of one’s hypothesis. It also enables investigation of a phenomena without becoming entangled in the cloud of connotation that can surround abstractions such as “intelligence.”

  180. 180
    HeKS says:

    @RB,

    While your comment is interesting, are you trying to say that operationalization, in practice, as it is used today, creates a hard disconnect between the operationalization and the concept being operationalized? If so, I simply can’t agree with you. Looking back at my quickly written comment, the only clarification I would make is to say:

    “When you operationalize a fuzzy concept you identify one of its effects, and if the effect is observed, you can infer the existence of aspects of the more “fuzzy” phenomenon that are indicated by the operationalization.”

    The point is to identify an aspect of the concept that can be translated to a measurable effect because the concept is not directly observable, but it – or at least apsects of it – can be inferred from the observation of the measurable effect. That is what SETI is doing.

  181. 181
    StephenB says:

    RDFish

    You don’t seem to grasp what an operationalized definition is.

    Inasmuch as you mistakenly conflated the ID project with its individual paradigms, and inasmuch I explained the relationship between those paradigms and their attendant operational definitions, and inasmuch as I described the parallel between ID’s operational definitions and SETI’s operational definitions, it would appear that you are the one who doesn’t understand.

    Say you define “intelligence” as “that which produces CSI”, and then you do some science with a result that you have found something “intelligent”, using your operational definition. Does this mean you have found something conscious? That can learn? That can has free will? No, Stephen, the science hasn’t told you any of that. It is has ONLY told you that you’ve found something that produces CSI.

    That is a very good reason for not defining intelligence as that which produces CSI…..
    SB: ID paradigms also define intelligence as a capacity—period. What matters is why both define it as a capacity. SETI defines intelligence as the capacity to send signals as a means for detecting intelligent agents. Hence the I in SETI.

    First, they don’t say “intelligent agents” – they say merely “intelligence”.

    By definition, anything that is not produced by nature (an unintelligent non-agent) is produced by an intelligent agent. It certainly is not produced by a definition of intelligence.

    ….”declares that it means “something that can send signals detectable on Earth”. That doesn’t mean something that is necessarily conscious, or that can learn, or that has free will. It means just what it says.”

    Again, you are confusing the fuzzy definition, which may or may not include these things, with the operational definition (from either specialty), which doesn’t.

    SB: SETI researchers search for the kinds of signal patterns in space that nature is not known to produce.

    Yes, that only human beings produce.

    SETI makes no such provisions or limitations. However, your comment constitutes a distraction from the main point. Both ID and SETI search for patters that are not found in nature. They take the same approach.

    SETI looks for patterns that are NOT found in nature in order to infer life forms on other planets.

    The proper response on your part would be, “Yes, you are right and I was wrong. Both specialties detect design by separating art from nature.”

    But that still isn’t the point. The point you refuse to acknowledge is this: SETI’s operationalized definition of “intelligence” tells us nothing about the nature of the sender(s), including if it/they are single entities or civilisations, if it/they are conscious, if it/they have free will, and so on. If we found a signal, SETI would conclude that it has found “intelligence” – meaning nothing more than “something that can transmit signals to Earth”. Any further inferences would be outside of SETI’s domain (it would be in the domain of astrobiology).

    No, they would conclude that they have found an intelligent agent. But if that is all they can conclude, so what? If that is where their operational definition takes them, more power to them. Every scientist develops his own research question and formulates a method to answer it. I believe I have already made that point.

    As far as ID is concerned, all that has been shown is what we already know just by looking at biological systems – they are chock-full of CSI, so whatever caused them must have had the ability to produce CSI. That is simply a truism.

    No. Biological ID has shown that the features in human and animal made artifacts are strikingly similar to the features found in biological orgainisms. Cosmological ID has shown cosmos was likely finely tuned for life.

    Well, you CLAIM that approaches are the same.

    Not only did I claim they are the same, I showed how they were the same and you unwittingly agreed they were the same when you conceded that SETI searches for patterns that are not found in nature.

    It’s the same formula that all disciplines use to detect the presence of an intelligent agent: “Nature likely didn’t produce the observed pattern, therefore we conclude that it was the product of an intelligent agent.” SETI is just one of many. Why you cannot accept these incontrovertible facts is a mystery.

  182. 182
    Alan Fox says:

    @ aiguy

    I think you may be over-estimating the ability of some here to follow your point.

    Let me try and simplify!

    The SETI Institute are engaged in a search for narrow-band radio signals of non-terrestrial origin. The thinking is that anyone or anything using radio for communication would broadcast some particular frequency rather than over a broad range as happens with radio sources like pulsars and quasars.

    If they find such signals, then there will be intense debate on whether such signals are produced by intelligent lifeforms. As, currently, we have no evidence of such signals, speculation about them is unrestrained by evidence.

    So SETI is a search for narrow-band radio signals. The search may prove fruitless or, one day, find something unusual. Then the task will be to establish whether that signal could be attributed to an extra-terrestrial life-form.

    The difference between the SETI project and the “Intelligent Design” movement is that SETI are looking for real phenomena and ID proponents are not.

  183. 183
    RDFish says:

    Hi UB,

    Taken solely as his words above, RDF has now tacitly acknowledged that ID can operationalize intelligence in the same manner as SETI, and can demonstrate the presence of intelligence in the coding of organic polymers – and it can do so without any need to take a position on whether the intelligence is “natural, unnatural, supernatural, or anything else”.

    TACITLY? I have said this explicitly! Of course ID can – and ought to – operationalize the term “intelligence” in “intelligent design theory”, just as SETI does. Duh. The problem is that ID does NOT operationalize its definition, of course.

    Furthermore, to agree (in the space of a single comment) that the capacity to send narrow band signals into space is coextensive with human intelligence…

    What a big fat lie that is! Of course everyone can see you’re just lying about this. I never said any such thing. Why do you think you can lie like this and get away with it? Everything we write is right here on this page for everyone to see!

    The capacity to send signals into space is OBVIOUSLY and PLAINLY NOT “coextensive with human intelligence”!!! Rather, it is SETI’s OPERATIONALIZED DEFINITION of intelligence.

    Good grief.

    Cheers,
    RDFish/AIGuy

  184. 184
    RDFish says:

    Hi HeKS,

    You think you’re going to get 25 different answers (and presumably different than mine) from ID proponents about the main criteria defining an Intelligent Agent?

    Yes, I’ve gotten many different definitions for “intelligent” from ID proponents. Complement of chance+necessity. Ability to freely choose. Ability to produce CSI. Consciousness. Rationality. Ability to plan. Ability to use natural language. Ability to use formal language. Use of dimensional representations (!). Being alive. You could choose to say every one of these characteristics is entailed, of course – would you like to go that route? That would be fine with me.

    SETI: There is no clear-cut meaning for “life as we know it.”

    Yes, of course “LIFE” is another fuzzy concept, like intelligence. That is why no scientist would ever invoke that concept to explain anything without providing an operationalized definition. Yet you use it without any operationalized definition in your “scientific” criteria for intelligence.

    But it would probably be just as good to leave the maturation bit off altogether based on the context we’re discussing.

    Does it not occur to you how ridiculous it is that you are making this up as you go along? Again, this term, “intelligence” is the sole term that is supposed to explain all of these disparate phenomena in this (very scientific) Intelligent Design Theory, and yet here you are, some anonymous guy on an internet forum, attempting to figure out what this term is supposed to mean.

    The ability to solve complex problems requiring forethought and abstract thinking is precisely what the biological evidence points to.

    Oh, no, it really does not. Insects solve complex problems that require forethought and abstract thinking when human beings solve them, but the insects themselves are incapable of solving novel problems presented to them. Same with various other animals, and computers, and even some autistic savants. So who knows what might be true of something so radically different from a human being that it isn’t even a physical organism? We don’t know. It is impossible to present the Cause of Life with a novel problem, so we have no way of knowing what else it might be able to do aside from causing the very things we’re trying to explain.

    You are making philosophical and metaphysical assumptions about what kind of intelligent life could possibly exist…”

    Well that’s a big fat lie, now, isn’t it? Where in the world did you come up with that? Show me one single sentence where I imply that… waiting… time’s up – you’re lying!

    …while also wrongly assuming that every explanation must itself have an explanation that we are in a position to investigate.

    Where are you coming up with these ridiculous strawmen? Are you drinking? Of course I never said any such thing. I get it – you can’t argue against me, so you decide to make up both sides of the argument so you can win. Clever!

    For the purposes of ID, this [able to produce complex functionally specified systems] is often how intelligence is operationalized.

    If you really are adopting this as the operational definition for “intelligence” in ID, then you’re just fine scientifically. But of course that isn’t what you mean at all. What you mean is that once you find CSI in biology, you leap over your own scientific definition and start making up stuff about consciousness, volition, maturation, and whatnot.

    Sure it has to do with reductionism; I’m just not using that term in its philosophical sense here.

    It’s not its “philosophical sense” – it is what the word means.

    The question is, What is being said once this simplified truism is unpacked? In other words, what characteristics must the cause have had in order to bring about the specific types of things we find in living organisms?

    Sure, that is the question all right 🙂 You postulate some hypothetical non-human but anthropomorphic being (that you happen to believe in a priori) and expect that to be accepted as a scientific result.

    Sorry, it just doesn’t work that way. You need to provide some evidence such a thing exists. Otherwise, we could just say that all of the species on Earth are simply descendent from life forms on another planet. We don’t say what planet, or how they got here, and we don’t explain how they came to exist either. Now, that’s a really stupid theory, but it’s better than ID! ID doesn’t say where the Designer is, or how It put life on Earth, or how It came to exist either. And it’s a lot less of a stretch to imagine extra-terrestrial life-exactly-as-we-know-it than it is to imagine extra-terrestrial something-that-isn’t-even-a-physical-organism.

    RDF: you actually must have evidence that the explanatory concept invoked (1) exists and (2) accounts for the phenomnena in question. ID has none.
    HeKS: Actually, you don’t need to have either of those things. If you did, it would be impossible to hypothesize the existence of otherwise unknown entities on the basis that there existence is necessary in order to explain an observed effect.

    Good grief – you’re not even paying attention. How many times must I say you can hypothesize whatever you’d like; just don’t imagine your hypothesis should be taken as an empirically supported theory until you actually provide evidence?

    However, when it comes to ID, it does, in fact, have both. Again, you are only quibbling that the specific agent indicated by the evidence is not already known to exist independent of the evidence that suggests that agent’s existence is necessary.

    Yes, there is that little matter to quibble about: ID presents no evidence whatsoever that its hypothesis is true. What you call “evidence” is actually the explanandum. We observe the complex mechanisms in biology and we would like to explain how they arose. Some hypothesize that abiogenesis and evolution account for them, but their evidence fails to support their hypothesis. Some hypothesize that self-organizational principles account for them, or natural genetic engineering, or natural teleology, or space aliens, or God, or whatever… but none of these hypotheses are sufficiently well-defined and empirically supported to be considered to be a scientific result either.

    Or maybe you just want people to say nothing on the subject at all.

    Hypothesize away! And, if you’d like, profess your belief in whatever appeals to you. The only thing I object to is the pretense of any scientific validity to your conclusion.

    Based on your line of argumentation, it seems like you would be satisfied if I simply made a philosophical argument for the existence of God and then cited the evidence of biology as pointing to the existence of a non-human intelligent designer, thereby lending limited support to my God Hypothesis.

    No, my argument is not of that form at all, of course. What I’m saying is that you need evidence in order to claim empirically supported inferences with regard to the consciousness, volition, beliefs, desires, or general abilities of whatever caused life.

    Ummm, if by “speculation” you mean “not completely certain” and “held tentatively as the most reasonable explanation based on the evidence we have to date but subject to revision if contrary evidence is discovered in the future”, then of course it’s speculation.

    Nope, I mean speculation like “Maybe it’s true, and maybe it isn’t, and at the moment we have no way to decide by means of scientific investigation”. Like multiverses are speculative. And self-organizational principles sufficient to account for life are speculative.

    Do you mean to tell me that all this time you’ve been operating under the mistaken belief that ID proponents say they have definitively proved that life has an intelligent cause? If so, I’ve been wasting my time in this discussion. I honestly cannot believe how many people I’ve run into on this site that spend hours arguing that ID’s inference to design has not been definitely proven with all certainty, as though anybody on the ID side has claimed otherwise.

    That’s not the problem. The problem is that ID claims to be scientific but it isn’t. There are three options for ID with regard to stating its explanans, and none of them support the scientific result you want:

    1) ID provides no operational definition of “intelligence”. In this case, ID fails because its explanation is too ambiguous to be scientifically meaningful or testable
    2) ID provides an operational definition that is detectable, such as “the ability to produce CSI”. In this case, ID succeeds technically, but it is merely a truism, and fails to make any connection to the concept of “intelligence” that you (and everyone else) are talking about – consciousness, self-awareness, volition, desires, intentions, etc.
    3) ID defines “intelligence” to entail consciousness, volition, etc. In this case, ID fails because there is no evidence that the cause of life possessed any of these traits.

    That is how they operationalize intelligence. Not how they define it. These are the kinds of things they include in the concept of “intelligence”:

    Here you go completely off the rails and completely misinterpret everything. Read what they say again:

    SETI: However, the study of intelligence lies firmly in the domain of empirical science because its features can be operationally defined and its correlates can be quantified and measured.

    You say they don’t define it that way, but that is precisely what they say they do – and obviously so. SETI understands that in order to remain in the domain of empirical science, they must provide an operational definition of this fuzzy concept, and so they do. They can’t detect brains or opposable thumbs or consciousness on other planets – they can only detect signals.

    Then:

    SETI: In the domain of SETI, intelligence has been operationalized as the presence of a technology detectable from Earth. In the framework of astrobiology, however, there is no need to limit the study of intelligence to these criteria.

    This means that SETI can draw no more general conclusion about the source of found signals than what the operational definition states. Only within the framework of astrobiology can these other criteria (learning, memory, problem solving, abstract thinking, creativity, behavioral flexibility, and rate of information processing, etc).

    How does astrobiology approach those questions?

    SETI: Earth-based data and analyses concerning intelligence, brains, and correlations between the two provide predictive power as we pursue questions about intelligence in the vast range of contexts presented by astrobiology.

    They also make clear what astrobiology considers intelligence to be:

    SETI: Intelligence is a property of the nervous system

    Get it?

    * * *

    Now, as I see Reciprocating Bill has pointed out, your confusion regarding operational definitions just continues. (StephenB, this goes for you too).

    When you operationalize a fuzzy concept you identify one of its effects, and if the effect is observed, you can infer the existence of aspects of the more “fuzzy” phenomenon that are indicated by the operationalization.

    The point is to identify an aspect of the concept that can be translated to a measurable effect because the concept is not directly observable, but it – or at least apsects of it – can be inferred from the observation of the measurable effect.

    Completely wrong. You have no justification for inferring some hypothetical being that is conscious, volitional, etc, simply by observing biological mechanisms. You would need to test whatever it is that caused those mechanism to see if those properties applied. Astrobiologists make a number of assumptions based on terrestrial organisms; ID can’t do that (because let’s face it you aren’t really talking about biological aliens as designers). Again, there are plenty of examples of things that can solve complex problems of a specific class, but do not have general abstract reasoning skills. How can you show that this very mysterious Designer isn’t like that?

    Cheers,
    RDFish/AIGuy

  185. 185
    Joe says:

    Alan Fox chimes in:

    The difference between the SETI project and the “Intelligent Design” movement is that SETI are looking for real phenomena and ID proponents are not.

    So origin biological information was not a real phenomenon? Or is Alan Fox just an ignorant chump?

    The design ID is detecting is real, Alan. Your ignorance is real, too. However unlike the design your ignorance doesn’t mean anything

  186. 186
    Joe says:

    RDFish still spewing lies:

    I have said this explicitly! Of course ID can – and ought to – operationalize the term “intelligence” in “intelligent design theory”, just as SETI does. Duh. The problem is that ID does NOT operationalize its definition, of course.

    You are a LIAR. You are a coward. You are ignorant and you think all of that refutes ID.

    Strange.

  187. 187
    Upright BiPed says:

    The problem is that ID does NOT operationalize its definition, of course.

    You can argue against the operational definition of intelligence I gave you (in which case you’ll lose that argument over facts), or you can argue that I am just a nobody (in order to avoid those facts) … but you can’t argue that I didn’t give you one.

    UB: Furthermore, to agree (in the space of a single comment) that the capacity to send narrow band signals into space is coextensive with human intelligence…

    RDF: What a big fat lie that is! Of course everyone can see you’re just lying about this. I never said any such thing. Why do you think you can lie like this and get away with it? Everything we write is right here on this page for everyone to see!

    From the earlier exchange: UB in #171: “He also notes that they substantiate this operationalized definition by the universal observation that the capacity to send narrow band signals into space is coextensive with intelligence, in our case human intelligence.” RDF in #173: “Using that same operational definition, yes.”

    – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

    RD, if you’d like to argue that we understand “intelligence” enough to operationalize it, but we just don’t understand “human intelligence” enough to operationalize it, then I’ll happily take on that argument. On the other hand, if you’d like to argue that the capacity to send narrow band signals is not “coextensive” with human intelligence (we just happen to know about it because humans do it) but is instead simply coextensive with “intelligence” regardless of it’s source, then I will happily agree. Or perhaps you’d like to argue that neither intelligence nor human intelligence is “coextensive” with the capacity to send narrow band signals, but instead the capacity “requires” intelligence, then again, I am happy to accept those terms. You’ve made my point either way.

    Now all you have to do is deal with the operational definition.

  188. 188
    Alan Fox says:

    As far as I am aware, SETI researchers have not found any narrow-band signals. As their FAQ says

    If we had, the world would know about it.

    When (and if) there is a candidate signal to analyse, there will be some evidence to discuss. As it is, we can all speculate wildly about such an eventuality. Compare that to ID research. As far as I am aware, there is not even an entailed hypothesis — let alone anyone looking for evidence in support of any ID hypothesis.

  189. 189
    RDFish says:

    Hi UB,

    You can argue against the operational definition of intelligence I gave you (in which case you’ll lose that argument over facts), or you can argue that I am just a nobody (in order to avoid those facts) … but you can’t argue that I didn’t give you one.

    As I’ve explained to you, “dimensional semiotics”, is not “coextensive with human intelligence”. Nothing that we know of is “coextensive with human intelligence”.

    (But yes, it is also noteworthy that you are, like all of us here, just an anonymous poster on an internet forum, and if it is up to you to invent the definition for the sole explanatory concept of ID Theory, then ID Theory is a sad joke).

    UB: Furthermore, to agree (in the space of a single comment) that the capacity to send narrow band signals into space is coextensive with human intelligence…

    RDF: What a big fat lie that is! Of course everyone can see you’re just lying about this. I never said any such thing. Why do you think you can lie like this and get away with it? Everything we write is right here on this page for everyone to see!

    From the earlier exchange: UB in #171: “He also notes that they substantiate this operationalized definition by the universal observation that the capacity to send narrow band signals into space is coextensive with intelligence, in our case human intelligence.” RDF in #173: “Using that same operational definition, yes.”

    What’s your point? You said that I agreed that sending narrow band signals is coextensive with human intelligence. I denied saying any such thing, because it is ridiculous. So you quote me saying that it SETI’s operational definition of “intelligence”, which it is.

    I guess you too just have no concept of what an “operational definition” is. Fortunately Reciprocating Bill here @179 provides a very detailed and accurate account. The essential point here is that operational definitions are NOT coextensive with the original (fuzzy) concept. “Intelligence” as the term is intuitively understood and informally used can mean all sorts of things that can’t be measured in various scientific contexts (especially ID): consciousness, free will, learning, solving novel problems, behavioral flexibility, use of a natural language, and so on. That is why operational definitions are used that are not coextensive with the common (fuzzy) meaning of the term.

    RD, if you’d like to argue that we understand “intelligence” enough to operationalize it, but we just don’t understand “human intelligence” enough to operationalize it, then I’ll happily take on that argument.

    You still don’t understand. Anyone can provide any operationalized definition for “intelligence” or any other word that they would like to! I can say that the operational definition for “intelligence” is “able to fly to the moon” or “able to ride a unicycle for one mile without stopping”. As long as the definition is stated explicitly and is objectively measurable, it is a valid scientific definition. I think that you, like others here, are confused because you think of an operational definition as some sort of tell-tale signature of something more general. It isn’t – it is actually the definition of the word being used some scientific context in order to study that property scientifically.

    On the other hand, if you’d like to argue that the capacity to send narrow band signals is not “coextensive” with human intelligence (we just happen to know about it because humans do it) but is instead simply coextensive with “intelligence” regardless of it’s source, then I will happily agree.

    It is very obvious that sending narrow narrow band signals is not “coextensive” with human intelligence. Perhaps I am misunderstanding what you mean by “coextensive” – it typically means having the same extent, or in this case describing the same abilities. Since sending signals is only one very specialized ability out of all we might ascribe to human intelligence, it clearly is not coextensive with it.

    Cheers,
    RDFish/AIGuy

  190. 190
    Joe says:

    Alan Fox:

    As far as I am aware, there is not even an entailed hypothesis — let alone anyone looking for evidence in support of any ID hypothesis.

    Again, Alan, your ignorance means nothing. I have provided you with a testable hypothesis for ID. I have also provided evidence in support of that hypothesis.

    You are just a horse’s arse.

  191. 191
    RDFish says:

    Hi Joe,

    You are a LIAR. You are a coward. You are ignorant and you think all of that refutes ID.

    Oh, Joe. You are so precious. Always trying to bark with the big dogs, but all you’ve got is your little squeaky yap, yap, yap. You don’t understand any of what is being said here, but here you are like a little chihuahua, biting my leg and baring your little teeth and feeling brave. So cute!

    Cheers,
    RDFish/AIGuy

  192. 192
    Joe says:

    RDFish, you are a wanker who thinks he is a legend.

    I have refuted your tripe so all you can do is ignore it and prattle on. You are the worst of humanity.

    And your projections are duly noted.

    BTW I am comfortable with the fact that if we were in a formal debate I would easily kick your arse.

  193. 193
    Joe says:

    I have provided RDFish with ID’s operational definition of “intelligence”. He tried to refute it but was caught misrepresenting it. He then got all huffy and puffy and said he was going to ignore me.

    If that is evidence that RDFish is a little cry-baby then there isn’t any such thing as evidence.

  194. 194
    StephenB says:

    RDFish, I have a question:

    You agree that ID has, indeed, found evidence for CSI in biological organisms. You don’t dispute that point at all. You do, however, question the proposition that one can ever rule out natural causes as the explanation because we don’t know all there is to know about nature. It is, therefore, always presumptuous and premature to say, “If not law/chance, then intelligent agency.”

    And yet SETI also draws an inference to an intelligent agent (“intelligence” if you like) by ruling out the prospect that the signals they search for could have ever been produced by nature. In other words, SETI, like ID, says, “If not law/chance, then intelligence.” Why is it good science for SETI and bad science for ID? Why is the process justified for the former and not for the latter?

  195. 195
    vividbleau says:

    Joe RE 186

    Joe stop it. I expect these kinds of attacks from the viscious element of the anti ID crowd but not from ID advocates.

    I know I am in the minority as it relates to RDF but so be it. Would you please stop the personal attacks. I am not just speaking about this thread the same thing is going on in other threads as well.

    BTW if we are going to call out the other side regarding their behavior we must clean up our house as well. JMO

    Vivid

  196. 196
    vividbleau says:

    RDF RE 184

    Well that’s a big fat lie, now, isn’t it? Where in the world did you come up with that? Show me one single sentence where I imply that… waiting… time’s up – you’re lying!

    So dissapointing.

    Vivid

  197. 197
    RDFish says:

    Hi Vivid,
    Thank you for the support, and also for your valid rebuke: It is true that I sometimes resort to tit-for-tat here, and it would be better of me to always hold myself to the standard I desire from others. I do, however, ALWAYS and INSTANTLY revert to civil debate the moment my debating partners do likewise.
    Thanks,
    RDFish/AIGuy

  198. 198
    RDFish says:

    Hi StephenB,

    You agree that ID has, indeed, found evidence for CSI in biological organisms. You don’t dispute that point at all.

    No, that’s not really accurate. Let me be clear: I believe that the complex form and function we observe in biological organisms remains unexplained. Is “CSI” (or any of the variants) a well-defined and quantifiable concept? My guess is no, but I’m not concerned with that. If we look at a brain, or an eyeball, or a flagellum, or a blood clotting cascade, etc, I agree with you that these things did not arise purely by random mutation and natural selection, and that something very fundamental is missing in our understanding of origins.

    So it’s not that we’ve found “evidence for CSI” – what we observe are the complex mechanisms themselves: We observe incredibly complex form and function that, in my view, could not have arisen in the 4.5 billion years available on this planet by means of any process we currently understand.

    You do, however, question the proposition that one can ever rule out natural causes as the explanation because we don’t know all there is to know about nature. It is, therefore, always presumptuous and premature to say, “If not law/chance, then intelligent agency.”

    Not only don’t we know everything, but the category of “natural” is ambiguous. On one hand we contrast “natural” vs. “artificial”, which implies somehow that the activity of human beings is not natural (something I don’t understand). On the other hand we contrast “natural” vs. “supernatural”, which is very different (in my understanding) from “artificial”.

    In my view, what we have are things we understand and things we don’t understand scientifically, and it doesn’t help to talk to about “natural” vs. “supernatural” in science.

    As for “natural” vs. “artificial”, that distinction works fine when we are talking about terrestrial phenomenon, because “artificial” clearly refers to something we know about – human beings (or perhaps other animals like beavers or termites). Once we open up the discussion to hypothetical causes that nobody has ever seen, that distinction must be clarified.

    And yet SETI also draws an inference to an intelligent agent (“intelligence” if you like) by ruling out the prospect that the signals they search for could have ever been produced by nature. In other words, SETI, like ID, says, “If not law/chance, then intelligence.”

    No, SETI does not say that. You actually have two important points wrong:

    1) SETI does not say “If not by law/chance”. Rather, they say, “If not by any physical process we are familiar with”. This is a critical difference. The former implies that there are certain phenomena that are outside of physical law, but such a thing has never been demonstrated. In other words, nobody can show that even the “artificial” – the actions of human beings – are not governed entirely by the same physical laws that govern everything else.

    2) SETI does not use the term “intelligence” in the general, fuzzy sense that we use in informal non-scientific discussions. They provide an operational definition that is measurable, viz “able to send signals to Earth”. If we ever detect signals from outer space that cannot be accounted for by any known phenomena (e.g. narrow-band EM transmissions) then SETI will ask the astrobiologists to weigh in on what might have been the source of those signals.

    Why is it good science for SETI…

    SETI hasn’t really done any science yet – they’ve just thought about what sorts of things we’d expect to find if other civilizations of life forms existed on other hospitable planets, and gone about looking for those sorts of signals. If they ever find any, again, we’ll need to look at the information available and the astrobiologists will start arguing about what might have been responsible. For example, if the signals are similar to those we transmit and come from an Earth-like planet that is billions of years old, they might tentatively conclude that life forms similar to terrestrial organisms were able to build techology like ours. Alternatively if the signal comes from deep inside a neutron star, we would have to conclude that we have no idea what might be sending those signals.

    …and bad science for ID?

    The only science ID has done has been to critique evolutionary theory. There is no science behind “Intelligent Design” per se. For starters, there is no operationalized definition of “intelligence” that has been settled on that would allow researchers to objectively decide what is intelligent and what is not in the context of ID.

    Cheers,
    RDFish/AIGuy

  199. 199
    vividbleau says:

    RDF RE 197

    Class act. Thanks for taking it in the spirit I meant it to be. I learn alot from you, dont always agree but you certainly have given me much food for thought.

    I do, however, ALWAYS and INSTANTLY revert to civil debate the moment my debating partners do likewise.

    Yes you do.

    Vivid

  200. 200
    StephenB says:

    RDFish

    1) SETI does not say “If not by law/chance”. Rather, they say, “If not by any physical process we are familiar with”. This is a critical difference. The former implies that there are certain phenomena that are outside of physical law, but such a thing has never been demonstrated. In other words, nobody can show that even the “artificial” – the actions of human beings – are not governed entirely by the same physical laws that govern everything else.

    You are not really addressing the point. Even if there was a decisive difference between a physical cause and a natural cause (and I know knowledgeable SETI exponents who use the word “natural”) it wouldn’t matter. The same problem persists. We don’t know everything about physical causes any more than we know everything about natural causes, yet SETI says, “If not a physical (or natural) cause, then intelligence.” Or even if I grant your distinction, the problem persists: If, in the name of science, SETI, acknowledging that it doesn’t know everything about physical causes, can reasonably rule them out in a conditional manner, why cannot ID, in the name of science, confessing that it doesn’t know everything about natural causes, reasonably rule them out in a conditional manner?

    2) SETI does not use the term “intelligence” in the general, fuzzy sense that we use in informal non-scientific discussions. They provide an operational definition that is measurable, viz “able to send signals to Earth”. If we ever detect signals from outer space that cannot be accounted for by any known phenomena (e.g. narrow-band EM transmissions) then SETI will ask the astrobiologists to weigh in on what might have been the source of those signals.

    We have established SETIs operational definition of intelligence. This really has nothing to do with the process in question. It doesn’t matter who is consulted. What matters is that intelligence is understood to be a different kind of cause than a natural or physical cause. Otherwise there would be nothing unusual about it– otherwise there would be nothing to detect The SETI researcher must be able to say how the cause of this signal is of a different kind than those physical causes we know about.

    So, again, the question: Why is it legitimate for SETI to conditionallyrule out causes about which not everything is known and not legitimate for ID to <i.conditionallyrule out causes about which not everything is known?

  201. 201
    StephenB says:

    Why is it legitimate for SETI to conditionally rule out causes about which not everything is known and not legitimate for ID to conditionally rule out causes about which not everything is known?

  202. 202
    Alan Fox says:

    I don’t know why you find the SETI project so difficult to grasp, Stephen. SETI Institute are looking for narrow band radio signals at frequencies that should get through water-laden atmospheres and dust-laden space. They are optimising their search as resources are limited. But they are looking for real signals. Deciding whether such signals are being generated by extra-terrestrial life-forms will no doubt generate endless fun and controversy after and only after there are some observations to consider.

  203. 203
    Alan Fox says:

    Stephen

    Can you suggest something we might look for that would suggest a “designer” was at work with respect to the diversity of life on earth? I’ll grant you that the arrival of life on Earth is currently a complete mystery.

  204. 204
    Upright BiPed says:

    RDF,

    I used the word coextensive in the contemporaneous sense (that when A is present, B will be present as well) which in retrospect was inappropriate and would have been better expressed in other terms. I can only assume you interpreted my meaning when you in #173 agreed to the sentence where I originally used the term.I see now that you want to project that you never agreed to the content of that sentence, but you’ll have to forgive me, when someone uses the word “yes” in response, I will take that as a term of agreement. You may have meant “no”.

    In any case, I have given you an operational definition of intelligence that enables the same methodology as SETI’s methodology, and it does so for the same stated reason – only intelligence produces the effect, natural forces don’t.

  205. 205
    StephenB says:

    Alan, I am afraid that you do not understand my question. However, if you would care to address it, I will happy to respond in a non-combative way.

  206. 206
    Joe says:

    Alan Fox:

    Can you suggest something we might look for that would suggest a “designer” was at work with respect to the diversity of life on earth?

    The designer doesn’t need to intervene, however in “Not By Chance” and “The Evolution Revolution” Spetner discusses evolution by design- that is organisms were designed to evolve.

  207. 207
    Alan Fox says:

    Hi Stephen

    Alan, I am afraid that you do not understand my question.

    There’s every likelihood. Fools rush in… Your question:

    Why is it legitimate for SETI to conditionally rule out causes about which not everything is known and not legitimate for ID to conditionally rule out causes about which not everything is known?

    Regarding SETI, they are not ruling anything out yet. Once (if they ever do) they have some candidate signals, the fun will start.

    Not sure what you are getting at with ID unless you mean ruling out chance and necessity.

  208. 208
    RDFish says:

    Hi StephenB,

    If, in the name of science, SETI, acknowledging that it doesn’t know everything about physical causes, can reasonably rule them out in a conditional manner, why cannot ID, in the name of science, confessing that it doesn’t know everything about natural causes, reasonably rule them out in a conditional manner?

    Again, neither SETI nor any other scientific endeavor could rule out physical causes en masse. All anyone can do is to rule out physical causes that we know about. At this point you suggest that is equivalent to ruling out physical causes conditionally, but this still misses the point. Here is another way to understand the issue:

    Physicalism is the philosophical position that what we call the “physical” is all that exists; there is nothing that exists that is ontologically distinct from the physical. Now, this position is not at all a scientifically supported position – it is a metaphysical position (and BTW I am not a physicalist). So, if some sort of result or conclusion depends on the truth of physicalism, or its falisity, then it can’t be considered a scientific result. Likewise, any conclusion that rests on the truth of libertarianism or dualism can’t be considered scientific.

    Now, to say that the cause of some particular observed phenomenon can’t possibly physical is to say that some sort of cause exists which is not physical – in other words, it is to say that physicalism is false. That is not a scientific statement, and no scientific conclusions can follow from it. One can only say that we do not know what the cause of that phenomenon is.

    In other words, in science, the term “physical” in “physical cause” is superfluous. Quantum waveforms and entanglement relations and deformations in spacetime and virtual particles are all well-accepted explanatory constructs in science, but they are not “physical” in the sense most people understand.

    So, SETI does not claim to rule out – conditionally or otherwise – a physical cause for any narrow-band signals it may receive. Rather, it claims to rule out any cause that we have scientific knowledge of except our own technology.

    What matters is that intelligence is understood to be a different kind of cause than a natural or physical cause.

    And this right here is the very heart – the crux – of your misunderstanding. This statement you just made is non-scientific, because it is most assuredly NOT understood in science that this is true! It is only your metaphysical assumption that this is the case. It is also foundational for ID theory that this is the case, which is why ID is not scientific. As far as science is concerned, it may very well be the case that human minds operate by exactly the same physical laws that govern every other phenomenon. As far as science is concerned, nobody knows (yet) if mental causes are outside of physical causes.

    Otherwise there would be nothing unusual about it– otherwise there would be nothing to detect The SETI researcher must be able to say how the cause of this signal is of a different kind than those physical causes we know about.

    No, this is completely muddled! What would be unusual (spectacular really) about receiving a SETI signal is that it would be something radically different from anything we currently know about except human technology. The point is not whether something is natural or supernatural, physical or non-physical. The point is just what might be responsible: A civilization of life forms similar terrestrial life (that is the assumption of astrobiology)? If not that, then we can hypothesize something else, but then we must look for evidence that our hypothesis is true. That’s science.

    Why is it legitimate for SETI to conditionally rule out causes about which not everything is known and not legitimate for ID to conditionally rule out causes about which not everything is known?

    It is perfectly legitimate for ID to conditionally rule out causes for living systems that we already understand (all of physics, chemistry, biology). I agree that all known causes ought to be ruled out. What is not legitimate is to pretend that this is the same as saying, “We have eliminated one type of cause (the physical) and what that leaves is this other type of cause (the mental)”. That is non-scientific.

    Cheers,
    RDFish/AIGuy

  209. 209
    StephenB says:

    Alan

    Regarding SETI, they are not ruling anything out yet. Once (if they ever do) they have some candidate signals, the fun will start.

    Perhaps, but the process by which they (can, do, will) detect intelligence does rule out physical (natural) causes. Nature can send signals that have nothing to do with intelligent activity. The trick is to find signals of a different texture.

    Not sure what you are getting at with ID unless you mean ruling out chance and necessity.

    Right. ID’s process is to detect intelligent causes by conditionally ruling out physical/natural causes; SETI’s process is to detect intelligent causes by conditionally ruling out physical/natural causes. So, my question is this: Why are they not scientific equivalents in that context?

  210. 210
    Joe says:

    RDFish:

    Again, neither SETI nor any other scientific endeavor could rule out physical causes en masse.

    That is why the design inference, as with ALL scientific inferences, is tentative and based on our current understanding. Dembski goes over this many times.

  211. 211
    Joe says:

    Alan Fox:

    Not sure what you are getting at with ID unless you mean ruling out chance and necessity.

    That and we have a match of the design criteria, just like SETI requires- archaeology and forensics too.

  212. 212
    RDFish says:

    Hi Joe,

    RDF: Again, neither SETI nor any other scientific endeavor could rule out physical causes en masse.
    JOE: That is why the design inference, as with ALL scientific inferences, is tentative and based on our current understanding. Dembski goes over this many times.

    No, you still don’t understand the point. Of course all scientific results are tentative.

    Rather, here is the problem:

    ID holds that, based on evidence, science can (tentatively, conditionally) rule out every possible explanation in a particular class of explanations that ID refers to as “physical”, and by doing so, demonstrate that the actual explanation must be in a different class of explanations, which ID refers to as “intelligent”.

    That is the problem, because these two classes of explanations are not scientifically distinguishable (that is, they are not operationally defined). For example, physicists explain certain phenomena by “entanglement relations”, and so such relations are typically considered as “physical”. But they are not a thing, not a force, not a particle, not something that exists within spacetime as we understand it at all – so are they really “physical” in the sense we normally use the term? No, they are not – just like quantum waveforms, or any number of other weird explanatory constructs in physics. Physics often encounters phenomena that cannot be explained by what we currently know about, but that doesn’t mean that no “physical” explanation is possible, or that some “nonphysical” explanation must be true.

    Cheers,
    RDFish/AIGuy

  213. 213
    Joe says:

    RDFish:

    ID holds that, based on evidence, science can (tentatively, conditionally) rule out every possible explanation …

    No. We can only rule out what we currently know/ understand. We use our knowledge of cause and effect relationships to make inferences. And yes, intelligent agencies offer a different explanation than do purely materialistic processes.

    The two are distinguishable and operationally defined. No one says that just because a physical explanation is not known that a non-physical one must be the only explanation.

    Stop it with your strawmen already.

  214. 214
    HeKS says:

    The amount of obfuscation, confusion and absurdity going on here is shocking. It is truly off the charts.

    RDFish, You said:

    SETI understands that in order to remain in the domain of empirical science, they must provide an operational definition of this fuzzy concept, and so they do. They can’t detect brains or opposable thumbs or consciousness on other planets – they can only detect signals.

    Interesting. So tell me RDFish, does SETI think that within their own program, the detection of a certain type of signal would reveal to them the existence of sophisticated non-human beings?

    In past comments you’ve said this:

    When SETI says that it is looking for “intelligence”, it doesn’t mean they are looking for some telltale sign that human-like intelligence exists – they mean they are looking for narrow-band signals from outer space.

    And…

    And by “intelligence”, SETI declares that it means “something that can send signals detectable on Earth”. That doesn’t mean something that is necessarily conscious, or that can learn, or that has free will. It means just what it says.

    And yet you’ve also said…

    SETI looks for patterns that are NOT found in nature in order to infer life forms on other planets.

    But then again, you also said this:

    SETI makes no comment whatsoever about what might produce alien communication technology!!! That has nothing at all to do with SETI research!!! SETI defines “intelligence” as the presence of such technology, PERIOD. If you want to start talking about how that technology was likely produced, you must begin to study astrobiology!!

    So let me repeat my question: Does SETI think that within their own program, the detection of a certain type of signal would reveal to them the presence/existence of sophisticated non-human life-forms / beings?

  215. 215
    Alan Fox says:

    HeKS asks:

    Does SETI think that within their own program, the detection of a certain type of signal would reveal to them the presence/existence of sophisticated non-human life-forms / beings?

    It hardly matters what hypothetical questions can be asked. The interesting questions can be asked if the SETi institute or anyone else looking finds a signal that can’t be accounted for by known examples of radio sources. I would imagine those funding and carrying out the research hope for positive results but there is absolutely no way to guess or hypothesize on what might turn up (within the parameters and limits of the search). Just wait and see.

    I’m still baffled why anyone thinks SETI has anything in common with ID (apart from the coincidental use of the word “intelligent”).

  216. 216
    RDFish says:

    Hi HeKS,

    The amount of obfuscation, confusion and absurdity going on here is shocking. It is truly off the charts.

    Actually it’s pretty normal for around here. Perhaps you’ll begin to understand the topic of discussion soon and this sort of thing will begin to lessen 🙂

    So tell me RDFish, does SETI think that within their own program, the detection of a certain type of signal would reveal to them the existence of sophisticated non-human beings?

    Of course. Again (and again and again) SETI notes that civilizations on Earth have technology that can send signals to other planets, and there are other planets similar to Earth, so perhaps there are other civilizations on these planets with similar technology and we could receive their signals. So they look for those signals.

    If they someday receive a signal that is similar to what we use (narrow-band EM transmission) that would certainly be exciting, and we would infer that we were receiving signals from technology similar to that humans build. But SETI itself is not a scientific discipline that would evaluate what attributes we might expect to apply to the civilization, or single organism (or whatever) responsible for building this technology on the distant planet; that would be (according to SETI) up to the astrobiologists, who rely on our knowledge of the relationship between our mental abilities and our brain in order to form hypotheses about these distant beings. (They explain this on their website)

    Again (and again and again): When SETI says they are looking for “intelligence”, they make clear that they mean “the presence of technology detectable from Earth”. Once they detect this technology, they turn to astrobiologists to figure out what we might infer regarding their nervous systems, learning abilities, behavioral flexibility and other attributes. (Again, this is all right there on the link I provided to you).

    In past comments you’ve said this:
    RDF: When SETI says that it is looking for “intelligence”, it doesn’t mean they are looking for some telltale sign that human-like intelligence exists – they mean they are looking for narrow-band signals from outer space.

    That’s correct (again, also right on the SETI website).

    And…
    RDF: And by “intelligence”, SETI declares that it means “something that can send signals detectable on Earth”. That doesn’t mean something that is necessarily conscious, or that can learn, or that has free will. It means just what it says.

    Yes, that’s correct.

    And yet you’ve also said…
    RDF: :SETI looks for patterns that are NOT found in nature in order to infer life forms on other planets.

    Here is the entire quote:

    RDFish:SETI looks for patterns that are NOT found in nature in order to infer life forms on other planets. ID looks for patterns that ARE found in nature, to infer a non-life form outside of nature. I’d say that’s pretty darned different.

    This was an attempt to highlight the differences between ID and SETI. In order to be brief, I did not add two caveats: First, I glossed over the point that ID does not explicitly look for “non-life forms”; ID remains agnostic regarding what sort of “intelligent agent” was responsible for life on Earth. Second, I glossed over the point that while looking for alien life forms is quite plainly the impetus behind the SETI program, they restrict their own conclusions to the presence of communication technology, and rely on astrobiology in order to study what might have been responsible for the technology that SETI has detected.

    There is no inconsistency here, HeKS. You just have no response to any of my points, so you’re fishing for some logical error that doesn’t exist.

    But then again, you also said this:
    RDF: SETI makes no comment whatsoever about what might produce alien communication technology!!! That has nothing at all to do with SETI research!!! SETI defines “intelligence” as the presence of such technology, PERIOD. If you want to start talking about how that technology was likely produced, you must begin to study astrobiology!!

    Yes, again (and again) exactly so. (The extra CAPS and exclamation points were a sign of my frustration of having to repeat the same thing over and over again; I apologize).

    So let me repeat my question: Does SETI think that within their own program, the detection of a certain type of signal would reveal to them the presence/existence of sophisticated non-human life-forms / beings?

    And I have repeated my answer, as clearly as I possibly can.

    Cheers,
    RDFish/AIGuy

  217. 217
    Joe says:

    Alan Fox:

    I’m still baffled why anyone thinks SETI has anything in common with ID (apart from the coincidental use of the word “intelligent”).

    Of course you are baffled, Alan. You’re not exactly the brightest bulb in the circuit.

    Let’s see- both are looking for signs of intelligence without observing the intelligence. That’s a good chunk in common right there.

    Hey, my 12 year old came up with that one too. Makes you wonder what’s wrong with Alan.

  218. 218
    HeKS says:

    RDFish,

    I’m not looking for a logical inconsistency, or any other kind of inconsistency. I’m looking for a concrete answer to my question. So, can I assume that you would answer the question, as I stated it, with a “no”?

  219. 219
    HeKS says:

    RDFish,

    I want a concrete answer so I can address what you are actually claiming and not wasting time picking apart what you are not saying.

  220. 220
    Joe says:

    SETI is looking for artifacts- things that nature,operating freely cannot or would not produce. They are looking for these artifacts in the detectable wavelengths. They are hoping to find signs of beings that are as clever as we are and do things similar to the way we do.

  221. 221
    RDFish says:

    Hi HeKS,

    Your question is not a yes-or-no question – it must be qualified in order for the answer not to be misleading. (Have you stopped beating your wife, HeKS? Yes or no!!)

    I have answered your question fully and clearly. What part don’t you understand?

    Cheers,
    RDFish/AIGuy

  222. 222
    StephenB says:

    RDFish

    Again, neither SETI nor any other scientific endeavor could rule out physical causes en masse. All anyone can do is to rule out physical causes that we know about. At this point you suggest that is equivalent to ruling out physical causes conditionally, but this still misses the point. Here is another way to understand the issue:

    No. To say that we rule out natural causes conditionally is to say that we rule them out based on the understanding that we could be wrong and that we have good reason to think that we are not. That is the position of ID and that is the position of SETI.

    With respect to the latter, we have prior knowledge of the kinds of radio signals that nature can produce. Natural radio signals are spread out; they do not have a narrow band as far as we know. Thus, SETI rules out the former and infers the latter. A clean inference to intelligence based on the separation of art an nature.

    It is meaningless and even illiterate to say that “physical” caused something. It is meaningful to say that “nature” caused something. Thus, the scientific inference to design is parallel to ID’s inference to design. It is the same process using different methodological tools.
    It’s clean and it’s correct. It has nothing to do with references to the supernatural, nor are there any metaphysical assumptions involved.

    It is only your metaphysical assumption that this is the case. It is also foundational for ID theory that this is the case, which is why ID is not scientific. As far as science is concerned, it may very well be the case that human minds operate by exactly the same physical laws that govern every other phenomenon. As far as science is concerned, nobody knows (yet) if mental causes are outside of physical causes.

    No, a hypothesis is not a metaphysical assumption. We have been down that road before. ID makes no metaphysical presuppositions. I am surprised that you would try to raise that issue again. ID begins with observation; SETI begins with observation. .

    It is perfectly legitimate for ID to conditionally rule out causes for living systems that we already understand (all of physics, chemistry, biology). I agree that all known causes ought to be ruled out. What is not legitimate is to pretend that this is the same as saying, “We have eliminated one type of cause (the physical) and what that leaves is this other type of cause (the mental)”. That is non-scientific.

    It is non-scientific to assume that there is no such thing as an intelligent agent and that nature is all there is. Again, you miss the point and are also wrong. There is only one way to establish the presence of an intelligent agent and that is to rule out a natural cause

    To understand the point more fully, ask yourself how aliens would receive our intended signals. Yes, they would rule out the noise from their own technology, but the main thing they would do is rule out the activity of nature. They would be searching for intelligent agents other than themselves.

  223. 223
    RDFish says:

    Hi HeKS,

    Ok, here is your answer yet again, as briefly as I can:

    If SETI finds narrow-band signals from space, it will infer technology on a distant planet that is similar to our technology. It will not infer that this technology was built by civilizations of humanoid aliens; in fact, it will infer nothing at all about how that technology arose. It will be up to others (astrobiologists) to hypothesize about that.

    Cheers,
    RDFish/AIGuy

  224. 224
    StephenB says:

    RDF

    It is only your metaphysical assumption that this is the case. It is also foundational for ID theory that this is the case, which is why ID is not scientific. As far as science is concerned, it may very well be the case that human minds operate by exactly the same physical laws that govern every other phenomenon. As far as science is concerned, nobody knows (yet) if mental causes are outside of physical causes.

    No, a hypothesis is not a metaphysical assumption. We have been down that road before. ID makes no metaphysical presuppositions. I am surprised that you would try to raise that issue again. ID begins with observation; SETI begins with observation. .

    It is perfectly legitimate for ID to conditionally rule out causes for living systems that we already understand (all of physics, chemistry, biology). I agree that all known causes ought to be ruled out. What is not legitimate is to pretend that this is the same as saying, “We have eliminated one type of cause (the physical) and what that leaves is this other type of cause (the mental)”. That is non-scientific.

    It is non-scientific to assume that there is no such thing as an intelligent agent and that nature is all there is. Again, you miss the point and are also wrong. There is only one way to establish the presence of an intelligent agent and that is to rule out a natural cause

    To understand the point more fully, ask yourself how aliens would receive our intended signals. Yes, they would rule out the noise from their own technology, but the main thing they would do is rule out the activity of nature. They would be searching for intelligent agents other than themselves.

  225. 225
    HeKS says:

    RDFish,

    Let me ask it again and provide a response for you and you can tell me if it’s right:

    “Does SETI think that within their own program, the detection of a certain type of signal would reveal to them the presence/existence of sophisticated non-human life-forms / beings?”

    Assumed answer from RDFish: No. SETI does not think that within their own search program the discovery of a certain type of signal would reveal to them the presence/existence of sophisticated non-human life-forms / beings. Within SETI itself, they would consider only that they have found a signal, or a signal and technology, but it is not within the realm of their program or part of their reasoning to say this would reveal the presence of sophisticated non-human beings. Instead, the question of whether sophisticated beings produced the technology would be a question left to Astrobiology, which would elucidate the possible physiological basis for some intelligence that might have created the technology.

    Is that right?

  226. 226
    StephenB says:

    RDFish

    Again, neither SETI nor any other scientific endeavor could rule out physical causes en masse. All anyone can do is to rule out physical causes that we know about. At this point you suggest that is equivalent to ruling out physical causes conditionally, but this still misses the point. Here is another way to understand the issue:

    No. To say that we rule out natural causes conditionally is to say that we rule them out based on the understanding that we could be wrong and that we have good reason to think that we are not. That is the position of ID and that is the position of SETI.

    With respect to the latter, we have prior knowledge of the kinds of radio signals that nature can produce. Natural radio signals are spread out; they do not have a narrow band as far as we know. Thus, SETI rules out a natural cause and infers an intelligent cause, a separation of art from nature.

    It is meaningless and even illiterate to say that “physical” caused something. It is meaningful to say that “nature” caused something. Thus, the scientific inference to design is parallel to ID’s inference to design. It is the same process using different methodological tools.
    It’s clean and it’s correct. It has nothing to do with references to the supernatural, nor are there any metaphysical assumptions involved.

  227. 227
    RDFish says:

    Hi StephenB,

    To say that we rule out natural causes conditionally is to say that we rule them out based on the understanding that we could be wrong and that we have good reason to think that we are not. That is the position of ID and that is the position of SETI. With respect to the latter, we have prior knowledge of the kinds of radio signals that nature can produce.

    No, you still don’t understand. What we have prior knowledge of is the kinds of radio signals that can be produced by all known sources of radio waves. Human technology is one of those sources; other sources include stars and radio galaxies. “Nature” isn’t a thing that produces radio signals or anything else. “Nature” isn’t a cause.

    Read that again. One day you are going to understand it, I’m sure of it.

    Natural radio signals are spread out; they do not have a narrow band as far as we know. Thus, SETI rules out the former and infers the latter. A clean inference to intelligence based on the separation of art an nature.

    No, you still don’t understand.

    First, human beings can produce broadband signals – does that mean those signals are not “natural”? You just said they were! The confusion arises because you keep reifying the concept of “natural”. “Nature” isn’t a cause OR a special category of causes that can be defined scientifically.

    Second, you keep ignoring the fact that when SETI says it detects “intelligence”, it means “technology capable of sending signals to Earth”.

    It is meaningless and even illiterate to say that “physical” caused something.

    Who said that?

    It is meaningful to say that “nature” caused something.

    No, it most certainly is not meaningful to say that – at least without providing some special definition for “nature”! “Nature” isn’t a thing that causes things! AGAIN, “nature” can be contrasted vs. “artificial”, where the latter means “humman-made”. If that is the meaning you’d like to use here, say so; in that case “natural” means “anything not made by a human being”.

    Thus, the scientific inference to design is parallel to ID’s inference to design.

    You haven’t provided an operational definition for the fuzzy concept of “design”, which means that unlike SETI (which takes care to provide a scientific definition of what “intelligence” means in that context), ID is not scientific.

    No, a hypothesis is not a metaphysical assumption.

    If your hypothesis that there is some cause that is not physical, or that is not “law+chance”, then I would suggest you make that clear, and present your evidence that such a thing exists. You can start with evidence showing that the human mind does not operate according to physical law, or “law+chance”.

    RDF: What is not legitimate is to pretend that this is the same as saying, “We have eliminated one type of cause (the physical) and what that leaves is this other type of cause (the mental)”. That is non-scientific.
    SB: It is non-scientific to assume that there is no such thing as an intelligent agent and that nature is all there is.

    Hahaha. Nobody said any of those things.

    Look at that again and try to respond reasonably: What is not legitimate is to say, “We have eliminated one whole type of cause (the natural or the physical) and what that leaves is this other type of cause (the mental or the intelligent)”. That is what you are doing, and that is not a scientifically legitimate justification for a theory. SETI does no such thing.

    Cheers,
    RDFish/AIGuy

  228. 228
    RDFish says:

    Hi HeKS,

    Is that right?

    Yes that’s right – those are the constraints on SETI methodology, but again what SETI folks (and all of us) would be tempted to conclude would depend a great deal on the signal. If we somehow could decode an extra-terrestrial image that showed a family of humanoid aliens sitting on the front porch reading a newspaper, that would certainly short-circuit the hypothesis testing regarding what was responsible!

    Cheers,
    RDFish/AIGuy

  229. 229
    StephenB says:

    RDFish

    What is not legitimate is to say, “We have eliminated one whole type of cause (the natural or the physical) and what that leaves is this other type of cause (the mental or the intelligent)”. That is what you are doing, and that is not a scientifically legitimate justification for a theory. SETI does no such thing.

    On the contrary, that is exactly what SETI does. What do you think they mean when they say they are searching for “artificiality” or “hallmarks of artificiality?” It means they are trying to find something that is not produced by nature. That is what artificiality means–not natural—-something produced by an intelligent agent as opposed to a natural cause. The formal definition means produced by a human and not by a natural cause, but of course, SETI extends that meaning to aliens as well. But the art vs. nature dichotomy is always there and essential to the detection of intelligence.

  230. 230
    RDFish says:

    Hi StephenB,

    RDF: What is not legitimate is to say, “We have eliminated one whole type of cause (the natural or the physical) and what that leaves is this other type of cause (the mental or the intelligent)”. That is what you are doing, and that is not a scientifically legitimate justification for a theory. SETI does no such thing.
    SB: On the contrary, that is exactly what SETI does. What do you think they mean when they say they are searching for “artificiality” or “hallmarks of artificiality?”

    They are searching for communication technology that is similar to that which we use. This is possible because our technology uses narrowband transmissions, while all other known producers of radio emissions produce broadband transmissions. SETI really is very clear about all this.

    It means they are trying to find something that is not produced by nature.

    No, it doesn’t. I just got through explaining that “nature” per se (in and of itself) is not something that produces anything. It is not a cause per se. Rather, it is some class of causes, often defined as anything that is not made by human beings.

    That is what artificiality means–not natural—-something produced by an intelligent agent as opposed to a natural cause.

    No, all of the definitions refer to a human being, never an “intelligent agent”. That is what “artificial” means – produced by a human being. Look it up – the definitions refer to human beings, always human beings, never “intelligent agents”. Why? Because what you’re talking about is actually human beings, and not anything else.

    And for scientific purposes (which is what we are talking about here), you must provide an operational definition for “intelligence”. SETI does provide a scientific definition of “intelligence”, but ID doesn’t.

    The formal definition means produced by a human and not by a natural cause, …

    Yes, that is correct. And so saying, as you do, something like “nature produces broadband signals” is equivalent to saying “that which is not produced by human beings produce broadband signals”.

    …but of course, SETI extends that meaning to aliens as well.

    No, once again you are ignoring what I say and what SETI says. SETI defines “intelligence” as “technology detectable from Earth”. It looks for intelligence by listening for signals that display artificiality, by which they mean the sort of signals (narrowband) that our technology employs – signals that are distinguishable from other known producers of radio emissions (which all produce broadband transmissions).

    But the art vs. nature dichotomy is always there and essential to the detection of intelligence.

    SETI provides a scientific definition of “intelligence”, but ID doesn’t:

    There is no consensus on a strict definition of intelligence, and there likely never will be because intelligence is what is known as a fuzzy concept; it lacks well-defined boundaries and contains multiple components. However, the study of intelligence lies firmly in the domain of empirical science because its features can be operationally defined and its correlates can be quantified and measured.

    In the domain of SETI, intelligence has been operationalized as the presence of a technology detectable from Earth.

    Cheers,
    RDFish/AIGuy

  231. 231
    Upright BiPed says:

    Ignoring the facts won’t make them go away, RD, it will only demonstrate what profits you.

    ID can unambiguously operationalize intelligence in the same manner as SETI, and can demonstrate the presence of intelligence in the coding of organic polymers – and like SETI, it can do so without any need to take a position on whether the intelligence is “natural, unnatural, supernatural, or anything else”.

  232. 232
    StephenB says:

    SETI provides a scientific definition of “intelligence”, but ID doesn’t:

    This claim is false and also does not address the issue: For SETI, “artificial” means not natural. “Hallmarks of artificiality” refers to indicators that are not natural. You are not dealing with the art vs nature paradigm that SETI uses.

  233. 233
    RDFish says:

    Hi UB,

    Ignoring the facts won’t make them go away

    Correct. Neither will ignoring my arguments.

    ID can unambiguously operationalize intelligence in the same manner as SETI,…

    Is this your “dimensional semiotics” gambit, perchance? You might appreciate my skepticism if this is your original research, yes? I mean given that you are an anonymous poster on an internet forum, right?

    In any case, please do give me your exact operational definition of “intelligence”, and provide a testing methodology.

    Cheers,
    RDFish/AIGuy

  234. 234
    RDFish says:

    Hi StephenB,

    RDF: SETI provides a scientific definition of “intelligence”, but ID doesn’t:
    SB: This claim is false…

    Really now? I gave you a citation clearly stating the operational definition of “intelligence” in the domain of SETI. In case you missed it:

    SETI: However, the study of intelligence lies firmly in the domain of empirical science because its features can be operationally defined and its correlates can be quantified and measured.

    In the domain of SETI, intelligence has been operationalized as the presence of a technology detectable from Earth.

    So I guess if you’re saying that part of my claim was false, you’re simply disconnected from reality.

    And if you claim (sigh) that ID provides an operational definition of “intelligence”, please simply give me the citation where that operational definition is stated, and I’ll retract my claim.

    Cheers,
    RDFish/AIGuy

  235. 235
    Upright BiPed says:

    RDF, in case you were not aware of this; empirical observations are not dependent upon authority. And given that I have assembled the observations of front line scientist into a coherent model of translation, while you have purported to be studying these topics since Moses was a baby, perhaps this situation says more about you than me.

    ID can operationalize intelligence as the capacity to encode memory using dimensional semiosis – i.e. the use of iterative representations that have a dimensional orientation.

    * A representation is an arrangement of matter that evokes a functional effect within a system where the arrangement of the medium and the effect it evokes are physicochemically arbitrary – i.e. the natural discontinuity that exist between the arrangement of the medium and its post-translation effect is preserved by the organization of the system.

    * A dimensional representation is a representation that has spatial orientation – i.e. the properties of the individual representations that make them recognizable within their system are independent of the minimum total potential energy state of the medium.

    Such systems are further characterized as requiring not only the necessary transfer protocols of any semiotic system, but also an independent set of protocols to establish the dimensional operation of the system itself.

  236. 236
    HeKS says:

    @RDFish

    I asked this question:

    Does SETI think that within their own program, the detection of a certain type of signal would reveal to them the presence/existence of sophisticated non-human life-forms / beings?

    You answered:

    If SETI finds narrow-band signals from space, it will infer technology on a distant planet that is similar to our technology. It will not infer that this technology was built by civilizations of humanoid aliens; in fact, it will infer nothing at all about how that technology arose. It will be up to others (astrobiologists) to hypothesize about that.

    The reference to humanoid is a little superfluous, but this is basically the equivalent of what I said I assumed your answer would be:

    Assumed answer from RDFish: No. SETI does not think that within their own search program the discovery of a certain type of signal would reveal to them the presence/existence of sophisticated non-human life-forms / beings. Within SETI itself, they would consider only that they have found a signal, or a signal and technology, but it is not within the realm of their program or part of their reasoning to say this would reveal the presence of sophisticated non-human beings. Instead, the question of whether sophisticated beings produced the technology would be a question left to Astrobiology, which would elucidate the possible physiological basis for some intelligence that might have created the technology.

    Now that we’ve got that out of the way …. You’re wrong. You’re wrong because you are drawing the dividing line between SETI’s search program and Astrobiology in the wrong place while also completely misunderstanding/misrepresenting the issue of operationalization.

    From SETI’s FAQ’s:

    What sorts of research are conducted at the SETI Institute?

    The Institute has suites of activities in three arenas:

    (1) Astrobiology, the efforts to find and understand the prevalence of life in general (for example, microbial life under the parched landscapes of Mars or the icy crust of the jovian moon, Europa);

    (2) SETI, experiments designed to detect radio or light signals that would reveal the presence of technically sophisticated beings; and

    (3) Education and outreach projects that inform the public about our research, encourage young people to become more proficient in science, and train teachers in so-called STEM subject areas.

    I have tried to help you correct your misunderstanding multiple times but you studiously avoid correction.

    SETI, the actual search effort, operationally defines intelligence as “the presence of a technology detectable from Earth” because, if found, that measurable, observable effect would be a reliable indicator of the existence of intelligence in some kind of technically sophisticated being. THAT is where SETI’s search program stops.

    The role of Astrobiology – as part of its larger attempts to understand life in general, including life on earth – would be to attempt to determine what form that technically sophisticated extra terrestrial being might take, and using what we observe on earth, they speculate that such a being might have certain physiological features similar to those held by intelligent, technically sophisticated beings here, but they don’t know for sure. SETI itself merely infers to the bare existence of intelligent beings of an unknown kind as being necessitated by the finding of a certain type of signal.

    All of this is painfully obvious if you read their material, including the page you have cited numerous times, and it’s plain as day when you read through their FAQ’s, which is why this discussion with you is so annoying. You are obviously wrong about so much of this discussion it boggles the mind. The trail of your argument about “life as we know it” is just one of the many things that show discussion with you is pointless.

    Here’s another. You said:

    Again, this term, “intelligence” is the sole term that is supposed to explain all of these disparate phenomena in this (very scientific) Intelligent Design Theory, and yet here you are, some anonymous guy on an internet forum, attempting to figure out what this term is supposed to mean.

    Once again you show an inability to follow a discussion. You didn’t ask me for a definition of “intelligence”. You asked me what criteria I was using to identify the category of “intelligent agent“. I provided some criteria and said it wasn’t necessarily exhaustive and that others could suggest additional criteria, but that mine were a good enough baseline for the current discussion.

    And this:

    HeKS: Sure it has to do with reductionism; I’m just not using that term in its philosophical sense here.

    It’s not its “philosophical sense” – it is what the word means.

    “Reductionism” is a philosophical position. I was clarifying that I was not attributing that philosophical position to you generally. Why do I even bother?

    Coming back to the issue of operationalization, you clearly have no clue what you’re talking about. You’re simply wrong. And you’re so obviously wrong that it’s kind of insane that I still have to be talking to you about it. Your confusion is present in every comment you make on the subject. For example:

    HeKS: For the purposes of ID, this [able to produce complex functionally specified systems] is OFTEN how intelligence is operationalized.

    If you really are adopting this as THE operational definition for “intelligence” in ID, then you’re just fine scientifically.

    You continually make comments implying that the concept of intelligence must have one single unified operational definition across all of ID and that it’s somehow scandalous if different ID proponents provide different operational definitions based on their area of interest. This is simply wrong. You develop an operational definition for an aspect of a concept based on the specific aspect you’re trying to investigate. Different ID proponents can operationalize “intelligence” in various ways based on what they are looking to investigate, measure, etc.

    And there’s this:

    HeKS: That is how they operationalize intelligence. Not how they define it. These are the kinds of things they include in the concept of “intelligence”:

    Here you go completely off the rails and completely misinterpret everything. Read what they say again:

    I’m quite familiar with what they say. You are simply failing to understand the difference between the conceptural/theoretical definition they give (which I provided in the comment you’re quoting from) and an (not the) operationalization (i.e. operational definition) of the concept. And you are further failing to understand the ongoing connection between the two.

    You say they don’t define it that way, but that is precisely what they say they do – and obviously so.

    They don’t define the concept that way. They operationalize it (i.e. come up with an operational definition) that way. You think this creates a hard disconnect between the operational definition and any aspect of the conceptual (a.k.a. theoretical) definition. You’re mistaken.

    You appeal to Bill to support your mistaken claims about operationalization:

    Now, as I see Reciprocating Bill has pointed out, your confusion regarding operational definitions just continues.

    No, he hasn’t pointed out my confusion regarding operational definitions because I have no such confusion. Bill included information about the philosophical origin and intent of the concept of operationalization when it was first introduced. Those initial plans didn’t pan out. And yet operationalization is still useful and practiced in precisely the way I’ve been describing. For goodness sake, just look up something on operationalization and operational definitions. Even wikipedia will do:

    Operationalization

    In research design, especially in psychology, social sciences, life sciences, and physics operationalization is a process of defining the measurement of a phenomenon that is not directly measurable, though its existence is indicated by other phenomena. It is the process of defining a fuzzy concept so as to make the theoretical concept clearly distinguishable or measurable, and to understand it in terms of empirical observations …. some phenomena are directly difficult to observe (i.e. they are latent), but their existence can be inferred by means of their observable effects.

    ….

    The practical ‘operational definition’ is generally understood as relating to the theoretical definitions that describe reality through the use of theory.

    ….

    Most serious empirical research should involve operationalization that is transparent and linked to a conceptual framework.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Operationalization

    By the way, do not fail to note the image on the page showing the “Operationalization of ‘Free and Fair Judiciary'” where the conceptual variable of “Neutrality” has no less than five different operational definitions.

    Also:

    Operational definition

    An operational definition is a result of the process of operationalization and is used to define something (e.g. a variable, term, or object) in terms of a process (or set of validation tests) needed to determine its existence, duration, and quantity.

    ….

    An operational definition is generally designed to model a theoretical definition.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/O.....definition

    You also said:

    ID presents no evidence whatsoever that its hypothesis is true. What you call “evidence” is actually the explanandum. We observe the complex mechanisms in biology and we would like to explain how they arose. Some hypothesize that abiogenesis and evolution account for them, but their evidence fails to support their hypothesis. Some hypothesize that self-organizational principles account for them, or natural genetic engineering, or natural teleology, or space aliens, or God, or whatever… but none of these hypotheses are sufficiently well-defined and empirically supported to be considered to be a scientific result either.

    For goodness sake. Do you seriously not have any clue about the reasoning behind ID in biology? You are talking about a need for evidence for the designer itself but you are doing so as though the proposition of its existence is being considered prior to concluding independently that design simpliciter is the best explanation for the observed phenomena of complex functionally specified systems and machines in living organisms. You are thereby misrepresenting the structure and logic of the argument.

    Honestly, I simply don’t see any point in carrying on a discussion with you. You seem to have no understanding of the issues you’re discussing or criticizing and I have no expectation that you’re going to acknowledge your errors because that would completely undermine your position. Undoubtedly you will simply come back with more misrepresentation and obfuscation based on misunderstanding and/or mischaracterization of every issue you touch on. The only time you say anything even remotely plausible sounding is when you’re arguing against a strawman you yourself have erected. If you’re determined to think you have great arguments based on your own misunderstandings of these issues then you’re welcome to that delusion, as is anyone who chooses to throw in with you.

  237. 237
    StephenB says:

    RDFish

    I gave you a citation clearly stating the operational definition of “intelligence” in the domain of SETI. In case you missed it:

    You made a joint claim to the effect that SETI provides an operational definition of intelligence AND that ID does not. Part of the claim was true (SETI provides an operational definition of intelligence) and part of the claim was false (ID does not). Your joint claim, therefore was false.

    ID scientists can operationalize and have operationalized intelligence in a number of ways. It depends on the research question and the methods used. I notice that UB presents a good operational definition of intelligence right here on these pages.

    Meanwhile, you have not yet addressed the main portion of my comment

    …..For SETI, “artificial” means not natural. The term “hallmarks of artificiality” refers to indicators that are not natural. You are not dealing with the art vs nature paradigm that SETI uses.

  238. 238
    Upright BiPed says:

    SETI:
    Narrow-band signals – perhaps only a few Hertz wide or less – are the mark of a purposely built transmitter.

    SETI:
    Natural cosmic noisemakers, such as pulsars, quasars, and the turbulent, thin interstellar gas of our own Milky Way, do not make radio signals that are this narrow.

    SETI:
    the main feature distinguishing signals produced by a transmitter from those produced by natural processes is their spectral width

    SETI:
    Any signal less than about 300 Hz wide must be, as far as we know, artificially produced. Such narrow-band signals are what all SETI experiments look for.

    SETI:
    Once an artificial signal is confirmed as being of extraterrestrial intelligent origin, the discovery will be announced as quickly and as widely as possible.

    SETI:
    It’s likely that any civilization we discover will be far more advanced than ours, and might help us to join a galactic network of intelligent beings.

  239. 239
    StephenB says:

    HeKS to RDFish

    You continually make comments implying that the concept of intelligence must have one single unified operational definition across all of ID and that it’s somehow scandalous if different ID proponents provide different operational definitions based on their area of interest. This is simply wrong. You develop an operational definition for an aspect of a concept based on the specific aspect you’re trying to investigate. Different ID proponents can operationalize “intelligence” in various ways based on what they are looking to investigate, measure, etc.

    Yes, thank you. It would be a blessed thing if RDF could learn to process even this one fact.

    For goodness sake. Do you seriously not have any clue about the reasoning behind ID in biology? You are talking about a need for evidence for the designer itself but you are doing so as though the proposition of its existence is being considered prior to concluding independently that design simpliciter is the best explanation for the observed phenomena of complex functionally specified systems and machines in living organisms. You are thereby misrepresenting the structure and logic of the argument.

    Alas, he has been doing this for months. I have brought it to his attention so many times I have lost count.

  240. 240
    RDFish says:

    Hi UB,

    RDF, in case you were not aware of this; empirical observations are not dependent upon authority.

    That’s correct, UB.

    And given that I have assembled the observations of front line scientist into a coherent model of translation, while you have purported to be studying these topics since Moses was a baby, perhaps this situation says more about you than me.

    It’s just a priori probabilities here. The following represents a very small fraction:

    The number of internet posters who believe they’ve made original, fundamental contributions to cutting-edge science
    * divided by *
    The number of these amateur scientists who not total crackpots

    I’m not saying you’re necessarily a crackpot, UB – just saying.

    ID can operationalize intelligence as the capacity to encode memory using dimensional semiosis – i.e. the use of iterative representations that have a dimensional orientation.

    I’ve never heard or read anything about that, whether inside or outside of the context of ID, but sure – why not?

    …but also an independent set of protocols to establish the dimensional operation of the system itself.

    OK then. Now you’ve operationalized “intelligence” for ID. Let’s say you find this dimensional semiosis somewhere – you will then have established that your operational definition for “intelligence” (according to your specific operational definition) has been met.

    This has nothing to do with any of the attributes that anyone else I’ve ever talked to associates with “intelligence” (such as consciousness, volition, learning, behavioral flexibility, and so on).

    Cheers,
    RDFish/AIGuy

  241. 241
    RDFish says:

    Hi StephenB,

    ID scientists can operationalize and have operationalized intelligence in a number of ways. It depends on the research question and the methods used.

    Yes, that is correct.

    I notice that UB presents a good operational definition of intelligence right here on these pages.

    Ooooh, really Stephen? You’re going with UB’s take on ID here? Ouch.

    Well, I’ll ask you the same question I asked HeKS: In “Intelligent Design Theory”, the term “intelligence” is offered as the sole explanatory concept offered for such disparate phenomena as the values of the physical constants and the origin of flagella. One might think that such a prominent theory that is touted to explain so much with a single word might have a good deal of literature describing in great detail what this term refers to. Yet when I ask how that term is defined operationally, both you and UB offer something that appears in precisely no ID literature – something that UB, an anonymous internet poster, has made up by himself. Does this not strike you as a pathetic joke rather than a serious academic theory?

    In any event, you can choose whatever definition you’d like, and you’ve chosen UB’s definition. Fine. That definition has nothing to do with any of the attributes that anyone else I’ve ever talked to associates with “intelligence” (such as consciousness, volition, learning, behavioral flexibility, and so on). You assume that anything that can produce complex form and function would necessarily display these qualities, but there is no justification for that assumption – unless you make a number of other assumptions (like SETI astrobiologists do) regarding the nature of the source. (In particular, that it has a large, complex brain).

    Cheers,
    RDFish/AIGuy

  242. 242
    RDFish says:

    Hi HeKS,

    The SETI FAQ’s you found explain things differently that the specific SETI page on “intelligence” that I cited, and they did not explain how “intelligence” was operationalized in SETI. I would think you, as a proponent of ID, would be somewhat sympathetic to different authorities describing scientific concepts in different ways.

    But what you’ve found is that SETI would claim that signals would reveal the presence of a “technically sophisticated being”. Unless that refers to some complex biological organism (which is what SETI assumes, of course), all that means is “something that can produce sophisticated technology”! It says nothing about consciousness, volition, brain size and structure, behavioral flexibility, or anything else that you may associate with the term “intelligence” as you have been using it in this thread. Those are questions for the researchers who study intelligence. And what do they say? They say that brains are the main organs of information processing, and thus intelligence, which is a property of the nervous sytem. So, that is what SETI astrobiologists assume would be true of “technically sophisticated beings”.
    This is an inconvenient result for ID, obviously – if you’re proposing that intelligent beings designed brains (the most CSI-rich object we know of), but are faced with the fact that brains are the main organs of intelligence, you have a bit of a bootstrapping problem facing you. You can surely suggest that perhaps there could be some sort of technically sophisticated beings that can somehow process information without a brain, but for you to pretend that this is some sort of “best scientific explanation”, then your ideologically motivated thinking becomes painfully apparent. From our experience of technically sophisticated beings, their ability to produce technology derives from their complex brains – the existence of which is (among other things) what ID is attempting to explain in the first place.

    The role of Astrobiology – as part of its larger attempts to understand life in general, including life on earth – would be to attempt to determine what form that technically sophisticated extra terrestrial being might take, and using what we observe on earth, they speculate that such a being might have certain physiological features similar to those held by intelligent, technically sophisticated beings here, but they don’t know for sure. SETI itself merely infers to the bare existence of intelligent beings of an unknown kind as being necessitated by the finding of a certain type of signal.

    Yes, fine – except the “bare existence of intelligent beings” does not imply that those beings shared any particular characteristic that you listed as essential to the concept of “intelligence”!

    No matter what you would like to believe, finding a narrowband signal from outer space is not evidence that the source of that signal was conscious, or “volitional”, unless you suppose that the beings responsible were in fact biological organisms with complex brains/nervous systems. That is plainly what SETI researchers assume, and plainly anathema to ID. You will try everything to pretend that there is some scientific result attributing human mental characteristics to the cause of first life, but there just isn’t any such result.

    You are obviously wrong about so much of this discussion it boggles the mind.

    Well, HeKS, I would say that you are so obviously wrong about this discussion that your mind appears to have been pre-boggled.

    You didn’t ask me for a definition of “intelligence”. You asked me what criteria I was using to identify the category of “intelligent agent“. I provided some criteria and said it wasn’t necessarily exhaustive and that others could suggest additional criteria, but that mine were a good enough baseline for the current discussion.

    Do you not understand that ID provides precisely zero information regarding its purported explanation for life, the physical constants, and whatever else, except to toss out this single word “intelligence”? It doesn’t say what has this “intelligence”, where it is, how it works, when it operated, or anything else. Unless you say something specific about what is meant, ID says nothing at all. I’m not asking for a “baseline for the current discussion” – I’m asking what it is that ID theory means when it says “certain features of the universe are best explained by an intelligent cause“.

    If “intelligent” in that sentence means “volitional” or “conscious” or “sentient” or “able to learn” or “behaviorally flexible” or…. then it has exceeded any empirical warrant. And if it doesn’t, then it means nothing at all.

    RDF: If you really are adopting this as THE operational definition for “intelligence” in ID, then you’re just fine scientifically.

    Oh, please – you’ve edited my comment to put “THE” in caps, which were not in the original. I have no trouble with multiple operational definitions – what I have trouble with is that ID establishes operational definitions (e.g. able to produce CSI) and then implicitly – without discussion or justification – equivocates and pretends that anything meeting this criterion necessarily will display all of these other attributes of human mentality (consciousness, behavioral flexibility, etc). There is no justification for this whatsoever (which is of course why no ID proponents discuss it).

    Look at the illustration you point to in Wiki. We have an abstract concept – ‘Free and Fair Judiciary’ – operationalized. This is a perfect illustration of what ID needs to do in order to operationalize its sole explanatory concept, “intelligence”, also an abstract concept with multiple components. What are the requisite components of “intelligence” as used in ID? How are each of these components operationally defined? You say that consciousness is one component of “intelligence”, and certainly that sentiment is shared by most every ID proponent. How is “consciousness” operationalized within ID, HeKS? How is it that we can test the consciousness of the Intelligent Designer of Life? What about “volition” – what is the operational definition to evaluate the presence of this component?

    Do you seriously not have any clue about the reasoning behind ID in biology?

    I’m afraid so, and even more acutely aware of the lack of reasoning on such critical issues as “What exactly is it that ID proposes as the cause of life?”

    You are talking about a need for evidence for the designer itself but you are doing so as though the proposition of its existence is being considered prior to concluding independently that design simpliciter is the best explanation for the observed phenomena of complex functionally specified systems and machines in living organisms. You are thereby misrepresenting the structure and logic of the argument.

    What you are missing is that “design simpliciter” is not an expanation of anything – you learn nothing whatsoever by hearing something is the result of “design simpliciter”, because “design simpliciter” doesn’t specify any particular proposition at all. Does “design simpliciter” entail a conscious designer? If so, then it becomes meaningful, but also without empirical evidence.

    Honestly, I simply don’t see any point in carrying on a discussion with you.

    That’s fine, I’m getting tired of dealing with three or four ID folks at a time anyway. You’ve lost this debate, HeKS, even though you think otherwise. You are committed to the idea that anything that causes complex form and function must necessarily be conscious, volitional, behaviorally flexible, and so on. You have no scientific justification for these assumptions, however – they are nothing but anthropocentric predudices that you cannot overcome. Something that caused first life would be very, very different from life itself – in particular, it would not have a brain. Since it appears (empirically) that functioning brains are necessary for intelligent agents to process information, experience consciousness, and exercise “volition”, there is good reason to question whether something that preceded biological systems would have these attributes. You believe this on faith, which is just fine. But if you’d like to claim that your beliefs have the status of a scientific result, you will need some evidence.

    Cheers,
    RDFish/AIGuy

  243. 243
    Joe says:

    RDFish:

    SETI provides a scientific definition of “intelligence”, but ID doesn’t:

    LIAR- I provided you with such a definition and you choked on it.

  244. 244
    fifthmonarchyman says:

    Intelligent: any process capable of producing a transcendental ie non algorithmicly derived function.

    peace

  245. 245
    fifthmonarchyman says:

    Aiguy,

    By that definition any process that leads to the production of nonlossy integrated information (consciousness)is intelligent.

    Google it to know what I’m talking about.

    There is some interesting stuff related to ID going on I’d hate for you to miss it

    peace

  246. 246
    Steve says:

    For all intents and purposes, the designer is nature.

    So it is a known thing. Whether some advocates of ID extrapolate one step further and assert that there is an intelligence that produced nature, thats fine but it is not necessary to the scientific project.

    Nature can fill in for God while He is out and about.

    So we do have a known cause. It does have the mental and physical capabilities similar to that of a human being. After all, nature did design Man.

    Or is there a discontinuity, a dichotomy that creates a barrier between nature and Man.

    If not, then we can all investigate the what, where, when, and how of a designing nature.

    ….we already know The Who…. just ask CSI.

    4) THEREFORE, ID does NOT propose a known cause at all – it is in fact proposing a cause that is UNKNOWN to us, which is something that isn’t human, but still has mental and physical abilities similar to that of a human being.

  247. 247
    Joe says:

    OK, here it is again:

    intelligencethe ability to deal with new or difficult situations; the ability to apply knowledge to manipulate one’s environment

  248. 248
    Joe says:

    Steve:

    For all intents and purposes, the designer is nature.

    What? No.

    Whether some advocates of ID extrapolate one step further and assert that there is an intelligence that produced nature, thats fine but it is not necessary to the scientific project.

    But one of the 3 basic questions science asks is “How did it come to be this way?”. That would ID is very necessary for science.

    After all, nature did design Man.

    Evidence please.

  249. 249
    Upright BiPed says:

    RDF,

    No offense taken. But as I said, using the same methodology as mankind’s other search for intelligence, we find an unambiguous physical hallmark of intelligence in the coding of organic polymers – before the organization of the first living cell, and enabling evolution.

    Imagine that.

  250. 250
    StephenB says:

    RDFish

    Ooooh, really Stephen? You’re going with UB’s take on ID here? Ouch.

    You are tempting my lower nature again, but I don’t think I will take the bait this time. Meanwhile, you rehashed old points already refuted and ignored my key argument about the art/nature dichotomy.

  251. 251
    RDFish says:

    Hi StephenB,

    (UB, this is for you too):

    You are tempting my lower nature again, but I don’t think I will take the bait this time.

    Hey, come on – all I said was “ouch”! If that’s all it takes to tempt your lower nature, it may bubbling closer to the surface than I imagined 🙂

    Seriously, we’re doing so well – let’s see if we can make some more progress without falling off of the civility wagon, OK?

    Meanwhile, you rehashed old points already refuted and ignored my key argument about the art/nature dichotomy.

    OK, here is what you need to understand:

    I have not ignored that dichotomy – I am trying to get you to understand that when you say “art” (a term that is new to this debate, actually), you seem to mean the same thing as “intelligence”, and if you want this concept to be usable in a scientific context, you need to operationalize it (for reasons I have given you endlessly, and SETI has reiterated).

    You reply by giving me any number of different definitions, but not one of them actually works for ID. Thankfully, HeKS here has found a perfect illustration of how scientists take fuzzy concepts like “intelligence” and operationalizes them. Thank you, HeKS!

    Look at the graphic that HeKS pointed out in particular: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/O.....iciary.png

    This shows how social scientists take an abstract concept with many components and no clear boundaries, and operationalizes it so it can be studied scientifically. Their example is “Free and Fair Judiciary”, and as you can see, this fuzzy concept is first broken down into the components that the authors believe are intrinsic to this concept (legitimacy, authority, neutrality, and uniformity). That is the first step. The second step is to provide operational definitions for each of these components. That means that independent researchers can assess something objectively to see if it meets each of these tests. Voila – a multifaceted but scientific definition for an abstract concept!

    Now, how can ID operationalize it’s sole explanatory concept, “intelligence”? First, list the components you think are intrinsic to this concept. Here’s a good list, I’d say, taken both from SETI and from HeKS (you of course may wish to use a different list):
    1) Consciousness
    2) Volition
    3) Intention
    4) Learning
    5) Behavioral flexibility
    6) Solving novel problems
    7) Use of recursive grammatical language

    If you want ID to be scientific, simply operationalize these concepts – just like the example that HeKS pointed out.

    Cheers,
    RDFish/AIGuy

  252. 252
    RDFish says:

    Hi FMM –

    Yes, I’ve been reading about IIT for quite some time now. Interesting stuff! How do you relate it specifically to ID?

    Cheers,
    RDFish/AIGuy

  253. 253
    fifthmonarchyman says:

    Hey Aiguy,

    nonlossy integrated information is synonymous with the ID term irreducible complexity

    That phenomena has now been demonstrated to be beyond the scope of algorithmic processes like evolution. Score a big one for our side

    Besides that the connection between nonlossly integrated information and consciousness has also now been established.

    This nullifies your main stated objection to ID by providing an objective useful definition of intelligence as that which can produce things like NLII and by extension consciousness.

    Such a definition unifies the objective with the everyday definitions of intelligence

    This is just the tip of the iceberg. The implications of this incite are mind blowing. It’s only a matter of time before the dots are connected

    peace

  254. 254
    StephenB says:

    SB: Meanwhile, you rehashed old points already refuted and ignored my key argument about the art/nature dichotomy.

    RDFish

    I have not ignored that dichotomy –

    I am trying to get you to understand that when you say “art” (a term that is new to this debate,

    StephenB @169

    There is simply no other way to search for intelligence other than to differentiate between what seems to be artificial from what seems to be natural.

    StephenB @181

    The proper response on your part would be, “Yes, you are right and I was wrong. Both specialties detect design by separating art from nature.”

    StephenB @222

    A clean inference to intelligence based on the separation of art an nature.

    StephenB @226

    Thus, SETI rules out a natural cause and infers an intelligent cause, a separation of art from nature.

    StephenB @229

    But the art vs. nature dichotomy is always there and essential to the detection of intelligence.

    StephenB @232

    This claim is false and also does not address the issue: For SETI, “artificial” means not natural. “Hallmarks of artificiality” refers to indicators that are not natural. You are not dealing with the art vs nature paradigm that SETI uses.

    StephenB @237

    Meanwhile, you have not yet addressed the main portion of my comment

    …..For SETI, “artificial” means not natural. The term “hallmarks of artificiality” refers to indicators that are not natural. You are not dealing with the art vs nature paradigm that SETI uses.

    StephenB @250

    Meanwhile, you rehashed old points already refuted and ignored my key argument about the art/nature dichotomy.

  255. 255
    RDFish says:

    Hi StephenB,

    Ok, you’ve ignored everything I’ve said. I’m not complaining about the term “art” – you’ve missed the point entirely.

    I am addressing your point about “art/nature” directly. My response is: You have not provided a way to objectively evaluate what “art” implies about its cause.

    I have pointed out that without some operationalized definitions for particular, specific components of “intelligence”, the concept of “intelligence” is too fuzzy to be useful in a scientific context. SETI points out the very same thing.

    Now, please take a look at the example that HeKS found that explains how fuzzy concepts can be operationalized, and tell me how you operationalize “intelligence” in the same way.

    Cheers,
    RDFish/AIGuy

  256. 256
    RDFish says:

    Hi FMM,

    nonlossy integrated information is synonymous with the ID term irreducible complexity

    OK

    That phenomena has now been demonstrated to be beyond the scope of algorithmic processes like evolution. Score a big one for our side

    No, so far this would just score one against evolution. That isn’t really one for “your side”, as I’ve been saying for years: Proving evolution wrong does nothing to tell us what might be right.

    Besides that the connection between nonlossly integrated information and consciousness has also now been established.

    Now this is on the right track to score one for your side, but I think you’re way too certain about IIT when you say this has been “established”. So far its just a few papers and some interesting ideas, I think.

    This nullifies your main stated objection to ID by providing an objective useful definition of intelligence as that which can produce things like NLII and by extension consciousness.

    Such a definition unifies the objective with the everyday definitions of intelligence

    Again you’re on the right track, FMM, and I’m so happy to talk to an ID proponent who actually understands my argument!!! It gets so tiring debating people here who can’t (won’t) even hear what I’m saying.

    This is just the tip of the iceberg. The implications of this incite are mind blowing. It’s only a matter of time before the dots are connected

    In that case, perhaps its only a matter of time before there is actually some science behind ID instead of the load of confusion that people here toss around. I would look forward to that greatly!!

    Cheers,
    RDFish/AIGuy

  257. 257
    StephenB says:

    RDFish

    Ok, you’ve ignored everything I’ve said. I’m not complaining about the term “art” – you’ve missed the point entirely.

    Don’t dig your hole any deeper. Let it go.

    I am addressing your point about “art/nature” directly. My response is: You have not provided a way to objectively evaluate what “art” implies about its cause.

    So, you are addressing my point, are you? What is it?

  258. 258
    RDFish says:

    Hi StephenB,

    I just told you. Why won’t you respond to my posts?

    I’ll tell you what. You can ask me any question you’d like, and I will absolutely answer it to the best of my ability, making my response as clear as I can.

    And I will ask you to do the same.

    That way we might actually communicate and make some progress clarifying our arguments.

    Please tell me your question, stated as clearly as you can.

    My question, stated as clearly as I can, is this:

    How can ID operationalize its definition of “intelligence” in order to establish empirically that the cause of some instance of “art” possessed the characteristics we typically associate with “intelligence” (such as learning, behavioral flexibility, consciousness, self-awareness, and so on)?

    Come on now – just clearly restate whatever question you’d like to me, and don’t dodge this question to you.

    Cheers,
    RDFish/AIGuy

  259. 259
    fifthmonarchyman says:

    Aiguy said,

    I’m so happy to talk to an ID proponent who actually understands my argument!!!

    I say,

    If a Bible thumping fundamentalist and a “Godless” postmodern can understand each other there is hope for the world 😉

    Bye the way just because I understand your argument does not mean I think it has any particular merit. I couldn’t help myself

    you say,

    It gets so tiring debating people here who can’t (won’t) even hear what I’m saying.

    I say.

    You should try being an ID proponent on the other thread 😉

    you say,

    but I think you’re way too certain about IIT when you say this has been “established”. So far its just a few papers and some interesting ideas, I think.

    I say,

    The recent developments take this argument out of the squishy realms of Philosophy and Biology and into the hard realm of Math. I don’t think I can overstate this.

    If the math is correct and it is then the resulting implications are certain.

    Peace

  260. 260
    StephenB says:

    SB: What is my argument?

    RDFish

    I just told you.

    No, you didn’t state my argument. I would be in a position to know what it is.

    Why won’t you respond to my posts?

    [a] Because you will not respond to mine.

    [b] Because you knowingly make false statements.

  261. 261
    Heartlander says:

    Just a friendly reminder:

    Abstract: It has been repeatedly proposed to expand the scope for SETI, and one of the suggested alternatives to radio is the biological media. Genomic DNA is already used on Earth to store non-biological information. Though smaller in capacity, but stronger in noise immunity is the genetic code. The code is a flexible mapping between codons and amino acids, and this flexibility allows modifying the code artificially. But once fixed, the code might stay unchanged over cosmological timescales; in fact, it is the most durable construct known. Therefore it represents an exceptionally reliable storage for an intelligent signature, if that conforms to biological and thermodynamic requirements. As the actual scenario for the origin of terrestrial life is far from being settled, the proposal that it might have been seeded intentionally cannot be ruled out. A statistically strong intelligent-like "signal" in the genetic code is then a testable consequence of such scenario. Here we show that the terrestrial code displays a thorough precision-type orderliness matching the criteria to be considered an informational signal. Simple arrangements of the code reveal an ensemble of arithmetical and ideographical patterns of the same symbolic language. Accurate and systematic, these underlying patterns appear as a product of precision logic and nontrivial computing rather than of stochastic processes (the null hypothesis that they are due to chance coupled with presumable evolutionary pathways is rejected with P-value < 10-13). The patterns display readily recognizable hallmarks of artificiality, among which are the symbol of zero, the privileged decimal syntax and semantical symmetries. Besides, extraction of the signal involves logically straightforward but abstract operations, making the patterns essentially irreducible to natural origin. Plausible ways of embedding the signal into the code and possible interpretation of its content are discussed. Overall, while the code is nearly optimized biologically, its limited capacity is used extremely efficiently to pass non-biological information. The “Wow! signal” of the terrestrial genetic code

  262. 262
    Box says:

    RDFish #258: How can ID operationalize its definition of “intelligence” in order to establish empirically that the cause of some instance of “art” possessed the characteristics we typically associate with “intelligence” (…)

    You dismissed UB’s proposal, because you, and ppl you consulted on the subject of intelligence, were not familiar with it, but how about this for a operationalization: the capability to produce artifacts with irreducibly complexity – like a mouse trap”?

  263. 263
    fifthmonarchyman says:

    Hey Box

    That definition sounds really familiar. In fact it is simply a rephrasing of the definition I offered.

    When I presented it Aiguy praised me for understanding his argument. Lets see if you get the same treatment.

    peace

  264. 264
    Upright BiPed says:

    RDF, you were given a coherent operational definition of intelligence. Your response could not have been more clear. You went on an ad-hom attack-the-messenger spree without encumbering yourself with either the respectful or intellectual need to address even a single facet of that definition. The reason for this sort of retrograde response on your part is most obvious.

    You’ve spent an entire thread arguing that (following SETI as a methodologically-valid example) one must operationalize the concept of intelligence by an unambiguous marker (“Narrow-band signals…are the mark of a purposely built transmitter. Natural cosmic noisemakers…do not make radio signals that are this narrow”). One such definition was given to you and you immediately shrank from the challenge, even as I have been clearly ready to defend it.

  265. 265
    RDFish says:

    Hi StephenB,

    I am very much trying to respond to your posts. In fact, I just made a good faith offer to respond to any question you’d like to ask.

    You won’t even take me up on that offer, because you are afraid that afterward, you will be obliged to answer my question, and you know you have no answer for it.

    One more time, StephenB: Ask me any question you’d like about this, and I promise to answer it to the best of my ability.

    Go ahead – just try it!

    Here is my prediction: You will make up some excuse, and refuse to pose a question for me, just so you don’t have to face my question afterward. Your other option is to ask a question, then reject whatever answer I give and use that as an excuse to even try to answer mine. That is all you do – just run away from the debate instead of actually argue it with me.

    Unlike the Intelligent Designer, you are very well understood and predictable 🙂

    Cheers,
    RDFish/AIGuy

  266. 266
    RDFish says:

    Hi Heartlander,

    the terrestrial code displays a thorough precision-type orderliness matching the criteria to be considered an informational signal. Simple arrangements of the code reveal an ensemble of arithmetical and ideographical patterns of the same symbolic language. Accurate and systematic, these underlying patterns appear as a product of precision logic and nontrivial computing rather than of stochastic processes (the null hypothesis that they are due to chance coupled with presumable evolutionary pathways is rejected with P-value 10-13

    You don’t seem to understand what the point of this discussion is. Nobody here is arguing that biological systems evolved by random variation and selection, or that DNA isn’t a language, or anything like that. What I am arguing is that ID has no way to scientifically support its claim that the cause of these systems possessed the characteristics commonly associated with the term “intelligence”, including consciousness, self-awareness, learning, behavioral flexibility, use of natural (generally expressive) language, volition, and so on.

    Cheers,
    RDFish/AIGuy

  267. 267
    RDFish says:

    Hi Box,

    You dismissed UB’s proposal, …

    No, I didn’t dismiss it. I accepted his operational definition, and then pointed out that it had nothing to do with the characteristics commonly associated with the term “intelligence”, including consciousness, self-awareness, learning, behavioral flexibility, use of natural (generally expressive) language, volition, and so on.

    …because you, and ppl you consulted on the subject of intelligence, were not familiar with it,

    No, I would never reject something because I wasn’t familiar with it. Read what I told UB.

    …but how about this for a operationalization: the capability to produce artifacts with irreducibly complexity – like a mouse trap”?

    Again, that’s just fine – anyone can offer any operationalized definition of “intelligence” that they would like to. Using your definition, once you find irreducible complexity in some biological structure, you can conclude that the cause of that structure was something capable of producing artifacts with irreducible complexity. As you can see, that isn’t actually what you are trying to do.

    What you are trying to do is to conclude that whatever caused that IC structure had various characteristics commonly associated with the term “intelligence”, including consciousness, self-awareness, learning, behavioral flexibility, use of natural (generally expressive) language, volition, and so on. In order to do that, however, you must provide ways to determine empirically what things possess these qualities and what things don’t.

    Cheers,
    RDFish/AIGuy

  268. 268
    RDFish says:

    Hi Upright BiPed,

    RDF, you were given a coherent operational definition of intelligence.

    Yes I was. I’ve been given many of them, and all of them are perfectly legitimate operational definitions.

    You went on an ad-hom attack-the-messenger spree …

    Whoa there, cowboy – come on, nobody attacked you. Read what I said: It’s a fact that if you take all of the anonymous posters on internet forums who claim to have made significant contributions to cutting-edge science, there is only a small fraction of them who might actually be right. I even said to you “I’m not saying you’re necessarily a crackpot, UB” in case you didn’t understand that.

    …without encumbering yourself with either the respectful or intellectual need to address even a single facet of that definition.

    Not true at all!! I absolutely addressed what I consider to be the most critical aspect of your definition: It fails to relate to the various characteristics commonly associated with the term “intelligence”, including consciousness, self-awareness, learning, behavioral flexibility, use of natural (generally expressive) language, volition, and so on.

    One such definition was given to you and you immediately shrank from the challenge, even as I have been clearly ready to defend it.

    If you’d like to defend your definition to me, then I’m all ears: Simply explain what the connection is between your definition and the mental characteristics I just mentioned.

    Cheers,
    RDFish/AIGuy

  269. 269
    Upright BiPed says:

    RDF at #268:
    I’ve been given many of them [operational definitions of intelligence] and all of them are perfectly legitimate operational definitions.

    So this was a false statement you made in your argument:

    Of course ID can – and ought to – operationalize the term “intelligence” in “intelligent design theory”, just as SETI does. Duh. The problem is that ID does NOT operationalize its definition, of course.

    And this was a false statement you made in your argument:

    …you must provide an operational definition for “intelligence”. SETI does provide a scientific definition of “intelligence”, but ID doesn’t.

    And this was a false statement you made in your argument:

    SETI provides a scientific definition of “intelligence”, but ID doesn’t

    And this was a false statement you made in your argument:

    My criticism is that ID commits one of two errors: 1) Fails to say what they mean by “intelligence” 2) Fails to point to any evidence

    And this was a false statement you made in your argument:

    ID provides no operational definition of “intelligence”. In this case, ID fails because its explanation is too ambiguous to be scientifically meaningful or testable

    …and of course, all of these false statements only highlight the sheer lunacy of this back-tracking, goal-shifting comment:

    I have pointed out that without some operationalized definitions for particular, specific components of “intelligence”, the concept of “intelligence” is too fuzzy to be useful in a scientific context. SETI points out the very same thing.

    …which you, in turn, try to cover with this comment from SETI:

    Intelligence is a term that we use to describe a range of abilities that have to do with how an individual processes information. This includes learning, memory, problem solving, abstract thinking, creativity, behavioral flexibility, and rate of information processing. There is no consensus on a strict definition of intelligence, and there likely never will be because intelligence is what is known as a fuzzy concept; it lacks well-defined boundaries and contains multiple components.

    …but unfortunately for you they also add:

    However, the study of intelligence lies firmly in the domain of empirical science because its features can be operationally defined and its correlates can be quantified and measured.

    …which leads us back to the very thing that you say ID must do, which is operationalize intelligence with a unambiguous marker … and thus, the entire kaleidoscope of anti-intellectual obfuscation and dissembling starts back at the top and begins all over again. Good God what a waste of time.

    Give it a rest RD. Really.

  270. 270
    HeKS says:

    @RDFish

    The SETI FAQ’s you found explain things differently that the specific SETI page on “intelligence” that I cited, and they did not explain how “intelligence” was operationalized in SETI.

    No, RDFish, they do not explain things differently. The SETI page on intelligence is not remotely in conflict with their FAQ’s. The entire problem here is that you have misinterpreted their page on intelligence because you have misunderstood the concept of operationalization and the use of “operational definitions”. There is no shame in the fact that you initially misunderstood this. It is shameful, however, that you have resolutely refused to correct your misunderstanding on the matter in spite of the fact that all sources show you were mistaken. There’s really nothing to argue about here. The tension between the intelligence page and the FAQ’s is entirely in your own mind.

    I would think you, as a proponent of ID, would be somewhat sympathetic to different authorities describing scientific concepts in different ways

    This is a complete mischaracterization of the facts. ID proponents are not saying opposite things about the very same issue. There is no comparison between ID proponents focusing on different aspects of intelligence, thereby operationalizing it in different ways, and the kind of fundamental disagreement your interpretation creates inside SETI on the most basic concept of its program.

    The reality of the matter is that SETI’s page on intelligence and their FAQ’s are saying exactly the same thing. The only thing you need to do to realize this is to correct your completely mistaken view of operationalization.

    But what you’ve found is that SETI would claim that signals would reveal the presence of a “technically sophisticated being”. Unless that refers to some complex biological organism (which is what SETI assumes, of course), all that means is “something that can produce sophisticated technology”! It says nothing about consciousness, volition, brain size and structure, behavioral flexibility, or anything else that you may associate with the term “intelligence” as you have been using it in this thread.

    This is just sad. When you thought the division between SETI and Astrobiology helped your case you insisted that the line between them absolutely could not be crossed and a certain set of concerns were entirely in the domain of Astrobiology and not something considered by SETI itself at all. Now that you see you were wrong and that SETI really does infer to a sophisticated intelligent being as the cause of the signal-sending technology, you want to break down the wall between SETI and Astrobiology to make sure that the concerns and speculations of Astrobiology are necessarily tacked on to the minimal, logically-necessitated conclusions of SETI’s search program. It is quite clear that your “reasoning” simply bends to your agenda and your agenda is flashing in neon lights.

    In your list of things which you think are not indicated by the finding of a signal, you combine essential mental aspects of intelligence, like consciousness, with physical attributes of intelligent beings on this planet, like brain size. SETI does, in fact, infer the former but they cannot know anything for certain about the latter, and speculations about the latter fall into the field of Astrobiology.

    From SETI’s question on “What happens if we find something?”:

    we’ll know only a few things about the beings on the other end. We can pinpoint the spot on the sky where the signal is coming from, and slow changes in its frequency will tell us something about the rotation and orbital motion of E.T.’s home planet.

    But even though this information is limited, the detection of alien intelligence will be an enormously big story. We’ll be aware that we’re neither alone nor the smartest things in the universe. And of course there will be a clamor to build the big dishes that would allow us to pick up E.T.’s message.

    Your assertion that SETI infers the existence of intelligent, technically sophisticated beings but not that they are conscious is patently absurd. I mean, really. You seriously think they would infer that these intelligent beings are technically sophisticated and at least as smart as us, if not smarter, but not necessarily conscious? Who are you trying to fool?

    All of this nonsense seems to stem from your ongoing refusal to correct your misunderstanding of operationalization. The point of operationalization in SETI’s program is to translate key aspects of the concept of intelligence – for which they give a conceptual definition on their page about intelligence – into a recognized observable effect of those key aspects of the concept, such as the effect represented in their operational definition.

    Their operational definition does, indeed, indicate the presence of conscious intelligent beings, as their comments about these beings makes clear, because the operational definition (the observable, measurable effect) they’ve selected involves the purposeful construction of complex technology. And while the origin of consciousness and the way it works may be somewhat of a mystery to us, we have no difficulty defining what characteristics we are referring to when we speak of consciousness:

    consciousness

    – the state of being awake and aware of one’s surroundings
    – the awareness or perception of something by a person
    – the fact of awareness by the mind of itself and the world

    Intelligent, technically sophisticated beings must be aware of their surroundings in order to fashion complex communications technology. These are the kinds of basic features of intelligence that SETI’s operational definition is specifically crafted to reflect as a matter of necessity. What is not necessitated by the finding of the effect encapsulated in their operational definition is that the technically sophisticated intelligent extra-terrestrial beings have their intelligence rooted in a physiology that is comparable to ours. It might be, but it might not be. That could not be directly inferred from the evidence they hope to find, and any speculations about that fall into the realm of Astrobiology, which does indeed speculate that alien intelligence, if we find it, might have a physiologically similar basis for their intelligence but, as I’ve shown, they are not absolutely wed to that idea, and to insist that this must be case would be to make a philosophical and metaphysical claim rather than a scientific one.

    What SETI’s search program itself infers to is merely the existence of an intelligent, sophisticated, extra-terrestrial being. Period. The exact nature of that being and the issue of what that being’s intelligence happens to be rooted in or derived from remains an open question for Astrobiologists to speculate about and someday, perhaps, discover.

    HeKS: You didn’t ask me for a definition of “intelligence”. You asked me what criteria I was using to identify the category of “intelligent agent“. I provided some criteria and said it wasn’t necessarily exhaustive and that others could suggest additional criteria, but that mine were a good enough baseline for the current discussion.

    Do you not understand that ID provides precisely zero information regarding its purported explanation for life, the physical constants, and whatever else, except to toss out this single word “intelligence” …. I’m not asking for a “baseline for the current discussion”

    You once again skipped over the fact that I answered the question you did ask and then you complained that I hadn’t answered the question you did not ask.

    Regarding the information you want about the responsible intelligent agent, you say:

    It doesn’t say what has this “intelligence”, where it is, how it works, when it operated, or anything else.

    What has this intelligence? Some very intelligent being. We can’t know from the available data what form that intelligent being takes (took?) anymore than the finding of a specific kind of radio signal from space could tell us exactly what form the intelligent extra-terrestrial beings who sent it might take. In both cases, what we can know from the data is that it must have been caused by an intelligent being.

    Where it is? Like, now? Hard to say, and hard to see why it should matter. We can only answer approximately where and when it acted historically, which is in the places and at the times that life originated and where life made significant leaps forward in terms of genetic and morphological novelty.

    How it works? I don’t see how that’s relevant to determining that it did work. How it worked is a second-order question. How exactly was Stonehenge built? We don’t know for sure. But we do know that it was built as the product of intelligence. If SETI finds a signal, will it need to know how the intelligent beings responsible conducted the work to manufacture the communications technology before concluding that such beings exist and did in fact do something to bring the technology into existence? Of course not.

    I’m asking what it is that ID theory means when it says “certain features of the universe are best explained by an intelligent cause“.

    It means that, based on our repeated and uniform experience, it is most reasonable to view those features as being the product of the deliberate activity of an intelligent mind which has been purposefully applied to the achieving of a functionally specified goal rather than being the product of the activity of natural laws operating on randomly determined initial conditions.

    This is precisely the same type of reasoning used by SETI:

    SETI: Any signal less than about 300 Hz wide must be, as far as we know, artificially produced. Such narrow-band signals are what all SETI experiments look for. Other tell-tale characteristics include a signal that is completely polarized or the existence of coded information on the signal.

    Moving on…

    RDF: If you really are adopting this as THE operational definition for “intelligence” in ID, then you’re just fine scientifically.

    Oh, please – you’ve edited my comment to put “THE” in caps, which were not in the original.

    Yes, just as I edited my own to put the word “OFTEN” in caps and italics, which was to draw attention to the difference. You’ve repeatedly griped about ID proponents not all using exactly the same operational definitions and not listing precisely the same criteria for every concept. But now you suddenly don’t have any trouble with multiple operational definitions.

    what I have trouble with is that ID establishes operational definitions (e.g. able to produce CSI) and then implicitly – without discussion or justification – equivocates and pretends that anything meeting this criterion necessarily will display all of these other attributes of human mentality (consciousness, behavioral flexibility, etc). There is no justification for this whatsoever (which is of course why no ID proponents discuss it).

    Complete and utter nonsense. No, nobody pretends that it establishes all attributes or types of intelligence that we are accustomed to finding in humans, but contrary to your nonsense and misunderstandings, it really does establish some attributes of intelligence. SETI doesn’t deny this at all. You’re the only one who denies this and you do so because your agenda demands that you must, no matter how ridiculous it is.

    What are the requisite components of “intelligence” as used in ID? How are each of these components operationally defined? You say that consciousness is one component of “intelligence”, and certainly that sentiment is shared by most every ID proponent. How is “consciousness” operationalized within ID, HeKS? How is it that we can test the consciousness of the Intelligent Designer of Life? What about “volition” – what is the operational definition to evaluate the presence of this component?

    None of this is even worth discussing with you when you’re stuck on your misunderstanding of operationalization, which absurdly severs the link between the observable effect represented in an operational definition and the concept or conceptual variable it is being used to test for.

    What you are missing is that “design simpliciter” is not an expanation of anything – you learn nothing whatsoever by hearing something is the result of “design simpliciter”, because “design simpliciter” doesn’t specify any particular proposition at all. Does “design simpliciter” entail a conscious designer? If so, then it becomes meaningful, but also without empirical evidence.

    See above. In saying that we identify design simpliciter as the cause, the point is that we cannot infer to a specific designer, with a specific nature, make-up or form. Such things simply cannot be discerned from the data of biology. Perhaps the designer is some kind of physical being with a physiology that would be in some way recognizable to us, or perhaps it would be something completely unrecognizable to us. ID is agnostic on the issue. It does not use philosophical or metaphysical commitments to limit what form an intelligent being could possibly take. Scientifically we can determine design is the best explanation for certain features. We cannot scientifically determine the identity, nature or form of the designer on the basis of the data that is currently available to us. That does not mean that we should pretend that we don’t know A simply because, at present, we can’t also know B, C and D.

    You’ve lost this debate, HeKS, even though you think otherwise.

    Oh, well if you say it then that means … nothing.

    Your arguments have been both wrong and absurd. Your misunderstandings have been tenaciously held in the face of correction and contrary data. All sources are against you and you warp your poor reasoning to accommodate your agenda to avoid admitting the obvious at all costs.

    Your arguments ultimately boil down to agenda-driven philosophical and metaphysical claims, which you then try to deny out of one side of your mouth while you repeat them out the other. And even where you make more moderate versions of statements that, on their own, are not particularly problematic (e.g. “there is good reason to question whether something that preceded biological systems would have these attributes”), your arguments actually hinge on the hardline philosophical and metaphysical truth claims (e.g. “finding a narrowband signal from outer space is not evidence that the source of that signal was conscious, or “volitional”, unless you suppose that the beings responsible were in fact biological organisms with complex brains/nervous systems”). If you can’t even recognize the philosophical and metaphysical underpinnings for your arguments then there really isn’t much hope for you to overcome your errors.

  271. 271
    StephenB says:

    RDFish

    I am very much trying to respond to your posts. In fact, I just made a good faith offer to respond to any question you’d like to ask.

    OK, I am a believer in second chances. Here we go.

    SETI, like ID, searches for “artificiality,” which means that it officially recognizes the difference between art and nature. SETI researchers differentiate between narrow-band signals produced by intelligence (artificial) and broad-band signals produced by nature (natural) so that they can identify the former by ruling out the latter.

    SETI researchers understand that they could be wrong. It is logically possible that nature could produce a narrow-band signal. Still, they think it is reasonable to rule it out conditionally since we have no good reason to believe that what is logically possible in this case will ever come to pass. In keeping with that point, ID also recognizes that it could be wrong by conditionally ruling out natural causes.

    In fact, both disciplines depend on this art/nature dichotomy for the simple reason that it is impossible to detect design in radio signals, complex organisms, or anything else without first ruling out natural causes. I have alluded to this art/nature dichotomy throughout this thread.

    The irony here could not be more evident. On the one hand, you declare that ID fails as a scientific discipline on the grounds that it prematurely and presumptuously rules out natural causes without knowing all there is to know about nature. You have carried on endlessly about this alleged lack of scientific rigor and characterized the process as nothing more than a metaphysical presupposition.

    On the other hand, you acknowledge SETI as a legitimate scientific enterprise even though its researchers also rule out natural causes without knowing all there is to know about nature. Suddenly, and inexplicably, you have nothing to say about the “problems” of ruling out natural causes or smuggling in metaphysical presuppositions in the inferential process. How do you explain your inconsistency?

    Go for it.

  272. 272
    Upright BiPed says:

    RDF at #268 I absolutely addressed what I consider to be the most critical aspect of your definition: It fails to relate to the various characteristics commonly associated with the term “intelligence”, including consciousness, self-awareness, learning, behavioral flexibility, use of natural (generally expressive) language, volition, and so on.

    ID Opponent: The concept of intelligence has many characteristics which make it a “fuzzy” concept. So in order for it to be scientifically useful, you must provide an operational definition, which entails finding an unambiguous feature that can be measured.

    ID Proponent: Okay, here is an unambiguous feature to measure.

    ID Opponent: You simply don’t understand. You must provide an operational definition for the characteristics that make it fuzzy.

    ID Proponent: That doesn’t make any sense.

    ID Opponent: You are not responding to my posts.

  273. 273
    RDFish says:

    Hi Upright BiPed,

    RDF: I’ve been given many of them [operational definitions of intelligence] and all of them are perfectly legitimate operational definitions.
    UB: So this was a false statement you made in your argument:
    RDF: Of course ID can – and ought to – operationalize the term “intelligence” in “intelligent design theory”, just as SETI does. Duh. The problem is that ID does NOT operationalize its definition, of course.

    What are you talking about? Good grief. I say “ID does not provide operationalized definitions”, by which I meant none are given in published ID literature. Just because some anonymous poster (you) makes one up does not exactly contradict that!

    Instead of making these ridiculous accusations, why don’t you actually try to defend your definition the way you said you would? BECAUSE YOU HAVE NO ANSWER.

    I’ll say it again, just so everyone here will know that you have no response:

    You can offer whatever operational definitions you’d like to! What I point out is this: Your operational definition of “intelligence” fails to relate to the various characteristics commonly associated with the term “intelligence”, including consciousness, self-awareness, learning, behavioral flexibility, use of natural (generally expressive) language, volition, and so on. If you’d like to defend your definition to me, then I’m all ears: Simply explain what the connection is between your definition and the mental characteristics I just mentioned.

    Waiting for your response – but I know you have none.

    Cheers,
    RDFish/AIGuy

  274. 274
    RDFish says:

    Hi HeKS,

    ID proponents are not saying opposite things about the very same issue.

    Oh, sure they do. For example, while Stephen Meyer (like you) holds that any intelligent cause must be conscious and self-aware, William Dembski disagrees. Those positions about what “intelligent cause” means are in diametric opposition, and it would seem fairly important to know what the meaning of “intelligent” is in a theory that offers “intelligent cause” as the explanation for life and the universe.

    The reality of the matter is that SETI’s page on intelligence and their FAQ’s are saying exactly the same thing. The only thing you need to do to realize this is to correct your completely mistaken view of operationalization.

    No, you’re wrong. The woman who wrote the page on “intelligence” understood the necessity for operationalizing the term “intelligence”, and she understood the limits of what could be inferred from a narrow-band signal, and she understood that any more general inferences regarding general mental abilities derived from extrapolations from terrestrial biology, and not some philosophical notion of what an “intelligent agent” was. The FAQ included none of that. The reason, of course, is just what several people here have already said: SETI researchers are scientists who did not imagine that people would take their methodology and pretend that it could solve the problem of biological origins. When SETI talks about an “intelligence”, they are not talking about something that transcends law + chance; they are talking about organisms with complex nervous systems. We know the latter exist and can build communication technology, so that’s a reasonable inference. We do NOT know that the former exists – that is nothing but the metaphysical speculation of ID.

    SETI assumes that builders of communication technology would be intelligent in a way that similar to human intelligence because they assume that they would be biological organisms that process information in ways similar to us. ID always claims to be offering a known cause of CSI as the cause of life, but that is just false: Nobody knows of any sort of CSI-producing entity that is not itself a CSI-rich physical organism with a complex nervous system for processing information. (SETI makes that clear enough when it assumes without equivocation that intelligence is a property of the nervous system). But ID allows an explanation for life that is completely unknown to us: Something that can produce CSI, yet is not itself a CSI-rich physical organism. Since nobody has any evidence that such a thing exists, it obviously behooves ID to provide evidence for it. ID fails to do so.

    The point of operationalization in SETI’s program is to translate key aspects of the concept of intelligence – for which they give a conceptual definition on their page about intelligence – into a recognized observable effect of those key aspects of the concept, such as the effect represented in their operational definition.

    No, you’re just wrong: The reason given was to ensure “the study of intelligence lies firmly in the domain of empirical science because its features can be operationally defined and its correlates can be quantified and measured.” That’s what it said, and that’s what it means. Anyone who studies intelligence in any of the cognitive sciences is acutely aware that the concept of “intelligence” must be operationalized in order to be scientifically useful. The woman who wrote about intelligence for SETI obviously understands this.

    Their operational definition does, indeed, indicate the presence of conscious intelligent beings, as their comments about these beings makes clear, because the operational definition (the observable, measurable effect) they’ve selected involves the purposeful construction of complex technology.

    No, you’re just wrong again. The only mention of consciousness I can find on the entire site is on the same page I cited originally, where she talks about bees having consciousness! Since SETI considers intelligence to be a function of the nervous system, there are certainly people there who would infer (1) the presence of a complex nervous system in a technologically sophisticated alien life form, and (2) infer the presence of consciousness from a complex nervous sytem.

    And while the origin of consciousness and the way it works may be somewhat of a mystery to us…

    I’d say you’re displaying perhaps a tiny penchant for understatement here 🙂

    …, we have no difficulty defining what characteristics we are referring to when we speak of consciousness:
    consciousness
    – the state of being awake and aware of one’s surroundings
    – the awareness or perception of something by a person
    – the fact of awareness by the mind of itself and the world

    That’s dandy, but obviously not operationalized. The problem of other minds isn’t one likely to be solved by empirical research in the near term. We solve the problem by means of strong analogy to other human beings (I know I’m conscious, and you are so much like me physically that I infer you are like me in this regard as well). The inference gets weaker when we look at other animals, but there are certain telltale behaviors that do convince us: Again, the SETI scientist does point out that our observations of bees’ behaviors might indicate they are conscious.

    This is the whole problem: Cognitive ethologists write hundreds of papers explaining their operationalization of intelligence, and of consciousness, carefully enumerating their assumptions and providing detailed justifications for any conclusions they draw about animal learning, problem solving, conscious self-awareness, and so on. They do this even though these animals are sitting right there in the field or in their laboratory, available for observation in either controlled or uncontrolled studies. Then you ID folks come in and decide you can figure out if the “cause of life and the universe” has these mental abilities without any chance of ever observing this Designer of which you speak. And worse than that, cognitive ethologists are making analogies and comparisons among animals – organisms that that share a tremendous number of characteristics in the way they sense and process information about the world – while in ID you have no clue about the nature of what is supposed to have been designing living things and the physical constants of the universe. And worse than that, you don’t even pretend to make these evaluations – you don’t even bother to operationalize and test for these mental attributes.

    What SETI’s search program itself infers to is merely the existence of an intelligent, sophisticated, extra-terrestrial being. Period.

    Correct. That means “able to produce technology detectable from Earth”. It doesn’t mean “a conscious entity with self-awareness”, or “something with behavioral flexibility” etc. Depending on what information is ever received by SETI, these more general conclusions may or may not be supportable. And of course SETI never intended anyone to imagine that its methodology could be co-opted as a pretense of scientific support for the inference to an immaterial entity that can somehow experience consciousness and process information without a complex nervous system. That simply goes against all of our scientific knowledge about intelligent beings.

    No, nobody pretends that it establishes all attributes or types of intelligence that we are accustomed to finding in humans, but contrary to your nonsense and misunderstandings, it really does establish some attributes of intelligence.

    In that case, simply give me one citation that explains which attributes of intelligence ID believes are empirically supported, and what empirical evidence those claims are based upon. Again, not even William Dembski believes that a self-aware consciousness is necessarily implied by “intelligent agency”!

    Sorry, you really are completely wrong about all of this. You just can’t see it because of your ingrained assumptions about immaterial minds and the reification of intelligence and your anthropocentric notion of what the cause of life must be like.

    In saying that we identify design simpliciter as the cause, the point is that we cannot infer to a specific designer, with a specific nature, make-up or form.

    …or with any particular abilities aside from building the biological systems we observe. For example, can the Designer explain why It made so many different kinds of beetles using some sort of generally expressive language? How do you know?

    It does not use philosophical or metaphysical commitments to limit what form an intelligent being could possibly take.

    Neither do most scientists. But we do use our uniform and repeated experience to build up our scientific understanding, and that empirical knowledge is what we rely on when we say that “intelligence is a property of the nervous system” and that “the brain is the organ of intelligence” and that it requires an incredibly complex physical information processing mechanism for a human to exhibit intelligent behaviors. That is why scientists call foul when ID includes immaterial beings as possible members of its class of “intelligent agents” – not because of metaphysical commitments, but because there is no evidence that any such thing exists.

    [the rest of your post is just a bunch silly ad hominem errors]

    Cheers,
    RDFish/AIGuy

  275. 275
    RDFish says:

    Hi StephenB,

    The irony here could not be more evident. On the one hand, you declare that ID fails as a scientific discipline on the grounds that it prematurely and presumptuously rules out natural causes without knowing all there is to know about nature.

    Not exactly, no. The reason I say ID fails to be scientific is because they fail to provide a scientifically useful definition for the theory’s sole explanatory concept, intelligence. I have been saying this for years, of course.

    The point about knowing all there is to know about nature is just what I told you in @208:

    RDF: So, if some sort of result or conclusion depends on the truth of physicalism, or its falisity, then it can’t be considered a scientific result. Likewise, any conclusion that rests on the truth of libertarianism or dualism can’t be considered scientific.

    Now, to say that the cause of some particular observed phenomenon can’t possibly physical is to say that some sort of cause exists which is not physical – in other words, it is to say that physicalism is false. That is not a scientific statement, and no scientific conclusions can follow from it. One can only say that we do not know what the cause of that phenomenon is.

    So, SETI does not claim to rule out – conditionally or otherwise – a physical cause for any narrow-band signals it may receive. Rather, it claims to rule out any cause that we have scientific knowledge of except our own technology.

    It is perfectly legitimate for ID to conditionally rule out causes for living systems that we already understand (all of physics, chemistry, biology). I agree that all known causes ought to be ruled out. What is not legitimate is to pretend that this is the same as saying, “We have eliminated one type of cause (the physical [or natural]) and what that leaves is this other type of cause (the mental [or intelligence])”. That is non-scientific.

    Let me try to explain even more clearly: When SETI refers to “natural” radio sources, they are talking about stars, radio galaxies, pulsars, etc. They are not talking about the totality of physics – they are not talking about physical cause in general. By “natural”, SETI does not mean “law + chance”. Rather, they are talking about specific phenomena that occur in nature that produce radio signals. By rejecting that narrowband signals come from any of these things, they (tentatively) conclude that a narrowband signal would come only from artificial (man-made) technology. They do not conclude that something is occuring that transcends law + chance. SETI astrobiologists hold that intelligence is a property of physical nervous systems that act according to physical law. So when they rule out the “natural” they are not ruling out everything in all of physics.

    In stark contrast, when ID refers to “natural causes”, they are talking about any physical cause. ID purports to detect “intelligence” not by eliminating all known causes of CSI, but rather by eliminating anything that proceeds according to physical law. And that is precisely where my objection comes in: We cannot, in principle, rule out that any physical process (law + chance) could ever account for some phenomenon, because we can’t put any boundaries on what is “physical” or “natural”.

    You have carried on endlessly about this alleged lack of scientific rigor and characterized the process as nothing more than a metaphysical presupposition.

    The assumption that anything is beyond law + chance is just that – a metaphysical presupposition. There is no scientific way to determine if anything transcends law + chance.

    On the other hand, you acknowledge SETI as a legitimate scientific enterprise even though its researchers also rule out natural causes without knowing all there is to know about nature. Suddenly, and inexplicably, you have nothing to say about the “problems” of ruling out natural causes or smuggling in metaphysical presuppositions in the inferential process. How do you explain your inconsistency?

    And I will explain it once again, as clearly as I can:

    ID says it rules out all physical cause (law+chance) as the cause of biological systems, and thereby supports the explanation that something else besides physical cause must have been responsible, and since the only thing besides physical cause is “intelligence”, then ID concludes that the best explanation for life is “intelligence”. The problem with that is that thinking that anything exists outside of the physical is nothing but metaphysical speculation.

    SETI says that it if it received a narrowband signal it could rule out all natural phenomena that emit radio sources except technology – which is physical and in that sense ‘natural’ – and which could indicate the existence of intelligent life forms (physical organisms with complex brains from which arises their information processing abilities and hence their intelligence). Nowhere in their methodology is any need to eliminate all physical law + chance, and so the problem of metaphysics never arises.

    * * *

    OK, that is my answer. I have been making these same points for years, so I’m not terribly optimistic that you will understand them, and I’m certain you won’t agree with them, but true to my word that is actually what I believe is the correct position on these matters.

    Now it’s your turn:

    An ID proponent here (HeKS) provided a nice illustration of how to take a fuzzy, abstract concept (one with no clear boundaries and that contains multiple components) and make it suitable for empirical investigation via operationalizing the definition: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/O.....iciary.png

    Their example is “Free and Fair Judiciary”, and as you can see, this fuzzy concept is first broken down into the components that the authors believe are intrinsic to this concept (legitimacy, authority, neutrality, and uniformity). That is the first step. The second step is to provide operational definitions for each of these components. That means that independent researchers can assess something objectively to see if it meets each of these tests. Voila – a multifaceted but scientific definition for an abstract concept.

    Now, here’s a list of the attributes commonly associated with “intelligence” (you may wish to substitute your own list of course):

    1) Consciousness
    2) Volition
    3) Intention
    4) Learning
    5) Behavioral flexibility
    6) Solving novel problems
    7) Using of a generally expressive language

    That is the first step in operationalizing the concept of “intelligence”. My question for you is, what operational definitions of these components does ID provide that enables us to use the concept of “intelligence” in the context of ID?

    Cheers,
    RDFish/AIGuy

  276. 276
    StephenB says:

    HeKS

    ID proponents are not saying opposite things about the very same issue.

    RDFish

    Oh, sure they do. For example, while Stephen Meyer (like you) holds that any intelligent cause must be conscious and self-aware, William Dembski disagrees. Those positions about what “intelligent cause” means are in diametric opposition, and it would seem fairly important to know what the meaning of “intelligent” is in a theory that offers “intelligent cause” as the explanation for life and the universe.

    Oh, sure they don’t. Your reckless use of language exposes your pitiful attempt at an analysis. Do you grasp even in a small way what the words “opposite” and “diametrically opposed” mean? Obviously not.

    Stephen Meyer says that the agent is conscious and capable of choosing between alternatives for a specified end. Dembski says that the agent is capable of choosing between alternatives for a specified end, though not necessarily conscious. And this one distinction prompts you to characterize those two definitions as “opposite” and “diametrically opposed?”

    Also, although consciousness is not a requirement for Dembski, neither is it a disqualifier, which leaves an even smaller gap between the two definitions. Most importantly, there is a good reason why consciousness is not a requirement given Dembski paradigm. Do you know what that reason is? Of course, you don’t. As usual, you are just blowing smoke.

  277. 277
    Upright BiPed says:

    RDF, the reason you accept the SETI methodology is because it operationalizes the concept of intelligence, thereby placing it “within the domain of empirical science” – even though it “describes a range of abilities that have to do with how an individual processes information” where “there is no consensus on strict definitions, and likely never will be”.

    You have now lost this argument on those terms, and we are left with the specter of you demanding that ID do the exact opposite of the SETI methodology.

    You will now come back to say “Haha! I told you could not answer my challenge!!” and will embarrass yourself further still.

    I believe pity is an appropriate response.

    goodbye

  278. 278
    Box says:

    Reading up on this exchange with RDFish, I realize that one the reasons for my lifelong passion of chess is the wonderful fact that the rules of the game – particularly “checkmate” – are non-negotiable.

  279. 279
    fifthmonarchyman says:

    Hey all,

    This thread has been very useful because it illustrates just how difficult the challenge of these conversations are.

    I’m fond of AIGuy and he gives every indication of being a capable even “intelligent” individual in other aspects of his life yet when it comes to this topic he just can’t seem to get it.

    It turns out that IIT gives him exactly what he claims to be asking for, an operational definition of intelligence that also entails consciousnesses and it does so with mathematical rigor .

    It also turns out that this definition is merely a rephrasing of the very definition that ID has been using all along.

    The logical thing to do in such a case is acknowledge this and move on.

    from the paper

    quote:

    The implications of this proof are that we have to abandon either the idea that people enjoy genuinely unitary conscio
    usness or that brain processes can be modelled computationally.

    end quote:

    Because of the definition offered this implication extends well beyond consciousnesses to all other irreducibly complex phenomena. In other words……….

    Either we have to abandon the idea that irreducibly complex things exist or the idea that they can be produced by algorithmic processes.

    That is the crossroads that AIGuy now finds himself on.

    lets see what side of the argument he comes down on.

    also from the paper

    quote:

    somewhere between input and output there must also be a binding process of integration that no computational modelling can disentangle.

    end quote:

    We call that process intelligent design.

    peace

  280. 280
    StephenB says:

    RDFish

    Let me try to explain even more clearly: When SETI refers to “natural” radio sources, they are talking about stars, radio galaxies, pulsars, etc. They are not talking about the totality of physics – they are not talking about physical cause in general. By “natural”, SETI does not mean “law + chance”. Rather, they are talking about specific phenomena that occur in nature that produce radio signals. By rejecting that narrowband signals come from any of these things, they (tentatively) conclude that a narrowband signal would come only from artificial (man-made) technology. They do not conclude that something is occuring that transcends law + chance. SETI astrobiologists hold that intelligence is a property of physical nervous systems that act according to physical law. So when they rule out the “natural” they are not ruling out everything in all of physics.

    In stark contrast, when ID refers to “natural causes”, they are talking about any physical cause. ID purports to detect “intelligence” not by eliminating all known causes of CSI, but rather by eliminating anything that proceeds according to physical law. And that is precisely where my objection comes in: We cannot, in principle, rule out that any physical process (law + chance) could ever account for some phenomenon, because we can’t put any boundaries on what is “physical” or “natural”.

    Now, to say that the cause of some particular observed phenomenon can’t possibly physical is to say that some sort of cause exists which is not physical – in other words, it is to say that physicalism is false. That is not a scientific statement, and no scientific conclusions can follow from it. One can only say that we do not know what the cause of that phenomenon is.

    You are not addressing the issue. According to you, ID is not scientific because it rules out a kind of cause about which we do not know everything, namely a physical cause. But the principle that you are appealing to (and have invented out of whole cloth) is that it is unscientific to rule out any cause about which we do not know everything whatever that kind of cause may be. Therefore, by that standard, it is unscientific for ID to conditionally rule out the possibility that natural causes produced CSI and it is also unscientific for SETI to conditionally rule out the possibility that natural causes produced narrow-band signals. But your application of that arbitrarily-contrived principle is inconsistent. You use it to disqualify ID but not SETI. Why? Please do not say that you have already explained it. You have not.

  281. 281
    RDFish says:

    Hi StephenB,

    Ok, this really is you throwing in the towel, giving up, surrendering because you have been soundly defeated. I answered your question very fully and honestly, and in return, you completely ran away with your tail between your legs and didn’t even try to answer my question to you.

    Did you think we wouldn’t notice? Well, we did. You have no answer, no response, no defense, nothing, nada, zilch. You can’t even pretend to respond to my points, because you know you’re wrong and just won’t admit it.

    Cheers,
    RDFish/AIGuy

    P.S. I ALWAYS respond to your points even though you are too afraid to respond to mine, so:

    As for your pathetic dodge regarding “diametrially opposed”, you’re even wrong about that of course:
    A) Meyer: Intelligence DOES entail consciousness.
    B) Dembski: Intelligence DOES NOT entail consciousness.

    A is the absolute negation of B – the diametric opposite.

  282. 282
    RDFish says:

    Hi Upright BiPed,

    RDFish @268:
    Instead of making these ridiculous accusations, why don’t you actually try to defend your definition the way you said you would? BECAUSE YOU HAVE NO ANSWER.

    I’ll say it again, just so everyone here will know that you have no response:

    Waiting for your response – but I know you have none.

    And what was your response? NOTHING!

    You will now come back to say “Haha! I told you could not answer my challenge!!”

    Uh, yes, of course that is exactly what I’m saying, because it is true, and could not be more clear!!! You have no response to my argument, so you lose!!!

    You’re uncomprehending flailings are too funny to believe! YES SETI operationalizes its definition of “intelligence”! Why? BECAUSE WITHOUT THAT OPERATIONALIZED DEFINITION, “there is no consensus on strict definitions, and likely never will be”. That is why scientists ALWAYS operationalize “intelligence”!!! Scientists NEVER explain ANYTHING with the term “intelligence” without an operational definition of that term for that exact reason: Our everyday concept of intelligence is too fuzzy, ambigious, unbounded, multifaceted, and abstract to be of any use in science.

    Why don’t you and the rest of the IDers operationalize the concept of “intelligence” in any way that relates to any of the concepts you believe ID infers? BECAUSE YOU CAN’T! You come up with all sorts of operationalized definitions all right – but not one of them has anything to do with any of the attributes you are actually talking about!

    What good is ID if ID can’t support an inference to a conscious being (it can’t)? A volitional being (it can’t)? A being that can use natural language (it can’t)? A being that can learn and solve novel problems (it can’t)?

    ID can support none of these assertions because you can’t operationalize definitions for those mental attributes in the context of ID.

    You lose, and very badly.

    Cheers,
    RDFish/AIGuy

  283. 283
    RDFish says:

    StephenB –
    Crossed posts – let me read yours and respond.

  284. 284
    RDFish says:

    Hi StephenB,

    You are not addressing the issue. According to you, ID is not scientific because it rules out a kind of cause about which we do not know everything, namely a physical cause. But the principle that you are appealing to (and have invented out of whole cloth) is that it is unscientific to rule out any cause about which we do not know everything whatever that kind of cause may be.

    No – you can rule out known causes, you just can’t pretend that anyone can rule out “law + chance”

    Therefore, by that standard, it is unscientific for ID to conditionally rule out the possibility that natural causes produced CSI

    Yes, because by “natural causes” ID means “law + chance”.

    …and it is also unscientific for SETI to conditionally rule out the possibility that natural causes produced narrow-band signals.

    No, because by “natural causes” SETI does NOT mean “law + chance”. SETI means “causes that are not communication technologies built by human beings or other extra terrestrial beings”.

    But your application of that arbitrarily-contrived principle is inconsistent. You use it to disqualify ID but not SETI. Why? Please do not say that you have already explained it. You have not.

    I just did.

    Anyway, my last post still stands, because you still haven’t even tried to answer my question (because you can’t).

    But of course I answer yours, because I always do (because I am not afraid to, because I’m right). And once again:

    Physicalism: The philosophical (untestable) proposition that nothing but physical cause (or “law + chance”) exists.
    SETI: Does not attempt to rule out physicalism in order to conclude intelligent life forms exist, and so does not utilize metaphysical arguments.
    ID: Attempts to rule out physicalism in order to conclude an intelligent being caused life, and so does utilize metaphysical arguments.

    Now, how about answering my question? Yeah, right 🙂

    Cheers,
    RDFish

  285. 285
    RDFish says:

    Hi FMM,

    Again: Of all the posters here, you seem to be the only one who will concede that ID actually does need a theory of intelligence that connects empirically accessible evidence regarding the cause of life to our common notions of the mental, including consciousness, volition, learning and behavioral flexibility, use of natural language, and so on.

    Your insistence that IIT has now bridged that gap is quite premature in my opinion. Can you provide any citations that develop that conclusion more fully?

    Cheers,
    RDFish/AIGuy

  286. 286
    RDFish says:

    Hi Again FMM –

    Let me say this: I think IIT is a very interesting set of ideas, and if it turned out that we could actually connect phenomenological consciousness to non-computability, and then connect non-computability to the relevant mental abilities that we discuss here, I would actually be completely thrilled.

    Contrary to what everyone here thinks about me, I am not a committed atheist at all. I am merely a committed scientist. Nothing could be more exciting to me than to make scientific progress on questions of origins – especially if the answer had to do with the mind!

    Cheers,
    RDFish/AIGuy

  287. 287
    Phinehas says:

    RDF:

    No, all of the definitions refer to a human being, never an “intelligent agent”. That is what “artificial” means – produced by a human being. Look it up – the definitions refer to human beings, always human beings, never “intelligent agents”. Why? Because what you’re talking about is actually human beings, and not anything else.

    So, if SETI received an artificial signal from outer-space, they’d conclude a human being sent it. Their designation is a bit of a misnomer. It ought to be SETHB: the Search for Extra Terrestrial Human Beings. Or maybe SETT: the Search for Extra Terrestrial Terrestrials.

    Got it. Makes perfect sense.

  288. 288
    RDFish says:

    Hi Phinehas,

    Apparently you don’t understand the topic. Here it is:

    People typically associate a number of different attributes with the term “intelligence”, including consciousness, volition, learning, behavioral flexibility, and so on. ID provides no empirically-based justifications to conclude that those attributes apply to the cause of living systems.

    If you disagree, I invite you to take those attributes (or any of your choosing) and provide operational definitions for them that could be tested in the context of ID.

    Cheers,
    RDFish/AIGuy

  289. 289
    StephenB says:

    RDFish

    No, because by “natural causes” SETI does NOT mean “law + chance”. SETI means “causes that are not communication technologies built by human beings or other extra terrestrial beings”.

    So what? We don’t know everything there is to know about SETI’s “natural” causes any more than we know everything there is to know about ID’s “natural” causes. Indeed, we don’t even know what those natural causes are. We are simply identifying them by their effects. For all we know, those kinds of natural causes may also be capable of producing the same narrow-band signals produced by intelligence. SETI concedes as much.

    By your arbitrarily contrived standard, then, SETI may not rule out those causes in order to draw an inference to intelligence. Again, by your standards, SETI is making a metaphysical commitment by carrying on, in principle, as if natural causes cannot produce narrow band signals. This is the very same charge you make against ID, holding that ID carries on, in principle, as if natural causes cannot produce CSI. So you are being inconsistent. You are not applying the same standard to SETI that you apply to ID. Please do not say that you have provided a reasonable response to this inconsistency. You have not.

    Anyway, my last post still stands, because you still haven’t even tried to answer my question (because you can’t).

    When you answer my question, I will answer your question. It poses no challenge.

  290. 290
    fifthmonarchyman says:

    Hey Aiguy,

    you said,

    Your insistence that IIT has now bridged that gap is quite premature in my opinion. Can you provide any citations that develop that conclusion more fully?

    I say.

    This is where I struggle, not just with you but with people in general.

    I’m slow to catch things but when I finally understand something like this I feel like it should be obvious to others as well.

    I could try to give the high points to of the paper but the best thing to do IMHO is read it and do the math for yourself and let it sink in.

    The math is not particularly difficult even for a uneducated hillbilly like myself but it is profound.

    Is your problem with the observation that consciousness is Non-lossy integrated information (IC)?

    or

    Is it with the mathematical proof that demonstrates that Non-lossy integrated information (IC)is not computable?

    or

    Is it with the definition of intelligence as something that produces Non-lossy integrated information (IC)???

    Peace

  291. 291
    fifthmonarchyman says:

    another quote from the paper

    These insights lay the foundation for a deep connection
    between data compression, prediction and understanding, a
    theoretical perspective on ……intelligence and cognisance……….. which we refer to as ‘compressionism’.

    end quote:

    peace

  292. 292
    Upright BiPed says:

    RD. You are starting to show those early signs of ranting again. Your positions become more incoherent and everything becomes bolded, capitalized, and followed by increasing strings of exclamation points. We’ve both seen where this leads, and it certainly isn’t necessary. You should take it easy.

    Who knows why this subject should leave an otherwise intelligent person so incapacitated. Good luck with it.

  293. 293
    Phinehas says:

    RDF:

    Apparently you don’t understand the topic. Here it is:

    People typically associate a number of different attributes with the term “intelligence”, including consciousness, volition, learning, behavioral flexibility, and so on. ID provides no empirically-based justifications to conclude that those attributes apply to the cause of living systems.

    Hmm. I thought the topic was more like:

    ID provides no empirically-based justifications to conclude that those attributes apply to the cause of living systems…but SETI does.

    Or are we avoiding that part of the topic now? Are we doing that because it didn’t go so well for you? Because we weren’t avoiding it earlier when you said of SETI’s search for the “artificial” that:

    No, all of the definitions refer to a human being, never an “intelligent agent”. That is what “artificial” means – produced by a human being. Look it up – the definitions refer to human beings, always human beings, never “intelligent agents”. Why? Because what you’re talking about is actually human beings, and not anything else.

    So, if SETI received an artificial signal from outer-space, they’d conclude a human being sent it? After all, that is what “artificial” means, and, surely, that is what they meant by “artificial.” Right?

  294. 294
    StephenB says:

    RDF:

    That is the first step in operationalizing the concept of “intelligence”. My question for you is, what operational definitions of these components does ID provide that enables us to use the concept of “intelligence” in the context of ID?

    Now, here’s a list of the attributes commonly associated with “intelligence” (you may wish to substitute your own list of course):

    1) Consciousness
    2) Volition
    3) Intention
    4) Learning
    5) Behavioral flexibility
    6) Solving novel problems
    7) Using of a generally expressive language

    Both Meyer’s definition and Dembski’s definition include or imply almost everything on that list. However, Dembski’s paradigm does not include consciousness for very good reasons, Meyer’s does, for equally good reasons. Meanwhile, the capacity to choose between alternatives for the sake of a specified end requires almost every attribute listed.

    However, there is no rule that says an operational definition must include as many traits as that. It could include very few and be quite good; it could include them all and be quite bad. Sometimes, the more narrow definitions produce more rigor. Other times, it can be both narrow and useless. Everything turns on the quality of the paradigm. Your desire to wrap it all up in a tidy little formula is misguided.

  295. 295
    Mung says:

    Upright BiPed:

    You are starting to show those early signs of ranting again.

    Ranting is one sign of a superior intellect.

  296. 296
    RDFish says:

    Hi Phinehas,

    ID provides no empirically-based justifications to conclude that those attributes apply to the cause of living systems…but SETI does.

    For the millionth time, SETI hasn’t concluded anything about anything yet – but if it ever does, whatever attributes it infers regarding the source of some signal will be based on the assumptions it makes regarding the complex biological organisms responsible. If ID would like to acknowledge, as SETI says, that “intelligence is a property of the nervous system” and that “the brain is the main organ of intelligence” and so on, then we can debate the merits of ID’s conclusion that the first living things were designed by something intelligent.

    I suppose you don’t want to discuss how ID could operationalize its definition of “intelligence”, right? Because … uh… who exactly is avoiding whom here? 🙂

    Cheers,
    RDFish/AIGuy

  297. 297
    RDFish says:

    Hi FMM,

    Is your problem with the observation that consciousness is Non-lossy integrated information (IC)?

    Sure that’s part of it. Consciousness does not seem like information – it doesn’t seem like anything else at all. I have always felt that nobody knows what a theory of consciousness would even look like. Neuroscientists might say something like “Well there’s this 40hz wave of synchronized neuronal activity in the caudate nucleus and that produces consciousness”… but how can neural activity produce consciousness? You say “consciousness is non-lossy integrated information”… and I say, really?

    or
    Is it with the mathematical proof that demonstrates that Non-lossy integrated information (IC)is not computable?
    or

    From my reading, I think IIT shows that (1) IC is noncomputable, and that (2) unitary consciousness entails IC, and so (3) unitary consciousness cannot be modelled computationally. I haven’t studied these papers well enough to agree or disagree with those conclusions, but I will agree with them arguendo here. That doesn’t tell me why I experience a unitary conscious awareness just because I am using non-computable functions to think with. For all we know, there could be other non-computable aspects of the universe that are not associated with phenomenological consciousness.

    Is it with the definition of intelligence as something that produces Non-lossy integrated information (IC)???

    No, that’s fine – it’s actually by far the most interesting operational definition for “intelligence” in ID that I’ve yet encountered!

    Cheers,
    RDFish/AIGuy

  298. 298
    RDFish says:

    Hi Upright BiPed,

    You have turned tail and run, UB, just like all the other times we’ve debated. It always goes like this:

    1) First, you start talking about this or that sort of language or signal or physical coupling or “dimensional semiosis” or whatever.
    2) Next, I point out that you haven’t even tried to explain why anyone should believe that the cause of life was conscious, or capable of solving novel problems, or anything else we typically associated with the term “intelligent”.
    3) Then you hurl as many insults at me as you can think of, and run away in a huff.

    Listen, seriously, you shouldn’t feel bad. My question to you was a trick question, because there is no answer to it. It isn’t that you aren’t smart enough to figure it out – it really is that there is simply no way to provide empirical tests for consciousness, volition, learning, and all these other mental attributes in the context of ID.

    Cheers,
    RDFish/AIGuy

  299. 299
    RDFish says:

    Hi StephenB,

    You think it is scientific to claim that we can (tentatively) rule out that some phenomenon was caused by anything in the physical world. ID does this. I disagree, because that is equivalent to saying that you have (tentatively) demonstrated that physicalism is wrong, and there is no method to evaluate that statement scientifically.

    I think it would be scientific to infer known causes of narrowband technologies (i.e. biological organisms) if we ever observed narrowband signals from space. SETI says this. You agree with that.

    You think that it would not only be scientific to infer known causes of those signals, but also it would be scientific to infer unknown causes (for example, entities that existed outside of spacetime and had no nervous system but could still produce complex mechanisms). I disagree, because in order to consider such a hypothesis (tentatively) confirmed, we would need evidence that such a thing existed.

    We’ve been over this a million times, and I think we understand each other’s position on this, and we need to agree to disagree.

    Again, by your standards, SETI is making a metaphysical commitment by carrying on, in principle, as if natural causes cannot produce narrow band signals.

    Again, SETI makes no metaphysical commitments, because it does not posit that any cause of narrow band signals is outside of law + chance.
    ID makes this claim, which is a metaphysical claim.

    When you answer my question, I will answer your question. It poses no challenge.

    Here is what I said you would do @265:

    RDF: Here is my prediction: You will make up some excuse, and refuse to pose a question for me, just so you don’t have to face my question afterward. Your other option is to ask a question, then reject whatever answer I give and use that as an excuse to even try to answer mine. That is all you do – just run away from the debate instead of actually argue it with me.

    My prediction was 100% correct.

    * * *
    Newsflash – This just in. SB has responded to RDF’s question – Hallelujah!
    * * *

    Both Meyer’s definition and Dembski’s definition include or imply almost everything on that list.

    That is a bald asssertion that I don’t think is true. You’ll need to actually say what operational definitions you’re talking about and how they can be testable in the context of ID. So this is nothing but a bluff, SB – please show your cards.

    Meanwhile, the capacity to choose between alternatives for the sake of a specified end requires almost every attribute listed.

    What you’re trying to do is to say that anything that creates CSI must be able to “choose between alternatives for the sake of a specified end”, and that anything that can do this must necessarily possess various attributes of intelligence like consciousness, learning, and so on. That is merely assuming your conclusion – you are not providing ways to test your conclusion in the context of ID.

    The question on the table is for operational definitions of these mental traits. That means you must be able to objectively identify or measure the attribute in question. You have failed to explain how “consciousness” can be operationalized in the context of ID (the way it is, say, in cognitive ethology). You have also failed to explain how “volition” or “learning” or “behavioral flexibility” or “use of natural language” can be so operationalized. These traits are operationalized all the time in the cognitive sciences, but only because in those cases we are dealing with known and empirically accessible organisms, rather than an unknown hypothetical entity or spirit or god or something.

    However, there is no rule that says an operational definition must include as many traits as that.

    Yes, I’ve already said to you that you can provide your own list!

    It could include very few and be quite good; it could include them all and be quite bad. Sometimes, the more narrow definitions produce more rigor. Other times, it can be both narrow and useless. Everything turns on the quality of the paradigm. Your desire to wrap it all up in a tidy little formula is misguided.

    Let’s gets back to the point.

    1) Provide your list of mental attributes that can be operationalized in the context of ID; this list can be whatever you think you can operationalize, even if it is only a short list
    2) Provide operational definitions for each attribute in the context of ID (not in the context of cognitive psychology, say, where we have can give people IQ tests or see if they can understand their own image in a mirror or whatever).

    In any case, I will commend and thank you for trying to respond to my question. Let’s see if we can keep it up.

    Cheers,
    RDFish/AIGuy

  300. 300
    Mung says:

    The power of self-delusion.

    RDFish:

    For the millionth time, SETI hasn’t concluded anything about anything yet – but if it ever does, whatever attributes it infers regarding the source of some signal will be based on the assumptions it makes regarding the complex biological organisms responsible. If ID would like to acknowledge, as SETI says, that “intelligence is a property of the nervous system” and that “the brain is the main organ of intelligence” and so on, then we can debate the merits of ID’s conclusion that the first living things were designed by something intelligent.

    Thank God that the assertion that “intelligence is a property of the nervous system” is only an assumption and not a conclusion!

    Thank God that the assertion that “the brain is the main organ of intelligence” is only an assumption and not a conclusion!

    Thank God that whatever attributes it [SETI] infers regarding the source of some signal will be based on the assumptions it makes regarding the complex biological organisms responsible!

    Not sure why these are an argument against ID.

  301. 301
    RDFish says:

    In case anyone else misunderstood this the way Mung did:

    Thank God that the assertion that “intelligence is a property of the nervous system” is only an assumption and not a conclusion!
    Thank God that the assertion that “the brain is the main organ of intelligence” is only an assumption and not a conclusion!
    Thank God that whatever attributes it [SETI] infers regarding the source of some signal will be based on the assumptions it makes regarding the complex biological organisms responsible!

    Sarcasm isn’t an effective debating method, but what Mung might have been saying here is that he questions whether SETI makes these assumptions or not.

    Yes, SETI does make these assumptions – those are all quotes from the SETI site, as is this:

    SETI: These associations between neural mass and complexity, individual cognitive ability, and social complexity point to the possibility that there may be general or even universal principles that shape intelligence on this planet – and perhaps, by extension, on others.

    Earth is a natural laboratory for exploring the evolution of intelligence. Earth-based data and analyses concerning intelligence, brains, and correlations between the two provide predictive power as we pursue questions about intelligence in the vast range of contexts presented by astrobiology.

    Or perhaps Mung means that these are not well-supported assumptions. I won’t argue these assumptions here; if you’d like to deny them none of my arguments is affected in the least.

    Not sure why these are an argument against ID.

    They aren’t arguments against ID. They are the difference between SETI and ID. The argument against ID is that ID cannot provide definitions of the components of an “intelligent cause” (e.g. consciousness, volition, learning, etc) in a way that can be evaluated empirically in the context of ID.

  302. 302
    Joe says:

    Except ID has provided those very definitions. Willful ignorance is not a refutation.

  303. 303
    StephenB says:

    You think it is scientific to claim that we can (tentatively) rule out that some phenomenon was caused by anything in the physical world. ID does this. I disagree, because that is equivalent to saying that you have (tentatively) demonstrated that physicalism is wrong, and there is no method to evaluate that statement scientifically.

    Of oourse. Similarly, the policeman rules out the possibility that the victim lying in the alley did not fall backwards onto the knife 27 times. His theory is murder. By your standard, he is prematurely inferring intelligence when there is a logical possibility that law/chance was in play. He could have been the victim of accidental death. This is your logic.

  304. 304
    StephenB says:

    Again, SETI makes no metaphysical commitments, because it does not posit that any cause of narrow band signals is outside of law + chance.

    SETI makes prior commitments; ID does not. Among other things, SETI commits to neurological intelligence and unguided evolution even before the evidence is allowed to speak. ID makes no commitments at all, before or after the evidence is analyzed. You are simply wrong about that. SETI is far more presumptuous that ID could ever hope to be. Your double standard persists. You reject ID not for rational reasons but for ideological reasons.

  305. 305
    StephenB says:

    @303 and 304 or for RDFish.

  306. 306
    RDFish says:

    Hi StephenB,

    RDF: You think it is scientific to claim that we can (tentatively) rule out that some phenomenon was caused by anything in the physical world. ID does this. I disagree, because that is equivalent to saying that you have (tentatively) demonstrated that physicalism is wrong, and there is no method to evaluate that statement scientifically.
    SB: Of oourse. Similarly, the policeman rules out the possibility that the victim lying in the alley did not fall backwards onto the knife 27 times. His theory is murder.

    Uh no, the policemen is not claiming to eliminate the possibility that whatever caused this death operated within physical law. He’s just eliminating the “fall backwards” theory, and opting instead for the “human being” theory.

    By your standard, he is prematurely inferring intelligence when there is a logical possibility that law/chance was in play. He could have been the victim of accidental death. This is your logic.

    No, StephenB. I’m the one who says there is no systematic way to distinguish “intelligent things” from “things that operate according to law/chance”, remember?

    Listen, SETI has never published a single paper that infers the existence of anything based on the reception of a narrowband signal (because none have been received). If we manage to decode a signal from outer space and it turns out to be an image of alien humanoids, that would support one set of inferences. If it was a series of prime numbers emanating from an Earth-like planet, that would support another set of inferences. If it is a monotone transmission on a narrow band that emanates from inside a neutron star, yet another set of inferences would be made. If SETI ever does report something, we can argue about the content of the signal and what that might say about the sender.

    But we’re really not talking about SETI. We’re talking about ID… Right?

    SETI makes prior commitments; ID does not. Among other things, SETI commits to neurological intelligence and unguided evolution even before the evidence is allowed to speak.

    Yes, their website indicates that those assumptions are made at SETI – but at least they make their assumptions explicit. Again, if they ever publish some sort of conclusions they reach regarding some particular signal, we can argue about their reasoning.

    ID makes no commitments at all, before or after the evidence is analyzed. You are simply wrong about that.

    No, I’m right about that, but that’s off topic here.

    SETI is far more presumptuous that ID could ever hope to be. Your double standard persists.

    Again, if you don’t like SETI assumptions, I won’t argue that – I dont’ actually care what SETI puts on their website, and have no interest in defending them. You asked me why what they did was different, and I told you. I have said about a hundred million times on this site that my position regarding the mind/body problems is that WE DO NOT KNOW, and that both dualism and physicalism are unsupported scientifically. So if you’d like me to say that SETI is unscientific when they assume that there is no immaterial component to mind and that it derives strictly from the brain, I will say just that – there is no scientific evidence that such a thing is true.

    You reject ID not for rational reasons but for ideological reasons.

    You’re wrong about this too. Didn’t you read when I wrote this @286:

    RDF: Contrary to what everyone here thinks about me, I am not a committed atheist at all. I am merely a committed scientist. Nothing could be more exciting to me than to make scientific progress on questions of origins – especially if the answer had to do with the mind!

    I know you don’t want to believe that. You really want me to be some committed atheist who trashes ID because I really want there to be no God. Otherwise, it would be too scary for you that somebody who actually understands the arguments and has no ideological reticence to accept a scientific theory of origins that involves conscious minds would still think ID is unscientific nonsense. Still and yet, that is the case. My ideological prediliction is for justifying our beliefs with uniform and shared experience, rather than pretending we have empirical evidence for whatever we want to believe.

    I know you want to keep talking about SETI, because you know my point about operationalizing “intelligence” is fatal to your position. Ready to concede defeat on that one?

    Cheers,
    RDFish/AIGuy

  307. 307
    RDFish says:

    Hi StephenB,

    Remember where we left off discussing ID’s operationalization of “intelligence”:

    1) Provide your list of mental attributes that can be operationalized in the context of ID; this list can be whatever you think you can operationalize, even if it is only a short list
    2) Provide operational definitions for each attribute in the context of ID (not in the context of cognitive psychology, say, where we have can give people IQ tests or see if they can understand their own image in a mirror or whatever).

    What about it?

    Cheers,
    RDFish/AIGuy

  308. 308
    Upright BiPed says:

    RD at 298,

    You have turned tail and run, UB, just like all the other times we’ve debated.

    I’ve been on this board for a quite a while RD. I think I can say with some confidence that turning and running isn’t something I’m known for.

    1) First, you start talking about this or that sort of language or signal or physical coupling or “dimensional semiosis” or whatever.

    This is your response to the simple bare fact that you can’t even enter the discussion of semiosis with me. You simply have nothing to work with. You’d be better off arguing that the earth is flat. It’s just that stark. So stark, that you’ve thus far avoided asking me to speak even a single word of it.

    2) Next, I point out that you haven’t even tried to explain why anyone should believe that the cause of life was conscious, or capable of solving novel problems, or anything else we typically associated with the term “intelligent”.

    Your question doesn’t rank with me because I consider it to be a desperate invention in a whole new class of stupid. Really RD, who the hell do you think you’re fooling here? Do you really think for a second that your bias isn’t blatantly – and I mean throbbing, siren, capsicum, neon, lime green blatantly – obvious to anyone following along? SETI operationalizes “intelligence” with an unambiguous physical marker. They clearly tell you that the physical marker they are looking for is (as a matter of universal human experience) only produced by a single, very specific, intelligent artifact; a communications transmitter. And so what now RD, do you really think a non-communicative, unaware, mold growing on some moderate exoplanet assembled a functioning microwave transmitter capable of sending a controlled signal across the vastness of space without having any input whatsoever as to what was required to create its function, or how the thing came together? If that’s where you’re at, then I hate to tell you that no one at SETI is that desperate. But of course, this is not where you’re at, at all. This line of defense is nothing more than the hapless clutching to a collapsed argument. Perhaps your problem, RD, is that you just don’t understand the art of opposing force. When you attempt to flank a superior position, you really have to get them to take the bait. But I’m not taking the bait. I’m gonna stand over here with the SETI folks who operationalized intelligence with an unambiguous physical marker, and let you sell your deal all by yourself. And if I haven’t yet been clear enough for you RD, then allow me to disabuse you of the very core of your counter-argument where I am concerned. You say that the ID methodology I promote doesn’t prove that the intelligence at the origin of life was necessarily conscious? Fine by me. You say it doesn’t prove it was capable of solving a problem? Ah-yah Skipper. If that kind of twisted reasoning and analysis floats your boat, then have at it. And if you ask how I can be so disinterested in the tremendous importance you see in your claims; the reason is very very simple – using a completely physical operationalization of the term, the material effects of intelligence can be unambiguously demonstrated to be present in the coding of organic polymers in every living thing on earth. They are the very thing required to organize the cell, and initiate heredity.

    3) Then you hurl as many insults at me as you can think of….

    cough cough

    Let’s be clear. Every single person on this thread arguing with you thus far, could completely drop every argument they’ve made, then go back into your comments and come up again with a whole new set of blatant contradictions, misrepresentations, and twisted logic. This is the level of dense you play at (which is quite an accomplishment for an otherwise intelligent person). And yet throughout the entire thread, you have insulted your opponents in virtually every paragraph. So…cry me a river, my friend.

    😐

    Feel free to contrive something in this comment of grave importance and lead yourself over the next hill.

  309. 309
    RDFish says:

    Hi Upright BiPed,

    This is your response to the simple bare fact that you can’t even enter the discussion of semiosis with me. You simply have nothing to work with. You’d be better off arguing that the earth is flat. It’s just that stark. So stark, that you’ve thus far avoided asking me to speak even a single word of it.

    I did in fact ask you a very fair and pointed question: How can you connect an operational definition that deals with “dimensional semiotics” to the component attributes of “intelligence”?

    SETI operationalizes “intelligence” with an unambiguous physical marker. They clearly tell you that the physical marker they are looking for is (as a matter of universal human experience) only produced by a single, very specific, intelligent artifact; a communications transmitter.

    Sort of, except there is a difference between “looking for a marker” for something and “testing an operational definition” for something. But we needn’t bother with that distinction at this point.

    And so what now RD, do you really think a non-communicative, unaware, mold growing on some moderate exoplanet assembled a functioning microwave transmitter capable of sending a controlled signal across the vastness of space without having any input whatsoever as to what was required to create its function, or how the thing came together?

    What in the world are you talking about? How could mold possibly produce technology?

    If that’s where you’re at, then I hate to tell you that no one at SETI is that desperate. But of course, this is not where you’re at, at all.

    Yes, that’s right – that is not at all “where I’m at”. So why did you bring it up? I wasn’t talking about mold producing technology on other planets – you were.

    And if I haven’t yet been clear enough for you RD, then allow me to disabuse you of the very core of your counter-argument where I am concerned.

    I’m afraid that is the case, UB – you really haven’t been clear at all. In fact, I have no idea at all what you are talking about. I’m asking about operationalizing the concept of “intelligence” in ID theory, and you’re talking about mold assembling microwave transmitters!

    You say that the ID methodology I promote doesn’t prove that the intelligence at the origin of life was necessarily conscious? Fine by me.

    I take it, then, you are conceding that ID has no way of operationalizing the concept of consciousness – we agree on that then.

    You say it doesn’t prove it was capable of solving a problem? Ah-yah Skipper. If that kind of twisted reasoning and analysis floats your boat, then have at it.

    Regarding problem-solving, you’ve left out a critical component: It is not problem-solving, but the solving of novel problems that is typically considered as a requisite component of intelligence. The classic illustration of why this is so is the sphex wasp, which appears to solve complex problems in a thoughtful way until presented with a novel problem, at which point the apparent general intelligence is revealed to be rigidly sterotyped behavior that cannot adapt. In the context of ID, one could say that whatever caused biological systems solved the problem of producing biological systems (by definition). What we’d like to know, however, is for example could this cause of biological system solve other sorts of problems, such as verbal analogies? Or could it solve design problems other than producing the particular designs that we observe? If we assume that the cause of life was something with human-like intelligence, then the answer to these questions would be “yes”. But why would we imagine that something that was not at all human like (perhaps it didn’t even have a human-like brain) have human-like intelligence? In science you can’t simply assume your conclusions, you actually have to provide empirical justifications for them. So can we empirically demonstrate that the cause of life had general human-like mental abilities? The answer, of course, is no, we can’t.

    And if you ask how I can be so disinterested in the tremendous importance you see in your claims; the reason is very very simple – using a completely physical operationalization of the term, the material effects of intelligence can be unambiguously demonstrated to be present in the coding of organic polymers in every living thing on earth. They are the very thing required to organize the cell, and initiate heredity.

    Here you’ve made the same mistake that you make over and over again: You are telling me what the “material effects of intelligence” are, but you are unable to tell me what it is that characterizes “intelligence” in the first place. You’ve already conceded that we can’t assume this cause was conscious, so we’re already talking about something that wouldn’t strike most people as something that is “intelligent”. Unless something is conscious, it cannot have conscious beliefs, conscious desires, or conscious intentions. That isn’t what most people are thinking about when they talk about an “intelligent agent”.

    Cheers,
    RDFish/AIGuy

  310. 310
    StephenB says:

    RDFish

    Uh no, the policemen is not claiming to eliminate the possibility that whatever caused this death operated within physical law.

    All accidental deaths are assumed to be the result of physical law+chance in the absence of intelligent agency, even though that point cannot be proven with 100% certainty. If, for example, the victim fell on the knife, gravity was involved. It is precisely that point that your misguided ideology prompts you to ignore.

    According to your ideology, the crime analyst cannot conclude that a murder was committed even if the victim has 27 stab wounds in his back because law/chance can never be ruled out. You will not even bother to look for the murderer. Further, you will say that those who object to your anti-design agenda are injecting their libertarian philosophy into their methodology.

    You will insist, in RDF fashion, that the inference to design (murder) cannot be justified because some other unknown cause other than law/chance may have been involved. You will argue that since we cannot be certain one way or the other, we must withhold judgment that a murder was committed.

    Never mind the evidence, we cannot conclude that the wounds were caused by an intelligent agent with murderous intent because, as you would have it, murderous intent can never be separated from law/chance. We must first prove that such a thing as murderous intent apart from law/chance exists before drawing such an inference, and, as it turns out, there is no evidence that any such thing does exist. That is your philosophy.

  311. 311
    RDFish says:

    Hi StephenB,

    All accidental deaths are assumed to be the result of physical law+chance in the absence of intelligent agency, even though that point cannot be proven with 100% certainty.

    Why can’t you understand the problem with that statement? Do you actually believe that policemen consider whether “law + chance” subsumes all types of causes, or that “intelligence” is a category that trancends “law + chance”? (hint: no, they generally do not)

    How can I make this point to you? Try this:

    SB: Everything is either due to “law+chance” or else it is due to “intelligence”
    Materialist: But “intelligence” is nothing but “law+chance” occurring in the brain. So they really aren’t two different categories – they are the same thing.
    SB: WHAT??? They are NOT the same thing. Law+chance is like wind or erosion – just unguided processes. Intelligence is different – it produces CSI.
    Materialist: CSI is produced by the brain, which operates according to the laws of physics and chemistry. In other words, intelligence reduces to physical cause. So you can’t contrast “law+chance” on one hand versus “intelligence” on the other hand, since they are fundamentally the same thing.

    Now obviously you disagree with the materialist here, and in fact I do too (in my view, these questions are unanswered). But you have no scientific way to show that he is wrong, any more than he has a scientific way of showing that he’s right.

    So, every time you talk about “law+chance” being distinct from “intelligence”, you are making a metaphysical assumption. Please tell me you understand this now.

    According to your ideology, the crime analyst cannot conclude that a murder was committed even if the victim has 27 stab wounds in his back because law/chance can never be ruled out.

    As I’ve already explained, of course we conclude murder instead of falling down. But it has nothing to do with the concept of “law+chance” or the metaphysical assumption that intelligence is distinct from law+chance.

    The rest of your post was just silly and incoherent, SB. Of course I don’t believe any of what you are pretending I believe.

    The critical mistake you are making here is still not realizing that by considering “law+chance” to be the complement of “intelligence”, you are making a metaphysical commitment that materialism is false. That isn’t scientific.

    I am now assuming that since you will no longer engage the argument I put forward about operationalizing “intelligence” in the context of ID, you concede that I was right and you wrong, and ID has no way of empirically supporting the claim that the cause of life had the mental attributes commonly associated with “intelligence” such as consciousness, learning, or natural language.

    Cheers,
    RDFish/AIGuy

  312. 312
    StephenB says:

    RDFish

    Remember where we left off discussing ID’s operationalization of “intelligence”

    Yes, I do. You know my position and I have made it abundantly clear. I don’t agree with your wide-scope approach. Each scientist can define his own terms in the context of his individual paradigm. I thought I made it clear that I don’t subscribe to a one size fits all theory for definitions or a one size fits all theory for operationalizing, either horizontally or vertically. So, I have nothing more to say about it.

  313. 313
    StephenB says:

    As I’ve already explained, of course we conclude murder instead of falling down.

    Take me through the process. We will use the same example. A man is lying dead in the street with 27 stab wounds in his back. How do you arrive at the conclusion that it was the result of murderous intent?

  314. 314
    StephenB says:

    RDF, actually, that’s too messy. Just make it one stab wound. Take me through the process. A man is lying dead in the street with what appears to be a single stab wound in his back. How do you arrive at the conclusion that it was the result of murderous intent?

  315. 315
    Me_Think says:

    It is complicated.
    1) Check if he is really dead. What if it an act for some dumb TV Show ?
    2)You will have to check whether he was murdered or if the stab wound was postmortem.You know he could have died of heart attack and some teen might have stabbed him postmortem for fun.
    3)If it was murderous intent,the stab will be in the heart, not the back. Perhaps the murderer just wanted to wound and snatch the cash bag from the murdered guy ?
    4)Turn over the murdered person to check if there is frontal fatal wound.
    If not, then it can be concluded that the murderer didn’t have murderous intent and the stab aimed to incapacitate somehow hit a major vein leading to the poor guy’s death.
    If there is a fatal frontal wound, it gets even more complicated. May be one person’s intent was to murder, the other person stabbing the back was an accomplice. May be frontal wound was fatal, some one else stabbed later on ?

  316. 316
    JWTruthInLove says:

    @RDF, SB:

    SB: Everything is either due to “law+chance” or else it is due to “intelligence”
    Materialist: But “intelligence” is nothing but “law+chance” occurring in the brain. So they really aren’t two different categories – they are the same thing.
    SB: WHAT??? They are NOT the same thing. Law+chance is like wind or erosion – just unguided processes. Intelligence is different – it produces CSI.
    Materialist: CSI is produced by the brain, which operates according to the laws of physics and chemistry. In other words, intelligence reduces to physical cause. So you can’t contrast “law+chance” on one hand versus “intelligence” on the other hand, since they are fundamentally the same thing.

    Can someone please explain to me how one concludes “intelligence” is distinct from “law+chance” ????
    Is this just a matter of definition or was there an experiment done?

  317. 317
    kairosfocus says:

    JWT,

    it is deeper than that. Blind chance and/or mechanical necessity can account for natural regularities such as breadfruit or mangoes reliably falling from trees at 9.8 N/kg, thud; or for the distribution of molecular velocities in a gas like air, but they have a major challenge accounting for something like FSCO/I which requires high contingency that needs to find needles in haystacks that are just too big for chance forces on the gamut of solar system or observed cosmos.

    But there is more.

    Namely, mechanical and/or stochastic computation is not even in the same class as rational, insightful contemplation and actions that stem from it. And, that is what intelligent cause is about, e.g. in designs, we see intelligently directed configuration, often issuing in the FSCO/I we just mentioned.

    On trillions of cases in point, FSCO/I is only known to be produced by design, and that is backed up by the insuperable needle in haystack challenge C & N would face as a claimed alternative. For instance, we routinely recognise that text in a thread post comes from design, and speech through a phone network does the same.

    I have never seen SB, but I have interacted with him by text and speech, I have excellent reason to accept that he is an intelligent cause. I have never seen nor spoken with you, but on evidence of textual performance beyond the reasonable reach of C & N, I infer to a mind behind the text.

    The same extends to computer programs and to 3-d functionally specific designs such as ABU Cardinal fishing reels — a fairly simple contrivance. And, to say the protein synthesis mechanism we find in the heart of life, complete with numerically controlled algorithm and code using assembly of proteins using information systems approaches.

    Where, computation is inherently a blind cause effect chain, it is contrivance that allows it to give accurate or useful results, for us often after a lot of debugging and development. (Remember how they had to recall early Pentiums because of errors in processing? Did any of the Pentiums complain, no that is an error? Nope, they blindly ground away, no more concerned to make sense than a rock sitting on a beach.)

    But such blindly mechanical computation is all the equivalent of the gears in that Cardinal reel grinding away at one another under blind cause-effect and with some chance effects too. Rational contemplation is not like that, we reason based on insights and logic as to what follows from what, making free choices to accept the verdict of logic. So, to conflate computation with contemplation is a category error.

    With of course billions of examples living and dead all around us to underscore the point.

    We see and recognise three distinct causal factors, mechanical necessity, chance leading to stochastically contingent patterns, contemplative intelligence giving rise to designs, many of which exhibit a feature not credibly within reach of C & N, FSCO/I. Of course, that cuts clean across a dominant ideology in our day, but in the end the ideology of evolutionary materialism has serious self-referential incoherence troubles, and in particular it is unable to account for the rational, contemplative, responsibly choosing mind in action that we term intelligence. As Haldane warned 80 years ago.

    The attempt to reduce mind to neural networks acting though blind cause effect chains that compute, spectacularly fails.

    But of course, until that ideology publicly, visibly collapses, many will cling to its confident assertions and will too often deride and dismiss those who dare to differ as IDiots and worse.

    At this point, I expect nothing different, much as I expected Marxists to remain Marxists, finding patch after patch and dismissing warnings and correction until their system publicly and spectacularly collapsed.

    The dogs bark and snap at the wheels, the caravan moves on.

    KF

  318. 318
    fifthmonarchyman says:

    AIGUY,

    It looks like your main difficulty is in the observation that Consciousness is NLII (IC) for me that was the easiest thing to grasp. It is very intuitive

    from the paper

    Quote:

    What Tononi’s (2008) theory proposes is that when people use the term ‘consciousness’ to describe the behavior of an
    entity they have the notion of integrated information in mind. We attribute the property of being conscious to systems whose responses cannot easily be decomposed or disintegrated into a set of causally independent parts. In contrast,when we say that a video camera is unconscious,what we mean is that the manner in which it responds to visual stimuli is unaffected by the information it has previously recorded.

    end quote:

    and

    quote:

    According to Tononi, what we mean when we say that the human brain produces consciousness is that it integrates information,thus producing behaviour which reflects the actions of a unified, singular system.

    end quote:

    you said,

    Consciousness does not seem like information – it doesn’t seem like anything else at all.

    I say,

    To me Consciousness is what it feels like to be me. In other words what it feels like to have all my experiences thoughts, beliefs and proclivities.

    When you encounter Me you encounter a unified whole of all those experiences and thoughts characteristics.

    It it obvious that something with a different set of experiences thoughts, beliefs and proclivities could never be me

    Does that make sense?

    That is the gist of this aspect of the theory

    What part of that do you have a problem with??

    peace

  319. 319
    fifthmonarchyman says:

    Aiguy said,

    For all we know, there could be other non-computable aspects of the universe that are not associated with phenomenological consciousness.

    I say,

    You’ll be surprised to know that in one sense I agree with you.

    It’s possible that there are two kinds of things in our universe that produce non-computable phenomena the conscious things we are very familiar with in everyday experience

    And some mysterious unknown other process that does not produce consciousness even though it is capable of doing so.

    But such a contention is nothing short of a faith claim with no supporting evidence.

    This is the “other Minds” problem and I prefer to go with Occam’s razor here.

    peace

  320. 320
    JWTruthInLove says:

    @kf:
    Were you trying to answer my questions or was that some kind of a comment on your philosophical views?

  321. 321
    kairosfocus says:

    Both, my views are shaped by the considerations that lead me to mark the noted differences between blind chance and necessity and intelligent behaviour that reflects self-aware rational, reflective consciousness. As outlined. KF

  322. 322
    kairosfocus says:

    PS: Note, what you asked for: >> Can someone please explain to me how one concludes “intelligence” is distinct from “law+chance” ???? >>

    –> I gave an empirically observable distinctive expression of intelligence, FSCO/I, which stands on an empirical basis of trillions of cases in point.

    –> This is not merely definition, it is observation

    –> further, our intelligence cannot reasonably be accounted for on C & N, on pain of self-referential incoherence

  323. 323
    Box says:

    ffm,

    It looks like your main difficulty is in the observation that Consciousness is NLII (IC) for me that was the easiest thing to grasp. It is very intuitive.

    Integration of information is a top-down (non-computable) process. Natural forces constitute a bottom-up (computable) process.
    IC points to the existence of something (consciousness) that is capable of top-down integration of information. I don’t think it is accurate to say that consciousness is IC. I would prefer to hold that the capability of integrating information is a (intelligent) feature of consciousness.

    Do you agree?

  324. 324
    JWTruthInLove says:

    @kf:

    blind chance and necessity

    “Blind” — what do you mean by that? I’m talking about chance+law or c+n.

    On trillions of cases in point, FSCO/I is only known to be produced by design.

    So what? The materialist sees the trillions cases of “design” and fully agrees that it is “design” or “intelligent design” by humans, aliens, interdimensional beings, or whatever.
    However for a materialist in his or her philosophical view “design” is part of “chance+law”. So in the end IT IS a matter of definition.

    further, our intelligence cannot reasonably be accounted for on C & N, on pain of self-referential incoherence

    I don’t know of anything that can account for our intelligence. Neither known instances of chance+law, nor unknown instances of non-chance+law. Btw.: What chance+law-explanation are you talking about? This one?

    neural networks acting though blind cause effect chains that compute

  325. 325
    Phinehas says:

    RDF:

    For the millionth time, SETI hasn’t concluded anything about anything yet –

    I thought we were talking about what they were searching for, not what they’d concluded. They are searching for “artificial” signals. You said this of artificial:

    RDF: No, all of the definitions refer to a human being, never an “intelligent agent”. That is what “artificial” means – produced by a human being. Look it up – the definitions refer to human beings, always human beings, never “intelligent agents”. Why? Because what you’re talking about is actually human beings, and not anything else.

    Do you still stand by this statement? So, if SETI received an artificial signal from outer-space, they’d conclude a human being sent it? If not, then how do you know SETI doesn’t mean an “intelligent agent” when speaking of artifice? How do you know they are not looking for what they say they are looking for: Intelligence?

    but if it ever does, whatever attributes it infers regarding the source of some signal will be based on the assumptions it makes regarding the complex biological organisms responsible.

    Of course. And ID doesn’t make these assumptions. Are you saying assumptions are what makes SETI a more scientific approach?

    Again, SETI makes no metaphysical commitments, because it does not posit that any cause of narrow band signals is outside of law + chance.

    Right. It doesn’t make commitments, it just makes assumptions. It assumes law + chance, but this assumption has no basis in any prior metaphysical commitment whatsoever. Seriously?

    If ID would like to acknowledge, as SETI says, that “intelligence is a property of the nervous system” and that “the brain is the main organ of intelligence” and so on, then we can debate the merits of ID’s conclusion that the first living things were designed by something intelligent.

    Acknowledge? ID has no problem acknowledging SETI’s metaphysical assumptions nor your own. It just doesn’t feel any particular need to be beholden to them. (Are you sure they are just assumptions and not commitments? Because when you talk about “acknowledge” hear, it sounds like you are looking for commitment.)

  326. 326
    Box says:

    RDF: Materialist: But “intelligence” is nothing but “law+chance” occurring in the brain. So they really aren’t two different categories – they are the same thing.

    Obviously the position is based on the assumption of the philosophical position of metaphysical naturalism. Science should be about examining and explaining things – not philosophy.

    For instance, we observe a striking difference between a blob of silk and a cobweb, between cosmic noise and narrow-band signals, and a heap of sand and a sand castle.

    How do we explain these differences, if we are no longer ‘allowed’ to make a distinction between natural and intelligent causes? And if naturalistic metaphysical assumptions render science incapable of inferring design by intelligent causes, how do these philosophical assumptions contribute to the advancement of science?
    Science should at least allow for a methodological distinction between natural and intelligent causes; meanwhile upholding the principle of parsimony. Reflections on the reducibility of the mental to the material belong in the realm of philosophy – science ought to take a neutral position on these matters.

  327. 327
    kairosfocus says:

    JWT:

    Blind, as in non-purposeful, non foresighted, non planning, etc. As in Zener noise, sky noise, etc, or even ye olde dice etc. Why mutations in biology were said to be random. Not requiring flat random of course.

    Similarly, the trillions of observed actual cases of FSCO/I and its equally observed causal process leads to a pretty straightforward induction that design is a known causal process for FSCO/I, that it is the only actually observed effective causal process, that it passes the vera causa test and is best current explanation, that it is a reliable sign of same etc.

    The config space, needle in haystack analysis, then highlights that the other known cause of highly contingent outcomes is not a plausible source of FSCO/I.

    Thus, we have a clear distinguishing mark.

    One that is inductively arrived at, not by mere circular definition. (Where FSCO/I from text strings to Lego Castles to sand castles to brilliant cut diamonds to ABU Cardinal and 6500C3 reels, to paper tape readers, to codes on such tapes, to mRNA protein assembly codes and the Ribosome assemblers, and more, can be readily recognised.

    And, was, e.g. Orgel and Wicken c 1973 and 1979.

    Before metric models were invented to try to quantify, which however can be and has been done, with some success.

    As for failure to account for our intelligence on chance and necessity, let’s try Crick’s The Astonishing Hypothesis on brains and CNS’es:

    . . . that “You”, your joys and your sorrows, your memories and your ambitions, your sense of personal identity and free will, are in fact no more than the behaviour of a vast assembly of nerve cells and their associated molecules. As Lewis Carroll’s Alice might have phrased: “You’re nothing but a pack of neurons.” This hypothesis is so alien to the ideas of most people today that it can truly be called astonishing.

    . . . then contrast J B S Haldane’s much earlier and far more penetrating insight that speaks straight to the attempt to reduce mind to computing wetware:

    “It seems to me immensely unlikely that mind is a mere by-product of matter. For if my mental processes are determined wholly by the motions of atoms in my brain I have no reason to suppose that my beliefs are true. They may be sound chemically, but that does not make them sound logically. And hence I have no reason for supposing my brain to be composed of atoms. In order to escape from this necessity of sawing away the branch on which I am sitting, so to speak, I am compelled to believe that mind is not wholly conditioned by matter.” [[“When I am dead,” in Possible Worlds: And Other Essays [1927], Chatto and Windus: London, 1932, reprint, p.209.]

    Game, set, match . . . Haldane.

    KF

  328. 328
    JWTruthInLove says:

    @Box:

    How do we explain these differences, if we are no longer ‘allowed’ to make a distinction between natural and intelligent causes?

    The same way you explain differences between all causes. You draw arbitrary categories and define your terms. So, you are ‘allowed’ to make a distinction between intelligent causes and all the other causes. It doesn’t matter whether you’re a materialist or non-materialist. A materialist sees a car and concludes an intelligent cause. A non-materialist sees a car and concludes an intelligent cause. What exactly is the problem?

  329. 329
    JWTruthInLove says:

    @kf:

    Thus, we have a clear distinguishing mark.

    Good job! We can indeed distinguish intelligent causes from all the other causes. See archaelogy, SETI, and so on. Materialists and non-materialists agree with you!

    It seems to me immensely unlikely that mind is a mere by-product of matter.

    No one has any clue what the mind is and how it works.

  330. 330
    Box says:

    JWT: A materialist sees a car and concludes an intelligent cause. A non-materialist sees a car and concludes an intelligent cause. What exactly is the problem?

    Good question. You have to ask RDFish.

  331. 331
    RDFish says:

    Hi StephenB,

    RDF: Remember where we left off discussing ID’s operationalization of “intelligence”
    SB: Yes, I do. You know my position and I have made it abundantly clear. I don’t agree with your wide-scope approach. Each scientist can define his own terms in the context of his individual paradigm.

    If that is the case, then everyone means something different by “Intelligent Design”, which makes it perfectly impossible to debate the topic. How very handy for you!

    I thought I made it clear that I don’t subscribe to a one size fits all theory for definitions or a one size fits all theory for operationalizing, either horizontally or vertically. So, I have nothing more to say about it.

    Well, you could try to provide one single “individual paradigm” with an operationalized definition for “intelligence” such that we could see that the cause of life was conscious, or that it could learn or adapt. But of course there is no such paradigm. The fact is, ID cannot provide any scientific reason to believe that the cause of life had the mental attributes that ID proponents claim that it had.

    Take me through the process. A man is lying dead in the street with what appears to be a single stab wound in his back. How do you arrive at the conclusion that it was the result of murderous intent?

    This should have been settled long ago. Perhaps another dialogue will help:

    COP1: We got a dead guy with a knife wound in his back.
    IDGUY1: Ah! Let’s see… do you think this was due to any combination of deterministic law + chance?
    COP1: Excuse me IDGuy, we are trying to work a case here, could you please shut up with the philosophy for a minute?
    IDGUY1 It’s science, not philosophy! I’m helping you! You need to use the explanatory filter!
    COP1: No, we need to investigate this death. Let’s see, there’s a dog over there in the alley looking suspicious…
    COP2: Haha, I don’t think dogs can wield knives without opposable thumbs!
    COP1: Right – the dog didn’t do it, hahahaha.
    IDGUY1: If the dog did it, it would have been a case of Intelligent Design!
    IDGUY2: No, dogs can’t create CSI and they aren’t conscious rational beings…
    COP1: Hey IDGuys – put a sock in it, will you? We’re working here!
    IDGUY1: We’re explaining that if something occurs purely by law + chance that means it isn’t an intelligent agent…
    COP1: I have no idea what you’re talking about.
    COP2: You think he could have fallen on a knife somehow?
    COP1: Not likely – the knife went right into his back!
    IDGUY1: If he fell on the knife, that would not be Intelligent Design, because it would mean it was “law + chance”
    IDGUY2: But the victim was an intelligent agent – wouldn’t that mean it was a case of Intelligent Design?
    IDGUY1: No, because the intelligent agent would have done it by accident, so it’s not Intelligent Design, it’s just “law + chance”
    COP2: Seriously, IDGuys – shut your pie holes! You are just in the way. You are not helping with this crap about “physical law + chance” and “design” and stuff.
    COP1: Right – you’re not helping at all. We don’t care about “law + chance” – we are just trying to figure out how the knife got in this guy’s back.
    COP2: We get five cases a day in this city of people getting stabbed by other people – I’m going with homicide here.
    IDGUY2: Aha! You have used Intelligent Design Theory to solve this case!
    COP1: Nope. We use what we know from real life in order to solve crimes. We don’t need to think about “deterministic law” or “randomness” or “intelligent agency” or any of that stuff – we just base our conclusions on our experience. There ain’t nothin’ else except a person – a real live flesh-and-blood human being – that is going to put a knife in somebody else’s back, so we know what we’re looking for.
    IDGUYS (whispering): They used ID theory and they don’t even know it! Another victory for ID theory!

    Cheers,
    RDFish/AIGuy

  332. 332
    RDFish says:

    Hi JWTruthInLove,

    Can someone please explain to me how one concludes “intelligence” is distinct from “law+chance” ????
    Is this just a matter of definition or was there an experiment done?

    AHA!!! Thank you very much JWT, you have certainly hit the nail on the head here! The answer, of course, is this:
    1) ID defines intelligence as “the complement of law + chance” (this is only one of their definitions however)
    and also
    2) ID assumes that intelligence is distinct from law + chance (as in the Explanatory Filter)
    and also
    3) ID pretends that they experimentally verify that intelligence is distinct from law + chance (but won’t tell you what the experiment is)

    Thanks JWT – you’ve zeroed in on the problem perfectly.

    Cheers,
    RDFish/AIGuy

  333. 333
    RDFish says:

    Hi Phinehas,

    I’ve answered all of your questions about SETI in my post to StephenB @306.

    So, I’d say some of what some SETI folks say is unscientific (such as their assumption that intelligence is solely a property of the brain) and some isn’t. If you’re interested in SETI perhaps there is a discussion forum for that somewhere.

    Here we’re discussing ID, and the point I’ve raised is this:

    People typically associate a number of different attributes with the term “intelligence”, including consciousness, volition, learning, behavioral flexibility, and so on. ID provides no empirically-based justifications to conclude that those attributes apply to the cause of living systems.

    If you disagree, I invite you to take those attributes (or any of your choosing) and provide operational definitions for them that could be tested in the context of ID.

    Cheers,
    RDFish/AIGuy

  334. 334
    RDFish says:

    Hi Box,

    Obviously the position is based on the assumption of the philosophical position of metaphysical naturalism. Science should be about examining and explaining things – not philosophy.

    I agree.

    For instance, we observe a striking difference between a blob of silk and a cobweb, between cosmic noise and narrow-band signals, and a heap of sand and a sand castle.

    Yes, these are all different things.

    How do we explain these differences, if we are no longer ‘allowed’ to make a distinction between natural and intelligent causes?

    Allowed? Hahahaha – it’s not about “allowing” – it is simply about providing an operational definition of “intelligent cause”.

    Here, maybe this will help: I have something here in my room, and I’d like you to tell me if it is (1) natural or (2) intelligent. You can ask me questions about this thing, and I’ll answer them.

    Cheers,
    RDFish/AIGuy

  335. 335
    Box says:

    RDFish: Allowed? Hahahaha – it’s not about “allowing” – it is simply about providing an operational definition of “intelligent cause”.

    Glad to see that you are in a good mood.

    So “intelligent cause” is in and the only remaining problem is to come up with an operational definition of “intelligent cause”? Do I understand you correctly?
    Do you hold that the latter is impossible?

  336. 336
    RDFish says:

    Hi Box,

    So “intelligent cause” is in and the only remaining problem is to come up with an operational definition of “intelligent cause”? Do I understand you correctly?
    Do you hold that the latter is impossible?

    My point is this:

    Abstract concepts like “intelligence” that have multiple components need to be operationally defined in order to be scientifically useful. This is not controversial.

    There are plenty of operational definitions for “intelligence”. For example, one of them is “able to produce CSI”.

    The problem I am pointing out here is that these operational definitions are not among the attributes that are commonly associated with the term “intelligence”. Commonly, we think of “intelligence” in terms of attributes like consciousness, volition, learning and behavioral flexibility, solving of novel problems in multiple domains, use of a generally expressive grammatical language, and so on.

    So, if ID wishes to be empirically-based (i.e. scientific), it would need to come up with operational definitions for at least some of these attributes that can be tested in the context of ID.

    Cognitive scientists come up with operational definitions for these attributes all the time. For example, there is the “mirror test” of self-awareness used by cognitive ethologists in animal studies, or various verbal tests for human subjects that are used. Alan Turing famously devised an operational definition of conscious intelligence that is known as the “Turing Test”. Other operationational definitions include the existence of certain neural correlates of consciousness (particular brain structures).

    However, none of these definitions are suitable for evaluation in the context of ID, because in ID, there is no opportunity to observe or interact with the subject.

    I’ve been making this point for years, and not one ID proponent has ever addressed the issue. The reason is because there is no way to address the issue – either the operational definition can’t be evaluated empirically in the context of ID, or it doesn’t relate to these attributes we associate with the concept of “intelligence”.

    That is one reason why ID is not scientific.

    Cheers,
    RDFish/AIGuy

  337. 337
    RDFish says:

    clarification for @335:

    There are plenty of operational definitions for “intelligence”. For example, one of them is “able to produce CSI”.

    => should read

    There are plenty of operational definitions for “intelligence” in ID. For example, one of them is “able to produce CSI”.

  338. 338
    fifthmonarchyman says:

    Box said,

    I don’t think it is accurate to say that consciousness is IC. I would prefer to hold that the capability of integrating information is a (intelligent) feature of consciousness.4

    Do you agree?

    I say,

    I would argue that intelligence not is the capability of integrating information and consciousness is the result of that integration.

    I would tentatively say that all Consciousness is IC. I’m not sure but I lean to the idea that all IC is consciousness in a sense.

    But with the strong stipulation that a particular kind of self-consciousness is restricted to “Intelligent” entities.

    I find this all to be fascinating cutting edge stuff that needs to be ruminated on and the implications fleshed out.

    Who would have of thought that a central ID concept would be at the forefront of a revolution in cognitive science, computer science and neuroscience Before it was accepted in biology?

    peace

  339. 339
    fifthmonarchyman says:

    I would argue that intelligence not is the capability of integrating information and consciousness is the result of that integration.

    should read….

    I would argue that intelligence is the capability of integrating information and consciousness is the result of that integration.

    the “not” is a par for the course error on my part

    peace

  340. 340
    Box says:

    RDFish: My point is this:

    Abstract concepts like “intelligence” that have multiple components need to be operationally defined in order to be scientifically useful. This is not controversial.

    To be clear, you are fine with the postulation of “intelligence” as a cause? All you ask from ID is a operationalization of “intelligence” which logically connects to “consciousness, volition, learning and behavioral flexibility, solving of novel problems in multiple domains, use of a generally expressive grammatical language, and so on”?
    You are no longer demanding that “intelligence” is defined as a property of human beings, their brains, animal brains or other sources – assumed by metaphysical naturalism? You are fine with the fuzzy concept “intelligence”, and you no longer hold that it necessarily stems from a material source?

  341. 341
    Alan Fox says:

    aiguy writes:

    I have said about a hundred million times on this site that my position regarding the mind/body problems is that WE DO NOT KNOW, and that both dualism and physicalism are unsupported scientifically.

    We’ve been having a discussion on theories of consciousness, dualism and physicalism here, discussing Michael Graziano’s recent book Consciousness and the Social Brain. I’d argue that the only evidence we can work with is physical, so it seems a bit harsh to say physical interpretaions of how the brain works are unsupported though I’d happily agree on incomplete. There is no evidence for an immaterial element. How could there be, by definition?

    I’d be very interested in your view on Graziano’s attention schema theory if you have time to drop in.

    I see Giuli Tononi gets a mention upthread. I’ve been looking at Michael Tomasello’s work too. Coincidence with all the Italian surnames? I don’t think so!

  342. 342
    Joe says:

    RDFish:

    However, none of these definitions are suitable for evaluation in the context of ID, because in ID, there is no opportunity to observe or interact with the subject.

    So much for SETI and archaeology…

  343. 343
    Alan Fox says:

    PS @ aiguy

    Are you drawn to the ideas of Amie Thomasson and her “non-reductive physicalism”?

  344. 344
    RDFish says:

    Hi Box,

    To be clear, you are fine with the postulation of “intelligence” as a cause?

    ??? Of course – anyone can postulate anything as a cause of course. You could postulate that “boojah” was the cause of life, and that would be just fine, as long as you provide a definition for “boojah” that can be empirically evaluated in the context of the origin of life.

    All you ask from ID is a operationalization of “intelligence” which logically connects to “consciousness, volition, learning and behavioral flexibility, solving of novel problems in multiple domains, use of a generally expressive grammatical language, and so on”?

    Here’s the issue: ID doesn’t postulate “boojah” or “resantic morphotics” or “tinodulance” as the cause of life; it uses a word (“intelligence”) that already has a common, everyday meaning. When you say “intelligence”, people think of human intelligence, and the attributes of human intelligence include those traits I listed (consciousness, etc). So, if ID is going to say that it has scientific evidence that “intelligence” was responsible for life, it needs to provide a way to empirically support the claim that those attributes were possessed by the cause of life.

    You are no longer demanding that “intelligence” is defined as a property of human beings, their brains, animal brains or other sources – assumed by metaphysical naturalism?

    You’re mistaken – I’ve never “demanded” any such thing of course. In my view, “metaphysical naturalism” is a complete red herring. I’ve always simply asked for a scientifically useful definition of “intelligence”, which after all is the sole explanatory concept of ID Theory.

    You are fine with the fuzzy concept “intelligence”, and you no longer hold that it necessarily stems from a material source?

    Again, you’ve completely got my position wrong – I’ve never said anything of the sort.

    Cheers,
    RDFish/AIGuy

  345. 345
    RDFish says:

    Hi Alan –
    I’ve never read Thomasson – I’ll give it look. I may hop over to TSZ and read that thread, thanks. In brief, I think IIT has interesting ideas regarding intelligence, but doesn’t bridge the gap to phenomenological experience. I am of the opinion (along with folks like that unpopular Colin McGinn) that our minds are unable to understand what consciousness is and its relation to the world we (consciously) experience.
    Cheers,
    AIGuy

  346. 346
    Alan Fox says:

    aiguy writes:

    I am of the opinion (along with folks like that unpopular Colin McGinn) that our minds are unable to understand what consciousness is and its relation to the world we (consciously) experience.

    Hope you are not as much of a pessimist as McGinn seems to be. I see no reason not to make the attempt and we can start with simpler systems. Human consciousness is an attribute that evolved. We can look at other primates. We can look at the simplest “awareness” systems. The nematode C. elegans only has 302 neurons in its (adult) brain. Plenty of scope for scientific study before we throw up our hands and say “it can’t be done!”

  347. 347
    StephenB says:

    RDFish

    I’ve been making this point for years, and not one ID proponent has ever addressed the issue. The reason is because there is no way to address the issue – either the operational definition can’t be evaluated empirically in the context of ID, or it doesn’t relate to these attributes we associate with the concept of “intelligence”.

    RD, as you know I take a different approach in the sense that I think operational definitions are contextual. However, if I was going to address this issue (I don’t really perceive it as a big problem like you do), I would immediately place “intelligence” in two areas, conceptual understanding and problem solving intelligence.

    I define conceptual understanding to mean exactly what it sounds like, the capacity to grasp concepts, meanings, first principles, and such. It is the ability to internalize the big picture and the way constituent parts relate to the larger whole

    I define problem solving intelligence to mean the capacity define a problem, compare alternative solutions, make a decision, absorb feedback and take new action based on the feedback. Some people might even say that these steps are similar to the scientific method itself.

    In my judgment, blending both categories, while reasonable from a big picture perspective, misses the point about what CSI is really supposed to represent. That is why i think that problem solving ability is the correct meta-paradigm. We can think of in terms of what the designer does to design a function for a purpose.

    For another thing, it resembles the model that many observers believe to be the scientific method, i.e. establish the research question (or formulate a hypothesis) analyze the data, draw conclusions, and test for legitimacy.

    In a way, CSI seems to be the mark left by the designer who goes through the aforementioned steps to reach the design and intelligence is simply the ability to do it.

    Anyway, for what it is worth, that’s my hasty and undeveloped (underdeveloped really) perspective on the relationship of CSI with the definition of intelligence and the definition of design. I have no emotional attachment to the idea, nor have I invested very much time trying to articulate it, so I don’t mind whatever criticism comes my way.

  348. 348
    Box says:

    RDFish,

    Box: You are no longer demanding that “intelligence” is defined as a property of human beings, their brains,(…)

    RDFish: You’re mistaken – I’ve never “demanded” any such thing of course. In my view, “metaphysical naturalism” is a complete red herring.

    Box: You are fine with the fuzzy concept “intelligence”, and you no longer hold that it necessarily stems from a material source?

    RDFish: Again, you’ve completely got my position wrong – I’ve never said anything of the sort.

    If that is true, how am I to understand the following:

    RDFish: But unless there is evidence to the contrary, what appears to our uniform experience is that nothing can design anything without a well-functioning brain.

    RDFish: Since it appears that well-functioning brains are required in order to experience consciousness (any number of things that can happen to our brain can make our consciousness go away), it appears a priori that something without a brain would not experience consciousness at all.

    RDFish: What is generally unspoken in these discussions is what ID folks actually think they are talking about when they refer to an “intelligent agent”. Of course they are talking about something with a conscious mind like their own, with perceptions and sensations and conscious beliefs, desires, intentions, and emotions.

    So this thing is supposed to be able to think, feel, and build things like human beings do, without the benefit of being a complex physical organism. It’s supposed brainy without a having brain, to have a heart without having a heart, to be handy without having hands, and so on. Well, anyone can hypothesize whatever they’d like to of course, but we have no experience of anything like this in our uniform and repeated experience.

    This thinking – and ID in general – is strictly religious, and has nothing at all to do with science.

  349. 349
    kairosfocus says:

    Implying that definitions to be valid must be operational imposes an infinite regress and is invalid. If underneath is the verification principle that unless operational or analytic then meaningless, it fails its own test and collapses. There are many types of definition which are quite valid, and intelligence is more than adequately defined in many acceptable ways. The objection is hyperskeptical and possibly rooted in outdated philosophy that is self refuting. KF

  350. 350
    fifthmonarchyman says:

    Alan Fox said.

    Human consciousness is an attribute that evolved.

    I say,

    You know that that that statement is demonstratively false according to the latest research in IIT don’t you?

    peace

  351. 351
    Alan Fox says:

    FMM writes:

    You know that that that statement is demonstratively false according to the latest research in IIT don’t you?

    Hi FMM, I seem to recall you as one of the calmer commenters at TT.

    No, I did not know that. Do you mean consciousness is false? I’d certainly accept that “consciousness” is such a vague, ill-defined term as to be positively unhelpful in studying how humans think. Or do you mean evolution played no part in the development of the human brain? That would be interesting if such were demonstrably false. I’d love to see the evidence if you have a link.

  352. 352
    RDFish says:

    Hi Alan,

    Plenty of scope for scientific study before we throw up our hands and say “it can’t be done!”

    There is tremendous opportunity for furthering our understanding of thinking. Even in AI there is truly exciting progress right now (deep belief networks, for example). I’m only doubtful that an explanation of phenomenology will be forthcoming, because nobody can even say what such a theory would even look like. Imagine we discovered precisely what physical structures and functions were necessary and sufficient to produce conscious awareness – that still wouldn’t begin to answer the questions of phenomenology.

    Cheers,
    AIGuy

  353. 353
    RDFish says:

    Hi StephenB

    RD, as you know I take a different approach in the sense that I think operational definitions are contextual.

    No, we actually agree on this point – it is obviously true in fact. Of course operational definitions are contextual, SB, which is why I constantly say “in the context of ID” when I ask you for operational definitions of these mental attributes.

    However, if I was going to address this issue (I don’t really perceive it as a big problem like you do),…

    It’s not a problem at all, unless you wish to claim that Intelligent Design Theory is a scientific theory of life origins, or something like that.

    I define conceptual understanding to mean exactly what it sounds like, the capacity to grasp concepts, meanings, first principles, and such. It is the ability to internalize the big picture and the way constituent parts relate to the larger whole

    Ok, that is an abstract concept with multiple components, and would need to be operationalized in order to be studied scientifically.

    I define problem solving intelligence to mean the capacity define a problem, compare alternative solutions, make a decision, absorb feedback and take new action based on the feedback. Some people might even say that these steps are similar to the scientific method itself.

    Ok, that too is an abstract concept with multiple components, and would need to be operationalized in order to be studied scientifically.

    In my judgment, blending both categories, while reasonable from a big picture perspective, misses the point about what CSI is really supposed to represent. That is why i think that problem solving ability is the correct meta-paradigm. We can think of in terms of what the designer does to design a function for a purpose.

    Here is how I explained this issue to UB above:

    RDF: Regarding problem-solving, you’ve left out a critical component: It is not problem-solving, but the solving of novel problems that is typically considered as a requisite component of intelligence. The classic illustration of why this is so is the sphex wasp, which appears to solve complex problems in a thoughtful way until presented with a novel problem, at which point the apparent general intelligence is revealed to be rigidly sterotyped behavior that cannot adapt. In the context of ID, one could say that whatever caused biological systems solved the problem of producing biological systems (by definition). What we’d like to know, however, is for example could this cause of biological system solve other sorts of problems, such as verbal analogies? Or could it solve design problems other than producing the particular designs that we observe? If we assume that the cause of life was something with human-like intelligence, then the answer to these questions would be “yes”. But why would we imagine that something that was not at all human like (perhaps it didn’t even have a human-like brain) have human-like intelligence? In science you can’t simply assume your conclusions, you actually have to provide empirical justifications for them. So can we empirically demonstrate that the cause of life had general human-like mental abilities? The answer, of course, is no, we can’t.

    In a way, CSI seems to be the mark left by the designer who goes through the aforementioned steps to reach the design and intelligence is simply the ability to do it.

    Here is how ID attempts to support its central claim, that life was created by something with a general intelligence (i.e. a conscious rational mind with human-like mental abilities):
    RD: Why does ID think the cause of life was generally intelligent?
    SB: Because anything that could produce CSI must be generally intelligent.
    RD: Why does ID think that anything that could produce CSI must be generally intelligent?
    SB: Because humans produce CSI and humans are generally intelligent.
    RD: But that is fallacious reasoning – other CSI producers may not be generally intelligent
    SB: I prefer to think that the cause of life was generally intelligent.
    RD: That’s fine – just don’t pretend you’re doing science.

    Anyway, for what it is worth, that’s my hasty and undeveloped (underdeveloped really) perspective on the relationship of CSI with the definition of intelligence and the definition of design. I have no emotional attachment to the idea, nor have I invested very much time trying to articulate it, so I don’t mind whatever criticism comes my way.

    You seem very emotionally attached to ID, and until this problem is resolved (and some other problems too) ID is not a scientifically valid theory at all, but rather a collection of poor arguments for theism.

    Cheers,
    RDFish

  354. 354
    RDFish says:

    Hi Box,

    If that is true, how am I to understand the following:
    RDFish: But unless there is evidence to the contrary, what appears to our uniform experience is that nothing can design anything without a well-functioning brain.

    That means just what it says – that in our experience, nothing can design anything without a well-functioning brain. What part don’t you understand?

    RDFish: What is generally unspoken in these discussions is what ID folks actually think they are talking about when they refer to an “intelligent agent”. Of course they are talking about something with a conscious mind like their own, with perceptions and sensations and conscious beliefs, desires, intentions, and emotions.

    This too means just what it says. I don’t understand why you think this is in contradiction to what I’ve said about operational definitions. Just because our experience of general intelligence is that it is dependent upon our brains doesn’t mean that it always must be the case; it simply means that is our empirical data currently. And you are still free to offer any hypothesis, using any definition, that you wish – nobody is demanding that you not hypothesize immaterial intelligence or anything else.

    RDF: So this thing is supposed to be able to think, feel, and build things like human beings do, without the benefit of being a complex physical organism. It’s supposed brainy without a having brain, to have a heart without having a heart, to be handy without having hands, and so on. Well, anyone can hypothesize whatever they’d like to of course, but we have no experience of anything like this in our uniform and repeated experience.

    Ah yes – not sure where you found this, but I would say it is pretty nicely said 🙂

    Again, I’ve emphasized that all testable hypotheses are legitimate, just don’t pretend that they are empirically supported until you provide operational definitions that can be evaluated in the context of ID.

    This thinking – and ID in general – is strictly religious, and has nothing at all to do with science.

    What I meant by “religious” here was that if you accept these ideas about immaterial minds without providing any method to test your claims, you are justifying your claims by means of faith rather than empirical evidence.

    Cheers,
    RDFish/AIGuy

  355. 355
    fifthmonarchyman says:

    Hey Alan,

    I mean that consciousness is not computable. In other words there is no algorithmic function that can produce consciousnesses.

    If we can say nothing else about evolution we can say it is an algorithmic function.

    As far as consciousness being ill-defined I really suggest you check out IIT. It has some valuable things to say about the subject.

    Just Google “Is Consciousness Computable” and check it out.

    peace

  356. 356
    Alan Fox says:

    I’m only doubtful that an explanation of phenomenology will be forthcoming, because nobody can even say what such a theory would even look like. Imagine we discovered precisely what physical structures and functions were necessary and sufficient to produce conscious awareness – that still wouldn’t begin to answer the questions of phenomenology.

    Come to the dark side! As much as it has occupied the minds of many respected philosophers, I think phenomenology is a useless concept in understanding how we think.

  357. 357
    fifthmonarchyman says:

    Here is the path to paper Ive been mostly referring to

    http://arxiv.org/abs/1405.0126

    But to fully understand the discussion going on you need to just use it as a starting point and dig deeper from there

    peace

  358. 358
    kairosfocus says:

    F/N: I suggest that the first fact of experience we have is conscious mindedness, and that for mind to be valid in knowledge and meaning, we have no proper basis for equating rational contemplation with computation, as the latter is a strictly blind mechanistic process that has no inherent connexion to logic, truth, validity etc, as say the Pentium recall shows. Next, this means that we cannot smuggle in a materialist assumption and imposition on mindedness. Minds may be embodied, as we experience, we have no reason to imagine that they may only be embodied materially. Of course in terms of the world of cell based life on earth as has been pointed out to RDF et al any number of times but willfully ignored, nothing is required beyond a molecular nanotech lab some generations beyond Venter et al; that is, by itself that would be a sufficient explanation of what we observe, a point implicit in ID discussions since the very first ID technical work in 1984 by Thaxton et al. The issue that RDF will not squarely face, is that the design of the cosmos shows evidence of fine tuning for cell based, C-Chemistry, aqueous medium life, and that this, even through a multiverse, puts mind beyond matter on the table. By tagging this as “religious,” RDF wishes to play at dismissive well poisoning, but in fact the issue is a philosophical one that needs make no reference whatsoever to the ideas of any particular religious tradition, yes, it is beyond the scope of science, but that has to do with the subject matter of ultimate origins, inherently. And, in fact it is these phil questions that set the context in which science happens. What is clear, is that our notions of mind should not lock out what for all we know may yet prove true. Otherwise we are locked into worldviews level question begging. For a long time, unfortunately, RDF has ducked, dodged, distorted and side tracked rather than face the real issue on the table on this point. I simply note for record, not expecting him at this stage to be willing to change. KF

  359. 359
    Alan Fox says:

    Just Google “Is Consciousness Computable” and check it out.

    OK will do.

  360. 360
    Mung says:

    RDFish:

    I’m afraid that is the case, UB – you really haven’t been clear at all. In fact, I have no idea at all what you are talking about.

    Yet he’s refuted you. Repeatedly. /end sarcasm

    RDFish:

    Sarcasm isn’t an effective debating method…

    I work with the materials available.

  361. 361
    Alan Fox says:

    FMM

    Are you talking about Tononi and integrated information theory? A Universe of Consciousness: How Matter Becomes Imagination? or Phi: A Voyage from the Brain to the Soul?

  362. 362
    Alan Fox says:

    OT @ GEM

    Did you overlook my comment in another thread?

    I was on Jersey a couple of weeks ago and visited the Durrell wildlife Centre where I was interested to learn about the efforts to save the Mountain chicken from extinction. I see from press reports that fifty frogs bred at Durrell were released back into the wild on Montserrat just recently.

    I did have to smile that this involved funding from the Darwin Initiative.

  363. 363
    StephenB says:

    You seem very emotionally attached to ID, and until this problem is resolved (and some other problems too) ID is not a scientifically valid theory at all, but rather a collection of poor arguments for theism.

    I said that I wasn’t emotionally attached to the model I just presented–not ID. That is why your irrational response did not bother me. Your whole approach is irrational, as everyone keeps telling you.

  364. 364
    fifthmonarchyman says:

    Hey Alan,

    I haven’t read the books yet. There is just too much free information available. Lots of the relevant papers are public access.

    If I understand correctly it was Tononi who got the ball rolling. Here is the manifesto. again free

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19098144

    I think the profound incite in the field so far is Phil Maguire’s observation that in consciousnesses information integration is non-lossy, In other words irreducibly complex.

    peace

  365. 365
    Mung says:

    StephenB:

    I said that I wasn’t emotionally attached to the model I just presented–not ID. That is why your irrational response did not bother me. Your whole approach is irrational, as everyone keeps telling you.

    Is it just me, or does RDFish seem to be emotionally attached to ID?

  366. 366
    RDFish says:

    Hi StephenB,

    I said that I wasn’t emotionally attached to the model I just presented–not ID.

    And yet you can’t explain how ID can empirically support the claim that the cause of life was conscious, or that it could explain what it was doing, or that it could solve novel problems, or that had any of these other attributes commonly associated with “intelligence”. That must make you sad.

    Your whole approach is irrational, as everyone keeps telling you.

    Most people I talk to tell me that my approach is insightful, original, interesting, and perfectly valid. It’s pretty much only religious people on this board who tell me its irrational.

    This is essentially our debate here, and this is why you’ve lost:

    RD: Why does ID think the cause of life was generally intelligent?
    SB: Because anything that could produce CSI must be generally intelligent.
    RD: Why does ID think that anything that could produce CSI must be generally intelligent?
    SB: Because humans produce CSI and humans are generally intelligent.
    RD: But that is fallacious reasoning – other CSI producers may not be generally intelligent
    SB: I prefer to think that the cause of life was generally intelligent.
    RD: That’s fine – just don’t pretend you’re doing science.

    Cheers,
    RDFish/AIGuy

  367. 367
    Box says:

    RDFish,

    RD: Why does ID think the cause of life was generally intelligent?
    ID: Because anything that could produce CSI must be generally intelligent.
    RD: Why does ID think that anything that could produce CSI must be generally intelligent?
    ID: Because humans produce CSI and humans are generally intelligent.
    RD: But that is fallacious reasoning – other CSI producers may not be generally intelligent
    ID: True, there may be unknown natural forces capable of producing CSI. However, until we have discovered those forces, the best explanation for CSI is intelligent design.

  368. 368
    RDFish says:

    Hi Box,

    ID: True, there may be unknown natural forces capable of producing CSI. However, until we have discovered those forces, the best explanation for CSI is intelligent design.

    1) Why do you put the word “natural” in that sentence – how would the meaning of that sentence change if you took that word out?

    2) When you say “intelligent design”, which of the attributes commonly associated with “intelligence” does ID mean to imply? Consciousness? The ability to learn? The ability to adapt to new environments? The ability to converse in a generally expressive grammatical language? What else?

    3) Take your list of the attributes that you think ID claims applied to the cause of life. For each attribute on the list, tell me the justification for believing that attribute did in fact apply to the cause of life.

    But of course you can’t do that, because there is no way to do that without observing or interacting with the cause of life.

    Everybody here has gotten to this point of the debate with me, and then they quit and go away, because nobody can resolve this problem for ID.

    Cheers,
    RDFish/AIGuy

  369. 369
    Mung says:

    RDFish:

    Everybody here has gotten to this point of the debate with me, and then they quit and go away, because nobody can resolve this problem for ID.

    Most of us here simply think you are delusional and ignore you. Do you have a response to Upright BiPed that consists of something more substantive than an admission of ignorance?

  370. 370
    Mung says:

    RDFish:

    I’m afraid that is the case, UB – you really haven’t been clear at all. In fact, I have no idea at all what you are talking about.

    Is this a case of me no speaka da engliss?

  371. 371
    Box says:

    RDF #367,

    ID: True, there may be unknown natural forces capable of producing CSI. However, until we have discovered those forces, the best explanation for CSI is intelligent design.

    [ Quote adjusted, still looking fine ]

    Consciousness? Yes, logic informs us that one has to be aware of the materials that are being arranged.
    Conceptual thinking? Yes, how else can anyone create IC?
    Purpose? Sure.

    RD, how many do I need?

  372. 372
    RDFish says:

    Again, Mung misreads the thread:

    Do you have a response to Upright BiPed that consists of something more substantive than an admission of ignorance?

    I made clear why Upright BiPed’s arguments fail to address the problem I’ve pointed out. The problem is that none of the proposed operationalized definitions of ID have anything to do with the mental traits we commonly associate with a general intelligence, including consciousness, learning and adaptability, use of natural language, and so on.

    As usual, UB’s only response was to call me names and run away.

  373. 373
    Upright BiPed says:

    Hi Mung,

    For RD to be consistent with his earlier remarks (regarding the methodology of operationalization) he will have to refute the validity of the definition given. He cannot be consistent by asking for an operational definition, then suddenly start ignoring the methodological purpose of that definition — after it’s been given to him.

    Of course, this would be the case only if he cares about being consistent. While we may assume he would typically prefer to be consistent, the validity of the definition in this case will not allow it.

    – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

    RD: Why does ID think the cause of life was generally intelligent?
    UB: Because we find the effects of intelligence in the coding of organic polymers in the cell.
    RD: But “intelligence” can mean many things, so proper projects like SETI operationalize the term.
    UB: Yes, both SETI and ID can operationalize intelligence by its unambiguous physical effects
    RD: What physical effects can ID use to define intelligence?
    UB: The observation of dimensional semiosis to encode memory.
    RD: Well okay fine, but that has nothing to do with other things that intelligence can mean.
    UB: The purpose of the methodology is to isolate a thing by its unambiguous measurable effects.
    RD: But you are just an anonymous poster on an internet forum, right?
    UB: The reality of the matter is totally unaffected by who I am.
    RD: That’s true, but the probability of you providing any useful observation is practically nil.
    UB: Then what I provide should be judged on what I provide.
    RD: But it doesn’t answer any questions about the other things that intelligence might mean.
    UB: Again, the purpose of an operational definition is to isolate an unambiguous effect.
    RD: Okay, but I’ve never heard of this stuff in the context of ID, so it strikes me as a pathetic joke.
    UB: You have been given the definition, and I’m prepared to defend it.
    RD: You don’t seem to understand my point; your definition DOES NOT ADDRESS other attributes.
    UB: You are being incoherent with regard to what an operational definition is used for.
    RD: No, you are NOT RESPONDING TO MY POINTS!!!!
    UB: You asked for an operational definition of intelligence, and I gave you one.
    RD: Like I’ve said all along, ID cannot provide an operational definition of intelligence.
    😐

  374. 374
    RDFish says:

    Hi Upright BiPed,

    Your bizarre dialogue had too many misrepresentations to begin to deal with.

    Here is your failure in a nutshell:

    1) We know that artifacts containing can be produced without aspects of general intelligence. (There are examples of this in the animal kingdom, in cases of human savantism, and in the case of computer systems).

    2) Whatever caused the first biological systems to exist was obviously not itself a biological organism of any sort, nor anything in our shared experience; it was something with unknown attributes.

    3) Therefore, there is no a priori justification for assuming that some unknown process (or entity or system or being or mechanism or whatever) that resulted CSI-rich biological systems had any particular aspect of general intelligence.

    4) Therefore, any claim that the cause of CSI in biology possessed any particular mental trait (consciousness, novel problem solving, natural language ability, and so on) would require empirical evidence; ID provides no such evidence.

    There you go – now you get to ignore my argument again 🙂

    Cheers,
    RDFish/AIGuy

  375. 375
    RDFish says:

    Sorry, typo:

    1) We know that artifacts containing CSI can be produced without aspects of general intelligence. (There are examples of this in the animal kingdom, in cases of human savantism, and in the case of computer systems).

  376. 376
    RDFish says:

    Hi Upright BiPed,

    Just to make sure I do understand your position here, let me ask you these questions:

    1) Do you believe that ID shows that the cause of biological systems was capable of using a generally expressive natural language?

    2) Do you believe that ID shows that the cause of biological systems experienced conscious self-awareness like human beings (and perhaps other animals) do?

    3) Do you believe that ID shows that the cause of biological systems could produce something other than biological systems – for example, it could build a computer out of metal and silicon chips and so on?

    Cheers,
    RDFish/AIGuy

  377. 377
    Upright BiPed says:

    RDF,

    The operational definition given to you does not even mention CSI.

    You failed to address the definition.

  378. 378
    Upright BiPed says:

    1) Do you believe that ID shows that the cause of biological systems was capable of using a generally expressive natural language?

    2) Do you believe that ID shows that the cause of biological systems experienced conscious self-awareness like human beings (and perhaps other animals) do?

    3) Do you believe that ID shows that the cause of biological systems could produce something other than biological systems – for example, it could build a computer out of metal and silicon chips and so on?

    These questions entirely fall outside of the operational definition given, and are therefore irrelevant to the validity of that definition.

  379. 379
    RDFish says:

    Hi Upright BiPed,

    1) Do you believe that ID shows that the cause of biological systems was capable of using a generally expressive natural language?

    2) Do you believe that ID shows that the cause of biological systems experienced conscious self-awareness like human beings (and perhaps other animals) do?

    3) Do you believe that ID shows that the cause of biological systems could produce something other than biological systems – for example, it could build a computer out of metal and silicon chips and so on?

    These questions entirely fall outside of the operational definition given, and are therefore irrelevant to the validity of that definition.

    Huh? You may use your operational definition, or one that deals with CSI, or any other one of your choosing. The questions remain the same. Do you, or do you not, believe that ID provides empirical support that these particular propositions are true?

    Cheers,
    RDFish/AIGuy

  380. 380
    StephenB says:

    RDF

    1) We know that artifacts containing CSI can be produced without aspects of general intelligence. (There are examples of this in the animal kingdom, in cases of human savantism, and in the case of computer systems).

    Incorrect. Computer systems cannot produce CSI without aspects of general intelligence. They must be intelligently programed.

    RDF’s definition of intelligence is flawed since it does not include problem solving abilities, which can, and has been, defined as intelligence.

    2) Whatever caused the first biological systems to exist was obviously not itself a biological organism of any sort, nor anything in our shared experience; it was something with unknown attributes.

    Bad logic. The last statement in the sentence does not follow from the two statements that preceded it. The evidence that points to the designer’s attributes dpes not need to be a part of our shared experience.

    3) Therefore, there is no a priori justification for assuming that some unknown process (or entity or system or being or mechanism or whatever) that resulted CSI-rich biological systems had any particular aspect of general intelligence.

    Bad Logic. The argument for intelligence is not assumed apriori.” It is concluded aposteriori.

    4) Therefore, any claim that the cause of CSI in biology possessed any particular mental trait (consciousness, novel problem solving, natural language ability, and so on) would require empirical evidence; ID provides no such evidence.

    Statement from ignorance. Just because RDF is not aware of the evidence does not mean that it doesn’t exist. Also, the three points that preceded this final claim have been refuted, so the “therefore” is out of place.

    There you go – now you get to ignore my argument again 🙂

    The argument against UB is worthless. It deserves to be ignored.

  381. 381
    kairosfocus says:

    F/N: C G Finney, notes for a lecture course he taught at Oberlin, on self-aware conscious mind:

    __________

    >>1. We should by all means avoid tempting God by demanding an impossible or unreasonable kind of evidence. Some students have approached this subject and determined in the beginning to take absolutely nothing for granted. They have not considered what kind of evidence is reasonable to expect; they have therefore demanded that every truth shall be demonstrated, or seen with intuitive certainty. In settling some questions, we first enquire what proof of its truth, considering the nature of the question and our circumstances, we may expect to find, what kind and degree of evidence ought to be satisfactory; and if such kind and degree of evidence is found to be within our reach, we should rest satisfied, and not tempt God by refusing to receive a truth upon a reasonable kind and degree of testimony. [–> I was amused to see this point on selective hyperskepticism at the outset] . . . .

    5. Avoid calling in question first truths. These truths can in no way be proven, as we shall see, except by the perfection of their chronological antecedency. If we attempt to prove them by logic we shall often find it impossible. Who by logic can prove that time or space exists? Who by logic can prove that every event must have a cause? These truths cannot be proved for the reason that they are too evident to need any proof. There is nothing more simple and evident that can be laid down as premises from which they are to be deduced. They lie at the foundation of all reasoning, and are in themselves the major premises upon which we construct our syllogisms . . . .

    I. DO WE KNOW ANYTHING?

    Answer, yes; we know ourselves. Should anyone say, I doubt this; I enquire, Do you know that you doubt it? Should he reply, I doubt that I doubt it; I enquire again, Do you know that you doubt that you doubt it? Should he reply, No, I do not know anything; I enquire again, Do you know that you do not know anything? Should he say, No, I only guess that I do not know anything; I enquire again, Do you know that you thus guess? Should he reply, It only seems as if I thus guess; I enquire, Do you know that so it seems? Should he reply, No, this seeming is nothing; I enquire again, Do you know that this seeming is nothing? Should he reply, No, but only so it seems; I reply, Then you are sure that so it seems; and if you are sure of this, or if you are sure that you are not sure of this, it amounts to the same thing. We know something – we know ourselves; it is impossible to doubt this.

    II. HOW DO WE KNOW OURSELVES?

    I answer, in consciousness. That is, we are directly aware of ourselves in what we call consciousness. But what is consciousness? The word has been used ambiguously. Some times as the general faculty of knowledge; in this sense Sir William Hamilton often used it. Sometimes it is used as a function by which we know ourselves. Sometimes it is spoken of as self-knowledge. It is common to use the term as signifying either that particular function of the intellect by the use of which we know ourselves, or the knowledge of ourselves given by this function. More generally the term is used in this last sense, to signify self-knowledge; but often the faculty by which we obtain this knowledge is called by the same name by which we designate the knowledge itself. The connection in which the term is used will in general show the sense in which it is used. If we speak of the intuitions of consciousness, of course we speak of it as a function or faulty of self-knowledge; if we speak of self-knowledge as a consciousness, then it is plain that by consciousness we mean the knowledge of self.

    I say then, IN CONSCIOUSNESS WE KNOW OURSELVES. Of this knowledge I remark:

    1. That it is intuitive knowledge; that is, a knowledge obtained by a direct beholding of ourselves in the exercise of our various faculties.

    2. I remark of this knowledge, or of consciousness, that it is a certain knowledge, knowledge of the highest possible kind, a knowledge that cannot be doubted. To call its validity in question is to question the validity of all knowledge, which we have seen, is nonsense.

    III. WHAT DO WE KNOW OF OURSELVES IN CONSCIOUSNESS?

    1. We know our existence. This is not an inference; “Cogito ergo sum,” (I think, therefore I exist, Latin) is a mere sophism. If I am not directly aware of my existence, how do I know that I think; and from the consciousness of mere thought, what right have I to infer that I think, or that I exist at all. There is no premise from which this can be inferred. The mere consciousness of thought affords not the least evidence that I am the thinking substance [–> phil sense], or that I exist. And why should I say, I think? The very language implies that I know that I am, in knowing that I think. The very conception of thinking includes the assumption that I am. In consciousness, then, I know my own existence.

    2. In consciousness I know that I have three distinct faculties: The faculty of knowledge; the faculty or susceptibility of feeling; the faculty or power of willing, choosing, acting. I know in the exercise of these different faculties or susceptibilities, that I posses them. I know, for instance, that I know; and in this knowledge I know that I am and that I have a faculty of knowledge, because I am conscious of using it. I know that I feel; and in the exercise of feeling I know that I possess and use the power or faculty of willing and choosing. This knowledge, this feeling, this willing, I know to be my own; and it is impossible for me to doubt either the exercise or the existence of the faculties thus exercised.

    3. In consciousness I know all of myself that is knowable by me of myself.

    4. In consciousness I know myself as distinct from that which is not myself; and in the very conception of myself as self I know that that exists which is not myself. Of this I am in some way as certain as that I exist myself. Indeed the conception of self implies the conception of not self. Self can be defined only as we discriminate between that which is self and that which is not self. I am, then, in consciousness directly aware of myself, which implies that I am also aware of that which is not myself.

    Because of his peculiar definition of consciousness, Sir William Hamilton insist that this awareness of that which is not myself is strictly a consciousness. It is true that we are conscious of knowing that there is a not self; but is not this knowledge an intuition of the faculty of perception and distinct from consciousness but known in consciousness? It is sufficient to say that whether this as a knowledge of the not self, is a direct intuition of consciousness, or is an intuition of the perception faculty, which intuition is given to us in consciousness – certain it is that we have this knowledge, which we can no more doubt than we can doubt the knowledge of ourselves.

    5. In consciousness we know that the intellect has various functions; some of which are: Consciousness, sense, reason, conscience, memory, imagination, etc. Of consciousness I shall say no more at present, as it has been, for our present purpose sufficiently defined. Of sense, reason, and conscience, more things need in this place to be said . . . >>
    ______________

    I think, a relevant breath of fresh air, to clear the fog of hyperskeptical dismissiveness.

    KF

  382. 382
    fifthmonarchyman says:

    Box said,

    ID: True, there may be unknown forces capable of producing CSI. However, until we have discovered those forces, the best explanation for CSI is intelligent design.

    I say,

    This is the real stopping point to the debate. The question of “other minds”.

    It’s possible that I’m the only true consciousness in the universe and everyone else is nothing more than a sophisticated zombie.

    To be skeptical of “other minds” is to consign yourself to a very lonely existence.

    Aiguy will object that he is only skeptical of minds that are different than his. But just a moments reflection will reveal that every other mind is different than his to some extent and even his own brain drifts in and out of consciousness at different times.

    Since he can never know what it is about him that makes his consciousness possible he has no objective place to draw the line. No way to delineate the boundary between persons and unthinking zombies that only appear conscious.

    ID proposes that we draw the line at CSI. It’s not a perfect indicator but it allows us to escape the hyper-skeptical lonely hell of our own heads.

    peace

  383. 383
    kairosfocus says:

    5th, in fact the game of trying to reduce mind to computation on refined rock, is inherently and inescapably self referentially incoherent. This is good reason to hold that mind is not wholly determined by matter, which opens up a world. But that is utterly alien to the evo mat agenda and it will fight tooth and nail to block it, never mind that it is inescapably self referentially incoherent and self refuting as linked. It is not even a valid view. But inescapable lack of warrant never has stopped ideologies form being powerful. KF

  384. 384
    Box says:

    fmm,

    Allow me to rephrase my statement:

    True, there may be unknown forces , distinct from intelligence, capable of producing CSI. However, until we have discovered those forces, the best explanation for CSI is intelligence.

  385. 385
    JWTruthInLove says:

    @RDFish:

    COP1: We got a dead guy with a knife wound in his back.
    IDGUY1: Ah! Let’s see… do you think this was due to any combination of deterministic law + chance?
    COP1: Excuse me IDGuy, we are trying to work a case here, could you please shut up with the philosophy for a minute?

    Hilarious! And true!
    However, I would change “IDGUY” to “UD-IDGUY”. ID is indiffirent to materialism or non-materialism (e.g. archaelogy, movie “Expelled”, …). It’s just some UD-posters, who try to sell their religious ideologies as scientific truths. A condition your friends — the darwinists — also suffer from.

  386. 386
    Box says:

    Again, from RDFish’s #365:

    RD: Why does ID think the cause of life was generally intelligent?
    ID: Because anything that could produce CSI must be generally intelligent.
    RD: Why does ID think that anything that could produce CSI must be generally intelligent?
    ID: Because humans produce CSI and humans are generally intelligent.
    RD: But that is fallacious reasoning – other CSI producers may not be generally intelligent.

    No, it is not fallacious reasoning RDFish. It is an inference to the best explanation – abductive reasoning. From the FAQ: “Where CSI is present, design is inferred as the best current explanation for the relevant aspect; as there is abundant empirical support for that inference.”
    So the ID answer should be something like:

    ID: True, there may be unknown CSI producers which are not generally intelligent, however, until we have discovered these unknown CSI producers, the best explanation for CSI is a cause that is generally intelligent.

  387. 387
    Box says:

    Only now I notice that in RDFish’s imaginary discussion (see #365 or #358) the first and second ID answer are represented uncharitable by RDFish.

    Let me fix that for him:

    RD: Why does ID think the cause of life was generally intelligent?
    ID: Because, most likely, anything that could produce CSI must be generally intelligent.
    RD: Why does ID think that anything that could produce CSI must be generally intelligent?
    ID: Because humans produce CSI and humans are generally intelligent generally intelligent causes are the only known producers of CSI.
    RD: But that is fallacious reasoning – other CSI producers may not be generally intelligent.
    ID: True, there may be unknown CSI producers which are not generally intelligent, however, until we have discovered these unknown CSI producers, the best explanation for CSI is a cause that is generally intelligent.

  388. 388
    Tamara Knight says:

    Box

    As a newcomer to ID, perhaps you could explain CSI for me in layman’s terms.

    As an example, where an ovum carries an imperfect copy of half the mother’s genome
    1)What sort of changes would constitute an increase and what a decrease of “information”
    2)How would I tell if this change in information is “complex” rather “simple”.
    3)How could I tell if this change was to “specified” information or to “unspecified” information

  389. 389
    Box says:

    Hello Tamara #387,

    1) What sort of changes would constitute an increase and what a decrease of “information”.

    Let’s say that the mutation affects a gene which codes for a protein. Now a “decrease in information” would be that the genetic code (information) is changed by the mutation so that the protein can no longer be produced.
    An “increase in information” would be that the mutation results in changing the genetic code so that a novel or improved protein is being produced.
    Arguably the latter event is unlikely beyond the extreme; Douglas Axe comes to mind.

    2) How would I tell if this change in information is “complex” rather “simple”.

    If we are dealing with the alteration of a single base pair then it is certainly not complex. Complex, in this context, would be an entire pattern of base pair alterations.

    3) How could I tell if this change was to “specified” information or to “unspecified” information?

    Terms like “complex”, “specified” and “information” are explained here. From the article:

    The meaning of the term specified is very important to understanding CSI. The term “specified” in a certain sense either directly or indirectly refers to a prediction. If someone deals you a Royal Flush, the pattern would be complex. If you’re dealt a Royal Flush again several consecutive times, someone at the poker table is going to accuse you of cheating. The sequence now is increasing in improbability and complexity. A Royal Flush is specified because it is a pattern that many people are aware of and have identified in advance.

    Now, if you or the dealer ANNOUNCES IN ADVANCE that they are gong to deal you a Royal Flush, and sure enough it happens, that there is no longer any question that the target sequence was “specified.”

  390. 390
    Tamara Knight says:

    Hi Box

    Lets work on the first two points before moving on to the difficult stuff.

    Your reply to point 1) suggests you are using “”decrease” and “increase” where you mean “degrade” and “enhance”. that is, you are referring to the quality not the quantity of information. If changing a single base pair destroys the ability to produce a protein then surely “specified information” must be lost. Surely the lost information is necessarily “complex” even though only one base pair changes. And why then can’t the random reversal of this point mutation (even if it is a one in a billion chance) not recreate this imformation and increase (C)SI without intelligent input? How does the “intelligently designed” CSI differ from the randomly generated CSI in two otherwise identical strings of DNA?

  391. 391
    RDFish says:

    Hi StephenB,

    RDF: 1) We know that artifacts containing CSI can be produced without aspects of general intelligence. (There are examples of this in the animal kingdom, in cases of human savantism, and in the case of computer systems).
    SB: Incorrect. Computer systems cannot produce CSI without aspects of general intelligence. They must be intelligently programed.

    You are wrong in two different ways.

    First, I’ve explained to you before that to reject that computers display intelligence is to commit the “who designed the designer?” fallacy that you hate so much. If some organic being displayed the same behavior that an advanced robot does, you would call it intelligent… and you could conclude that it was designed!!! But just because you happen to know who the designer was in the case of the robot (and because it’s made of computer chips and software instead of flesh and blood and DNA) you reject that the robot is intelligent. Totally inconsistent!

    The second reason you are wrong is because you’ve ignored the other two examples: (1) animals (like termites) who build structures with CSI, but who do not have general intelligence, and (2) human savants who have highly developed abilities to produce CSI in some constrained area but lack general intelligence.

    RDF’s definition of intelligence is flawed since it does not include problem solving abilities, which can, and has been, defined as intelligence.

    You are wrong about this because it is not “problems” but “novel problems” that indicate what we normally think of as intelligence, as I have previously explained:

    (from @309): Regarding problem-solving, you’ve left out a critical component: It is not problem-solving, but the solving of novel problems that is typically considered as a requisite component of intelligence. The classic illustration of why this is so is the sphex wasp, which appears to solve complex problems in a thoughtful way until presented with a novel problem, at which point the apparent general intelligence is revealed to be rigidly sterotyped behavior that cannot adapt. In the context of ID, one could say that whatever caused biological systems solved the problem of producing biological systems (by definition). What we’d like to know, however, is for example could this cause of biological system solve other sorts of problems, such as verbal analogies? Or could it solve design problems other than producing the particular designs that we observe? If we assume that the cause of life was something with human-like intelligence, then the answer to these questions would be “yes”. But why would we imagine that something that was not at all human like (perhaps it didn’t even have a human-like brain) have human-like intelligence? In science you can’t simply assume your conclusions, you actually have to provide empirical justifications for them. So can we empirically demonstrate that the cause of life had general human-like mental abilities? The answer, of course, is no, we can’t.

    RDF: 2) Whatever caused the first biological systems to exist was obviously not itself a biological organism of any sort, nor anything in our shared experience; it was something with unknown attributes.
    SB: Bad logic. The last statement in the sentence does not follow from the two statements that preceded it. The evidence that points to the designer’s attributes dpes not need to be a part of our shared experience.

    I don’t even understand what you are saying here. Do you mean that your private religious experiences should count as evidence regarding the “scientific” conclusions of ID Theory?

    RDF: 3) Therefore, there is no a priori justification for assuming that some unknown process (or entity or system or being or mechanism or whatever) that resulted CSI-rich biological systems had any particular aspect of general intelligence.
    SB: Bad Logic. The argument for intelligence is not assumed apriori.” It is concluded aposteriori.

    No it isn’t. Otherwise you would actually tell me what the evidence is for the consciousness of the Designer, for example.
    Does the Designer say that It is conscious?
    Does the Designer recognize that the image in a mirror is It?
    Does the Designer have brain structures that are correlated with consciousness in humans?
    Those are the tests that doctors and scientists give to people and animals on Earth to see if something is conscious. What test can you apply in the context of ID?

    (And of course even Dembski doesn’t think ID can infer consciousness!)

    Same goes for learning or solving novel problems and using natural language.

    RDF: 4) Therefore, any claim that the cause of CSI in biology possessed any particular mental trait (consciousness, novel problem solving, natural language ability, and so on) would require empirical evidence; ID provides no such evidence.
    SB: Statement from ignorance. Just because RDF is not aware of the evidence does not mean that it doesn’t exist.

    Hahahahahaha…. and you keep this evidence secret? Is it locked in a vault, revealed only to true believers?

    Cheers,
    RDFish/AIGuy

  392. 392
    RDFish says:

    Hi FMM,

    To be skeptical of “other minds” is to consign yourself to a very lonely existence.

    We all solve the problem of other minds by a very strong inference: I know I am conscious, and other people say they are conscious (why would something unconscious lie about it?), and other people act so much like I do (recognizing my image in a mirror, displaying emotions, solving novel problems, and so on), and they have the same brain structures that I have that are known to correlate with consciousness. These are also the tests that doctors and cognitive scientists use to assess consciousness in humans and other animals. None of these sorts of tests can be applied in the context of ID.

    Cheers,
    RDFish/AIGuy

  393. 393
    RDFish says:

    Hi JWTruthInLove,

    Hilarious!

    Thanks – I thought it was pretty funny 🙂

    However, I would change “IDGUY” to “UD-IDGUY”. ID is indiffirent to materialism or non-materialism (e.g. archaelogy, movie “Expelled”, …). It’s just some UD-posters, who try to sell their religious ideologies as scientific truths. A condition your friends — the darwinists — also suffer from.

    Two mistakes here. First – I am not a Darwinist. Second, archaeology doesn’t use “ID methodology” to infer that artifacts are from “intelligent agents”. They use knowledge about “human beings” to infer that artifacts are from “human beings”.

    Cheers,
    RDFish/AIGuy

  394. 394
    RDFish says:

    Hi Box,

    RD: But that is fallacious reasoning – other CSI producers may not be generally intelligent.
    BOX: No, it is not fallacious reasoning RDFish. It is an inference to the best explanation – abductive reasoning.

    Everybody makes abductive inferences every day. But they are not scientific abductive inferences unless there is evidence to support them.

    ID: True, there may be unknown CSI producers which are not generally intelligent, however, until we have discovered these unknown CSI producers, the best explanation for CSI is a cause that is generally intelligent.

    That is as unscientific as saying “True, there may be some intelligent being who set the values of the physical constants in our universe, however, until we have discovered this being, the best explanation for the physical constants is that we live in a multiverse”.

    Science doesn’t work that way. You can’t just conclude something because you like one answer and nobody else has a better answer. You actually have to have evidence that your answer is correct. Until then, all you have are competing hypotheses.

    Cheers,
    RDFish/AIGuy

  395. 395
    Box says:

    RDFish: Everybody makes abductive inferences every day. But they are not scientific abductive inferences unless there is evidence to support them.

    You are correct of course. Fortunately for ID there is an abundance of positive evidence that intelligence can cause CSI. So, there is a healthy scientific ground for ID’s abductive reasoning.

    RDFish: That is as unscientific as saying “True, there may be some intelligent being who set the values of the physical constants in our universe, however, until we have discovered this being, the best explanation for the physical constants is that we live in a multiverse”.

    This is not an apt comparison. You must do better.
    BTW Darwin based his theory on abductive reasoning:

    There is another compelling, if convention-dependent, reason to regard intelligent design as a scientific theory. The inference to intelligent design is based upon the same method of historical scientific reasoning and the same uniformitarian principles that Charles Darwin used in On the Origin of Species. The similarity in logical structure runs quite deep. Both the argument for intelligent design and the Darwinian argument for descent with modification were formulated as abductive inferences to the best explanation. Both theories address characteristically historical questions; both employ typically historical forms of explanation and testing; and both have metaphysical implications. Insofar as we regard Darwin’s theory as a scientific theory, it seems appropriate to designate the theory of intelligent design as a scientific theory as well.
    Indeed, neo-Darwinism and the theory of intelligent design are not two different kinds of inquiry, as some critics have asserted. They are two different answers—formulated using a similar logic and method of reasoning—to the same question: “What caused biological forms and the appearance of design to arise in the history of life?” It stands to reason that if we regard one theory, neo-Darwinism or intelligent design, as scientific, we should regard the other as the same. Of course, whether either theory is true or not is another matter. An idea may be scientific and incorrect. In the history of science, many theories have proven to be so. The vortex theory of gravity, to which I referred earlier, would be one of nearly countless illustrations.
    For readers who would like to consider more detailed responses to arguments about whether intelligent design qualifies as “science,” I recommend Chapters 18 and 19 in Signature in the Cell.31 In Signature, I respond in detail to other philosophical objections to the case for intelligent design. These include challenges such as: (a) intelligent design is religion, not science,32 (b) the case for intelligent design is based on flawed analogical reasoning, (c) intelligent design is a fallacious argument from ignorance, sometimes called the “God of the Gaps” objection, (d) intelligent design is a science stopper, (e) the famous zinger, popularized by Richard Dawkins, that asks “Who designed the designer?”33 and many others.

    [ Stephen Meyer, ‘Darwin’s Doubt’, Chapter 19 – The Rules of Science ]

  396. 396
    RDFish says:

    Hi Box,

    Fortunately for ID there is an abundance of positive evidence that intelligence can cause CSI. So, there is a healthy scientific ground for ID’s abductive reasoning.

    Everybody here keeps saying that, but oddly nobody actually lists the points of evidence. Hmmm.

    Say we found an alien being, and cognitive scientists set out to decide if it was an intelligent being (that is to say, is it conscious? can it learn? can it solve novel problems? can it use a generally expressive language?) They would use the tools of their trade – verbal tests, behavioral tests, and anatomical/physiological tests – in order to try and answer these questions. Even with all of these methods there may remain doubt regarding the consciousness or mental abilities of this alien being, but the evidence of these tests would help the scientists decide what sorts of mental traits this alien being possessed.

    None of these tests can be applied in the context of ID. We look at complex life and we want an explanation of how it came to exist, but that isn’t evidence of any particular mental traits of the process that caused it.

    RDFish: That is as unscientific as saying “True, there may be some intelligent being who set the values of the physical constants in our universe, however, until we have discovered this being, the best explanation for the physical constants is that we live in a multiverse”.
    BOX: This is not an apt comparison. You must do better.

    No, it’s a perfectly apt comparison of course.

    BTW Darwin based his theory on abductive reasoning:

    First: Of course he did. Second: So what? You think Darwin was right about everything 🙂

    Cheers,
    RDFish/AIGuy

  397. 397
    Joe says:

    RDFish:

    Everybody here keeps saying that, but oddly nobody actually lists the points of evidence.

    BWAAAAHAHHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA

    Trick or Treat

  398. 398
    Joe says:

    RDFish:

    We look at complex life and we want an explanation of how it came to exist, but that isn’t evidence of any particular mental traits of the process that caused it.

    Exactly what we have been saying. And we don’t have to know the answers to those questions BEFORE we determine intelligent design exists. The who, why, when, how are hopefully answered after we determine design and set about studying it and all relevant evidence.

    Intelligent Design is about the detection and study of intelligent design in nature.

    If something is intelligently designed and it is not examined as such it will never reveal its secrets and we will be hopelessly hopping down a one-way dead-end.

  399. 399
    Box says:

    Box: Fortunately for ID there is an abundance of positive evidence that intelligence can cause CSI. So, there is a healthy scientific ground for ID’s abductive reasoning.

    RDFish: Everybody here keeps saying that, but oddly nobody actually lists the points of evidence. Hmmm.

    We must be talking past each other. Every post on this forum is chock full with CSI. As is every designed object. I take it that you wouldn’t want me to list them for you.
    – – – –
    Recap of ID’s reasoning:

    – we look for an explanation of life.
    – we notice that life is chock full of CSI
    – AHA! this we can explain!
    – Intelligence causes CSI and nothing else (as far as we know).

    – Therefore the inference to the best explanation is that the cause of life must be intelligent.

  400. 400
    StephenB says:

    RDFish

    First, I’ve explained to you before that to reject that computers display intelligence is to commit the “who designed the designer?” fallacy that you hate so much.

    Bad logic. There is no relationship between the two. The computer is not a designer.

    If some organic being displayed the same behavior that an advanced robot does, you would call it intelligent… and you could conclude that it was designed!!!

    Bad logic. The similarity in behavior is not necessarily related to the cause of the behavior.

    You are wrong about this because it is not “problems” but “novel problems” that indicate what we normally think of as intelligence, as I have previously explained:

    Your previous explanation was incorrect. Intelligence can be defined as problem solving. Novelty is not necessary. Your perception about “what is considered” intelligence is irrelevant to the way it is defined.

    I don’t even understand what you are saying here. Do you mean that your private religious experiences should count as evidence regarding the “scientific” conclusions of ID Theory?

    No, I mean exactly what I said. Your argument is illogical. Evidence-based conclusions are not necessarily related to religious-based conclusions.

    SB: Bad Logic. The argument for intelligence is not assumed apriori.” It is concluded aposteriori.

    No it isn’t. Otherwise you would actually tell me what the evidence is for the consciousness of the Designer, for example.

    Bad logic. ID’s argument is aposteriori by definition. That can be proven by the flow chart (which of course you have never studied). Your perception of its worth is irrelevant to that fact.

    Does the Designer say that It is conscious?
    Does the Designer recognize that the image in a mirror is It?
    Does the Designer have brain structures that are correlated with consciousness in humans?

    Irrelevant to your argument. Wasted verbiage to create the illusion of substance.

    Those are the tests that doctors and scientists give to people and animals on Earth to see if something is conscious. What test can you apply in the context of ID?
    (And of course even Dembski doesn’t think ID can infer consciousness!)
    Same goes for learning or solving novel problems and using natural language.

    Irrelevant to the argument. Wasted verbiage in an attempt to create the illusion of substance.

    [ID’s evidence] Hahahahahaha…. and you keep this evidence secret? Is it locked in a vault, revealed only to true believers?

    No argument here. Just rhetoric.

  401. 401
    StephenB says:

    Box

    BTW Darwin based his theory on abductive reasoning:

    RDF

    First: Of course he did. Second: So what? You think Darwin was right about everything 🙂

    This response is so irrational and so disconnected to the point made that it doesn’t even merit a response.

  402. 402
    Thorton says:

    Box

    Recap of ID’s reasoning:

    – we look for an explanation of life.
    – we notice that life is chock full of CSI
    – AHA! this we can explain!
    – Intelligence causes CSI and nothing else (as far as we know).

    – Therefore the inference to the best explanation is that the cause of life must be intelligent.

    Let me try that reasoning.

    I’ll invent another vague undefined term: Complex Unspecified Information, CUI.

    – we look for an explanation of life.
    – we notice that life is chock full of CUI
    – AHA! this we can explain!
    – Intelligence never causes CUI (as far as we know) because it’s inefficient and wasteful.
    – Therefore the inference to the best explanation is that the cause of life must not be intelligent.

    ID is refuted, you all can go home now.

  403. 403
    Joe says:

    LoL! @ throton- By CRICK’s definition of biological information, living organisms are chock full of CSI, you twerp. YOU even provided the definition.

    Way to shoot yourself in the head. Unfortunately the bullet went right through because there isn’t anything in there to slow it down.

  404. 404
    RDFish says:

    OK, folks, you really aren’t getting this so I’ll try something new – here is pretty killer argument if I do say so myself.

    In order to help people here understand why we can’t scientifically attribute general intelligence to anything just because it produces complex mechanisms (like flagella or eyeballs), let’s revisit this common error that ID people make:

    A blind person named Fred encounters an entity in a room. They have a short conversation: Fred asks the entity its name, where it comes from, what it does for a living, and what it thinks about the world series, and the entity responds appropriately. Fred asks the entity, “Are you designed?” and the entity replies “Why yes, I believe that anything exhibiting irreducible complexity and CSI is designed”. They go on to enjoy a game of chess (the entity wins), and then play the home version of the game “Jeopardy” (the entity wins that too), and then the entity shows off some original, functional electronic circuitry that it had designed. The entity then explains that it has been working on proving some complex mathematical theorems, and is learning on its own to recognize texts in all different languages.

    Does Fred have reason to believe that this entity is intelligent? Yes, of course he does. But as you’ve already guessed, the “entity” is a robot.

    For some reason I can’t understand, ID people typically say that while Fred is actually intelligent, the robot is not. The reason usually given is because the robot is “only doing what it is programmed to do” – in other words, the robot is designed. But of course ID folks believe that human beings are also designed. So why does being designed disqualify the robot as an intelligent being, but not the human being? Apparently there is supposed to be some difference between the way the Intelligent Designer makes human beings on one hand, and the way human engineers make robots on the other hand.

    What might that difference be? Does the Intelligent Designer add some secret sauce to human beings he so that we are actually intelligent, whilst human engineers who lack this secret sauce can’t endow robots with actual intelligence? What is this sauce? How do we know it exists? How can we test something to see if it has this secret sauce (i.e. if it is actually intelligent) or not?

    Some ID people take another approach here, and deny that computers can even act intelligently. It would seem to most people that the robot Fred encountered was doing a lot of intelligent things, but there are certainly lots of things that human beings can do that robots cannot do: For example, robots can’t really understand unrestricted natural language, and if you converse with them long enough this becomes glaringly apparent. But they can produce original designs, solve novel problems, invent novel proofs for mathematical theorems, construct complex machinery, and so on. So why doesn’t that mean that they are intelligent?

    Fred walks into a different room, and finds all sorts of very complex mechanisms. Fred notes that these mechanisms have huge numbers of highly integrated components and perform recognizable tasks and functions – there’s even a mechanism that assembles other mechanisms. In the corner are the raw materials that have been used to produce all of these complex mechanisms, and Fred (who is still blind) is told that standing before him is another entity, this one called “The Producer”, that caused these complex mechanisms to exist.

    So here are the two questions for IDers:

    1) Does Fred have reason to believe that The Producer is intelligent? (In order to be consistent, IDers would have to say “yes”)
    2) Does it matter how The Producer came to exist, or is that irrelevant to question #1? (In order to be consistent, IDers would have to say “no”, it’s not relevant to ask who designed the designer)

    But of course the Producer could turn out to be something operating strictly in accordance with physical law (no secret sauce), and lacking general human-like intelligence and signs of consciousness and natural language abilities. The fact that it may have been designed by something (such as a human) that was designed by something else (that may have been designed by something else that may have been designed…) is not relevant, because it isn’t necessary to consider who designed the designer.

    These are the lessons we’ve learned here:

    1) Being designed doesn’t disqualify something from being intelligent
    2) Not everything that produces CSI has the mental traits we associate with “intelligence”
    3) The appearance of complex mechanisms does not necessarily indicate the existence of these mental traits
    4) ID is not a valid scientific inference

    Cheers,
    RDFish/AIGuy

  405. 405
    Box says:

    Tamara #389,

    Your reply to point 1) suggests you are using “”decrease” and “increase” where you mean “degrade” and “enhance”. that is, you are referring to the quality not the quantity of information. If changing a single base pair destroys the ability to produce a protein then surely “specified information” must be lost.

    Indeed, that’s what I meant. Although it’s probably more accurate to say that part of the information is lost; comparable with a missing page from a book.

    Surely the lost information is necessarily “complex” even though only one base pair changes. And why then can’t the random reversal of this point mutation (even if it is a one in a billion chance) not recreate this imformation and increase (C)SI without intelligent input?

    Interesting question. The possibility never occurred to me. So you are saying that if a random mutation repairs the code then the code is recreated without intelligence.
    I don’t think that is true, because there is a difference between repairing and (re)creating. The lucky random mutation repairs the code – explains a part of the code – but isn’t an explanation for the creation of the total code.
    IOW the random mutation repairs the code without intelligence, but doesn’t constitute an (unintelligent) explanation for the code in its entirety.
    Same goes for the CSI, which is the total code – not a one base pair mutation.

    How does the “intelligently designed” CSI differ from the randomly generated CSI in two otherwise identical strings of DNA?

    There is no difference whatsoever.

    The question is: can natural forces create CSI? Are they up to the task?
    If the simplest cell contains far more CSI than a Boeing 747, and we don’t believe that natural forces (e.g. a hurricane) can create a Boeing 747, why do we hold that natural forces can create life?

  406. 406
    Thorton says:

    Joke

    LoL! @ throton- By CRICK’s definition of biological information, living organisms are chock full of CSI, you twerp. YOU even provided the definition.

    Crick’s definition doesn’t mention complex or specified Joke.

    CUI disproves an intelligent designer. You can’t show it doesn’t.

  407. 407
    Thorton says:

    Box

    The question is: can natural forces create CSI? Are they up to the task?
    If the simplest cell contains far more CSI than a Boeing 747, and we don’t believe that natural forces (e.g. a hurricane) can create a Boeing 747, why do we hold that natural forces can create life?

    Beoing 747s weren’t produced through a 3.5+ billion year iterative feedback process that caused the slow accumulation of working variations.

    You haven’t show evolutionary processes can’t produce your magic pixie dust, er, “CSI”. No one has. All you’ve done is assert it over and over.

  408. 408
    Upright BiPed says:

    In order to help people here understand why we can’t scientifically attribute general intelligence to anything just because it produces complex mechanisms (like flagella or eyeballs)

    …or narrow band microwave transmitters, right?

  409. 409
    JWTruthInLove says:

    @RDF:

    Second, archaeology doesn’t use “ID methodology” to infer that artifacts are from “intelligent agents”. They use knowledge about “human beings” to infer that artifacts are from “human beings”.

    What will they infer, if they find something like Stonehege on Mars?

  410. 410
    JWTruthInLove says:

    @RDF:

    So why does being designed disqualify the robot as an intelligent being, but not the human being?

    What definition of “robot” are you using?
    According to VDI’s (german engineering society) definition I’d say a human is not necessarily excluded from being a robot.

  411. 411
    JWTruthInLove says:

    @RDF:

    Does Fred have reason to believe that this entity is intelligent? Yes, of course he does. But as you’ve already guessed, the “entity” is a robot.

    LOL! So what? You’ve provided a test to identify intelligence (obviously you have some operationalized definition of “intelligence” in mind). The entitty passed the test. Logical conclusion: the entity is intelligent.

    Do the other folks have the same definition of intelligence in mind as you?

  412. 412
    Box says:

    Thorton #401,

    Recap of materialistic reasoning:

    – we look for an explanation of life.
    – we notice that life is chock full of chemistry
    – AHA! this we can explain!
    – natural forces causes chemistry and nothing else (as far as we know).

    – Therefore the inference to the best explanation is that the cause of life must be natural forces.

    Some problems:
    1. Is chemistry the defining feature of life? Is life really just another chemical process?
    2. How do we explain CSI? Where does the information come from?
    3. Second law
    4. How do we explain top-down causation? What keeps an organism from falling apart?

  413. 413
    StephenB says:

    RDF

    archaeology doesn’t use “ID methodology” to infer that artifacts are from “intelligent agents”. They use knowledge about “human beings” to infer that artifacts are from “human beings”.

    This is bad logic and a claim made out of ignorance. Just because archeologists use knowledge about human beings doesn’t mean that they don’t also use design detection technology. In fact, they use their knowledge of human beings to infer design in artifacts that resemble objects with which we are familiar, and they use ID methodology to infer design in objects that do not resemble those things with which we are familiar.

  414. 414
    fifthmonarchyman says:

    Hey Aiguy,

    you said,

    other people act so much like I do (recognizing my image in a mirror, displaying emotions, solving novel problems, and so on), and they have the same brain structures that I have that are known to correlate with consciousness.

    I say,

    Here is the problem with that.

    You don’t know if I recognize my face in the mirror
    You don’t know if I have have the same brain structures as you have
    You don’t know if my displays of emotion are real or the result of a clever chat box program
    You don’t know if I can solve novel problems instead of just accessing the solutions others have formulated.

    What you can know is whether I have the ability to integrate my experiences/thoughts/proclivities into a unified unique whole that is me and you with research can discover if that “data compression” is nonlossy or not.

    you say,

    These are also the tests that doctors and cognitive scientists use to assess consciousness in humans and other animals.

    I say,

    I would love to discuss how ITT and CSI are already changing the way these sorts of tests are done expect much more in the future.

    check this out

    http://www.ploscompbiol.org/ar.....bi.1003887

    Peace

  415. 415
    Joe says:

    RDFish:

    archaeology doesn’t use “ID methodology” to infer that artifacts are from “intelligent agents

    ID uses extended archaeology methodology to infer that living organisms are from “intelligent design”

  416. 416
    HeKS says:

    RDFish,

    I haven’t had much time to participate the past few days. Still don’t have much but I hope to get back into the discussion soon enough. Still, in the meantime, I’m trying to figure something out. You keep referring to the Sphex Wasp as appearing to solve complex problems in a thoughtful way, but I’m trying to figure out which problems you’re talking about. It doesn’t seem like you can be talking about their activity digging burrows or their rigid routine involved in bringing food into the burrow to feed their eggs once hatched. What, in particular, do you have in mind?

  417. 417
    Box says:

    Thorton,

    Box #405: The question is: can natural forces create CSI? Are they up to the task?
    If the simplest cell contains far more CSI than a Boeing 747, and we don’t believe that natural forces (e.g. a hurricane) can create a Boeing 747, why do we hold that natural forces can create life?

    Thorton #407: Boeing 747s weren’t produced through a 3.5+ billion year iterative feedback process that caused the slow accumulation of working variations.

    You haven’t show evolutionary processes can’t produce your magic pixie dust, er, “CSI”. No one has. All you’ve done is assert it over and over.

    One cannot invoke on unguided evolution (“a 3.5+ billion year iterative feedback process that caused the slow accumulation of working variations”) with regard to OOL (the origin of life).
    Arguably, the first life form on earth, was a ‘simple cell’.

    Here is what I said again:

    If the simplest cell contains far more CSI than a Boeing 747, and we don’t believe that natural forces (e.g. a hurricane) can create a Boeing 747, why do we hold that natural forces can create life?

    Here by “the simplest cell” is meant “the first life form on earth”.
    Oviously, one cannot invoke on the alleged mechanisms of unguided evolution as an explanation of this first life form on earth. Evolution can only act on life forms that are already in existence.

  418. 418
    Joe says:

    timmy:

    Crick’s definition doesn’t mention complex or specified

    What? Specification is definitely there in the definition. And complexity can be gleaned from the number of proteins and nucleotides required, duh.

    timmy is one dishonest or very stupid person.

    Information means here the precise determination of sequence, either of bases in the nucleic acid or on amino acid residues in the protein.

    The precise determination of sequence = specification.

  419. 419
    Joe says:

    RDFish:

    1) Being designed doesn’t disqualify something from being intelligent

    Yet to be demonstrated

    2) Not everything that produces CSI has the mental traits we associate with “intelligence”

    Yet to be demonstrated

    3) The appearance of complex mechanisms does not necessarily indicate the existence of these mental traits

    Strawman

    4) ID is not a valid scientific inference

    Not to people like you. But to educated investigators, it is.

  420. 420
    fifthmonarchyman says:

    aiguy said,

    you’ve ignored the other two examples: (1) animals (like termites) who build structures with CSI, but who do not have general intelligence, and (2) human savants who have highly developed abilities to produce CSI in some constrained area but lack general intelligence.

    I say,

    I’d like to discuss this if you are still around

    Do you think that the artifacts produced by animals and human savants are basically the same?

    This is not a trick question. I’m trying to think about the similarities and differences and if all CSI is qualitatively the same.

    peace

  421. 421
    Tamara Knight says:

    IOW the random mutation repairs the code without intelligence, but doesn’t constitute an (unintelligent) explanation for the code in its entirety.

    So now CSI is not even a qualitative measure of “Information”. You’ve relaxed its definition further to only mean something about the knowledge needed to create it

    How does the “intelligently designed” CSI differ from the randomly generated CSI in two otherwise identical strings of DNA?

    There is no difference whatsoever.

    The question is: can natural forces create CSI?

    No the question is “What is CSI?”. Until a bucket load of CSI can be distinguished from a bucket load of random data you can conclude absolutely nothing about it.

  422. 422
    Box says:

    Tamara #405: So now CSI is not even a qualitative measure of “Information”. You’ve relaxed its definition further to only mean something about the knowledge needed to create it.

    Arguably that would hardly constitute relaxation of the definition of CSI! However it is not my intention to change the definition of CSI and I don’t quite understand how you read this in my text (post #405). We must be talking past each other.

    It may be of use if I offer my definition of CSI – in this context:
    CSI is complex information that specifies for a functional protein. The CSI is embedded in DNA, which serves as a medium for the CSI. IOW genetic code.

  423. 423
    Joe says:

    Tamara Knight- CSI wrt biology is biological information per Crick’s definition.

    CSI is information that is meaningful or has a function and can be measured via Shannon methodology.

  424. 424

    Tamara Knight challenges:

    Until a bucket load of CSI can be distinguished from a bucket load of random data you can conclude absolutely nothing about it.

    I guess the irony of TK being able to distinguish CSI-laden strings of text from random-data gibberish while issuing this challenge is lost on her.

    Tamara, you distinguish bucket-loads of random data from bucket-loads of CSI countless times every single day. How can you not know this?

  425. 425
    Rich says:

    WJM, the test would be in a case where design is not know before hand. The sort that ID keeps failing / running away from.

  426. 426
    Joe says:

    We did that Rich and determined living organisms are intelligently designed. And your position still has nothing to counter with.

  427. 427
    Rich says:

    “We did that Rich and determined living organisms are intelligently designed” – link to it, please.

  428. 428
    Rich says:

    Oh course, Joe shows his complete lack of understanding. We provide sets of data, some designed, some not and the design theorists use their methods to detect which is which. I don’t know why Joe’s going on about “and determined living organisms are intelligently designed” other than complete confusion / inability to understand.

  429. 429
    Joe says:

    Link to your position’s total FAILure to explain living organisms? LoL! Or to papers that demonstrate how complex and specified living organisms are?

    Try this: Is Intelligent Design Required by Biological Life

    See also “The Signature in the Cell”

  430. 430
    Joe says:

    Of course Richie is just blathering about and hurling innuendos and false accusations. Richie asked a question and I answered it. Now he wants to distract from that fact by flailing about and whining.

  431. 431
    keith s says:

    hurling innuendos

    Consult your dictionary, Joe.

  432. 432
    Joe says:

    Was that an argument, keith s? My use of both of the words is OK given the context.

  433. 433
    Rich says:

    Sure are a lot of estimates in that paper 😀

  434. 434
    Joe says:

    Sure is a hellava lot more than your position has 😛

  435. 435
    Rich says:

    And Joe reaffirms that ID is really one boring negative argument.

  436. 436
    Joe says:

    And Rich affirms that he is willfully ignorant. Anyone would an IQ over 60 can see that the scientific investigation and explanatory filter mandate both the elimination of necessity and chance but also the inclusion of a positive case. CSI and IC are those positive cases, Rich.

    Stop blaming me because you don’t understand the arguments presented.

  437. 437
    Rich says:

    “Anyone would an IQ over 60 can…”

    Anyone? Data need. Thanks.

    Poor old Joe still making things up.

  438. 438
    Heartlander says:

    Until a bucket load of CSI can be distinguished from a bucket load of random data you can conclude absolutely nothing about it.

    Before anyone dismisses Tamara’s statement – consider this: Bucket 1 vs Bucket 2. This may prove harder than first thought..

  439. 439
    fifthmonarchyman says:

    I’m partial to this one

    http://www.technologyreview.co.....ring-test/

    process

    step 1) determine specification criteria by comparing designed verses random data.

    step 2) verify the specification with additional data sets

    step 3) Infer design if the chosen/verified specification is observed in data sets that are undetermined.

    All the elements of CSI are here.

    The specification, the complex information and the resulting inference.

    The complex information is not assigned a numeric value and the specification is not spelled out explicitly simply because there is no need to do so.

    Just as I don’t need to show my work when inferring that 4 is the summation of 2 and 2

    peace

  440. 440
    fifthmonarchyman says:

    I forgot to say this is the ultimate in a testable prediction.

    Check it out for yourself.

    See if you can pick out the bucket load of complex specified information.

    Peace

  441. 441
    Joe says:

    Rich sez that I am making things up because he is too stupid to actually understand how science operates.

    In what way is Rich’s ignorance a refutation of what I posted?

  442. 442
    Mung says:

    rich:

    … ID is really one boring negative argument.

    So why are you here?

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