Intelligent Design

Wolf-Ekkehard Loennig Falsifies Darwinism

Spread the love

Wolf-Ekkehard Loennig, who studied mutations for 25 years as a research scientist at the Max Planck Institute for Plant Breeding Research in Koln, Germany, is now retired but still writes often on the topic of Darwinism and Intelligent Design. He is one of those old-school scientists who believes evidence matters even when it comes to questions of biological origins.

Charles Darwin famously offered the following suggestion as to how his theory could be falsified:
“If it could be demonstrated that any complex organ existed which could not possibly have been formed by numerous, successive, slight modifications, my theory would absolutely break down.” Dr. Loennig has repeatedly offered examples which defy a gradualist explanation, for example, listen to this
interview where he discusses carnivorous plants, whose complicated traps were clearly useless until almost perfect. (I have written on this topic myself, here. )

But Darwin offered other suggestions as to how his theory could be falsified, one of which was as follows: “If it could be proved that any part of the structure of any one species had been formed for the exclusive good of another species, it would annihilate my theory, for such could not have been produced through natural selection.” Loennig has recently written an article which falsifies Darwinism on this criterion also, Plant Galls and Evolution.

The new paper is typical of Loennig’s writings, with abundance of details and references. As you listen to his Podcast on carnivorous plants, or read his new article on Plant Galls, I suggest the following exercise: try to imagine hypothetical species which would falsify Darwin, using his own criteria, in a more spectacular way.

If you want to see more of Loennig’s works, including his writings on the long-neck giraffe, go here .

211 Replies to “Wolf-Ekkehard Loennig Falsifies Darwinism

  1. 1
    Axel says:

    It seems Darwin really did believe in his theory and freely countenanced its falsification, were he mistaken.

    A measure of integrity, it seems to me, not shared by the vast majority of atheist polemicists of today, who even some times take up the cudgels with our stalwart boffins and philosophers on UD. Even if they only manage to shadow box. You could even imagine his not being a Darwinist of any stamp.

  2. 2
    Granville Sewell says:

    Axel,

    In this paper, Loennig says (p10): “In contrast to most of his modern disciples, Charles Darwin formulated some clear and unmistakable falsification criteria for his theory of natural selection.” In “The Evolution of the Long-Neck Giraffe” he calls today’s evolutionary theory “essentially unfalsifiable.” From the context it is clear though that he means only that, for most modern day evolutionists, there is no conceivable evidence that would cause them to doubt.

  3. 3
    rvb8 says:

    Yes, we’re all well aware of Darwin’s integrity and honesty as a scientist, it is legendary, he was also a true gentleman, and a loving husband and father; so what?

    He gives his detractors the best way to attack his theory; find ways that grdualism won’t work. And lo, the multidudes arrive over the last 150 years desperately trying to falsify evolution, and pick the proverbial nits, good luck, have at it.

    Now to my question: Could someone in creation science, or the ID movement please, instead of trying to falsify Darwin, bring one, just one piece of positive experimental evidence supporting design.

    That is, stop attacking evolution, and start experimentally supporting ID or Creation.

    Don’t be so aggressively negative toward Evolution, and try a little love for creation, and ID.

    Stand ready for the outpourings of Biologos’s, and the Creation Research Society’s, resarch into why Darwinism can’t work. Or, as I like to say, ‘God says no!’

  4. 4

    In reply to ‘rvb8’, it seems to me that science is about observation as well as, and perhaps even prior to, experiment. Also reason. So we can observe things, think about them, and draw conclusions.

    Andrew

  5. 5

    rv,

    Could someone in creation science, or the ID movement please, instead of trying to falsify Darwin, bring one, just one piece of positive experimental evidence supporting design.

    Sure, I have nothing to do with “creation science”, but I can give you several design related observations, each of them carefully documented by esteemed scientists in the mainstream scientific literature (and none of them are an attack on Darwinian evolution). However, your history here suggests very clearly that you prefer to sling insults when pressed on scientific issues. If you’d like to engage the science, perhaps you’d be willing to address a question I’ve been asking ID critics, yet none have bothered to answer:

    We know that aminoacyl synthetases are the finite set of complex proteins that establish the genetic code. Their tasks in the cell is to perform a double-recognition and bind a particular amino acid to a particular tRNA adapter prior to the act of translation. We can all conceive of their significance to the system.

    They are synthesized from nucleic memory, and it stands to reason that there was once a time in earth’s history that none of the set of aaRS had ever been synthesized from that memory. Here is my question: Regardless of what anyone thinks preceded that time, at the point in earth’s history that the first ever aaRS was successfully synthesized from memory, how many of the other aaRS had to be in place?

    What say you rv? Will you actually engage in earnest this time, or find a way not to?

  6. 6
    rvb8 says:

    Upright,

    sorry I don’t understand the question.

    What does, ‘finite set of complex proteins’ mean. Does it mean they have discovered in the natural world all of these kinds of proteins, no more will be found?

    Could you explain the term, ‘nucleic memory’ for this part time science buff; it sounds ever so sciency.

    Your question; ‘how many of the other aaRS had to be in place?’

    So if I understand this tedious effort of trying to sound as scientific as ID can appreciably sound, you are asking;

    ‘This complex molecule exists, how can we get past its complexity to an earlier simpler molecule which predated it?’

    Sounds like a rewording of, ‘Boy that’s complex, no way can evolutionary processes explain it!’

    Or more clearly, a weak attempt at rewording once again, negative evidence.

    Try and take a note out of Shubin’s, Coyne’s, and Dawkin’s books, and write in English, people might take your attempts more seriously, if you could actually explain them.

  7. 7
    Origenes says:

    ‘Plants Galls and Evolution’ by Wolf-Ekkehard Loennig is a very interesting article.

    The biological facts have proved that complex parts of the structure of thousands of plant species have been formed for the exclusive good of galling insects (i. e. other species), and this phenomenon has – in his own words – annihilated Darwin’s theory, as well as that of his modern followers, for “natural selection cannot possibly produce any modification in a species exclusively for the good of another species”

  8. 8
    polistra says:

    ‘Exclusive good’ is a little tricky. In the case of galls, the plant may be benefitting in ways that we don’t see yet.

    The interactions of flowers and bees are also ambiguous. The plant could probably get away with attracting by smell, but it goes an extra mile with colors and actively changing electrostatic fields. Are the extras simply designed to entertain the bee? Does the plant enjoy sensing the electrostatic answers from the bee?

  9. 9

    rv, you must have known the only reason I would ask you that question is to demonstrate the intellectual dishonesty in you asking for scientific evidence.

    I told the reader upfront that you would a) avoid the question, and b) sling insult instead. And with what can only be seen as a pathological inability to show even a modicum of self-awareness, you came back to ignore the question and sling insults instead.

  10. 10

    rvb8 everywhere: I hope IDers never stop attacking your beloved theory. It is a scientific fraud continually promoted by you and others as if it were supported by empirical evidence.

    As for presenting you with evidence for ID, that would be a monumental waste of valuable time. Not because there isn’t any, but because you are an a/mat debunker undeserving of such an effort.

  11. 11
    Eugene says:

    It is fascinating to contemplate that somewhere, either in this universe or possibly outside of this universe, there does exist a mechanism (?) a process (?) a set of rules (?) for producing life and all the variety of life forms we’re observing here on Earth. And we humans, while counting 3000+ years of own history, still have not the slightest clue of what that process is…

  12. 12
    groovamos says:

    rvb: He gives his detractors the best way to attack his theory; find ways that grdualism won’t work.

    Not only should it be easy to show gradualism can work, it would be great if you would prove some so-called random mutations as a series exist, as in random. In other words NON-INTERDEPENDENT in their probabilities of occurence.

    OK please have at it rvb, lets look at a huge organ with tens of billions of components, the vertebrate respiratory epithelium. Those tens of billions of cilia are wired together to move in wavelike fashion to expel mucus. Explain in retro evolutionary time, how those cilia came to be. Did they [a] just all pop into existence in one generation, with all the wiring in place? Or [b] did they appear a few at first and increase in numbers with each generation? Or can you come up with scenario [c]? You hopefully understand proposition [a] violates gradualism and [b] violates functionality and selective advantage early on. If you come up with [c] please prove its absolute certainty, since Darwinism is as certain as the law of “gravity”.

    And if you can solve this puzzle, please indicate how biologists can always know a so-called random mutation is statistically uncorrelated with all other so-called random mutations, in the formation of the above or any system.

  13. 13
    rvb8 says:

    The evidence Behe gave at Dover (readily available at talkorigins.org), has been characterised as dense, obtuse, unnecessarily jargon laced, and just plain badly expressed.

    These exact same criticisms can be laid here, at the feet of UD posters.

    Why is it for instance that me, as a science ignoramous (I admit it, some others here should be as honest), can follow the discussions very easily at pandasthumb, whyevolutionistrue, and other science sites.

    When I come here I feel as though I need three degrees in biology, combined with a masters in theology.

    Until you can explain your ‘theory’ as clearly as evolution can explains its ideas and mechanisms, you will get nowhere; that is a simple fact.

    The glaring problem is of course this: Once you truly explain your ideas, ( “and at this irreducibly complex moment, the designer intervened” ), people become leary, and rightly equate the designer to God, and specifically Christ. The proverbial cat has then escaped its bag.

  14. 14
    rvb8 says:

    groovamos @12,

    why do you ask me? “OK please have at it rvb..”

    I don’t have to for several reasons. I can’t answer your questions as well as the 98% or so of evolutionary biologists who can; ask them, there answers will be full.

    Do you ask me because you can not find anywhere on the inter-net a satisfying answer to these questions, and in your desperation you choose that righteous defender of evolutionary biology, rvb8? Heh:)

    Why is ID so fearful of research, and a mouse click. talkorigins.org is a prodigeous resorce.

    I alo strongly recommend onezoom.org, uncluttered, easy to use, glorious graphics, and simple . That last is one reason evolutionary biology is so successful, even those who loathe it understand it well. Try to get these people to explane ID, IC, and CSI; fat chance!

    I come here in the naieve hope that one day someone will stop asking how evolution can explain something, and will give positive experimental evidence in support of a deigner’s touch;

    Have at it!

  15. 15

    It’s almost like he’s a plant; sent here to make ID critics look as irrational as possible.

  16. 16
    gpuccio says:

    Polistra:

    “‘Exclusive good’ is a little tricky. In the case of galls, the plant may be benefitting in ways that we don’t see yet.”

    That is like saying: if the evidence is against our theory, we can always hope that maybe some different evidence will be found at some time”.

    Very scientific indeed.

    And remember, the “benefit” must be a reproductive advantage, in the end. No other benefit is appropriate for the neo-darwinist explanation.

  17. 17
    Origenes says:

    Polistra @8

    Loennig:

    What the plants are doing for their guests?
    … the plants are supplying everything for them: optimal nutrition, controlled microenvironments, and, … protection from natural enemies. …

    What are the animals doing for their hosts?
    In more than 99% of all galling species, the animals are not only doing absolutely nothing for their hosts, but – as we have seen above – rather damage, harm and hurt them – the animals and other guests are indubitably real, perfect and true parasites (ecto- and endoparasites).

    The plants perform all of these services essentially at their own expenses. And the costs can be alarmingly high …
    As for the enormous costs the plants sometimes have to pay, let’s have a look at the following examples:
    Pretorius et al. (2016, p. 1)22 sum up the damage inflicted by the gall aphid Pemphigus betae as follows:
    “Heavy infestations of this aphid can induce significant reductions in yield, sugar content, and recoverable sugar. Under conditions of extreme stress and heavy infestations, the alienicolae23 can induce stunting, chlorosis, wilting, and even death of sugar beet plants.
    Richardson et al. (2017, p. 205):
    “P. betae causes significant reductions in sugarbeet yield and reduces sucrose quality. For example, in 1989, a Pemphigus infestation reduced the sugar content and recoverable sugar by 64 and 73 %, respectively, resulting in a $3,000,000 loss or about $925 per infested hectare (Hutchinson and Campbell 1994).
    For the gall forming invasive wasp Leptocybe invasa Fisher & La Salle (Hymenoptera: Eulophidae), which probably originated from Australia, the following effects on the commercial Eucalyptus species in Tanzania have been reported (Petro and Iddi (2017, p. 23):
    “Diameter at breast height (Dbh) and total height for each sampled tree were measured. Results showed that the mean Dbh of infested trees were reduced by 2.1%, 7.8% and 13.6% while heights were reduced by 9.5%, 6.6% and 3.8% compared to uninfested E. tereticornis, E. camaldulensis and E. saligna respectively.
    The mean basal area of infested trees was reduced by 17.1%, 16.4% and 24.5% and mean volume were reduced by 16.1%, 17.8% and 23.1% compared to uninfested E. tereticornis, E. camaldulensis and E. saligna respectively.

  18. 18
    Dionisio says:

    UB @15:
    “It’s almost like he’s a plant; sent here to make ID critics look as irrational as possible.”
    Can’t think of another explanation indeed. Except that it could be by own initiative, not sent by others.
    You clearly presented a very interesting problem that you have explained before in details in this UD and in your own website and got back in response an incoherent text. My 7-month grandson’s “speeches” sound more seriously comprehensive than your politely dissenting interlocutor’s nonsense. Really sad.
    I wouldn’t waste time addressing such garbage.

    BTW, on a related subject, in the central dogma of biology, how did we get the first rna-polymerase for the transcription process?

  19. 19

    An interesting article over at ENV —

    Excerpt:
    ” … Not to put too fine a point on it, but the existence of complex and specified systems is a hallmark of design. How do you build a system requiring multiple signals and receptors one step at a time when the system does not work until all are present? A receptor is no good without a signal to receive, and the signal will not be sent with a cue. … ”

    Read the article at:
    https://evolutionnews.org/2017/09/in-a-new-book-scott-turner-explores-biologys-second-law/

    To emphasize, as we all know intuitively “the existence of complex and specified systems is a hallmark of design.”

  20. 20
    Bob O'H says:

    Well, Lönnig might have falsified Darwin’s statement, but he hasn’t shown that galls can’t have evolved by natural selection. I can think of a few possible evolutionary explanations:
    1. there is no net cost of galling to the plant
    2. the cost of galling (& resistance) is larger than the cost of not galling
    3. the selection pressures against galling are not large enough for resistance to evolve
    4. there is an arms race with the galler slightly ahead

    Some or all of these may be utterly wrong, of course. Lönnig sort-of deals with (1), but only by citing a paper from the 1980s, without giving the details (or indication of if there has been subsequent work).

  21. 21
    gpuccio says:

    Bob O’H:

    “I can think of a few possible evolutionary explanations:”

    Anyone endowed with a brilliant imagination can probably “think of a few possible evolutionary explanations” for practically everything.

    Is that your idea of scientific reasoning?

    Is that your respect for facts and evidence?

    Can you propose a real explanatory mechanism by which galls, especially the most functionally complex forms, could come into existence, by RV + NS?

  22. 22
    Bob O'H says:

    Anyone endowed with a brilliant imagination can probably “think of a few possible evolutionary explanations” for practically everything.

    Indeed. The next thing to do, then, is to test them. Lönnig doesn’t appear to have done this for most of them. So perhaps you would like to direct your questions to him, and him why he hasn’t tried to explore these other possibilities before declaring victory.

  23. 23

    Bob O’H

    And if a frog had wings he wouldn’t bump his butt.

  24. 24
    ET says:

    Bob O’H:

    Well, Lönnig might have falsified Darwin’s statement, but he hasn’t shown that galls can’t have evolved by natural selection. I can think of a few possible evolutionary explanations:

    No one knows how to test the claim that natural selection did it. So that would be a problem.

  25. 25
    ET says:

    rvb8:

    I come here in the naieve hope that one day someone will stop asking how evolution can explain something, and will give positive experimental evidence in support of a deigner’s touch;

    We have presented that. For one just look at all of the experiments dealing with ATP synthase and correlate that with the fact no one knows how to test the claim that blind, mindless processes can produce it.

  26. 26
    ET says:

    Charles Darwin famously offered the following suggestion as to how his theory could be falsified:
    “If it could be demonstrated that any complex organ existed which could not possibly have been formed by numerous, successive, slight modifications, my theory would absolutely break down.”

    The problem with that is no one knows how to test the claim that some complex organ that could arise via numerous, successive, slight modifications. And without that Darwin’s ideas are not scientific.

    And that means there isn’t anything to flasify

  27. 27
    Mung says:

    Upright BiPed: Will you actually engage in earnest this time, or find a way not to?

    rvb8: sorry I don’t understand the question.

    Well, I guess we have our answer!

  28. 28
    Mung says:

    I think would should stick with criticism of darwininian evolution even if it does hurt the feelings of rvb8.

    For if rvb8 cannot even understand these simple criticisms of darwinian theory how can he possibly hope to understand evidence for intelligent design?

  29. 29
    RodW says:

    I’ll try my hand at an ID hypothesis. Something that many here seem to forget is that a hypothesis must be precise, testable and distinguish between alternate hypotheses.

    Hypothesis: Plants produce galls because the Intelligent Designer constructed them to produce galls.

    There are an endless number of ways insects can survive without producing galls. This implies that the IDer did this simply because they like variety.

    Mechanism: unknown and probably unknowable.

    Test/Observation: If the hypothesis is correct we could expect that the molecular mechanism the plant uses to produce the gall is an add-on module. Some tacked on set of instructions that can be activated by the insect that have no physiological role for the plant other than producing a gall. Evolution is supported if the mechanism for producing a gall is a modification of some already existing general mechanism which can have other functions.

  30. 30
    ET says:

    RodW:

    Evolution is supported if the mechanism for producing a gall is a modification of some already existing general mechanism which can have other functions.

    What “evolution” are you talking about- blind watchmaker evolution or intelligent design evolution? How can we test the claim that blind watchmaker evolution can produce plants?

  31. 31
    RodW says:

    BTW, Loennig’s entire argument is based on the assertion that plants produce galls for the benefit of the insect. Is this true? Can anyone think of a way this might not be true?

  32. 32
    RodW says:

    ET

    What “evolution” are you talking about- blind watchmaker evolution or intelligent design evolution

    The first. The second is a contraction in terms.

    I think you’re suggesting what many here would agree with: that you don’t need to test ID vs evolution because evolution can be ruled out a priori. I think most of the major players in ID: Behe, Meyer, Axe etc, would disagree with that.

  33. 33
    john_a_designer says:

    Unfortunately, some on “my side” continue to allow rvb8 (along with other interlocutors) to sucker them into inane and stupid dialogue. Notice I’m not calling his pretentious but otherwise empty rhetoric a debate or an argument, because it’s obvious he doesn’t know the first thing about logic and what constitutes a valid argument.

    I think it’s time (actually, far past time) that we start telling rvb8 where to go: someplace else.

  34. 34
    ET says:

    RodW:

    The second is a contraction in terms.

    And yet intelligent design evolution is exemplified by genetic algorithms.

    Intelligent Design is NOT anti-evolution

    Evolution by design is still evolution. Organisms that were designed to evolve and evolved by means of intelligent design still evolved.

    And if evolutionists cannot [posit a methodology to test their claims then we can rule out their claims via Hitchens- that which can be claimed without evidence can be dismissed without evidence.

  35. 35
    RodW says:

    ET

    And yet intelligent design evolution is exemplified by genetic algorithms.

    True, but it doesn’t matter how the Designer goes about it – whether its poofing things into existence or using a genetic algorithm. Both should be called ‘Intelligent Design’ to distinguish it from what every scientist in the world refers to when they say ‘evolution’

  36. 36
    ET says:

    The link didn’t work:

    ID is NOT anti-evolution.

    Saying ID is anti-evolution is saying that it is against a change in allele frequency over time. That would be a lie. Saying ID is anti-evolution is saying that ID accepts the fixity of species, which is also a lie.

  37. 37
    RodW says:

    ID is explicitly anti-evolution. Evolution posits that mutations occur through natural processes ( chemical changes in bases, uv light etc.) without regard or planning for fitness. These are then sorted by the environment. Trying to insert an intelligence in there just doesn’t work. Its the difference between a casino that rolls dice in the normal way and one in which the casino management ‘decides’ what the dice rolls will be

  38. 38
    asauber says:

    These are then sorted by the environment

    Except for the environment can’t sort anything.

    You implied intelligence there.

    Andrew

  39. 39
    kairosfocus says:

    RodW, 29: Setting up and knocking over a strawman caricature is not responsible, serious discussion. I suggest you scroll up, look at the resources tab and read then ponder before going on. KF

  40. 40
    kairosfocus says:

    RVB8, if you imagine talk origins is a responsible resource, that itself speaks volumes. And, you continue to insist on ID being against research having been repeatedly, explicitly pointed to the growing list of published professional literature supportive of design premises in the biological world. Of course, there is another, much larger corpus regarding the import of fine tuning of the cosmos. KF

  41. 41
    groovamos says:

    RVB: I don’t have to for several reasons. I can’t answer your questions as well as the 98% or so of evolutionary biologists who can; ask them, there answers will be full.

    Well it just so happens rvb that I have done exactly what you suggest. I have presented this particular scenario before on this blog numerous times when there were Ph.D’s posting, and I have also posted the scenario as a challenge on pro-Darwinian propaganda blogs where Ph.D’s frequent. It is always the same – no explanation – and argumentation instead with stuff like “you’re a d___” or “we’re not gonna tell you because you aren’t interested in learning”. Yes there’s always an out for you guys instead of answering a serious question, like you just came up with. You are in an intellectual corner.

    And it is obvious that you are not curious enough to try to answer or to even say that it is an interesting question and maybe even indicate that it is something to think about. I mean did you ever even think about what constitutes proof of non-interdependence among “random” so-called, mutations? Are you even interested at all in an intellectual deep dive below where your philosophical commitments are loathe to let you go? Or a psychological questioning of why you can’t go there?

    I presume the answer is NO.

  42. 42
    ET says:

    RodW:

    ID is explicitly anti-evolution.

    Only to the willfully ignorant.

    Evolution posits that mutations occur through natural processes ( chemical changes in bases, uv light etc.) without regard or planning for fitness.

    Blind watchmaker evolution may make that claim but mere evolution does not. Also design is natural in that it exists in nature.

    Trying to insert an intelligence in there just doesn’t work.

    And yet it works just fine with genetic algorithms.

    Look ID is OK with mutations occurring. And blind watchmaker evolution is still an untestable concept.

  43. 43
    RodW says:

    KF

    That wasn’t a strawman and I didn’t begin to knock it down. Any legitimate design hypothesis would take that form. It would start with an observation about the natural world. It would make predictions that could be tested based on hypothesis regarding how and why the designer did what they did. How they solved problems, what constraints they worked under etc etc. And it would have testable predictions that would distinguish it from predictions based on evolutionary assumptions.

  44. 44
    rvb8 says:

    groovamos @41,

    well done, I stand corrected. I had no idea you had so flummoxed evolutionary biologists with your thought experiment, at PHd like blogs.

    Wow, they childishly say, ‘you’re a dog’, ‘whe’re not going to tell you because you’re not interested in learning.’

    Those replies are unacceptable to such a clearly stated problem as you presented @12.

    Do you expect these nefarious characters to show up here to confront your brilliance any time soon? Or, will they sit sulking at NASA, Yale Biology, Oxford Biology, etc licking their wounds from the pasting you delivered?

    Well done, keep up this standard model of ID research. Make an assertion, test it at your home blog, once it’s established there, take it to the next level of BLOGGING, and see it ridiculed by the Darwinbots? Darwinistas? Darwiniaks? (That last is from the ID prophet, Ann Coulter.) Come back to your home blog, claim victory, and predict the imminent demise (once again), of evolutionary theory.

    Close to the mark?

  45. 45
    Mung says:

    Need evidence that evolution is true? Look no further.

  46. 46
    Origenes says:

    RodW @43

    … hypothesis regarding how and why the designer did what they did. How they solved problems, what constraints they worked under etc etc.

    Rod, you are probably new to the debate. What you need to know is that ID is neither about designers, nor their motives, nor their sources of inspiration, nor their methods, nor their work space. A design inference can be made independent from such information.

    For instance, inferring that windows 8 was designed, does not require one to know which problems were solved (or how they were solved) during the design process. One also does not have to know why the designers did it the way they did. Without all that information one can still conclude that ‘intelligent design’ is the best explanation for windows 8.

    ID is simply the science of design detection — how to recognize patterns arranged by an intelligent cause for a purpose.
    Eric Anderson puts it like this:

    ID is not an attempt to answer all questions. It is a limited inquiry into whether something was designed. Questions about who, why, how, when are all interesting second-order questions that can be asked only after an inference to design is drawn. You may want, deeply in your heart of hearts, for ID to answer all of those questions. But that is a failure of your expectations, not ID itself.

    See also: https://uncommondescent.com/id-defined/

  47. 47
    groovamos says:

    rvb @44 You totally misunderstand. It would be nice if those people would call me a ‘dog’ instead of the 4-letter moniker. And no they don’t go sulking and licking their wounds, it is the converse, they think that they wound me with their insults, for some reason which is pretty funny for an academic to think like that.

    And BTW you mention NASA, I have worked on 3 NASA projects, two at Hughes Aircraft (now called DirectTV) and one at Wyle Laboratories. I did instrumentation design, linear system analysis and board level hardware design at all three. Otherwise I’m not sure why you bring it up unless it is only for ridicule.

    Basically your sarcasm seems a little out of place, because these people do come on to here, wanting to tear the place up including yours truly. Other than that there does seem to be some bitterness to you resorting to such sarcasm instead of engaging the challenge or admitting that you can’t and just let it go like a good sport should or maybe even noting that you can look at the issues, do a little research and get back with us.

  48. 48

    talkorigins.org is mentioned above.
    I’ve taken a cut on the document there “What Design Looks Like”

    Anyone care to offer a rebuttal to my critique?

    https://ayearningforpublius.wordpress.com/2015/03/05/what-design-looks-like-an-ncse-document-with-comments-by-don-johnson/

    Note — by the time I had finished my review and critque, I had been banned by NCSE, so if anyone has an entry to NCSE I would welcome you to passing it on to them.

  49. 49
    AnimatedDust says:

    RodW spake: ID is explicitly anti-evolution. Evolution posits that mutations occur through natural processes ( chemical changes in bases, uv light etc.) without regard or planning for fitness. These are then sorted by the environment. Trying to insert an intelligence in there just doesn’t work. Its the difference between a casino that rolls dice in the normal way and one in which the casino management ‘decides’ what the dice rolls will be.

    Hey Rod. Casinos don’t roll dice. Casino employees do. They roll the dice with a goal in mind. Like facilitating the game. Your scenario is that the dice roll themselves.

    Nothing happens but dust gathering entropy in your scenario. You just don’t want that to be true.

    But it is.

  50. 50

    groovamos @ 47: “Other than that there does seem to be some bitterness to you resorting to such sarcasm…”

  51. 51

    groovamos @ 47: “Other than that there does seem to be some bitterness to you resorting to such sarcasm…”

    The man (rvb8) is frustrated and bitter for good reason. His beloved neo-Darwinian theory and accompanying a/mat philosophical worldview are under constant attack by modern empirical science. He can hardly contain his frustration and bitterness at this point.

  52. 52
    Seversky says:

    Granville Sewell @ 2

    In this paper, Loennig says (p10): “In contrast to most of his modern disciples, Charles Darwin formulated some clear and unmistakable falsification criteria for his theory of natural selection.” In “The Evolution of the Long-Neck Giraffe” he calls today’s evolutionary theory “essentially unfalsifiable.” From the context it is clear though that he means only that, for most modern day evolutionists, there is no conceivable evidence that would cause them to doubt.

    A rabbit in the Cambrian? Lots of modern rabbits fossilized in the Cambrian? Human fossils in the Cambrian? An iPhone and a Coca-Cola can in the Ordovician? I can imagine such finds causing at least a certain amount of head-scratching in the scientific community.

  53. 53
    rvb8 says:

    groov @47,

    I bring up NASA not to ridicule but to point out that they also strongly support the fringe position of ‘Global Warming’, another pet conspiracy here.

    They also use evolution everyday in their planet hunting. They design experiments based upon what evolutionary predictions are made on earth, and deduce SETI is not a waste of time based on the common occurance of amino acids universe wide. NASA is an evolutionary friendly environment.

    The other academic institutions I throw in to make a point; guess what that point is?

    I am often accused of name calling, bitterness, and a sneering persona. I have been called many names here (ET we’re watching:), and accused of attempting to mock and tear down threads etc.

    Not true, I find it impossible to tear down that which does not exist.

  54. 54

    A rabbit in the Cambrian?

    So all it would take to falsify your particular conception of evolution is to find a modern organism somewhere around half a billion years out of place. Nice to set the bar high like that.

  55. 55
    rvb8 says:

    TWSYF,

    another fine effort of ID posting.

    Clear, on topic, relevant, sustained argument, rigorously referenced, not at any stage emotional, never deviating from the problem at hand; that Mr Ekkard Loennig has single handidly falsified Darwinism.

    Admittedly it’s not as good as proving ID, but let’s be fair, is anyone seriously even trying to do that, anywhere?

  56. 56

    rv, you speak like a reckless teenager who does something so hurtful to others, then mocks and laughs at his tired family, giving himself permission to do it again if he likes. Or, are you training yourself to look stupid in public?

  57. 57
    PaV says:

    Bob O’H:

    I can think of a few possible evolutionary explanations:
    1. there is no net cost of galling to the plant
    2. the cost of galling (& resistance) is larger than the cost of not galling
    3. the selection pressures against galling are not large enough for resistance to evolve
    4. there is an arms race with the galler slightly ahead

    Number 1 is obviously wrong, as you mention.

    Number 2 is misstated, as it should be that the “cost of ‘not galling’ is larger than the ‘cost of galling’.” This is pure fantasy, isn’t it? How could this possibly be true?

    So, e.g., the ‘cost’ of running ten miles on a paved surface is ‘larger’ than the ‘cost’ of running ten miles over a thick, mud surface. Why even begin a physics experiment based on such a notion?

    Number 3 requires us to believe that the plants will be more reproductively ‘successful’ if they must also produce the gall products, since “selection pressure” is all about “fitness,” which is itself measured by “reproductive success.”

    Number 4 is obviously true. That is, it’s a ‘truism,’ no more than a basic observation. However, note this: the gall insect is able to get another organism to do something that benefits the insect. IOW, “teleology” is involved. Or, per ID, by sending the proper “information” to the host plant species, it can use the “machinery” of the plant to produce something it wants, or needs. The DNA that is transferred is the “material cause” of the ‘gall.’ So Thomas Aquinas, and Aristotle before him, would say.

    Bob, I think you’re 0 for 4. 🙂 Back to your imagination.

  58. 58
    Granville Sewell says:

    RVB8 @3:

    Now to my question: Could someone in creation science, or the ID movement please, instead of trying to falsify Darwin, bring one, just one piece of positive experimental evidence supporting design?

    ————–

    Irreducibly complex features not only falsify Darwinism, they falsify ANY unintelligent explanation. Putting together a long string of useless features which together form a complex, useful, machine is positive evidence of teleology, of purposeful action. Of course you don’t believe there are any irreducibly complex features in Nature, I believe there are and the carnivorous plants Loennig talks about in his podcast are obvious examples, but surely you would agree that IF these features were really irreducibly complex, that would be positive evidence for design, wouldn’t you?

  59. 59
    Bob O'H says:

    PaV @ 57 –

    Number 1 is obviously wrong, as you mention.

    Huh? I didn’t mention that.

    Number 2 is misstated, as it should be that the “cost of ‘not galling’ is larger than the ‘cost of galling’.” This is pure fantasy, isn’t it? How could this possibly be true?

    OK, yes – got cots & benefits mixed up. No it isn’t fantasy. If the plant can gall or do nothing, then doing nothing might be a better strategy, or a worse strategy (e.g. if it meant the galler would just eat all of the plant instead).

    Number 3 requires us to believe that the plants will be more reproductively ‘successful’ if they must also produce the gall products, since “selection pressure” is all about “fitness,” which is itself measured by “reproductive success.”

    I’m sorry, you’ve utterly missed the point. This is basic population genetics: if the cost of galling is small enough, the dynamics of invasion of a resistance allele will be dominated by drift, so will take longer to become established. This might be enough to slow it down sufficient.

    Number 4 is obviously true. That is, it’s a ‘truism,’ no more than a basic observation.

    I’m glad to see that you agree with me that Lönnig is wrong, but I’m not sure I see how it’s a truism, especially the part about the gallers being slightly ahead.

    I can’t see how I’m 0 for 4 when we both actually agree on the final point!

  60. 60
    hgp says:

    Bob O’H @20

    Well, Lönnig might have falsified Darwin’s statement, but he hasn’t shown that galls can’t have evolved by natural selection. I can think of a few possible evolutionary explanations:
    1. there is no net cost of galling to the plant
    2. the cost of galling (& resistance) is larger than the cost of not galling
    3. the selection pressures against galling are not large enough for resistance to evolve
    4. there is an arms race with the galler slightly ahead

    I think you overlooked something here.

    Your possible answers might answer the question: Why doesn’t the plant “do” anything about the existing plague of galls it is infested with?

    But this is not the first and not the most important question. First we must ask: How did the plant develop the ability to produce a new organ, that is fitted for another organism? And for this question your answers don’t work:

    1. Even if the gall might not cost anything to the plant, this doesn’t explain, where the ability to build this organ came from. There must be some code in its DNA to allow for the new tissue to be build and for the form of the gall to be what is needed for the insect. Why should any plant contain such DNA in the first place before the insect was around? And if didn’t exist when the insect came around for the first time, what selection pressure was there to aggregate this ability? There is no plus side for the plant to build organs it doesn’t really need. For both questions there don’t exist any straightforward answers.

    2. I think you made a writing error here: the cost of galling is larger than the cost of not galling (& resistance). But even so, this doesn’t answer in any way the questions I asked just above.

    3. and 4.: likewise.

    All your possible answers might kick in to explain why the existing fully developed galling mechanism doesn’t get destroyed. There might be a discussion about that question.

    But Lönnig is trying to show something else, namely that there is no evolutionary explanation for the development of galls. Where does this organ come from? What induced the plant to acquire the necessary DNA for building this organ? What evolutionary advantage was there for the plant to get this baggage it doesn’t really need?

    And we are not talking about one such mechanism but about hundreds of different mechanism for different combinations of plants and insects.

  61. 61
    hgp says:

    RodW @31

    BTW, Loennig’s entire argument is based on the assertion that plants produce galls for the benefit of the insect. Is this true? Can anyone think of a way this might not be true?

    That’s the problem: More than hundred years after the stating of the problem no one came up a good answer to your question. So in the absence of any answer we might conclude (tentatively of course) that there is no benefit to the plant.

  62. 62
    hgp says:

    RodW @29

    Evolution is supported if the mechanism for producing a gall is a modification of some already existing general mechanism which can have other functions.

    I don’t think it’s that easy.

    First, we are not speaking about one mechanism, but about hundreds of mechanisms. Some plants have several different mechanisms for different insects. Even if these mechanism were modifications of some already existing different mechanism, there are several obvious questions:

    -Why does such a pre-existing mechanism have latent(!) abilities that the plant doesn’t really need? How did evolution work here (not in one case but in hundreds of cases) to have an ability at hand that isnt necessary for the plant?

    -How did the insect find such a pre-existing ability? Before the insect found this ability it couldn’t use it; so the insect at that point needed to have the necessary adaptation to take advantage of an plant ability it just discovered. So you not only need a pre-existing ability on the plant side but also a pre-existing adaptation to the unknown plant ability on the insect side. Where did that come from? How can such pre-existing abilities and adaptations exist in hundreds of cases just for the insects to be “discovered” and exploited?

    -Wouldn’t it be much more probable for the insect to loose its ability to induce a yet not exploitable gall-inducing ability before it develops the necessary adaptations to exploit it?

    Evolution can only be supported, if there are reasonable answers to those questions.

  63. 63
    Dionisio says:

    Folks, has anybody seen at least one example of macroevolutionary fulfillment of the fundamental evo-devo formulation?
    dev(d) = dev(a) + delta(a,d)
    Where ‘d’ is a descendent of its ancestor ‘a’.
    dev(x) is the entire developmental process of a given biological system x
    delta(x,y) is the entire set of spatiotemporal changes in dev(x) required to obtain dev(y).
    They don’t have even a clue. Just read their own literature.
    So what is it that y’all are discussing here? 🙂

  64. 64
    ET says:

    Seversky:

    A rabbit in the Cambrian? Lots of modern rabbits fossilized in the Cambrian? Human fossils in the Cambrian?

    Except yours doesn’t have a mechanism capable of producing rabbits or humans, so that would be a problem. Given starting populations of prokaryotes yours doesn’t have a mechanism of getting beyond more populations of prokaryotes.

  65. 65
    ET says:

    rvb8:

    They also use evolution everyday in their planet hunting.

    No one uses blind watchmaker evolution for anything. It is a useless heuristic.

    They design experiments based upon what evolutionary predictions are made on earth…

    What predictions? Blind watchmaker evolution doesn’t predict anything beyond mere change or stasis. Clearly you are confused

  66. 66
    EugeneS says:

    rvb,

    “another fine effort of ID posting.

    Clear, on topic, relevant, sustained argument, rigorously referenced,”

    What a disgrace! Of all people here you seem to be the least interested in a scientific discussion. You cannot even see you are actually doing a disservice to opponents of ID.

  67. 67
    tribune7 says:

    RVB8 — Could someone in creation science, or the ID movement please, instead of trying to falsify Darwin, bring one, just one piece of positive experimental evidence supporting design?

    RVB8, do accept that designed objects exist?

  68. 68
    EugeneS says:

    Evolution of biosystems, whatever its actual capabilities, starts from a population of self-replicating heterogeneous autonomous systems with symbolic memory.

    What is absolutely needed is the first population that would come into being by substantially different means than those employed by evolutionary modelling of biosystems!

    And, to answer that question, one absolutely needs to address the following:

    How on earth did the first instruction appear? That is the real killer for all current naturalistic OOL models. Because there is no answer to it except via intelligence.

    What is more, deducing this single possible option has nothing to do with ‘filling the gaps’. On the contrary, it is based on direct observations of how similar self-replicating heterogeneous autonomous systems with symbolic memory (such as malicious software) come into existence. I.e. via intelligence.

    It is just a show to see how hard-line adherents to naturalism are not able to even understand that this problem exists.

  69. 69
    critical rationalist says:

    @UB

    What say you rv? Will you actually engage in earnest this time, or find a way not to?

    Why should he bother, when you ignore responses and only engage what you find “interesting”?

    Again, this was addressed in the paper I referenced from the very beginning.

    3.3 Natural selection is permitted under no-design laws
    These conclusions imply that an accurate self-reproducer – together with an accurate replicator – is permitted under no-design laws that allow for information media. So, under such laws, it can be constructed from generic resources only, given enough knowledge: it could continue to exist, say, had a chemical lab created it. However, one must also address the question: can accurate self-reproducers arise from generic resources only, under such laws?
    Note that what the prevailing conception would aim to prove is that the emergence of accurate self-reproducers follows (with some probability) given certain initial conditions and laws of motion. This approach, informing the search for viable models for the origin of life, [25], is suitable to solve scien- tific problems such as predicting the existence of life elsewhere in the uni- verse – e.g., by providing bounds to how probable the emergence of those self-reproducers is on an earth-like planet. Here I am addressing a differ- ent problem: whether accurate self-reproducers are possible under no-design laws. This is a theoretical (indeed, constructor-theoretic) question and can be addressed without resorting to predictions. Indeed, the theory of evolu- tion provides a positive answer to that question, provided that two further points are established. I shall argue for them in what follows.

    The first point is that the logic of evolution by natural selection is com- patible with no-design laws because – in short – selection and variation are non-specific to its end products. This can be seen by modeling the logic of natural selection as an approximate construction, whose substrates are populations of replicators and whose (highly approximate) constructor is the environment. This occurs over a much longer time-scale than that of self- reproduction, whereby replicators – constructors on the shorter scale – become now substrates.
    Evolution relies upon populations being changed by variation and selection over the time-scale spanning many generations. Crucially, the mutations in the replicators, caused by the environment, are non-specific, (as in section 3.1), to the “end product” of evolution (as Dawkins put it, not “systemati- cally directed to improvement” [27]). This constructor-theoretic characteri- sation of mutations replaces the less precise locution “random mutations” (as opposed to non-random selection, [5]). These mutations are all transmitted to the successfully created individuals of the next generation, by heredity – irrespective of their being harmful, neutral or beneficial in that particular environment.
    Selection emerges from the interaction between the replicators and the en- vironment with finite resources. It may lead to equilibrium, given enough time and energy. If so, the surviving replicators are near a local maximum of effectiveness at being replicated in that environment.

    Thus, the environment is passive and blind in this selection process. Since it retains its ability to cause non-specific variation and passive selection again, it qualifies as a naturally-occuring approximation to a constructor. Crucially,
    it is a crude approximation to a constructor: crude enough that it could have arisen by chance and requires no explanation. Its actions – variations and selection – require no design in laws of physics, as they proceed by non- specific, elementary steps. So the logic of evolution by natural selection is compatible with no-design laws of physics.
    The second point is that natural selection, to get started, does not require accurate self-reproducers with high-fidelity replicators. Indeed, the minimal requirement for natural selection is that each kind of replicator produce at least one viable offspring, on average, per lifetime – so that the different kinds of replicators last long enough to be “selected” by the environment. In challenging environments, a vehicle with many functionalities is needed to meet this requirement. But in unchallenging ones (i.e. sufficiently unchanging and resource-rich), the requirement is easily met by highly inaccurate self-reproducers that not only have no appearance of design, but are so inaccurate that they can have arisen spontaneously from generic resources under no-design laws – as proposed, for instance, by the current theories of the origin of life [11, 31]. For example, template replicators, such as short RNA strands [32], or similar “naked” replicators (replicating with poor copying fi- delity without a vehicle) would suffice to get natural selection started. Since they bear no design, they require no further explanation – any more than simple inorganic catalysts do.(11)
    I conclude that the theory of evolution is compatible with no-design laws of physics, that allow, in addition to enough time and energy, information me- dia. These requirements do not contain the design of biological adaptations. Hence, under such laws, the theory of evolution fully explains the appearance of design in living organisms, without their being intentionally designed.

    What say you, UB?

  70. 70
    Bob O'H says:

    hgp @ 60 – so basically my answers to one question aren’t good answers to a different question. I hope you don’t mind me being utterly unsurprised and unconcerned at that.

  71. 71
    LocalMinimum says:

    RodW @ 29:

    Test/Observation: If the hypothesis is correct we could expect that the molecular mechanism the plant uses to produce the gall is an add-on module. Some tacked on set of instructions that can be activated by the insect that have no physiological role for the plant other than producing a gall. Evolution is supported if the mechanism for producing a gall is a modification of some already existing general mechanism which can have other functions.

    Reuse is one of the primary practical principles of software engineering. Software engineering is often (if not always) intelligent design. This doesn’t work.

  72. 72
    ET says:

    critical rationalist- There isn’t a scientific theory of evolution and natural selection has proven to be impotent with respect to being a designer mimic. By the way, where did they get their replicator from, Walmart?

    Once a molecular replicator is found there is still Spiegelman’s monster to contend with. But there is still the problem of that molecular replicator…

  73. 73
    RodW says:

    hgp @62

    Even if these mechanism were modifications of some already existing different mechanism, there are several obvious questions: ………
    Evolution can only be supported, if there are reasonable answers to those questions.

    There are reasonable answers to those questions.

    Loennig thinks that he has evidence that disproves evolution. From the OP:

    But Darwin offered other suggestions as to how his theory could be falsified, one of which was as follows: “If it could be proved that any part of the structure of any one species had been formed for the exclusive good of another species, it would annihilate my theory, for such could not have been produced through natural selection.” Loennig has recently written an article which falsifies Darwinism on this criterion also, Plant Galls and Evolution.

    From the piece he wrote that’s linked above:

    Hence, starting systematically with Malpighi 1679, for more than 330 years now, the basic results on plant gall formation “for the exclusive good of another species”, i. e. in favour of the parasites, have been strengthened, solidified and further expanded.

    He assumes the plants are making the galls to help the insects and because they don’t benefit the plant- and may hurt it- that disproves evolution. Everyone agrees that evolution could not produce such a relationship, so it must have been designed. There’s a very obvious problem with this. Its the equivalent of saying that the reason we sneeze when we have the flu is to help aerosol the virus so it can spread. Its been known for a long time that a gall is a walled off region of the plant that the plant produces to prevent the spread of an infection or parasite. The galls don’t harm the plant, they protect it from the infection. Insects exploit this to create a home for their larvae. Some insects merely irritate the leaf to get it to form a gall. Others have a more complex relationship (behavior/secretions?) to influence the shape, size and color of the gall. So the claim that this violates a fundamental requirement of evolution fails immediately and completely.

    You guys are not biologists. You have an excuse for not knowing this. But Loennig MUST know this.

  74. 74
    Mung says:

    The second point is that natural selection, to get started, does not require accurate self-reproducers with high-fidelity replicators.

    And we know this because there are just oh so many living examples that do not not require accurate self-reproducers with high-fidelity replicators.

    Miraculously, natural selection seems to be responsible for wiping out the evidence needed to support it.

  75. 75

    Good grief CR. You came here stating, among other claims, that knowledge is information that causes itself to be retained when embedded in a material medium.

    I responded directly to your claims. I asked you a very straightforward question: “What are the material conditions that enable this information to be instantiated in medium?”

    You refused to engage the issue. In fact, you seemed a little confused that there even were any material conditions, much less a uniquely definable organization. When pressed on the issue, you eventually stated that “a medium would have to undergo *transformations*,” but then refused to say what those transformation are, or even explain their purpose in the system. When pressed further, you wrapped up by saying that the “laws of physics must allow it”. (facepalm) And then when pressed further still, you said “It’s not just that it is merely allowed by some abstract laws of physics, but which exactly regularities in nature defines information via a dichotomy of possible and impossible tasks that result in properties of being copyable, counterfactual, substrate independent, etc.” You even italicized the word “defines”, as if you felt like you had finally struck at the heart of the matter.

    As far as being an explanation for the material conditions of a medium, that is complete nonsense. It’s bafflegab. A medium is established by a representation and a constraint creating function within a system. That is how a thing becomes specified by a medium in our semantic-free physical universe (which is a necessary condition of your “knowledge”, so you might want to actually know what is physically necessary for it to exist). And this brings us to a second claim you’ve made – you believe that Darwinian evolution, which you idiosyncratically term “conjecture and criticism”, is the source of this system where “knowledge causes itself to be retained when embedded in a material medium.”. But you’ve already been shown that this is not physically possible. Darwinian evolution cannot function until a system exist that can specify objects among alternatives and encode those specifications in a material medium. If A requires B for A to exist, then A cannot be the source of B.

    And what did you do with this information CR? I’ll tell you what you did, with the greatest effort possible, you ignored it completely.

    What is it in a medium that you say is “substrate independent” CR? Can you just post the irrelevant quotes of a fringe theory, or are you able to actually organize a coherent claim? What is required for your “knowledge is information retained in a medium” CR? How does “substrate independence” interact with dynamics?

  76. 76
    Origenes says:

    And here is my personal favorite argument against evolution, from the article linked in the OP:

    Finally, that natural selection seems even remotely plausible depends on the fact that while species are awaiting further improvements, their current complex structure is “locked in,” and passed on perfectly through many generations (in fact, errors are constantly corrected and damage is constantly repaired). This phenomenon is observed, but inexplicable — I don’t see any reason why all living organisms do not constantly decay into simpler components — as, in fact, they do as soon as they die.
    [Granville Sewell]

  77. 77
    kairosfocus says:

    RVB8, did or did you not design the text in your comments? Is that not yet another case among trillions that intelligently directed configuration per observation is the reliable source of FSCO/I? The evidence of blind chance and/or mechanical necessity being observed to so create FSCO/I beyond 500 – 1,000 bits is: _______ . Correct answer, nil. Per inference to best explanation on observing reliable sign, FSCO/I is a reliable index of design as cause. Nowhere in this chain is there anything about “anti-Darwinism.” The implication is actually per Newton’s rules of inference: in explaining things we cannot directly inspect or observe, we must revert to traces and to causes known by observation to be capable of creating the like result. What happens is, blind watchmaker mechanisms cannot pass this test, and are typically inserted by the ideological backdoor. KF

  78. 78
    EugeneS says:

    Origenes @76

    The same argument was nicely put by a commenter here some time ago, which I liked very much:

    evolution = the error correction system emerging as a result of (carefully selected) errors 😉

    As David Abel puts it, evolution does not select for a future function, it only selects from among existing functions.

  79. 79
    Origenes says:

    EugeneS @78

    Excellent quotes! Thank you.

    BTW I have argued elsewhere that homeostasis (or ‘error correction system’) is incompatible with naturalism.

  80. 80
    EugeneS says:

    Origenes

    Thanks very much. Of course, bottom up is just unthinkable in practice. Top-down organization is the only way!

    I have recently discussed the information translation argument (let’s call it like that) with a physicist. And I seem to have persuaded him. His main argument was that everything can be likened to the game of life whereby we have a state + the laws of motion, which gives us the next state etc.

    I argued that the initial state (in the case of information translation systems and hence all living systems) would necessitate symbolic boundary conditions infeasible without intelligence! He concurred 😉

    Anyhow, the reason why I remembered cellular automata is because apparently what seems like simple (bottom-up) rules gives rise to an explosion of complexity (von Neumann mentions it, btw). However, it seems to me that the automaton rules hold implicit complexity in themselves. The unfolding of events (evolution) is only a manifestation of the already present implicit complexity of the rules.

    And secondly, in the theory of cellular automata it is shown that some special automaton states exist that are unreachable by the evolution of the automaton over time. These states are called gardens of Eden. The only way an automaton can ‘visit’ a garden of Eden (if it exists) is to set the initial state of the automaton accordingly.

  81. 81
    EugeneS says:

    Origenes,

    Actually, as I was writing my comment, I looked at that thread of discussion you pointed to, and found that there gpuccio in fact said a similar thing to what I have just said (comment 107 there):

    The pattern is encoded by the encoding of the individual behaviours and complex rules which will generate it.

    Excellently put!

  82. 82
    rvb8 says:

    kairos @77,

    I’m sorry, and I am not being facetious, but I have simply forgotten what your acronym FSCO/I means.

    The only thing I can reliably remember is that it is your contribution to Design Theory.

    Throughout this thread I have been accused of being a child, by UB @56 of being a nasty ‘reckless teenager’, and by ET as anything he sees fit to write.

    Now could the posters here fairly monitor the work of ET, please?

    He/She seems incapable of anything save describing Evolution as, ‘blind mindless processes’, untestable ideas, hand waving, etc.

    This, to describe the well tested mechanism of Natural, and Sexual Selection.

    His/Her posts are invariably a few lines of opinion. He/She makes no attempt to show ID in a positive light, to show its scientists doing anything, and just ladels on spoonful upon spoonful of conjecture and presumption.

    This is not a good look for an ID supporter, you might consider sanctioning him/her in some way.

  83. 83
    ET says:

    LoL! @ rvb8- all you have is your opinion and it appears to be an uneducated opinion at that. Natural selection, a result, has never been tested and shown to be the designer mimic it was made out to be. And sexual selection is a little problem for your position which cannot explain sexual reproduction.

    You want ID in a positive light? It is all over this and many other blogs and scientific papers. Start with ATP synthase- that meets Behe’s positive ID criteria and your position doesn’t have a mechanism that can produce one.

    So what would they be monitoring? My calling you on your bluffs and hissy fits?

    You are only good for demonstrating how desperate your position is.

  84. 84
    ET says:

    He/She seems incapable of anything save describing Evolution as, ‘blind mindless processes’, untestable ideas, hand waving, etc.

    Evolutionary biologists describe evolution as proceeding via blind, mindless processes, so I don’t understand your beef with me. As a matter of fact that is basically the debate- what can blind, mindless processes do vs what foresight and planning can do. So again I don’t understand your beef. And if the ideas of the blind watchmaker could be tested we most likely wouldn’t be having this discussion right now.

    So it seems that rvb8 is incapable of understanding what is being debated and it’s everyone else’s fault.

  85. 85
    EricMH says:

    I agree with rvb8, ID needs to be a positive enterprise, not merely negative. One of the compelling reasons to pursue bad theories like Darwinism is we lack a non-naturalistic theory of causality. All of our scientific apparatus is based on chance and necessity mathematical models.

    What would an ID theory of biological history look like? What does ID say about physics and materialism in general? What kind of impact does agent causality have on our model of reality?

    ID has made interesting predictions that turn out to be true, most notably the ENCODE project discovering most “junk” DNA actually has functionality.

    If ID is true, it should revolutionize biology, in the same way that realizing a car is designed and not randomly assembled is a necessary condition to understand what a car is for and to use it effectively. If we thought cars were randomly assembled, we would probably use them for scrap, as we use much of creation today.

    This latter sort of thing is sorely in need of more investigation to help make the positive case for ID. Perhaps there are not the resources to spare at this point in time, but it should be on the back burner.

    Finally, if ID is true, it should make IDers very rich. IDers should focus on ways to make money with ID.

  86. 86
    ET says:

    The positive case for ID, in summary:

     “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.”– Michael Behe in Darwin’s Black Box

    If we see that and there isn’t a non-telic explanation we safely infer it was the product of intelligent design. Newton’s rules for scientific investigation and Occam’s razor come into play.

    Also from DeWolf et al., Darwinism, Design and Public Education, pg. 92:

    1) High information content (or specified complexity) and irreducible complexity constitute strong indicators or hallmarks of (past) intelligent design.

    2) Biological systems have a high information content (or specified complexity) and utilize subsystems that manifest irreducible complexity.

    3) Naturalistic mechanisms or undirected causes do not suffice to explain the origin of information (specified complexity) or irreducible complexity.

    4) Therefore, intelligent design constitutes the best explanations for the origin of information and irreducible complexity in biological systems.

    Shoot down any of the first three premises and ID falls. For example all one has to do is demonstrate that natural selection can produce irreducibly complex biological systems and you take away the supporting evidence for ID.

    Dr Behe also wrote:

    The National Academy of Sciences has objected that intelligent design is not falsifiable, and I think that’s just the opposite of the truth. Intelligent design is very open to falsification. I claim, for example, that the bacterial flagellum could not be produced by natural selection; it needed to be deliberately intelligently designed. Well, all a scientist has to do to prove me wrong is to take a bacterium without a flagellum, or knock out the genes for the flagellum in a bacterium, go into his lab and grow that bug for a long time and see if it produces anything resembling a flagellum. If that happened, intelligent design, as I understand it, would be knocked out of the water. I certainly don’t expect it to happen, but it’s easily falsified by a series of such experiments.

    Now let’s turn that around and ask, How do we falsify the contention that natural selection produced the bacterial flagellum? If that same scientist went into the lab and knocked out the bacterial flagellum genes, grew the bacterium for a long time, and nothing much happened, well, he’d say maybe we didn’t start with the right bacterium, maybe we didn’t wait long enough, maybe we need a bigger population, and it would be very much more difficult to falsify the Darwinian hypothesis.

    I think the very opposite is true. I think intelligent design is easily testable, easily falsifiable, although it has not been falsified, and Darwinism is very resistant to being falsified. They can always claim something was not right.

    with the caveat from Behe:

    How about Professor Coyne’s concern that, if one system were shown to be the result of natural selection, proponents of ID could just claim that some other system was designed? I think the objection has little force. If natural selection were shown to be capable of producing a system of a certain degree of complexity, then the assumption would be that it could produce any other system of an equal or lesser degree of complexity. If Coyne demonstrated that the flagellum (which requires approximately forty gene products) could be produced by selection, I would be rather foolish to then assert that the blood clotting system (which consists of about twenty proteins) required intelligent design.”

    That means you cannot refute IC as evidence for ID by showing a three piece system can come into existence by necessary and chance events. That only takes care of three part systems and says nothing about systems requiring more parts. I bring that up because that is a favorite tactic of ID critics. For example Art Hunt uses it with his T-urf 13 IC argument.

    So Dr Behe provides the positive criteria and the way to falsify it as evidence for ID. And guess what? Peer review is loaded with articles describing biological structures, systems and subsystems that meet the criteria.

  87. 87
    Seversky says:

    EugeneS @ 68

    Evolution of biosystems, whatever its actual capabilities, starts from a population of self-replicating heterogeneous autonomous systems with symbolic memory.

    What is absolutely needed is the first population that would come into being by substantially different means than those employed by evolutionary modelling of biosystems!

    And, to answer that question, one absolutely needs to address the following:

    How on earth did the first instruction appear? That is the real killer for all current naturalistic OOL models. Because there is no answer to it except via intelligence.

    There is no satisfactory explanation of origins – from either side. Naturalistic science can offer explanations of what happened just after the Big Bang but it cannot say yet why it went “Bang!” or what – if anything – went before. But suggesting intelligence as the ultimate origin doesn’t help either. We can always ask where this complex intelligence came from and what is the origin of the knowledge or information it possesses. There’s still no escape from the two equally unsatisfactory alternatives – an inexplicable explanation or the eternal existence of something.

    It is just a show to see how hard-line adherents to naturalism are not able to even understand that this problem exists.

    We understand it very well. What you creationists seem to have a hard time grasping is that for us there is no compelling evidence for a Creator and that, as I wrote above, a Creator doesn’t actually solve the problem anyway.

  88. 88
    rvb8 says:

    Thanks ET,

    good summation of ID as it currently stands.

    One question, any quotes beyond Behe?

  89. 89
    mike1962 says:

    rvb8: That is, stop attacking evolution, and start experimentally supporting ID or Creation.

    Apparently, you don’t understand how science works. Attacking prevailing theories is quite scientific, and is usually how major leaps in scientifically progress occurs.

  90. 90
    rvb8 says:

    mike1962 @89,

    your point is well made, and I accept it, not that you need my irrelevant confirmation of your valid observation.

    However, when a position relies on nothing but negative attacks on the position they deny (evolution), it becomes tedious, predictable, and indefensible.

    I have seen some very weak apologetics here, trying to push positive evidence for design, but it is nothing I have not seen since Dover.

    Evolution on the other hand is busily filling gaps, making new research proposals, and prodigiously publishing at such a rate, I for one am flabbergasted.

  91. 91
    EricMH says:

    @rvb8, even though a point may be tedious, that does not mean it is false nor irrelevant. A car can be careening towards a cliff, and one tedious guy keeps say “we need to turn around, this is the wrong way” while everyone else is busy trying to make the car go faster.

    From what I’ve researched, the inability of materialism to create information is a real and insoluble problem, and poses the interesting question: what can create information? where does information come from?

    Dembski et. al. use novel formulations for their theories and cast them in new light, but what they are saying repeats well established facts, such as algorithmic information, the data processing inequality, and Chaitin’s incompleteness theorem.

  92. 92
    hgp says:

    Bob O’H @70:

    so basically my answers to one question aren’t good answers to a different question. I hope you don’t mind me being utterly unsurprised and unconcerned at that.

    Let’s look at the question, that you yourself wanted to answer in post 20:

    he hasn’t shown that galls can’t have evolved by natural selection. I can think of a few possible evolutionary explanations

    So you were the one asking how galls evolved. But your proposed answers answer a different question, namely how do galls manage to stay alive and well after they evolved.

    I was pointing out, that your proposed answers don’t answer the question you asked but another question.

    Pretending now that it was me who introduced a red herring is a sign of you not understanding the problem. Your answers pretend to answer one question when they don’t and they answer another question that you didn’t ask. If you are “unsurprised and unconcerned at that” then your argument can’t be taken seriously.

  93. 93
    Bob O'H says:

    hgp – no I wasn’t asking how galls evolved. I was asking if it was was impossible for them to evolve, and laying out some evolutionary explanations for how they could evolve. I’m afraid mis-understood what I wrote.

  94. 94
    EugeneS says:

    Seversky

    “Naturalistic science can offer explanations of what happened just after the Big Bang”

    Often, but not always. And you know why. There are areas where naturalism is well warranted and has been successfully helping to solve practical problems. The laws of nature explain how matter behaves. They can predict e.g. the state of a point mass in the gravity field at time t2 given the knowledge of its state at time t1.

    However they cannot explain what mass is or how it came about. Naturalism is no help in the question of origins, as you yourself concurred. The naturalistic explanations as offered, e.g. by Hawking, are laughable because they really explain nothing and carry a heavy cognitive bias. Look,

    “All that is necessary to explain the world is gravity.” (Hawking). When people asked him where gravity came from, he answered earnestly: “from …the M-theory”.

    It is nonsense for two reasons:

    1. because the laws of nature cannot explain themselves. They cannot explain why there is matter or energy or how they came to be.
    2. because they have absolutely no causal power. They are just descriptions of how things are now. The law of gravity cannot cause two point masses to attract. It is just a description of an objectively existing natural regularity. The laws of economics cannot cause a single penny to go to my bank account, as John Lennox put it.

    It is a problem not just with the current naturalistic picture, it is a systematic flaw of naturalism.

    As you can hopefully see, you hard-line naturalists commit fallacies even before you cross the demarcation line. But if you want to cross it, ok.

    “But suggesting intelligence as the ultimate origin doesn’t help either. ”

    You know why it doesn’t help you guys? Because you keep asking the wrong question. There is no answer to the question, ‘who painted the painter?’

    “We can always ask where this complex intelligence came from”

    Here you go again… You can ask as many silly questions as you like. However, there is no guarantee there is answers 😉 Why should the Creator be any more complex than the things He creates? To be different is enough.

    “What you creationists seem to have a hard time grasping is that for us there is no compelling evidence for a Creator”

    It is your choice, I acknowledge that.

    “The existence of a Creator does not solve anything”.

    In what sense? Personally or epistemologically? Subjectively or objectively?

    The existence of a Creator solves a great deal for me (on both sides of the demarcation line 😉

  95. 95
    kairosfocus says:

    RVB8, it is sadly revealing that you are so little acquainted with the matter at stake. FYI, in NFL, Dembski cited a long list of prior sources on how in biological systems, specification is based on funciton. In fact, speaking to functionally specific complex organisation and/or associated information PRE-DATES Dembski, it is in Orgel in 1973 and in Wicken in 1979. These, in the professional literature. The sum total of my “contribution” — and I can read the subtext there — is that I have highlighted it as the centrally relevant case to the world of life from OOL on, and that to save typing I have put up an abbreviation, FSCO/I. The issue is not personalities but the substantial matter: coherent function based on specific configuration of parts, such that we see islands of function in very large configuration spaces. Islands of function traces to Dembski over a decade ago, and configuration spaces is a term closely tied to state spaces and phase spaces. In effect, think of cases where relative position and arrangement are critical rather than position and momentum. You would be better served by considering that such configurations can be specified in a description language via a structured chain of Y/N questions, producing a binary digital — bit — string. the length of the string is then an index of information conten6t in the functional organisation. This is how things like AutoCAD work. Once configuration becomes highly complex, with information beyond 500 – 1,000 bits, there is then a search challenge that swamps the atomic resources of the sol system or the observed cosmos, leading to infeasibility of blind search on Sol system scope or observed cosmos scale. the ONLY actually observed cause of such FSCO/I, unsurprisingly, is intelligently directed configuration, with trillions of cases in point. In fact, FSCO/I becomes a reliable observable sign of design as cause. To overthrow this, simply produce a case that is actually observed (hence Newton’s stricture that we ought not to allow speculative explanations not actually seen to produce the like effects). The fact is, there is no actually observed evidence that say the genetic code to synthesise a protein of 300 base pairs can arise de novo from in effect filtered off noise, filtered for success. Likewise, there is no “warm little pond” observed where such a protein originates by blind forces. In the real world the only observed cause of such proteins is assembly under control of a coded sequence of mRNA instructions, then folding to effective form, perhaps with agglomeration, addition of other components etc. This is the context in which the living cell has been compared to say a petroleum refinery, with the advantage going to the cell. KF

  96. 96
    kairosfocus says:

    BO’H: You are demanding the default, in service to a proposed cause never actually observed to have capability to create FSCO/I-rich entities. Think about what you demand: that an INDUCTIVE inference demonstrates an impossibility without limit . . . in effect an absolute logical impossibility of being (which can only come from showing incoherence of core characteristics: as in square circle), in a context governed by statistical issues of search challenge on sol system or observed cosmos scale. That is, you have spectacularly stacked the rhetorical deck. This fallacious approach violates Newton’s principle that in explaining things we cannot directly see i/l/o their traces, we should only refer to causes seen to produce the like effect. I repeat, the only actually observed cause of FSCO/I is intelligently directed configuration. You are implying an appeal to utter statistical miracle, in the face of an otherwise patent explanation: contrivance comes about by intelligently directed configuration. The days when the living, self-replicating cell could be seen as “simple” “protoplasm” are long past. KF

  97. 97
    Bob O'H says:

    kf – I appreciate that it might be impossible to investigate every possible explanation, but that doesn’t mean you can take a cursory look and then declare victory. This is especially true if one is to declare a hypothesis falsified. If you’re going to declare that, then one had better make sure that one has falsified it. At best, Lönnig has falsified one statement by Darwin.

    Science is hard. We want to see solid evidence to be convinced. Read the Science article linked to here to see scientists demanding strong evidence to back up a claim, and also note how that the claimant responded – by trying to provide that evidence.

  98. 98
    Origenes says:

    EugenS
    I have reread your interesting OP on the second law, in order to better understand your thinking. There is obviously a lot that I agree with, but there is one or two things that are bugging me.
    Correct me if I’m wrong but it seems to me that you hold that an organism consists of two components: matter and information.

    Living cells are material objects! They, as any other material body, consist of particles of matter subject to natural regularities.

    But the point is that life is not only physics or chemistry! Life is about functional organization (not mere order) whereby its parts are integrated into a whole and act in such a way that the whole persists long enough without disintegration by maintaining its autonomy, metabolizing, replicating and responding to stimuli.
    [EugenS]

    In your view, as I understand it, it is information — or the state of being organized — that keeps an organism together.
    If so, this is where our views fundamentally differ.

    In my view there is no amount of information that can prep the organism for the challenges of life. The requirements for homeostasis shift every nanosecond and are never the same. Consider these thoughts offered by English biologist, Brian Ford:

    Surgery is war. It is impossible to envisage the sheer complexity of what happens within a surgical wound. It is a microscopical scene of devastation. Muscle cells have been crudely crushed, nerves ripped asunder; the scalpel blade has slashed and separated close communities of tissues, rupturing long-established networks of blood vessels. After the operation, broken and cut tissues are crushed together by the surgeon’s crude clamps. There is no circulation of blood or lymph across the suture.
    Yet within seconds of the assault, the single cells are stirred into action. They use unimaginable senses to detect what has happened and start to respond. Stem cells specialize to become the spiky-looking cells of the stratum spinosum; the shattered capillaries are meticulously repaired, new cells form layers of smooth muscle in the blood-vessel walls and neat endothelium; nerve fibres extend towards the site of the suture to restore the tactile senses . . . These phenomena require individual cells to work out what they need to do. And the ingenious restoration of the blood-vessel network reveals that there is an over-arching sense of the structure of the whole area in which this remarkable repair takes place. So too does the restoration of the skin. Cells that carry out the repair are subtly coordinated so that the skin surface, the contour of which they cannot surely detect, is restored in a form that is close to perfect.

    Stephen Talbott commented on Ford as thus:

    It is not being radical to point out that we can’t even begin to picture the unfathomable movement of trillions of molecules and millions of cells in the damaged area. The story is directed toward a desirable conclusion that you and I know very well — restoration to normalcy of a damaged body part — but how does the story “hold together” at the level of molecules and cells, which certainly do not “know” what we know? And yet, quite obviously, in some objective sense the necessary knowledge is there in the organism. It knows. It gets the job done.

    “The knowledge is there in the organism. It knows.”, writes Talbott. But how can this knowledge precede the surgery? How can there be information specific to this specific surgical intervention? How does the organism get from a unique point A to B?
    That’s what I meant when I wrote that homeostasis is incompatible with naturalism.

  99. 99
    ET says:

    rvb8:

    However, when a position relies on nothing but negative attacks on the position they deny (evolution), it becomes tedious, predictable, and indefensible.

    LoL! Evolutionists rely on nothing but negative attacks on ID. And AGAIN, ID is not anti-evolution so no one is denying evolution.

    Your willful ignorance is growing tiresome.

    Evolution on the other hand is busily filling gaps

    Who is doing that? Reference please. No one knows how natural selection produced ATP synthase and no o ne is trying to figure it out. That goes for all IC systems

  100. 100
    ET says:

    Bob O’H:

    We want to see solid evidence to be convinced.

    That is demonstrably false. Many people accept evolutionism despite the total lack of supporting evidence.

    ATP synthase is evidence for ID. It meets Behe’s criteria and evolutionism doesn’t have anything to explain its existence. Now you can whine and stomp your feet but those are the facts.

  101. 101
    ET says:

    Seversky:

    What you creationists seem to have a hard time grasping is that for us there is no compelling evidence for a Creator…

    Only to people who cannot properly assess the evidence. Plenty of evidence in support of an Intelligent Designer has been presented. hand waving it away isn’t going to make it go away

    and that, as I wrote above, a Creator doesn’t actually solve the problem anyway.

    Sure it does. Again your incapability doesn’t mean anything. Saying something was the product of an intelligent designer eliminates classes of explanations and tells us how to conduct our investigation. It adds the possibility of reason and purpose.

  102. 102
    ET says:

    rvb8:

    One question, any quotes beyond Behe?

    Plenty but not required.

  103. 103
    EugeneS says:

    Origenes

    Many Thanks for your interest. I think the answer to your important question is ‘decision making’.

    Decision making amounts to choosing between alternatives. Note that this does not require conscious decisions.

    Perhaps the simplest ever example of decision making in organisms is chemotaxis.

    Basically, I think that decision making has been implanted in organisms in the form of a programmed behaviour:

    if A
    then B
    else C

    How it is encoded and how it is stored, is a different matter. But it must be there.

    That is basically all that is needed. But that is very powerful! The beauty is that I, as a programmer, need not worry what exactly happens to the organism and when. All I need is provide the appropriate event processing condition. And then it acts like a trigger. Bingo!

    Obviously, as organisation gets more complex, so do A, B and C, which themselves can contain many conditions and other statements. I do not know if all this intricate behaviour is encoded in genome or epigenome. I suspect not, as there are other (meta)-languages in the organism (maybe sugar, membrane and other codes exist, I can only guess). It’s like layer upon layer of organization. In 1953 scientists just started scratching the surface.

    I hope I have answered your question.

  104. 104
    kairosfocus says:

    BO’H: A database of trillions of observed cases with no counter-examples backed up by the import of configuration spaces i/l/o search challenge is not a superficial look at the matter. And yes, I am speaking far more broadly than the OP, given the thread above and the wider context of discussions for years. KF

  105. 105
    EugeneS says:

    KF

    Your comment 95 is a very good one, I think! I linked to it from my Russian blog.

  106. 106
    kairosfocus says:

    RW, the design inference on FSCO/I as sign makes very specific predictions and can be overthrown by a single solid observation. Find a case where blind chance and or mechanical necessity on gamut of Sol system or observed cosmos is seen to actually create FSCO/I beyond 500 or 1,000 bits. Does not have to be biological, this is a general statistical result for blind search in configuration spaces. KF

  107. 107
    tribune7 says:

    –What you creationists seem to have a hard time grasping is that for us there is no compelling evidence for a Creator…–

    Seversky, one of the frustrating things we have to deal with is figuring out the rules of debate.

    Are you basing the discussion on science or faith or “science when I speak but faith when you speak” or philosophy of life or what?

    That all life came from a single common ancestor via random genetic changes fixed by natural selection is a legitimate point of scientific inquiry. That to demand that this premise be assumed, however, is ironically anti-science.

    To say that designed objects have quantifiable characteristics and that aspects of nature also have these characteristics is also a legitimate point of scientific inquiry. The movement, however, does not demand that these be assumed in the name of science. If someone should dispute it there is no push to drive him from the academy. Nobody wants to destroy his reputation.

    ID is not faith. You can have faith in God with or without ID, and the wise thing is not to base your faith in God on ID as ID has aspects that are potentially falsifiable namely the quantifications of design, and that an aspect of nature meets the quantifications.

    What you should reflect on though is the philosophy of life aspect. Should you base your life on the assumption that we are designed and have a purpose, or that we are here merely by chance and can create our own purpose? If you cite science as the authority for choosing the latter you are literally worshipping science which is again ironically, anti-science.

  108. 108
    Bob O'H says:

    fk @ 104 – I’m afraid I’ve absolutely no idea what you are on about. For a start, what is the URL of the database? And does it have a good API (something that big will need it!).

  109. 109
    Mark Hammersla says:

    Bob Oh @ 108.
    I think that KF is referring to the libraries throughout the world that are full of books, each full of strings of specified text. This would surely amount to trillions of cases.

  110. 110
    kairosfocus says:

    MH, The Internet, libraries, artifacts of many kinds etc. Just think of nuts and bolts, gears and the like. KF

  111. 111
    Mark Hammersla says:

    KF

    Just think of nuts and bolts, gears and the like.

    Do I have to?

  112. 112
    Origenes says:

    EugeneS @103
    Thank you for your explanation. Maybe I’m taking this thread too much off-topic, but I cannot resist replying.

    EugeneS: Basically, I think that decision making has been implanted in organisms in the form of a programmed behaviour:
    if A
    then B
    else C
    Obviously, as organisation gets more complex, so do A, B and C, which themselves can contain many conditions and other statements.

    In my estimation there is not enough physical storage for information, in genome, epigenome and elsewhere, about the situation after a surgery, as described by Brian Ford; see #98. There can be no specific “if A, then B else C” about such a specific situation. And given the level of coordination of the repair there can be no reduction of this specific situation to a multitude of implanted standard replies.
    IOWs there must be decision-making, overview and information at a non-material level.

    There is also not enough physical storage for the information concerning brains, nervous system and so forth.

    How it is encoded and how it is stored, is a different matter. But it must be there …. maybe sugar, membrane and other codes exist …

    Do you hold that all the information that is necessary for building a human being is physically encoded in the zygote?

  113. 113
    kairosfocus says:

    How many nuts, bolts, gears etc have been made in the past say 150 – 200 years? Every one of them manifests functional coherence based on specific, information-rich organisation.

  114. 114
    critical rationalist says:

    I responded directly to your claims. I asked you a very straightforward question: “What are the material conditions that enable this information to be instantiated in medium?”

    You refused to engage the issue. In fact, you seemed a little confused that there even were any material conditions, much less a uniquely definable organization.

    That’s odd. I referenced an entire paper which presents a physical theory of information, which includes programable constructors. When I asked if you were presenting a theory of information, you refused to answer the question until after being asked point blank at least a dozen times. At which I pointed out said theory of information was incomplete.

    For example, the referenced theory spans both classical and quantum physics. In addition, for information to be instantiated into a medium, it requires reversible computations, which includes a material source of the information to be copied. Your supposed “theory of information” doesn’t address any of those issues. So It’s unclear how criticizing your theory represents a failure to engage the issue.

    When pressed on the issue, you eventually stated that “a medium would have to undergo *transformations*,” but then refused to say what those transformation are, or even explain their purpose in the system.

    Again, the transformation a medium would have to undergo are unique to the actual information itself. It’s unclear how the very same transformations can somehow copy different information. To assume that they would is, well, irrational.

    And then when pressed further still, you said “It’s not just that it is merely allowed by some abstract laws of physics, but which exactly regularities in nature defines information via a dichotomy of possible and impossible tasks that result in properties of being copyable, counterfactual, substrate independent, etc.” You even italicized the word “defines”, as if you felt like you had finally struck at the heart of the matter.

    That’s what a physical theory of information does, UB. It brings information into fundamental physics. It defines it at a more fundamental level than what you presented, which is why is is independent of knowing subjects. It’s what specific laws of physics are necessary for information to be possible. This is why I kept asking you if your were actually presenting a physical theory of information.

    As far as being an explanation for the material conditions of a medium, that is complete nonsense. It’s bafflegab. A medium is established by a representation and a constraint creating function within a system. That is how a thing becomes specified by a medium in our semantic-free physical universe (which is a necessary condition of your “knowledge”, so you might want to actually know what is physically necessary for it to exist).

    This represents yet another of your vague criticisms. Supposedly being “ bafflegab” could be applied to absolutely anything because it’s void of any specific criticism. Again, is there some other non-physical theory of information? Is there no such thing as quantum information as your “theory” doesn’t say anything about it. What about copying?

    Is this is some kind of argument from irreducible complexity? Are you arguing there must be some prior “establisher”? Are you referring to the circular problem of distinguishability in other physical theories of information, like Shannons? I really don’t know what your point is. Why don’t you spell it out for us?

    Simply put, organizations that play a causal role in being retained are knowledge. Organizations which do not are not knowledge. We cannot merely choose for some organization to contain knowledge anymore than we can choose for some organization of bits on a flash drive to cure cancer. If we could, we’d have a cure for cancer by now, right? Yet we do not. Why? Because cancer will only be cured when the requisite knowledge is actually present there. Our intent, will or belief is insufficient.

    Do you actually have any criticism of this other than being “bafflegab”?

    But you’ve already been shown that this is not physically possible. Darwinian evolution cannot function until a system exist that can specify objects among alternatives and encode those specifications in a material medium. If A requires B for A to exist, then A cannot be the source of B.

    First, you might not want to use an analogy that illustrates how ID doesn’t actually solve the problem it purports to solve. The appearance of design is being well adapted to serve a purpose and It’s unclear how being well adapted to serve a purpose can be the explanation for, well, being well adapted to serve a purpose. All you’ve done is push the problem up a level without improving it.

    After all, out of all the trillions of observations of designers designing things, every one was well adapted for the purpose of designing things. Right? Or are you actually suggesting they are not?

    Second, I pasted that section to show that you’ve yet again ignored a response to your question, which is right above in my comment. Apparently, you just don’t find it interesting? For your convenience.

    But in unchallenging ones (i.e. sufficiently unchanging and resource-rich), the requirement is easily met by highly inaccurate self-reproducers that not only have no appearance of design, but are so inaccurate that they can have arisen spontaneously from generic resources under no-design laws – as proposed, for instance, by the current theories of the origin of life [11, 31]. For example, template replicators, such as short RNA strands [32], or similar “naked” replicators (replicating with poor copying fidelity without a vehicle) would suffice to get natural selection started. Since they bear no design, they require no further explanation – any more than simple inorganic catalysts do.(11)

    A highly accurate replicator would exhibit the appearance of design. That is, it would be well adapted to the purpose of highly accurate replication. Your argument is how can something being well adapted to serve the purpose of highly accurate replication be the explanation for highly accurate replication?

    However, highly inaccurately replicators would not exhibit the appearance of design. In unchallenging environments, primitive replicators are sufficient to get natural selection started. They are not well adapted for the purpose of replication.

    And what did you do with this information CR? I’ll tell you what you did, with the greatest effort possible, you ignored it completely.

    Again, it’s unclear how directly quoting and responding with specific criticism is “ignoring it completely”. This is in contrast with how you ignored the above in this thread and many others like it from the start.

    What is it in a medium that you say is “substrate independent” CR? Can you just post the irrelevant quotes of a fringe theory, or are you able to actually organize a coherent claim? What is required for your “knowledge is information retained in a medium” CR? How does “substrate independence” interact with dynamics?

    Gee wiz, UB. It’s not mediums are not substrate independent. It’s Information. I guess you can’t even be bothered to actually read the referenced paper. Go figure.

  115. 115
    critical rationalist says:

    @KF

    Think about what you demand: that an INDUCTIVE inference demonstrates an impossibility without limit . . . in effect an absolute logical impossibility of being (which can only come from showing incoherence of core characteristics: as in square circle), in a context governed by statistical issues of search challenge on sol system or observed cosmos scale.

    […]

    This fallacious approach violates Newton’s principle that in explaining things we cannot directly see i/l/o their traces, we should only refer to causes seen to produce the like effect.

    And every cause we’ve seen producing the effect of designing things have been themselves well adapted for the purpose of designing things. They they have complex, material brains that have been well adapted from raw materials. So, obviously, you adhere to the inductive inference that all designers have complex material brains, right? Nor would you violate Newton’s principle by referring to things other than we have observed, such as designers that are not well adapted for the purpose of design, would you?

    Something being well adapted to serve a purpose cannot be the explanation for being well adapted to serve a purpose.

    Or are you suggesting that we have observed things that are not well adapted for the purpose of designing things? If so, what examples would you cite? Why are they capable of design if they are not well adapted for the purpose of doing just that? Why haven’t we observed, say, rocks designing things? They’re not well adapted for the purpose of designing things, either.

  116. 116

    I referenced an entire paper which presents a physical theory of information, which includes programable constructors.

    CR, to say that something is “programmable” implies that something has become specified in a medium. From your theory, what are the material conditions that enable something to be specified in a medium?

  117. 117
    EugeneS says:

    Origenes

    “Do you hold that all the information that is necessary for building a human being is physically encoded in the zygote?”

    The simple answer is, I do not know.

    I believe essential information must be there, e.g. some basic response patterns should be present in some form. However, there are certain decisions that are made conditionally.

    “There can be no specific “if A, then B else C” about such a specific situation”

    I think the behaviour pattern need not be as specific as we might expect. E.g. to specify a pattern I do not have to specify every combination of sensory data values. Storage may be decentralized, as is decision making as a whole (there may be cases where the centre does not need or even should not get involved in local event processing).

    Again, this is just an opinion. I am open to other views.

  118. 118
    EugeneS says:

    CR @115

    Too many too complex questions to tackle at once. I suggest you focus on just explaining how the first ever pair instruction-processor appeared on earth.

  119. 119
    kairosfocus says:

    CR, too many tangents. I pointed out that as a going concern matter inductive reasoning (modern sense: arguments that more or less support rather than necessitate their conclusions) is inherently provisional so a selectively hyperskeptical dismissal is improper. Second, there is no good inductive inference that brains are a necessary condition of mindedness, indeed there is abundant reason to infer that physical processing is conditioned by chance and/or mechanical necessity tied to organisation, thus is not the locus of responsible, rational freedom. Absent that freedom, our own reasoning collapses in self referential absurdity — as the discussion on Oog etc brings out — and so we see that there is a huge explanatory gap on evolutionary materialist accounts of origins of the human mind. Back to an evolving local crisis. KF

  120. 120
    Mung says:

    > From your theory, what are the material conditions that enable something to be specified in a medium?

    And why is your theory not defined specifically so as to not exclude God?

  121. 121
    critical rationalist says:

    @KF

    CR: So, obviously, you adhere to the inductive inference that all designers have complex material brains, right?

    KF: CR, too many tangents. I pointed out that as a going concern matter inductive reasoning (modern sense: arguments that more or less support rather than necessitate their conclusions) is inherently provisional so a selectively hyperskeptical dismissal is improper.

    Except them they don’t? Why doesn’t all of those trillions of observation you keep referring to provisionally support the conclusion that all designers are well adapted for the purpose of designing things?

    KF: Second, there is no good inductive inference that brains are a necessary condition of mindedness, indeed there is abundant reason to infer that physical processing is conditioned by chance and/or mechanical necessity tied to organisation, thus is not the locus of responsible, rational freedom.

    And I introduced too many tangents? It’s unclear how “mindedness” is sufficient to design things. In fact, I just make an argument against that very thing.

    Do you exhibit “responsible, rational freedom”? Do I? Does at last some significant percentage of the medical community? If we take the claim that “”responsible, rational freedom” is the locus of “design” seriously, as if it’s true in reality, then shouldn’t we be able to rationally, responsibility and freely choose to cure cancer? Shouldn’t it have been cured decades ago?

    And, if we take that idea seriously, then what’s to prevent say, rocks, from having minds? If not being well adapted to serve a purpose, then what is that separates people from rocks or other inanimate objects?

    Could rocks have minds if God wanted them to? Apparently, they don’t merely because he decided against it?

    Absent that freedom, our own reasoning collapses in self referential absurdity — as the discussion on Oog etc brings out — and so we see that there is a huge explanatory gap on evolutionary materialist accounts of origins of the human mind.

    What you haven’t shown is freedom is necessary for the growth of knowledge in the case of biological organisms. Or that there are other designers other than what we’ve observed. All of that violates Newton’s principles. Nor could we have designed ourselves.

    So, apparently, all of those trillions of observations count, except when they don’t.

  122. 122
    critical rationalist says:

    @EugeneS

    Too many too complex questions to tackle at once. I suggest you focus on just explaining how the first ever pair instruction-processor appeared on earth.

    They are not merely “topics”. I’m trying to the claims here seriously, for the purpose of criticism, as if they were true and that all observations should conform to them. That’s how we, as Feynman would say, avoid “fooling ourselves”.

  123. 123
    kairosfocus says:

    Cr, ducking and dodging. Whether analogue or digital or a mix, material computational substrates are no higher than their programs, functional organisation, and whatever impacts noise may have. They simply cannot be the basis for the rational responsible freedom required to have a discussion much less undertake inductive inferences. KF

  124. 124
    critical rationalist says:

    UB: CR, to say that something is “programmable” implies that something has become specified in a medium. From your theory, what are the material conditions that enable something to be specified in a medium?

    Notice how UB didn’t actually present any criticism of what I wrote. And it’s not “my” theory, either. Repeating the question is not criticism.

    And we’re not taking about “something”. We’re taking about information. To present the criticism that “aspect X” of information is missing from “my” theory would actually required defining it, which UB has continued to avoid.

    For example, to say something is programmable implies a specification can be copied in a medium. Surely, that’s part of what’s necessary for information to be embedded in a storage medium, right? And the same information can be programmed into a classical and quantum constructor. Strangely, UB’s “theory” doesn’t say anything about that. Does that mean he thinks quantum computers cannot hold information? Is it some completely different kind of information? Apparently, there is a special non-physical version of information, along with separate classical and quantum versions of information?

    I’m really quite confused, which is why I keep asking UB if he has actually presented a theory of information in the first place.

    UB, why don’t you start out by defining information, then point out what part of “my” theory doesn’t include that aspect. Please be specific.

    Of course, I’ve already asked that, when I wrote.

    Is this is some kind of argument from irreducible complexity? Are you arguing there must be some prior “establisher”? Are you referring to the circular problem of distinguishability in other physical theories of information, like Shannons? I really don’t know what your point is. Why don’t you spell it out for us?

    Yet he ignored that too.

  125. 125
    critical rationalist says:

    @KF

    Whether analogue or digital or a mix, material computational substrates are no higher than their programs, functional organisation, and whatever impacts noise may have. They simply cannot be the basis for the rational responsible freedom required to have a discussion much less undertake inductive inferences. KF

    More tangents?

    To make an inductive inference, we would need a principle of induction that provides guidance as to which of those trillions of observations would continue. And, AFAIK, no one has actually managed to do so, in practice. So, apparently we can add making “inductive inferences” to the list of things that “responsible freedom” somehow magically makes possible, yet doesn’t.

    Again, if it did, then why don’t we have a cure for cancer yet?

    Apparently, I don’t understand what role “responsible freedom” plays or you don’t even take your own theory seriously.

  126. 126
    kairosfocus says:

    CR, more ducking, dodging and tangents. Before you go further you need to ground responsible rational freedom on the material computational substrate of brain tissue. The correct answer is, you cannot. This means, mindedness is a first premise that transcends the materialistic worldview. In this context, there is no reason to reject the first plausible that we live in an orderly world in which patterns of order are evident to the insightful mind, however provisionally. This is something you need from the moment you get out of bed of a morning and set out for the showers and breakfast: why do you have faith that what is in your box of cereal has not mysteriously transmuted itself into poison overnight? Or, your body wash? So, drop the hyperskeptical games, please. KF

  127. 127
    critical rationalist says:

    @KF

    I’m ducking and dodging?

    Before you go further you need to ground responsible rational freedom on the material computational substrate of brain tissue. The correct answer is, you cannot.

    Your whole argument is based on the epistemological idea that “responsible rational freedom” is how knowledge grows. When faced with observations we somehow choose the right inference. And without that, there can be no knowledge.

    First, we cannot apply a principle of induction if one doesn’t exist. But, by all means, feel free to formulate one that someone who exhibits “responsible rational freedom” could use in practice. If you did, you’d be famous in philosophical circles and possibility even win a Nobel price! So, what are you waiting for?

    Second, if it was true, in reality, that choice was the factor, would that not have concrete ramifications in regards to what we know today? Wouldn’t that result in our ability to solve problems we face today and in the future, such as having already cured cancer? Why haven’t we, if that were actually the case.

    Again, it seems that either I don’t understand what you mean by ” responsible rational freedom” or you are not taking your own theory seriously as an explanation for the growth of knowledge.

    Apparently, “responsible rational freedom” allows us to create knowledge, except when it doesn’t.

    This means, mindedness is a first premise that transcends the materialistic worldview.

    Some designer that “just was” complete with “responsible rational freedom”, already present, doesn’t serve an explanatory purpose. This is because one could more efficiently state that human beings “just appeared” complete with “responsible rational freedom”, already present.

    You’ve merely pushed the problem up a level without improving it.

    In this context, there is no reason to reject the first plausible that we live in an orderly world in which patterns of order are evident to the insightful mind, however provisionally. This is something you need from the moment you get out of bed of a morning and set out for the showers and breakfast. So, drop the hyperskeptical games, please. KF

    Saying you’re confused about how knowledge grows is not the same as saying there is no knowledge. Then again, I’ve only clarified that dozens of times.

    And I’m the one that needs to drop the hyperskeptical games?

  128. 128
    ET says:

    This is because one could more efficiently state that human beings “just appeared” complete with “responsible rational freedom”, already present.

    And the only way that could happen is via Intelligent Design. And saying something was the product of ID says quite a bit. For one it eliminates classes of causes and for another it tells us how to conduct our investigation.

  129. 129
    Origenes says:

    CR: Some designer that “just was” complete with “responsible rational freedom”, already present, doesn’t serve an explanatory purpose. … You’ve merely pushed the problem up a level without improving it.

    It does serve an explanatory purpose. The metaphysical claim here is that consciousness is irreducible and foundational to reality (*).
    The concept is firmly based in Aquinas’ “First Cause”.

    The first cause is indivisible because there are no things that constitute the first cause. The first cause is therefor a unity.
    There is no “before” the first cause. A context of spacetime can only be explained by the first cause, not the other way around.
    Nothing determines the first cause, except the first cause, therefore, the first cause is free.
    Note that, by definition, freedom cannot be determined by something other than itself.

    (*) Note that we have to start somewhere, no explanation can start from nothing — ex nihilo nihil fit (from nothing comes nothing). Naturalism starts with physical laws, spacetime, matter and energy.

  130. 130
    kairosfocus says:

    Cr, without responsible rational freedom, there is no basis for reasoned discussion, persuasion and thought. In short you are reduced to making meaningless mouth noises. So mock on, you don’t even see you are mocking your own self in a spiral of self-referential absurdity, even as you pose on the rhetoric of skepticism and demands that we prove to you. Your fundamental incoherence refutes your case. Game over. KF

  131. 131
    Mung says:

    > And why is your theory not defined specifically so as to not exclude God?

    Five posts later and still no answer.

  132. 132
    Origenes says:

    Kairosfocus

    Your choice of terms “responsible rational freedom” is spot on, because each of those terms refer to items that are irreducible to matter:

    (1) Responsibility is irreducible, because if parts constitute/determine it, then the parts are ‘responsible’ and not the whole.
    (2) Rationality is irreducible, because if blind parts constitute rationality, then there is no rationality.
    (3) Freedom, by definition, cannot be determined by something other than itself. Freedom is unity.

  133. 133

    CR: I referenced an entire paper which presents a physical theory of information, which includes programable constructors.

    UB: CR, to say that something is “programmable” implies that something has become specified in a medium. From your theory, what are the material conditions that enable something to be specified in a medium?

    CR: Notice how UB didn’t actually present any criticism of what I wrote.

    I’ve asked you several times to clarify key physical aspects of your “physical theory of information”. You refuse to respond to the question. Challenging me to define the words that you used in making your claim is not a response, it’s a deception. If you, as the champion of the theory, cannot take from the theory what is physically required for information to be embedded in a medium, then tell me why I, as a critic, should think that your theory has any real connection to what is already known and documented about those material conditions? What more can I do than ask for the clarification. But after a half dozen or so attempts, is there any reason for me to ask again?

    You want criticism? Okay … If A requires B for A to exist, then A cannot be the source of B? You haven’t even engaged that criticism, much less answered it. Have you abandoned your claim that Darwinian evolution is the source of the genetic translation apparatus?

  134. 134
    Mung says:

    critical rationalist:

    I’m ducking and dodging?

    Yes. Obviously. How does your theory explicitly exclude G-d?

  135. 135
    critical rationalist says:

    “If it could be demonstrated that any complex organ existed which could not possibly have been formed by numerous, successive, slight modifications, my theory would absolutely break down.”

    The thing is, observations are themselves theory laden. So, it could be that the theory behind those observations could be false. Or it could be the theory that the conditions under which those observations were made would result in accurate results is false as well.

    So, you have to ask, are the observations mistaken or is the theory it supposedly falsified.

    For example, during the OPERA experiment in Switzerland, neutrinos were detected in a way that indicated they were traveling faster than the speed of light. Did this immediately falsify Einstein’s theory that nothing travels faster than C? No, it did not. This is because we did not have a theory that explained why neutrinos were traveling faster than the speed of light in the OPERA experiment, but not others. IOW, before Einstein’s theory was overthrown, a new theory is needed to explain the same phenomena at least as well, in addition to the additional phenomena of the unique OPERA observations, and we didn’t have one.

    Eventually, it was discovered the theory that the experiment was set up in such as way that observations would be accurate was false, rather than the theory that nothing travels faster than the speed of light in real space.

    The referenced interview didn’t indicate any such attempt was made to address this possibility in the case of carnivorous plants. In fact, the guest was talking about a response from one of his teachers, which was likely decades ago. Apparently, nothing has changed since then? (Also, what’s up with the “amazing, marvelous, complicated, superlative, etc.” descriptions of plants?)

    I for one can think of alternative users for mechanisms that quickly close on a insect could also be useful during pollination, to prevent pollen from being lost. And it could be that plants started capturing both the pollen and insects themselves. Those that could utilize both the pollen and the insect would have an advantage. Of course, this is a conjectured idea, which should be subject to criticism. At least one study indicates the ability to digest insects in Pitcher plans was repurposed from an earlier use as a response to herbivores eating their leaves.

    As another example, when the sun was obscured by the clouds, we didn’t think this was an observation of the sun not having risen due to our theories of optics, geometry, etc. This was the case before we could even take flight about the clouds. And the same goes for our theories of fossilization, etc., in the case of evolution. We do not expect every transitional fossil to be found.

    So, it’s unclear how the case of carnivorous plants is actually a falsification of Neo-Darwinism. For example, this could be a case where we will discover some new way to vary an organism’s genome, such as HGT, which is compatible with Neo-Darwinism.

    What about ID? Can it better explain the same observations, including this supposed exception in the case of carnivorous plants? It has none. At best, it can only say there is an exception in this case because, “that’s just what some designer must have wanted”, which explains nothing.

    Why would such an advanced designer, who has no defined limitations, intentionally choose to design the vast majority of organisms in precisely such as way that would lead us to a false conclusion that evolution was true? What is blindsided by the fact that this would occur?

  136. 136
    ET says:

    critical rationalist- Yours doesn’t have a mechanism of getting beyond populations of prokaryotes and that is given starting populations of prokaryotes. And that means yours cannot explain the existence of plants. That also means the following is pure BS:

    Why would such an advanced designer, who has no defined limitations, intentionally choose to design the vast majority of organisms in precisely such as way that would lead us to a false conclusion that evolution was true?

    Evolution by means of blind, mindless processes, can only explain genetic disease and deformities. So yes ID is the better explanation for life’s diversity.

  137. 137
    critical rationalist says:

    @ET

    And the only way that could happen is via Intelligent Design.

    It is? So then why don’t you start out by explaining how intelligent agents design things, then point out how Neo-Darwinism doesn’t fit that explanation. Please be specific.

    Oh, that’s right. ID will never present an explanation because anything that can be explained is merely something unseen and everyone know’s ID’s designer is God, who is inexplicable by definition. Nor is mere choice sufficient, as I’ve argued above.

    I won’t be holding by breath.

  138. 138
    ET says:

    CR:

    So then why don’t you start out by explaining how intelligent agents design things, then point out how Neo-Darwinism doesn’t fit that explanation.

    Been there, done that. See comment 86. And then again I doubt you will understand it.

  139. 139
    critical rationalist says:

    I’ve asked you several times to clarify key physical aspects of your “physical theory of information”. You refuse to respond to the question.

    You seem to have confused refusing to respond with responding in a way you find acceptable due to some undisclosed criticism. And, again, it’s not “my” theory. Apparently, reading comprehension isn’t one of your strong suits? What gives?

    Again, what’s missing? What aspect of information did I not account for? Please be specific.

    Challenging me to define the words that you used in making your claim is not a response, it’s a deception.

    I’ve already provided a definition of information. Yet, you still seem to have some objection that you will not clarify. In fact, the theory itself is a definition of information. And it defines it by indicating what laws of physics are necessary for information to be embedded in a storage medium. So, again, apparently you think this theory is lacking in some sense, which you will not disclose.What is this aspect? Please be specific.

    Or did I get the question wrong?

    If you, as the champion of the theory, cannot take from the theory what is physically required for information to be embedded in a medium, then tell me why I, as a critic, should think that your theory has any real connection to what is already known and documented about those material conditions?

    You seem to have confused having a more fundamental theory of information with failing to connect with what is known and documented about those conditions. Furthermore, what is absent from the papers on your site is that symbioses somehow implies ID. In fact, the opposite was clearly stated instead. So, again, it seems that you’ve assumed there is something else in addition to the documented material conditions which you haven’t argued for.

    IOW, a more fundamental statement is that knowledge is information that plays a casual role in being retained when embedded in a storage medium. The paper on information specifically references symbols and why they are possible.

    1 Introduction
    In some respects, information is a qualitatively different sort of entity from all others in terms of which the physical sciences describe the world. It is not, for instance, a function only of tensor fields on spacetime (as general relativity requires all physical quantities to be), nor is it a quantum-mechanical observable.

    But in other respects, information does resemble some entities that appear in laws of physics: the theory of computation, and statistical mechanics, seem to refer directly to it without regard to the specific media in which it is instantiated, just as conservation laws do for the electromagnetic four-current or the energy-momentum tensor. We call that the substrate-independence of information. Information can also be moved from one type of medium to another while retaining all its properties qua information. We call this its interoperability property; it is what makes human capabilities such as language and science possible, as well as biological adaptations that use symbolic codes, such as the genetic code.

    The subject of interoperability is covered in detail later in the paper.

    IOW, the paper describes what laws of physics make symbols possible. Do you have specific criticism of this? Is there some aspect of symbols you do not think are accounted for by this more fundamental theory? Are you saying there can not be a more fundamental theory? What is your objection?

    You want criticism? Okay … If A requires B for A to exist, then A cannot be the source of B? You haven’t even engaged that criticism, much less answered it.

    Did you completely read #114?

    [relevant quote from paper on the constructor theory of life]

    A highly accurate replicator would exhibit the appearance of design. That is, it would be well adapted to the purpose of highly accurate replication. Your argument is how can something being well adapted to serve the purpose of highly accurate replication be the explanation for highly accurate replication?

    However, highly inaccurately replicators would not exhibit the appearance of design. In unchallenging environments, primitive replicators are sufficient to get natural selection started. They are not well adapted for the purpose of replication.

    It’s unclear how this is an example of “not having engaged” that criticism. In fact, you’ve completely ignored just that. I don’t buy for a minute that it went over your head. You’re smarter than that. So, apparently, you just don’t find it interesting?

  140. 140
    critical rationalist says:

    @KF @UB

    Again, what you haven’t shown is that the growth of knowledge requires “responsible, rational freedom”, whatever that means. Furthermore, being information, theories would would need to already exist in some substrate so they can be copied onto the substrate of our brains.

    Specifically, before anyone could choose from a set of theories based on observations, those theories would have to be transmitted (copied) from our environment into our brains so we could select one. However, that would require the contents of our theories to actually be out there, in the first place, in some material substrate. Equations are not carved on mountains. Nor do observations come with “tags” with theories embedded in them, from which we could copy into our brains.

    The actual contents of our theories come from creatively mutating, mixing and combining existing theories we already had when we made those observations. And those existing theories didn’t come from observations, either, etc. The contents of theories are tested by observations, not derived from them.

    Despite all of this, apparently, the contents of theories can be derived from observations because “that’s just what God must have wanted”?

    This would be the same in regards to designers. Namely, before a designer could copy the knowledge of what transformations of raw materials will result in a copy of an organism, it would need to be preset somewhere out there in some storage medium – either in the designer’s brain or by having possession of it in some storage medium, such as a flash drive, etc. A reversible computation is performed that makes the copy into the genome of an organism.

    IOW, it seems to me that, based on what is physically necessary for information, the designer would need to possess that same information in some physical form so it would know what transformations the storage medium of the genome should undergo.

    So, in regards to the knowledge found in the genome of organisms,
    a designer put it there”, just pushes the problem up a level without actually improvising it. How did it come by that knowledge? Etc.

    Or did it just spontaneous appear in organisms when the designer created them? (Which would be a a more efficient explanation.)

  141. 141
    kairosfocus says:

    CR, you are trying the twist-about, hyperskepticism trick again. Absent responsible, rational freedom there is no basis for a discussion. Your inability to ground such on brains as computational substrate is also noted — something you tried to put into play above to cast doubts on inductive reasoning. Moreover, you are unable to explain to us how you confidently get up on a morning and eat your cereal without accepting that the world is a significantly intelligible, ordered system where we may rely on observed patterns and in fact must do so to survive. You are in self-referential absurdity here. KF

  142. 142

    CR: So then why don’t you start out by explaining how intelligent agents design things, then point out how Neo-Darwinism doesn’t fit that explanation. Please be specific.

    Intelligent agents can specify objects from among alternatives, and record those specifications in a material medium. Neo-Darwinian evolution requires that capacity in order to exist, and therefore cannot be the source of that capacity. Intelligent agents can also use their foresight to organize these specifications into a system that produces functional effects, which again, Neo-Darwinian evolution cannot do. From previous writing:

    Following a long history of intuitions about the nature of symbols, mathematics, and language, pioneers like John Von Neumann and Alan Turing (as well as their intellectual predecessors) took the conceptual steps necessary to organize a high-capacity representational process in the outside physical world (outside of the mind). By an act of foresight, they imparted meaningful relationships to a conceptual material system, contributing to that system an organizational arrangement that is not derived from its physical properties. They accomplished this by first conceiving the logical principles by which the system could function, and their conceptions would then serve (as Polanyi argued more than forty years ago)(6) to harness the laws of nature in order to achieve a functional effect.

    I can be more specific if you like, and tell you what attributes such a system must have, and how those attributes must be organized in order to achieve that function. That information has been in the scientific literature for about half a century.

    What aspect of information did I not account for? Please be specific.

    Answer: The physical and organizational requirements for information to become embedded in a medium and persist there.

    Did you completely read #114?

    [relevant quote from paper on the constructor theory of life]

    A highly accurate replicator would exhibit the appearance of design. That is, it would be well adapted to the purpose of highly accurate replication. Your argument is how can something being well adapted to serve the purpose of highly accurate replication be the explanation for highly accurate replication?

    However, highly inaccurately replicators would not exhibit the appearance of design. In unchallenging environments, primitive replicators are sufficient to get natural selection started. They are not well adapted for the purpose of replication.

    It’s unclear how this is an example of “not having engaged” that criticism. In fact, you’ve completely ignored just that. I don’t buy for a minute that it went over your head. You’re smarter than that. So, apparently, you just don’t find it interesting?

    Repeatedly insisting that physical law permits symbols to exist is uninteresting, and making a claim that an assumed replicator needn’t replicate with fidelity is not evidence. How does your system specify one thing from another, and how did it achieve semantic closure?

  143. 143
    PaV says:

    Bob O’H:

    As to my answer to your #1:

    After enumerating your musings, you wrote:

    Some or all of these may be utterly wrong, of course.

    I don’t think I misunderstood this statement.

    As to your response to my response to your #2:

    You wrote:

    If the plant can gall or do nothing, then doing nothing might be a better strategy, or a worse strategy (e.g. if it meant the galler would just eat all of the plant instead).

    It could be “better,” or it could be “worse.” IOW, evolutionary theory can make no predictions.

    As to your #3:

    “3. the selection pressures against galling are not large enough for resistance to evolve”

    First I wrote:

    Number 3 requires us to believe that the plants will be more reproductively ‘successful’ if they must also produce the gall products, since “selection pressure” is all about “fitness,” which is itself measured by “reproductive success.”

    You responded:

    I’m sorry, you’ve utterly missed the point. This is basic population genetics: if the cost of galling is small enough, the dynamics of invasion of a resistance allele will be dominated by drift, so will take longer to become established. This might be enough to slow it down sufficient.

    Well, as usual, evolutionary theory tells us it’s RM+NS, unless, of course, it’s not. Then it’s “drift.” There are no “predictions” from evolutionary theory; only “postdictions.” That’s why it’s ‘unfalsifiable,’ and basically, useless.

    From the OP: “If it could be proved that any part of the structure of any one species had been formed for the exclusive good of another species, it would annihilate my theory, for such could not have been produced through natural selection.”

    Your #3 is basically an admission that “galling” involves only the “good” of the insect, not the plant; thus confirming Lonnig’s point. You’re simply saying here that the “harm” done to the plant is minimal; but, this harm is not zero. And so all the harm is on the side of the plant, and all of the “good” is on the side of the insect. Let’s say you’ve perfectly described the situation. Nevertheless, this does nothing to refute Lonnig’s contention that this example is, per Darwin’s quote, sufficient to refute his theory.

    As to your #4:
    4. there is an arms race with the galler slightly ahead

    You said:

    I’m glad to see that you agree with me that Lönnig is wrong, but I’m not sure I see how it’s a truism, especially the part about the gallers being slightly ahead.

    I can’t see how I’m 0 for 4 when we both actually agree on the final point!

    Well, obviously the insect is dictating to the plant, and not the other way around. So, yes, the “galler is slightly ahead.” A truism. An observation. A starting point.

    It doesn’t represent in any way a refutation of Lonnig’s position. We’ll make you 0 for 3, OK? 🙂

  144. 144

    Since this thread is still active, another contribution.

    I can feel a certain empathy towards rvb8 and his activity here. Several years back, and for several years I was, I guess, a troll over at the NCSE blog site beginning as one of NCSEs first commenters.

    My rational was to counter what I saw as a very influential strangle hold on science education, particularly in the life sciences.

    I strove to make my contributions civil and addressed many of the articles I found, in particular, over at ENV, the Discovery Institutes web site.

    The pushback was fierce — fully loaded with insults, but seldom containing any substantive counter arguments. Aside from the insults, were typical responses such as rvb8 at 14 above:

    “I don’t have to for several reasons. I can’t answer your questions as well as the 98% or so of evolutionary biologists who can; ask them, there answers will be full.”

    To put this in the context of the back and forth at the NCSE comments, let me copy here some of that exchange:

    __________________________________________
    From me to NCSE: “… tiny quantum fluctuations in the very early universe became the seeds from which galaxies, stars, and ultimately human life emerged” … Stephen Hawking
    “In the Beginning God created
    the heavens and the Earth” … Genesis 1:1
    * * * *
    Our world view, ultimately comes down to a choice between the two quotes listed above, or a variant of either.
    So I would ask you to ponder over these statements on ‘origins’ and then conclude which of the two is the more rational.
    If your choice is the former, I would ask you to consider the following, and provide definitive answers (i.e. provide the mountain of evidence):
    We don’t know how the laws of nature evolved,
    we don’t know how the 240+ physical and natural constants evolved,
    We don’t know how the first cell evolved
    we don’t know how the DNA code evolved,
    we don’t know how replication evolved,
    we don’t know how RNA polymerase evolved,
    we don’t know how transcription evolved,
    we don’t know how genes evolved,
    we don’t know how translation evolved,
    we don’t know how hemoglobin evolved,
    we don’t know how the electron transport chain evolved,
    we don’t know how ATPase evolved,
    we don’t know how eukaryotes evolved,
    we don’t know how multicellular organisms evolved,
    we don’t know how the vision cascade evolved,
    we don’t know how visual pattern recognition evolved,
    we don’t know how hearing evolved,
    we don’t know how audio pattern recognition evolved,
    we don’t know how the kidney evolved,
    we don’t know how the liver evolved,
    we don’t know how the circularity system evolved,
    we don’t know how mammals evolved,
    we don’t know how male/female anatomical sexuality evolved,
    we don’t know how bio sonar evolved,
    we don’t know how the hummingbird tongue evolved,
    we don’t know how the whale evolved,
    we don’t know how photosynthesis evolved,
    we don’t know how the butterfly evolved,
    we don’t know how turtles evolved,
    we don’t know how consciousness evolved,
    we don’t know how biological information (i.e. DNA) evolved,
    We don’t know how the various machines within the cell evolved,
    we don’t know how altruism evolved,
    we don’t know how bees evolved,
    we don’t know how all of the body organs, including skin co-evolved to their present form,
    we don’t know how human intellect evolved (i.e. music, art, literature etc.)
    … and more I’m sure.
    So we have a mountain of questions … do we have a mountain of evidence?

    Now some of the push back:
    … here are the responses to posting this same list over at NCSE:
    Notice the complete and detailed scientific analysis of (at least one) my list. Notice also that the article author, Glenn Branch, has no comment either … they never do, it’s their view that folks like you and I are surfs far below their own exalted status, and not worthy of breathing the same air … reference the current dustup of Pope Jerry Coyne over Dr. William Dembski’s appearance at the University of Chicago.
    ———————————-

    CdnMacAthiest – Don, since you’re presently away but generally out of touch, here’s the latest score in this reality match:
    AYFP: 174 posts, 1 SLofA upvote = 0.57% approval, was 1%.
    CMA: 866 posts, 1093 SLofA upvotes = 126.2% approval, was 84%. That’s a ratio of 221 to 1 – enough said, eh…. ????
    Since you’re used to wallowing in crap, you won’t mind if I fart in your general direction…. }:-b

    Robert Dekko – Nobody is going to answer you, YearningForAttention, because you aren’t important enough to waste the time typing…. on that note…

    CdnMacAthiest – Don whined: The insults, ridicule & mocking proliferates here at NCSE, with little actual content.
    Mac: That is because faithist nutbags like Robert, Bill, Gary & you Don, invite those responses by your ongoing antics, acrobatics & gymnastics in the face of demonstrated reality, as uncovered by the successes of sanity, rationality, inquiry, logic, reason & science.
    Don said: So I propose we tackle this “Mountain of Evidence” & proceed to mine it for the treasures it supposedly contains.
    Mac: It is clearly obvious from your ingrained IDiocy that you have no clue how to define or recognise evidence, never mind do a scientific critique of it.
    Don spins rapidly: So lets begin this mining of the “Mountain of Evidence” beginning with the following questions concerning the precious evidence contained therein:
    We don’t know how the laws of nature evolved, etc. etc. etc.
    Mac: When you assert that ‘we don’t know’, you are obviously talking about your little clique of reality-denying, poorly-educated, unqualified, indoctrinated IDiots.
    In the scientific community, there are “mountains of evidence” for each of the items you so stupidly claim are just vague assumptions. While not every detail is known so far, the basics are quite well understood – even if your gang of daft gits are far too blinded & massively biased to find, study, absorb or accept all the mutually-supporting data.
    On the other hand, what facts, evidence, processes & explanatory theories can you propose to explain ID? Where is your “extraordinary evidence for your extraordinary claims”? I’ll have to wait forever before you find any reality in the little pile of unrefined dross in your religious sandbox (echoes of the desert where your superstitious mythtakes were confected)
    Note: Pseudoscience crapology from a few DI, ICR & AIG ‘Fellows’ (well removed from the scientific method & academia by adhering to religious presuppositions) don’t count on this Science Education forum.
    In fact, because their academic qualifications are undermined & negated by their inherently biased faithism, they are just laymen in this forum, so have no standing – especially since most of their ‘experts’ aren’t qualified in relevant fields, haven’t done real research or produced peer reviewed papers that have not been trashed by actual experts, never mind being accepted in any courts of law….
    Your ‘incredulity due to willing ignorance’ isn’t a valid premiss for your assertions, so go away & try harder to conjure up something relevant, interesting or challenging for those of us who see right through your delusional my-god-did-it-by-magic tactics…. Mac.

    CueBall – I third this.

    Robert Dekko – I second this.

    Robert Dekko – As I said, Don, only a fool seeks to hide his God in the gaps between understanding… especially in this modern world.
    So, you’re a God of the Gaps man? Hm, what a foolish outlook.

    Cueball – “God is an ever-receding pocket of scientific ignorance that’s getting smaller and smaller as time goes on.”
    – Neil deGrasse Tyson (talking about god of the gaps)

    Robert Dekko – I just noticed something terribly funny about the creationist camp;
    One side, we’ll call this side “Gary”, says that nobody understands his model, it’s so complex that our meager, unscientific minds can’t comprehend it. Yet, in the other camp, we’ll call this group “Robert “Miami Vice” Crofut” (affiliated with “Ray-Ken Comfort Banana Ham”), say that models can’t predict anything and one can only observe facts happen.

    Cueball – Hahaha, that’s so true!

    ______________________________________

    One would think that NCSE and its followers would have taken up my challenge with this list, and singled out maybe just one of the items and blow me out of the water. Didn’t happen, and especially notable for its absence was any response from the principles at NCSE.

    I must say in defense of rvb8 — he has generally been quite civil in his contrarian remarks, as is true for most of the contributors here. This is good. As I show above, the same can’t be said over at NCSE, which claims to be a champion of education.

  145. 145
    EricMH says:

    @Don, there might be an inverse relationship between number of insults and ability to answer your questions.

  146. 146

    EricMH @145 — that seems to be the case.

    Same with ‘Pope’Jerry Coyne at “whyevolutionistrue”. If you post something in disagreement with him don’t expect to see your post, unless he chooses to use it in mockery and ridicule.

  147. 147
    critical rationalist says:

    Intelligent agents can specify objects from among alternatives, and record those specifications in a material medium.

    Sure they can. But, per my comment above, “specifying objects among alternatives” isn’t sufficient to have a working specification. Does the entire medical community not consist of intelligent agents? If so, then they could just “specify objects among alternatives and record that specification” on a flash drive and have a cure for cancer. So, why don’t we have a cure for cancer, or other diseases? Because cancer will only be cured when the requisite knowledge of what transformations of matter will kill cancer cells, without killing the patient, is actually present, independent of anyone’s belief, intent or “choice”. I cannot “choose” for the bits on some flash drive to play a causal role in killing cancer cells. That’s simply magical, irrational, uncritical thinking.

    I don’t see why this is so difficult to comprehend. Does ID’s designer’s will magically has this result? This assumption is notably absent in the supposedly scientific theory of ID, so what gives?

    Neo-Darwinian evolution requires that capacity in order to exist, and therefore cannot be the source of that capacity.

    Why would Neo-Darwinism require a capacity to create knowledge that designers do not actually use to create knowledge?

    Intelligent agents can also use their foresight to organize these specifications into a system that produces functional effects, which again, Neo-Darwinian evolution cannot do. From previous writing:

    I can “specify” and “arrange” things all day long and still not create knowledge by virtual of mere specification, with the exception of the knowledge of which specifications do or do not not solve the problem at hand.

    For example, if you only possess the plans for a car and boat, you cannot somehow choose a third option, such as building a helicopter. You can choose, intend and specify things all day long, but that in and of itself won’t cause the result of flight. It’s only when the requisite knowledge of what transformations of matter are present that you’ll end up with a a helicopter. At best, you can choose to build a car or a boat. And that would be based on your preferences and your limitations. You might need to travel somewhere, but you cannot get there on foot because you have to cross a body of water and cannot swim far or fast enough. Or you might enjoy being on the water, but cannot say above water for long periods of time due to fatigue and the fact that you would turn into a “prune”, etc.. Of you might like water skiing, but cannot pull yourself with your mind, etc. So, your preferences may result in you “choosing” to employ some knowledge you already possess that will actually result in a boat, but that isn’t the kind of choice your implying.

    If I follow the instructions to build a boat from raw materials, I’m not designing a boat anymore than organisms “design” copies of themselves when they follow the list of instructions in their genomes.

    People (Intelligent agents) can conceive of problems and conjecture explanatory theories about how the world works, specifically targeted to solve them. They are universal explainers. Furthermore, they can conceive of tests designed to find errors in those theirs and discard them when found. Neo-Darwinism cannot. However, both people and Neo-Darwinism can create non-explanatory knowledge via variation controlled by some form of criticism. This is the equivalent of useful rules of thumb that are often based on very wrong assumptions about reality, or barely anything at all.

    Furthermore, explanatory knowledge has reach that non-explanatory knowledge does not. Why does the genome of organisms consist of what are useful rules of thumb with limited reach?

    What’s odd is that, on one hand, you assume that people are special role in the creation of knowledge. Yet, on the other hand, you assume that we are not universal explainers, in that there is some boundary in which reason and problem solving cannot exceed. Namely, that we cannot know anything about the designer. It’s rather irrational given that this supposed bubble in which intelligent agents can explain things depends on what exists outside that boundary, which mades the inside of that bubble inexplicable as well. At best, on could say that “Zeus rules here as well as there”.

    In addition, constructor theory represents the ultimate generalization of both the work of John Von Neumann and Alan Turing. Von Neumann introduced the idea of a universal constructor. And the universality of quantum computation, which is the basis for why Artificial General Intelligence is possible, is based on Turing’s universal Turing machines. So, yes, please expand on both of these things.

    For example, constructor theory includes the development of an algebra for describing constructions of the type that Von Neumann conceived of. And that algebra is used to describe what combinations are possible and impossible tasks, and why.

  148. 148
    critical rationalist says:

    CR: What aspect of information did I not account for? Please be specific.

    UB: Answer: The physical and organizational requirements for information to become embedded in a medium and persist there.

    Your “answer” is not a property or aspect of information that was supposedly not accounted for. It is a repetition of the original question. We’re not going to make any progress unless we agree on what information *is*, in a physical sense, which I’ve already pointed out before.

    So, apparently, you object to my answer, but cannot elaborate on why. I would again suggest that you explicitly present your argument as to why this indicates design, which will likely clarify your objection.

    Repeatedly insisting that physical law permits symbols to exist is uninteresting…

    You’d have a point, if that were merely the case. But, it’s not. Constructor theory is about what is possible, impossible and why. Do you always make a habit of just leaving things out?

    We want to know not just that specific transformations are possible, but specifically why they are possible, so we can explain when they do happen and we can bring those transformations about ourselves. In constructor theory, this takes the form of principles (laws about laws).
    For example, is the principle of the conservation of energy “not interesting”?

    Furthermore, “That’s just what some designer must have wanted” isn’t interesting unless you want to merely justify something. But justification is impossible, and therefore not even interesting in that sense either.

    and making a claim that an assumed replicator needn’t replicate with fidelity is not evidence.

    Again, is this really your strategy? It’s not just “fidelity” in some vague sense. Current cells replicate with high fidelity. And they do so because they are well adapted for that purpose. I’ve only indicated this repeatedly, and it’s in both the referenced papers. (Just like I’ve repeatedly corrected you on the fact that it’s not my theory, yet you kept representing it as if it were.)

    Are you saying that is no gradient in which we can classify fidelity? Surely, there would be a higher fidelity of replication because there are errors in current replication. If it were perfect, then there would be no variation to be selected. And the percentage of replication errors do vary based on a number of factors.

    Furthermore, where is your “evidence’ that there are designers other than human beings? Where are they now? Where is the evidence of their residences, tools, waste products, technology, etc. Nor could we have designed ourselves. So, it seems to me that you are actually arguing not about the probably of designers, which according to ID is so low that they would need a designer themselves, but that design is possible under some conditions.

  149. 149
    critical rationalist says:

    CR, you are trying the twist-about, hyperskepticism trick again. Absent responsible, rational freedom there is no basis for a discussion.

    Neo-Darwinism doesn’t need to have discussions or “responsible, rational freedom” to create non-explanatory knowledge.

    Your inability to ground such on brains as computational substrate is also noted — something you tried to put into play above to cast doubts on inductive reasoning.

    The idea that knowledge needs to be grounded is a specific philosophical view, as I’ve pointed out several times before. That’s justificationism, which is impossible. As such, your demand is unreasonable and irrational.

    Moreover, you are unable to explain to us how you confidently get up on a morning and eat your cereal without accepting that the world is a significantly intelligible, ordered system where we may rely on observed patterns and in fact must do so to survive. You are in self-referential absurdity here. KF

    Again, suggesting you are confused about how knowledge grows is not the same as suggesting there is no knowledge. Apparently, you’re up to your old “trick” trying to conflate these two Ideas.

    It’s as if you’re holding knowledge (including moral knowledge) hostage unless we accept your theological and philosophical assumptions. In presenting this false dilemma, you’re actually promoting nihilism, etc.

  150. 150

    Sure they can. But, per my comment above, “specifying objects among alternatives” isn’t sufficient to have a working specification.

    ugh. does it go downhill from here?

  151. 151

    Does the entire medical community not consist of intelligent agents? If so, then they could just “specify objects among alternatives and record that specification” on a flash drive and have a cure for cancer. So, why don’t we have a cure for cancer, or other diseases?

    So is it your argument that since the medical community doesn’t yet know a cure for cancer, therefore B can be the source of A after all?

    Because cancer will only be cured when the requisite knowledge of what transformations of matter will kill cancer cells, without killing the patient, is actually present independent of anyone’s belief, intent or “choice”.

    So the formulas put themselves on the paper.

    You need to take a day off CR.

  152. 152
    ET says:

    Furthermore, where is your “evidence’ that there are designers other than human beings?

    The evidence from physics, chemistry, cosmology and biology is evidence that there were intelligent designers other than human beings. That said if you had a way to test the claim that non-telic processes produced what we observe, tested and confirmed it, ID would be falsified. So perhaps you should get to work on that instead of your misguided rhetoric.

  153. 153
    critical rationalist says:

    @UB

    ugh. does it go downhill from here?

    More vague criticism. Do you simply hope people won’t notice this sort of thing?

    CR: Does the entire medical community not consist of intelligent agents? If so, then they could just “specify objects among alternatives and record that specification” on a flash drive and have a cure for cancer. So, why don’t we have a cure for cancer, or other diseases?

    UB: So is it your argument that since the medical community doesn’t yet know a cure for cancer, therefore B can be the source of A after all?

    Again, you’re assuming there was always high-fidelity replicators in competition with other high-fidelity replicators. However simpler, more primate replicators in competition with other simpler, more primitive replicators do not need to be well adapted and therefore do not exhibit the appearance of design. So, high-fidelity replication isn’t needed for Darwinism to get started.

    Or are you suggesting the appearance of design is not “being well adapted for a purpose?” If so, then what examples of things with the appearance of design do not fit that description in that fundamental sense?

    CR: Because cancer will only be cured when the requisite knowledge of what transformations of matter will kill cancer cells, without killing the patient, is actually present independent of anyone’s belief, intent or “choice”.

    UB: So the formulas put themselves on the paper.

    What formulas, UB? We’re intelligent agents and we don’t have “the formulas” on paper. If being intelligent agents was sufficient, we would. That’s my point. Other

    Also, the human immune system can kill some forms of cancer cells without killing the patient. And in many cases, we copy existing knowledge of how to kill cancer cells into the bodies of people who lack it. That knowledge didn’t come from a “formula”.

    Nor are formula’s carved on mountains for us to observe. So, we cannot merely choose one of them from many and copy it to a piece of paper. That’s part of the same mistaken philosophy of knowledge.

  154. 154
    critical rationalist says:

    @ET

    The evidence from physics, chemistry, cosmology and biology is evidence that there were intelligent designers other than human beings.

    Are you suggesting the evidence of designers that designed organisms is the very organisms of which being designed is in question?

    Then why isn’t the organisms that naturally evolved the evidence of natural evolution? Surely, if the latter is “admissible”, then why isn’t the former?

    That said if you had a way to test the claim that non-telic processes produced what we observe, tested and confirmed it, ID would be falsified. So perhaps you should get to work on that instead of your misguided rhetoric.

    Non-telic processes did produce what we observe. The knowledge in the genomes of organisms is the proximate cause, as it contains what transformations of raw materials are necessary to make a copy of itself. The origin of that knowledge is the origin of those features. So, the question is, what is the origin of that knowledge?

  155. 155

    UB: Darwinian evolution cannot function until a system exist that can specify objects among alternatives and encode those specifications in a material medium. If A requires B for A to exist, then A cannot be the source of B.

    CR: Does the entire medical community not consist of intelligent agents? If so, then they could just “specify objects among alternatives and record that specification” on a flash drive and have a cure for cancer. So, why don’t we have a cure for cancer, or other diseases?

    UB: So is it your argument that since the medical community doesn’t yet know a cure for cancer, therefore B can be the source of A after all?

    CR: Again, you’re assuming there was always high-fidelity replicators in competition with other high-fidelity replicators.

    No, CR, I’m not. I’m placing your claims next to established knowledge. As I have already told you, your claims about the minimum material conditions of Darwinian evolution must be evaluated against what is already known about those material conditions (i.e. you merely making a claim is not evidence).

    I asked you how your system organizes the capacity to specify a thing among alternatives, and how it achieves semantic closure. But you appear (more than just appear) to think that your “physical theory of information” should be immune to an evidence-based analysis. You want to skip over the known physical requirements of achieving your claim, and have the mere presence of your claim carry the day. That’s a complete non-starter in science, CR. You should not need someone to point this out to you.

  156. 156
    Barry Arrington says:

    UB: “No, CR, I’m not. I’m placing your claims next to established knowledge.”

    Well, there’s your mistake. CR denies there is any such thing as “knowledge” in the sense of justified true belief. I’m not making this up. See his comment here.

    It makes no sense to appeal to “knowledge” when arguing with a person who denies the category. Or maybe it does. After all, we write for the lurkers, not to convince hopeless idiots who deny concepts even as they employ them.

  157. 157
    ET says:

    Are you suggesting the evidence of designers that designed organisms is the very organisms of which being designed is in question?

    Yes, that is part of it. And if your position could account for those organisms ID couldn’t use them as evidence for a Designer.

    Then why isn’t the organisms that naturally evolved the evidence of natural evolution?

    What does “naturally evolved” mean? Design is natural, CR. There isn’t any evidence that blind and mindless processes can produce the diversity of life nor any way to test the claim.

    Non-telic processes did produce what we observe.

    So you say yet cannot demonstrate. So that would be a problem. You don’t even know how to test such a claim so you lose before you get started.

  158. 158
    Mung says:

    > It makes no sense to appeal to “knowledge” when arguing with a person who denies the category.

    CR is the one who wrote that knowledge doesn’t require a knower. So that clearly puts knowledge into the category of things that don’t need to be known in order to be knowledge.

  159. 159
    critical rationalist says:

    No, CR, I’m not. I’m placing your claims next to established knowledge. As I have already told you, your claims about the minimum material conditions of Darwinian evolution must be evaluated against what is already known about those material conditions (i.e. you merely making a claim is not evidence).

    Can you clarify what you mean by “placing your claims next to established knowledge”. And while your at it, how that actually results in the growth of knowledge?

    Would it be related to the fact that we currently observe gradations in the accuracy of replication in biology? Would it be related to the fact that we have concrete examples of lower fidelity systems of replication, such as RNA based viruses, which have a higher rate of mutation and are less stable? Would it be related to replication is not even limited to biology?

    Also, did I happen to mention that the contents of our theories do not come from observations?

    And, of course, I should expect evidence that designers existed when life formed on earth, and of them some were actually here at the necessary time? And also evidence that of the existence of designers that were not themselves well adapted for the purpose of designing things?

    How about evidence of established lower bounds on replication in environments other than the one we’re currently in? When should I expect that?

    Is this somehow established knowledge?

    I mean, surely, we can only work with the kind of designers we know, and every one we’ve observed was well adapted for the purpose of designing things, which included having a complex, material brain. Right?

    I asked you how your system organizes the capacity to specify a thing among alternatives, and how it achieves semantic closure. But you appear (more than just appear) to think that your “physical theory of information” should be immune to an evidence-based analysis.

    First, I keep pointing out the thing specified isn’t out there in the first place. So, it’s unclear how anything can choose among alternatives external itself that do not exist. Furthermore, if that were the case, then we would already have a cure for cancer. But, we currently lack such knowledge. This represents criticism of your idea with, well, evidence.

    Second, the meaning of semantic closure can refer to different things, depending on the context. For example, none of the papers on your site suggest their work indicates intelligent design. In fact, one clearly indicated the exact opposite.

    Yet, apparently, you think this is somehow relevant to ID. So, what do you mean by “semantic closure”? Is this part of your definition of information that is absent from the constructor theory of information?

    You want to skip over the known physical requirements of achieving your claim, and have the mere presence of your claim carry the day. That’s a complete non-starter in science, CR. You should not need someone to point this out to you.

    I’d again point out that we do not yet have an agreement on what information is. So, it’s not even clear we agree on what needs to be achieved by a physical theory of information in the first place. That’s a non=starter in science.

    For example, your “theory” says nothing about the copyability of information. Apparently, that’s not a necessary feature of information? And, I can’t say that I blame you.

    After all, that would indicate for external information to find its way into a destination storage medium, like DNA, it would already have to exist in physical form in some source storage medium. I’d avoid that like the plague as well.

  160. 160
    critical rationalist says:

    @Barry

    CR denies there is any such thing as “knowledge” in the sense of justified true belief. I’m not making this up. See his comment here.

    The funny thing is, Barry hasn’t indicated which criticisms of the idea that knowledge is justified, true belief he disagrees with. Not to mention Gettier’s criticism that is well known in the field. Apparently, he disagrees with them, except he doesn’t?

    He has failed to even acknowledge that it’s a epistemological idea at all. Apparently, it was so obvious that we didn’t didn’t get around to it around to it until Plato, except even then, he went on to criticize it in Theaetetus.

  161. 161
    EugeneS says:

    The knowledge vs. the knower relation is a manifestation of the epistemic nature of the problem under consideration.

    Some other examples of the epistemic cut are:

    code vs. interpreter
    object vs. subject
    the controlled vs. the controller
    the measured vs. the measurer

    Ironically, evolution does not even start without an epistemic cut being established in living systems, which requires agency ‘in the equation’.

  162. 162

    CR,

    Can you clarify what you mean by “placing your claims next to established knowledge”.

    Sure, but I am not certain how I could have been more clear. First, you claim that knowledge is information recorded in a medium (which plays a causal role in it been retained). I evaluate that claim by comparing it to what is already known about the physics of information being recorded in a medium. I’ve asked you to clarify your conceptions of the system, using your “physical theory of information” as the model. But you’ve refused to engage those questions, preferring instead to merely restate your claim and introduce distractions to the conversation. Secondly, you claim that Darwinian evolution is responsible for the origin of the information recorded in the genome. Here again, I compare your claim to what is already known about the physics involved. I have pointed out to you that Darwinian evolution requires the very system that you claim it explains – which makes your position not only illogical, but also contrary to universal observation. Again, you are unwilling to engage the issues.

    How about evidence of established lower bounds on replication in environments other than the one we’re currently in? When should I expect that?

    You already have it. It’s the part you’re avoiding.

    Read John Von Neumann on the threshold of complexity for prescriptive synthesis. Ask Turing if his system needed anything on the tape. Ask him if it needed a way to read that tape. Ask Peirce if representation and interpretation are not complimentary parts of a system. Ask Pattee if that system requires complimentary physical descriptions as well. Ask Crick if his adapter hypothesis was necessary. Ask Nirenberg if he could have calculated the code instead of demonstrating it. The problem is not that you don’t have anything to go on; the problem is that you ignore it. For all intents and purposes, you appear to be at war with it.

    what do you mean by “semantic closure”?

    Semantic closure is a necessary state of coordination within the system. For semantic closure to occur there must be a functional relation between the sequence of nucleotides in DNA overall and the specific set of sequences that code for the interpretive constraints within the system (i.e. the aaRS). For whatever the sequence of nucleotides that describe the set of constraints, the remaining sequences must be a certain way in order to achieve function. And there is significant demand for function from that remaining DNA; it must establish the material conditions whereby these organized elements of the system come together in the exact way required to successfully produce the effect — an autonomous self-replicating cell – the basic unit of life.

    your “theory” says nothing about the copyability of information. Apparently, that’s not a necessary feature of information? And, I can’t say that I blame you.

    Open-ended capacity and transcribability have physical requirements. The associations between the referents and their representations have to be based on spatial orientation – i.e. the physical embodiment of a reading frame code, where one referent is differentiated from another referent by the spatial orientation of objects within the medium. This results in rate-independent control of a dynamic (rate-dependent) system. Among many other things, the physical system requires an organizational hierarchy in the reading of that medium. Again, it is not I who is ignoring these critical details, it is you.

  163. 163

    Hi ES, I missed your comment earlier, “evolution does not even start without an epistemic cut”.

    You are exactly right. It’s precisely what the architecture of the system would predict.

  164. 164
    critical rationalist says:

    @UB

    CR:Second, the meaning of semantic closure can refer to different things, depending on the context. For example, none of the papers on your site suggest their work indicates intelligent design. In fact, one clearly indicated the exact opposite.
    ?Yet, apparently, you think this is somehow relevant to ID. So, what do you mean by “semantic closure”? Is this part of your definition of information that is absent from the constructor theory of information?

    UB: And there is significant demand for function from that remaining DNA; it must establish the material conditions whereby these organized elements of the system come together in the exact way required to successfully produce the effect — an autonomous self-replicating cell – the basic unit of life.

    I’ve already stated the appearance of design is being well adapted to serve a purpose. It’s hard to vary without significantly reducing its ability to serve that purpose, if even at all. In the case of knowledge, a physical medium is well adapted to serve the causal role that results in it being retained. For example, a flash drive containing knowledge is extremely well adapted (transformed, by having its flash cells turned on or off) So, are other storage mediums, such as magnetic media (that transform magnetic grains, instead of flash cells), etc. If you vary that adaptation, it will no longer serve that purpose.

    In short, the physical media containing the program of a programmable replicator is well adapted. It’s the knowledge of what transformations should be performed by the programmable constructor.

    It’s unclear how this contrary to “what we know about information”.

    Again, nothing in the papers referenced on your site suggest that “semantic closure” leads to intelligent design. So, it’s unclear what exactly you mean by it and how it’s not addressed by being well adapted to serve a purpose / hard to vary.

    So, what really is your argument? It’s really complicated? It’s irreducible complex?

    I have pointed out to you that Darwinian evolution requires the very system that you claim it explains – which makes your position not only illogical, but also contrary to universal observation. Again, you are unwilling to engage the issues.

    Except you haven’t pointed it out. You’ve selectively appealed to experiences in an ad-hoc way. One could just as well appeal to the “universal experience” of all designers having complex material brains. Apparently, induction works, except when it doesn’t.

    Surely, if we can only point to the kind of life we know about, then we can only work with the designers we know about, right? Except when we can’t? This is why induction is impossible, because no one has managed to formulate a principle of induction we can use, in practice, that provides guidance.

  165. 165
    critical rationalist says:

    @UB

    CR: How about evidence of established lower bounds on replication in environments other than the one we’re currently in? When should I expect that?

    UB: You already have it. It’s the part you’re avoiding.
    Read John Von Neumann on the threshold of complexity for prescriptive synthesis. (Etc)

    First, note how I sad environments other than the one’s we’re currently in. Apparently, you’re assuming the environment was always the same as it was in the past?

    Second, I didn’t say “prescriptive (programmable) replication”, which is high-fidelity because it’s programmable. The claim is that accurate replication doesn’t need

    From, the paper…

    But in unchallenging ones (i.e. sufficiently unchanging and resource-rich), the requirement is easily met by highly inaccurate self-reproducers that not only have no appearance of design, but are so inaccurate that they can have arisen spontaneously from generic resources under no-design laws – as proposed, for instance, by the current theories of the origin of life [11, 31]. For example, template replicators, such as short RNA strands [32], or similar “naked” replicators (replicating with poor copying fidelity without a vehicle) would suffice to get natural selection started. Since they bear no design, they require no further explanation – any more than simple inorganic catalysts do.(11)

    Not all replicators are programmable, just as not all computers are Universal Turing machines. While Babbage’s Difference Engine was not a UTC, his Analytic engine would have been, had he managed to convince people it was worth building. (In fact, “The Difference Engine” was a book that asked what the world would have been like had Babbage succeeded.) The same can be said for number systems, that started out as tallies, and languages, etc. Nor was universality actually a goal in the vast majority of cases, when it finally appeared. We just stumbled upon it, without really trying.

    So we have concrete examples of gradients with disproportionate jumps to universality, in multiple fields, based on minor, mostly unintentional, changes and additions. Add just one additional computation and you make the leap to a UTC, which can simulate any other UTC. Remove one rule from a number system and you can represent any number.

    Furthermore, had we only experienced UTCs made of silicon (because, say, an alien race dropped on off before we had mechanical computers like Babbage’s), one could appeal to that experience to “induce” the false theory that silicon plays a unique role in computation. So only silicon based systems were causal capable of being a UTC. However, once we developed a working theory of computation, it would cause us to expect the experiencing of something that never would have expereinced before: computations with cogs and vacuum tubes.

    As for Von Neumann, again from the paper….

    As for Von Neumann, Indeed, the central problem here – i.e., whether and under what circumstances accurate self-reproduction and replication are compatible with no-design laws – is awkward to formulate in the prevailing conception of fundamental physics, which expresses everything in terms of predictions given some initial conditions and laws of motion. This mode of explanation can only approximately express emergent notions such as the appearance of design, no-design laws, etc.

    Von Neumann, who attempted to investigate self-reproduction within this framework, got as far as discovering its essential (replicator-vehicle) logic, [9]. However his use of the prevailing conception forced his analysis to be in terms of predictions: thus he attempted without success to provide the design of an actual self-reproducer in terms of atoms and microscopic interaction.

    He finally produced a viable toy model, [15], within cellular automata, but at the cost of severing the connections with actual physics. That model is thus inadequate to address the current problem – whether self-reproduction is compatible with the actual laws of physics un-augmented by any design of adaptations.
    The prevailing conception also forces a misleading formulation of the problem, as: what initial conditions and laws of motion must (or must probably) produce accurate replicators and self-reproducers (with some probability)? But what is disputed is whether such entities are possible under no-design laws. More generally, it cannot express the very explanation provided by evolutionary theory – that living organisms can have come about without intentionally being designed. It would have aimed at proving that they must occur, given certain initial conditions and dynamical laws.

    To overcome these problems I resort to a newly proposed theory of physics, constructor theory. [16, 17, 18]. It provides a new mode of explanation, expressing all laws as statements about which transformations are possible, which are impossible and why. This brings counterfactual statements into fundamental physics, which is key to the solution. The explanation provided by the theory of evolution is already constructor-theoretic: it is possible that the appearance of design has been brought about without intentionally being designed; so is our problem: are the physical processes essential to the theory of evolution – i.e., self- reproduction, replication and natural selection – possible under no-design laws?

    I shall show that they are (in section 2-3) provided that those laws of physics allow the existence of media that can instantiate (digital) information (plus enough time and energy). Information has an exact physical characterization in the constructor theory of information [17].

    I also show that under no-design laws an accurate self-reproducer requires an accurate (i.e., high-fidelity) replicator, and vice versa. Thus, the replicator-vehicle logic von Neumann envisaged is here shown to be necessary for accurate self-reproduction to be possible under such laws. This provides physical foundations for the relation between “metabolism” and replication (as defined by Dyson, [10]). In addition, that vehicles are necessary to high-quality replicators under our laws of physics (despite replicators being the conceptual pillar of evolutionary theory), informs the current debate about the necessity of organisms. The latter was recently doubted by Dawkins [19]: “Just as life did not have to become multicellular […] so living materials did not have to become packaged into discrete, individual organisms [..] behaving as unitary, purposeful agents. The only thing that is really fundamental to Darwinian life is self-replicating, coded information – genes, in the terminology of life on this planet.”.

    Constructor Theory’s mode of explanation also delivers an exact physical expression of the notions of the appearance of design, no-design laws, and of the logic of self-reproduction and natural selection.(5)
    Finally, Wigner’s argument implies that accurate self-reproduction is incompatible particularly with quantum theory, thus challenging its universality – a claim that others, with different motivations, have also made [20, 21, 22]. I shall demonstrate (in section 4) a quantum-mechanical (kinematical) model of the logic of self-reproduction, updating von Neumann’s, thus rebutting those claims. This, incidentally, clarifies how self-reproduction differs from cloning a quantum state (which has occasionally caused some confusion [20]). It also vindicates that self-reproduction – and even (possibly artificial) self-reproducers employing quantum coherence – are compatible with quantum theory.

    Note that the paper is specific referring to high-fidelity replication under no-design laws. What does that mean? It means that the design of organisms and even high-fidelity replicators is not already present in the laws of physics. They are possible with generic laws of physics that do not already contain “design”.

    Semantic closure is a necessary state of coordination within the system.

    And that coordination can be more fundamentally described as being physically well adapted to serve a purpose, correct? If you vary it, would it not significantly reduce its ability to serve that purpose? Or to put it another way, does semantic closure not reflect being well adapted to serve a purpose? Does that well adaptedness not play a causal role in being retained when embedded in a storage medium?

  166. 166
    critical rationalist says:

    @UB,

    Open-ended capacity and transcribability have physical requirements. […] Again, it is not I who is ignoring these critical details, it is you.

    Apparently, you don’t take your own theory seriously.

    The earth forms. It cools. Preexisting no-design laws of physics are in effect. The raw materials to construct highly accurate replicating cells become available, but none actually exist yet. And, apparently, none will until some external intelligent agent gets involved in some way. According to “what we know about recording information”, what are the physical requirements necessary before that first cell can be constructed by transforming raw materials?

    Why, that would be the very same necessary physical requirements you’re appealing to right now. In Von Neumann terms, a recipe would be used to transform raw materials into the replicator vehicle, correct? Where is this original recipe? What is materially required for that recipe? Then the actual recipe has to get into the cell, which represents the copying of information, correct? How does it get copied there? What is materially required?

    Information can also be moved from one type of medium to another while retaining all its properties qua information. We call this its interoperability property; it is what makes human capabilities such as language and science possible, as well as biological adaptations that use symbolic codes, such as the genetic code.

    And what is physically necessary for that interoperability?

    IOW, you’re merely pushed the problem up a level without improving it because the designer, or whatever information it happened to have possessed would have the same material requirements. That to reflect the appearance of design, by being well adapted to serve a purpose – transform raw materials into cells and then transform storage mediums to embody specific information.

    Even if we ignore the construction of the replicator vehicle, are you suggesting that the recipe (knowledge) just spontaneously appeared when the vehicle was constructed?

    So, apparently, there are physical material requirements that are *necessary* for recorded information, except when there isn’t?

  167. 167

    CR,

    2050 words, and you still won’t touch the issues.

    a physical medium is well adapted to serve the causal role that results in it being retained.

    What is physically required of DNA in order to be well adapted? How does that cause it to be retained?

  168. 168
    Mung says:

    Adaptations for adaptation!

    I think I’ll pull meself up by me own bootstraps this morning.

  169. 169

    CR, either of the two questions posed in #167 can be briefly answered in as little as two words each. That kind of brevity is not expected of you, but perhaps you should try to shorten your answers and make them more concise.

  170. 170
    critical rationalist says:

    UB: What is physically required of DNA in order to be well adapted? How does that cause it to be retained?

    It must be possible for it to undergo very specific transformations. The specific are out outlined in the papers I mentioned. To summarize…

    In short, for a physical system to be an information medium two tasks must be possible. It must be capable of being set to a number of distinct attributes (at least two). And for those distinct attributes to be distinguishable too, it must be possible to set up a mechanism that would copy any of them (without knowing in advance which one) from that system to another system, and vice-versa. The copy must go both ways, so as to allow both storing of information and its retrieval.

    These constraints are quite tight. They are satisfied by media such as flags of different colours; or a transistor in a computer, with its on and off attributes.

    But not any old system would qualify as information medium.

    An elephant, for instance, would not, even if it was immortal and never forgot. Because its information retrieval system is ‘buggy’.

    http://www.smbc-comics.com/?id=3520#comic

  171. 171
    EugeneS says:

    CR

    Anything concrete re my question in comment 118?

    A giveaway for you. Decision making is the ability to choose between physical/chemical alternatives (i.e. between two or more physically or chemically indifferent states). Decision making is necessary to achieve a non-physical condition (such as a maximum of pragmatic utility).

    Decision making is the necessary condition for the sign-referent relation to be instantiated into physical medium.

    On the other hand, nature cannot make decisions because it does not care whether anything is functional or not. E.g. there is absolutely no physical or chemical bias in nucleotide polimerization: any of the 4 nucleotides can polimerize any other in water.

    So it is clear why, upon direct observations, there is no other way to achieve anything functionally complex in nature (i.e. max utility such as self-reproduction or autonomy) except by intelligence. It is so because nature does not care whether anything is functional. Nature at best can only provide conditions for multiplicity of indifferent equilibrium states.

  172. 172
    critical rationalist says:

    @EugeneS

    See #147

    …per my comment above, “specifying objects among alternatives” isn’t sufficient to have a working specification. Does the entire medical community not consist of intelligent agents? If so, then they could just “specify objects among alternatives and record that specification” on a flash drive and have a cure for cancer. So, why don’t we have a cure for cancer, or other diseases? Because cancer will only be cured when the requisite knowledge of what transformations of matter will kill cancer cells, without killing the patient, is actually present, independent of anyone’s belief, intent or “choice”. I cannot “choose” for the bits on some flash drive to play a causal role in killing cancer cells. That’s simply magical, irrational, uncritical thinking.

    I don’t see why this is so difficult to comprehend. Does ID’s designer’s will magically has this result? [If so,] This assumption is notably absent in the supposedly scientific theory of ID, so what gives?

    I can “specify” and “arrange” things all day long and still not create knowledge by virtual of mere specification, with the exception of the knowledge of which specifications do or do not not solve the problem at hand.

    For example, if you only possess the plans for a car and boat, you cannot somehow choose a third option, such as building a helicopter. You can choose, intend and specify things all day long, but that in and of itself won’t cause the result of flight. It’s only when the requisite knowledge of what transformations of matter are present that you’ll end up with a helicopter.

    At best, you can choose to build a car or a boat. And that would be based on your preferences and your limitations. You might need to travel somewhere, but you cannot get there on foot because you have to cross a body of water and cannot swim far or fast enough. Or you might enjoy being on the water, but cannot say above water for long periods of time due to fatigue and the fact that you would turn into a “prune”, etc.. Of you might like water skiing, but cannot pull yourself with your mind, etc.

    So, your preferences may result in you “choosing” to employ some knowledge you already possess that will actually result in a boat, [as oppposed to some other knowege] but that isn’t the kind of choice your implying[, or is it?]

    If I follow the instructions to build a boat from raw materials, I’m not designing a boat anymore than organisms “design” copies of themselves when they follow the list of instructions in their genomes.

    IOW, the idea that we create knowlege by making “decisions” doesn’t withstand criticism.

  173. 173
    EugeneS says:

    CR #172

    I do not understand it.

    “…when they follow the list of instructions in their genomes.”

    How did the first instruction come about?

  174. 174
    EugeneS says:

    RodW @37

    “Trying to insert an intelligence in there just doesn’t work.”

    Well, it depends. If intelligence is needed for evolution to even start, it will certainly not be the case. Upon analysis, intelligence is indeed needed for information translation to take effect (at least, it is the best possible explanation of the semiotic core of an information translation system).

    I think that guided evolution is a misnomer. However, logically, design of open-ended evolvable systems is still design. It is quite another matter what the degree of evolvability in practice really is.

  175. 175

    CR,

    The two-word answer to the first question is “rate independence”.

    That’s the primary physical property of DNA that makes it suitable as a very particular type of medium. The rate-independent sequence in DNA is a necessary condition of the system, and can be exploited to establish a reading-frame code – giving the system the informational capacity it needs to describe the set of interpretive constraints required for semantic closure to occur. Rate-independence is also the property that enables transcribability of its high content, another requirement of semantic closure.

    The two-word answer to the second question is “It doesn’t”.

    The rate independent properties of DNA neither determines the sequence of nucleotides that describe the constraints (obviously), nor does it determine which amino acids will appear in those constraints. Thus, rate-independence does not “serve the causal role” in retaining the information in DNA. That role is played by organization, not by the physical properties the the medium.

    Here is what you posted:

    In short, for a physical system to be an information medium two tasks must be possible. It must be capable of being set to a number of distinct attributes (at least two).

    This is incorrect. In fact, the vast majority of media in nature are not rate-independent. The author clearly does not understand the material, and fails to grasp the important physical distinctions.

    From previous writing:

    There is a fundamental principle within physics sometimes referred to as the minimum total potential energy principle. This principle is related to the Second Law of Thermodynamics, and simply states that any physical object (regardless of its size or composition, as big as a planet or as small as a molecule) will distort and twist, and naturally orient itself to seek its lowest potential energy state. To the average reader, this principle might seem difficult to understand, but it’s a principle we each see in effect around us all the time. For instance, we see it in the way a tree branch covered in snow will hang down low as it counteracts the additional weight of the snow, or the way that the propeller on a toy plane is spun by a tightly wound rubber band until the rubber band becomes loose again. In short, this principle can be thought of in general terms as the natural tendency of any object to seek a balance of all the various forces acting upon it at any given time.

    Since all representations are physical objects, they are all subject to this fundamental principle. There are representations that function directly as a result of the medium physically assuming its lowest potential energy state. This includes the vast majority of all informational mediums. A pheromone, for instance, is a perfect example. A pheromone is a chemical compound that serves as a representation by assuming its lowest potential energy state. In other words, any given pheromone is a combination of a certain number of specific atoms that (when bound together as a compound) assumes a certain physical structure according to its nature – and it is that specific three-dimensional structure that the system recognizes and responds to.

    However, there is another class of representation whose individuating characteristics (i.e. the properties that make a representation individually recognizable within its system) are not established by the medium assuming its lowest potential energy state. This is a very unique class of representation, and is considerably rarer among all forms of information-bearing mediums. As a simple example, the word “apple” written in ink on a piece of paper is a material structure not unlike the pheromone. In general terms, the atoms that make up the ink will interact with the atoms that make up the paper, and together they will assume their combined lowest potential energy state (i.e. a piece of paper stained with ink markings). However, what is actually recognized within the system is solely the arrangement of the ink markings (the shape and sequence of the letters) and that arrangement has nothing whatsoever to do with the lowest potential energy state of ink and paper. This is to say that the arrangement of the letters could be changed to any number of other arrangements, signifying any number of other messages, with every variation being completely undetermined by the lowest potential energy state of ink and paper. Unlike the pheromone, the sequence pattern of a spatially-oriented representation literally does not have a “physical nature” to assume. Instead, the pattern is imposed on the medium and is therefore independent of the minimum total potential energy state of the medium.

    These are (among the many) critical details of the system that have already been described by physics. The conceptions you’re promoting are at odds with these details. Have you abandoned your claim that Darwinian evolution is the source of the translation apparatus?

  176. 176
    EugeneS says:

    CR

    “If I follow the instructions to build a boat from raw materials…”

    I keep asking you the same question, how did the first instruction come about?

  177. 177
    critical rationalist says:

    So, let me see if I understand you correctly….

    This is correct…

    To be physically well adapted DNA must be rate independent

    … while this is not?

    In short, for a physical system to be an information medium two tasks must be possible. It must be capable of being set to a number of distinct attributes (at least two). And for those distinct attributes to be distinguishable too, it must be possible to set up a mechanism that would copy any of them (without knowing in advance which one) from that system to another system, and vice-versa. The copy must go both ways, so as to allow both storing of information and its retrieval.

    So, DNA doesn’t need to be capable of being physically set to at least two distinct attributes? And those attributes do not need to be copyable via some possible mechanism?

    Are these somehow mutually exclusive?

    Nor is it clear what “rate independent” means in the context of your theory of information and how it’s relevant. Care to clarify?

    I would again point out that I’ve referenced a physical theory of information, which hasn’t been possible until constructor theory. Information is defined by possible tasks, rather than, say, initial conditions and laws of motion.

    For example, when you write…

    The rate-independent sequence in DNA is a necessary condition of the system, and can be exploited to establish a reading-frame code – giving the system the informational capacity it needs to describe the set of interpretive constraints required for semantic closure to occur.

    It’s unclear how knowing where to start, end, etc. isn’t simply more knowledge. For example, while DNA is universal in sense that all organisms use the same four molecules, they are not interpreted exactly the same. The fact that the translation system can have at least two different interpretations means that some aspect of the system must have at least two attributes that represents the knowledge of where to start / end / etc. in those cases, right?

    It’s unclear how this isn’t represented in a fundamental way as being well adapted to serve that purpose and playing a causal role in being retained when embedded in a storage medium.

    This was already outlined in the referenced paper.

    I will show that F must include a replicator and a programmable constructor; and that the recipe must have a hierarchical structure and be instantiated in the replicator.
    No-design laws contain no good constructor for T, such as F – neither in the elementary interactions, nor in the generic resources. Hence the recipe used by F to perform T must be decomposable into steps (not necessarily sequential) that are allowed by no-design laws. That is to say, sub-recipes – procedures to perform sub-tasks that are executed by sub-constructors contained in F. To avoid infinite regress, two conditions must be fulfilled. It is the subsidiary theory that provides specific measures of accuracy.

    One is that the subtasks be non-specific to T. For instance, when T is the task of constructing a car, the subtasks are those of constructing sub-parts of the car – e.g., door handles, windows, etc. Hence, the constructor F must include two parts: One – which I call V – performs T blindly, i.e., subtask by subtask, and it is non-specific to T, because so are the subtasks. The rest of F – which I call P – is specific to T and instantiates the recipe for T: it specifies the sequence of the subtasks, thus controlling V. Hence F can be described as a programmable constructor, V , programmed with a program P having the same logic as the recipe: it has a modular structure P = (p1, p2, · · · , pN ) where each instruction pi takes values in an information variable and tells V which sub-task to perform, when, on the substrates(9). V is non-specific to T because it must also be capable of executing other programs – different combinations of the elementary units pi. For example, a car factory contains robots executing sub-recipes to construct the car’s doors. These robots contain sub-robots to construct handles, windows, etc., which could be used to construct other objects than cars.
    The other condition is obtained by applying the same reasoning recursively to the subtasks. If they, too, are non-elementary, they require a recipe that is decomposable into non-specific sub-recipes. The base for the recursion – for T to be performable to that particular accuracy – is provided by the elementary sub-recipes of the recipe for T being elementary tasks – which can be performed by (approximations to) constructors that are available in nature, as generic resources.
    Note that these elementary sub-tasks need not be specified in the recipe: they are implicit in the laws of physics. For instance, the elementary steps in the car recipe are tasks like, say, “oxidise the aluminium coating”, and occur simply by leaving the substrate exposed to air.
    Under no-design laws, any (approximation to a) constructor wears out after a finite time. Therefore F, to perform the task T to the accuracy ?, must undergo a process of maintenance, defined as one whereby a new instance of F – i.e., of P and V – is brought about, from generic materials, before the former one stops working. In the case of the car factory, this is achieved by replacing old subparts of the robots, assembly lines, etc. and by preserving the programs they run.
    To avoid an infinite regress, implementing the maintenance must not in turn require the recipe P for T. Also, the design of the recipe P cannot be in the
    (9)This is a schematic representation: P need not have a linear structure. 13

    laws of physics. Thus, the only other possibility is that the new instance of P is brought about by blind replication of the recipe P contained in the former instance – i.e., by replicating its subunits pi (that are non-specific to T). We conclude that, under no-design laws, the substrate instantiating the recipe is necessarily a modular replicator: a physical object that can be copied blindly, an elementary subunit at a time. In contrast, V – the non-specific component of F – is constructed anew from generic resources.

    Moreover, under no-design laws errors can occur: thus, to achieve high and improvable accuracy, the recipe must include error-correction. In the car factory, this includes, say, controlling the functionalities of the subcompo- nents (e.g., fine checks on the position of doors, wheels, etc.). Hence the recipe P must contain information about the task T, informing the criterion for error detection and correction.

    The information in the recipe is an abstract constructor that I shall call knowledge (without a knowing subject [26]). Knowledge has an exact characterization in constructor theory: it is information that can act as a constructor and cause itself to remain instantiated in physical substrates. Crucially, error-correcting the replication is necessary. Hence the subunits pi must assume values in a discrete (digital) information variable: one whose attributes are separated by non-allowed attributes. For, if all values in a continuum were allowed, error-correction would be logically impossible.

    IOW, It’s unclear how this network of possible tasks does not reflect the aspect you are referring to in a more fundamental and exact way.

  178. 178
    critical rationalist says:

    I keep asking you the same question, how did the first instruction come about?

    This is addressed in the reference paper. the first replicators did not exhibit highly accurate replication, so they did not exhibit the appearance of design, which is defined exactly in constructor theoretic terms.

    In the biosphere self-reproduction is approximated to various accuracies. There are many poor approximations to self-reproducers – e.g., crude replicators such as crystals, short RNA strands and autocatalytic cycles involved in the origin of life [11]. Being so inaccurate, they do not require any further explanation under no-design laws: they do not have appearance of design, any more than simple inorganic catalysts do.(4)

    3.1.1 Appearance of design
    Something with the appearance of design is often described as “improbable” [27, 28]. This is misleading because probability measures are multiplicative; so that would mean that two independent objects with the appearance of design would have much more of that appearance than they do separately. But that is not the case when the two objects have unrelated functionalities (such as, say, internal organs of different organisms). In contrast, two organs in the context of the same organism, coordinating to the effect of gene prop- agation, do have a greater appearance of design than either separately. This can be expressed naturally in constructor-theoretic terms for programmable constructors.
    Consider a recipe R for a possible task T. A sub-recipe R? for the task T? is fine-tuned to perform T if almost any slight change in T? would cause T to be performed to a much lower accuracy. (For instance, changing the mechanism of insulin production in the pancreas even slightly, would impair
    14
    the overall task the organism performs.) A programmable constructor V whose repertoire includes T has the appearance of design if it can execute a recipe for T with a hierarchical structure including several, different sub- recipes, fine-tuned to perform T. Each fine-tuned sub-recipe is performed by a sub-constructor contained in V : the number of fine-tuned sub-recipes performable by V is a measure of V ’s appearance of design. This constructor- theoretic definition is non-multiplicative, as desired.

    Selection emerges from the interaction between the replicators and the en- vironment with finite resources. It may lead to equilibrium, given enough time and energy. If so, the surviving replicators are near a local maximum of effectiveness at being replicated in that environment.
    Thus, the environment is passive and blind in this selection process. Since it retains its ability to cause non-specific variation and passive selection again, it qualifies as a naturally-occuring approximation to a constructor. Crucially,
    19
    it is a crude approximation to a constructor: crude enough that it could have arisen by chance and requires no explanation. Its actions – variations and selection – require no design in laws of physics, as they proceed by non- specific, elementary steps. So the logic of evolution by natural selection is compatible with no-design laws of physics.
    The second point is that natural selection, to get started, does not require accurate self-reproducers with high-fidelity replicators. Indeed, the minimal requirement for natural selection is that each kind of replicator produce at least one viable offspring, on average, per lifetime – so that the different kinds of replicators last long enough to be “selected” by the environment. In challenging environments, a vehicle with many functionalities is needed to meet this requirement. But in unchallenging ones (i.e. sufficiently unchang- ing and resource-rich), the requirement is easily met by highly inaccurate self-reproducers that not only have no appearance of design, but are so inac- curate that they can have arisen spontaneously from generic resources under no-design laws – as proposed, for instance, by the current theories of the origin of life [11, 31]. For example, template replicators, such as short RNA strands [32], or similar “naked” replicators (replicating with poor copying fi- delity without a vehicle) would suffice to get natural selection started. Since they bear no design, they require no further explanation – any more than simple inorganic catalysts do.(11)
    I conclude that the theory of evolution is compatible with no-design laws of physics, that allow, in addition to enough time and energy, information me- dia. These requirements do not contain the design of biological adaptations. Hence, under such laws, the theory of evolution fully explains the appearance of design in living organisms, without their being intentionally designed.

    What I find particularly odd is how commenters here seem to object to it despite having no coherent criticism of it.

    At best, objections are raised in that we haven’t experienced primitive replicators, despite the concrete examples above. “We can only work with life we know”, etc. Yet, these same objectors appeal to dseigners we’ve never experienced, as we couldn’t have designed ourselves, etc.

  179. 179
    ET says:

    Critical Rationalist- We understand the propaganda behind the alleged theory of evolution. We know that was Darwin’s intent with natural selection, ie design without a designer.

    What is missing, glaringly so, is supporting evidence for the claim.

    Spiegelman’s Monster, look it up. It is quite a long way, with an observed barrier, from molecular replicators to a self-reproducing cell.

  180. 180

    CR,

    This is the claim you made:

    a physical medium is well adapted to serve the causal role that results in it being retained.

    I then asked you two questions:

    What is physically required of DNA in order to be well adapted? How does that cause it to be retained?

    In response, you posted a clip from your theory. The first two sentences are:

    In short, for a physical system to be an information medium two tasks must be possible. It must be capable of being set to a number of distinct attributes (at least two).

    …which is false. And so is your claim about rate-independence in DNA playing “the causal role” in genetic information in being retained. It is the organization of semantic closure that plays that role.

    Have you abandoned your claim that Darwinian evolution is the source of the translation apparatus? Will you ever directly address the criticisms of your claims? If A requires B for A to exist, can A be the source of B?

  181. 181
    critical rationalist says:

    CR: In short, for a physical system to be an information medium two tasks must be possible. It must be capable of being set to a number of distinct attributes (at least two).

    UB…which is false.

    Is there something about the phase in what way is it false? that you do not understand? Are you saying those two statements are mutually exclusive? Repeating the same claim doesn’t indicate how it’s false. This is yet another vague criticism.

    And, I’ll again point out that constructor theory is a new mode of explanation that is more fundamental than the existing conception of physics. Saying “it’s false” doesn’t even remotely address this.

    Is it possible to document the particular aspect of rate independence in a paper? If so, that means those two tasks must be possible.

    And so is your claim about rate-independence in DNA playing “the causal role” in genetic information in being retained. It is the organization of semantic closure that plays that role.

    Each part of the organization plays a role. The details of which are embedded in a material substrate. It’s right there on your site. It is set when a copy is made of the cell. That is information. It plays a causal role in being retained. That’s knowledge.

    Nor have you addressed the network of tasks and subtasks, etc. that represents. That it’s not expressed in a particular mode of explanation doesn’t mean It doesn’t represent a more fundamental physical theory of information. While the current conception is successful, you haven’t argued it’s the only one or that it fails to reflect biological life.

    Again, “It’s false” is simply vague criticism.

    Will you ever directly address the criticisms of your claims? If A requires B for A to exist, can A be the source of B?

    Neo-Darwnism doesn’t need accurate replication to get started. I’ve addressed this above. On the other hand, you completely ignore entire lines of argument, refusing to acknowledge them at all.

    Again, one such response is pointing out how you inconstantly appeal to experience, by means of pointing out that a consistent appeal isn’t possible because inductivism is itself is impossible. And I’ve given concrete examples, regarding designers we’ve experienced, etc. The only designers we’ve experienced are human beings, and we couldn’t have designed out selves. So, apparently, induction works, except when it doesn’t?

    Furthermore, you have a problem in that the very argument you’ve made about information coming externally, by means of a designer, requires them to actually contain that information or possess it, as material information. So, they would exhibit the appearance of design, which is exactly specified in the paper.

    Copying information require that specific physical tasks are possible, which includes tasks on the designer itself or the knowledge is possesses. So, it’s unclear how being well adapted to serve a purpose (design organisms) can be an explanation for being well adaptedness of organisms.

    And by well adapted, I’m literally mean an arrangement of matter that is well adapted to serve a purpose, in a physical sense.

    Again, when looking through the reference papers on your site, none of them concluded anything you’ve described reflects intelligent design. In fact, the opposite was indicated in at least one of them.

    So, apparently, there must be something beyond just this that supposedly leads to the conclusion of intelligent design. When will you get around to making that argument?

  182. 182

    Is there something about the phase in what way is it false?

    In #175 I told you exactly why the statement is false. Are you unable to respond?

  183. 183

    Each part of the organization plays a role.

    Your claim is: “a physical medium is well adapted to serve the causal role that results in it being retained.”

    Would you like to change your claim to say that rate-independence in DNA plays a role in genetic information, but does not play “the causal role” in genetic information being retained?

  184. 184

    Neo-Darwnism doesn’t need accurate replication to get started.

    As I have already told you, this is merely an assumption on your part, not evidence. Do you not understand the difference?

    Not only is this merely an assumption, it is an assumption made contrary to establish physical evidence. Regardless of your assumptions and claims about fidelity, the fact of the matter is that you still must establish semantic closure for Darwinian evolution to come into being. Would you like to change your claim to “some unknown form of chemical evolution established semantic closure?”

  185. 185
    critical rationalist says:

    Is there something about…

    “Is it possible to document the particular aspect of rate independence in a paper? If so, that means those two tasks must be possible.

    or

    It’s unclear how knowing where to start, end, etc. isn’t simply more knowledge. For example, while DNA is universal in sense that all organisms use the same four molecules, they are not interpreted exactly the same. The fact that the translation system can have at least two different interpretations means that some aspect of the system must have at least two attributes that represents the knowledge of where to start / end / etc. in those cases, right?

    ….that you do not understand? Did I misunderstand what you mean by rate independence, which I’ve already asked for clarification on? Can you not respond?

    Despite the name, constructor theory isn’t really about specific constructors. It’s about tasks on input substrates and output substrates. Everything is expressed what tasks are possible, which tasks are impossible and why. It’s a theory because the algebra to describe tasks and networks of tasks, etc. is still being developed. And it’s a theory that all scientific theories can be expressed in this form.

    Are you suggesting that this is not possible in the case of DNA? Then, by all means, make an argument as to how the translation system and information cannot be expressed in constructor theoretic terms (possible and impossible tasks). Please be specific.

    Oh wait, that would require you to actually have a theory that brings information into fundamental physics. And that has only recently been possible via constructor theory.

  186. 186

    you have a problem in that the very argument you’ve made about information coming externally, by means of a designer, requires them to actually contain that information or possess it

    It’s no problem at all, and never has been. As you have already been told, inferring that the designer would have a material body/brain (in which to contain the information necessary at the origin of life) is a perfectly acceptable position in biological ID.

    The physical evidence of biological ID does not require the supernatural. Why do you keep repeating this objection?

  187. 187
    critical rationalist says:

    As I have already told you, this is merely an assumption on your part, not evidence. Do you not understand the difference?

    I’m merely assuming the theory does not appeal to accurate replication as an explanation for accurate replication?

    Have I not said that evidence cannot possibility support theories? Theories explain evidence, not vice versa. Do you ever take anything you don’t agree with seriously, for the purpose of criticism?

    Not only is this merely an assumption, it is an assumption made contrary to establish physical evidence.

    For the umpteenth time, are you suggesting there are no gradients in replication? Do we not have concrete examples of various levels of replication, including viruses, short RNA strands, simple catalysts, crystals, etc? We don’t even know what the exact conditions were, so it’s unclear how our inability to recreate it today is “proof” of what happened in the past.

    Furthermore, you’re conflating a universal theory of the origin of life and the theory of the history of the origin of life on earth, which would be a specific case of the theory of the growth of knowledge. Specially, the growth of knowledge in organisms.

    And regarding evidence, you do realize that there is no evidence of any designers other than human beings, and we couldn’t have designed ourselves, right? So, if your criteria for what we can include in the contents of a theory is limited to what we have empirically experienced, then your fresh out of designers.

    Make sure you turn out the lights on your way out?

  188. 188
    Axel says:

    @ Granville, your #2

    ‘… he means only that, for most modern day evolutionists, there is no conceivable evidence that would cause them to doubt.’

    Yes, I think Cornelius Hunter wryly comments that evolution cannot be disproved. Its apologists inform us that it’s settled science ; everyone knows that its true, etc, etc.

  189. 189
    critical rationalist says:

    @UB

    It’s no problem at all, and never has been. As you have already been told, inferring that the designer would have a material body/brain (in which to contain the information necessary at the origin of life) is a perfectly acceptable position in biological ID.

    First, so I can expect that ID will be updated so the designer isn’t abstract, but has a material system for storing information? I won’t be holding my breath.

    Second, copying requires the same information in material form, just as you can represent a story as waves of air, letters on a page, HTML markup, etc. Is this somehow not the same knowledge in your “theory” of information?

    So, that designer would posses the very same knowledge in material form. And It too would exhibit the appearance of design, which is the very thing that ID claims must be explained by a designer, etc.

    I’ve only said this a dozen times, but apparently, it’s not sinking in…

    A designer that “just was”, complete with the knowledge of which genes result in just the right proteins that result in just the right features, already present, doesn’t serve an explanatory purpose. This is because one could more efficiently state that organisms “just appeared”, complete with the knowledge of which genes result in just the right proteins that result in just the right features, already present.

    IOW, you’ve only pushed the problem up a level without improving it. It’s like pushing your food around on your plate and claiming you’ve ate it. Yet, it’s still right there staring you in the face.

  190. 190

    CR, you cannot hide your avoidance of physical evidence. It is recorded here for everyone to see. You asked for a clarification, and one was given. You completely ignored it:

    UB: you posted a clip from your theory. The first two sentences are:

    In short, for a physical system to be an information medium two tasks must be possible. It must be capable of being set to a number of distinct attributes (at least two).

    UB: …which is false.

    CR: Is there something about the phrase in what way is it false?

    UB: There is a fundamental principle within physics sometimes referred to as the minimum total potential energy principle. This principle is related to the Second Law of Thermodynamics, and simply states that any physical object (regardless of its size or composition, as big as a planet or as small as a molecule) will distort and twist, and naturally orient itself to seek its lowest potential energy state. To the average reader, this principle might seem difficult to understand, but it’s a principle we each see in effect around us all the time. For instance, we see it in the way a tree branch covered in snow will hang down low as it counteracts the additional weight of the snow, or the way that the propeller on a toy plane is spun by a tightly wound rubber band until the rubber band becomes loose again. In short, this principle can be thought of in general terms as the natural tendency of any object to seek a balance of all the various forces acting upon it at any given time.

    Since all representations are physical objects, they are all subject to this fundamental principle. There are representations that function directly as a result of the medium physically assuming its lowest potential energy state. This includes the vast majority of all informational mediums. A pheromone, for instance, is a perfect example. A pheromone is a chemical compound that serves as a representation by assuming its lowest potential energy state. In other words, any given pheromone is a combination of a certain number of specific atoms that (when bound together as a compound) assumes a certain physical structure according to its nature – and it is that specific three-dimensional structure that the system recognizes and responds to.

    However, there is another class of representation whose individuating characteristics (i.e. the properties that make a representation individually recognizable within its system) are not established by the medium assuming its lowest potential energy state. This is a very unique class of representation, and is considerably rarer among all forms of information-bearing mediums. As a simple example, the word “apple” written in ink on a piece of paper is a material structure not unlike the pheromone. In general terms, the atoms that make up the ink will interact with the atoms that make up the paper, and together they will assume their combined lowest potential energy state (i.e. a piece of paper stained with ink markings). However, what is actually recognized within the system is solely the arrangement of the ink markings (the shape and sequence of the letters) and that arrangement has nothing whatsoever to do with the lowest potential energy state of ink and paper. This is to say that the arrangement of the letters could be changed to any number of other arrangements, signifying any number of other messages, with every variation being completely undetermined by the lowest potential energy state of ink and paper. Unlike the pheromone, the sequence pattern of a spatially-oriented representation literally does not have a “physical nature” to assume. Instead, the pattern is imposed on the medium and is therefore independent of the minimum total potential energy state of the medium.

    Your response is to say nothing whatsoever about the very concise clarification you asked for. Clearly, to do so would be yet another dead end for your theory.

    A pheromone is a rate-dependent medium of information, CR. The word “apple” written on a piece of paper is not a rate-dependent medium, it is a rate-independent medium — and so is a codon in DNA.

    Your theories are completely incoherent with the core observations of the phenomenon you are attempting to explain. Hello? Allow me to say that again, your theories are incoherent with existing knowledge and you refuse to engage that knowledge. No amount of stiff-lipped avoidance or epistemological bafflegab is going to close the gap between what you say and what has already been known and recorded in the scientific and academic literature for decades on end.

    If you want to overturn that knowledge you have to first address it. Good grief, CR, you cannot EVEN SPEAK of the evidence. How the hell did you think you were ever going to defend this nonsense? By telling us that “explanations have reach”? Truly, that is a pitiable way to use your intelligence.

  191. 191

    CR: Neo-Darwnism doesn’t need accurate replication to get started.

    UB: As I have already told you, this is merely an assumption on your part, not evidence. Do you not understand the difference?

    Your response:

    I’m merely assuming the theory does not appeal to accurate replication as an explanation for accurate replication?

    Your response is more bovine poo. You are claiming that Darwinian evolution doesn’t need accurate replication, and you a presenting your claim as evidence. Hello? You do this because you want to step over and avoid what is actually known to be required for Darwinian evolution to come into being. No one would be fooled by that tactic.

  192. 192

    For the umpteenth time, are you suggesting there are no gradients in replication?

    No, in fact I say nothing about fidelity at all. There is a reason why — it is not the core issue. Semantic closure is the issue. Without it, you have nothing. Get that through your head and stop ignoring it.

  193. 193

    First, so I can expect that ID will be updated so the designer isn’t abstract, but has a material system for storing information? I won’t be holding my breath.

    Really CR, do you think that you are the first person to be reduced to this crap? You don’t want to deal with discontinuous association, rate-independence, or semantic closure, so you’ll ask about the designer’s hair color and hat size. Suddenly, all that tedious physical evidence stuff just floats away.

  194. 194

    I’ve only said this a dozen times, but apparently, it’s not sinking in…

    A designer that “just was”, complete with the knowledge of which genes result in just the right proteins that result in just the right features, already present, doesn’t serve an explanatory purpose.

    It is you who is not getting it. I told you months ago that life on earth is the only instance of life that anyone could hope to empirically analyze. Your subsequent claim that your theory explains the appearance of life anywhere is just more of the same pretentious claptrap. If you practice these little zingers in the mirror, I suggest you stop. You are far too undisciplined and gullible for the job of referee.

  195. 195
    kairosfocus says:

    F/N: What does our fear of radiation and cancer tell us about the likely effect of random changes to the genome. Just as a common-sense test on the oh low fidelity replication is good enough to assert with confident manner. KF

  196. 196

    CR doesn’t want to deal with the organizational details that are required to specify objects from a medium of information. Those types of details get in the way of him selling his prior assumptions. He certainly doesn’t want to deal with what is required for semantic closure to occur.

    Clearly, he is disinterested in actual evidence, and apparently couldn’t care less about the knowledge gained from Peirce, Turing, Crick, Von Neumann, Nirenberg, Zamecnik, Hoagland, Pattee, or any of the discoveries that codified the modern model of semiotic systems (like the gene system). Instead, he is more than happy to wave his hand and contradict all of it. And if anyone should attempt to use facts, history, and logic to disagree with him, he quickly ignores those details and proceeds to give them a lesson on how to think.

    Like Schrodinger (?) once said “Who needs facts when you have all the theories”.

  197. 197
    critical rationalist says:

    @UB

    UB: CR doesn’t want to deal with the organizational details that are required to specify objects from a medium of information.

    Except I did. The constructor theory of information reformulates information as possible and impossible tasks. The motivation for this is to provide a exact definition of information which is not possible in the current conception of physics. It also solves problems that you have continually brushed off. This is, again, because we still have not settled on a definition of what information is. Constructor theory is a reformulation and generalization of knowledge. And the growth of knowledge is the very issue in question regarding Neo-darwnism and evolution. So it comes as no surprise that we’re not in agreement.

    On the other hand, I suspect that thermodynamics is more concrete in this sense and, due to it’s role in your theory of information, applying constructor theory will help illustrate what it means to reformulate a field in constructor theoretic terms.

    UB: There is a fundamental principle within physics sometimes referred to as the minimum total potential energy principle. This principle is related to the Second Law of Thermodynamics, and simply states that any physical object (regardless of its size or composition, as big as a planet or as small as a molecule) will distort and twist, and naturally orient itself to seek its lowest potential energy state.

    Actually, the second law is scale-dependent in this respect and this is a problem at the level of information theory with quantum systems. However, reformulation of the Second law in Constructor theoretic terms allows for scale independence. This is yet another example of the motivation for constructor theory. From this paper….

    An insidious gulf separates existing formulations of thermodynamics from other fundamental physical theories. They are scale-dependent – i.e., they hold only at a certain ‘scale’, or level of ‘coarse-graining’, none of which are ever exactly specified. So existing thermodynamics provides unambiguous predictions about ‘macroscopic’ systems such as Victorian heat engines, but it is controversial how it applies to ‘microscopic’ ones, such as individual quantum systems.

    Here I propose a scale-independent formulation of the zeroth, first and second laws of thermodynamics – i.e., one that does not rely on approximations, such as ‘mean values on ensembles’, ‘coarse-graining procedures’, ‘thermodynamic equilibrium’, or ‘temperature’. This new approach uses the principles and tools of the recently proposed constructor theory [1], especially the constructor theory of information [2].

    UB: Since all representations are physical objects, they are all subject to this fundamental principle. There are representations that function directly as a result of the medium physically assuming its lowest potential energy state.

    Except not all physical systems are classical. So the assumption that ….

    An isolated system in an arbitrary initial state within a finite fixed volume will spontaneously attain a unique state of equilibrium.

    does not hold in a scale-independent way. Nor does statistical approach solve the problem, either. IOW what is needed is to reformulate thermodynamics as possible and impossible tasks, in constructor theoretic terms.

    In other words, any given pheromone is a combination of a certain number of specific atoms that (when bound together as a compound) assumes a certain physical structure according to its nature – and it is that specific three-dimensional structure that the system recognizes and responds to.

    Some tasks are impossible in quantum systems. Specifically, regarding which attributes can be read at which times. So, technically, this is false, as qbits doe not have these structures, yet can be an information medium. In the paper, quantum information is an example of superinformation, because some tasks are impossible to perform on that medium.

    Constructor theory does not describe systems using initial conditions and laws of motion, which is what a potential lowest entry state represents (a tree branch comes to rest from an initial state after being acted on by snow, etc.) This is what allows it to be truly scale independent.

    So, your distinction between DNA and say, pheromones, hinges on the limitations of thermodynamics in the current conception of physics. Constructor theory has to define information in a way that does not depend on this equilibrium state because it’s not always present in all physical information mediums.

  198. 198
    critical rationalist says:

    So, to summarize…

    if what you mean by “rate-indpendent”, you mean independent in regards to a spontaneous equilibrium, the constructor theory of information is always rate-independent because is more fundamental and cannot be rate-dependent because that would prevent it from making exact statements about information. Just as a constructor theoretic thermodynamics cannot be scale dependent because that would prevent it from making exact statements about thermodynamics.

    The ability to make exact statements is yet another motivation for constructor theory, as opposed to your mischaracterization of merely saying something is “possible”.

  199. 199
    Mung says:

    …if what you mean by “rate-indpendent”, you mean independent in regards to a spontaneous equilibrium…

    Given that nothing he wrote even remotely resembles that other than the words “rate-independent,” that is probably exactly what he meant.

    Or not.

  200. 200
    critical rationalist says:

    @mung

    Thanks for clarifying that.

    Or not.

  201. 201

    In my last comment I posted the old quote, “Who needs facts when you have all the theories”

    CR came back with his typical tone-deaf response; one that I could not even make up.

    All I’ve done in this (months-long) conversation is give CR the already-known physical details of the translation apparatus, and I’ve basically asked him to relate these observed physical facts to his theory. Rate-independence is an observed fact of the system. If it is a fact there is only one moon orbiting the earth, then it is also a fact the sequence of DNA is rate-independent. Discontinuous association within the gene system is also an observed fact. The association of anti-codon-to-amino acid (establishing the genetic code) is temporally and spatially isolated from the codon-to-anticodon association (establishing the form of a protein). If water boils at 100c sea level, then protein synthesis operates by discontinuous association; it’s right there is the very architecture of the apparatus itself. Semantic closure is another observed fact. The sequence of amino acids in the set of aaRS establish how all other DNA sequences will be translated. If that subset was changed to produce a different result, then all the remaining sequences would have to be altered as well. There is a necessary organizational relationship between the two sets.

    But nothing can get between CR and his prior assumptions. He returns to tell me that we needn’t concern ourselves with how these facts relate to his theory, because his theory has an ace in the hole – it’s “more fundamental” than those details. Moreover, he assures us that by disregarding the details, his theories make it possible to produce “exact statements” about the system in question.

    Good grief.

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

    Just one last question for you, CR, before I deplane. At this point you may consider it a sort of test; a personal curiosity on my part:

    I’ve already told you the rather obvious premise that in order to organize a heterogeneous living cell, there must first be the capacity to specify an object, and encode that specification in a heritable medium of information. I assume we agree on that premise.

    Nature is entirely unambiguous about how this is accomplished. For each object to be specified, the system uses one arrangement of matter to serve as a representation within the medium, and a second arrangement of matter as a constraint to establish what is being specified. These two objects are well documented inside the cell; the codon in DNA and the aaRS in the translation machinery.

    How many objects does it take to specify something from a medium of information?

  202. 202
    critical rationalist says:

    All I’ve done in this (months-long) conversation is give CR the already-known physical details of the translation apparatus, and I’ve basically asked him to relate these observed physical facts to his theory. Rate-independence is an observed fact of the system.

    In the current conception of physics? Yes. I’m referring to constructor theory, which is a new mode of explanation.

    In this months long conversation, have you made an argument for sticking with the current conception of physics? Why should I? On the other hand, I’ve made at least three arguments based on several motivations. One of which includes quantum information, which you continue to ignore.

    How does your “theory of information” take quantum information into account? (it doesn’t) How is thermodynamics scale independent in the current conception of physics? (it’s not)

    I would again point out tasks with subtasks, etc. that end up with elementary tasks that are not design specific is how what you’re describing is reformulated in constructor theory. Specifically..

    3.1 An accurate constructor must contain a replicator
    A task T being possible means that for any given accuracy (short of per- fection) the laws of physics permit an approximate constructor capable of performing the task to that accuracy.
    Consider a possible, non elementary task T and an object F that can perform T to a high accuracy (8) ?. For instance, T could be the task of constructing a car from generic substrates and F a generalised car factory, including all the processes converting raw materials such as iron, etc., into a car.
    The approximate constructor F executes a procedure – a recipe – to perform the task T to accuracy ?. I will show that F must include a replicator and a programmable constructor; and that the recipe must have a hierarchical structure and be instantiated in the replicator.
    No-design laws contain no good constructor for T, such as F – neither in the elementary interactions, nor in the generic resources. Hence the recipe used by F to perform T must be decomposable into steps (not necessarily sequential) that are allowed by no-design laws. That is to say, sub-recipes – procedures to perform sub-tasks that are executed by sub-constructors con- tained in F. To avoid infinite regress, two conditions must be fulfilled.
    (8)It is the subsidiary theory that provides specific measures of accuracy. 12

    One is that the subtasks be non-specific to T. For instance, when T is the task of constructing a car, the subtasks are those of constructing sub-parts of the car – e.g., door handles, windows, etc. Hence, the constructor F must include two parts: One – which I call V – performs T blindly, i.e., subtask by subtask, and it is non-specific to T, because so are the subtasks. The rest of F – which I call P – is specific to T and instantiates the recipe for T: it specifies the sequence of the subtasks, thus controlling V. Hence F can be described as a programmable constructor, V , programmed with a program P having the same logic as the recipe: it has a modular structure P = (p1, p2, · · · , pN ) where each instruction pi takes values in an information variable and tells V which sub-task to perform, when, on the substrates(9). V is non-specific to T because it must also be capable of executing other programs – different combinations of the elementary units pi. For example, a car factory contains robots executing sub-recipes to construct the car’s doors. These robots contain sub-robots to construct handles, windows, etc., which could be used to construct other objects than cars.
    The other condition is obtained by applying the same reasoning recursively to the subtasks. If they, too, are non-elementary, they require a recipe that is decomposable into non-specific sub-recipes. The base for the recursion – for T to be performable to that particular accuracy – is provided by the elementary sub-recipes of the recipe for T being elementary tasks – which can be performed by (approximations to) constructors that are available in nature, as generic resources.
    Note that these elementary sub-tasks need not be specified in the recipe: they are implicit in the laws of physics. For instance, the elementary steps in the car recipe are tasks like, say, “oxidise the aluminium coating”, and occur simply by leaving the substrate exposed to air.
    Under no-design laws, any (approximation to a) constructor wears out after a finite time. Therefore F, to perform the task T to the accuracy ?, must undergo a process of maintenance, defined as one whereby a new instance of F – i.e., of P and V – is brought about, from generic materials, before the former one stops working. In the case of the car factory, this is achieved by replacing old subparts of the robots, assembly lines, etc. and by preserving the programs they run.
    To avoid an infinite regress, implementing the maintenance must not in turn require the recipe P for T. Also, the design of the recipe P cannot be in the laws of physics. Thus, the only other possibility is that the new instance of P is brought about by blind replication of the recipe P contained in the former instance – i.e., by replicating its subunits pi (that are non-specific to T). We conclude that, under no-design laws, the substrate instantiating the recipe is necessarily a modular replicator: a physical object that can be copied blindly, an elementary subunit at a time. In contrast, V – the non-specific component of F – is constructed anew from generic resources.
    Moreover, under no-design laws errors can occur: thus, to achieve high and improvable accuracy, the recipe must include error-correction. In the car factory, this includes, say, controlling the functionalities of the subcompo- nents (e.g., fine checks on the position of doors, wheels, etc.). Hence the recipe P must contain information about the task T, informing the criterion for error detection and correction.
    The information in the recipe is an abstract constructor that I shall call knowledge (without a knowing subject [26]). Knowledge has an exact characterization in constructor theory: it is information that can act as a con- structor and cause itself to remain instantiated in physical substrates. Crucially, error-correcting the replication is necessary. Hence the subunits pi must assume values in a discrete (digital) information variable: one whose attributes are separated by non-allowed attributes. For, if all values in a continuum were allowed, error-correction would be logically impossible.

    Note that error correction is part of the subtasks, which contains information about what checks to make. In constructor theory, this is just more knowledge.

    It seems that the one with prior assumptions is actually you, as you seem stuck in the current conception of physics.

  203. 203
  204. 204
    critical rationalist says:

    How many of what, UB?

  205. 205

    Of course, you know exactly what question I asked in my last post. Pretending otherwise is just more of the same.

  206. 206
    critical rationalist says:

    I do? You’re pretending there is only one way of looking at it. And one of those ways doesn’t handle quantum information. This is a parochial argument, in that is unnecessarily narrow in scope.

    Again, why should I use the current conception of physics when it fails in this sense? What about copying information? How does your theory explain it?

    Where is your argument for using it in this case?

    From this paper

    Constructor theory seeks to express all fundamental scientific theories in terms of a dichotomy between possible and impossible physical transformations–those that can be caused to happen and those that cannot. This is a departure from the prevailing conception of fundamental physics which is to predict what will happen from initial conditions and laws of motion. Several converging motivations for expecting constructor theory to be a fundamental branch of physics are discussed. Some principles of the theory are suggested and its potential for solving various problems and achieving various unifications is explored. These include providing a theory of information underlying classical and quantum information; generalising the theory of computation to include all physical transformations; unifying formal statements of conservation laws with the stronger operational ones (such as the ruling-out of perpetual motion machines); expressing the principles of testability and of the computability of nature (currently deemed methodological and metaphysical respectively) as laws of physics; allowing exact statements of emergent laws (such as the second law of thermodynamics); and expressing certain apparently anthropocentric attributes such as knowledge in physical terms.

    I should point out that Deutsch literally founded the field quantum computation, including developing the first quantum algorithm, etc.

    So, if anyone is avoiding what we know, in that there actually is such a thing as quantum information medium, that cannot rely on spontaneous equilibrium, that seems to be you, not me.

    Or are you saying there is no such thing as quantum information?

    IOW, it seems that you need to deny one of these things as they are mutually exclusive to your “theory”.

    2. Motivations
    2.1 Catalysis
    A catalyst is a substance that increases the rate of a chemical reaction without undergoing any net chemical change itself. Chemical equations describing catalysis are written like this:
    (1) (2) C (1) (2)
    n1R +n2R +…???m1P +m2P +…, (3)
    which conforms to the pattern (1) with the catalyst C as the constructor.
    Since a catalyst changes only the rate of a reaction, not the position of equilibrium, it is sometimes deemed a mistake to regard catalysts as causing reactions. However, that argument would deny that anything causes anything. Even without a factory, the components of a car do spontaneously assemble themselves at a very low rate, due to Brownian motion, but this happens along with countless other competing processes, some of them (such as rusting away) much faster than that self-assembly, and all of them much slower than the assembly effected by the factory. Hence a car is overwhelmingly unlikely to appear unless a suitable constructor is present. So if causation is meaningful at all, catalysts and other constructors do indeed cause their characteristic constructions.
    When one is not specifically discussing the catalyst, one usually omits it, describing the reaction as a construction task instead:
    n1 R(1)+n2 R(2)+… ? m1 P(1)+m2 P(2)+…. (4)
    This is convenient because most laws of chemistry are only about the reagents; that is to say, they hold regardless of what the catalyst may be, and hence assert nothing about the catalyst. For example, the law of definite proportions requires the coefficients n1,n2… and m1,m2… in (3) or (4) to be integers, depending only on the chemical identities of the reagents and products. It says that any catalyst capable of catalysing (4) can do so only for integer values of the coefficients. Similarly, (4) has to balance (expressing the fact that chemical processes cannot create or destroy atoms); it has to scale (be the same whether the terms refer to molecules, moles or any other measure proportional to those); the free energy of the products must not exceed that of the reagents; and so on. All these laws hold whatever causes the reaction while remaining unchanged in its ability to do so.
    Imposing the prevailing conception of fundamental physics on chemistry would entail treating the catalyst as another reagent. One would rewrite (3) as
    kC+n1 R(1)+n2 R(2)+… ? kC+m1 P(1)+m2 P(2)+… (5)
    for some k. But then the catalyst violates the law of definite proportions: since each catalyst molecule may be re-used, (5) can proceed for a huge range of values of k. Nor does (5) scale: the minimum number of catalyst molecules for which it outpaces competing reactions is some k0 , but for x times the number of reagent molecules, the minimum number may be much lower than xk0 , and will depend on non-chemical factors such as the size of the container, again contrary to the law of definite proportions.
    The customary distinction between catalysts and other reagents therefore correctly reflects the fact that they are treated differently by laws of nature – in this case, laws of chemistry. But there is no significant distinction between catalysts and other
    constructors. For example, the synthesis of ammonia, 3 H + 2 N ??? 2 NH , will not 223
    happen in empty space, because at near-zero pressure the process of diffusing away is much faster than the chemical reaction. Hence a container or equivalent constructor is among the conditions required in addition to the catalyst. Indeed, some catalysts work by being microscopic containers for the reagents.
    Chemical catalysis has natural generalisations. Carbon nuclei are catalysts for nuclear reactions in stars. A living organism is both a constructor and a product of the construction that is its life-cycle which, for single-celled photosynthesising organisms, is simply:

    cell
    small molecules+light _____ cell+waste products . (6)

    Inside cells, proteins are manufactured by ribosomes, which are constructors consisting of several large molecules. They function with the help of smaller catalysts (enzymes) and water, using ATP as fuel:

    RNA+ribosome+enzymes+H O 2
    aminoacids+ATP ________________protein+AMP+wasteproducts. (7)

    I mention this reaction in particular because the RNA plays a different role from the other catalysts. It specifies, in a code, which protein shall be the product on a given occasion. Thus, the catalysts excluding the RNA constitute a programmable constructor. The general pattern is:
    program

    programmable constructor
    input state of substrates ________________ output state of substrates. (8)

    Constructor theory is the ultimate generalisation of the idea of catalysis.

  207. 207

    In #201 I asked a purposely simple question about established biological knowledge. My purpose was just to see if you had the capacity to acknowledge observed scientific facts:

    Just one last question for you, CR, before I deplane. At this point you may consider it a sort of test; a personal curiosity on my part:

    I’ve already told you the rather obvious premise that in order to organize a heterogeneous living cell, there must first be the capacity to specify an object, and encode that specification in a heritable medium of information. I assume we agree on that premise.

    Nature is entirely unambiguous about how this is accomplished. For each object to be specified, the system uses one arrangement of matter to serve as a representation within the medium, and a second arrangement of matter as a constraint to establish what is being specified. These two objects are well documented inside the cell; the codon in DNA and the aaRS in the translation machinery.

    How many objects does it take to specify something from a medium of information?

    . . .

    Your response in #202:

    I’m referring to constructor theory, which is a new mode of explanation… (1106 words of avoidance)

    My return at #203:

    How many?

    Your response in #204:

    How many of what UB?

    My response in #205:

    Of course, you know exactly what question I asked in my last post. Pretending otherwise is just more of the same.

    Your third try in #206:

    I do? You’re pretending there is only one way of looking at it… (1174 more words of tortured obfuscation)

    Nice job. I have my answer. No need to ask again.

  208. 208
    Mung says:

    How many objects does it take to specify something from a medium of information?

  209. 209
    critical rationalist says:

    To use an analogy, it’s like you’re arguing for Newton’s laws of motion….

    UB: What does it take to launch rocket (Newton’s laws of motion)? You’re denying established knowledge!

    CR: Newton’s laws are an approximation that doesn’t hold at very high velocities. As such, you can’t use it to build, say, a global positioning system. Furthermore, Einstein’s explanation, the curvature of space time, is more fundamental. It assumes something completely different is happening, in reality, yet doesn’t require rebuilding bridges and buildings.

    UB: What does it take to launch rocket (Newton’s laws of motion)? You’re denying established knowledge!

    [repeat]

    Even then, Newton’s laws unified the motion of the planets and falling apples. That’s one of the goals in constructor theory, including and expressing certain apparently anthropocentric attributes such as knowledge in physical terms.

    From your website….

    The Information Tetrahedron is a visual aid for understanding translation. It is a model of the material conditions required to translate any form of recorded information, including the information recorded in DNA. The translation of an informational medium enables the production of effects that are not determined by the material properties of the medium being translated. Instead, those effects are determined elsewhere within the system of translation. This relational architecture – with one arrangement of matter evoking an effect, while another arrangement of matter determines what the effect will be – establishes a physical discontinuity in the system. This discontinuity enables prescriptive control of effects that are not limited by local dynamics. Such effects can only be derived from the contingent organization of the individual systems that translate information.

    Except, “any form of recorded information” would include quantum information mediums and this simply doesn’t apply. Is this not “accepted knowledge”?

    How can your argument hold when it only applies to classical information mediums? Or are you claiming it does apply beyond classical mediums to quantum mediums as well?

    Furthermore, those three things can be expressed as part of a network of tasks and subtasks in constructor theory. They represent knowledge.

    Apparently, you disagree with this despite having no concrete criticism of it. What gives?

  210. 210
    critical rationalist says:

    @UB

    Are claiming those three things cannot be expressed in a more fundamental way as part of a network of possible tasks with subtasks, etc. as described in section 3.1 in this paper?

  211. 211
    Origenes says:

    Allan Keith: Without having a reasonable idea of the mechanisms available to the designer, his capabilities and limitations, inferring design in biology is a weak inference at best.

    Allan offers a very weak criticism of ID, since it is based on an erroneous understanding of what ID is.

    ID is simply the science of design detection — how to recognize patterns arranged by an intelligent cause for a purpose.

    Contrary to what Allan believes ID is not about the identity of the designer.

    The evidence of intelligent design in biology does not prove that God exists (or that a being with all of the attributes of a transcendent God exists), since it is at least logically possible that an immanent (within the universe) intelligence rather than a transcendent intelligence might have designed life. [Stephen Meyer]

    Eric Anderson puts it like this:

    ID is not an attempt to answer all questions. It is a limited inquiry into whether something was designed. Questions about who, why, how, when are all interesting second-order questions that can be asked only after an inference to design is drawn. You may want, deeply in your heart of hearts, for ID to answer all of those questions. But that is a failure of your expectations, not ID itself.

Leave a Reply