agit-prop, opinion manipulation and well-poisoning games ignorant, stupid, insane or wicked Logic and First Principles of right reason

L&FP, 63: Do design thinkers, theists and the like “always” make bad arguments because they are “all” ignorant, stupid, insane or wicked?

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Dawkins’ barbed blanket dismissiveness comes up far too often in discussions of the design inference and related themes. Rarely, explicitly, most often by implication of a far too commonly seen no concessions, selectively hyperskeptical policy that objectors to design too often manifest. It is time to set this straight.

First, we need to highlight fallacious, crooked yardstick thinking (as exposed by naturally straight and upright plumb-lines). And yes, that classical era work, the Bible, is telling:

Notice, a pivotal point here, is self-evident truths. Things, similar to 2 + 3 = 5:

Notoriously, Winston Smith in 1984 is put on the rack to break his mind to conform to The Party’s double-think. He is expected to think 2 + 2 = whatever The Party needs at the moment, suppressing the last twisted answer, believing that was always the case, while simultaneously he must know that manifestly 2 + 2 = 4 on pain of instant absurdity. This is of course a toy example but it exposes the way crooked yardstick thinking leads to chaos:

Of Lemmings, marches of folly and cliffs of self-falsifying absurdity . . .

(Yes, real lemmings do not act like that. But, humans . . . that’s a whole other story.)

So, now, let us turn to a recent barbed remark by one of our frequent objectors and my reply, laying out a frame of thought and inviting correction — dodged, of course:

KF, 120 in the Foundations thread: [[It is now clear that SG is unwilling to substantially back up the one liner insinuation he made at 84 above, try making a good argument. Accordingly, let me respond in outline, for record, to the general case, that people like us are ignorant, stupid, insane or wicked and the associated zero concessions, selectively hyperskeptical dismissiveness policy. Here, I will show the rational responsibility of the design inference and related ideas, views and approaches, for record and reference:

I will use steps of thought:

1: Reason, in general: Notice, supporters and fellow travellers of evolutionary materialistic scientism undermine the responsible, rational freedom required for reason to be credible. They tend to discount and discredit objectors, but in fact their arguments and assertions are self-referentially incoherent, especially reduction of mind to computationalism on a wetware substrate. Reppert is right to point out, following Haldane and others:

. . . let us suppose that brain state A [–> notice, state of a wetware, electrochemically operated computational substrate], which is token identical to the thought that all men are mortal, and brain state B, which is token identical to the thought that Socrates is a man, together cause the belief [–> concious, perceptual state or disposition] that Socrates is mortal. It isn’t enough for rational inference that these events be those beliefs, it is also necessary that the causal transaction be in virtue of the content of those thoughts . . . [But] if naturalism is true, then the propositional content is irrelevant to the causal transaction that produces the conclusion, and [so] we do not have a case of rational inference. In rational inference, as Lewis puts it, one thought causes another thought not by being, but by being seen to be, the ground for it. But causal transactions in the brain occur in virtue of the brain’s being in a particular type of state that is relevant to physical causal transactions.

2: This extends to Marx’s class/cultural conditioning, to Freud’s potty training etc, to Skinner’s operant conditioning , to claims my genes made me do it, and many more. So, irrationality and undermining of the credibility of reason are a general issue for such supporters and fellow travellers, it is unsurprising to see projection to the despised other (a notorious defence mechanism) and linked failure to engage self referentiality.

3: First principles of right reason: Classically, the core of reason starts with distinct identity, excluded middle, non contradiction. Something x is what it is i/l/o its core characteristics, nothing can be both x and not x in the same sense and circumstances, any y in W = {x| ~x} will be x, ~x, not both or neither. And more. Claimed quantum counter examples etc actually are rooted in reasoning that relies on such. And yes, there have been enough objections that this has come up and is in UD’s Weak Argument Correctives. We leave it to objectors like SG to tell us whether they acknowledge such first principles of right reason: _______ and explain why ________ .

4: Self evidence: There are arguments that, once we have enough experience and maturity to understand [a sometimes big if], will be seen as true, as necessarily true and as true on pain of immediate absurdities on attempted denial. That error exists is a good case in point, and if one is able to see that the attempt to deny objectivity of knowledge for a given reasonably distinct field of thought such as morals or history or reality [metaphysics], or the physical world, or external reality, or in general, etc, one is claiming to objectively know something about that field and so refutes oneself.

5: self referential incoherence and question begging: We just saw an example of how arguments and arguers can include themselves in the zone of reference of an argument in ways that undermine it, often by implying a contradiction. Such arguments defeat themselves. Question begging is different, it assumes, suggests or imposes what should be shown and for which there are responsible alternatives. Arguments can be question begging, and then may turn out to be self refuting.

6: Deduction, induction, abduction (inference to the best [current] explanation [IBE]) and weak-form knowledge: Deduction uses logical validity to chain from givens to conclusions, where if givens are so and the chain valid, conclusions must also be true. Absent errors of reasoning, the debate rapidly becomes one over why the givens. Induction, modern sense, is about degree of support for conclusions i/l/o evidence of various kinds as opposed to demonstration, statistics, history, science, etc are common contexts. Abduction, especially IBE, compares live option alternatives and what they imply, on factual adequacy, coherence and balance of explanatory power, to choose the best explanation so far. In this context weak sense common knowledge is warranted, credibly true (so, reliable) belief. Which, is open to correction or revision and extension.

7: Worldviews context: Why accept A? B. But why B? C, etc. We see that we face infinite regress, or circularity or finitely remote first plausibles . . . which, frame our faith points . . . as we set out to understand our world. Infinite regress is impossible to traverse in reasoning or in cause effect steps, so we set it aside, we are forced to have finitely remote start points to reasoning and believing, warranting and knowing — first plausibles that define our views of the world. Thus, we all live by faith, the question is which, why; so, whether it is rational/reasonable and responsible. Where, too, all serious worldview options bristle with difficulties, hence the point that philosophy is the discipline that studies hard, basic questions. Question begging circles are a challenge, answered through comparative difficulties across factual adequacy, coherence and balance of explanatory power: elegantly simple, neither ad hoc nor simplistic.

[Let’s add an illustration:]

A summary of why we end up with foundations for our worldviews, whether or not we would phrase the matter that way}

[or in Aristotle’s words:]

8: Failure of evolutionary materialistic scientism and fellow traveller views: It will be evident already, that, while institutionally and culturally dominant, evolutionary materialistic scientism and fellow travellers are profoundly and irretrievably incoherent. Yes, a view backed by institutions, power brokers in the academy, the education system and the media can be irretrievably, fatally cracked from its roots.

9: Logic of being (and of structure and quantity), also possible worlds: Ontology and her grand child, Mathematics, grow out of core philosophy, particularly distinct identity and consideration of possible worlds. A possible world, w, is a sufficiently complete description of how our world or another conceivable or even actual world is or may be; i.e. a cluster of core, world describing propositions. In that context, a candidate being or entity or even state of affairs, c, can be impossible of being [e.g. a Euclidean plane square circle] or possible. Possible beings may be contingent [actual in at least one possible world but not all] or necessary [present in every possible world]. We and fires are contingent, dependent for existence on many independent, prior factors; what begins or may cease of existence is contingent. Necessary beings are best seen as part of the fabric or framework for this or any possible world. We can show that distinct identity implies two-ness, thence 0, 1, 2. Ponder, W = {A|~A}, the partition is empty, 0, A is a unit, ~A is a complex unit, so we see 2. So, onward via von Neumann’s construction, the counting numbers N. Thence, Z, Q, R, C, R* etc in any w. This is what gives core Mathematics its universal power.

10: The basic credibility of the design inference: of course, we routinely recognise that many things show reliable signs of intelligently directed configuration as key cause, i.e. design. For example, objectors to the design inference often issue copious, complex text in English, beyond 500 to 1,000 bits of complexity. In the 70’s Orgel and Wicken identified a distinct and quantifiable phenomenon, functionally specific, complex organisation and/or associated information, which I often abbreviate FSCO/I. Organisation is there as things like a fishing reel [my favourite, e.g. the ABU 6500 CT] or a watch [Paley, do not overlook his self replicating watch thought exercise in Ch 2]

or an oil refinery or a computer program [including machine code]

Petroleum refinery block diagram illustrating FSCO/I in a process-flow system

or the cell’s metabolic process-flow network [including protein synthesis]

[with:]

Step by step protein synthesis in action, in the ribosome, based on the sequence of codes in the mRNA control tape (Courtesy, Wikipedia and LadyofHats)

[and:]

all can be described in a suitably compact string of Y/N questions, structured through description languages such as AutoCAD. The inference posits that, with trillions of cases under our belt, reliably, FSCO/I or its generalisation, CSI, will be signs of design as key cause. The controversies, as may be readily seen, are not for want of evidence or inability to define or quantify, but because this challenges the dominant evolutionary materialism and fellow travellers. Which, of course, long since failed through irretrievable self referential incoherence.
_____________________

So, challenge: let SG and/or others show where the above fails to be rational and responsible, if they can__________________ Prediction, aside from mere disagreement and/or dismissiveness, assertions, or the trifecta fallacy of red herrings, led away to strawmen soaked in ad hominems and set alight to cloud, confuse, poison and polarise the atmosphere, they will not be able to sustain a case for general failure to be rational and responsible.]]

The good argument challenge is duly open for response. END

U/D, Nov 4: As it seems certain objectors want to attack the descriptive metaphor, islands of function amidst seas of non function, let me put up here a couple of infographics I used some years ago to discuss this concept. But first, as the primary contexts have to do with protein synthesis and OoL, let me first put up Vuk Nicolic’s video illustrating just what is required for protein synthesis:

. . . and Dr James Tour’s summary presentation on OoL synthesis challenges:

Now, this is my framework for discussing islands of function:

. . . and, on associated active information:

Thus, we can discuss the Orgel-Wicken functionally specific, complex organisation and associated information concept, FSCO/I, similarly:

We see here the needle in a haystack, blind search challenge and how it is dominated by not the hill climbing on fitness functions that is commonly discussed but by the issue of arriving at shorelines of first function. Obviously and primarily, for origin of cell based life [cf. Tour] but also to move from that first unicellular body plan to others. Where, we can observe too that even within an island of function, incremental changes will be challenged by intervening valleys, tending to trap on a given peak or plateau.

But, what of the thesis, that there is in effect a readily accessible first functionality, incrementally connected to all major body plans, allowing unlimited, branching tree of life body plan level macro evolution?

The Smithsonian’s tree of life model, note the root in OOL

Obviously, this architecture implies such continuity. The first problem, obviously is the root and the plethora of speculations and debatable or even dubious syntheses that have been made into icons of the grand evolutionary narrative and taught as effective fact, already tell us something is wrong. A second clue is how the diagram itself implies that transitional forms should utterly dominate the space, with terminal tips being far less common. On basic statistics, we should then expect an abundance of these transitions or “links.” The phrase, missing link, tells the tale instead.

For, the trade secret of paleontology, is the utter rarity of such forms, to the point where punctuated equilibria was a major school intended to explain that general absence. Where, Darwin, notoriously, noted the gaps but expected and predicted that on wider investigations they would go away. But now, after 150 years of searching, billions of fossils seen in situ, millions in museum back office drawers [only a relative few can be displayed] and over a quarter of a million fossil species, the pattern of gaps is very much still here, hot denials and dismissals notwithstanding. That is especially true of the Cambrian fossil life form revolution, where the major current body plans for animals pop up with nary an intermediate. So much so, that there have been significant efforts to make it disappear, obfuscating its significance.

We also have molecular islands of function, starting with protein fold domains. Thousands, scattered across the AA sequence space, no easy path connecting them. Even just homochirality soon accumulates into a serious search space challenge as molecules are complex and mirror image handedness is not energetically enforced, why racemic forms, 50-50 mixes of left and right handed molecules are what we tend to get in lab syntheses. This then gets more complicated where there are multiple isomers as Tour discusses.

In short, a real issue not a readily dismissible notion without significant empirical support.

And so forth.

U/D2 Nov 4: I just found where I had an image from p. 11 NFL, so observe:

ID researcher William A Dembski, NFL, p.11 on possibilities, target zones and events

Where, we can further illustrate the beach of function issue:

And, some remarks:

U/D 3 Nov 7: The all-revealing Eugenics Conference Logo from 1912 and 1921 showing how it was seen as a capstone of ever so many sciences and respected domains of knowledge, especially statistics, genetics, biology and medicine, even drawing on religion, with, politics, law, education, psychology, mental testing and sociology . . . menacingly . . . also being in the roots:

“Eugenics is the self-direction of human evolution”: Logo from the Second International Eugenics Conference, 1921, depicting Eugenics as a tree which unites a variety of different fields.

U/D 4, Nov 10: A reminder on cosmological fine tuning, from Luke Barnes:

Barnes: “What if we tweaked just two of the fundamental constants? This figure shows what the universe would look like if the strength of the strong nuclear force (which holds atoms together) and the value of the fine-structure constant (which represents the strength of the electromagnetic force between elementary particles) were higher or lower than they are in this universe. The small, white sliver represents where life can use all the complexity of chemistry and the energy of stars. Within that region, the small “x” marks the spot where those constants are set in our own universe.” (HT: New Atlantis)

U/D 5, Nov 12: As there is dismissiveness of the textual, coded information stored in DNA, it is necessary to show here a page clip from Lehninger, as a case in point of what should not even be a debated point:

For record.

U/D 6, Nov 14: The per aspect design inference explanatory filter shows how right in the core design inference, alternative candidate causes and their observational characteristics are highlighted:

Again, for record.

538 Replies to “L&FP, 63: Do design thinkers, theists and the like “always” make bad arguments because they are “all” ignorant, stupid, insane or wicked?

  1. 1
    kairosfocus says:

    L&FP, 63: Do design thinkers, theists and the like “always” make bad arguments because they are “all” ignorant, stupid, insane or wicked?

  2. 2
    kairosfocus says:

    F/N: on the doublethink issue:

    https://psychologenie.com/understanding-doublethink-with-examples

    The term ‘doublethink’ is often confused with being hypocritical; but when you take a closer look at it you will realize the subtle differences between the two, and you will understand how to differentiate one from the other.

    “The power of holding two contradictory beliefs in one’s mind simultaneously, and accepting both of them… To tell deliberate lies while genuinely believing in them, to forget any fact that has become inconvenient, and then, when it becomes necessary again, to draw it back from oblivion for just so long as it is needed, to deny the existence of objective reality and all the while to take account of the reality which one denies – all this is indispensably necessary. Even in using the word doublethink it is necessary to exercise doublethink. For by using the word one admits that one is tampering with reality; by a fresh act of doublethink one erases this knowledge; and so on indefinitely, with the lie always one leap ahead of the truth.”
    ? George Orwell, Nineteen Eighty-Four

    (I find, the onward softening attempt slightly amusing.)

    KF

  3. 3
    jerry says:

    Some design thinkers are obviously obsessed.

    But nearly all anti ID advocates are also obviously obsessed. What drives them to never make a coherent argument on what they advocate? Is it because they can’t? It surely is not because they don’t want to. But incoherence is their norm.

    They will pick an irrelevant shortcoming of an ID argument to criticize. They are obsessed with irrelevant minutiae. In 17 years commenting here there has only been one honest one.

    Truth or understanding does not seem to be the objective, however, for either side.

  4. 4
    Sir Giles says:

    Do Design Thinkers, Theists And The Like “Always” Make Bad Arguments Because They Are “All” Ignorant, Stupid, Insane Or Wicked?

    An excellent example of erecting a strawman for subsequent toppling.

    Nobody here has suggested that you make bad arguments because you are ignorant, stupid, insane or wicked.

  5. 5
    jerry says:

    Nobody here has suggested that you make bad arguments because you are ignorant, stupid, insane or wicked.

    So are they then good arguments?

    If not, why not?

  6. 6
    PyrrhoManiac1 says:

    @4

    Nobody here has suggested that you make bad arguments because you are ignorant, stupid, insane or wicked.

    Yes, this exactly. What Dawkins said has no bearing on the conversations going on at UD. In fact it seems to me that ID supporters cite Dawkins far more than ID critics do.

    I’ve read several of Dawkins’s books, and the only thing valuable I learned was from a long footnote in The God Delusion about why moths tend to fly towards electric lights.

    Michael Ruse blurbed for McGrath and McGrath’s The Dawkins Delusion, “The God Delusion makes me embarrassed to be an atheist, and the McGraths show why.” I’m not an atheist, but having read both of those books, I think I understand where Ruse was coming from.

    Also, not that it matters, but Dawkins’s actual quote was not about theists or design theorists. What he said was, ““It is absolutely safe to say that if you meet somebody who claims not to believe in evolution, that person is ignorant, stupid, or insane, (or wicked, but I’d rather not consider that).”

    In other words, he’s not even referring to theists in general or to design theorists in general — he’s referring to creationists.

  7. 7
    Alan Fox says:

    Jerry:

    But nearly all anti ID advocates are also obviously obsessed.

    Yes, perhaps my own skepticism has become a bit of an obsession.

    They will pick an irrelevant shortcoming of an ID argument to criticize.

    Hmm. Is the fact that there is no ID hypothesis after over three decades since it came to be substituted for creationism (Of Pandas and People, anyone, “cdesignproponentsists”, 1987, Edwards vs Aiguillar?) an irrelevant shortcoming? I would suggest that is a central, significant and fatal shortcoming.

  8. 8
    Sir Giles says:

    Jerry: So are they then good arguments?

    If not, why not?

    As with all of us, some arguments are good and some are bad. In KF’s case, most of his bad arguments are due to the fact that their foundations are based on unproven premises and/or the exclusion of any contrary evidence.

  9. 9
    Viola Lee says:

    re 6: very good comment. I also don’t think Dawkins is worth a lot of attention, and no one here is defending him in general, or that particular quote.

    My feeling is that KF had some time on his hands so he decided to recycle parts of previous posts so he could put out another OP in his “series”.

  10. 10
    jerry says:

    most of his bad arguments are due to the fact that their foundations are based on unproven premises and/or the exclusion of any contrary evidence.

    So what are his bad arguments?

    Please be specific since you implied many! Also does that mean the ones not mentioned are good arguments? Everyone acknowledges that his presentation is convoluted at best. But such does not mean the premises are not true or the logic is bad, just difficult to understand.

    I personally have never seen a bad argument by Kf except on non ID topics such as history or current politics.

    Aside: creationist are used by critics of ID as if they are the same as design theorists.

  11. 11
    relatd says:

    Jerry at 3,

    Please don’t take this the wrong way. WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU?

    The pro-evolution troops stationed here have been given their orders: PROMOTE Evolution. Say bad things about ID.

    Big secret Jerry. Pro-evolution types always want to turn ID, as science, into accusations that it’s purely religious. The glorification of Richard Dawkins is more important than agreeing with the idea that there is actual design in nature. You don’t have to be religious to realize that. And there is nothing theoretical about actual design in nature.

  12. 12
    kairosfocus says:

    Folks, see what I mean about not EXPLICITLY using ignorant, stupid insane or wicked but it is clearly a factor in the all too manifest, no concession policy. As to oh after 30 years there is no design hypothesis, that is a bare faced false assertion and again a manifestation of the same Dawkins style policy. Oh it’s not relevant, but then, wait a few comments. KF

    PS, as a first note, SG should have seen from point 7 of OP, in reply to his accusation that I have to actually produce a “good argument” — implying general argument failure as Dawkins openly declared — that infinite regress is impossible and question-begging are not legitimate so there are finitely remote first plausibles to any major case. The alternatives are addressed on comparative difficulties, which answers the question begging issue.

    PPS, Then, as there is on the table an accusation of general argument failure, I have laid out in summary arguments that are mostly at foundational level; the motive mongering is barking up the wrong tree. SG needs to show why he would dismiss these. As to the onward design inference, it is set in the context of abductive, modern sense inductive arguments and rests on a trillion observation base. Show us a single actually observed case where reliably FSCO/I came about by blind chance and/or mechanical necessity and it will fail. The sort of arguments we are seeing are obviously because the objectors, after many years, cannot meet this criterion.

  13. 13
    Viola Lee says:

    There is no “glorification of Richard Dawkins” here. And who has been “giving orders”?

    Strange comments, in my opinion.

  14. 14
    asauber says:

    “I also don’t think Dawkins is worth a lot of attention”

    VL,

    But he’s on Your Side, so you might as well be married to him. You guys run cover for him under the guise of “we don’t endorse him directly”, but you do love what he does. He’s an Evolution Saint, worshipped by the congregation. You just sit in the back.

    Andrew

  15. 15
    PyrrhoManiac1 says:

    @11

    The glorification of Richard Dawkins is more important than agreeing with the idea that there is actual design in nature.

    Has anyone here glorified Dawkins? For that matter, has anyone here even defended anything that Dawkins has said?

    Speaking strictly for myself, I think the man’s an utter fool — he’s made no positive contributions to science and has done immense harm to the public understanding of science. He’s a textbook example of how the British pseudo-meritocracy allows for unlimited ‘failing upward’ for people with the right connections.

    @14

    You guys run cover for him under the guise of “we don’t endorse him directly”, but you do love what he does.

    Not me. I hate everything that he does.

  16. 16
    kairosfocus says:

    VL, I am answering a general, sweeping accusation. Surely, it is in order to summarise the core argument for record. If this is so full of failures as is implied by the sneering demand for a — as in just one — good argument, they will be readily exposed rather than greeted with sweeping assertions. So far, no substantive, cogent answers. KF

  17. 17
    relatd says:

    PM1 at 15,

    Speaking broadly, the idea that other ideas are somehow superior to ID has been trumpeted here. Richard Dawkins has become the standard bearer for the thought that ‘Living things only look designed. They are not actually designed.’

    And there is the sharp dividing line. Cross it and tell the world, and you instantly become one of “them.” This means your thinking, your conclusions, are obviously ‘wrong’ according to those on the other side.

    It’s not more complicated than that.

    It’s a bit like trench warfare. Both sides fire their volleys. Retreat, And return the next day to do the same. But both sides can’t be right.

  18. 18
    relatd says:

    VL at 13,

    Are you willing to realize that life is actually designed? If not, why not?

  19. 19
    PyrrhoManiac1 says:

    @17

    Richard Dawkins has become the standard bearer for the thought that ‘Living things only look designed. They are not actually designed.’

    Sure, except that Dawkins is wrong — it’s not true, it was a stupid thing for him to said, and not a single person here is defending it.

    By which I should clarify: I think Dawkins was completely wrong to say that living things look designed. They might look designed if one is observing biology through the conceptual lens of the machine conception of the organism. Without that conceptual framework, living things do not even appear to be designed.

    I mean, if you want to keep on bashing Dawkins, go right ahead. I don’t care. Just keep in mind that since no one here is defending Dawkins, the Dawkins-bashing makes you look a bit silly. But, if you want to look silly, be my guest. No harm in being silly!

  20. 20
    relatd says:

    PM1,

    No one here is against ID? News to me. You have not seen the borderline rants/demands made about ID as science? Examples: “When did the designer do XYZ?” “How did he/she/it do it?”
    I could as well ask when some imaginary transition event occurred in some animal according to evolution and request an exact date.

    I don’t want to bash anyone but there are people who agree with what he said about design; i.e. there isn’t any in nature.

  21. 21
    Viola Lee says:

    Piling on what PM1 said. KF, if you are “answering a general, sweeping accusation”, why headline an accusation that no one but Richard Dawkins has made, long ago, and is denounced by everyone here to whom you might be addressing. Straw windmills.

  22. 22
    PyrrhoManiac1 says:

    Since it has occasionally been suggested that critics of intelligent design do not offer any arguments, allow me to make one.

    As I understand it, intelligent design rests upon the use of engineering concepts to describe and explain biological phenomena. I think that this rests upon a deeply mistaken conflation between organisms and machines.

    For the criticism of the machine conception of the organism, I quite like some recent work by Nicholson, including “Organisms ? Machines” (2013) and “Is the Cell Really a Machine?” (2019).

    I objections to ID because, as far as I can tell, ID is necessarily wedded to the fundamentally mistaken machine conception of organisms. I think that the use of machine conceptions in describing and explaining biology has been a colossal error — one of the greatest blunders of the Scientific Revolution.

  23. 23
    relatd says:

    PM1 at 22,

    A strange idea. Engineers have attempted to mimic nature with some success. Early glider experiments combined with the introduction of the gasoline engine led to the first powered aircraft flight.

    The problem is, they are no closer today than 20 years ago regarding duplicating the function of the human brain. Sure, computing “power” as a measure of calculations per second has increased, but all of the other functions cannot be duplicated. I have read about various brute force experiments but “artificial intelligence” is a fake term. No machine has the abilities of the human brain. The machine analogy is useful.

    https://intelligentdesign.org/articles/molecular-machines-in-the-cell/

  24. 24
    Viola Lee says:

    I agree with PM1. The ID argument from machine analogy has it backwards. Human beings have drawn ideas and concepts from nature and then built and engineered things in a human way. That doesn’t mean that the original source of our inspirations was built in the same way.

  25. 25
    relatd says:

    “What are Molecular Machines?

    “A molecular machine, according to an article in the journal Accounts of Chemical Research, is “an assemblage of parts that transmit forces, motion, or energy from one to another in a predetermined manner.”4 A 2004 article in Annual Review of Biomedical Engineering asserted that “these machines are generally more efficient than their macroscale counterparts,” further noting that “[c]ountless such machines exist in nature.”5 Indeed, a single research project in 2006 reported the discovery of over 250 new molecular machines in yeast alone!6”

  26. 26
    jerry says:

    As I understand it, intelligent design rests upon the use of engineering concepts to describe and explain biological phenomena

    Not even close to true.

    Biology/Evolution get most of the discussion. ID is mainly based on the fine tuning of the universe and the solar system. Evolution is emphasized by critics because it is viewed as a way to attack ID.

    It is understood by ID advocates that the creator of the universe and solar system could have set up initial conditions so that life could form and complex changes could have also happened. Undermining criticism of Evolution is an attempt to equate ID with creationism.

    ID just points out that without some sort of specialized initial conditions, Evolution could not have happened. The result is that 95+% of the comments here are irrelevant.

  27. 27
    PyrrhoManiac1 says:

    @23

    The problem is, they are no closer today than 20 years ago regarding duplicating the function of the human brain. Sure, computing “power” as a measure of calculations per second has increased, but all of the other functions cannot be duplicated. I have read about various brute force experiments but “artificial intelligence” is a fake term. No machine has the abilities of the human brain.

    From what I understand, building a machine that could mimic the brain was never on the agenda to begin with. The first experiments in AI were attempts to build programs that could do what human minds could do, but AI researchers never bothered to study how brains do anything. Melanie Mitchell has a really interesting essay, “Why AI is Harder Than We Think“. She argues that one major limitation of all AI research to date is that AI researchers don’t talk to neuroscientists and psychologists — it’s hard to design a self-driving car if you don’t know how animals use their senses to navigate the world (for example).

    @26

    Not even close to true.

    Biology/Evolution get most of the discussion. ID is mainly based on the fine tuning of the universe and the solar system. Evolution is emphasized by critics because it is viewed as a way to attack ID.

    I would venture to say that this would come as a surprise to Stephen Meyer and Michael Behe.

    It is understood by ID advocates that the creator of the universe and solar system could have set up initial conditions so that life could form and complex changes could have also happened.

    In that version, ID just becomes theistic evolution or deism.

  28. 28
    relatd says:

    Jerry at 26,

    “The result is that 95+% of the comments here are irrelevant.”

    The pro-Evolution non-arguments will still appear like clockwork.

    Meanwhile, ID states that there is design in nature, in living things.

  29. 29
    asauber says:

    “machine conception of organisms”

    Organisms do apply mechanical power, so…

    Andrew

  30. 30
    jerry says:

    In that version, ID just becomes theistic evolution or deism

    You have just pigeon holed yourself.

    Everything I said is right on. So why are you denying it?

    I suggest you read Stephen Meyer more closely. He certainly emphasizes fine tuning in his latest book. Also read the latest by Michael Denton.

  31. 31
    relatd says:

    PM1 at 27,

    Where have you been? You haven’t been reading military journals?

    https://ndupress.ndu.edu/Media/News/News-Article-View/Article/2846343/chinas-new-generation-ai-brain-project/

    And the United States is doing the same.

    “In that version, ID just becomes theistic evolution or deism.”

    That is quite wrong. A few here are operating under the false belief that “theistic evolution” actually happened as in, God intervened at some point or points and then walked away. God operates continually in Creation. The Deist God makes a wind-up toy called evolution, puts it on the ground and it goes wherever it wants. God does not work like that.

  32. 32
    kairosfocus says:

    PM1 & Jerry, there are two main provinces of design theory, one is cosmological, the other addreses the world of life. Both involve a discussion of what blind chance and/or mechanical necessity are capable of, and what bears on it signs of intelligently directed configuration. Both point to a fine tuning issue, the observed cosmos sits at a locally, deeply isolated operating point for a life permitting cosmos and the requirement for multiple correctly matched, properly oriented, arranged and coupled parts to achieve key life function implies a fine tuning of the configuration spaces hence islands of function as a useful figure of speech. And, there is machinery in the cell and beyond, including at least one case of actual gears. KF

  33. 33
    kairosfocus says:

    SG, meanwhile, you need to either substantiate your accusations on the ten main arguments summarised in the OP or stand exposed of indulging ill founded zero concession hyperskepticism. Where, kindly note that abductive arguments rely on comparing alternatives to infer a best explanation, while an infinite regress of proofs is infeasible. we really are forced to start with first plausibles. KF

  34. 34
    kairosfocus says:

    PS, I just added to point 7, OP two diagrams illustrating why we need finitely remote first plausibles including self evident truths (but of course going far beyond such). In effect I view worldviews as grand scale explanatory constructs to be addressed on comparative difficulties.

    F/N, Ari, Met, 1006a:

    https://www.perseus.tufts.edu/hopper/text?doc=Perseus%3Atext%3A1999.01.0052%3Abook%3D4%3Asection%3D1006a

    [1006a] [1] and say that it is possible to hold this view. Many even of the physicists adopt this theory. But we have just assumed that it is impossible at once to be and not to be, and by this means we have proved that this is the most certain of all principles.Some, indeed, demand to have the law proved, but this is because they lack education1; for it shows lack of education not to know of what we should require proof, and of what we should not. For it is quite impossible that everything should have a proof; the process would go on to infinity, so that even so there would be no proof.2 If on the other hand there are some things of which no proof need be sought, they cannot say what principle they think to be more self-evident. Even in the case of this law, however, we can demonstrate the impossibility by refutation, if only our opponent makes some statement. If he makes none, it is absurd to seek for an argument against one who has no arguments of his own about anything, in so far as he has none; for such a person, in so far as he is such, is really no better than a vegetable.And I say that proof by refutation differs from simple proof in that he who attempts to prove might seem to beg the fundamental question, whereas if the discussion is provoked thus by someone else, refutation and not proof will result.The starting-point for all such discussions is not the claim that he should state that something is or is not so [20] (because this might be supposed to be a begging of the question), but that he should say something significant both to himself and to another (this is essential if any argument is to follow; for otherwise such a person cannot reason either with himself or with another);and if this is granted, demonstration will be possible, for there will be something already defined. But the person responsible is not he who demonstrates but he who acquiesces; for though he disowns reason he acquiesces to reason. Moreover, he who makes such an admission as this has admitted the truth of something apart from demonstration [so that not everything will be “so and not so”].

    Thus in the first place it is obvious that this at any rate is true: that the term “to be” or “not to be” has a definite meaning; so that not everything can be “so and not so.” Again, if “man” has one meaning, let this be “two-footed animal.”By “has one meaning” I mean this: if X means “man,” then if anything is a man, its humanity will consist in being X. And it makes no difference even if it be said that “man” has several meanings, provided that they are limited in number;

    1 sc., in logic.

    2 Every proof is based upon some hypothesis, to prove which another hypothesis must be assumed, and so on ad infinitum.
    Aristotle. Aristotle in 23 Volumes, Vols.17, 18, translated by Hugh Tredennick. Cambridge, MA, Harvard University Press; London, William Heinemann Ltd. 1933, 1989.

  35. 35
    JVL says:

    Jerry: So what are his bad arguments?

    One that I find particularly egregious is his notions of there being ‘islands of function’ in the biological landscape, implying that the differences between known lifeforms is too great to have been traversed by step-wise variation. Which is bad because it completely ignores the base unguided evolutionary arguments that a) the initial life forms were dead-simple compared to what is extant now and b) that all existing pairs of lifeforms have a common ancestor meaning that it’s not necessary to get from a duck to a human, no one thinks that is even possible without travelling back up the evolutionary family tree which means linking to life forms which no longer exist.

    But Kairosfocus continues to push this argument even though he’s clearly set up and knocked down a straw man instead of the real unguided evolutionary rationale.

    Also, I think Kairosfocus, despite all his attempts at mathie-ness, has failed to provide a mathematically rigourous definition of FSCIO or whatever letters are involved. If he had a strict, clear definition then it would be possible to take any given example and measure it against the definition. But, since the criterium doesn’t exist it’s impossible to say, without ambiguity, what is and what is not FSCIO.

    Please note: I have had commenters on this forum say just the act of typing a number sequence into a comment makes it designed. Maybe designed has nothing to do with being complex or specified or functional but, again, that would point out how ill-defined all the terms used are. For the purposes of design detection.

    Also please note: I understand using the source of a sequence as an argument as to where or not it was designed however ALL ID proponents assume that DNA sequences were designed when their generation is what is in question. That’s a circular argument. Otherwise, we’re back to design detection and FSCIO which, as I noted is not well enough defined to be used for any given example BECAUSE you always get asked for the source of the sequence.

  36. 36
    JVL says:

    Jerry: It is understood by ID advocates that the creator of the universe and solar system could have set up initial conditions so that life could form and complex changes could have also happened.

    But many, many ID proponents say that further development was limited by certain conditions, certain highly-improbable variations (which could not have plausibly happened in the history of the universe) which implies that quite a lot of tweaking along the way was required. Dr Behe makes that explicit argument does he not?

    I have been asking ID proponents for years: do you think the whole thing was front-loaded or has there been uncountable numbers of tweaks along the way and very, very few were willing to even offer an opinion on that matter.

    Perhaps the ID community would like to clear that point up first thing?

  37. 37
    Sir Giles says:

    In my mind, Dawkins peaked with the publication of The Selfish Gene. It didn’t change evolutionary theory, but it did present a different way to visualize it.

  38. 38
    Sir Giles says:

    KF: Show us a single actually observed case where reliably FSCO/I came about by blind chance and/or mechanical necessity and it will fail.

    You first. Show us a single actually observed case where reliably FSCO/I came about without human intervention.

  39. 39
    Sir Giles says:

    JVL@35, I agree with your criticism of KF’s “islands of function” straw windmill (I am appropriating VL’s term 🙂 the residual cheque is in the mail).

    KF’s faulty logic in this respect is that he is looking at the biosphere without taking time into account. If all conditions remained unchanged over time, then KF would have a potentially valid argument. The “islands” would remain elevated above the biological landscape. But things don’t remain unchanged over time.

    Environments change. Geographies change. Ocean circulation and volcanic activity change. Population and competition pressures change.

    When you add time to KF’s “islands of function”, you no longer have islands. A better analogy would be a storm-tossed sea. His “islands” being the crests of the waves one day, the troughs the next.

  40. 40
    jerry says:

    When was the last time the islands of fitness was discussed?

    I just went through 5 different ID books and it wasn’t discussed. I will continue to search for it. The last OP here on it by Kf looks to be 7 1/2 years ago. There was one by GPuccio over four years ago and Kf comments.

    This seems to be an endorsement of Kf’s arguments. He’s made several hundred and I am not even sure this one is bad.

  41. 41
    Sir Giles says:

    Jerry: When was the last time the islands of fitness was discussed?

    Unfortunately, the UD search function only searches for the titles of the OPs. KF has made reference to this outdated “Islands of function/fitness” nonsense very recently. I have only been here for a few months and I remember him using this lame argument.

    I think it best to let KF respond to this.

  42. 42
    kairosfocus says:

    SG, you know full well that a turnabout projection is an evasion not an argument. Further, you know we are contingent creatures and so do not exhaust possible designing intelligences. Therefore, while we show what patterns intelligence may provide that indicate intelligently directed configuration, we do not exhaust the possible and actual lists. Beaver dams were discussed here over a decade ago as a case in point. Now, you suppress the other issue, we have seen three key causal factors ever since Plato in the Laws Bk X, highlighted by a key omission by Monod in his title, Chance and Necessity, where as Plato noted, we also have Art. In the case of items of sufficient complexity, the implied configuration space of possible arrangements becomes so large that blind chance and/or mechanical necessity are maximally implausible as on the gamut of the sol system or the observed cosmos, they could only search a negligible fraction thus being well below what we know intelligences do. As a simple illustration, put the parts of the fishing reel in a bait bucket and shake, it is maximally unlikely that they will ever fall together into a functional configuration. Fail. KF

  43. 43
    Sir Giles says:

    KF: SG, you know full well that a turnabout projection is an evasion not an argument

    World, I present to you the KF evasion of a legitimate criticism.

    How is providing a counter-argument to your much flaunted “islands of function/fitness” a turnabout projection? Or is this just the way you respond when you don’t have a cogent response?

    Please present your “islands of function/fitness” nonsense taking time into account.

  44. 44
    Sir Giles says:

    KF: As a simple illustration, put the parts of the fishing reel in a bait bucket and shake, it is maximally unlikely that they will ever fall together into a functional configuration. Fail. KF

    Thankfully, nobody has ever suggested that this is what happened. Your straw windmill is looking elegant.

  45. 45
    kairosfocus says:

    JVL, I see:

    One that I find particularly egregious is his notions of there being ‘islands of function’ in the biological landscape, implying that the differences between known lifeforms is too great to have been traversed by step-wise variation. Which is bad because it completely ignores the base unguided evolutionary arguments that a) the initial life forms were dead-simple compared to what is extant now and b) that all existing pairs of lifeforms have a common ancestor meaning that it’s not necessary to get from a duck to a human, no one thinks that is even possible without travelling back up the evolutionary family tree which means linking to life forms which no longer exist.

    In steps of thought:

    >>One that I find particularly egregious is his notions of there being ‘islands of function’ in the biological landscape,>>

    1: Actually, the issue is far wider than biology, it is about the rather familiar logic of configuration based functional organisation where many parts have to match together, be correctly oriented, arranged, organised and coupled to work. Consider here the fishing reel, a watch, an oil refinery etc. Without very particular organisation no relevant function, this is a readily observed commonplace for anyone who has had to get the right spare part for a gadget, and a breach of such common sense is not a good place for your objection to begin.

    2: Or, given that description languages such as autocad can in effect tell us how to organise anything, discussion on text strings is WLOG, and in fact has been recognised since Cicero. So, let us WLOG ponder the infinite monkeys confession by Wiki:

    [Wikipedia confesses regarding the infinite monkeys theorem:] The theorem concerns a thought experiment which cannot be fully carried out in practice, since it is predicted to require prohibitive amounts of time and resources. Nonetheless, it has inspired efforts in finite random text generation.

    One computer program run by Dan Oliver of Scottsdale, Arizona, according to an article in The New Yorker, came up with a result on August 4, 2004: After the group had worked for 42,162,500,000 billion billion monkey-years, one of the “monkeys” typed,

    “VALENTINE. Cease toIdor:eFLP0FRjWK78aXzVOwm)-‘;8.t”

    The first 19 letters of this sequence can be found in “The Two Gentlemen of Verona”. Other teams have reproduced 18 characters from “Timon of Athens”, 17 from “Troilus and Cressida”, and 16 from “Richard II”.[26]

    A website entitled The Monkey Shakespeare Simulator, launched on July 1, 2003, contained a Java applet that simulated a large population of monkeys typing randomly, with the stated intention of seeing how long it takes the virtual monkeys to produce a complete Shakespearean play from beginning to end. For example, it produced this partial line from Henry IV, Part 2, reporting that it took “2,737,850 million billion billion billion monkey-years” to reach 24 matching characters:

    RUMOUR. Open your ears; 9r”5j5&?OWTY Z0d…

    [ACC: Dec 17, 2019. NB: Where, also, as this is a digital age, we will readily see that we can compose a description language and then create a string of yes/no questions to specify any reasonable object — as say AutoCAD etc do. Thus, our seemingly simplistic discussion on bit strings *-*-*- . . . is in fact without loss of generality [WLOG].]

    [Comment: 16 – 24 ASCII characters is far short of the relevant thresholds, at best, a factor of about 1 in 10^100. Yes, the article goes on to note that “instead of simply generating random characters one restricts the generator to a meaningful vocabulary and conservatively following grammar rules, like using a context-free grammar, then a random document generated this way can even fool some humans.” But, that is simply implicitly conceding that design makes a big difference to what can be done. ]

    3: We see here why only small sections of the configuration space will work, with a little tolerance but with vast numbers of non functional arrangements. When we see your objection in English text, we know it is most likely a composition by intelligently directed configuration, not a typical result of a random process rr43j57kryd or a repeating pattern of some necessity like a crystal structure or a stuck key sssssssssss .

    4: That is, we are looking at narrow zones of effective configurations from a much larger configuration space of possible clumped or scattered arrangements. Hence, a fine tuning issue and hence the metaphor, the challenge is to find shorelines of islands of function in seas of non function. Doubtless you will have seen Dembski’s discussion of simply describable targets in much wider configuration spaces. That is effectively the same.

    5: We duly note that you have plunked for the idea that complex function is readily, incrementally arranged, functional all the way. Actually, Weasel played off setting up a known target and rewarding increments of nearness, without regard to function. It and its kin injected active information, an act of design.

    >> implying that the differences between known lifeforms is too great to have been traversed by step-wise variation.>>

    6: Start with AA sequence space within wider organic chemistry. Already, just having homochiral AA chains, a known requisite of functional geometry is [with exception of glycine] running at one bit per extra AA in a Darwin pond or the like, where energetically there is no ready difference between mirror image forms, hence why non biological synthesis will normally generate racemic mixtures.

    7: To illustrate simply, a typical protein chain is 300 AA long, 2^300 is of course 1.07*10^301, hence islands in the space of possibilities starting with homochirality as a requisite for key-lock fitting based on correct folding of AA chains. As Tour showed, the same issues extend to the other core life compounds.

    8: We can then proceed to what, 6,000 fold domains for AA chains, scattered within the space of chains of right chirality, where for many we have one or a few and we have no easy stepping stone pathways, i.e. islands of function are already there at molecular level. Indeed, that readily points to why cell based life forms invest so much energy, complex chemistry and effort in the molecular nanotech of synthesis of the right working molecules. For proteins, we are looking at coded algorithms and chaperone molecules to see to folding.

    9: There is absolutely no observational case of a metabolising, self replicating, encapsulated, smart gated — a requisite of homeostasis required to fend off disintegration — life architecture that does not rely on such systems.

    10: Then of course the deeply integrated process flow system known as cellular metabolism is the next case. We can continue upwards and at every level we find the same configuration based complex functional pattern.

    >>Which is bad because it completely ignores the base unguided evolutionary arguments>>

    11: Strawman, neither I nor Orgel and Wicken, nor Thaxton, Bradley and Olsen, nor Dembsky not Tour nor many others IGNORE the unguided evolutionary arguments. There is considerable analysis and they are found consistently wanting.

    >> that a) the initial life forms were dead-simple compared to what is extant now>>

    12: Kindly, show us a case of a different, actually observed, simpler life architecture that addresses metabolism, encapsulation with smart gating and von Neumann-Drexell kinematic self replication: ___________ Observation, you cannot or you would have given it years ago, and speculations about an RNA world or what might happen to convert such into a different architecture don’t count.

    13: It is a basic rule of science, for cause, that empirically unfounded speculations on causes, processes etc are not science. Again, I remind of Lyell:

    PRINCIPLES OF GEOLOGY:

    BEING

    AN INQUIRY HOW FAR THE FORMER CHANGES OF THE EARTH’S SURFACE ARE REFERABLE TO CAUSES NOW IN OPERATION. [–> appeal to Newton’s Rules, in the title of the work]

    BY

    CHARLES LYELL, Esq, F.R.S.

    PRESIDENT OF THE GEOLOGICAL SOCIETY OF LONDON . . . JOHN MURRAY , , , 1835 [–> later, publisher of Origin]

    >>and b) that all existing pairs of lifeforms have a common ancestor>>

    14: We actually do not have observation of such a common ancestor as distinct from say a common design architecture, and the issue is to get to that common architecture in a Darwin pond or the like, which already shows the significance of the configuration space search challenge.

    15: Let us here note, that self replication is an ADDITIONAL factor and note that 50 years before Darwin, in Ch 2 — as I have drawn to the attention of this Blog’s audience and penumbra of critics for a good number of years [so much for “ignoring: and WHO have really been ignoring] — Paley pointed out its significance in elaborating on his watch thought exercise:

    Suppose, in the next place, that the person who found the watch [in a field and stumbled on the stone in Ch 1 just past, where this is 50 years before Darwin in Ch 2 of a work Darwin full well knew about] should after some time discover that, in addition to

    [–> here cf encapsulated, gated, metabolising automaton, and note, “stickiness” of molecules raises a major issue of interfering cross reactions thus very carefully controlled organised reactions are at work in life . . . ]

    all the properties [= specific, organised, information-rich functionality] which he had hitherto observed in it, it possessed the unexpected property of producing in the course of its movement another watch like itself [–> i.e. self replication, cf here the code using von Neumann kinematic self replicator that is relevant to first cell based life] — the thing is conceivable [= this is a gedankenexperiment, a thought exercise to focus relevant principles and issues]; that it contained within it a mechanism, a system of parts — a mold, for instance, or a complex adjustment of lathes, baffles, and other tools — evidently and separately calculated for this purpose [–> it exhibits functionally specific, complex organisation and associated information; where, in mid-late C19, cell based life was typically thought to be a simple jelly-like affair, something molecular biology has long since taken off the table but few have bothered to pay attention to Paley since Darwin] . . . .

    The first effect would be to increase his admiration of the contrivance, and his conviction of the consummate skill of the contriver. Whether he regarded the object of the contrivance, the distinct apparatus, the intricate, yet in many parts intelligible mechanism by which it was carried on, he would perceive in this new observation nothing but an additional reason for doing what he had already done — for referring the construction of the watch to design and to supreme art

    [–> directly echoes Plato in The Laws Bk X on the ART-ificial (as opposed to the strawman tactic “supernatural”) vs the natural in the sense of blind chance and/or mechanical necessity as serious alternative causal explanatory candidates; where also the only actually observed cause of FSCO/I is intelligently configured configuration, i.e. contrivance or design]

    . . . . He would reflect, that though the watch before him were, in some sense, the maker of the watch, which, was fabricated in the course of its movements, yet it was in a very different sense from that in which a carpenter, for instance, is the maker of a chair — the author of its contrivance, the cause of the relation of its parts to their use [–> i.e. design].

    . . . . We might possibly say, but with great latitude of expression, that a stream of water ground corn ; but no latitude of expression would allow us to say, no stretch
    cf conjecture could lead us to think, that the stream of water built the mill, though it were too ancient for us to know who the builder was.
    What the stream of water does in the affair is neither more nor less than this: by the application of an unintelligent impulse to a mechanism previously arranged, arranged independently of it and arranged by intelligence, an effect is produced, namely, the corn is ground. But the effect results from the arrangement. [–> points to intelligently directed configuration as the observed and reasonably inferred source of FSCO/I] The force of the stream cannot be said to be the cause or the author of the effect, still less of the arrangement. Understanding and plan in the formation of the mill were not the less necessary for any share which the water has in grinding the corn; yet is this share the same as that which the watch would have contributed to the production of the new watch . . . .

    Though it be now no longer probable that the individual watch which our observer had found was made immediately by the hand of an artificer, yet doth not this alteration in anywise affect the inference, that an artificer had been originally employed and concerned in the production. The argument from design remains as it was.

    Marks of design and contrivance are no more accounted for now than they were before. In the same thing, we may ask for the cause of different properties. We may ask for the cause of the color of a body, of its hardness, of its heat ; and these causes may be all different. We are now asking for the cause of that subserviency to a use, that relation to an end, which we have remarked in the watch before us. No answer is given to this question, by telling us that a preceding watch produced it. There cannot be design without a designer; contrivance, without a contriver; order [–> better, functionally specific organisation], without choice; arrangement, without any thing capable of arranging; subserviency and relation to a purpose, without that which could intend a purpose; means suitable to an end, and executing their office in accomplishing that end, without the end ever having been contemplated, or the means accommodated to it. Arrangement, disposition of parts, subserviency of means to an end, relation of instruments to a use, imply the presence of intelligence and mind. No one, therefore, can rationally believe that the insensible, inanimate watch, from which the watch before us issued, was the proper cause of the mechanism we so much admire m it — could be truly said to have constructed the instrument, disposed its parts, assigned their office, determined their order, action, and mutual dependency, combined their several motions into one result, and that also a result connected with the utilities of other beings. All these properties, therefore, are as much unaccounted for as they were before.

    Nor is any thing gained by running the difficulty farther back, that is, by supposing the watch before us to have been produced from another watch, that from a former, and so on indefinitely. Our going back ever so far brings us no nearer to the least degree of satisfaction upon the subject. Contrivance is still unaccounted for. We still want a contriver. A designing mind is neither supplied by this supposition nor dispensed with. If the difficulty were diminished the farther we went back, by going back indefinitely we might exhaust it. And this is the only case to which this sort of reasoning applies. “Where there is a tendency, or, as we increase the number of terms, a continual approach towards a limit, there, by supposing the number of terms to be what is called infinite, we may conceive the limit to be attained; but where there is no such tendency or approach, nothing is effected by lengthening the series . . . ,

    And the question which irresistibly presses upon our thoughts is. Whence this contrivance and design ? The thing required is the intending mind, the adapted hand, the intelligence by which that hand was directed. This question, this demand, is not shaken off by increasing a number or succession of substances destitute of these properties; nor the more, by increasing that number to infinity. If it be said, that upon the supposition of one watch being produced from another in the course of that other’s movements, and by means of the mechanism within it, we have a cause for the watch in my hand, namely, the watch from which it proceeded — I deny, that for the design, the contrivance, the suitableness of means to an end, the adaptation of instruments to a use, all of which we discover in the watch, we have any cause whatever. It is in vain, therefore, to assign a series of such causes, or to allege that a series may be carried back to infinity; for I do not admit that we have yet any cause at all for the phenomena, still less any series of causes either finite or infinite. Here is contrivance, but no contriver; proofs of design, but no designer. [Paley, Nat Theol, Ch 2]

    16: Of course, 150 years later, von Neumann elaborated what goes into a kinematic self replicator and in recent years Drexell pioneered nanotech discussion. Remember, self replication has to be seamlessly integrated into the architecture. A tall order.

    >> meaning that it’s not necessary to get from a duck to a human,>>

    17: Strawman, as you full well know the focal case is and ever since Thaxton et al in 1984 has been OoL, in a darwin pond or the like. First get to the functional self replicating cell, then go on to how complex body plans come about that on estimates and observation require genomes of 10 – 100+ million bases, with appropriate information content.

    18: Which brings up a forest of strawmen on how information content of FSCO/I cannot be identified, in an age where we routinely observe file sizes.

    >>no one thinks that is even possible without travelling back up the evolutionary family tree>>

    19: Strawman fallacy carried forward. The first issue is to show observed effective causal mechanisms with OoL as key case, then to show same for diverse complex multicellular organism body plans. Clearly not done or it would be summarised and triumphantly linked.

    >> which means linking to life forms which no longer exist.>>

    20: Strawman fallacy further carried forward. Answer to the Newton Rule challenge seen in the very title of Lyell’s book.

    KF

  46. 46
    kairosfocus says:

    SG, you double down, and I point you to my response just now to JVL. KF

  47. 47
    kairosfocus says:

    PS, did you take time to observe that I used drifting barrier islands as an illustration of Islands moving in config spaces, long ago? Extending, over centuries what is correct English has changed significantly and programming languages such as Java undergo regular redesign, whilst TRIZ is a whole well built and highly scientific theory of inventive problem solving and technological evolution by design. Again, it is clear who has been ignoring what then erecting and knocking over strawmen. You have yet to show a substantial, cogent analysis, continuing the Dawkins no concession, hyperskeptical rhetoric of contempt. You are instead giving us every reason to infer that we are seeing crooked yardstick thinking, doublethink and confession by projection to the other.

  48. 48
    Sir Giles says:

    KF: SG, you double down, and I point you to my response just now to JVL. KF

    Many words, but they don’t address my criticism of your “islands of function” nonsense.

  49. 49
    Sir Giles says:

    KF: PS, did you take time to observe that I used drifting barrier islands as an illustration of Islands moving in config spaces, long ago?

    Yes, I did. But you never addressed the reality that these islands can move above and below the “surface” over time, eliminating your metaphorical barriers.

    If you are going to use questionable metaphors to support your opinions, you have to address the weaknesses to your questionable metaphors.

  50. 50
    JVL says:

    Kairosfocus: We see here why only small sections of the configuration space will work, with a little tolerance but with vast numbers of non functional arrangements.

    But you have not shown that all life on Earth, extant and extinct, does not cluster within one of those sections. You THINK they don’t because YOU THINK there is no way to get from some life forms to others. But you haven’t shown this to be the case. You use lots of analogies and metaphors and lots of numbers but you have not yet established that life forms on Earth are on separate ‘islands of function’.

    If you depend on a concept which hasn’t been shown to be true then your argument is faulty. And, in your case, a straw man argument since you don’t address the actual argument of universal common descent; you just assume it’s not true and then build your ‘islands of function’ which is backwards.

  51. 51
    kairosfocus says:

    SG, zero concession, insubstantial dismissiveness. You are bluffing and you know it. As for your onward dismissiveness of my example of barrier islands you apparently don’t know they can come, go, get split, merge, move location, etc. But that is not the issue at core, that is how do you navigate to their shores especially without a map and with very limited resources and crossing vast seas that are not providing supportive resources. That challenge in the age of discovery contributed to a death rate IIRC of 85% and I suspect it was much worse for the original Polynesian voyagers; we hear of the survivors not those who perished in the wastes of the ocean. The issue, in the end, though, is not a descriptive metaphor [which is not original to me, I believe Dembski is the source]and which you obviously resent, but the underlying realities of multi-part function that you seem to be in even deeper denial of. That is, the underlying challenge you refuse to face is that exactingly precise, properly arranged and coupled parts to achieve function are a commonplace phenomenon, one that we see even in text in English and computer code much less many other things. Just ask yourself, why do cells go through such energetically expensive, materials-using procedures with numerical control of assembly machines [mRNA, tRNA, Ribosomes] and the like, in an encapsulated, smart gated metabolic entity, where metabolic process flow networks greatly exceed the complexity of oil refineries? Have you taken time to at least hear out Dr Tour’s technical critiques on synthesis exercises? In short, the clues are all around you but this is obviously something that does not fit your preconceptions. KF

    PS, Let me cite and comment on Menuge, extending his comment beyond just irreducible complexity and the particular iconic case of the flagellum:

    IC is a barrier to the usual suggested counter-argument, co-option or exaptation based on a conveniently available cluster of existing or duplicated parts. For instance, Angus Menuge has noted that:

    For a working [bacterial] flagellum to be built by exaptation, the five following conditions would all have to be met:

    C1: Availability. Among the parts available for recruitment to form the flagellum, there would need to be ones capable of performing the highly specialized tasks of paddle, rotor, and motor, even though all of these items serve some other function or no function.

    C2: Synchronization. The availability of these parts would have to be synchronized so that at some point, either individually or in combination, they are all available at the same time.

    C3: Localization. The selected parts must all be made available at the same ‘construction site,’ perhaps not simultaneously but certainly at the time they are needed.

    C4: Coordination. The parts must be coordinated in just the right way: even if all of the parts of a flagellum are available at the right time, it is clear that the majority of ways of assembling them will be non-functional or irrelevant.

    C5: Interface compatibility. The parts must be mutually compatible, that is, ‘well-matched’ and capable of properly ‘interacting’: even if a paddle, rotor, and motor are put together in the right order, they also need to interface correctly.

    ( Agents Under Fire: Materialism and the Rationality of Science, pgs. 104-105 (Rowman & Littlefield, 2004). HT: ENV.)

    In short, the co-ordinated and functional organisation of a complex system is itself a factor that needs credible explanation.

    However, as Luskin notes for the iconic flagellum, “Those who purport to explain flagellar evolution almost always only address C1 and ignore C2-C5.” [ENV.]

    His criteria C1 – 5 are precisely what we should expect from a basic familiarity with complex, multiple part function. But this in large part extends beyond the IC special case where absence or malfunction of any single core part destroys function. For, it is a commonplace observation that parts must be jointly available, at the right time, in the right place, coordinated/oriented and organised, have interface compatibility and must be properly coupled for function. Even in cases where there is enough redundancy and room for improvement that we do not see critical failure on having a core part missing or malfunctioning, this general pattern obtains.

  52. 52
    Alan Fox says:

    Unfortunately, the UD search function only searches for the titles of the OPs. KF has made reference to this outdated “Islands of function/fitness” nonsense very recently. I have only been here for a few months and I remember him using this lame argument.

    Prompted by this comment, I used “site.uncommondescent.com islands of function” which returns plenty of hits.

    [ETA paste into Chrome search, other browsers may vary]

    I found this one from 2015, for example :https://uncommondescent.com/intelligent-design/id-foundations/on-active-information-search-islands-of-function-and-fscoi/

    The comments thread is fun for déjà-vu fans or for newcomers who might think this stuff changes over time.

  53. 53
    Alan Fox says:

    KF, fitness landscapes are models, all of which are wrong but some turn out to be useful. Your inability to understand that a fitness landscape models a niche, which is dynamic in multidimensional ways, including temporally (change over time as well as other dimensions) is a handicap.

  54. 54
    hnorman42 says:

    I think that “islands of function” in its intuitive sense is common ground for both the Darwinian and ID perspectives. Darwin is lauded by many for explaining the development of life. Why do people think the development of life needs explaining? Islands of function. There’s simply a lot more ways for matter to be put together that don’t produce a complex function than ways that do.

    So what makes the difference between the ID perspective and the Darwinian one? It’s an argument over whether a mechanism — natural selection – can navigate in situations where there’s no function to select.

  55. 55
    kairosfocus says:

    F/N: I just put up a summary on why there naturally are islands of function in seas of non function in large configuration spaces, and an outline of why this is well supported. KF

  56. 56
    kairosfocus says:

    AF, as usual, you misrepresent the point. Indeed, in your haste to project misunderstanding thus error to me, you just gave away the store: “a fitness landscape models a niche.” yes, so it is a tightly localised phenomenon, and as HN — long time no see — aptly summarised just now “[t]here’s simply a lot more ways for matter to be put together that don’t produce a complex function than ways that do.” I suggest that onlookers take a look at the just added update to OP as objectors seem to have latched on to this as their point of main effort. Which, of course implies they cannot readily undermine 1 – 9 in the OP, which already shatters SG’s suggestion that my argumentation is so flawed in general that I am challenged to come up with even one “good argument.” Instead, what we have is the imposed supposition that complex multi part function is readily, incrementally arrived at by degrees without intelligently directed configuration [so, by blind chance and mechanical necessity needle in haystack searches arriving at shorelines of function leading to hill climbing], which runs so counter to common experience that it is noteworthy. I put it to you that on the contrary to your suggestion, the common suggestion by objectors reflects crooked yardstick thinking in the teeth or readily confirmed empirical evidence. KF

  57. 57
    Alan Fox says:

    So what makes the difference between the ID perspective and the Darwinian one? It’s an argument over whether a mechanism — natural selection – can navigate in situations where there’s no function to select.

    Couple of points: evolution is not a search. Populations of organisms are not looking for better solutions, they are living, reproducing, and dying. The niche, metaphorically speaking, is the problem and selection is the algorithm that finds solutions.

    Looking back at comments in the thread I linked to in comment 52, this was discussed at some length. Open the link and use “find in page” (or your browser’s option) and key in Elizabeth Liddle.

  58. 58
    Alan Fox says:

    …“a fitness landscape models a niche.” yes, so it is a tightly localized phenomenon…

    Where did I suggest that? You are confusing maps and territory. The niche is the reality. An individual bacterium in my gut is fairly localized, but the survival and reproduction of that bacterium is dependent on my survival, which is in turn dependent on the survival of the planet and ultimately this universe. I can’t practically model all the variables of reality, but in many instances a simplified model will produce useful predictive results.

  59. 59
    Alan Fox says:

    I just put up a summary on why there naturally are islands of function in seas of non function in large configuration spaces, and an outline of why this is well supported.

    You love your post-editing, don’t you. It really does make you look unserious.

  60. 60
    kairosfocus says:

    AF, you just admitted the point regarding islands of function, that is what admitting that fitness functions model niches directly implies, highly restricted, relatively small domains. And, as this is what you and others decided to try to gin up into why my argumentation as a whole is to be dismissed, I added an update on the specific matter that allows me to bring to the table video and image elements that are otherwise not accessible because of UD’s high security settings. KF

  61. 61
    kairosfocus says:

    PS, the proposed mechanisms of macro evolution are in fact blind search. All of that stuff on chance variation plus differential reproductive success leading to hill climbing and changing populations thus descent with [unlimited] modification etc. As, all of the former hot debates on evolutionary search, evolutionary algorithms and genetic algorithms implied.

  62. 62
    Alan Fox says:

    Let’s have a look at KF’s post-script:

    We also have molecular islands of function, starting with protein fold domains. Thousands, scattered across the AA sequence space, no easy path connecting them. Even just homochirality soon accumulates into a serious search space challenge as molecules are complex and mirror image handedness is not energetically enforced, why racemic forms, 50-50 mixes of left and right handed molecules are what we tend to get in lab syntheses. This then gets more complicated where there are multiple isomers as Tour discusses.

    Notice the first two sentences, using “function” and “sequence” as if they were the same thing. We know amino-acids form linear sequences that in some cases are synthesized in cells and have particular functions. The theoretical number of amino-acid sequences is the number of amino-acids found in proteins (ignoring post-translational modification, 20) raised to the power of the number of residues in a putative sequence. For an average-sized protein of 300 residues, this is an enormous, though not infinite, number, 20^300. So, for evolution to find a particular sequence of 300 amino-acids, the task would take maybe longer than the life of the universe. Of course, this assumes one single sequence in the whole “haystack” must be found for an organism to acquire the function possessed my that sequence. I hope people are ahead of me here. Why on Earth should there only be one needle, one unique sequence with a function? And why must it be found, springing fully forth etc? Does a search need to be exhaustive, or can functions be good enough till something better turns up?

    These assumptions need to be true for KF’s “islands of function” to work. They are demonstrably false.

  63. 63
    Alan Fox says:

    …you just admitted the point regarding islands of function…

    Quote me, then. Iv’e either misspoken or you have misread.

  64. 64
    Alan Fox says:

    …the proposed mechanisms of macro evolution (sic) are in fact blind search…

    Proposed by whom? Macroevolution is a concept in palaeontology (and much abused by Creationists). Evolutionary processes explain change over time. No additional processes are needed to explain large cumulative changes over long periods of time.

  65. 65
    Alan Fox says:

    I added an update on the specific matter that allows me to bring to the table video and image elements that are otherwise not accessible because of UD’s high security settings.

    Shorter KF. Posting images is not enabled for comments.

    Nothing to stop anyone linking to material hosted elsewhere. I don’t watch videos as a rule, too tedious, and I doubt many others do either.

  66. 66
    JVL says:

    Kairosfocus: Instead, what we have is the imposed supposition that complex multi part function is readily, incrementally arrived at by degrees without intelligently directed configuration [so, by blind chance and mechanical necessity needle in haystack searches arriving at shorelines of function leading to hill climbing], which runs so counter to common experience that it is noteworthy. I put it to you that on the contrary to your suggestion, the common suggestion by objectors reflects crooked yardstick thinking in the teeth or readily confirmed empirical evidence.

    When someone just doubles down on their previous arguments and starts stamping their feet (why don’t you agree with my argument) and, on top of that, starts accusing those who disagree with them of not being able to think properly . . . then, they’ve run out of reasons to support their view.

    Did it ever occur to you that your constant analogy (living objects are like complicated inanimate objects) is pretty poor? Just think about all the things living objects do that inanimate objects don’t:

    Living objects start off in an embryonic state, develop and mature, sometimes radically altering their physiology along the way.

    All living object respire and ‘eat’ and excrete. Yes, some inanimate object consume and excrete (like a internal combustion engine) but many do not.

    Living objects create offsprings of themselves (and sometimes a mate) which are not identical to their parent(s) thereby introducing variations into the population some of which die immediately, some of which convey advantages to the individuals that have them, some of which are neutral AND, most importantly . . . for various reasons some get ‘fixed’ into the population so that future generations end up tending to have that variation. Inanimate objects don’t do that.

    Living objects can, to greater and lesser extents, repair damage to themselves. Your infamous fishing reel can’t do that or any of the other things I just mentioned.

    You cannot compare a complicated inanimate object to a complicated living object and say: look, see, they both have lots of bits that have to work together and if something goes wrong then they’re dead so all this stuff about variations just takes you off your island and into areas of non-functions. Living systems do not work that way. The really bad variations do die in an area of non-function. But the survivors are in an area of function. And slowly, step-by-step, they literally, explore the edges of their area of function. So, if universal descent is true (you just assume it’s not by focusing on the life forms you see now) then all life on Earth is part of the same, contiguous area of function. That’s the thing you have to argue against using something other than very limited analogies and metaphors.

    Please note: I do expect you to do the exact same thing you’ve always done when someone confronts one of your pet ideas. Assuming that is the case then please don’t waste time doing it again. I have read your posts over and over and over again for years and years. I know what you think. And I disagree with you and I think the biological evidence upholds my disagreement.

  67. 67
    JVL says:

    Alan Fox: Why on Earth should there only be one needle, one unique sequence with a function? And why must it be found, springing fully forth etc? Does a search need to be exhaustive, or can functions be good enough till something better turns up?

    IF you believe, as many ID proponents do, that there is a cause and a purpose for creation and, thereby humans then there is a target, a goal to get to. If you have a target, like a bullseye, then you have areas, away from the board, that are essentially no score areas. However, if there was/is no goal, if life started out very simply, reproduced with variations (some of which died, which were non-functional) then what you get is a large, contiguous area of function. And life has spent billions of years exploring that area of function.

    There is no ‘random’ search. Each surviving variation is a small change from what went before. Like water flowing into a maze. It finds the places it can go by sacrificing a lot of bad variations.

  68. 68
    Alan Fox says:

    @ JVL

    I almost mentioned the Texas sharpshooter fallacy. Left it out as KF can be a bit of a delicate flower.

  69. 69
    Alan Fox says:

    And life has spent billions of years exploring that area of function.

    Metaphorically speaking. 🙂

    I think of it as sorting, rather than searching. If you find yourself on a pebble beach, and you want a particular pebble, the right size, shape, colour, hardness (though all pebbles are hard, otherwise… sorry), you might glance down and select one within reach. You can hang on to it till you find another with a better match for your requirements. You, I guarantee, will not need to wander the whole beach before you stumble upon some pebble that is good enough.

    And sorting happens. Chesil beach on the South of England

  70. 70
    JVL says:

    Alan Fox: I almost mentioned the Texas sharpshooter fallacy. Left it out as KF can be a bit of a delicate flower.

    That was kind of you. I’m sure he’ll appreciate the concern. He’s always so appreciative of the efforts we make to explain unguided evolutionary theory in a non-specialist fashion. I’m sure he’ll tell you himself in just a few minutes.

    You, I guarantee, will not to wander the whole beach before you stumble upon some pebble that is good enough.

    Unless you are like one of my co-villagers who has a vast collection of vaguely heart-shaped stones in their front garden!

  71. 71
    Alan Fox says:

    JVL

    …all life on Earth is part of the same, contiguous area of function…

    It beats me why objectors to evolutionary theory never seem to attack this huge target. Universal Common Descent entails the concept that there is a continuous line of descent from the last universal common ancestor to each and every organism that ever lived since.

  72. 72
    JVL says:

    Alan Fox: It beats me why objectors to evolutionary theory never seem to attack this huge target.

    Because humans are special and created by the designer! Geeze, Alan, it’s like you’ve not been paying attention at all!! If you’re just an accident, a byproduct of bajillions years of chemistry and physics then what’s the point? We might as well throw away our shoes, climb back into the trees and mate with every female we can catch.

  73. 73
    jerry says:

    I think it best to let KF respond to this

    The skeptics have just validated Kf’s arguments.

    By obsessing and inaccurately focusing on one out of hundreds of arguments to try to undermine Kf, they have just validated his convoluted style. Maybe there is an opportunity to move on as the fools talk with each other.

  74. 74
    JVL says:

    Jerry: By obsessing and inaccurately focusingon one out of hundreds to try to undermine Kf, they have just validated his convoluted style. Maybe there is an opportunity to move on as the fools talk with each other.

    Too funny. You’re the one who asked a question which I responded to listing several arguments I found lacking. You chose to respond to just one of those and then Kairosfocus stepped in and that’s what we’ve been discussing.

    You’re the one who hasn’t (as of yet) responding to the other things I said. But you’ve conveniently forgotten that.

  75. 75
    Alan Fox says:

    Jerry:

    Maybe there is an opportunity to move on…

    You could explain CSI, perhaps. How to calculate it. Latest developments in “Intelligent Design”? Don’t complain and then leave it to others. People might think you don’t have anything positive to contribute.

  76. 76
    Alan Fox says:

    We might as well throw away our shoes, climb back into the trees and mate with every female we can catch.

    At my age, that won’t be many!

  77. 77
    kairosfocus says:

    AF, you are simply repeating objections that have been repeatedly adequately answered. Indeed, some of that is in the OP. KF

  78. 78
    Alan Fox says:

    AF, you are simply repeating objections that have been repeatedly adequately answered. Indeed, some of that is in the OP.

    Repeatedly, I grant you. Adequately? Come off it!

    Needle in haystack? Islands of function? DNA a laguage? FSCO/I explanation on what it is and how it can be calculated? That’s just a few things that have been raised with you, to which you have inadequately respondeD

  79. 79
    Sir Giles says:

    KF’s use of “islands of function” is fundamentally flawed. He is using it as a probability exercise based on attaining a specific goal. If this was how evolution worked, he would have a valid point. But nobody is suggesting that evolution is goal driven.

    Another way to look at it would be to step back a few hundred years and try to calculate the probability of KF living on an island in 2022. The probability of this happening would be astronomically small. According to KF’s logic, he does not exist. Clearly an absurd claim based on a false premise. As is KF’s “islands of function” claim.

  80. 80
    Sir Giles says:

    Jerry: So what are his bad ideas [based on unproven premises]?

    =Islands of function.
    =self-evident truths
    =objective moral values
    =first duties
    =FSCO/I
    =DNA is a designed code
    =almost everything he claims is a step closer to the cliff.
    =widespread organized election fraud
    =gun control

    There are more, but this is a good start.

  81. 81
    JVL says:

    Sir Giles & Alan Fox:

    Oh dear, we’ve been naughty; we scared Jerry away by pointing out some obvious home truths. We might have to sit in the naughty corner.

  82. 82
    relatd says:

    JVL at 81,

    A few small animals have jumped on the back of a very large creature. They will be shaken off shortly – as always.

  83. 83
    JVL says:

    Relatd: A few small animals have jumped on the back of a very large creature. They will be shaken off shortly – as always.

    Uh huh. When is this . . . event going to happen?

  84. 84
    Sir Giles says:

    JVL: Oh dear, we’ve been naughty; we scared Jerry away by pointing out some obvious home truths. We might have to sit in the naughty corner.

    JVL, you know full well that a turnabout projection is an evasion not an argument. Zero concession, insubstantial dismissiveness. You are bluffing and you know it. You are erecting strawmen soaked in oil of red herring and setting them ablaze with toxic distractors. 🙂

  85. 85
    relatd says:

    JVL at 83,

    When arrows called ‘contradictory to evolution’ begin raining down on your position, you retreat behind your barricade. Then, a short time later, you emerge – as always – to once again shout nonsense to the enemy on the other side.

    Your assignment here is apparently to last forever. Perhaps longer…

  86. 86
    JVL says:

    Sir Giles: you know full well that a turnabout projection is an evasion not an argument. Zero concession, insubstantial dismissiveness. You are bluffing and you know it. You are erecting strawmen soaked in oil of red herring and setting them ablaze with toxic distractors. ?

    Was I? Wow. And I hadn’t even charged the batteries yet.

    I love the smell of burning herring. It smells . . . like victory.

  87. 87
    JVL says:

    Relatd: When arrows called ‘contradictory to evolution’ begin raining down on your position, you retreat behind your barricade.

    Well, if you think I’ve avoided addressing a particular arrow then tell me what it is and I’ll have a go.

  88. 88
    Viola Lee says:

    First sentence of the OP: “Dawkins’ barbed blanket dismissiveness comes up far too often in discussions of the design inference.”

    Hmmm. I don’t recall anyone here ever invoking it. I’m hyper-skeptical.

  89. 89
    JVL says:

    Viola Lee: Hmmm. I don’t recall anyone here ever invoking it. I’m hyper-skeptical.

    You’re in the naughty corner as well. Help yourself to tea or coffee. The popcorn will be here soon.

  90. 90
    kairosfocus says:

    AF, you continue to simply demonstrate the Dawkins no concessions policy of hyperskeptical contempt that you and others seem reluctant to openly acknowledge; as was predicted in the OP. Meanwhile, to type an objection in English you did not punch keys at random or toss coins and assign ASCII characters, nor did you use a stuck key. You were constrained by rules of intelligible English even as you were free to compose, an island of function in a vast sea of possibilities. In 78, ignoring your clip, you typed 265 ASCII characters at 7 bits effective per character, 1855 bits of a string data structure. The config space implied by 2^1855 is vastly beyond the blind chance and mechanical search capacity of our sol system or observed cosmos and more than justifies, island of function. BTW, as a baseline, an information metric is 1855 bits, or using the simple X metric, as text in English, functionally specific, S = 1. Then, 1855*1 – 500 = 1355 bits beyond sol system search capacity, 855 beyond observed cosmos capacity. Thus, reliably from intelligently directed configuration. Of course, at this stage, you are not interacting responsibly, this is just for record that exposes the sad hyperskeptical game that has been going on for far too long. KF

  91. 91
    kairosfocus says:

    Other objectors who tried to pile on, ponder what you have now exposed about yourselves. KF

    PS, VL, did you pause to note the shortly following “Rarely, explicitly, most often by implication of a far too commonly seen no concessions, selectively hyperskeptical policy that objectors to design too often manifest”? Kindly compare what has played out in this thread and reconsider.

  92. 92
    Viola Lee says:

    KF, it is not even implied that anyone here is stupid, insane, or wicked, although all of us are ignorant to a degree about everything we talk about here. However, we do that others, including you, are wrong about some major things., and that’s different than what we are being accused of.

    In addition, you have some communication habits that are poor, and you often are hyperbolic, exaggerate and/or read into statements more than is there. Those are also not ignorant, stupid, insane, or wicked, , either explicitly or implicitly, but they don’t lead to constructive discussions.

    Your biggest flaw, it seems to me, is that you pretty thoroughly think that anyone who disagrees with your perspective is wrong (the implication being that you are right), and that everyone else is hyper-skeptical and all the other numerous derogatory adjectives you use to dismiss the views of people who disagree with you. This also is not ignorant, stupid, insane, or wicked, either explicitly or implicitly.

  93. 93
    Sir Giles says:

    KF: Other objectors who tried to pile on, ponder what you have now exposed about yourselves. KF

    We have exposed ourselves to be astute observers and interpreters of evidence.

  94. 94
    relatd says:

    VL at 92,

    Please consider that both sides can’t be right.

  95. 95
    Viola Lee says:

    Nothing is that simple, relatd. Such black-and-white thinking dichotomizes issues that are always more complicated and nuanced than that, and such dichotomization makes constructive dialog very difficult.

  96. 96
    JVL says:

    Viola Lee: Your biggest flaw, it seems to me, is that you pretty thoroughly think that anyone who disagrees with your perspective is wrong (the implication being that you are right), and that everyone else is hyper-skeptical and all the other numerous derogatory adjectives you use to dismiss the views of people who disagree with you. This also is not ignorant, stupid, insane, or wicked, either explicitly or implicitly.

    I agree. Why can’t we disagree with you reasonably?

  97. 97
    relatd says:

    VL at 95,

    Black and white thinking applies here. I’m not referring to any other issues.

    By the way, a compromise is not possible. Something like half evolution and half Intelligent Design. The evidence is there for anyone to examine. However, as I’ve written elsewhere, the commitment here is not based on evidence but ideology.

  98. 98
    Viola Lee says:

    Relatd: You mean you think that every reproductive event is designed, and that there is absolutely no role for undesigned genetic changes and environmental interactions that change the distribution of characteristics in a population or organisms?

    Can you be more specific about exactly what is designed, and in what way evolution does not happen. Is this distinction between all the design that happens and all the evolution, none of what happens, perfectly clear and unambiguous?

  99. 99
    Alan Fox says:

    AF, you continue to simply demonstrate the Dawkins no concessions policy…

    I’ve not mentioned Dawkins.

  100. 100
    relatd says:

    VL at 98,

    Thank you for being so specific. IF a process occurred, it was entirely guided by God, infallibly. You are probably not used to seeing theology combining with science but I see no other way to put this.

    So, instead of a lengthy article, I will extract key points and link to the entire article.

    How do things happen?

    From part 69 of the document, Communion and Stewardship:

    “Divine causality can be active in a process that is both contingent and guided. Any evolutionary mechanism that is contingent can only be contingent because God made it so. An unguided evolutionary process – one that falls outside the bounds of divine providence – simply cannot exist because “the causality of God, Who is the first agent, extends to all being, not only as to constituent principles of species, but also as to the individualizing principles….It necessarily follows that all things, inasmuch as they participate in existence, must likewise be subject to divine providence” (Summa theologiae I, 22, 2).”

    I want to focus on this: “Any evolutionary mechanism that is contingent can only be contingent because God made it so.”

    God made it so, not blind, unguided chance. That is key. Do you understand? Not chance, not random events, not “it happened by itself.” Not evolution is a self-starting, self-operating engine. Do you understand?

    The Biology textbook presents evolution as this unguided thing that did so many things right that today we have human beings – by accident. Here is a quote from a Biology textbook:

    “By coupling [B]undirected, purposeless [/B]variation to the [B]blind, uncaring [/B]process of natural selection, [B]Darwin made theological or spiritual explanations of the life processes superfluous[/B].”
    ([I]Evolutionary Biology[/I], by Douglas J. Futuyma (3rd ed., Sinauer Associates Inc., 1998), p. 5.)”

    And another:

    “[B]Humans represent just one tiny, largely fortuitous, and late-arising twig[/B] on the enormously arborescent bush of life.”
    (Stephen J Gould quoted in Biology, by Peter H Raven & George B Johnson (5th ed., McGraw Hill, 1999), pg 15; (6th ed., McGraw Hill, 2000), pg. 16.)”

    “largely fortuitous” Is that how you regard the appearance of human beings on Earth? A fortuitous accident?

    Communion and Stewardship link:

    https://www.vatican.va/roman_curia/congregations/cfaith/cti_documents/rc_con_cfaith_doc_20040723_communion-stewardship_en.html

  101. 101
    Alan Fox says:

    Why can’t we disagree with you reasonably?

    I wonder that too. I blame Perry Mason. The US legal system, based on English Common Law, is adversarial. Many other countries adopt an inquisitorial system, where the facts (DNA evidence f’rinstance) are checked for admissibility prior to trial.

  102. 102
    relatd says:

    The original Perry Mason. A fine TV show.

  103. 103
    Alan Fox says:

    The original Perry Mason. A fine TV show.

    You do realize he was a fictional character.

  104. 104
    Sir Giles says:

    Relatd: The original Perry Mason. A fine TV show.

    And the actor, Raymond Burr, was Canadian. And gay. But back then, coming out of the closet would be the death knell of an acting career. He event went as far as fabricating a non-existing marriage and wife.

  105. 105
    Viola Lee says:

    So what you present is a perspective of contrasting “theistic evolution” (TE), the religious belief that God is providentially present in all events, with materialism, the philosophical belief that, among others things, as we discussed in another thread, there is no teleological aspect or plan to events in nature.

    I can’t argue against that because religious and philosophical beliefs such as those are beyond the reach of evidence.

    So if by “it’s either design or evolution” you mean it’s either God (the Catholic version) or materialism, I will say that these are not the only two perspectives, so even here “one is right and the other is wrong” is an inaccurate dichotomy: billions of people fall outside these two options.

  106. 106
    relatd says:

    VL at 105,

    Billions of people again? Why is that important to you? Their opinion matters in this? Even the Quran describes the creative power of God, or were you unaware of this?

    So if there are billions of people agreeing with you, then that is how you come to the truth? If you are committed to materialism and random events, then what I wrote is nonsense to you.

    I will say this, The Church teaches that there is actual design in nature.

  107. 107
    Viola Lee says:

    Following up, here. Realtd: all the various covid variants are designed – true?

  108. 108
    Viola Lee says:

    Realtd: “So if there are billions of people agreeing with you, then that is how you come to the truth? If you are committed to materialism and random events, then what I wrote is nonsense to you..

    I am not a materialist, and I didn’t say billions of people agreed with me, or billions of people were materialists.

    Look again at what I actually wrote:

    “So if by “it’s either design or evolution” you mean it’s either God (the Catholic version) or materialism, I will say that these are not the only two perspectives, so even here “one is right and the other is wrong” is an inaccurate dichotomy: billions of people fall outside these two options.

  109. 109
    hnorman42 says:

    AF @57
    I read through some of the link that you sent with comments by Elizabeth Liddle. A very interesting post. But I still don’t see how anything she says bears on the question of how natural selection creates a function that requires coordination of multiple elements.

    I was surprised that she defended the Dawkins weasel simulation. That simulation beautifully demonstrates that natural selection can select for a highly contingent structure IF natural selection can select for a highly contingent structure. Not exactly meaningful.

    And the problem is acknowledged by non-ID people as well. The third way comes to mind. Also there’s been a common saying about natural selection explaining the survival but not the arrival of the fittest.

  110. 110
    kairosfocus says:

    AF & VL et al, I have already drawn attention to the fatal self referentiality of showing how one uses the power of design to produce a quantifiable example of FSCO/I in trying to object to such. Manifestly, text in English is very different from the overwhelmingly dominant gibberish for random strings of ASCII text tr86j;kcryyipt5djkhydtlu or the equivalent of a stuck key sssssssssssssss.Onward, it is manifest that the zero concessions policy implies — and one does not have to name or assert to imply — that arguments are ignorant [your arguments consistently exhibit general failure] and at least stupid [you keep on arguing for this failed and dismissed FSCO/I etc] ; however, in fact you show both FSCO/I and the issue of tight constraint on valid structures relative to possible ones in the essential structure of objecting through English text. Thus we see self referentiality and projection, with all that carries with it. This shows crooked yardstick thinking at work in the objections to design that are being made above, and may exhibit ideological blinding through being in denial of the patent fact that your own objections exhibit quantifiable FSCO/I and its island of function nature. That you cannot bring yourselves to even that first level acknowledgement speaks volumes, pointing to Orwellian doublethink. And, trying to further project would simply compound the problem. The no concession policy fails. KF

    PS, a more reasonable approach would accept that many entities starting with Paley’s watches etc do exhibit FSCO/I, that Dembski;s CSI is a reasonable extension or generalisation, whatever flaws or gaps one may identify in his formulation. Then, one may recognise that his 2005 equation, drawn out using I = – log p is in fact an info beyond a threshold metric, and that we may debate the threshold. Then, we may see that the coded algorithms in the D/RNA of the cell also exhibit FSCO/I. Then onward discussion would be on what best explains such on abductive principles.

  111. 111
    kairosfocus says:

    F/N: A reminder, from Orgel:

    living organisms are distinguished by their specified complexity. Crystals are usually taken as the prototypes of simple well-specified structures, because they consist of a very large number of identical molecules packed together in a uniform way. Lumps of granite or random mixtures of polymers are examples of structures that are complex but not specified. The crystals fail to qualify as living because they lack complexity; the mixtures of polymers fail to qualify because they lack specificity . . . .

    [HT, Mung, fr. p. 190 & 196:]

    These vague idea can be made more precise by introducing the idea of information. Roughly speaking, the information content of a structure is the minimum number of instructions needed to specify the structure.

    [–> this is of course equivalent to the string of yes/no questions required to specify the relevant J S Wicken “wiring diagram” for the set of functional states, T, in the much larger space of possible clumped or scattered configurations, W, as Dembski would go on to define in NFL in 2002, also cf here,

    here and

    here

    — (with here on self-moved agents as designing causes).]

    One can see intuitively that many instructions are needed to specify a complex structure. [–> so if the q’s to be answered are Y/N, the chain length is an information measure that indicates complexity in bits . . . ] On the other hand a simple repeating structure can be specified in rather few instructions.  [–> do once and repeat over and over in a loop . . . ] Complex but random structures, by definition, need hardly be specified at all . . . . Paley was right to emphasize the need for special explanations of the existence of objects with high information content, for they cannot be formed in nonevolutionary, inorganic processes [–> Orgel had high hopes for what Chem evo and body-plan evo could do by way of info generation beyond the FSCO/I threshold, 500 – 1,000 bits.] [The Origins of Life (John Wiley, 1973), p. 189, p. 190, p. 196.]

    . . . and Wicken:

    ‘Organized’systems are to be carefully distinguished from ‘ordered’ systems. Neither kind of system is ‘random,’ but whereas ordered systems are generated according to simple algorithms [i.e. “simple” force laws acting on objects starting from arbitrary and common- place initial conditions and/or repetitive stepwise procedures] and therefore lack complexity, organized systems must be assembled element by element according to an [ –> originally . . . ] external ‘wiring diagram’ with a high information content . . . Organization, then, is functional complexity and carries information. It is non-random by design or by selection, rather than by the a priori necessity of crystallographic ‘order.’ [“The Generation of Complexity in Evolution: A Thermodynamic and Information-Theoretical Discussion,” Journal of Theoretical Biology, 77 (April 1979): p. 353, of pp. 349-65. (Emphases and notes added. Nb: “originally” is added to highlight that for self-replicating systems, the blue print can be built-in.)]

    KF

  112. 112
    Alan Fox says:

    …I still don’t see how anything she says bears on the question of how natural selection creates a function that requires coordination of multiple elements.

    I don’t follow. Selection winnows populations resulting in differential reproductive rates so that allele frequencies change over time. Or are you referring to models of the evolutionary process?

  113. 113
    Alan Fox says:

    I was surprised that she defended the Dawkins weasel simulation.

    It was an elegant bit of programming for nearly forty years ago. Dawkins never pretended it demonstrates anything other than selection/variation iterations are faster than random guesses. One fun fact. There is/was no latching involved.

  114. 114
  115. 115
    kairosfocus says:

    AF, one, we had target loaded search that implied rewarding non functional configs for mere increments of proximity to target, thus design by active information. Two, a result of this was in fact imperfect latching that did sometimes slip [as can a bad, worn ratchet and pawl], but as the target was preloaded, it could go there in one step regardless of input. Three, this shows just how determined you are to push an agenda rather than seek what is warranted, a clear sign of ideological agenda. So, too, we notice — unsurprisingly now — your studious evasion of the fact that to object to the readily observable phenomenon, FSCO/I and its ability to be measured, you are forced to give a case. Above, as pointed out, 1855 bits, a search challenge space of 2^1855 = 2.57*10^558, which is of course far beyond what the atomic and temporal resources of our sol system or observed cosmos could blindly search more than a negligible fraction of. As an intelligent designer, you probably tossed the comment off in a few minutes. The conclusion is, we are seeing the adapted JoHari window in action in which ideologues have taken claimed knowledge captive and because of power balances have imposed ideology under colours and ceremonies of knowledge. It is time to declare knowledge independence, and proceed to reformation that will rebuild the now compromised knowledge commons. KF

  116. 116
    kairosfocus says:

    PS, you link a promotional blurb, in key part:

    In Arrival of the Fittest, renowned evolutionary biologist Andreas Wagner draws on over fifteen years of research to present the missing piece in Darwin’s theory. Using experimental and computational technologies that were heretofore unimagined, he has found that adaptations are not just driven by chance, but by a set of laws that allow nature to discover new molecules and mechanisms in a fraction of the time that random variation would take.

    Obvious points:

    1: Admission that blind chance and/or mechanical necessity of the four forces is insufficient to account for either OoL or Oo body plans so he wishes to add further proposed laws.

    2: Were such laws of bioform and bioinformation embedded in the cosmos, sufficient to get to OoL, you are looking at huge fine tuning of the cosmos, its physics, chemistry and thermodynamics.

    3: This would be front loading design on steroids, unacknowledged of course.

    4: Going on to forming body plans, we are again looking at front loading on steroids.

    5: So, a design hypothesis without acknowledging the design aspect is now being used to object to design.

    Thanks for the general concession of the need for design.

    KF

  117. 117
    Alan Fox says:

    AF, one, we had target loaded search that implied rewarding non-functional configs for mere increments of proximity to target, thus design by active information.

    I have no idea what you are referring to or who “we” is. In fact, I can’t make any sense of the quoted statement. Can KF parse it into something more comprehensible?

    Two, a result of this was in fact imperfect latching that did sometimes slip [as can a bad, worn ratchet and pawl], but as the target was preloaded, it could go there in one step regardless of input.

    Ah, you mention imperfect latching. Déjà-vu!!! You are referring to Dawkins’ Weasel program that you spent much time refusing to acknowledge that Weasel programs do not need to “latch” and Dawkins’ version did not latch. Here is one UD thread:

    https://uncommondescent.com/evolution/dawkins-weasel-proximity-search-with-or-without-locking/

    where many commenters went beyond the call of duty trying to explain to KF that Weasel did not need to and in fact did not “latch”.

  118. 118
    hnorman42 says:

    AF –
    I will be able to write some more this evening about your last few comments. But I did want to make a quick point about latching that you mentioned in 113. Not exactly pertinent to the points we might have under contention but it is interesting.
    When I first read about the latching controversy I thought the process would locate the target about as quick without latching as with it. I had to walk through a simplified simulation with a few letters to see that this wasn’t so.
    But it’s interesting. With latching you get to keep mutations that take you closer to the goal. Without latching – you don’t have to give up a favorable mutation until something as good or better comes along.

  119. 119
    Alan Fox says:

    Three, this shows just how determined you are to push an agenda rather than seek what is warranted, a clear sign of ideological agenda.

    What does “this” refer to?

  120. 120
    Alan Fox says:

    Hnorman42

    But it’s interesting. With latching you get to keep mutations that take you closer to the goal. Without latching – you don’t have to give up a favorable mutation until something as good or better comes along.

    Latching doesn’t happen. Target letters are retained (overwhelmingly often) because they are favoured by selection. The main criticism of Weasel, which Dawkins acknowledges in The Blind Watchmaker is that there is a target. Evolution in reality is not a search and there is no target.

    Anyway, the Weasel program has previously been discussed to death here in many previous threads. Whereas Dawkins later Biomorphs program has received little attention. Here is a PDF of Dawkins’ 1988 paper The Evolution of Evolvability in case anyone is interested.

  121. 121
  122. 122
    Sir Giles says:

    AF: What does “this” refer to?

    A pot calling a kettle black.

  123. 123
    Sir Giles says:

    KF: Admission that blind chance and/or mechanical necessity of the four forces is insufficient to account for either OoL or Oo body plans so he wishes to add further proposed laws.

    Don’t you ever get tired of being wrong. A 30 second google search on body plans found this.
    https://biology.ucsd.edu/about/news/article_020602.html

    And this
    https://www.nature.com/scitable/blog/accumulating-glitches/the_evolution_of_body_plans/

    And this
    https://www.stowers.org/news/master-planned

    So, it appears that there is plenty of evidence suggesting that body plan changes can result from a small number of mutations.

  124. 124
  125. 125
    hnorman42 says:

    AF @ 120

    Latching doesn’t happen. Target letters are retained (overwhelmingly often) because they are favoured by selection.

    That was my point. Latching doesn’t need to happen. With or without latching the being “favored by selection” is assumed rather than demonstrated.

  126. 126
    Viola Lee says:

    re 117: Oh my goodness, I remember that very long discussion about the Weasel program and “latching”, etc. That was 13 years ago! It was incredibly difficult to get some simple distinctions established.

  127. 127
    Alan Fox says:

    Plus ça change, Viola. 😉

  128. 128
    Alan Fox says:

    Latching doesn’t need to happen.

    Exactly. And there is no latching at all, not “quasi-latching”, not “implicit latching” in Dawkins’ Weasel program. I quoted Wesley Elsberry who confirmed with Dawkins in 2000 that his program did not fix letters that matched the target.

    Here

  129. 129
    Viola Lee says:

    Yep.

  130. 130
    hnorman42 says:

    AF –
    So does latching or the lack thereof have any relevance to the value of the weasel as a simulation of evolution? In either case the power of natural selection is being assumed rather than demonstrated.

  131. 131
    Viola Lee says:

    I’ll respond, although you asked AF.

    No. The Weasel program is not a good model for evolution because the target is predetermined and “known” by the program.

  132. 132
    kairosfocus says:

    The evasion games continue, I see. Sadly revealing.

    Lessee:

    1: As easy as 1-2-3, points in order being turned into an excuse to pretend inability to follow, check.

    2: An observation on how Weasel rewards gibberish text strings for increments closer to target suddenly is a mystery, check.

    3: Oh it does not latch. But of course above I specifically noted

    one, we had target loaded search that implied rewarding non functional configs for mere increments of proximity to target, thus design by active information. Two, a result of this was in fact imperfect latching that did sometimes slip [as can a bad, worn ratchet and pawl], but as the target was preloaded, it could go there in one step regardless of input. Three, this shows just how determined you are to push an agenda rather than seek what is warranted, a clear sign of ideological agenda.

    . . . so it is obvious that we are seeing the Dawkins zero concessions to those ignorant, stupid . . . objectors to the oh so perfect evolutionary materialistic scientism and/or fellow travellers, check.

    4: Meanwhile, we see the Wilson, Arte of Rhetorique dirty sidestep of correction on oh FSCO/I has no clear meaning, it cannot be measured, islands of function is an error, ID has no [testable] hypotheses etc.

    5: Then of course, there is the point that to object, objectors are producing copious and obvious cases of functionally specific, complex organisation and/or associated information, namely s-t-r-i-n-g data structures expressing statements in English beyond a reasonable complexity threshold 500 – 1,000 bits, which of course shows that FSCO/I is perfectly measurable and that there is a strong readily tested prediction, that FSCO/I beyond this threshold will only be actually observed as coming from intelligently directed configuration. Which has trillions of successful tests . . . objectors are adding more in this thread . . . and zero failures.

    6: Then, there is of course, show me FSCO/I by a non human. No response on the highly relevant case of Beavers, raised here over a decade ago. Side step correction again, part of the zero concession unacknowledged Dawkins policy.

    7: Then, back to the general implied accusation, hardly any good reasoning. Corrected in the OP and side stepped again.

    8: So, despite ever so many denials, what is going on in this thread shows that we are dealing, fundamentally with ideological talking point pushers, not serious and responsible discussion. Hence, my response that it is time to declare epistemological independence and set out to reform and recover a sound knowledge base.

    9: But we are not quite finished, we had a bit of elephant hurling, with hidden theses of Wagner meant to dismiss the search challenge issue. Now, it turns out, Wagner came up here six years back. Here is News, citing Massimo Pigliucci at Nautilus:

    Is evolutionary biology about to prove a two-millennia old metaphysical speculation? Or is metaphysics about to fundamentally change the way we look at biology? Andreas Wagner, a developmental biologist at the University of Zurich, argues for both theses. I’m not convinced.

    Just read the last two sentences of his 2014 book, Arrival of the Fittest: How Nature Innovates. They come in an epilogue, titled “Plato’s Cave.” “We are shedding new light on one of the most durable and fascinating subjects in all of philosophy,” he writes. “And we learn that life’s creativity draws from a source that is older than life, and perhaps older than time.” (Italics mine.) The source of this creativity, Wagner argues, is “nature’s libraries.” It’s a metaphor for an abstract storehouse of information that we can never physically encounter. “These libraries and texts,” he writes, “are concepts, mathematical concepts, touchable only by the mind’s eye.” This is Platonism, and Wagner’s not shy about admitting it. Are conceptual truths discovered, or invented? Platonists believe the former, and “Platonism,” Wagner writes, “has the upper hand in this debate.”

    11: This already underscores my brief note above, we are actually clearly dealing with a cosmological front loading design hypothesis on the part of Wagner, just not properly disclosed as such.

    The overall conclusion is saddening but illuminating. We are not dealing with serious critique, but with ideological agenda pushing using dirty rhetorical tactics.

    KF

    PS, HN, thanks.

  133. 133
    kairosfocus says:

    PPS, VL, thanks for the admission that Weasel showed design by artificial selection, not the advertised power of chance variation and natural selection. Dawkins used it to great rhetorical effect but grossly misled the public.

  134. 134
    PyrrhoManiac1 says:

    @116

    1: Admission that blind chance and/or mechanical necessity of the four forces is insufficient to account for either OoL or Oo body plans so he wishes to add further proposed laws.

    2: Were such laws of bioform and bioinformation embedded in the cosmos, sufficient to get to OoL, you are looking at huge fine tuning of the cosmos, its physics, chemistry and thermodynamics.

    3: This would be front loading design on steroids, unacknowledged of course.

    4: Going on to forming body plans, we are again looking at front loading on steroids.

    5: So, a design hypothesis without acknowledging the design aspect is now being used to object to design.

    There’s interpretation, and then there’s overinterpretation.

    Firstly, and most importantly, it was always only Dembski’s own setting up of the debate that positioned “design” as the only alternative to the conjunction of “chance and necessity”. To accept this at the outset is to concede far too much to intelligent design than is warranted — not least of which because this initial framing makes the Aristotelian position unintelligible. (It is helpful to recall that Aristotle’s physics, biology, and metaphysics arise as alternatives to both Plato and to Epicurus.)

    In other words, no naturalist need concede that anything more than “blind chance and mechanical necessity” is necessary because the naturalist need not accept “blind chance and mechanical necessity” as framing her own position to begin with.

    Secondly, if it were the case that thermodynamics in this universe is biased so as to make the emergence of life highly likely (if not indeed inevitable under specific conditions!), that would be indicate fine-tuning but not
    front-loading. Front-loading says that all the information necessary to give rise to new organisms is already somehow present prior to the actual occurrence of those organisms. This is a basically Platonic metaphysics of biology that the naturalist need not accept if she can propose a workable account of emergence.

    I understand that “emergence” is regarded with some suspicion at UD, but I think that the suspicion is itself suspect. I think that emergence is not only required for any conceptually coherent naturalism, but is a fully defensible idea. Terry Deacon has a fascinating and I think basically correct account of emergence in his Incomplete Nature, which is admittedly a tough read. (A short summary of his metaphysics of emergence can be found here.)

    In any event, a metaphysics of emergence would allow Wagner to fully justify his claims about the emergence of specifically biological laws without any concession to “design”.

  135. 135
    jerry says:

    “emergence” is regarded with some suspicion at UD, but I think that the suspicion is itself suspect

    Emergence is an explanation for when someone doesn’t have an explanation.

    It is equivalent to it just happened but I have no idea how. The concept of “emergence” like a lot of words has some meaning for some things in reality. For example, the properties of water emerge from the physical properties of H and O2 when they are combined. Maybe it is possible to predict these properties but they obviously happened. So the term “emergence” does have some relevance in places.

    Otherwise, it is just a BS term to use for when there is no explanation. The suspected people are those who claim it has relevance.

    Asise: If something is emergent such as the properties of H and O2 and water, it would constantly happen. And it does in this and similar cases. But if something biological is emergent, then it too would have to continually happen. But there are no such examples.

  136. 136
    Sir Giles says:

    KF: 6: Then, there is of course, show me FSCO/I by a non human. No response on the highly relevant case of Beavers, raised here over a decade ago. Side step correction again, part of the zero concession unacknowledged Dawkins policy.

    I must have missed your FSCO/I calculation for a beaver dam. Could you paste it in response, or provide a link to it.

    And I notice that you are avoiding the evidence provided that significant changes in body plan do not require huge genetic changes.

  137. 137
    Viola Lee says:

    kf writes, “PPS, VL, thanks for the admission that Weasel showed design by artificial selection, not the advertised power of chance variation and natural selection. Dawkins used it to great rhetorical effect but grossly misled the public.”

    There is no “admission” here, kf. I am saying exactly what Dawkins said in his book. The very first time he mentions the results, he writes,

    ‘the program reached METHINKS IT IS LIKE A WEASEL in 41 generations of selective ‘breeding”” [My emphasis]

    On the next page, he wrote,

    “Although the monkey/Shakespeare model is useful for explaining the distinction between single-step selection and cumulative selection, it is misleading in important ways. One of these is that, in each generation of selective ‘breeding’, the mutant ‘progeny’ phrases were judged according to the criterion of resemblance to a distant ideal target, the phrase METHINKS IT IS LIKE A WEASEL. Life isn’t like that. Evolution has no long-term goal. There is no long-distance target,”

    There is an important distinction between what he was trying to do (show that the presence of some selecting mechanism could produce results far differently than pure chance) and what he was NOT trying to do (having the selection mechanism he used be a model for the natural selection in the biological world.)

    He was perfectly clear that his program used a model for artificial selection to demonstrate the difference between pure chance and the presence of a selection mechanism. It was never intended to be a model for natural selection.

  138. 138
    jerry says:

    Is there an example where artificial selection produces any thing new?

    Now I know the varieties that end up are different from the original but there is really just a shuffling of alleles going on and in some cases the loss of a coding sequence. The end result has less variation than the wild version. So is using artificial selection just misinformation in the sense that it appears something is being built when just the opposite is happening?

    Behe discusses this in his book”Darwin Devolves.” The concept of artificial selection undermines natural Evolution by natural selection.

    We can understand Darwin using it but not now or in recent years. So why would anyone invoke it when discussing Evolution? If not to deceive!

  139. 139
    kairosfocus says:

    PM1, kindly specify an empirically supported, actually observed fourth alternative to chance and/or necessity and/or design — intelligently directed configuration: _______ . Where, I believe you will find that trichotomy down the length of our civilisation, from Plato in The Laws Bk X, to Monod’s Chance and Necessity. So, no, it is not Dembski. Indeed there is an interesting related discussion in Newton’s General Scholium. KF

  140. 140
    kairosfocus says:

    SG, I do not need to do more than note that beaver dams are quite complex and are adapted to the site and its water flow. Any reasonable person will instantly acknowledge that on seeing the patterns of such dams. Do an Autocad, reverse engineering of such a dam and we don’t have to more than mention that to know such will greatly exceed 500 – 1,000 bits of complexity. Yet another failure to deliver on your insinuations. KF

  141. 141
    kairosfocus says:

    VL, he and others have repeatedly presented the case as if it were a representation of evolution sans design. The BBC Horizon programme was a case in point, and it is manifest that a widespread misrepresentation and false impression has happened, never mind weasel words . . . itself, likely a clue. Someone who understood he was setting up a targetted search, that this was prone to misrepresentation and cared not to mislead would never have publicly offered this exercise. KF

  142. 142
    kairosfocus says:

    SG, BTW, body plans need to be built from the ground up, starting with a unicellular organism. Genome size for that is 100 – 1,000+ k bases. . A calculation onward will give a lower bound for original multicellular body plans of 10 mn bases, a scan of genome sizes will say 100+ mn bases. And that has been pointed out any number of times. Where, note, 500 – 1,000 bases is a generous value for the threshold. Finally, to object to FSCO/I you are still creating FSCO/I by intelligently directed configuration. The questions at stake are before we have arthropods, vertebrates, ferns, flowering plants etc. KF

  143. 143
    jerry says:

    I do not need to do more than note that beaver dams are quite complex and are adapted to the site

    https://mobile.twitter.com/NewhouseRescue/status/1582710493856219136

    Built in from the get go.

  144. 144
    Sir Giles says:

    KF: SG, I do not need to do more than note that beaver dams are quite complex and are adapted to the site and its water flow.

    Thanks for admitting that you can’t calculate the FSCO/I of a beaver dam.

    And how many beaver dams have you actually seen in your life? And how many dams created by natural causes have you seen? In my area of the country they are both fairly common. And they both result in water impoundment. How much FSCO/I does a naturally created dam have?

  145. 145
    Viola Lee says:

    KF writes, “ he and others have repeatedly presented the case as if it were a representation of evolution sans design. The BBC Horizon programme was a case in point, and it is manifest that a widespread misrepresentation and false impression has happened.

    Just as in his book, Dawkins was clear in the BBC program you mention that his program was not an accurate model of evolution because it aimed at a known target. In the BBC program he said,

    Although this is a fairly good model for Darwinism in that it is cumulative selection, in another way it’s really a bit of a cheat because this program is homing in on a distant target: it’s looking into the future. Real evolution is blind to the future.

    The misrepresentation has come from those who have chosen to misrepresent his project, I think.

    But I gather that KF agrees with me about the description of what his program did: modeled cumulative selective, but used a selector that was like artificial breeding, not natural selection.

  146. 146
    relatd says:

    VL at 107,

    Tell me. What is your alternate explanation?

  147. 147
    Viola Lee says:

    About covid? Mutations occur occasionally for various reasons (reproduction is not perfect) which change various aspects of the virus, which then reproduces and produces numerous new viruses which are a variant of what existed before.

    How to you explain “designed”? Does God purposely make the changes that produce the variants?

  148. 148
    relatd says:

    VL at 147,

    What is your explanation for the emergence of life on Earth?

  149. 149
  150. 150
    Viola Lee says:

    Relatd, I’m answering your questions: would you be willing to answer mine. My question: if it’s either design or evolution, all or nothing, has God designed all the covid variants?

    re 148: I don’t know how life originated. I am not a materialist, but I think my thoughts on what else there is that might operate in the universe to provide some structure to the development of life are so speculative and beyond the possibility of being investigated (that is, vague chosen faith beliefs) that there really is nothing I can say about them.

    You turn, please, to answer my question.

  151. 151
    relatd says:

    VL at 150,

    You appear to want to hear only what you want to hear.

  152. 152
    jerry says:

    has God designed all the covid variants?

    This is a silly question.

    I doubt anyone here believes that. So why ask it? Every virus species/line of a species will vary over time. That’s normal. It’s part of the world chemistry.

    I haven’t been following the C19 virus for over a year, but the original was supposed to have a one in a gazillion spiked protein configuration that made it easier to enter the cell. Which indicates design.

    Are the so called variants different versions of the spiked protein? Or do they have the same spiked protein structure but different elsewhere? Or are just internal and surface proteins different as well as the spiked protein?

    No one here believes God is directing this.

  153. 153
    relatd says:

    Jerry at 152,

    You did a Gallup poll to arrive at your conclusion? You backed it up with nothing. You should have written: “I can’t say for sure, but I hope no one here believes that. I don’t.” So you posted what you ‘assume’ people think.

    By the way, all viruses mutate. That’s why there’s a new flu shot every year. As in, every year.

  154. 154
    PyrrhoManiac1 says:

    @139

    PM1, kindly specify an empirically supported, actually observed fourth alternative to chance and/or necessity and/or design — intelligently directed configuration: _______ . Where, I believe you will find that trichotomy down the length of our civilisation, from Plato in The Laws Bk X, to Monod’s Chance and Necessity. So, no, it is not Dembski. Indeed there is an interesting related discussion in Newton’s General Scholium.

    Alternative to chance and necessity or design articulated at the conceptual level: Aristotle in Physics, On the Generation of Animals, On the Soul (De Anima), and Metaphysics.

    Recent work that suggests Aristotle was basically on the right track:

    Dynamics in Action by Alicia Juarrero: shows that Aristotle’s distinction between formal and efficient causes is necessary to describe the behavior complex systems.

    Incomplete Nature by Terrence Deacon: three levels of organization in the universe: ‘simple’ thermodynamic systems, self-organizing systems, and self-maintaining systems.

    Biological Autonomy by Mossio and Moreno: biological agency is constituted by organizational closure and thermodynamic openness.

    The Evolution of the Sensitive Soul by Ginsburg and Jablonka: argues that the evolution of metazoan animals can be theorized in terms of increasingly sophisticated kinds of learning.

  155. 155
    Querius says:

    Viola Lee @147,

    About covid? Mutations occur occasionally for various reasons (reproduction is not perfect) which change various aspects of the virus, which then reproduces and produces numerous new viruses which are a variant of what existed before. How to you explain “designed”? Does God purposely make the changes that produce the variants?

    The COVID-19 virus is apparently interesting from a virology point of view. The version found in horseshoe bats needs mutations in one or more intermediate animal hosts for it to become infectious to humans. This also can account for its natural transmission from southern-most China for over 1,000 miles to the Wuhan area.

    Here’s what’s been discovered:

    1. No intermediate hosts and no gradual variants that make this COVID virus infectious to humans have been found. No animals infected with COVID were found in the vicinity of Wuhan.

    2. Considerable change (~4%) in the COVID genome occurred between horseshoe bats and COVID-19 in humans.

    3. Nature normally doesn’t make relatively massive changes like this in viral RNA, but in small, traceable increments.

    Thus, it’s reasonable to conclude that human researchers at the Wuhan virology lab made the necessary changes that initiated the pandemic rather than God. A lab leak is the likely proximal cause.

    For the other COVID-19 variants, small changes (aka genetic drift) in the genome can be traced to geographic areas such as South Africa, for example. These were likely not engineered either by humans or by God.

    -Q

  156. 156
    kairosfocus says:

    PM1, your lists are basically cases of necessity or of front loaded design, as you know. Self organising structures such as hurricanes [Coriolis forces writ large and dangerous] reflect mechanical necessity, and more. Taking the first item you list, notice the full title: “Dynamics in Action: Intentional Behavior as a Complex System by Alicia Juarrero ” . . . a telling omission on your part. In short, you have relabelled the cluster of three forces via particular cases, you have not overturned them. And of course the four causes framework is relevant, but does not overturn the chance and/or necessity and/or art framework which as noted is in Plato, Aristotle’s teacher. KF

  157. 157
    kairosfocus says:

    F/N: It seems now advisable to put a useful 101 by Wiki on the table, given the sort of tangents that are being — in my view, mostly needlessly — put up, in the interest of checking various rabbit trails:

    The four causes or four explanations are, in Aristotelian thought, four fundamental types of answer to the question “why?”, in analysis of change or movement in nature: the material, the formal, the efficient, and the final. Aristotle wrote that “we do not have knowledge of a thing until we have grasped its why, that is to say, its cause.”[1][2] While there are cases in which classifying a “cause” is difficult, or in which “causes” might merge, Aristotle held that his four “causes” provided an analytical scheme of general applicability.[3]

    Aristotle’s word aitia (Greek: ?????) has, in philosophical scholarly tradition, been translated as ’cause’. This peculiar, specialized, technical, usage of the word ’cause’ is not that of everyday English language.[4] Rather, the translation of Aristotle’s ????? that is nearest to current ordinary language is “explanation.”[5][2][4]

    In Physics II.3 and Metaphysics V.2, Aristotle holds that there are four kinds of answers to “why” questions:[2][5][6]

    Matter
    The material cause of a change or movement. This is the aspect of the change or movement that is determined by the material that composes the moving or changing things. For a table, this might be wood; for a statue, it might be bronze or marble. [–> you need materials to compose a physical system, from a cricket ball to a computer information system]

    Form
    The formal cause of a change or movement. This is a change or movement caused by the arrangement, shape, or appearance of the thing changing or moving. Aristotle says, for example, that the ratio 2:1, and number in general, is the formal cause of the octave. [–> there are built in patterns of the world and in objects, entities and processes, such include those of structure and quantity [i.e. mathematics] and in turn stochastic patterns are arguably part of this, often fitting particular distributions such as binomial, Gaussian or beta]

    Agent
    The efficient or moving cause of a change or movement. This consists of things apart from the thing being changed or moved, which interact so as to be an agency of the change or movement. For example, the efficient cause of a table is a carpenter, or a person working as one, and according to Aristotle the efficient cause of a child is a parent. [–> what actuates or begins or sustains or ends something or some process]

    End, or purpose
    The final cause of a change or movement. This is a change or movement for the sake of a thing to be what it is. For a seed, it might be an adult plant; for a sailboat, it might be sailing; for a ball at the top of a ramp, it might be coming to rest at the bottom. [–> a gateway for agency and intent]

    The four “causes” are not mutually exclusive. For Aristotle, several, preferably four, answers to the question “why” have to be given to explain a phenomenon and especially the actual configuration of an object.[7] For example, if asking why a table is such and such, an explanation in terms of the four causes would sound like this: This table is solid and brown because it is made of wood (matter); it does not collapse because it has four [–> adequate!] legs of equal length (form); it is as it is because a carpenter made it, starting from a tree (agent); it has these dimensions because it is to be used by humans (end).

    This does not contradict or replace the frame of chance and/or [mechanical/physical] necessity and/or intentionally directed configuration. An ordinary fair die is rolled in the hands and tossed. It rotates around its centre of mas due to imparted angular momentum, it moves horizontally and vertically as a projectile facing air resistance and related forces, it collides with a table top and further rotates, dissipating its kinetic energies of translation and rotation. Thanks to eight corners and twelve edges, it exhibits the butterfly effect and settles to an uppermost face with effectively a flat random distribution. It is thrown as part of a game to generate just such random numbers from 1 to 6. Being an Asian die, the 1 is dished out and painted red as Asians tend to believe this makes for a more clearly flat random distribution.

    Then, with two or three dice and the value now being the sum, a peaked distribution now emerges, which allows for a peaks and tails pattern. Decision rules of the game reflect that peaks and tails pattern.

    We see here, the four factors and the three key causal patterns in joint action.

    They are NOT contradictory, but complementary or even intersecting [one hesitates to mention Venn diagrams these days], and one focuses what is more relevant at a given time.

    Let me add that the logic of being and possible worlds perspective allows yet further intersections, through pondering what is possible vs impossible of being [contradictory core characteristics and euclidean plane square circles . . . the EP part being there to cut off further rabbit trails tactics]. Then we contrast contingent and necessary beings. It is contingent entities that are subjects of cause. Necessary ones are framework for any possible world.

    Let me hasten to further add, we need to reflect too on Plato’s self-moved, reflexively acting agent cause [in the very same text of The Laws bk X where he raised the three causes and he uses that to focus the soul as self moved, identifying self motion as key to life which is not just biological given his cosmological inference to soul as root reality] where cumulative decisions and changed internal state are part and parcel of our activities as agents. We cannot have our cakes and eat them, investment is risky but is not merely consumption, depreciation is important for capital and more.

    KF

  158. 158
    kairosfocus says:

    Q, prezactly. KF

  159. 159
    hnorman42 says:

    VL @ 145
    I read over the pages from “The Blind Watchmaker” about the weasel simulation. At first sight it seems like in the passage you quoted he’s confessing that it’s intelligent design. We know that can’t be right. He evidently thinks he’s saying something on behalf of blind watchmaker evolution. The question is what.

    The passage you quoted actually represents a caveat – but a complete reversal on his part would be appropriate here. He seems to think it’s supporting cumulative selection but it’s not. For natural selection, the weasel would have to be regarded as a single-step problem. The “selections” that take take place along the way in the simulation are meaningful only in an ID perspective.

  160. 160
    Alan Fox says:

    For natural selection, the weasel would have to be regarded as a single-step problem. The “selections” that take place along the way in the simulation are meaningful only in an ID perspective.

    This makes no sense. Where there is selective pressure acting on a population of organisms, the bias results in individuals with phenotypes better able to thrive under that selective pressure (intra-species competition for available resources) leaving more offspring. There’s no single step, the effect is cumulative.

    How do you look at this from an ID perspective? The niches that open up to exploitation, change over time, and disappear could be designed, front loaded by the Universe’s creator which would be a sort of ID, I guess.

  161. 161
    kairosfocus says:

    AF, weasel rewards non functional gibberish strings for increments of proximity to a pre loaded target. It communicates the impression of progress to something meaningful and functional when in fact it was pre loaded as a target. It could have been done in two stages, input an arbitrary string and hit enter. Then, print line, only not Hello world but the already loaded string. The input is just the equivalent of run. As for your latest on appearing and disappearing niches . . . that’s just islands of function using a sophisticated French sounding word. But of course as we all know the zero concession policy is in effect. KF

  162. 162
    Alan Fox says:

    AF, weasel rewards non functional gibberish strings for increments of proximity to a pre loaded target.

    Nobody spending more than five minutes researching the Weasel program could think other than it shows finding some string of characters is quicker if proximity to the target is rewarded. I have spent more than five minutes, so your repetition is not needed. I do smile at “non-functional gibberish” though. What the target string and intermediate strings are is utterly irrelevant. You just can’t resist packing your sentences with words and phrase intended to spread a little oil of ad hom.

    It communicates the impression of progress to something meaningful and functional when in fact it was pre loaded as a target. It could have been done in two stages, input an arbitrary string and hit enter. Then, print line, only not Hello world but the already loaded string. The input is just the equivalent of run.

    Dawkins was careful to point out in The Blind Watchmaker that real evolution does not involve searches or targets. Nobody spending more than five minutes researching the Weasel program would think otherwise.

    As for your latest on appearing and disappearing niches . . . that’s just islands of function using a sophisticated French sounding word.

    Islands of function work only in your imagination. The fitness landscape is dynamic, it changes over time. Climate changes, sea levels rise and fall, mountains erode, valleys flood, tectonic plates shift, meteors arrive. Niche (ecological niche) is merely the biological term for all the factors that affect a species in its habitat. Wikipedia on niches

    See also:
    Ontogenetic niche shift
    Marginal distribution (biology)
    Fitness landscape
    Niche differentiation
    Overpopulation
    Phylogenetic niche conservatism
    Unified neutral theory of biodiversity
    for a fuller picture!!!

    But of course as we all know the zero concession policy is in effect. KF

    Good grief! What’s that smell? Oilofadhom?

  163. 163
    Querius says:

    Gosh, I wonder what tiny steps preceded RNA or the ADP-ADP cycle. No fair using the speculative words “musta,” “coulda,” or “mighta,” the mainstays of Darwinism.

    For pre-RNA or pre-ADP-ATP Darwinists throw the anti-scientific magician’s black cloak of deep time, extinctions, and lack of fossil evidence.

    Artist: This is a masterful painting of a cow eating grass.
    Critic: Where’s the grass?
    Artist: The cow has eaten it.
    Critic: Where is the cow?
    Artist: Surely, it’s obvious to you that the cow would not stick around after eating all the grass!

    -Q

  164. 164
    Sir Giles says:

    KF: Good grief! What’s that smell? Oilofadhom?

    It is well known that those who can’t articulately counter an argument that runs contrary to their deeply held belief will often resort to ad hominems and condescension. This becomes even more prevalent in people who find it almost impossible to admit that they may be wrong.

    Another tactic often used by those who can’t accurately counter an argument that runs contrary to their deeply held beliefs is to apply labels to those who disagree with them in an attempt to discredit their opponent and, by association, discredit the argument.

  165. 165
    Alan Fox says:

    Gosh, I wonder what tiny steps preceded RNA or the ADP-ADP cycle.

    I don’t know, Querius. One thing I do know is that you don’t know either

  166. 166
    Querius says:

    Sorry to interrupt the festive postings for the purpose of turning Kairosfocus into a piñata.

    With all this talk about “islands of fitness” that come and go reminds me of the dangers of reduced genetic diversity. For example, Panthera tigris is in danger of extinction precisely due to over-adaptation to several ecosystems.
    https://news.stanford.edu/press-releases/2021/02/17/siberian-tigers-c-sumatran-mates/

    This trend is precisely what Darwinism predicts, but the result is extinction instead of genome persistence. Thus, animals with greater genetic diversity maintain a greater ability to adapt to inevitable changes in climate and ecosystems, while “more evolved and adapted” species fail to survive.

    Thus, the survival of the fittest individual is at odds with the survival of the fittest genome.

    There’s an additional issue of genomic entropy where preservation of unfit humans increases the genetic load of undesirable mutations (hemophilia comes to mind), which is variously estimated to be around 100 mutations per generation in humans.
    https://medium.com/@andreipetrut19/the-degradation-of-human-genomes-fbf5a686d25f

    These are currently observable, measurable examples of “evolution in action,” which actually seems to be wholly deleterious.

    -Q

  167. 167
    Querius says:

    Alan Fox @165,

    I don’t know, Querius. One thing I do know is that you don’t know either

    Yes, exactly. And this is why I abandoned the failed, 19th century, racist theory of evolution, which was used to justify colonialism and the slow genocide of so-called “inferior” humans.

    -Q

  168. 168
    Viola Lee says:

    re 159 to hnorman42:

    Thanks for being interested in discussing “Weasel”

    You write, “At first sight it seems like in the passage you quoted he’s confessing that it’s intelligent design.:

    I don’t think there is any “confession” here. He explains quite clearly that the program is unlike evolution in that the program knows the target and evaluates strings in respect to the target. The phrase “intelligent design” was not in broad usage in 1986, but in effect he was saying that the honing in on the target is a product of intelligent design because in fact Dawkins intelligently designed the program to do that.

    As I tried to make clear in 137, there is an important distinction to be made between what Weasel is trying to illustrate and what it is not. There I wrote,

    There is an important distinction between what he was trying to do (show that the presence of some selecting mechanism could produce results far differently than pure chance) and what he was NOT trying to do (having the selection mechanism he used be a model for the natural selection in the biological world.)

    Does that distinction make sense to you, and seem significant.

    You write, “He evidently thinks he’s saying something on behalf of blind watchmaker evolution. The question is what.”

    Yes, he is trying to illustrate the first issue I mention above: that if you have a process that cumulatively selects and advance towards a target, you can reach the target much faster than if you try to reach the target all in one step by the simultaneous random selection of a number of independent events.

    It is the difference between small accumulative steps guided by a selection process versus one large random step that he is comparing. The selection process he is using is, if you will, ID, not natural selection (he calls it analogous to artifical breeding), but that is a separate issue from the small selection steps vs one large random step. This is where the iterative process that Dawkins created is mathematically interested and applicable to the real world.

    You write, “He seems to think it’s supporting cumulative selection but it’s not. For natural selection, the weasel would have to be regarded as a single-step problem. The “selections” that take take place along the way in the simulation are meaningful only in an ID perspective.”

    I’ve already agreed with your second sentence, and pointed out that modeling natural selection was not the goal of the program. However, I don’t understand your first sentence.

    Even if Weasel is about natural selection, how would one consider natural selection a one-step process? Natural selection takes place with large number of organisms living approximately contemporaneously over multiple generations. It seems to me that it is very much a multi-step process. Can you explain more what you mean?

    Thanks

  169. 169
    kairosfocus says:

    SG, 164, those words you tried to put in my mouth do not belong there, as should be obvious. I think you have a few further things to walk back. KF

  170. 170
    Viola Lee says:

    More thoughts on Weasel

    First, I am not a Dawkins fan. I saw him speak once, and thought his understanding of philosophy and religion was poor, and I am even less impressed with his current thoughts about society.

    I am interested in Weasel as it applies to both theoretical and applied math. From a theoretical point of views, iterative processes such as Weasel are one of my favorite subjects (other examples are Conway’s Game of Life, and the Mandelbrot set and fractals in general).

    I’m also interested in how math is applied to the real world by making models which are meant to reflect some aspect of the real world. In Weasel, as I have explained, the principle being illustrated by Weasel is that a cumulative set of steps selected along the way can get to a target much faster than multiple random and simultaneous independent events. To be clear, in this sense Weasel is an intelligently designed model to illustrate that principle. It is not meant to model natural selection.

    With that said, a brief review of what Weasel does.

    1. Start with a target string. The fact that Dawkins picked a meaningful string of 28 letters and spaces is irrelevant. He could have chosen complete gibberish.

    2. Start with a randomly selected string of 28 characters. The chance of selecting the target string is 27^28, or about 10^40, which obviously is not going to have.

    3. Call this first string Parent 1 in Generation 1 (Gen1)

    4. Parent 1 now has a number of children: let us say 100. (I don’t know how many Dawkins used.)

    5. Each child is produced by doing the following: for each letter in the parent string, select a random number between 0 and 1. If that number is less than a certain number (say 0.05, or 5%: this is the mutation rate), change the letter at random. If not, leave the letter alone. In this way, using a mutation rate of 5%, about 3/4 of the children would be different than the parent.

    6. Now compare each one of the children to the target string, and count how many letters match. Then, out of the 100 children, pick the child string which has the most matching letters. (Have some arbitrary procedure for breaking ties.) This child becomes Parent 2 in Generation 2.

    7. Now repeat the process: this is the iteration. The parents will get closer and closer to the target string, and of course get there vastly faster than if you were just randomly selecting random strings each generation.

    This is the principle Dawkins was trying to illustrate.

  171. 171
    Sir Giles says:

    KF: SG, 164, those words you tried to put in my mouth do not belong there, as should be obvious. I think you have a few further things to walk back. KF

    My apologies. The quote in my comment was from AF, not KF.

  172. 172
    Upright BiPed says:

    .
    Hello Q,

    Gosh, I wonder what tiny steps preceded …

    You could add specification and semantic closure to your list, given that the whole topic is moot until they are in place. They are the primal “islands of function” that were predicted to exist, confirmed via experiment, and avoided by ID critics as an on-going strategy.

  173. 173
    jerry says:

    There is an easy way to test natural selection as a creative mechanism.

    That is the Darwinian process of 1) variation, 2) inheritability and 3) selection would leave a forensic trail as it creates something unique. If it acts, then that trail should be there. If it doesn’t, it won’t be there. Easy to check. No need for Weasels.

    Prediction: no one is interested in verifying this. So it will not happen.

    Aside: is Darwinian Evolution an all at once selection? Theoretically, all of the final sequence is useless except the magic final nucleotide. So it’s one big single selection of a very long otherwise useless sequence.

    Aside2: why is something irrelevant for anything (Weasel Program) being discussed?

  174. 174
    Viola Lee says:

    A simpler illustration is the game of Yahtzee.

    You have five dice and three rolls. The goal is to get all five dice the same, called a yahtzee.

    The chances of this occurring in one roll is 6^4 = 1/1296.

    So if you roll and if you don’t get a yahtzee, you roll again, and then if no yahtzee, roll a third time, the probability of getting a yahtzee is about 0.0023, or about 1/4%.

    However, the way the game is played each time you roll you can select which dice to leave as they are and which to roll. To pick a simple example, after two rolls if you have three 6s, you throw the other two dice and now have a 1/36 chance of completing the yahtzee. The probability tree for computing the chances of getting a yahtzee in the game is very complicated (I worked on it one time), but of course the chance are better than the “pure chance” method which has a probability of 1/4%. Someone on the internet has calculated the probability to be about 4.6% (his method looks good to me), or about 25 times better than just throwing all five dice each time.

    This is the same process Weasel is modeling.

  175. 175
    Alan Fox says:

    And this is why I abandoned the failed, 19th century, racist theory of evolution, which was used to justify colonialism and the slow genocide of so-called “inferior” humans.

    Nonsense, slavery and oppression dates back as long as civilization. Ancient Greeks and Romans were experts, Biblical slavery, and on through until the age of enlightenment. Darwin was an abolitionist.

  176. 176
    Alan Fox says:

    Upright Biped

    They are the primal “islands of function” that were predicted to exist, confirmed via experiment, and avoided by ID critics as an on-going strategy.

    You’re back! I thought you were the one doing the avoiding.

    What, pray, do you mean by the primal island of function? What came before RNA world?

  177. 177
    kairosfocus says:

    VL,

    In Weasel, as I have explained, the principle being illustrated by Weasel is that a cumulative set of steps selected along the way can get to a target much faster than multiple random and simultaneous independent events

    Actually, it shows no such thing, especially when most of the relevant configuration space is gibberish.

    No one disputes that an incremental random search with hill climbing, within an island of function will find a local peak. As U/D to OP will also show, it will tend to be trapped there, too.

    What is being suppressed by Weasel is first, that for there to be a viable life form, sound metabolism, encapsulation with smart gating [for homeostasis] and a viable additional von Neumann kinematic self replicating mechanism are necessary at every stage.

    This then feeds into the real search challenge given that most configurations are predictably gibberish and non functional, and that by the nature of requiring a large number of well matched, properly arranged and coupled parts, fulfilling the three requisites, function is naturally confined to small isolated zones in the space of possible configurations. These, long ago and not by me, were termed islands of function. Another way of putting it is to see that we naturally have narrow fine tuned, locally isolated operating points.

    This is an abundantly confirmed fact of getting things to work.

    So, challenge no 1 is to get from a Darwin warm pond or the like to a first operating point. No one has a clue how that could come about by blind chance and/or mechanical necessity, as say Tour has highlighted.

    Of course, disregarded.

    Next, from a first working body plan, the same challenge obtains for getting to others.

    Again, disregarded.

    As for Weasel, it rewards gibberish strings for increments that are closer to a preloaded target. It is worse than worthless, it is fallaciously misleading.

    The lesson is, crooked yardstick thinking is at work.

    KF

  178. 178
    Viola Lee says:

    KF writes, “[Weasel] rewards gibberish strings for increments that are closer to a preloaded target.” Yes, that is what it does, illustrating that such procedure gets to the target much quicker than pure chance. That is not worthless. (The fact that the strings are gibberish is irrelevant: the target string could be gibberish also and nothing about the nature of the program would be changed.)

    And it is only “misleading” to people like you who try to project into it all sorts of things it was never intended to be.

    Also, do you agree that my explanation of Weasel at 170 is accurate?

  179. 179
    whistler says:

    As for Weasel, it rewards gibberish strings for increments that are closer to a preloaded target. It is worse than worthless, it is fallaciously misleading.

    🙂 Dawkins being an advocate for intelligent design and nobody from his atheistic band caught him. It’s beyond hilarious !

  180. 180
    Viola Lee says:

    Perhaps you should go back and read some of the previous posts on this, Whistler. We’ve covered this. Dawkins was clear about the role of the target and how it wasn’t meant to be a model for natural selection.

  181. 181
    jerry says:

    Again, why is a useless process, Weasel, being discussed?

  182. 182
    Sir Giles says:

    Jerry: Again, why is a useless process, Weasel, being discussed?

    I tend to agree with you on this. Nobody has suggested that this is how evolution works, so any arguments about it do not get us any closer to whether evolution or God best explains the diversity of life.

  183. 183
    Viola Lee says:

    It is relevant for a couple of reasons. One is that many (most) arguments I have read about how something is impossible because the probability of it happening is so small are working on the assumption that a whole bunch of parts came together independently at one trial, like throwing a whole bunch of coins at once, rather than through a series of selected steps and with huge populations. That’s not the way the world works, so such calculations are unrealistic and thus not relevant.

    Second, Weasel is relevant, as a rough analogy, to evolution, in that it models populations with multiple members going through changes over multiple generations, and slowly changing.

    Note well: Weasel doesn’t prove anything. It’s not evidence for evolution. It’s just a “toy” illustrative model to illustrate a point. But the point is relevant.

    Also note well, again. It is not modeling natural selection, and Dawkins was clear about that. It was modeling slow accumulative change under artificial (intelligent, if you will) selection as opposed to random chance.

  184. 184
    JVL says:

    Querius: Gosh, I wonder what tiny steps preceded RNA or the ADP-ADP cycle. No fair using the speculative words “musta,” “coulda,” or “mighta,” the mainstays of Darwinism.

    Just to be clear . . . do you think it’s possible to do any kind of historical science, i.e. science which studies things that happened in the past, when we cannot go back and observe what actually occurred?

  185. 185
    jerry says:

    any arguments about it do not get us any closer to whether evolution or God best explains the diversity of life.

    Yet, there is an answer available.

    And the dichotomy above is not a valid one.

  186. 186
    PyrrhoManiac1 says:

    @175

    Nonsense, slavery and oppression dates back as long as civilization. Ancient Greeks and Romans were experts, Biblical slavery, and on through until the age of enlightenment. Darwin was an abolitionist.

    It’s true that slavery is as old as civilization, though the chattel slavery that defined the 16th-19th centuries was different from what it was in antiquity. In antiquity, being a slave was a grave misfortune that could happen to someone who happened to be on the losing side of a war. With the dawn of colonialism, slavery was transformed in lots of important respects. The dehumanization that we now think of as defining slavery begins in this period. A Greek or Roman slave was deprived of their autonomy, but they weren’t less than fully human. And while it’s true that Darwin himself was an abolitionist, that doesn’t change the fact that evolution was used to legitimize the dehumanization of racism, colonialism, and genocide — as lots of sciences were, before the rise of evolutionary theory and continuing after. So it’s not nonsense to point out that the theory of evolution was used to justify colonialism and genocide.

  187. 187
    relatd says:

    The Global Cabal of Relabelers and Repackagers has relabeled SLAVERY today. It is now called Human Trafficking, which means slavery. So, no progress there.

    There is ample evidence to show that certain people used the theory of evolution to wipe out other people, including Margaret Sanger.

  188. 188
    bill cole says:

    VL

    Second, Weasel is relevant, as a rough analogy, to evolution, in that it models populations with multiple members going through changes over multiple generations, and slowly changing

    What evolution is missing is a real population genetics model of how new genes are created. The two main obstacles are:
    The sequence problem- why Dawkins model required a target.
    The waiting time problem-the time it takes to fix changes in a population.

  189. 189
    Sir Giles says:

    PM1: So it’s not nonsense to point out that the theory of evolution was used to justify colonialism and genocide.

    I don’t think anyone is disagreeing with this. Where the argument falls off the rails is when it is used as an argument against the validity of evolution.

  190. 190
    hnorman42 says:

    VL – and anyone interested
    Allow me to give a little background on myself and my relationship with the illustrious weasel simulation. I got interested in the ID – Darwin debate back around 2006. At that time the debate seemed to center around how complex function could develop from disparate elements when there was no function to select for. The main mechanisms proposed were co-option (not quite the right word but close) and scaffolding.

    It seemed vaguely comical to encounter a simulation that showed a complex configuration arise by simply defining it to do so.. I recently described it as “proving that natural selection can advance toward a complex target if natural selection can advance toward a complex target.” I think we agree on this much.

    The only possible value in the simulation I can see – would be if somebody doubted that if something advances toward a target that it’ll eventually get there.

    And as for me referring to the process as single-step, the pattern for cumulative selection would look like this:
    Change,
    Feedback
    Change,
    Feedback,
    Change,
    Feedback.

    The pattern for the weasel is:
    Change,
    Change,
    Change,
    Change,
    Feedback.
    You don’t have an iteration until you get feedback. It is only the last step – the establishment of function – that can be extrapolated into the world of biology.

  191. 191
    relatd says:

    SG at 189,

    The problem with evolution involves probability and waiting time. A change cannot be predicted, and then there’s the issue of how long it takes the change to be fixed in a population. A number of articles have been posted here by Ba77 that clearly shows that to make two or three changes requires millions of years at best. And the waiting time increases further if the number of changes exceeds that, so evolution, as presented in textbooks, did not have enough time to make few if any changes. So probability rules out changes occurring in any useful time frame by any organism.

  192. 192
    Querius says:

    Upright BiPed @172,

    You could add specification and semantic closure to your list, given that the whole topic is moot until they are in place. They are the primal “islands of function” that were predicted to exist, confirmed via experiment, and avoided by ID critics as an on-going strategy.

    Yes, of course you’re right. Unfortunately, ID detractors don’t understand the necessity of design specification, nor do they have any idea or appreciation for why semantic closure is necessary.

    Instead, Darwinists rely on the application of essentially infinite random changes and assume that the outcomes, filtered by immediate step-wise advantage, will somehow magically produce limitless complexity, the details of which are left as an exercise to their faithful believers.

    However, they’ve never ever been able to demonstrate examples of what they consider inevitable, and they never will for the underlying considerations you mentioned.

    The experimental challenge to Darwinism remains:

    1. Create a smoothie out of living bacteria.

    2. Subject it to any set of steps involving dramatic changes in temperature, pressure, geological and atmospheric chemicals, electrical discharges, alpha/beta/gamma radiation, gravitational forces or lack thereof, shaking, stirring, vortexes, atomization, whatever.

    3. Reconstitute some form of living bacteria. In other words, simply reassemble “methinks it is like a weasel” from out of the primordial alphabet soup. Good luck with that.

    -Q

  193. 193
    Querius says:

    Alan Fox @175,

    Nonsense, slavery and oppression dates back as long as civilization. Ancient Greeks and Romans were experts, Biblical slavery, and on through until the age of enlightenment. Darwin was an abolitionist.

    Unfortunately, your unsupported opinions do not constitute irrefutable proof.

    IN HIS OWN WORDS, here’s Charles Darwin on slavery and the extinction of what he considered “the savage races.”

    In The Descent of Man, Charles Darwin writes that the

    “. . . western nations of Europe . . . now so immeasurably surpass their former savage progenitors and stand at the summit of civilization” . . . “The civilized races of man will almost certainly exterminate and replace the savage races through the world.”

    Darwin also suggested that as great apes go extinct, the gap between civilized man and his closest evolutionary ancestor will widen and will continue to widen until the gap is between civilized man

    “. . . and some ape as low as a baboon, instead of as at present between the negro or Australian and the gorilla..”

    Yes, he really did write that rubbish! He then writes,

    “How little can the hard-worked wife of a degraded Australian savage, who uses hardly any abstract words and cannot count above four, exert her self-consciousness, or reflect on the nature of her own existence”

    As to slavery, Charles Darwin largely objected to it due to its cruelty, which he directly observed. But check this out: In one of his letters, Darwin wrote:

    “I have had some fun here in watching a slave-making ant; for I could not help rather doubting the wonderful stories, but I have now seen a marauding party, & I have seen a migration from one nest to another of the slave-makers, carrying their slaves (who are house & not field n*****s) in their mouths”

    In On the Origin of Species, Darwin devotes several pages to what he called the “slave-making instinct.”

    . . . it is far more satisfactory to look at such instincts as . . . ants making slaves . . . not as specially endowed or created instincts, but as small consequences of one general law, leading to the advancement of all organic beings, namely, multiply, vary, let the strongest live and the weakest die.” . . . “Such are the facts . . . in regard to the wonderful instinct of making slaves.

    Stop defending this racist slob and his failed theory.

    -Q

  194. 194
    Querius says:

    JVL @184,

    Just to be clear . . . do you think it’s possible to do any kind of historical science, i.e. science which studies things that happened in the past, when we cannot go back and observe what actually occurred?

    Yes, but just as forensic detective work, the conclusions are always based on circumstantial evidence evaluated on likelihood.

    The likelihoods must emerge from the evidence, and should not be fantasies of “goo-to-you” interspersed with cherry-picked evidence, which is the case with Darwinism.

    Darwinism is so weak, especially considering genomic discoveries, that even evolutionary biologists are beginning to call for a new theory.
    https://evo2.org/royal-society-evolution/

    So here’s a riddle for you:

    Consider a type of venomous organism that can range in size from a tiny grain of sand to something longer than a blue whale. Supposedly, it hasn’t evolved over 500 million years and cells from the originals may still be alive today. It uses a distributed neural network to react to its environment, can have eyes that range from simply detecting light and dark to human-like eyes that can detect colors, sizes, and shapes to avoid collisions or move toward prey.

    Behold the amazing Cnidaria, the mother of all living fossils.

    -Q

  195. 195
    Alan Fox says:

    So it’s not nonsense to point out that the theory of evolution was used to justify colonialism and genocide.

    No. But the accusation Querius makes by quotemining Darwin is that Charles Darwin personally was a racist. Which is nonsense.

  196. 196
    Alan Fox says:

    Stop defending this racist slob and his failed theory.

    As Sir Giles points out, this is also nonsense. Darwin’s alleged racism has nothing to do with whether evolutionary theory is an accurate model.

  197. 197
    Alan Fox says:

    You don’t have an iteration until you get feedback. It is only the last step – the establishment of function.

    This misrepresents how Weasel works quite spectacularly.

  198. 198
    JVL says:

    Bill Cole: The sequence problem- why Dawkins model required a target.

    Dr Dawkins never, ever said his programme was a model of evolution. He made it very, very clear in one of his books that his programme was only designed to show the power of cumulative selection. That’s it. He did not then nor does he now say it models unguided evolution as a whole. He just never said that so why do so many people misinterpret what he actually said? Why is that? Have you not bothered to read more than just a quote-mined sentence or two? Hmmmm???

  199. 199
    Alan Fox says:

    Eugenics resurrected in the late 19th and became widespread, culminating in a peak with Nazi Germany, sure. Charles Darwin personally was not involved with
    any eugenics movement.

  200. 200
    JVL says:

    Querius: Yes, but just as forensic detective work, the conclusions are always based on circumstantial evidence evaluated on likelihood.

    In which case the conclusion will always have to be qualified: most likely, probably, etc. Correct?

    The likelihoods must emerge from the evidence, and should not be fantasies of “goo-to-you” interspersed with cherry-picked evidence, which is the case with Darwinism.

    Have you read the hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of journal articles that have been produced in the last decades that lend support to some of the conclusions you poo-poo? If you haven’t then by what right do you say the evidence is ‘cherry-picked’ or fantasies? Is it more likely that you are exhibiting motivated reasoning and drawing conclusions before you have considered ALL the data, not just the part that is convenient or you know agrees with your pre-held conclusion?

    Behold the amazing Cnidaria, the mother of all living fossils.

    What? Cnidaria is a whole phylum which includes over 11,000 species. What are you talking about? You said it was an organism. Do you actually bother to look things up? You really are just wasting my time aren’t you?

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cnidaria

    Are you so used to people just automatically liking what you post that you can’t be bothered to see if it’s true?

  201. 201
    Alan Fox says:

    How should we address Charles Darwin’s complicated legacy? Perhaps comparatively by the standards of his time.

  202. 202
    Alan Fox says:

    @ JVL
    I looked at the Wikipedia article. It was fascinating. Didn’t feel my time was wasted. It also reinforces my view that Querius is a cherry picker and succumbs to ID propaganda.

  203. 203
    JVL says:

    Alan Fox: I looked at the Wikipedia article. It was fascinating. Didn’t feel my time was wasted.

    I agree, it was interesting. You and I like learning new things, sometimes challenging things, things that expand our horizons, things that might get us to change our minds.

    Lots of cherry-picking and quote mining going on. And motivated reasoning.

  204. 204
    kairosfocus says:

    Where did these side debates come from, complete with barbed projections and insinuations. This is not the thread for such. However, they do reveal that there is a lot of ideological loading and that there are deeply polarised cultural and policy issues at work.

  205. 205
    JVL says:

    Kairosfocus: However, they do reveal that there is a lot of ideological loading and that there are deeply polarised cultural and policy issues at work.

    That was partly the point: that there is a lot of ideological loading going on.

    Anyway, I was responding to things other people said but you didn’t tut-tut them.

  206. 206
    kairosfocus says:

    VL, there is just one problem with your revisionism and highlighting of the disclaimers Dawkins laid down. Many of us were there when Weasel (and then its descendants) were being promoted as icons of evolution. We do not recall Dawkins standing up and saying to his enthusiasts, no, no, no you got it wrong, I am using an example of a pre-loaded target to simply show that strings will converge to it if proximity is rewarded. What we saw was championing of evolutionism and Weasel was used as an icon in the days when a computer program already had a mystique, an almost magical aura. That legacy has to be frankly faced, especially when there is a familiar echo of how Darwin used intelligent design by artificial selection [which narrows the gene pool in various ways and takes advantage of occasional mutations . . . think fancy goldfish and bulldog faces] as a key icon to lead into his theory. Similarly, I am going to add an update on Eugenics, which was a global craze only resisted by a few folks such as G K Chesterton, the big conference logo that identified it as self direction of human evolution . . . which reminds us of its actual roots and associations with Galton the founder of modern Eugenics and his cousins, the Darwin family. KF

  207. 207
    JVL says:

    Kairosfocus: We do not recall Dawkins standing up and saying to his enthusiasts, no, no, no you got it wrong, I am using an example of a pre-loaded target to simply show that strings will converge to it if proximity is rewarded

    Then you were clearly not paying attention. He spelled out exactly what he was trying to show in one of his books and clearly stated he was NOT modelling evolution as a whole. He was just trying to demonstrate the power of cumulative selection. He’s made that point very, very clear. Why do you keep misinterpreting the whole thing?

    Stop flogging a dead horse.

    What we saw was championing of evolutionism and Weasel was used as an icon in the days when a computer program already had a mystique, an almost magical aura.

    What, in the 80s? hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahha

    He postulate the program in 1986 by the way. At the very least read this before making another false point.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Weasel_program

  208. 208
    kairosfocus says:

    Q, UB, Jerry [attn VL], it is clear that the model of ever growing diversification and linked origin of large quantities of implicit information [aka functional organisation] and explicit information [in D/RNA] is not being responsibly faced by those proposing ool and body plan origin evolution by blind chance and necessity, Dawkins’ blind watchmaker. Of course, having built on his work as a major populariser, there is now a push to distance from the weak intellectual foundations of those roots, hence revisionism on Weasel etc. Meanwhile, with James Tour explicitly on the table, there is no serious engagement of what he warns about synthesis and coordination of requisite chemicals for ool. These molecules typically being energetically adverse, any model relying on their spontaneous synthesis and gradual organisation as a metabolic automaton with smart gated encapsulation and associated von Neumann kinematic self replicator is in trouble. We see that in speculations of a never observed simpler architecture of life and synthesis exercises that are questionable. The evidence supports intelligently directed configuration of cell based life, the root of the tree of life icon. The onward need for massive fresh bioinformation and organisation to get to body plans is similarly ducked under speculations about simple diversification. The rather obvious point that there are astronomically many more non functional clusterings of parts than functional ones is disparaged. It is hard to escape the conclusion that we are seeing an ideological framework that though it lacks clean empirical warrant, is being stoutly defended because of its centrality to a cultural order that privileges big S Science, meaning evolutionary materialistic scientism. KF

    PS, The late Philip Johnson had his finger on something in his reply to Lewontin:

    For scientific materialists the materialism comes first; the science comes thereafter. [Emphasis original — the context is Lewontin in NYRB] We might more accurately term them “materialists employing science.” And if materialism is true, then some materialistic theory of evolution has to be true simply as a matter of logical deduction, regardless of the evidence.

    [–> notice, the power of an undisclosed, question-begging, controlling assumption . . . often put up as if it were a mere reasonable methodological constraint; emphasis added. Let us note how Rational Wiki, so-called, presents it:

    “Methodological naturalism is the label for the required assumption of philosophical naturalism when working with the scientific method. Methodological naturalists limit their scientific research to the study of natural causes, because any attempts to define causal relationships with the supernatural are never fruitful, and result in the creation of scientific “dead ends” and God of the gaps-type hypotheses.” [NB: I am aware that Rational Wiki has backed away, un-announced, from the cat-out-of-the-bag direct phrasing that was in place a few years ago. That historic phrasing is still valid as a summary of what is going on.]

    Of course, this ideological imposition on science that subverts it from freely seeking the empirically, observationally anchored truth about our world pivots on the deception of side-stepping the obvious fact since Plato in The Laws Bk X, that there is a second, readily empirically testable and observable alternative to “natural vs [the suspect] supernatural.” Namely, blind chance and/or mechanical necessity [= the natural] vs the ART-ificial, the latter acting by evident intelligently directed configuration. [Cf Plantinga’s reply here and here.]

    And as for the god of the gaps canard, the issue is, inference to best explanation across competing live option candidates. If chance and necessity is a candidate, so is intelligence acting by art through design. And it is not an appeal to ever- diminishing- ignorance to point out that design, rooted in intelligent action, routinely configures systems exhibiting functionally specific, often fine tuned complex organisation and associated information. Nor, that it is the only observed cause of such, nor that the search challenge of our observed cosmos makes it maximally implausible that blind chance and/or mechanical necessity can account for such.]

    That theory will necessarily be at least roughly like neo-Darwinism, in that it will have to involve some combination of random changes and law-like processes capable of producing complicated organisms that (in Dawkins’ words) “give the appearance of having been designed for a purpose.”

    . . . . The debate about creation and evolution is not deadlocked . . . Biblical literalism is not the issue. The issue is whether materialism and rationality are the same thing. Darwinism is based on an a priori commitment to materialism, not on a philosophically neutral assessment of the evidence. Separate the philosophy [ –> ideology] from the science, and the proud tower collapses. [Emphasis added.] [The Unraveling of Scientific Materialism, First Things, 77 (Nov. 1997), pp. 22 – 25.]

    A paradigm of evolutionary materialistic scientism and fellow travellers is fatally cracked but is culturally central so it will be defended to the bitter end.

    PPS, meanwhile, the zero concessions, objectors to Darwin and his modern champions policy is going a bit threadbare. Notice, not one objector could seriously and substantially answer Nikolic or Tour. Similarly, there is no readily cited empirical support to the 2 + 2 = whatever the party needs just now [and it was always the case] storyline on OOL and OO body plans. And, the denial of complexity of organisation to get function and its implication of just that, complex organisation with tight requisites on the right bits in the right place properly coupled is in itself revealing of just how many ad hoc patches are being put up to try to save a broken backed ship with a shattered keel.

  209. 209
    Alan Fox says:

    Indeed, it was only when The Blind Watchmaker caught the eye of US Young Earth Creationists that Weasel became controversial. Dawkins himself was puzzled by the late and vehement reaction. I recall him saying if he’d known Weasel was going to become notorious, he would have saved his original program file.

  210. 210
  211. 211
    hnorman42 says:

    Something else from the source material. It comes from The Blind Watchmaker — immediately after description of the weasel simulation in Chapter 3:

    There is a big difference, then, between cumulative selection (in which each improvement, however slight, is used as a basis for future building), and single-step selection (in which each new ‘try’ is a fresh one). If evolutionary progress had to rely on single-step selection, it would never have got anywhere. If, however, there was any way in which the necessary conditions for cumulative selection could have been set up by the blind forces of nature, strange and wonderful might have been the consequences. As a matter of fact that is exactly what happened on this planet, and we ourselves are among the most recent, if not the most wonderful, of those consequences.

    If the weasel simulation was not intended to give support to the idea that evolution could do cumulative selection, then the bare assertion is all we have here.

  212. 212
    JVL says:

    Kairosfocus: Of course, having built on his work as a major populariser, there is now a push to distance from the weak intellectual foundations of those roots, hence revisionism on Weasel etc.

    There is no revisionism! Read the original material!! The only revisionism going on is by you and other ID proponents who can’t even understand the basic point of the programme! Crazy.

  213. 213
    kairosfocus says:

    F/N: Wiki on Dawkins; The Blind Watchmaker:

    In his choice of the title for this book, Dawkins refers to the watchmaker analogy made famous by William Paley in his 1802 book Natural Theology.[1] Paley, writing long before Charles Darwin published On the Origin of Species in 1859, held that the complexity of living organisms was evidence of the existence of a divine creator by drawing a parallel with the way in which the existence of a watch compels belief in an intelligent watchmaker.

    [–> funny how they never go on to address Ch 2 in which he speaks to a self replicating time keeping watch which points to complex organisation based function and additional complexity for replication]

    Dawkins, in contrasting the differences between human design and its potential for planning with the workings of natural selection, therefore dubbed evolutionary processes as analogous to a blind watchmaker.

    To dispel the idea that complexity cannot arise without the intervention of a “creator”, Dawkins uses the example of the eye. Beginning with a simple organism, capable only of distinguishing between light and dark, in only the crudest fashion, he takes the reader through a series of minor modifications, which build in sophistication until we arrive at the elegant and complex mammalian eye. In making this journey, he points to several creatures whose various seeing apparatus are, whilst still useful, living examples of intermediate levels of complexity. [–> ducking the sophisticated chemistry, information and organisation issues]

    In developing his argument that natural selection can explain the complex adaptations of organisms, Dawkins’ first concern is to illustrate the difference between the potential for the development of complexity as a result of pure randomness, as opposed to that of randomness coupled with cumulative selection. He demonstrates this by the example of the weasel program.

    [–> notice what the global context in the book is, support for claimed powers of chance variation and natural selection, so we must reckon with that wider thesis to understand its rhetorical role]

    Dawkins then describes his experiences with a more sophisticated computer model of artificial selection implemented in a program also called The Blind Watchmaker [–> notice the studious failure to admit that artificial selection is a form of intelligent design], which was sold separately as a teaching aid. [–> to teach based on a fallacy as just pointed out]

    The program displayed a two-dimensional shape (a “biomorph”) made up of straight black lines, the length, position, and angle of which were defined by a simple set of rules and instructions (analogous to a genome). [–> riddled with design] Adding new lines (or removing them) based on these rules offered a discrete set of possible new shapes (mutations), which were displayed on screen so that the user could choose between them. [–> so we see active information inputs towards targetted goals] The chosen mutation would then be the basis for another generation of biomorph mutants to be chosen from, and so on. [–> continued] Thus, the user, by selection, could steer the evolution of biomorphs. [–> misleading name] This process often produced images which were reminiscent of real organisms for instance beetles, bats, or trees. [–> yes, because of intelligently directed steering] Dawkins speculated that the unnatural selection role played by the user in this program could be replaced by a more natural agent if, for example, colourful biomorphs could be selected by butterflies or other insects, via a touch-sensitive display set up in a garden. [–> the weasel words game that evades responsibility for a rhetorical strategy]
    “Biomorph” that randomly evolves following changes of several numeric “genes”, determining its shape. The gene values are given as bars on the top. [–> notice the word association games, this, in the name of education is sheer manipulation]

    In an appendix to a later edition of the book (1996), Dawkins explains how his experiences with computer models led him to a greater appreciation of the role of embryological constraints on natural selection. In particular, he recognised that certain patterns of embryological development could lead to the success of a related group of species in filling varied ecological niches, though he emphasised that this should not be confused with group selection. He dubbed this insight the evolution of evolvability.

    After arguing that evolution is capable of explaining the origin of complexity, near the end of the book Dawkins uses this to argue against the existence of God: “a deity capable of engineering all the organized complexity in the world, either instantaneously or by guiding evolution … must already have been vastly complex in the first place …” He calls this “postulating organized complexity without offering an explanation.” [–> he needs to study logic of being and related root of reality issues]

    In the preface, Dawkins states that he wrote the book “to persuade the reader, [–> rhetoric is the too often dark art of persuasion] not just that the Darwinian world-view happens to be true, but that it is the only known theory that could, in principle, solve the mystery of our existence.” [–> lying by dismissal of serious alternatives]

    A real confession, this.

  214. 214
    kairosfocus says:

    JVL, note my just now excerpt from Wiki’s confessions. There is a wider context and theme that will override caveats and so we have to be aware of a very suggestive phrase, weasel words. Then, the further context of a second program sold as an educational supplement that also feeds the same manipulation, reinforces the point. I challenge you to show us where Dawkins, on the record, publicly, repeatedly and frankly corrected those who were taking Weasel etc as an icon, that they were fundamentally wrong and misleading while Blind Watchmaker was riding high. KF

  215. 215
    JVL says:

    Kairosfocus: [–> notice the studious failure to admit that artificial selection is a form of intelligent design],

    Again, it’s just a model for a part of evolutionary theory! Incredible, you just keep quote mining and misinterpreting things. Why can’t you read an entire long-form argument and try and understand the whole point instead of trying to pry the whole thing apart by focusing down so small you miss the bigger picture!

    Over and over Dr Dawkins qualifies what he does as illuminating part of the whole process.

    If there was ever a question of whether or not you even tried to understand his points you’ve made it very clear now that you will attack absolutely every single word or phrase you object to BUT you miss engaging with the bigger point. Sure, all your ID buddies love it but, again, you leave the central issue unchallenged.

  216. 216
    kairosfocus says:

    JVL, we both know how rhetoric works, here the impact of the cumulative case being made in Watchmaker. I note, too, how you cannot readily and quickly show Dawkins making a persistent effort to correct what you and others portray as misunderstandings of Weasel and the wider book; remember, we were there and saw the debates and influence, we saw how Weasel was used as an icon. I believe there were onward printings and perhaps editions. Is there fresh text or maybe a corrective footnote? Also, do not overlook the underlying context of Darwin using artificial selection — a form of intelligently designed configuration by controlled breeding for desired characteristics — as a model for his natural selection. KF

  217. 217
    kairosfocus says:

    PS, yes, in the same 1980’s that saw the outbreak of affordable and powerful, usable personal computers, there was a mystique that attached to the machines and what they did. As we all should know. Then, there was the now past wave where genetic and evolutionary algorithms full of active information were used to promote the blind watchmaker thesis. Meanwhile we cannot but note how the issues of pre life chemistry required to get to a metabolising, encapsulated and smart gated automaton with a von Neumann self replicator are being ducked. Again, in your attempted rebuttals, you are leaving out those subtle levers of persuasion tracing to the times, much less the scheme and cumulative case being made up by Dawkins. How else, do you think a targetted search that rewarded gibberish for mere increments of proximity became part of making a case for the blind watchmaker. Itself a loaded phrase. Sorry, the revisionisms do not get away from what this was a part of. KF

  218. 218
    kairosfocus says:

    F/N: Let the Creationists speak for themselves c 1996+

    https://creation.com/a-response-to-richard-dawkins-the-blind-watchmaker

    There are glaring deficiencies in logic in Dawkins’ arguments. It fools laymen who know little of the complexities of living things, but it should not fool anyone who is scientifically literate. Many of those who cite Dawkins’ book to put down creationists know that it is a large dose of bluff. Dawkins is a rabid atheist and his mission in life is to use every tactic, fair or foul, to destroy biblical Christianity. This can be easily documented. His books are self-confessed attempts at indoctrination.

    Note that, for natural selection to work, you have to have a self-reproducing entity. What is the simplest conceivable such unit? It is incredibly complex and full of information. This whole functioning unit has to come into being all at once, before Dawkins’ mutations and natural selection can function (assuming that they then can function at all as Dawkins claims!).

    [–> If you dismiss all at once, kindly explain, on actual observations tracing to the epoch of origins [and answering Tour], how you get from chemistry and physics to a metabolising, encapsulated & smart gated automaton with built in von Neumannkinematic self replicator]

    Fred Hoyle did some calculations on the likelihood of a hypothetical minimum self-reproducing cell coming together, given all the ingredients (this is impossible anyway, by natural, non-enzymatic processes). Hoyle hypothesised a cell of only 400 enzymes/proteins; a real world bacterium has about 2,000! For this hypothetical minimum cell, Hoyle calculated a probability of it forming by natural processes of 1 in 10^40,000.

    To put this in context, there are about 1080 atomic particles in the universe. If the universe actually were 15 billion years old, as Dawkins believes, this would give about 10^18 seconds. If every second and every atomic particle were an experiment in a soup of all the ingredients necessary for the cell to form, this would amount to 10^98 experiments. This is a long way short of any chance of getting our ‘cell’. Let’s make every microsecond an experiment. This gives 10^104 experiments. This is not getting us anywhere. Let’s make every atomic particle in our universe a universe like our own with every atomic particle in those universes and every microsecond an experiment. We now have 10^204 experiments. Hey, we’re still a long way short of 10^40,000 necessary for a reasonable chance of succeeding. The chances of getting our cell are zero!

    [–> again, if you do not like these numbers and the span of 15 BY given, provide an actual empirical observation tracing to the epoch based alternative]

    Furthermore, if you mixed all the ingredients together necessary for a living cell to form, many of those ingredients would react together to prevent anything from happening!

    [–> more broadly, answer Dr Tour]

    Dawkins’ computer morphs have as much relevance to the origin of the information in living things as sand has to the origin of information in a computer memory (the memory chips are made of silicon extracted from sand). Dawkins’ selects things that look like something recognisable and then he claims that what he gets is the result of blind selection (The Blind Watchmaker). How illogical!

    There is no evolutionary answer to the origin of information in living things.

    KF

  219. 219
    kairosfocus says:

    PS: The despised creationists go on:

    1. Over-simplification. Let’s assume a self-replicating molecule is possible. Various origin-of-life proponents have been trying in recent years to get a self-replicating RNA-based enzyme—a ribozyme; but without success. Dawkins proposes a protein-based molecule but in some mysterious, unexplained manner ends up with DNA-based genes. How does he go from one to the other?

    Anyway, for the sake of the argument, how many amino acids would have to be strung together in the proper sequence to get this hypothetical replicator? There are few functional enzymes less than 100 amino acids; most have hundreds. Let’s be kind to Dawkins and assume it is possible to get such with just 100 amino acids. What is the probability of this happening, assuming all the amino acids are present?

    This protein is going to be one incredible protein, because not only has it to catalyse the joining together of the amino acids in a copy of itself, but it has to make them line up in the correct order as well. No such thing is known to exist—amino acids have no affinity for other amino acids of the same type and nor is there any complementary attraction like with the nucleotides of DNA/RNA)!

    Functional enzymes have a 3-dimensional structure, so this enzyme will have to unravel itself to allow amino acids to line up along it in the correct order (which they won’t /don’t) and at the same time act as a catalyst for their polymerisation (while it is unfolded!) Come on Dawkins, you can’t be serious!?

    However, ignoring all such problems, and many others that could be detailed, what is the probability of getting just 100 amino acids lined up in a functional manner? Since there are 20 different amino acids involved, it is (1/20)^100, which is 10^-130. To try to get this in perspective, there are about 10^80 fundamental particles (electrons, etc) in the universe. If every one of those particles were an experiment at getting the right sequence with all the correct amino acids present, every microsecond of 15 billion years, that amounts to 4.7 x 10^103 experiments. We are still 10^27 experiments short of getting an even chance of it happening. In other words, this is IMPOSSIBLE!

    [–> they imply that complex configuration function comes in locally deeply isolated islands in a configuration space. This is a well supported point, attempts to sideline it notwithstanding.]

    How can it be spelt out any more clearly to Dawkins and his like? Dawkins knows this, but persists in his nonsense because it fools laymen and is effective in his proselytising for atheism (he is an avowed anti-Christian cum atheist and takes every opportunity to ridicule the Bible—jibes about copying errors in the New Testament and the virgin birth, for example).

    It’s actually far worse than this. More than the 20 amino acids found in living things have been produced in ‘origin of life’ experiments. It is impossible without enzymes to produce them with the correct chirality—there are left and right-handed forms of amino acids and only left-handed forms are used in living things. The non-enzymic processes available in the pre-biotic soup (only living cells produce enzymes) could only produce equal quantities of both types. In other words there could have been more than 50 amino acids to choose the 20 from. This makes the probability (1/50)^100 or 10^-170! (if we made every elementary particle in our universe another universe the same as this one, we would have 10^160 elementary particles … etc.)

    [–> again, answer James Tour.]

    Dr Aw Swee-Eng and other creationists are absolutely correct about the necessity of the cell (see The origin of life: a critique of current scientific models (PDF)). Without the cellular environment, spontaneous chemical reactions would destroy proteins quicker than they could form. One of the assumptions under-pinning the origin of life scenarios is the absence of oxygen on the early earth, but such an absence of oxygen would also mean an absence of ozone and so UV radiation would destroy complex chemicals such as proteins or nucleic acids (DNA/RNA). Cells have all sorts of mechanisms for protecting the cellular machinery (enzymes, membranes, DNA, RNA, etc.) from oxidative processes. Without these mechanisms, it is impossible to conceive how ‘life’ could form itself.

    By the way, it is impossible that the earth could have been devoid of oxygen for very long (assuming that it could have been at all!) because UV penetrating to the earth in the absence of an ozone layer would split water molecules to produce oxygen. There is no evidence that the earth was ever free of oxygen, and so even the abiotic origin of the amino acids, nucleotides and sugars is impossible. Even with no oxygen, ribose and uracil, critical components of RNA, are extremely difficult to produce and are very unstable in a cell-free environment, so are unlikely to have formed.

    2. Illogical analogy. Dawkins is a master at this. With regard to Dawkins’ argument that given enough time the improbable becomes certain (the lottery analogy, for example), see the article ‘Cheating with Chance’, p. 14 in the March/May 1995 Creation magazine.

    The condensation reaction in which amino acids are polymerised to produce a peptide (protein) is reversible so that all that more time will do is ensure equilibrium conditions, or very little polymerisation! Dr Harold F. Blum, Time’s Arrow and Evolution, 2nd edition, Princeton Uni Press, N.J. said that ‘increased time spans in biological systems will merely increase the probability of equilibrium being set up, and not the probability of improbable reaction products being formed.’

    DNA cannot replicate by itself without enzymes (contrary to Dawkins). You may have heard of the polymerase chain reaction (PCR). This is the process used to copy DNA pieces, or amplify them to large enough quantities to do research on. It is called this because a very complex enzyme called DNA polymerase is necessary for it to happen. Other specified conditions are also necessary, such as pH, absence of substances which would spoil the reaction, osmolality control (salt concentration), temperature, etc. In the cell, a whole suite of enzymes are necessary, including ones such as the helicases, which unravel the double strand to allow copying.

  220. 220
    PyrrhoManiac1 says:

    @201

    Perhaps comparatively by the standards of his time.

    Perhaps, but I think that’s usually pretty weak tea. After all, everyone is a product of their own time. (Think of it this way: it would be a bad question to ask, “who is more a product of their own time, Bull Connor or Martin Luther King Jr?”) Most people accept the social conventions of their own time without much question, especially if they materially or symbolically benefit from those conventions. It takes rare moral courage to stand up and say “no, these practices are wrong!” And it is (unfortunately) not infrequent to see people, even quite brilliant and gifted philosophers and scientists, being even more bigoted and discriminatory than the prevailing social norms would prescribe.

    In any event, the prevailing evidence I’ve seen is that Darwin abhorred slavery but was nevertheless racist. Which, I think, was probably a pretty common view for upper-class Victorians.

    @206

    I am going to add an update on Eugenics, which was a global craze only resisted by a few folks such as G K Chesterton, the big conference logo that identified it as self direction of human evolution . . . which reminds us of its actual roots and associations with Galton the founder of modern Eugenics and his cousins, the Darwin family.

    I hope you can find time to include the attacks on eugenics by prominent biologists such as Ray Lankester and Lancelot Hogben.

    @208

    Lewontin’s commitment to methodological naturalism is, I think, often misunderstood:

    It is not that the methods and institutions of science somehow compel us to accept a material explanation of the phenomenal world, but, on the contrary, that we are forced by our a priori adherence to material causes to create an apparatus of investigation and a set of concepts that produce material explanations, no matter how counterintuitive, no matter how mystifying to the uninitiated. Moreover, that materialism is absolute, for we cannot allow a Divine Foot in the door. The eminent Kant scholar Lewis Beck used to say that anyone who could believe in God could believe in anything. To appeal to an omnipotent deity is to allow that at any moment the regularities of nature may be ruptured, that miracles may happen.

    His point, I think, is that the intelligibility of scientific practices require an a priori exclusion of the kind of occasionalism articulated by theologians like al-Ghaz?l?. If one believes that God can always intervene in the causal order for reasons that are known only to Him and inscrutable to us, then one can never be entirely sure whether the results of an experiment are really giving us insight into the causal structure of the world or if He is manipulating things for reasons that we cannot know.

    I have heard it suggested that al-Ghaz?l?’s occasionalism was somehow responsible for the demise of Islamic science, but I don’t know that for a fact, and I’ve learned the hard way that there’s of subtle (and even not so subtle) Islamophobia in the scholarship on Islamic philosophy and theology.

    Anyway, Lewontin’s a priori methodological naturalism is quite compatible with other conceptions of the Divine, even though he himself was a strict atheist. All that his methodological prescription demands is that we do not believe that God can alter the results of any experiment at any time for reasons that are unknowable to us.

  221. 221
    jerry says:

    Did Dawkins say that Evolution by natural selection is impossible?

    He says cumulative selection is necessary but everyone agrees cumulative selection is nonsense. So natural selection is not the source of Evolution according to Dawkins. See#211.

    That means Dawkins is consistent since he admitted to Ben Stein in Expelled that the best explanation for Evolution was an intelligence. Let’s here it for pro ID Richard Dawkins.

    Aside: I notice that the time stamps on comments are +6 or Central Standard Time.

  222. 222
    JVL says:

    Kairosfocus: we both know how rhetoric work, here the impact of the cumulative case being made in Watchmakers.

    Nice try, using the term rhetoric so as to cast Dr Dawkins writings as being an attempt to influence or persuade as opposed to just trying to explain which is what he is doing. Yes, the whole book may have been an attempt to persuade the readers of the truth of unguided evolution but he did so by trying to explain how it worked.

    He has made some statements but, as you should be aware, he has also said, frequently, that he thinks spending too much time debating and correcting things like Creationism and ID gives too much oxygen to the adherents (meaning they gain attention) and he clearly thinks it’s a waste of time. So, again, nice try for trying to make it look like Dr Dawkins didn’t disagree with your characterisations. Using a bit of rhetoric yourself there maybe? Certainly you’re not presenting all the information and facts available.

    I believe there were onward printings and perhaps editions. Is there fresh text or maybe a corrective footnote?

    There was an extended edition published in the 90s (which you referenced in the stuff you posted funnily enough [I guess you didn’t even read what you posted or you didn’t understand it]); I’m sure you can get a cheap paperback copy or one from your local library. I’m not obligated to catch you up on all the stuff you haven’t bothered to read but criticise anyway.

    Also, do not overlook the underlying context of Darwin using artificial selection — a form of intelligently designed configuration by controlled breeding for desired characteristics — as a model for his natural selection.

    He wasn’t modelling natural selection! I’ve already told you that!

    Look, if you’re not going to read my responses or even read what you yourself have posted then what’s the point of having a conversation?

  223. 223
    Viola Lee says:

    JVL writes, “He wasn’t modelling natural selection! I’ve already told you that! Look, if you’re not going to read my responses or even read what you yourself have posted then what’s the point of having a conversation?”

    Yes, it does make trying to have a discussion fruitless at times. I’ve explained the same thing several time, with quotes, but KF really doesn’t engage with people: he engages with the stereotypes in his own head.

  224. 224
    JVL says:

    Kairosfocus: yes, in the same 1980’s that saw the outbreak of affordable and powerful, usable personal computers, there was a mystique that attached to the machines and what they did. As we all should know.

    More rhetoric.

    Then, there was the now past wave where genetic and evolutionary algorithms full of active information were used to promote the blind watchmaker thesis.

    Really? I must have missed that. What does that have to do with what Dr Dawkins wrote in the mid-80s? Nothing.

    Meanwhile we cannot but note how the issues of pre life chemistry required to get to a metabolising, encapsulated and smart gated automaton with a von Neumann self replicator are being ducked.

    No one is ducking anything, it’s an active area of research! An ID lab wouldn’t be bothering trying would it because you already think it’s impossible. Talk about a science stopper!!

    Again, in your attempted rebuttals, you are leaving out those subtle levers of persuasion tracing to the times, much less the scheme and cumulative case being made up by Dawkins.

    Crazy. The program was simply a way to check out the timing faster than doing it by hand! The people who read his book probably were a lot more computer savvy than the average person and would not have been awed in the slightest. By then I had written many, many much more complicated programmes as had ever computer science graduate, every mathematics graduate, most physics graduates and, for sure, every single person at university level or above was quite familiar with word processors and maybe even spreadsheets and data bases. Maybe you weren’t but you weren’t in American academia at the time. I was. I know. And how many children had played video games by then?

    AND Dawkins didn’t wait to write his book for a time he could capitalise on some vague, maybe sense of mystic magic. That’s crazy. You’re just making stuff up.

    How else, do you think a targetted search that rewarded gibberish for mere increments of proximity became part of making a case for the blind watchmaker. Itself a loaded phrase.

    I’ve already told you several times that Dr Dawkins was illustrating one tiny part or aspect of the overall process of unguided evolutionary theory and that was the power of cumulative selection over pure random search. Clearly you just don’t understand the point. Or you are intentionally not understanding the point. Which is it?

    Sorry, the revisionisms do not get away from what this was a part of.

    Go read the book. Make up your own mind. Your conspiracy laden diatribe, laced with intentional ignorance and cherry picking evidence, is sheer rhetorical garbage. But you could go read the book for yourself. I know you won’t but you can not claim to have given its arguments or its presentation a fair and honest chance until you do. That might point out that maybe even slightly in some tiny way you were incorrect. And you can’t have that now can you?

  225. 225
    JVL says:

    Jerry: Did Dawkins say that Evolution by natural selection is impossible?

    I know you’ve already said you’re not even trying to have a real conversation but does that excuse saying something that stupid? What he said was you need cumulative selection AND inheritable variation. You’ve been commenting here how long and you still don’t even understand the basic premises?

    He says cumulative selection is necessary but everyone agrees cumulative selection is nonsense.

    Cumulative selection is not nonsense!! That’s a core part of the whole unguided evolutionary theory! Incredible that you don’t even get the simplest bits.

    That means Dawkins is consistent since he admitted to Ben Stein in Expelled that the best explanation for Evolution was an intelligence.

    No, he did not say that. Good lord, you can’t even report easy to check things accurately!!

    You’re sounding more and more like a plant trying to make ID proponents look stupid. I can think of no other explanation for some of the ridiculous things you say if you really have been paying attention over the last decade and a half. Fool or knave; which is it?

  226. 226
    Sir Giles says:

    KF: notice the studious failure to admit that artificial selection is a form of intelligent design.

    This has to be one of the stupidest comments ever posted at UD. Unless I have missed the claim that ID is the intelligent selection of undesigned phenotypic variation.

    If humans are part of nature, which they are, then artificial selection is just a specific subset of natural selection.

  227. 227
    PyrrhoManiac1 says:

    @226

    I don’t think it’s stupid to point out that artificial selection involves a rational agent to provide the criteria for what counts as a desirable trait. Maybe trivially obvious, but not stupid.

    But it does perhaps miss the point of Darwin’s (and Wallace’s) original insight: that environmental interactions (organisms interacting with conspecifics, with other species, and with physical conditions) can act as an iterated filter analogous to the role played by aesthetic or utilitarian criteria in selective breeding.

  228. 228
    whistler says:

    KF
    We do not recall Dawkins standing up and saying to his enthusiasts, no, no, no you got it wrong, I am using an example of a pre-loaded target to simply show that strings will converge to it if proximity is rewarded. What we saw was championing of evolutionism and Weasel was used as an icon in the days when a computer program already had a mystique, an almost magical aura.

    With Weasel software Dawkins made the case for intelligent design but said that is evidence for evolution . This is how mass hypnosis looks like.

  229. 229
    Viola Lee says:

    Whistler, did you read posts 137, 145, and 168, and understand the distinction between what Dawkins was claiming and what he was not claiming? He specifically explained the ways in which Weasel was NOT like evolution.

  230. 230
    Viola Lee says:

    re 190, to hnorman:

    You write,

    The pattern for the weasel is:
    Change,
    Change,
    Change,
    Change,
    Feedback.
    You don’t have an iteration until you get feedback. It is only the last step – the establishment of function – that can be extrapolated into the world of biology.

    I don’t understand this. At every generation in Weasel there is feedback: the number of letters that match the target string. Each cycle the pattern is repeated: crate a generation of children, pick the child that most closely resembles the target, and make that new parent. That is an iterative process.

    Weasel has nothing to do with function. The strings, including the target string (which could be a random set of characters and not the Weasel sentence), are not meant to represent function. Dawkins was not intended the Weasel string to be something that could be “extrapolated into biology”.

    Also, at 211, you quote Dawkins further. (I appreciate it that you’ve looked a more than just the part describing Weasel.)

    211
    There is a big difference, then, between cumulative selection (in which each improvement, however slight, is used as a basis for future building), and single-step selection (in which each new ‘try’ is a fresh one). If evolutionary progress had to rely on single-step selection, it would never have got anywhere. If, however, there was any way in which the necessary conditions for cumulative selection could have been set up by the blind forces of nature, strange and wonderful might have been the consequences….

    The first sentence is a re-statement of the concept Weasel was intended to illustrate: that cumulative steps in response to a selection criteria is powerful. The bolded part is the part that distinguishes Weasel from a model for evolution. Weasel uses an artificial (or intelligent) selection criteria, and nature uses a different type of selection criteria, one which, according to Dawkins, is non-intelligent.

    I’m not arguing that Dawkins is right or wrong about nature: what I am trying to make clear is that Dawkins did not intend Weasel to model natural selection

  231. 231
    JVL says:

    Whistler: With Weasel software Dawkins made the case for intelligent design but said that is evidence for evolution . This is how mass hypnosis looks like.

    You people just don’t even read our responses! And you clearly haven’t read Dr Dawkins’ book or didn’t understand it if you did. Dr Dawkins wrote his programme to show the power of cumulative selection vs random generation. He was very clear about that, he said he was only using an artificial case to make a narrow, specific point.

    The only hypnosis going on here is all of you who never read the book or couldn’t understand the basic argument made around this one particular aspect of unguided evolutionary theory. You’re all hypnotised to believe things that weren’t said. And will you go an read the actual text to find out? Of course not. That’s intellectual dishonesty, pure and simple. And it’s so far from scientific it’s not even on the scale. You should be ashamed of yourselves.

  232. 232
    jerry says:

    This has to be one of the stupidest comments ever posted at UD

    Actually, it is quite accurate.

    Artificial selection is a form of cumulative selection which is essentially intelligent design. The difference is that the change in artificial selection is a shuffling of alleles. Where cumulative selection could include that or it could include variations to the genome in addition to allele shuffling. That makes your comment inaccurate and Kf’s correct.

    Both artificial selection and cumulative selection are part of genetics. Therefore cumulative selection is genetics and not Evolution.

    Interesting for someone who just started to comment, that something would be classified as stupidest comment ever.

  233. 233
    JVL says:

    Jerry: Therefore cumulative selection is genetics and not Evolution.

    Cumulative selection is deciding who gets to reproduce and have their variation continue on into the next generation and that’s part of evolution.

    You can only look at morphological variation if you like. But the question then is: where do those morphological variations come from?

    If you have two children and one has blue eyes and one has brown eyes where is that variation determined? If one is normal but one has Down’s syndrome where is that variation determined? If one is tall and one is short where is that variation determined? If one has a hairy chest and the other does not where is that variation determined? If one is blonde and the other brunette where is that variation determined?

  234. 234
    Sir Giles says:

    Jerry: Interesting for someone who just started to comment, that something would be classified as stupidest comment ever.

    I can only go by what I have seen. At least one of my comments has been classified as the stupidest comment on UD. And by comparison, KF’s was more stupid. Although, I must say, the following ranks right up there.

    Therefore cumulative selection is genetics and not Evolution.

  235. 235
    jerry says:

    I must say, the following ranks right up there.

    But my comment was absolutely true.

    Artificial selection and cumulative selection only make changes to the genome. That is genetics. There is zero proof that changes to the genome have ever led to anything really new. So how can that be Evolution?

    So what does that make your comment? Maybe you should refrain from commenting and ask question since you do not understand what is going on. Others should do that too.

  236. 236
    JVL says:

    Jerry: Artificial selection and cumulative selection only make changes to the genome.

    Right, so humans who used cumulative selection to create all the dog breeds we see nowadays did so how exactly? And it was human who used cumulative selection to take a species of wild cabbage and turned it into all the brassicas we have naw and that worked how exactly? And horse breeders who decide who gets to mate with who are doing what exactly?

    Clearly cumulative selection can lead to morphological changes. If those differences aren’t stored in the genome then where are they stored?

    I don’t think you’ve really thought this through. OR I’m right and you’re just a troll trying to make ID look particularly stupid.

  237. 237
    PyrrhoManiac1 says:

    Not that this is super-relevant, but when I read The Blind Watchmaker (which was a very long time ago), it was pretty obvious to me that WEASEL and the biomorphs were just intended as examples of artificial selection. They were supposed to improve on Darwin’s pigeon-breeding only by virtue of taking minutes or hours rather than years to observe the intended effects.

    And I say that as someone with zero respect for Dawkins at all.

    Can we please move on to talking about anything else at all?

  238. 238
    JVL says:

    PyrrhoManiac1: Can we please move on to talking about anything else at all?

    You mean leaving stupid statements unchallenged?

  239. 239
    relatd says:

    Allow me to stop the “discussion.” This has rarely been about science, it’s mostly about ideology or worldview.

    The anti-ID side is consistently like this to IDers:

    You, you cherry picker!

    Liar! Dishonest.

    You don’t think like I do so you’re wrong!

    You make stupid comments.

    YOU don’t want to have a discussion, with vague hints of you are bad/evil.

    The pro-ID side has evidence of Design. Evolution is not a self-starting, self-running engine. Only a designer can design, can create. That means an Intelligent entity as opposed to nothing. As opposed to chance.

    Example:

    Who made this watch?

    “A blind man.”

  240. 240
    Querius says:

    Alan Fox @195,
    No. But the accusation Querius makes by quotemining Darwin is that Charles Darwin personally was a racist. Which is nonsense.
    Quote mining???

    I guess I shouldn’t be surprised that you’re defending racism. What is it about “exterminate and replace the savage races” that you don’t get?

    You apparently excuse Darwin’s conclusion that “the negro or Australian” is closer to “the gorilla” than to the “civilized races of man.” Or maybe you even agree with him.

    Incredibly, you can’t bring yourself to reject Darwin’s conclusion that “Such are the facts . . . in regard to the wonderful instinct of making slaves.”

    Disgusting.

    -Q

  241. 241
    Querius says:

    Alan Fox @196,

    As Sir Giles points out, this is also nonsense. Darwin’s alleged racism has nothing to do with whether evolutionary theory is an accurate model.

    “Alleged” racism? You’ve seen it repeatedly in his own words and in a book dedicated to the concept, which you’ve never read.

    Darwinism has been repeatedly falsified. There doesn’t seem to be a month that goes by without an article of paper indicating the surprise of evolutionary biologists at some new discovery.

    So the next question is your position on Eugenics. In other words, do you believe that it’s in humanity’s best interests to guide its own evolution? For example, are you in favor of preventing hemophiliacs from having biological children?

    -Q

  242. 242
    jerry says:

    Can we please move on to talking about anything else at all?

    We now have racism.

    What would you prefer to talk about?

    Aside: I continually point out that much of what gets posted here are just personal opinions and gotchas to make an ID person look bad. It has little to do with ID. Kf and BA post lots of hard material though some are hard to read.

    Aside2: Dawkins used the word cumulative over 90 times in the Blind Watchmaker. So he obviously thinks the concept important.

  243. 243
    JVL says:

    Relatd: Liar! Dishonest.

    Anytime you only consider some of the evidence you are cherry picking.

    You don’t think like I do so you’re wrong!

    That’s not why I criticise people’s statements; it’s because they have misinterpreted something that is easy to verify or they have ignored (intentionally?) some of the pertinent evidence.

    You make stupid comments.

    Some people do make stupid comments. Especially when they claimed to have read such and such source but can’t get the general statements made in that source correct.

    YOU don’t want to have a discussion, with vague hints of you are bad/evil.

    Jerry specifically told me he didn’t want to have a discussion. Talk to him about that.

    The pro-ID side has evidence of Design.

    It’s just not very good. It’s all interpretations of unknown or poorly understood processes and ‘god of the gaps’.

    Evolution is not a self-starting, self-running engine.

    That’s what it claims to be. And, so far, all the data and evidence and research is consistent with it all being unguided.

    Only a designer can design, can create. That means an Intelligent entity as opposed to nothing. As opposed to chance.

    Only in your experience is not a valid scientific argument. Just like when people claimed there could be no black swans. Ooops.

  244. 244
    Querius says:

    JVL @200,

    Querius: Yes, but just as forensic detective work, the conclusions are always based on circumstantial evidence evaluated on likelihood.
    JVL: In which case the conclusion will always have to be qualified: most likely, probably, etc. Correct?

    Correct. But the tentative conclusion must provide solid evidence rather than ideology in the form of science fantasy. The tentative conclusion should not move beyond the evidence, which is entirely in the domain of legitimate hypotheses that can be tested against new evidence, pro and con.

    Have you read the hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of journal articles that have been produced in the last decades that lend support to some of the conclusions you poo-poo?

    Yes, I have and continue to do so. As a result, I’d started questioning my belief in Darwinism in the college biology classes I took, later dropping it by the time I finished college.

    There seems to be several built-in mechanisms that promote adaptation within limits. These are considered in detail in Evolution 2.0. (https://evo2.org/)

    What? Cnidaria is a whole phylum which includes over 11,000 species.

    Correct again. You find this incredible because you don’t understand its implications. Also, you should know that there’s a good reason why you don’t find scientific papers referencing Wikipedia.

    I guess you never bothered to watch Dr. James Tour’s excellent OOL video, which would go a long way to address your ignorance on the subject of the evolutionary OOL issues.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v36_v4hsB-Y&t=140s

    And what I “poo-poo” is more-accurately termed feces. At least by your doctor.

    -Q

  245. 245
    PyrrhoManiac1 says:

    @196

    As Sir Giles points out, this is also nonsense. Darwin’s alleged racism has nothing to do with whether evolutionary theory is an accurate model.

    Darwin’s racism is pretty well-documented. He very clearly thought that non-White races were less intellectually and morally sophisticated than Europeans. This shouldn’t even be controversial — and it’s completely consistent with his support for abolitionism. (After all, one can think it’s morally wrong to eat animals and still not think that they should have the right to vote.)

    Is his racism irrelevant to how we should understand evolutionary theory today? I would say so, yes. But it’s not irrelevant if we’re talking about the history of science or the history of how science and culture have interacted. So it all depends on what we’re talking about — and why.

    For that matter, there were even in the 19th century there were defenders of evolution who were scientific racists and others who weren’t. As remains the case today.

  246. 246
    JVL says:

    Jerry: I continually point out that much of what gets posted here are just personal opinions and gotchas to make an ID person look bad. It has little to do with ID. Kf and BA post lots of hard material though some are hard to read.

    Very hard to read. But not as funny as some of your posts. Or your inability to respond to questions.

    Dawkins used the word cumulative over 90 times in the Blind Watchmaker. So he obviously thinks the concept important.

    Yah think? 90 times! Wow. I wonder how often he used the word ‘mutation’? Or ‘evolution’? Or ‘creationism’? Or ‘designed’?

  247. 247
    Querius says:

    Kairosfocus @208 and 217,

    Regarding the “blind watchmaker” and “the weasel,” you make good points. What’s missing from the discussion is that the blind watchmaker doesn’t start with the parts to the watch. The blind watchmaker creates parts at random and doesn’t have a watch in mind. The result could be a chainsaw, jet engine, or pogo stick but the parts are all mixed together.

    Similarly, “the weasel” assumes the alphabet, where in real life each letter is as hard to make as a watch, and putting them together requires one to start over from scratch each time the phrase doesn’t make sense.

    A better analogy is finding a book with a typo it in and concluding that the entire book “musta” evolved from random letters.

    -Q

  248. 248
    relatd says:

    JVL at 243,

    “That’s what it claims to be. And, so far, all the data and evidence and research is consistent with it all being unguided.”

    I see you’re safe and secure behind your barricade. Expect no visitors aside from those that agree with you 100%. Meanwhile, I regard your dismissal of ID as irrational or ideologically motivated, nothing more.

  249. 249
    jerry says:

    Jerry specifically told me he didn’t want to have a discussion. Talk to him about that.

    I never said that.

    I said I’m not here to have a discussion. That’s very different from participating in one if it is fruitful. If one happens and one learns that is fine.

    My experience is that few really want to learn/understand and discuss. They want to pontificate, obfuscate or find fault mostly with inane comments or ignorance. And then many respond to the inane comments. That describes about 90% of the comments here.

    A good example is my thesis that there is an answer to whether there had been natural Evolution or not. Does a slow accumulation of changes that are selected lead to new functionality is definitely testable. Only one person so far has responded. I’ve made is several times.

    The only one who responded was Ann Gauger who said it was a lot of work but was being done.

    aside: it’s perfectly ok to occasionally respond to inane comments if is a way to make a clarification or a particular point.

  250. 250
    Alan Fox says:

    I guess I shouldn’t be surprised that you’re defending racism. What is it about “exterminate and replace the savage races” that you don’t get?

    What you don’t get, Querius, is that current evolutionary theory works whether Charles Darwin can in some way shown to be a closet racist or not.

    So can we disentangle your comments, so that Darwin’s alleged racism is one issue and whether evolutionary theory is a valid, useful theory or not.

    Oh, and The descent of man, and selection in relation to sex. is freely available to read on line. I can’t claim to have read it all, but I have dipped in to it. Fascinating! I’ll see if I can match your quotes to the actual text, then we shall see whether the context supports your frothed-up view.

  251. 251
    relatd says:

    Querius at 247,

    You should know by now that this is only about a commitment to a failed theory, nothing more. And yes, like a man with a saw who is sawing away the branch he’s sitting on, there will no surrender until the branch breaks and hits the ground, or until prominent journals in the field admit defeat, whichever comes first.

  252. 252
    Alan Fox says:

    Is his racism irrelevant to how we should understand evolutionary theory today? I would say so, yes.

    The racist allegation arises from his second work on evolution, The Descent of Man, and Selection in Relation to Sex. Looking through the whole volume, I’m not convinced that accusing Darwin of racism on the strength of that book is justified. The language is often paternalistic, condescending and written from the wealthy white male perspective, sure, but as I said, by the standards of his time, not unusual.

  253. 253
    PyrrhoManiac1 says:

    @252

    Looking through the whole volume, I’m not convinced that accusing Darwin of racism on the strength of that book is justified. The language is often paternalistic, condescending and written from the wealthy white male perspective, sure, but as I said, by the standards of his time, not unusual.

    Sure, but “the standards of his time” were really pretty racist! I mean, there were African and Asian people on display in zoos during his life-time.

    I don’t think it does us any good to downplay or mitigate the fact that Darwin accepted without much question or thought that the British Empire had the right to dominate the planet, and what that really meant for the millions of non-White people throughout the Global South who lived under British rule.

    Was he more racist than the average upper-class Victorian gentleman? No — he was precisely as racist as the average upper-class Victorian gentleman. That’s the issue, and pretending otherwise does us no favors, especially when Darwinism has been invoked to justify racism ever since the 1850s and remains so even today.

  254. 254
    Alan Fox says:

    Darwin accepted without much question or thought that the British Empire had the right to dominate the planet…

    I grew up in the heart of England (Warwickshire, Shakespeare’s England) and that was the pervasive view a century after Darwin.

    Partly why I don’t live there any more. Anyway, Querius started it!

  255. 255
    jerry says:

    My guess is. that Darwin would be a very different person today.

    I suspect that he would reject racism as well as his own theories on biological change. To accuse Darwin of racism is what is called “presentism” today. What should count is the evidence/lack of it backing up his ideas on biological change.

  256. 256
    Querius says:

    PyrrhoManiac1 @220,

    Perhaps comparatively by the standards of his time.

    Perhaps, but I think that’s usually pretty weak tea. After all, everyone is a product of their own time. (Think of it this way: it would be a bad question to ask, “who is more a product of their own time, Bull Connor or Martin Luther King Jr?”) Most people accept the social conventions of their own time without much question, especially if they materially or symbolically benefit from those conventions. It takes rare moral courage to stand up and say “no, these practices are wrong!” And it is (unfortunately) not infrequent to see people, even quite brilliant and gifted philosophers and scientists, being even more bigoted and discriminatory than the prevailing social norms would prescribe.

    In any event, the prevailing evidence I’ve seen is that Darwin abhorred slavery but was nevertheless racist. Which, I think, was probably a pretty common view for upper-class Victorians.

    Well stated! And from my reading of Darwin’s works, I agree with your last statement as an accurate representation. He was indeed appalled by the abusive treatment of slaves by his personal observations in Brazil.

    What I find interesting is that Darwinist ideologues absolutely refuse to acknowledge any criticism of their messiah (and yes, I mean this in a quasi-religious context), Charles Darwin, or they find some “weak tea” rationalization of his clearly racist views expressed in both The Descent of Man and his letters.

    A better approach would be to dispassionately examine the evidence regardless of its broader ideological implications. This would at least help us understand more scientifically what we think we know apart from what we absolutely don’t know.

    -Q

  257. 257
  258. 258
    Alan Fox says:

    To accuse Darwin of racism is what is called “presentism” today.

    Thanks, Jerry. I did not know there was a word for it.

  259. 259
    JVL says:

    Querius: The blind watchmaker creates parts at random and doesn’t have a watch in mind. The result could be a chainsaw, jet engine, or pogo stick but the parts are all mixed together.

    Like I’ve already said: despite your claims to have spent time studying unguided evolution you clearly have a very erroneous grasp on its basic tenets.

    Similarly, “the weasel” assumes the alphabet, where in real life each letter is as hard to make as a watch, and putting them together requires one to start over from scratch each time the phrase doesn’t make sense.

    You don’t have to dig your hole any deeper but if that’s what you want . . .

  260. 260
    JVL says:

    Relatd: I see you’re safe and secure behind your barricade. Expect no visitors aside from those that agree with you 100%. Meanwhile, I regard your dismissal of ID as irrational or ideologically motivated, nothing more.

    What I said was true: all the data and evidence is consistent with the unguided evolutionary theory. And I notice that you didn’t bring up any specific reasons to doubt that, you just chose to throw brickbats which you think will be applauded by your fellow believers. Very nice. Not very scientific but it looks good on the Christmas cards.

    You should know by now that this is only about a commitment to a failed theory, nothing more. And yes, like a man with a saw who is sawing away the branch he’s sitting on, there will no surrender until the branch breaks and hits the ground, or until prominent journals in the field admit defeat, whichever comes first.

    Ignoring the fact that there are many, many journals and hundreds if not thousands of journal articles published every year support the unguided evolutionary theory. How much ID research is being done? What is the ID research agenda? How many journals do they have? Hello? Have you got an answer?

  261. 261
    JVL says:

    Jerry: I said I’m not here to have a discussion. That’s very different from participating in one if it is fruitful. If one happens and one learns that is fine.

    Nice weasel words. It gives you the chance to walk away if you can’t answer a question. Which you have avoided doing many, many times. Haven’t you? You just justify it by saying to yourself: this isn’t fruitful. As if it’s only up to you to decide that.

    A good example is my thesis that there is an answer to whether there had been natural Evolution or not. Does a slow accumulation of changes that are selected lead to new functionality is definitely testable. Only one person so far has responded. I’ve made is several times.

    I remember. And I did ask: why is it that the ID community hasn’t pursued this? I guess you’ve forgotten that as well.

    Meanwhile, in this thread, I have asked you several times where certain morphological changes are determined. Your response . . . . nil. I have pointed out that cumulative selection can definitely lead to morphological changes as has been clearly documented despite your claims to the contrary. Your response . . . nada.

    Conclusion: you only want to have a discussion when your own beliefs and statements are not brought into question; in that case you ignore all such queries and questions. My guess: you can’t answer the questions posed so you ignore them telling yourself they are not fruitful. Is that about it?

  262. 262
    JVL says:

    Querius: What I find interesting is that Darwinist ideologues absolutely refuse to acknowledge any criticism of their messiah

    That is not true. The reason for the negative reaction is because questioning Darwin’s personal ethics is almost always used as a reason to doubt his theory. And that’s very bad reasoning. That’s attacking the messenger.

    Darwin would probably be considered racist today IF he said the same things he did in the 19th century. So would Abraham Lincoln (born at the same time as Darwin). And Thomas Jefferson. And George Washington. And all the US Founding Fathers who did not take a stand against slavery in their formulation of the US Constitution or the Bill of Rights. A lot of people were racist then, and up until the end of the 19th century. A lot of people are still racist now. I do not accept racism nor do I apologise for that view.

    But that has NOTHING to do with whether or not Darwin was correct about how life evolved on Earth. And when people try and use his (probably) racist views as an argument against his theory . . . then expect to be disrespected for committing a logical fallacy.

  263. 263
    JVL says:

    Abraham Lincoln:

    “I will say, then, that I am not, nor ever have been, in favor of bringing about in any way the social and political equality of the white and black races — that I am not, nor ever have been, in favor of making voters or jurors of Negroes, nor of qualifying them to hold office, nor to intermarry with white people; and I will say in addition to this, that there is a physical difference between the white and black races which I believe will forever forbid the two races living together on terms of social and political equality. And inasmuch as they cannot so live, while they do remain together there must be the position of superior and inferior, and I, as much as any other man, am in favor of having the superior position assigned to the white race.”

    “There is no reason in the world why the Negro is not entitled to all the natural rights enumerated in the Declaration of Independence, the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. I hold that he is as much entitled to these as the white man. I agree with Judge Douglas he is not my equal in many respects-certainly not in color, perhaps not in moral or intellectual endowment. But in the right to eat the bread, without the leave of anybody else, which his own hand earns, he is my equal and the equal of Judge Douglas, and the equal of every living man.”

    Frederick Douglass:

    “We saw him, measured him, and estimated him; not by stray utterances to injudicious and tedious delegations . . . not by isolated facts torn from their connection; not by any partial and imperfect glimpses, caught at inopportune moments; but by a broad survey, in the light of the stern logic of great events, and in view of that divinity which shapes our ends, rough hew them how we will, we came to the conclusion that the hour and the man of our redemption had somehow met in the person of Abraham Lincoln.”

  264. 264
    Querius says:

    PyrrhoManiac1 @253,

    Was he more racist than the average upper-class Victorian gentleman? No — he was precisely as racist as the average upper-class Victorian gentleman. That’s the issue, and pretending otherwise does us no favors, especially when Darwinism has been invoked to justify racism ever since the 1850s and remains so even today.

    Once again, beautifully and accurately stated! I think it’s indeed necessary to divide the man, his personal motives, and the European supremacist prejudices of the time from the hypothesis he promoted.

    What I’ve been able to demonstrate here with the cooperation of JVL, Alan Fox, and others, is the ideological basis behind blind acceptance of everything Darwin stood for and the immediate rush to Darwin’s defense regardless.

    This is why the subject of Eugenics, raised in the OP, and mentioned several times, is germane to the discussion. It’s seemingly a logical extension of Charles Darwin’s conclusions in The Descent of Man. The questions remain

    1. If Darwinism is true, does Eugenics naturally follow?

    2. If we can control the evolution of humanity, are we then morally obligated to do so?

    3. If human overpopulation threatens to destroy the carrying capacity of our biome, are we morally obligated to limit or even “cull” the human population of the earth?

    -Q

  265. 265
    Querius says:

    JVL @262,

    So you repudiate Charles Darwin’s conclusions in The Descent of Man?

    -Q

  266. 266
    JVL says:

    Querius: So you repudiate Charles Darwin’s conclusions in The Descent of Man?

    Which specific conclusions?

    1. If Darwinism is true, does Eugenics naturally follow?

    No, Eugenics is a political and ethical and sociological position not a scientific one. Unguided evolutionary theory tells you how biology works not how society should work.

    2. If we can control the evolution of humanity, are we then morally obligated to do so?

    Clearly not, as Darwin himself noted. But we have done some lovely things to protect all humans, like developing vaccines. Vaccines deniers will deny that of course.

    3. If human overpopulation threatens to destroy the carrying capacity of our biome, are we morally obligated to limit or even “cull” the human population of the earth?

    By what morals would that be the case?

  267. 267
    PyrrhoManiac1 says:

    @264

    1. If Darwinism is true, does Eugenics naturally follow?

    No, not at all. But also: the modern synthesis version of evolutionary theory entails that eugenics cannot succeed.

    2. If we can control the evolution of humanity, are we then morally obligated to do so?

    I don’t think so — our moral obligations have a logically different ground than evolutionary theory. Even if we could control human evolution (which I very much doubt!), a moral obligation to do so could only follow from the nature of moral obligations as such.

    3. If human overpopulation threatens to destroy the carrying capacity of our biome, are we morally obligated to limit or even “cull” the human population of the earth?

    Perhaps as the very last, most desperate move, after everything else has failed — perhaps if the extinction of all of humanity is the only alternative.

  268. 268
    ram says:

    Morality? What the hell does that mean in the materialist universe?

    If I want to rape your sister and steal your bicycle, tell me why I “shouldn’t.”

    You may not like it, but why should I care?

  269. 269
    JVL says:

    Ram: Morality? What the hell does that mean in the materialist universe? If I want to rape your sister and steal your bicycle, tell me why I “shouldn’t.”

    Gee Ram clearly, in your febrile and childish mind, you have some greater morality which you think says you shouldn’t do those things whereas you expect me not to be able to say the same.

    Has it ever occurred to you that if you need the threat of hell to be a good person then you’re just a bad person on a leash?

    I don’t need that threat to treat my fellow human beings the way they wish to be treated. I don’t look for some higher authority to tell me how to treat them, I ask them how they wish to be treated. They don’t want to be killed, they don’t want to be enslaved, they don’t want to be exploited or made fun of or marginalised or robbed or raped or stolen from.

    You need someone to tell you those things? I feel really sorry for you.

  270. 270
    Sir Giles says:

    Ram: If I want to rape your sister and steal your bicycle, tell me why I “shouldn’t.”

    Because it would not be in your best interest to look over your shoulder for the rest of your life.

  271. 271
    chuckdarwin says:

    Re: The topic of Darwin and racism
    Perseveration is indicia of mental illness…….

  272. 272
    relatd says:

    JVL at 269,

    Hey. You should drop this site and post on pro-evolution sites. I mean, it make sense. You can avoid those annoying IDers and a good time would be had by all.

  273. 273
    Viola Lee says:

    I’m so glad we finally got away from that boring Weasel discussion and on to something substantial like the nature of morality! (not) 🙂

  274. 274
    Sir Giles says:

    VL: I’m so glad we finally got away from that boring Weasel discussion and on to something substantial like the nature of morality! (not) ?

    That does appear to be a recurring trend here. And by trend, I mean pathological obsession.

  275. 275
    Querius says:

    PyrrhoManiac1 @267,

    1. If Darwinism is true, does Eugenics naturally follow?

    No, not at all. But also: the modern synthesis version of evolutionary theory entails that eugenics cannot succeed.

    Really? Why do you say, “cannot succeed”?

    For example, do you think it’s okay for hemophiliacs to biologically reproduce rather than adopt children instead?

    -Q

  276. 276
    Sir Giles says:

    Querius: For example, do you think it’s okay for hemophiliacs to biologically reproduce rather than adopt children instead?

    Sure. I have two beautiful grand-nieces because my niece and her hemophiliac partner decided to reproduce. They used in-vitro and pre-screened so that only female fetuses were implanted.

  277. 277
    Viola Lee says:

    Very interesting, SG. I have a good friend who is an in vitro doctor, and he has fascinating stories to tell about situations he’s had. He’s very committed to helping families have children under difficult circumstances.

  278. 278
    Sir Giles says:

    VL, yes, in-vitro is a godsend for thousands of couples. Although my grand-nieces are healthy, they may have to make their own decisions because they both carry the hemophiliac gene and any son they have will have a 50% chance of being hemophiliac. If they want kids, hey have three options. 1) use in-vitro and only implant the female embryos: 2) get pregnant and abort if it is male; or 3) get pregnant and have the baby regardless of gender. I do not envy them regardless of the decision they make but they will certainly be supported by their family regardless of the choice.

  279. 279
    Viola Lee says:

    It is very common, according to my friend, for a couple with recessive gene issues to fertilize a number of eggs, let them grow to about eight cells I think, test them for the recessive gene, which might not be a gender specific. issue, and then implant the best embryo. I helped my friend put together a spreadsheet one time of a couple of years of data and learned a lot about how they grade embryos for health and viability, test them genetically, take the age and health of the mother into consideration, etc. Fascinating and important work.

  280. 280
    Sir Giles says:

    VL: Fascinating and important work.

    I agree. But I have the feeling that there are a few commenters here who would find the whole idea horrendous and objectively immoral. 🙂

  281. 281
    Viola Lee says:

    I’d rather keep the focus here on the value the work has for families who would like to have children.

  282. 282
    Sir Giles says:

    VL: I’d rather keep the focus here on the value the work has for families who would like to have children.

    So would I. But we both know that won’t happen.

  283. 283
    hnorman42 says:

    Viola regarding the weasel –
    I have been reviewing your comments as well as those of a few others. I have a few thoughts.

    The simulation works as an illustration of intelligent design. This may be all you’re claiming but I’m not sure. An intelligent agent who knows what to throw away and what to keep can certainly reach a target. This would make sense if Dawkins was presenting an argument in the following form.
    (1) Selection can do wonderful things.
    (2) Here’s an example of how an intelligent agent does it.
    (3) If blind forces could work the same way it could do wonderful things as well.
    (4) But they can. Here’s how they do it.

    He seems to give us steps 1 through 3 but for 4 he just gives us the bald assertion that they can do it.

    I am repeating the last sentence that you requoted as well as the one after it.

    If, however, there was any way in which the necessary conditions for cumulative selection could have been set up by the blind forces of nature, strange and wonderful might have been the consequences. As a matter of fact that is exactly what happened on this planet, and we ourselves are among the most recent, if not the most wonderful, of those consequences.

    Dawkins clearly thought he was describing a process that could be extrapolated into biology.
    —-
    Another point: I was confused by something you wrote at 183 –

    One is that many (most) arguments I have read about how something is impossible because the probability of it happening is so small are working on the assumption that a whole bunch of parts came together independently at one trial, like throwing a whole bunch of coins at once, rather than through a series of selected steps and with huge populations.

    If the weasel is in any way relevant here, then you have extrapolated it to biology, and successfully I might add. But how does it do so? Only an intelligent agent can hold onto parts for what they might accomplish later on.
    ——
    Another point. I’m always struck by how much confusion a word can cause when it can be used in different senses. I didn’t think that cumulative selection could be accomplished by blind evolution but some descriptions of it seemed valid. Cumulative selection is simply a set of survival events that retain certain things for reasons various and sundry because they provided an advantage at the time. The weasel does not model cumulative selection but contingent selection – or if you will — cumulative intelligent selection. The weasel does not select for advantage. It selects for a concept that will not yield an advantage until fully realized – selection with foresight. And that is the province of the intelligent designer.

  284. 284
    kairosfocus says:

    JVL, et al, it is obvious that we need to put some facts on the table to clear away a lot of after the fact revisionism.

    First, what Mr Dawkins was up to in Weasel, which he explicitly admits is an exercise in persuasion, i.e. rhetoric, having promoted Darwinism from theory to be critically assessed to truth:

    For reasons that are not entirely clear to me, Darwinism seems more in need of advocacy than similarly established truths in other branches of science. [ Preface, BW, xv]

    Instantly, given the pessimistic induction, no scientific theory has that epistemic level of warrant: the true mindset of science is to be open ended, recognising the limitations of the logic of inference to the best current explanation involved, i.e. as Newtonian Dynamics irrevocably established, empirical reliability is not a proxy for ultimate truth; we may hope or believe but such ultimacy is not in our gift. Mr Dawkins is simply wrong, making an assertion of a rhetorician at best; out to lock in ideology, not a genuine effort of science.

    He then turns his rhetorical guns on the inference to design on signs, but fails to see that if he makes a point it would establish too much, self referential, mind discrediting grand delusion thence collapse of confidence in any significant intellectual activity involving inference on evidence, thus of course science in general:

    It is almost as if the human brain were specifically designed to
    misunderstand Darwinism, and to find it hard to believe
    . Take, for instance, the issue of ‘chance’, often dramatized as blind chance. The great majority of people that attack Darwinism leap with almost unseemly eagerness to the mistaken idea that there is nothing other than random chance in it. Since living complexity embodies the very antithesis of chance, if you think that Darwinism is tantamount to chance you’ll obviously find it easy to refute Darwinism! One of my tasks will be to destroy this eagerly believed myth that Darwinism is a theory of ‘chance’. [p. xv]

    He builds on this seemingly modest suggestion, in a galloping hypothesis game:

    A third respect in which our brains seem predisposed to resist Darwinism stems from our great success as creative designers. Our world is dominated by feats of engineering and works of art. We are entirely accustomed to the idea that complex elegance is an indicator of premeditated, Grafted design. This is probably the most powerful reason for the belief, held by the vast majority of people that have ever lived, in some kind of supernatural deity. It took a very large leap of the imagination for Darwin and Wallace to see that, contrary to all intuition, there is another way and, once you have understood it, a far more plausible way, for complex ‘design’ to arise out of primeval simplicity. A leap of the imagination so large that, to this day, many people seem still unwilling to make it. It is the main purpose of this book to help the reader to make this leap.

    Here, in his characteristically breezy and superficial manner, he tries to brush aside the basis of inductive reasoning on inference to the best, observational evidence backed explanation. In so doing, he also tries to brush aside Newton’s rule that explanatory hypotheses must be actually observed to have the causal power that we are going to use to explain what we did not observe due to it being in the remote distance or remote past etc. Otherwise, the door is open to power backed imposition of essentially ideological speculation dressed up in a lab coat.

    Again, here is Lyell pointing to the principle, in the title of a book:

    PRINCIPLES OF GEOLOGY:

    BEING

    AN INQUIRY HOW FAR THE FORMER CHANGES OF THE EARTH’S SURFACE ARE REFERABLE TO CAUSES NOW IN OPERATION. [–> appeal to Newton’s Rules, in the title of the work]

    BY

    CHARLES LYELL, Esq, F.R.S.

    PRESIDENT OF THE GEOLOGICAL SOCIETY OF LONDON . . . JOHN MURRAY , , , 1835 [–> later, publisher of Origin]

    No, we must not allow Mr Dawkins to program us to be suspicious of inference on tested sign, or of the need to actually observationally establish the causal power of our claimed driving causes. Where, we know that Orgel-Wicken functionally specific, complex organisation and/or associated information [FSCO/I] is a real phenomenon such as is seen in text in English (as Mr Dawkins exemplifies), as distinct from typical results of random text ut86toivsijx or a stuck key sssssssssss.

    Why, Mr Dawkins actually here provides one of the trillions of actually observed cases in point.

    Where, reliably, such FSCO/I comes about by intelligently directed configuration, and is never seen to have come about by any other factor or combination, i.e. blind chance and/or mechanical necessity, his proposed blind watchmaker.

    Now, we must not overlook a key target of his rhetoric: “[w]e are entirely accustomed to the idea that complex elegance is an indicator of premeditated, Grafted design . . . probably the most powerful reason for the belief . . . in some kind of supernatural deity.”

    That is, he is trying to imply that belief in God on signs of design in our world, is delusional, enmeshing “the vast majority of people that have ever lived.” Which, of course, would be the title of an onward book, twenty years later.

    He here sidesteps the obvious problem, if we are that prone to delusion, why should we have any confidence in any significant frame of reasonably abstract thought? (Apart from the magisterial power of the bright elites, who have deemed the unwashed theists to be ignorant, stupid, insane or wicked, or in Lewontin’s and Sagan’s terms, believers in demons who are to be disabused of that notion by the elites who know Science is the only begetter of truth.)

    The doublethink, indoctrination and dismissive, belittling projection to the despised other could not be plainer.

    This is the framework context for assessing the book and it is the context for assessing Weasel.

    Weasel is part of an exercise in manipulative, atheistically motivated indoctrination dressed up in a lab coat and we are well advised to be on our guard. Indeed, it is entirely in order to notice key associations such as:

    [Merriam Webster:] weasel word: a word used in order to evade or retreat from a direct or forthright statement or position

    In other words, rhetorical evasiveness designed to plant a loaded notion then seemingly retreat in the confidence that the telling notion has been planted.

    Which, is exactly what we are already seeing hints of in the preface.

    KF

  285. 285
    kairosfocus says:

    F/N: now, part 2, where we allow the despised Creationists to speak, exposing more of what is going on in Weasel than we imagine.

    Now, a long time ago, one of UD’s commenters created a reconstruction of Weasel, which is now hard to find. However, we can find one here, developed by CMI -and a 2019 update to the Delphi original], which will allow us to examine and confirm some telling findings. The original, of course, has been somehow lost. Now, Les Ey and Don Batten, at CMI, Aug 2002, yes twenty years ago:

    The program described herein mimics Dawkins’ program, but also provides the user with the opportunity to explore different values for the parameters such as the mutation rate, number of offspring, the selection coefficient, and the ‘genome’ size. Varying the values for these parameters shows that Dawkins chose his values carefully to get the result he wanted. Furthermore, the user can see that, with realistic values for the parameters, the number of generations needed to achieve convergence increases to such an extent that it shows that evolution of organisms with long generation times and small numbers of offspring is not possible even with a uniformitarian time-frame. [–> we thus see not only design but fine tuning and locally isolated operating zones, i.e. islands of function, naturally and unsurprisingly emerging] And this is with a deterministic exercise, which cannot be a simulation of real-world evolution anyway . . . .

    Many introductory courses in biology at universities have The Blind Watchmaker, by Dawkins,2 as required reading. The title, a play on William Paleys’ watchmaker analogy, wherein Paley (1743–1805) argued that the complexity of living things demanded an intelligent creator, reveals Dawkins’ aim—to rid his readers of any sense of a need for a Creator. The blind watchmaker is purely natural—mutation and natural selection. Dawkins’ book is an undisguised polemic for atheism [ –> as we just saw from Dawkins’ preface].

    In this book, Dawkins presents a description of a computer program that generated the sequence of letters, ‘METHINKS IT IS LIKE A WEASEL’3 from a starting sequence of random letters. The process involves randomly changing letters in each ‘generation’ and selecting the ‘offspring’ closest to the target sequence. The mutation and selection process is repeated until the sequence is arrived at. This supposedly showed that evolution by cumulative selection of favourable random changes was inevitable, easy and fast. [–> that is certainly invited by Dawkins’ idea that cumulative selection would greatly exceed the rate of convergence of chance alone]

    At the time (1986) it was fairly showy to have a computer program to demonstrate something and many readers were duped into thinking that the program had proved something, not realizing that a program will do whatever its programmer designs it to do. Because of the deceptive nature of Dawkins’ demonstration, several creationist authors saw the need to counter Dawkins’ dupe.4–6 These authors have pointed out reasons why Dawkins’ program does not ‘prove evolution’. It should be fairly obvious that any program that sets a target sequence of letters and then achieves it, by whatever means, has not demonstrated that the information in the sequence has arisen by some natural process not involving intelligence. The programmer specified the information; it did not arise from a ‘simulation’ of evolution. [–> that is, design]

    Dawkins’ program has apparently been lost . . .

    We already have sobering reason to take pause. And yes, I use comments on arrows and highlights to draw put key observations. There is nothing disreputable in that, unlike some unworthy suggestions that have been made.

    Let’s go on:

    How Dawkins’ program worked

    To begin with, a target string of letters was chosen. Dawkins chose, ‘METHINKS IT IS LIKE A WEASEL’. Next, the computer generated a sequence of random uppercase letters to represent the original ‘organism’. So, there were only 26 letters, plus a space, to choose from to generate the starting organism. This sequence always contained exactly the same number of letters as the target phrase—28 letters and spaces. The parent sequence would be copied, probably about 100 times (how many is not stated, but it must be a large number to get the results obtained), to represent reproduction. With each copy there would be a chance of a random error, a mutation, in the copying. Now for what was supposedly analogous to selection, each copy would now be tested to determine which copy was most like the target string ‘METHINKS IT IS LIKE A WEASEL’. A copy would be chosen even if only one letter matched the target in the correct place, so long as it happened to be the best match.

    The chosen copy would then be copied several times, again with introduced errors in the copying. In turn this ‘progeny’ was also tested to find the best match. This process would be repeated until a copy was found that matched the target exactly.

    Already, this is design with a pre loaded target, he could have just coded a Hello World println but that would be too obvious. A means was created to make a target phrase seemingly emerge from gibberish, step by step. Cumulatively, by chance and necessity. Of course, it turns out there was rewarding of gibberish for increments of productivity, which already inadvertently spotlights the issue of vast seas of non function and the challenge to find shorelines of function.

    That is, fine tuning.

    But it turns out that parameters etc had to be tuned to achieve the notorious imperfect ratchet occasionally slipping latch effect, i.e. general but not quite inexorable progress to the target:

    In the Error Catastrophe model, the offspring number is simply reduced from 100 to 10; all other parameters remain as in the Dawkins model. Because the number of offspring is low, the chances of a desirable mutation occurring in at least one offspring are reduced. Furthermore, as the model moves towards convergence, the probability of a mutation undoing what has been achieved rises to the point where it equals the probability of adding a desirable new mutation. So the model fails to converge. [–> that is, the model shows fine tuning, thus islands of function; unsurprising but of course hotly objected to]

    The user can also induce error catastrophe by increasing the mutation rate after selecting the [no> option for [Guarantee Mutation?>. One mutation in six letters per generation is about the error catastrophe point with 100 offspring. With 10 offspring the error catastrophe mutation rate drops to about 1 in 18. Increasing the length of the target letter sequence shows that the mutation rate has to be decreased in proportion to avoid error catastrophe.

    To avoid error catastrophe, the mutation rate (per letter or base per generation) has to be inversely proportional to the size of the genome. [–> a fine tuning, engineering rule] That is, the larger the genome, the lower the mutation rate. Once this is factored into the theory, ‘evolution’ slows down to such a slow pace that it could never account for the amount of biological information in existence (the basic point of ‘Haldane’s Dilemma’, which Walter ReMine spells out in his book9).

    With an amino acid sequence (‘DNA model’ under the [Models> menu item), with a small offspring number of say 10, the substitution mutation rate cannot be much more than one in the length of the target sequence. E.g., if the target is 33 amino acids (99 base pairs), a mutation rate of 1 in 50 produces error catastrophe. So the Dawkins model will converge with a mutation rate of 1 in 28 with a target of 28 letters, but not on a genome just a little bit bigger and certainly not with a human-sized genome of 3×109 nucleotides.

    This is already telling us key things.

    They continue:

    In effect, the mutation rate cannot be much greater than one per genome per generation. This then severely limits the rate of progress from a chimp-like species to human, if this were possible, even with perfect selection and all the other assumptions.

    Real-world mutation rates are many orders of magnitude less than used in Dawkins’ model, or other supposed simulations of evolution for that matter. Spetner, in his book Not by Chance, summarizes the knowledge on actual rates of mutation as follows:

    ‘In bacteria the mutation rate per nucleotide is between 0.1 and 10 per billion transcriptions [refs]. But in all other forms of life the rate is smaller. For organisms other than bacteria, the mutation rate is between 0.01 and 1 per billion [ref.].’10

    We expect that the reason for this difference between bacteria and other organisms relates to genome size: bacteria have the smaller genomes and can therefore sustain higher mutation rates without error catastrophe.

    Biological replication is extremely accurate. This level of accuracy is due to the processes of proof reading and error correction. This is vital since mutations disorder existing functional DNA sequences, and are therefore overwhelmingly harmful (and even rare beneficial mutations are the result of information loss).

    The Adjusted Mutation Rate model shows what happens when a more realistic mutation rate is applied to Dawkins’ model. A mutation rate of 1 in 100,000,000 (10 per billion letters) means that the model takes a long time to run. It could take a few weeks on a typical slower PC. Of course the Adjusted Mutation Rate model is still somewhat unrealistic, being the upper limit estimated for bacteria, but it helps to illustrate the point that real life is nothing like the Dawkins model . . . .

    The [Complexity> option in the program allows the user to specify how many of the target letters or amino acids have to be present together for an increase in ‘fitness’. This enables some recognition of the fact that not every point mutation can be adaptive in the change from one sequence to another. It does not address irreducible complexity at the system level. With [Complexity> set at three, for example, a mutant with one of the target letters added could not be selected against one without the letter. Nor would another mutant with two letters. Only if three new target letters were present together would the mutant be selected. With a setting of three, the number of generations for convergence for Dawkins’ model blows out to about 30,000, or about 600,000 years for human generation times—and this is with perfect selection, high mutation rate and 100 offspring!

    So, Weasel actually demonstrates islands of function, blind needle in haystack search challenge and fine tuning, thus islands of function and their significance.

    All, not disclosed by Mr Dawkins.

    Weasel, properly used, is actually a counter example to Mr Dawkins’ thesis.

    KF

  286. 286
    Alan Fox says:

    @ KF

    You could just close comments if you want the last word.

  287. 287
    Alan Fox says:

    Anyway, I’m away on a family visit to UK (my wife is already there)in a couple of days, so I need to get stuff done. If developments in “Intelligent Design” becomes headline news, I may check in, otherwise that’s all from me for a couple of weeks.

    I’ll be back!

    If I’m spared…

  288. 288
    kairosfocus says:

    W, you are right as I just documented. I was busy elsewhere and thought it would be useful to hold what I just put up overnight. Dawkins confessed to and/or implied more than he realised in his preface, and it sets us up to look at Weasel with a far sharper eye. Which it is clear, is well warranted. My bet is, we will never see frank admission that the imperfect latching effect was symptomatic of fine tuning and exemplifies the pervasive nature of islands of function as an aspect of FSCO/I. I am also pretty sure there will be no willingness on the part of some objectors to admit that this is an observable and even quantifiable phenomenon. KF

  289. 289
  290. 290
    kairosfocus says:

    AF, enjoy your trip. Meanwhile, I have provided documentation on what actually lurks in Weasel, but which Mr Dawkins did not disclose. KF

  291. 291
    Alan Fox says:

    Thanks, KF, this is really my last word for now. 🙂

  292. 292
    JVL says:

    Kairosfocus: Here, in his characteristically breezy and superficial manner, he tries to brush aside the basis of inductive reasoning on inference to the best, observational evidence backed explanation.

    The ‘best’ explanation cannot even say when or how design was implemented? Really? Plus it presupposes the existence of a designer which has not otherwise been established. So, no, not the ‘best’ explanation.

    In so doing, he also tries to brush aside Newton’s rule that explanatory hypotheses must be actually observed to have the causal power that we are going to use to explain what we did not observe due to it being in the remote distance or remote past etc.

    So, there can be no historical science? No palaeontology? No geology? Limited archaeology? I mean, we didn’t see those ancients humans build those pyramids or Stonehenge did we? Gosh, maybe it was . . . some other intelligent designers! One who came from somewhere, somehow at some time and did something and poof there are those ancient structures. Is that a better explanation?

    Weasel is part of an exercise in manipulative, atheistically motivated indoctrination dressed up in a lab coat and we are well advised to be on our guard.

    Which it clearly was not. Dr Dawkins said exactly what he was trying to illustrate, he didn’t say it modelled evolution, he said it showed the power of cumulative selection.

    You are attacking what Dr Dawkins wrote because you don’t like his conclusion not because what he said was wrong. You are the one parlaying rhetoric in an attempt to stop someone from paying attention to the science involved. This is just like attacking Darwin as a racist in hopes of getting people to distrust his HISTORICAL science (which was based on years and years of observation, data collection, etc).

    “Me thinks it’s like a weasel” . . . do you know where that comes from? You seem to imply that Dr Dawkins inadvertently picked a phrase that gave away his supposed underlying motivation.

    Of course, it turns out there was rewarding of gibberish for increments of productivity, which already inadvertently spotlights the issue of vast seas of non function and the challenge to find shorelines of function.

    Again this is criticising Dr Dawkins’ program for being something it was not! Why can’t you just read what he wrote and respond to his actual words? Is that so hard to do? In other words: did his program show the power of cumulative selection or not? Yes or no? Let’s see if you can answer that first.

    So, Weasel actually demonstrates islands of function, blind needle in haystack search challenge and fine tuning, thus islands of function and their significance. All, not disclosed by Mr Dawkins.

    And you wonder why Dr Dawkins chooses, for the most part, not to debate ID proponents: they don’t understand what he wrote in the first place and choose to filter everything through a somewhat paranoid, theistic framework.

    Weasel, properly used, is actually a counter example to Mr Dawkins’ thesis.

    What? Hang on . . . let me get this straight . . . are you saying that you think Dr Dawkins program supports ID? Does that mean you think ID is a case of selective breeding to reach a target? That your intelligent designer is using Eugenics to get his desired outcome? Is that what you are saying?

    Wow, I had no idea ID supported Eugenics. That’s pretty interesting don’t you think?

  293. 293
    kairosfocus says:

    JVL, read Dr Dawkins’ preface, with fresh eyes, the intent to indoctrinate is stated therein, and no we will not be gaslighted into doubting what is there in cold black and white text. As to oh you must provide a full mechanism to our satisfaction to have a best explanation of the causal factor at work, that is a distraction. We both know what inference on tested reliable sign means, the signified. Then, what the Weasel emulator shows — and IIRC the previous one developed by a UD commenter too — is the properties of a Weasel like program, which exhibits FSCO/I, complete with obviously intentional and undisclosed fine tuning to achieve the rhetorically desired hill climbing to target functionality; fine tuning implies islands of function in seas of non function in a configuration space. Indeed, the much derided observable imperfect ratcheting or latching effect is a symptom of that fine tuning. You also full well know that selective breeding is a kind of intelligent design. As for trying the turnabout stunt on Eugenics, breeding of dogs is worlds apart from coercive control of people; shame on you for that stunt. KF

  294. 294
    PyrrhoManiac1 says:

    @275

    Really? Why do you say, “cannot succeed”?

    If I recall my high school biology, one of the things we know from population genetics is that it’s basically not possible to eliminate recessive alleles from a population, so even if you were to eliminate all homozygous recessives for their “undesirable” traits, those recessive alleles can persist and a homozygous recessive can always result from a heterozygous pairing.

    And one of the other things we know from more recent work in developmental biology is that “one gene, one trait” is the exception rather than the rule in biology: gene products have multiple functions and phenotypic traits have multiple genetic influences. So it’s just not possible to eliminate all possibility of recurrence of some trait simply by eliminating every organism who possesses that trait, without eliminating the entire species (or causing a speciation event).

    But this is just speaking from the scientific side of things, about why eugenics is not compatible with our understanding of how biology actually works.

    The moral issue would be separate, and there’s no hope for generating moral judgments or principles from biology.

  295. 295
    Sir Giles says:

    PM1, just a minor point, but it is my understanding that recessive genes are not the same as undesirable genes. They just are not express if their counterpart in the genome is a dominant gene.

  296. 296
    JVL says:

    Kairosfocus: fine tuning implies islands of function in seas of non function in a configuration space.

    I’m not talking about ‘fine tuning’ (which is not clear is the case). And if I were then I would say it would depend on what was being fine tuned in what environment for what purpose.

    Indeed, the much derided observable imperfect ratcheting or latching effect is a symptom of that fine tuning. You also full well know that selective breeding is a kind of intelligent design. As for trying the turnabout stunt on Eugenics, breeding of dogs is worlds apart from coercive control of people; shame on you for that stunt.

    Again, your view of ID is that the designer had a target, a goal. If that designer ‘guided’ the development of life towards that goal then that is a guided selective breeding program which means some individuals are denied the right to breed. That’s Eugenics is it not?

  297. 297
    PyrrhoManiac1 says:

    @295

    PM1, just a minor point, but it is my understanding that recessive genes are not the same as undesirable genes. They just are not express if their counterpart in the genome is a dominant gene.

    Right! My point was if the undesirable trait is only expressed in homozygous recessive individuals, then eliminating the individuals with that trait in one generation doesn’t prevent the recurrence of those undesirable traits in the next generation, because you’re not able to eliminate the individuals carrying the recessive allele if you’re only eliminating the individuals expressing the undesirable trait.

    One could need to do genetic screening to eliminate every individual carrying the recessive allele, so the next generations are all homozygous dominant. That’s a huge reduction in genetic diversity that can make the population more vulnerable to stress, disease, and even extinction.

  298. 298
    ram says:

    Sir Giles: Because it would not be in your best interest to look over your shoulder for the rest of your life.

    OMG, I never thought that. We need to start teaching that to would-be rapists and bicycle thieves. Crime problem solved!

  299. 299
    Viola Lee says:

    re 283, to hnorman. First, I’d like to say it’s refreshing have a civil, thoughtful discussion that stays focused. Thanks.

    You write, “The simulation works as an illustration of intelligent design. This may be all you’re claiming but I’m not sure.”

    No, it is an illustration of how small cumulative steps can produce larger positive changes if there is process that selects according to some criteria as the process iterates. In this case both the selection process and the positive change (advancing towards the target string) are artificially (his words), or intelligently, designed. But illustrating intelligent design is not the purpose of the program: illustrating the power of iterative selection is the purpose.

    Then, as he goes on to argue, natural forces do provide a selection process that can explain slow evolutionary change. Discussing that is the purpose of the book, and way beyond the scope of his discussion. But the program is not meant to be an illustration of, or evidence for, natural selection. That is what the rest of the book is about.

    So yes, he does extrapolate the power of selection to biology, but he replaces the intelligent design aspect of the program with natural selction: the argument for the power of iterative selection doesn’t change, but the nature of the selection process does.

    ====
    You also quoted me as writing,

    One is that many (most) arguments I have read about how something is impossible because the probability of it happening is so small are working on the assumption that a whole bunch of parts came together independently at one trial, like throwing a whole bunch of coins at once, rather than through a series of selected steps and with huge populations.

    ,

    and you replied, “If the weasel is in any way relevant here, then you have extrapolated it to biology, and successfully I might add. But how does it do so? Only an intelligent agent can hold onto parts for what they might accomplish later on.”

    And later on, you write, “The weasel does not select for advantage. It selects for a concept that will not yield an advantage until fully realized – selection with foresight. And that is the province of the intelligent designer.”

    Yes, this is the difference between Weasel and nature, and between what ID posits and what natural selection posits. Here is my understanding of evolutionary theory. (I’m not trying to argue whether this is true, which is way beyond the scope of this discussion, but just trying to get the concepts clear.)

    In nature, there is always variation among the members of a population, and that variation is maintained and increased at times by both mutation and the genetics of sexual reproduction. This corresponds to the process in Weasel where some number of “children”, say 100, are created by randomly changing (mutating) a small number of letters in the child strings.

    Then, in nature, both the goal and the selection process is for the individual to survive to sexual maturity and successfully have abundant progeny. Here there is no intelligent design and there is no future target goal. Successfully having more children to add to the population for the next iteration of generational change is the selection criteria and the goal. Cumulative change happens without there being any teleology in respect to a future goal nor any intelligent selection of what changes are passed on to the next generation

    This is the difference between Weasel and nature, a difference Dawkins clearly understood.

  300. 300
    relatd says:

    SG at 282,

    And you, yes you, can go to a pro-evo site and avoid all this. But I suspect that’s not going to happen…

  301. 301
    kairosfocus says:

    JV L, notice the balance of values that have to go Goldilocks zone to present the sort of behaviour as published by Mr Dawkins. This was excerpted above. As to trying to project eugenics, kindly notice the conference logo now appended to the OP, you will be able to see a whole agenda of power that humans cannot safely hold over one another. KF

  302. 302
    kairosfocus says:

    VL, there is the identification of fine tuning in Weasel, which is a mark of design, as was noted earlier. Note, what happens as rates and population numbers shift. KF

  303. 303
    jerry says:

    No, it is an illustration of how small cumulative steps can produce larger positive changes if there is process that selects according to some criteria as the process iterates.

    Perfectly compatible with ID.

    this case both the selection process and the positive change (advancing towards the target string) are artificially (his words), or intelligently, designed. But illustrating intelligent design is not the purpose of the program: illustrating the power of iterative selection is the purpose.

    Perfectly compatible with ID.

    natural forces do provide a selection process that can explain slow evolutionary change.

    Perfectly compatible with ID.

    program is not meant to be an illustration of, or evidence for, natural selection. That is what the rest of the book is about.

    Perfectly compatible with ID.

    He replaces the intelligent design aspect of the program with natural selction

    Perfectly compatible with ID so something is wrong here.

    ID accepts natural selection as natural and obvious. So no distinction should be made.

    the argument for the power of iterative selection doesn’t change, but the nature of the selection process does.

    Perfectly compatible with ID.

    Yes, this is the difference between Weasel and nature, and between what ID posits and what natural selection posits.

    Natural Selection is perfectly compatible with ID.

    So making a distinction is not productive. The issues go much deeper.

    my understanding of evolutionary theory.

    Missing some obvious things.

    People here should read Darwin Devolves by Behe to get an understanding of what is in play in terms of biological change and ID. ID accepts everything that is proven. That’s why it is better science than what is taught in any university.

  304. 304
    JVL says:

    Jerry: Natural Selection is perfectly compatible with ID.

    You are a plant aren’t you? You say outrageous things and don’t answer questions. I shan’t bother to explain why I disagree with your statements since you always bail when the going gets tough, i.e. fruitless.

  305. 305
    JVL says:

    Kairosfocus: notice the balance of values that have to go Goldilocks zone to present the sort of behaviour as published by Mr Dawkins.

    I have no idea what you are referring to. DR Dawkins (talk about an ad hominem) would like to persuade people that unguided evolutionary theory is true via explaining in non-technical, non-academic ways how it works and what evidence there is for it. He would be the last person to use manipulative and coercive methods as you assume are utilised.

    As to trying to project eugenics, kindly notice the conference logo now appended to the OP, you will be able to see a whole agenda of power that humans cannot safely hold over one another.

    Sigh. IF ID is a purposeful, intelligently controlled process with a goal in mind is it not equivalent to a guided, selective breeding program? How then are humans different from a pure bred dog? Dogs do love their owners after all.

  306. 306
    jerry says:

    Here’s a 5 minute video by Stephen Meyer explaining problems with natural processes in biology and new life capabilities.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DOIbcOoaxuY&t=340s

    It’s 3 years old but just saw it a few minutes ago.

  307. 307
    Querius says:

    Jerry @249,

    My experience is that few really want to learn/understand and discuss. They want to pontificate, obfuscate or find fault mostly with inane comments or ignorance. And then many respond to the inane comments. That describes about 90% of the comments here.

    Yes, exactly!

    The only reason I engage with them is to illuminate the massive flaws in their responses for the benefit of open-minded onlookers here. And when some people respond with their usual ad hominem responses, you can be assured of their intellectual bankruptcy and that you’ve won the argument.

    -Q

  308. 308
    Querius says:

    Kairosfocus @284,

    Excellent post with content-rich, supported statements and substantive observations—unlike the detractors who consistently assume that merely their opinions constitute irrefutable proof.

    Your additional observations about “the weasel” demonstrate that it’s an extremely poor analogy of what would have to happen in genetics. But as it’s been frequently noted, “analogy is the strongest argument but the weakest proof.” Analogies are excellent for explaining a concept, but are also excellent at misleading people, which is the case with “the weasel.”

    I’ve also noticed the evasiveness, especially after I was able to demonstrate the ideological commitment of some here to defending or rationalizing Charles Darwin’s obvious racism.
    My point is that those who defend Charles Darwin’s Eurocentric racism are certainly not open to responding rationally to the obvious weaknesses in Darwinism, which has been acknowledged even by evolutionary biologists who know something about the subject.

    -Q

  309. 309
    kairosfocus says:

    JVL, you have the information above, if you are willing. KF

    PS, you know what you were doing by trying to inject and project eugenics in the place of breeding of animals.

  310. 310
    Querius says:

    PyrrhoManiac1 @294,

    Thank you for your thoughtful, cogent reply to my question.

    Having had some recent discussions with a family involved in dog breeding, your points make sense. However, responsible dog breeders do not breed dogs with genetic flaws, even with late manifestations. But, since traits are often linked, breeding dogs to AKC standards lead to unintended deleterious consequences, which is also true of overadapted or overspecialized species in the wild.

    Also relevant is that genetic diversity is important for both hybrid vigor and adaptability to changing environmental conditions. It also prevent genetic isolation that’s led to some horrible genetic conditions in some parts of the world.

    Reducing the frequency of alleles involved in the expression of some harmful mutations, is beneficial but should not involve either coercion or moving in the direction of so-called “designer babies.”

    Here’s the US government position on Eugenics and its promotion by Charles Darwin’s cousin, Francis Galton.
    https://www.genome.gov/about-genomics/educational-resources/timelines/eugenics

    The term, eugenics, has been replaced with human genetic engineering, which is a more direct manipulation of DNA. For your interest, here’s an overview that discusses the risks as well as its potential benefits.
    https://biologywise.com/genetic-engineering-in-humans

    Let me suggest that as technologies in general become more powerful, increasingly serious ethical issues have been emerging, including the risks of consolidating power, which can be misused, misapplied, or hijacked. This applies to broad areas of technology beyond genetics, including social engineering, tracking everything you do, artificial intelligence, etc.

    -Q

  311. 311
    Sir Giles says:

    Relatd: SG at 282, And you, yes you, can go to a pro-evo site and avoid all this. But I suspect that’s not going to happen…

    So, what is your opinion on in-vitro fertilization? And using it to avoid a pregnancy with a serious genetic condition such as hemophilia?

  312. 312
    jerry says:

    The only reason I engage with them is to illuminate the massive flaws in their responses for the benefit of open-minded onlookers here

    I will do this at first but nearly all the time the replies are not constructive.

    So I tend not to respond to anyone who I believe cannot/won’t engage in a fruitful conversation.

    My main reason here is to build the ID case and actually would welcome criticism or confirmation which ever is justified. Right not I am working on my own on Human differences and the various aspects of fine tuning. These are two completely different topics.

    I own a business with my wife which allows me sometimes to spend a fair amount of time here and other times, I just have time to see what is going on.

  313. 313
  314. 314
    Sir Giles says:

    Relatd@313, nobody is forcing you to avail yourself of in-vitro fertilization. But why do you think you or the church have the right to prevent others from opting for it?

    And to really open the flood-gates, I mentioned on a previous thread that my daughter has had several miscarriages and an abortion due to a serious risk to her health. The doctors have narrowed the issue down to a a problem with the wall of her uterus preventing proper attachment with the placenta. Her best option, if she wants to have a child, is to use in-vitro fertilization and implant the embryo in a surrogate, possibly her identical twin sister, but most likely someone else because her sister may suffer from the same problem.

  315. 315
    kairosfocus says:

    Q, thanks. The record has been put on the table. KF

  316. 316
    relatd says:

    SG at 314,

    I trust you looked over the article I linked to. In brief, some people experience serious difficulties regarding pregnancy, and the Church presents its argument regarding the proper role of marital love and the conception of children. The Church provides information that others can review for the purpose of education and advice. Just because it is possible to do certain things, it does not mean that these methods properly include the mother and the father.

    This is not a case of who has the right to do this or that but a proper understanding of the role of the married couple in bringing the next generation into the world. Since these methods already exist, it is obvious that some will use them. However, the Church, by virtue of her understanding of married love, seeks to explain the whole picture. She would be lax in her duty to avoid discussing the issues involved. I would add that the issues and advice are not just for Catholics but all men of good will.

    I worked in hospital for nine years and had some contact with the OB/GYN department and Ultrasound. The situation you describe in your family is very difficult. You and your family have my sympathies. The Church has to live out her beliefs and that means certain medical services are not available or restricted. Speaking broadly, in society, we all need to speak and honestly evaluate what is said.

  317. 317
    JVL says:

    Kairosfocus: you know what you were doing by trying to inject and project eugenics in the place of breeding of animals.

    Why can’t you answer my question? If the ID paradigm is true and the whole point of life on Earth was to reach a particular goal or target why then is it not logical to look at the development of life on Earth, from the designers’ point of view, as being an example of selective breeding? How does that NOT fit in with the hypothesis of ID?

    Tell me why, specifically, this is not a valid extrapolation of the ID hypothesis.

    Did the designer have a goal in mind?

    Did the designer take millions of years tweaking the process to get to their goal?

    Is that not selective breeding?

  318. 318
    Viola Lee says:

    JVL writes, “why then is it not logical to look at the development of life on Earth, from the designers’ point of view, as being an example of selective breeding?”

    Here’s a scenario where the Designer follows the model of Weasel:

    There is a population of small dinosaurs living about 100 million years ago. The Designer has a goal of starting with that population and evolving birds some millions of years later. Every year a new generation of dinosaurs is born, with random mutations, genetic reshuffling due to sexual reproduction, and all the other mechanisms we think we know about operating “naturally”, without the Designer’s intervention.

    Then the Designers surveys the new population, omnisciently and omnipotently seeing which members have slight survival advantages as well as being slightly closer to its goal of evolving birds. Then the Designer providentially watches over that subset of members, aiding them so they have an additional survival advantage because of its care, and possible altering their genome a bit to move their offspring to being slightly more evolved in the direction of the target goal, the evolution of birds.

    Then the process is repeating for hundreds of thousands of generations, so eventually we have birds which have been selectively bred from dinosaurs.

    Selective breeding by the Designer!

  319. 319
    jerry says:

    Selective breeding by the Designer!

    Yes, and that is ID.

    An implication of this scenario is that a lot of culling took place. Other organisms related to the original gene pool would have to disappear somehow.

    I am currently reading a long article by a Theistic Evolutionist/Evolutionary Biologist who is trying to figure out how the creator maneuvered. the development of humans. He is looking to science for justification but really it is all speculation just as the scenario of dinosaurs to birds is.

  320. 320
    Seversky says:

    Viola Lee/318

    Then the Designers surveys the new population, omnisciently and omnipotently seeing which members have slight survival advantages as well as being slightly closer to its goal of evolving birds. Then the Designer providentially watches over that subset of members, aiding them so they have an additional survival advantage because of its care, and possible altering their genome a bit to move their offspring to being slightly more evolved in the direction of the target goal, the evolution of birds.

    The only problem with that scenario is that its assumes the Designers don’t know what the outcome of their little experiment is going to be, just like with human researchers, and I don’t have an issue with that. It would be fascinating in itself to find evidence of alien intervention in the course of life on Earth.

    The obvious problem is that an omniscient, omnipotent and omnipresent being would already know the outcome of any experiment because if for no other reason, being omnipresent, it would already be there when the results came in.

    The creationists can have their triple-O deity but they can’t use it as a coherent explanation of why anything happens at all.

  321. 321
    Sir Giles says:

    Relatd@316, thank you for the considered response. I had jumped to the conclusion that you thought that these options should not be available to anyone. And I see that I am wrong. If you are only saying that the Church is only requiring these restrictions for those who want to be a “member” of the church, I don’t have a problem.

    But, I should also mention, that my daughter and her husband are Catholic. And neither of them have an issue with in-situ. And, to be totally inclusive, her identical twin sister and husband are Jewish. And they were both raised, nominally, as protestants. I am just waiting for my son to announce that he is now a Druid.

  322. 322
    relatd says:

    SG at 321,

    As far as who should consider the options you are talking about, the Church is saying that they fall outside of the proper use of the marital act. That those considering using these other means should truly consider what the Church is saying. I realize some think that the Church is limited to speaking about faith and not scientific matters. But whenever science creates a means to do things outside of what was previously available to married people, she speaks. She presents the reasons why in-vitro fertilization, for example, is wrong. This is a matter of telling the truth. Of telling people who might not hear it from anyone else.

    A Catholic hospital would not allow it. The restrictions I mention should apply to Catholics and are meant to be considered by them. The choice between using or not using ‘reproductive technologies’ should be made in light of the truth, which the Church teaches.

  323. 323
    relatd says:

    Seversky at 320,

    “… they can’t use it as a coherent explanation of why anything happens at all.” I could apply the same statement to evolution. But I would have less to work with. Chance. Luck. Blind action.

    “It would be fascinating in itself to find evidence of alien intervention in the course of life on Earth.”

    Why? So you could yell to the world that God didn’t do it?

    More and more evidence that “discussions” here are more about personal worldview than science. Oh yes, there’s some science posted here but under the surface – God is judged. The work of God is judged – by humans. And found wanting. For those reading – yes, I mean the usual suspects – you’re not God.

  324. 324
    Querius says:

    Relatd @323,

    More and more evidence that “discussions” here are more about personal worldview than science.

    Yes, indeed! So with that in mind, I wonder how the ID detractors here explain the following aspects of Darwinism (to put a little more science in the topic):

    1. Percentage-wise, what does it take for a mutation to become fixed in a population?

    2. What is the current estimated limit on the rate of mutations?

    3. On the average, how many mutations does it take to result in a phenome change available for natural selection?

    4. What is the estimated percent advantage for natural selection in a population?

    5. Besides random point mutations, what other processes for genome change are available?

    6. How do unrepaired DNA point mutations affect the epigenetic controls for gene expression?

    7. How can transgenerational (i.e. not intergenerational) epigenetic changes evolve?

    Anyone?

    -Q

  325. 325
    hnorman42 says:

    VL @299 –

    You write:

    So yes, he does extrapolate the power of selection to biology, but he replaces the intelligent design aspect of the program with natural selction

    That’s the problem. The simulation assumes powers to perform selection based on future knowledge and then puts it in a context where such a thing simply can’t function. Normally you would take a mundane process and show logically how it can accomplish grand things over time. In this simulation vast powers for this iterative process are assumed at the very beginning.

  326. 326
    kairosfocus says:

    JVL, AF, VL et al, kindly note 284 on Mr Dawkins’ declared rhetorical purpose in The Blind Watchmaker (which leads to self referential incoherence). Similarly in 285, we see how Weasel fails, not least by having in it undisclosed fine tuning to work, manifesting islands of function. Where too more realistic parameters end up pointing to huge numbers of generations. KF

  327. 327
    kairosfocus says:

    JVL, we all know that selective breeding and eugenics are chalk to cheese; the kind of arguments you put up above therefore show up serious questions about your agendas, especially as regards toxic tangents evasive of key established points cf 284 and 285 which gut Mr Dawkins’ rhetoric in a lab coat and expose that Weasel was not just designed to reward proximity of non functional gibberish to a target but also that it manifests fine tuning and islands of function therefore. Of course, if you take up worldviews and ideologies under which moral government of decisions and actions is undermined, a man is a pig is a fish is a bicycle so it comes down to whatever the powerful wish is deemed right. In that context, consider where the ruthless powerful went with the definition offered by the eugenicists themselves: eugenics is the self-direction of human evolution [1912 and 1921], a predictable excuse for tyranny if ever there was one . . . as the next several decades proved beyond responsible doubt. Down that road lay marginalisation, forced sterilisation, so-called euthanasia (which has been creeping back globally), mass killing of our living posterity in the womb, genocide. Animal breeding carries with it none of that import of tyranny, as you full well know but want to play rhetorical games with. Yes, it pivots again on is there objective morality. If no, then the door to nihilistic hell yawns open, if yes — and it is self evidently the case [cf. PS] — we live in a world with a reality root adequate to ground ought. KF

    PS, I remind of some algebra, which holds not just for objective knowable moral truth but for any distinct reasonably identifiable domain of thought and potential knowledge:

    Objective, so know-able moral truth is widely denied in our day, for many it isn’t even a remotely plausible possibility. And yet, as we will shortly see, it is undeniably true; as is so for other reasonably identifiable fields of discussion. This marginalisation of moral knowledge, in extreme form, is a key thesis of the nihilism that haunts our civilisation, which we must detect, expose to the light of day, correct and dispel, in defence of civilisation and human dignity.

    Let a proposition be represented by x
    M = x is a proposition asserting that some state of affairs regarding right conduct, duty/ought, virtue/honour, good/evil etc (i.e. the subject is morality) is the case [–> truth claim]
    O = x is objective and generally knowable, being adequately warranted as credibly true [–> notice, generally knowable per adequate warrant, as opposed to widely acknowledged]

    It is claimed, cultural relativism thesis: S= ~[O*M] = 1

    [ NB: Plato, The Laws, Bk X, c 360 BC, in the voice of Athenian Stranger: “[Thus, the Sophists and other opinion leaders etc — c 430 BC on, hold] that the principles of justice have no existence at all in nature, but that mankind are always disputing about them and altering them; and that the alterations which are made by art and by law have no basis in nature, but are of authority for the moment and at the time at which they are made.” This IMPLIES the Cultural Relativism Thesis, by highlighting disputes (among an error-prone and quarrelsome race!), changing/varied opinions, suggesting that dominance of a view in a place/time is a matter of balance of factions/rulings, and denying that there is an intelligible, warranted natural law. Of course, subjectivism then reduces the scale of “community” to one individual. He continues, “These, my friends, are the sayings of wise men, poets and prose writers, which find a way into the minds of youth. They are told by them that the highest right is might . . . ” [–> door opened to nihilistic factionalism]]

    However, the subject of S is M,
    it therefore claims to be objectively true, O, and is about M
    where it forbids O-status to any claim of type-M
    so, ~[O*M] cannot be true per self referential incoherence [–> reductio ad absurdum]

    ++++++++++
    ~[O*M] = 0 [as self referential and incoherent cf above]
    ~[~[O*M]] = 1 [the negation is therefore true]
    __________
    O*M = 1 [condensing not of not]
    where, M [moral truth claim]
    So too, O [if an AND is true, each sub proposition is separately true]

    That is, there UNDENIABLY are objective moral truths; and a first, self-evident one is that ~[O*M] is false.

    The set is non empty, it is not vacuous and we cannot play empty set square of opposition games with it. That’s important.

    Thus, we find ourselves facing the first duties of responsible — not irresponsible, manipulative — reason and indeed first canons of built in law, as was highlighted c 50 BC by Cicero and as we may see 1,000 years earlier from Solomon in the Proverbs:

    1st – to truth,
    2nd – to right reason,
    3rd – to prudence [including warrant],
    4th – to sound conscience,
    5th – to neighbour; so also,
    6th – to fairness and
    7th – to justice
    [ . . .]
    xth – etc.

    The etc is the royal etc, as in to be elaborated as required, hence for instance the framing of English Common Law starting with Alfred’s Book of Dooms etc. See Blackstone.

    However, this also has roots of being, logic of being import.

    The is-ought gap is a main philosophical challenge and here we are seeing that we are indeed objectively under knowable duties, objective oughts. So, we need a world root level is that can bridge the gap, on pain of ungrounded ought. An easy inference to the best explanation sets a bill of requisites . . . something that is simultaneously good as to inherent nature and source of our world, wile being a necessary, world framework entity capable of causing worlds . . . that leave just one serious candidate on the table.

    Namely, the inherently good, utterly wise creator God; a necessary and maximally great (thus, supreme) being, one worthy of loyalty and of the responsible, reasonable service that does the good that accords with our evident, morally governed, nature.

    Such a serious candidate necessary being either is impossible of being [as a Euclidean plane square circle] or is actual; by the logic of necessary being. Where of course atheists such as Mr Dawkins have never had a good argument that God is impossible of being. Nor is such a serious prospect. Ethical theism, generic form, is established as the best explanation for us in our world, with all the force that given the inherent need for necessary being at the root of reality and the logic of candidacy, the mere possibility of God is effectively equivalent to his actuality.

    Something, atheists have no cogent answer to.

    Further, you cannot have your cake and eat it.

    If you want to use implicit, binding moral duties in an argument [cf. first duties of reason] then these issues are central. On which, we have no good reason to doubt the existence of a capable designer for the world, life, body plans, us. Where, precisely due to our mutual moral responsibilities eugenics is an indefensible arrogation of tyrannical power over neighbour. Which is utterly different from breeding dogs, as if such needed to be spelled out.

    The loaded rhetorical equivalency collapses.

    Tellingly, regarding centrality of moral government and knowable principles.

  328. 328
    kairosfocus says:

    PPS, in that context, we can return to sanity about the design inference on reliable sign.

    First, there are many such signs, as OT is currently exploring. Of these, FSCO/I is key, and there is good reason to understand that this naturally leads to fine tuning thus islands of function. As, function based on a cluster of correct, matched parts properly arranged and coupled tightly constrains effective configurations. Unconstrained clumping and scattering will naturally have vastly many more ways, but will be overwhelmingly non functional. Where the additiona-lity of self replication requires integration of a whole further order of function. This was seen by Paley 50 years before Darwin, has been consistently ducked, and is abundantly confirmed by the von Neumann kinematic self replicator.

    On the weasel case put up by objectors, 285 documents that it actually shows this pattern. There is undisclosed fine tuning behind Mr Dawkins’ program and its kin, a huge injection of active information from designers.

    But, it is hard to acknowledge the significance of signs of design.

  329. 329
    kairosfocus says:

    F/N: To help, link to 285 Notice onward access to software. KF

  330. 330
    Querius says:

    Kairosfocus @328,

    Regarding your “excuse to tyranny” regardless of potential abuse such as was once done with eugenics inspires me to comment in a general observation that anything in the name of some crisis is politically justifiable if it results in greater bureaucratic control by means of more “bad arguments” that defy both logic and pragmatism.

    -Q

  331. 331
    Querius says:

    Kairosfocus,

    You might also be interested in this segment about the mathematical impossibility of random mutations resulting in design, which I just stumbled across.

    The eye example is something that I had been taught in college.
    https://youtu.be/Q2Ve–JatAs?t=577

    The entire video is worth watching, but starts a bit slowly. It’s most assuredly relevant to the exceptionally gross oversimplification of “the weasel.”

    -Q

  332. 332
    kairosfocus says:

    Q, an interesting vid. I would use [maximal or utter] implausibility as impossible would be open to attacks but his point is on target i.l.o a discussion of rarity of beneficial mutations and a proposed 1829 steps to get a fish’s eye [with onward issue of number of generations to establish a population and capture an ecosystem niche]. Given rhetorical tendencies, I usually reserve impossibility for not possible of being. Going on to Weasel, yes it is grossly simplified and was used in misleading ways, but lo and behold, even so its multiple components and parameters had to be co-tuned to fit together to achieve the function Mr Dawkins displayed. This manifested the fine tuning and resulting locally isolated islands of function in a configuration space that as I have said is a normal pattern for FSCO/I. That has been hotly objected to but in the haste to discuss weasel, it seems that until an independent reconstruction and simulation were on the table, its exemplification of this pattern was overlooked. KF

  333. 333
    kairosfocus says:

    F/N: Evolutionary Informatics Lab has a Weasel emulator. (Also see here.) The basic message, is that such searches use active information coming from oracles, i.e. they have an embedded source of information/ decisions that significantly or decisively enhances their performance. Moreover as we saw above, Weasel exhibits fine tuning, once we realise that various aspects, values etc have to be matched to achieve the sort of performance pattern we see for weasel. That is equivalent to saying that we are in isolated zones of function in a configuration space, i.e. islands of function. And of course gibberish is being rewarded for mere increments to a target. Which, in this case, is actually preloaded. Other exercises can exploit hill climbing without explicit loading of peaks, but generally there is overlooking of the dominant truly blind search challenge: arrival at shorelines of islands of function. KF

  334. 334
    JVL says:

    Kairosfocus: hat is equivalent to saying that we are in isolated zones of function in a configuration space, i.e. islands of function. And of course gibberish is being rewarded for mere increments to a target. Which, in this case, is actually preloaded. Other exercises can exploit hill climbing without explicit loading of peaks, but generally there is overlooking of the dominant truly blind search challenge: arrival at shorelines of islands of function.

    I was going to repeat what I and other have already said many, many times but, you know what? What’s the point? You have zero intention of taking anything we say onboard. You are completely disingenuous about wanting to look at evidence or consider someone else’s argument. A long time ago you made up your mind and all you are willing to do now is to make some attempt to interpret every single thing that is presented here in the shadow of your pre-picked mindset.

    This is why you’re not a real scientist. You don’t listen. You only tell.

  335. 335
    Sir Giles says:

    JVL: A long time ago you made up your mind and all you are willing to do now is to make some attempt to interpret every single thing that is presented here in the shadow of your pre-picked mindset.

    Sometimes the truth can hurt.

  336. 336
    Querius says:

    @334 & 335,

    These are typical trollbot responses and here’s how one can tell:

    1. Try applying them to any person discussing any topic.See whether they’re generic enough to fit.

    2. See whether they contain any new supporting evidence or whether they’re simply unsupported assertions.

    3. See whether they’re inflammatory or gross exaggerations designed to provoke a similar response.

    4. Assess the “signal to noise ratio” of cogent logic to vacuous emotion.

    Kairosfocus, congratulations! Such responses are tacit admissions of the defeat of your detractors. They’re simply slurs hurled at the victor of a debate or other contest after their intellect has failed them.

    Yes, I’m putting them in my collection of “troll talk.”

    -Q

  337. 337
    JVL says:

    Querius: These are typical trollbot responses and here’s how one can tell:

    What about the reponses of people like you and Jerry; people who ask questions, belittle whatever response they get and then don’t even make an attempt to answer questions put to them? What do you think about people like that?

    You might also be interested in this segment about the mathematical impossibility of random mutations resulting in design, which I just stumbled across.

    NO ONE ever claimed that random mutations alone could account for developed life as we see it on Earth. Why are you attacking something that no one ever said? Because it makes you feel better? Just a helpful hint: attacking something that no one ever said just makes you look like a fool.

  338. 338
    relatd says:

    SG at 335,

    What truth? All JVL wants to talk about is unguided evolution. That’s it. Nothing else. No ‘hands across the aisle’ for him. Go to his barricade. Written on one side: Evo-lotion forever!

  339. 339
    relatd says:

    JVL at 337,

    A nice imitation of the angry young man. Fair warning: My multiple sock launcher has a lock on your position.

  340. 340
    jerry says:

    I wrote on another post that a concept called the “Availability Cascade” explains most of the comments here and generally everywhere.

    Beliefs in natural Evolution is the perfect example.

  341. 341
    JVL says:

    Relatd & Jerry: You both know very well I have asked you both questions trying to understand your beliefs and views that you have both completely ignored. Your smug superiority is nothing but disingenuous ignorance.

  342. 342
    relatd says:

    JVL at 341,

    My “smug superiority”? You enjoy labeling people? Here comes the bluntness:

    Evolution as advertised? No.

    Life is designed by an Intelligence? Yes.

  343. 343
    JVL says:

    Relatd: Life is designed by an Intelligence? Yes.

    Okay. Was it all front-loaded or have there been a lot of tweaks along the way?

    If you think there have been lots of tweaks along the way can you point to a specific tweak?

    Is there a way to distinguish between ‘guided’ mutations and random mutations?

    Jerry has said that mutations only affect genomes not morphology. Do you agree? (I have asked him several times where he thinks morphological changes are stored or created but he’s avoided addressing the issue he himself brought up.)

  344. 344
    relatd says:

    JVL at 343,

    Can you give me an exact date, plus/minus 100 years, when creature A turned into creature B? If there were mutations, they were all guided.

  345. 345
    JVL says:

    Relatd: Can you give me an exact date, plus/minus 100 years, when creature A turned into creature B? If there were mutations, they were all guided.

    No because it’s all a sliding continuity scale. Your essentialist view is not correct, new forms don’t ‘snap’ into existence.

    If there were mutations, they were all guided.

    So COVID, measles, polio, ebola, malaria, rabies, sickle cell disease, HIV . . . all intentionally created?

    Why?

  346. 346
    relatd says:

    JVL at 345,

    Apparently, I can’t give you the answers you’re looking for. Good bye.

  347. 347
    asauber says:

    “No because it’s all a sliding continuity scale.”

    JVL is trying to convince you there never was a Creature A or a Creature B to make comparisons with.

    Sure JVL. Whatever you say.

    Andrew

  348. 348
    relatd says:

    Andrew at 347,

    Evolution teaches humans and apes had a ‘common ancestor.’

  349. 349
    asauber says:

    Evolution teaches humans and apes had a ‘common ancestor.’

    Relatd.

    Yes. Forever unidentifiable.

    Andrew

  350. 350
    Sir Giles says:

    Relatd: Can you give me an exact date, plus/minus 100 years, when creature A turned into creature B? If there were mutations, they were all guided.

    If you had an example of an individual organism from every generation from a billion years ago to yourself, there would be no individual point where you could say that species A became species B. That is not how it works. The fact that you would ask this type of question says more about your ignorance of evolution than it does about the flaws of evolutionary theory.

  351. 351
    Querius says:

    Once again . . .

    To identify typical trollbot responses, subject them to the following tests:

    1. Try applying them to any person discussing any topic. See whether they’re generic enough to fit.

    2. See whether they contain any new supporting evidence or whether they’re simply unsupported assertions.

    3. See whether they’re inflammatory or gross exaggerations designed to provoke a similar response.

    4. Assess the “signal to noise ratio” of cogent logic to vacuous emotion.

    JVL @337,

    NO ONE ever claimed that random mutations alone could account for developed life as we see it on Earth. Why are you attacking something that no one ever said?

    It’s important to understand the terms your using in a more scientific context. Here’s evolutionary randomness as explained on a University of California Berkeley website:

    random
    Unpredictable in some way. Mutations are “random” in the sense that the sort of mutation that occurs cannot generally be predicted based upon the needs of the organism. However, this does not imply that all mutations are equally likely to occur or that mutations happen without any physical cause. Indeed, some regions of the genome are more likely to sustain mutations than others, and various physical causes (e.g., radiation) are known to cause particular types of mutations.
    https://evolution.berkeley.edu/glossary/random/

    Mutations are random
    The mechanisms of evolution — like natural selection and genetic drift — work with the random variation generated by mutation. Factors in the environment are thought to influence the rate of mutation but are not generally thought to influence the direction of mutation. For example, exposure to harmful chemicals may increase the mutation rate, but will not cause more mutations that make the organism resistant to those chemicals. In this respect, mutations are random — whether a particular mutation happens or not is generally unrelated to how useful that mutation would be.
    https://evolution.berkeley.edu/mutations-are-random/

    variation
    Differences in genes, traits, or behaviors among members of a population, which may result in differences in reproductive success. When variation is genetic in origin, it may be acted upon by natural selection.
    https://evolution.berkeley.edu/glossary/variation/

    natural selection
    Differential survival or reproduction of different genotypes in a population leading to changes in the gene frequencies of a population. The conditions required for the operation of evolution by natural selection include variation, a system of heredity, differential reproduction, and time. For a more detailed explanation, see our resource on natural selection in Evolution 101.
    https://evolution.berkeley.edu/glossary/natural-selection/

    So, I hope you can understand the primary factors in the theory of evolution and that it begins with random mutation. However, there’s much more to the subject, including

    – The number of identical changes required for fixing a variation in a population.

    – The maximum rate of random mutations.

    – The estimated reproductive advantage of organisms with a particular mutation over those without it.

    If you think you know how evolution works, then you’ll know the currently accepted ranges of the above three factors.

    Please note that I’ve provided links and references rather than unsupported assertions, vacuous accusations, or emotional outbursts.

    -Q

  352. 352
    relatd says:

    SG at 350,

    You’ve seen the so-called Tree of Life? Your ancestor was a fish?

  353. 353
    asauber says:

    “That is not how it works.”

    Of course not. What works is a fairy-tale with perpetually coagulating blobs.

    Andrew

  354. 354
    kairosfocus says:

    JVL, all you have to do to confirm is go to 185 above. If you refuse to see that complex systems made up of many parts working together to achieve function require the right parts, in correct arrangements, properly coupled to work, and so are tuned to work, I cannot help you, you are in denial of manifest facts. Such constraints naturally mean tight constraints on configuration. Beyond, there are many more ways to clump at random and even far more yet to scatter; of course, function is undermined. Where, from Paley’s 2nd chapter on, it was known that additional self replication requires further exacting complexity. In the case of Weasel, it is seen that Mr Dawkins did undisclosed tuning to get his results. The onward examples from EIL parallel that. KF

  355. 355
    JVL says:

    Relatd: Apparently, I can’t give you the answers you’re looking for. Good bye.

    Nice cowardly answer.

    You’ve seen the so-called Tree of Life? Your ancestor was a fish?

    One of your ancestors lived in the oceans. So what?

  356. 356
    kairosfocus says:

    PS, as for your denial of Mr Dawkins’ rhetorical intent — and impact — I suggest you examine his own remarks as are cited in 184. KF

  357. 357
    relatd says:

    JVL at 355,

    Good bye.

  358. 358
    JVL says:

    Asauber: JVL is trying to convince you there never was a Creature A or a Creature B to make comparisons with.

    I’m saying the dividing line is fuzzy.

    Yes. Forever unidentifiable.

    We weren’t there and all we can work with is the fossils we have. And some educated guesses.

    Of course not. What works is a fairy-tale with perpetually coagulating blobs.

    Perhaps you’d like to answer some questions regarding your alternate hypothesis? Probably not.

  359. 359
    kairosfocus says:

    Q, looks like you may have a point. I notice but little engagement of pivotal substance as reported since 184 to 185. KF

  360. 360
    kairosfocus says:

    Jerry, hopping on a band wagon to follow what has a critical mass of popularity is an old, old problem. The idea that some seemingly simple explanation goes viral independent of its merits is a similar issue. But in either case, the need to address substance is still there. It should have long been obvious that specific organisation to achieve complex function will require the right parts matched to each other, properly assembled and coupled, as say the assembly line illustrates. The refusal to acknowledge generality and naturalness of this point is clearly due to injection of the evolution magic word exception. Ironically, even the objections, as English text using ASCII characters are a case in point. That there is precisely nil evidence of a simple path to a metabolising, encapsulated, smart gated automaton with self replication does not faze such. And Dr Tour’s detailed critiques of the state of research on synthesis will be equally brushed aside on any available excuse. Sad, but this is where we have now reached. KF

  361. 361
    kairosfocus says:

    JVL, until you have a solidly empirical observation based path for chemicals in a Darwin pond or the like to spontaneously, blindly, sans intelligent direction, create — take whatever intermediate steps you can observationally and thermodynamically justify — a metabolising, encapsulated, smart gated automaton that uses coded algorithms for NC molecule assembly machines and has a built in self replication facility, you do not even get to the root of your tree of life. This then cuts off further progress. And if instead we recognise signs of design at the level of the cell [language, algorithms for example] then it is reasonable to similarly recognise such signs across the span of body plans to include our own. All of this is riding on signs of design of a cosmos fine tuned in ways that support such C-Chem, aqueous medium, cell based life. KF

  362. 362
    kairosfocus says:

    U/D 4, a reminder on fine tuning.

  363. 363
    JVL says:

    Querius: So, I hope you can understand the primary factors in the theory of evolution and that it begins with random mutation

    sigh. Yes, unguided evolution requires random mutations but it also require cumulative selection. You continually and consistently leave that out!! Why is that?

    If you think you know how evolution works, then you’ll know the currently accepted ranges of the above three factors.

    You don’t have to know the rate of those factors to infer that the entire process was unguided. The fact that mutations are random with respect to fitness is enough to establish that there was no plan. After that, things played out at the rate they happened.

    Please note that I’ve provided links and references rather than unsupported assertions, vacuous accusations, or emotional outbursts.

    Laden with your poor interpretations of those references. I personally have spent a lot of time trying to explain to you certain things which you, clearly, just refuse to acknowledge or take on board. Why is that?

  364. 364
    JVL says:

    Kairosfocus: If you refuse to see that complex systems made up of many parts working together to achieve function require the right parts, in correct arrangements, properly coupled to work, and so are tuned to work, I cannot help you, you are in denial of manifest facts

    But they didn’t just poof into existence without thousands or millions of years of precursors leading up to them in a slow, step-by-step manner. You just deny that that could have happened which makes your criticism narrow and incomplete.

    until you have a solidly empirical observation based path for chemicals in a Darwin pond or the like to spontaneously, blindly, sans intelligent direction, create — take whatever intermediate steps you can observationally and thermodynamically justify — a metabolising, encapsulated, smart gated automaton that uses coded algorithms for NC molecule assembly machines and has a built in self replication facility, you do not even get to the root of your tree of life.

    Have you kept up with the current research? Do you know how close researchers are to answering that basic question? How do you know what you know? Are you dependent on the reporting of a few people since you, yourself, don’t have the academic background to follow the up-to-date research?

    How do you know your assertions as to the state of the research are correct?

    It’s a good general question: what authorities do you accept if you cannot judge the research yourself?

    OR are you just rejecting anything that you disagree with?

    Who do you trust? What are your biases?

  365. 365
    asauber says:

    “thousands or millions of years of precursors leading up to them in a slow, step-by-step manner”

    …and thousands of billions of years ago, the Great Sloth Giants slowly pushed big molten rocks together piece by piece to make the Earth and then disappeared, never to return because they burned their hands and had to go to Mars and the oceans there steamed away…

    blah, blah, blah

    Andrew

  366. 366
    relatd says:

    How evolution works.

    Hold up magic curtain. Tell people that things are happening behind it.

    Wait millions of years.

    You then get a rabbit.

  367. 367
    Viola Lee says:

    re 359, to KF: See 230 and 299 by me, the posts by hnorman, and some by JVL. “Of pivotal substance” does not necessarily mean “agreeing with you,” or responding to all your repetitive, tangential or off-target points.

  368. 368
    asauber says:

    “Wait millions of years.

    You then get a rabbit.”

    Relatd,

    And if you wait just a few more million years you’ll get SuperRabbits that make nano-technology SynthCarrots because they discovered real carrots aren’t nutritious enough.

    Andrew

  369. 369
    asauber says:

    JVL,

    Just because you use the word “precursor” doesn’t mean you’ve explained anything.

    Andrew

  370. 370
    JVL says:

    Asauber: and thousands of billions of years ago, the Great Sloth Giants slowly pushed big molten rocks together piece by piece to make the Earth and then disappeared, never to return because they burned their hands and had to go to Mars and the oceans there steamed away…

    That’s your counter argument?

    Let’s start with a really basic question: Was design all front loaded or were a lot of tweaks required all the way through the history of life on Earth?

    Just because you use the word “precursor” doesn’t mean you’ve explained anything.

    Let’s see what you can explain then? Did design happen all at once in the beginning or has there been lots a lots of tweaks along the way?

  371. 371
    JVL says:

    Relatd: Hold up magic curtain. Tell people that things are happening behind it. Wait millions of years. You then get a rabbit.

    Did design occur all at once in the beginning or has there been lots and lots of tweaks throughout the history of life on Earth?

  372. 372
    asauber says:

    “That’s your counter argument?”

    JVL,

    It’s not a counter argument. It’s another just so story to add since we’re fantasizing.

    Andrew

  373. 373
    JVL says:

    Asauber: It’s not a counter argument. It’s another just so story to add since we’re fantasizing.

    Let’s see what you can explain then: did design occur all at once in the beginning or has there been lots and lots of tweaks along the way?

  374. 374
    relatd says:

    JVL at 371,

    I will no longer reply to your questions about this topic.

  375. 375
    asauber says:

    “did design occur all at once in the beginning or has there been lots and lots of tweaks along the way?”

    JVL,

    I believe it happened over thousands or millions of years.

    Andrew

  376. 376
    JVL says:

    Relatd: I will no longer reply to your questions about this topic.

    Everyone please witness what happens when you push some ID proponents for their better explanation. They run away, they bail. They cannot answer one of the most simple and basic questions: when was design implemented.

    And why is that? Because you don’t know? How can you say you have a better explanation when you can’t even commit to when your explanation happened?

  377. 377
    JVL says:

    Asauber: I believe it happened over thousands or millions of years.

    So, lots and lots and lots of tweaks along the way. Okay, you gave an answer. Good.

    Can you point to a specific example of one of the times design was . . . imposed or implemented?

  378. 378
    asauber says:

    “So, lots and lots and lots of tweaks along the way. ”

    JVL,

    I didn’t say anything remotely close to that. You have a reading comprehension problem.

    Andrew

  379. 379
    JVL says:

    Asauber: I didn’t say anything remotely close to that. You have a reading comprehension problem.

    Well, if I got it wrong then please clarify when you think design was implemented. We’re all ears.

  380. 380
    asauber says:

    “Well, if I got it wrong then please clarify when you think design was implemented.”

    JVL,

    I believe that design has been continually implemented from the beginning. Since God thought of it.

    Andrew

  381. 381
    JVL says:

    Asauber: I believe that design has been continually implemented from the beginning. Since God thought of it.

    But not lots of tweaks along the way? So . . . every single act of reproduction is guided by or caused by design? All the viruses, all the bacteria, all the species once extant but now extinct, all done by design?

  382. 382
    Sir Giles says:

    Relatd@357: Good bye.

    I will believe it when I see it.

    I knew it was too good to be true.

    Relatd@374: I will no longer reply to your questions about this topic.

  383. 383
    Querius says:

    Looks like JVL didn’t bother to reply to the actual substance of my reply, nor respond with a single supported assertion.

    JVL: NO ONE ever claimed that random mutations alone could account for developed life as we see it on Earth. Why are you attacking something that no one ever said?

    Huh? I’m not attacking anything “that no one said.” Darwinian evolution begins with random mutations as I detailed here:

    Querius: It’s important to understand the terms your using in a more scientific context. Here’s evolutionary randomness as explained on a University of California Berkeley website:

    random
    Unpredictable in some way. Mutations are “random” in the sense that the sort of mutation that occurs cannot generally be predicted based upon the needs of the organism. However, this does not imply that all mutations are equally likely to occur or that mutations happen without any physical cause. Indeed, some regions of the genome are more likely to sustain mutations than others, and various physical causes (e.g., radiation) are known to cause particular types of mutations.
    https://evolution.berkeley.edu/glossary/random/

    Mutations are random
    The mechanisms of evolution — like natural selection and genetic drift — work with the random variation generated by mutation. Factors in the environment are thought to influence the rate of mutation but are not generally thought to influence the direction of mutation. For example, exposure to harmful chemicals may increase the mutation rate, but will not cause more mutations that make the organism resistant to those chemicals. In this respect, mutations are random — whether a particular mutation happens or not is generally unrelated to how useful that mutation would be.
    https://evolution.berkeley.edu/mutations-are-random/

    variation
    Differences in genes, traits, or behaviors among members of a population, which may result in differences in reproductive success. When variation is genetic in origin, it may be acted upon by natural selection.
    https://evolution.berkeley.edu/glossary/variation/

    natural selection
    Differential survival or reproduction of different genotypes in a population leading to changes in the gene frequencies of a population. The conditions required for the operation of evolution by natural selection include variation, a system of heredity, differential reproduction, and time. For a more detailed explanation, see our resource on natural selection in Evolution 101.
    https://evolution.berkeley.edu/glossary/natural-selection/

    I continued with

    So, I hope you can understand the primary factors in the theory of evolution and that it begins with random mutation.

    To which JVL replied with

    JVL: sigh. Yes, unguided evolution requires random mutations but it also require cumulative selection. You continually and consistently leave that out!! Why is that?

    Notice that I’d written that the theory of evolution BEGINS WITH random mutation. It’s like JVL never bothered to read and respond to what I’d actually written instead of just making things up.

    Then I continued by presenting three important evolutionary factors:

    – The number of identical changes required for fixing a variation in a population.

    – The maximum rate of random mutations.

    – The estimated reproductive advantage of organisms with a particular mutation over those without it.

    If you think you know how evolution works, then you’ll know the currently accepted ranges of the above three factors.

    JVL then evaded the questions completely with . . .

    JVL: You don’t have to know the rate of those factors to infer that the entire process was unguided. The fact that mutations are random with respect to fitness is enough to establish that there was no plan. After that, things played out at the rate they happened.

    What? Of course the Darwinian theory of evolution is unguided. Where did I write that it wasn’t? And yes, the three factors I mentioned do matter, even if JVL apparently doesn’t know what they are or why they’re important.

    And then JVL’s comments ended with . . .

    Querius: Please note that I’ve provided links and references rather than unsupported assertions, vacuous accusations, or emotional outbursts.

    JVL: Laden with your poor interpretations of those references. I personally have spent a lot of time trying to explain to you certain things which you, clearly, just refuse to acknowledge or take on board. Why is that?

    Oh really? Notice that my alleged “poor interpretations” of the statements from the University of California website on evolution are conspicuously absent.

    My conclusion is that JVL argues just to argue, does not engage in the substantive issues being raised, does not support any assertions, and seems to be here only to make a lot of noise.

    -Q

  384. 384
    Querius says:

    Also notice that Sir Giles responds with classic infantile trollbot clichés:

    I will believe it when I see it.

    I knew it was too good to be true.

    As I previously wrote, here’s how one can easily identify trollbot blather:

    1. Try applying them to any person discussing any topic.See whether they’re generic enough to fit.

    2. See whether they contain any new supporting evidence or whether they’re simply unsupported assertions.

    3. See whether they’re inflammatory or gross exaggerations designed to provoke a similar response.

    4. Assess the “signal to noise ratio” of cogent logic to vacuous emotion.

    Such trollbot responses rank right up there with:

    * It takes one to know one.
    * I said it first.
    * Not.
    * What’s your definition of (common term).
    * My dog is bigger than your dog.

    -Q

  385. 385
    JVL says:

    Querius (comment 331): You might also be interested in this segment about the mathematical impossibility of random mutations resulting in design, which I just stumbled across.

    Doesn’t sound like you’re accounting for cumulative selection here. Maybe you are but it’s not clear.

    Darwinian evolution begins with random mutations as I detailed here:

    Again, you emphasise random mutations without mentioning cumulative selection.

    Notice that I’d written that the theory of evolution BEGINS WITH random mutation. It’s like JVL never bothered to read and respond to what I’d actually written instead of just making things up.

    Yes, I did read what you wrote and, yes, you continually focus on random mutations and leave out cumulative selection.

    The number of identical changes required for fixing a variation in a population.

    What do you mean? Sometimes it only take one change which is then handed down to offspring. You ask questions which make it sound like you don’t understand how things work.

    The maximum rate of random mutations.

    Measured how? Against what?

    The estimated reproductive advantage of organisms with a particular mutation over those without it.

    Really? Again, please be clearer. Do you mean the estimated average against all possible single point mutations?

    Notice that my alleged “poor interpretations” of the statements from the University of California website on evolution are conspicuously absent.

    Anyone can copy and paste but did you actually understand what you copied? I’m not so sure. The things you think we should know are poorly stated and confusing.

    I predict you will continue to argue about minutiae and gloss over your misunderstandings and misinterpretations thinking you’re being very profound and insightful.

  386. 386
    kairosfocus says:

    JVL, did you notice that I highlighted thermodynamics? As has been on the table since Thaxton et al, or currently Tour, the requisite chemicals unless protected, are rapidly degraded by the environment. That is part of why the cell is encapsulated, smart gated, organised and uses enzymes as targetted catalysts — climbing the energy hill, and creating protective homeostasis. On the Darwin pond etc scenario, those environments are not going to be there. Your thousands, millions or billions of years, even on observable cosmos scale, are irrelevant. But then we know that ever so many have been rhetorically immunised on such, by precisely the intent and techniques Dawkins championed in The Blind Watchmaker. Of which, weasel is an icon. That is a part of why I have directly focused on the coded algorithms central to protein synthesis, pointing out that this is manifestly linguistic and goal directed; strong signs of intelligently directed configuration that would normally be readily recognised in an information age. The denialism of the manifest on this is symptomatic of a deeper problem, crooked yardstick thinking. And Q also has a serious point, to get hill climbing one has to first find shorelines of function deeply isolated in a configuration space dominated by non functional gibberish/disorganisation. The direct result, highlighted in the updated OP once objectors went there, is that “cumulative selection” is local and dependent on fine tuning that puts one on shorelines of function. Which is what 185 points out is the case for Weasel, something you refuse to acknowledge is an issue. KF

  387. 387
    JVL says:

    Kairosfocus: On the Darwin pond etc scenario, those environments are not going to be there.

    Obviously. Are we on another round of condescension? Sigh.

    What was the first type of life on Earth do you think?

    to get hill climbing one has to first find shorelines of function deeply isolated in a configuration space dominated by non functional gibberish/disorganisation.

    Do you think chemical reactions are random? Do you suppose that maybe the first basic replicator came about because of natural, unguided chemical processes?

    highlighted in the updated OP once objectors went there, is that “cumulative selection” is local and dependent on fine tuning that puts one on shorelines of function.

    Once you have a basic self-replicator you are in an area of function. That life and all its descendants stay in that area of functionality. They have to otherwise common descent doesn’t exist.

    You think common descent doesn’t exist. Therefore you think your designer had to keep tweaking their lifeforms to eventually get to humans. That’s about it isn’t it? Humans were the goal, life wasn’t getting there on its own so, in order for the ultimate breeding programme to reach its successful conclusion, the designer had to keep sticking their oar in. Over billions of years. Until they got it right.

    How’s that for your hypothesis of intelligent design? Did I get anything wrong there? The designer is a tinkerer. Too bad a lot of really nasty diseases got created along the way. Oh well. Too bad the planet ain’t exactly stable so there are hurricanes and fires and earthquakes and sunamis and volcanos and lots of other things that kill plants and animals. Oh well. Too bad human beings like to kill each other so much, free will, what can you do? Maybe if the designer tinkered a bit more they could figure out some of those problems. Maybe they’re tinkering right now! Maybe us humans are not the ultimate goal! Which is why it doesn’t matter how many of us get sick or die in some horrible natural disaster! Gosh, that kind of makes sense you know. We’re not ‘it’. We’re just a transitional species. I like it.

  388. 388
    kairosfocus says:

    Q,

    you of course have a valid point. Over the years, this is how I have more or less summed up the Darwinist mechanisms, slightly updated:

    1: Chance variation [CV] + fitness slope [FS] –> differential reproductive success [DRS]

    2: DRS + time [T] –> descent with modification [DWM]

    3: DWM + grand continent of fitness niches [GCFN] –> lines of descent with unlimited modification [LDUM]

    4: LDUM + grand scale time [GST] –> branching tree evolution of body plans [BTEBP’s]

    I comment:

    a: Notice, to enter this framework, one needs to have a metabolic automaton, with encapsulation, smart gating and a built in von Neumann kinematic self replicator, the cell or something comparable.

    b: However, such is chock full of FSCO/I, including coded algorithms used to synthesise proteins including enzymes.

    c: There is no actually observed physical-chemical basis for believing that such can happen spontaneously by blind chance and/or mechanical necessity, all at once or cumulatively
    _______________

    SUB CONCLUSION [SC] I: OoL is the first, decisive barrier to the grand, lab coat clad, evolutionary narrative [GL2CEN].

    SC II: To surmount this barrier, proponents of GL2CEN per SC I, are forced to suppress the Newton rule that proposed causes for traces of the unobserved remote present or past, must first be shown to have actual capability to produce the result.

    SCIII: In particular, they are forced to deny that there is functionally specific, complex organisation and/or information [FSCO/I, cf. Orgel and Wicken in the 70s] and/or that it is an observable, measurable quantity that beyond 500 – 1,000 bits is not plausibly the product of blind chance and/or mechanical necessity.

    SC IV: Meanwhile, the very text of their objections is measurable FSCO/I, readily distinguishable from typical random gibberish y8uuiryst or what a stuck key would do ssssssssss so their objections are inherently self referentially incoherent.

    SC V: Likewise, they are forced to deny that the constraints of sufficiently complex, configuration based function — such as text, fishing reels, petroleum refineries, etc, much less von Neumann kinematic self replicators — sharply constrain us to the right parts, matched to one another, properly oriented, correctly organised and coupled together, exhibiting fine tuning thus locally isolated operating point zones of function surrounded by seas of non functional disorganisation, aka islands of function.

    SC VI: Then, they are forced to infer a vast continent of readily accessible function that provides well behaved slopes to facilitate hill climbing and diversification. For which, there is no actual observed basis, it is a hidden premise of a narrative.
    ===================

    GENERAL CONCLUSION: Crooked yardstick thinking.

    KF

  389. 389
    kairosfocus says:

    JVL,

    I clip and comment:

    >>Obviously. Are we on another round of condescension? Sigh.>>

    1- Merited correction is not “condescension,” which is here exposed as the fallacy of subtly poisoning the well from the outset.

    2- It would seem, however that the “Sigh” implies confession by your projection to the despised other, cf. the Dawkins quadrilemma in the OP.

    >>What was the first type of life on Earth do you think?>>

    3- I do not need to answer this, I simply point to the only actually observed architecture of biological life and request an observationally anchored accounting of its origin.

    4- The rhetoric of poisoning the well, distraction and evasion tells us, there is still no answer, there is no root for the darwinist tree of life so the tree is cut off from its root.

    >>Do you think chemical reactions are random?>>

    5- There is a lot of thermodynamic randomness involved in chemistry, start with entropy viewed through Gibbs free energy or even just what temperature is an index of.

    6- In the primary sense though, chemistry has no foresight and naturally favours the thermodynamically downhill. The complex chemistry of cell based life is decidedly uphill, just start from how one goes from racemic forms to homochirality and linked key lock fitting chemistry.

    7- Of course all of this is evasive of what Dr Tour outlines in the vid in the OP and has elaborated at length. That needs to be cogently answered and it has not, despite the rhetoric he has been forced to rebut.

    >> Do you suppose that maybe the first basic replicator>>

    8- An assumed, never observed, but evidently energetically uphill species that is dubious narrative

    9- What is actually observed and makes sense is the centrality of homeostasis, manifested in metabolic automata with encapsulation and smart gating with built in von Neumann kinematic self replicator facilities, something that is manifestly best explained on careful knowing synthesis and assembly by deeply knowledgeable intelligently directed configuration.

    10- You know that I am on repeated record here that building on Venter et al, I expect we will be there within 100 years, and of course Venter et al are living proof that molecular nanotech is real.

    >> came about because of natural, unguided chemical processes?>>

    11- Apart from requisites of the blind watchmaker style narrative, what actually directly observed base leads you to speak of this mythical beastie as though it were a fact, produced as you imply?

    >>Once you have a basic self-replicator>>

    12- Fallacy of galloping hypotheses posing onward as facts.

    >> you are in an area of function.>>

    13- The unanswered problem is how to get there by blind watchmaker means rooted in actual observed capability.

    >> That life and all its descendants stay in that area of functionality.>>

    14- Continent of function hyp, assumed as if it were a fact by side stepping the issue of fine tuning, which, recall, Weasel exhibits. See 185 above.

    >> They have to otherwise common descent doesn’t exist.>>

    15- the herd of galloping hypotheses is growing.

    >>You think common descent doesn’t exist.>>

    16- I think it has never been shown to be feasible on actually observed means, cf again Lyell:

    PRINCIPLES OF GEOLOGY:

    BEING

    AN INQUIRY HOW FAR THE FORMER CHANGES OF THE EARTH’S SURFACE ARE REFERABLE TO CAUSES NOW IN OPERATION. [–> appeal to Newton’s Rules, in the title of the work]

    BY

    CHARLES LYELL, Esq, F.R.S.

    PRESIDENT OF THE GEOLOGICAL SOCIETY OF LONDON . . . JOHN MURRAY , , , 1835 [–> later, publisher of Origin]

    17- Common design with adaptation and extension to relevant niches makes better sense and is consistent with the fine tuning/ island of function pattern that naturally emerges from requisites of complex configuration based function.

    18- What I or you believe, I would not pay 50c for, that is irrelevant; the issue is, what is warranted on actually observed causal factors and thus sets up inference to empirically controlled best current explanations.

    19- In that context, limited common descent as a product of built in robustness via adaptability makes a lot of sense. Given the debates on taxonomy and interfertility across various taxa I suggest the Family or thereabouts as a good level for basic body plan design, cats and dogs and the like.

    20- Coming up from the origin, I suggest the main body plans, starting with the cell and going through top level taxa are pivotal.

    >>Therefore you think your designer>>

    20- Neither Thaxton et al nor me have ever asserted that on body plan patterns etc we can infer a single design-ER of life forms. This is a strawman caricature.

    21- What can be seen is, evidence of design, intelligently directed configuration, a process.

    22- Lifting up to the fine tuned cosmos we can see starting with setting up elemental abundances, setting up operating points for C-Chem, aqueous medium, terrestrial planet in galactic habitable zone cell based life.

    23- A cosmos architect and builder could serve as sole designer or as team lead or could stand back and let Venter’s antecedents do the job in our sol system or other odder scenarios, for this context I don’t care which.

    >> had to keep tweaking their lifeforms to eventually get to humans.>>

    24- Strawman caricature and implicit dismissal of the fine tuning implicit in FSCO/I issue, without having to actually address it on the merits.

    25- Q, again, has a point about patterns of evasive, distractive rhetoric.

    >> That’s about it isn’t it?>>

    26- Strawman set alight to burn and cloud the issue.

    >> Humans were the goal, life wasn’t getting there on its own>>

    27- A forest of strawmen burning away, with copious clouds of smoke.

    >> so, in order for the ultimate breeding programme to reach its successful conclusion, the designer had to keep sticking their oar in.>>

    28- More burning and smoke.

    >> Over billions of years.>>

    29- Even more clouding smoke.

    >> Until they got it right.>>

    29- Yet more.

    >>How’s that for your hypothesis of intelligent design?>>

    30- You know full well this is not the design inference on signs or theory, but such is not likely to be recognised by many, behind all the smoke from burning strawmen.

    31- Willful misrepresentation in the face of readily accessible evidence and explanation to the contrary.

    >> Did I get anything wrong there?>>

    32- Yes, by willful misrepresentation, beyond mere strawman fallacies.

    >> The designer is a tinkerer.>>

    33- Doubling down on misrepresentation.

    >> Too bad a lot of really nasty diseases got created along the way. Oh well. Too bad the planet ain’t exactly stable so there are hurricanes and fires and earthquakes and sunamis and volcanos and lots of other things that kill plants and animals. Oh well. Too bad human beings like to kill each other so much, free will, what can you do?>>

    34- Compounding misrepresentation by attempts to emotively appeal to the failed problem of evils.

    >> Maybe if the designer tinkered a bit more they could figure out some of those problems. Maybe they’re tinkering right now! Maybe us humans are not the ultimate goal! >>

    35- This now verges on agitprop, not argument.

    >>Which is why it doesn’t matter how many of us get sick or die in some horrible natural disaster! Gosh, that kind of makes sense you know. We’re not ‘it’. We’re just a transitional species. I like it.>>

    36- And so forth.

    37- Summary, a grand squid ink cloud, behind which the squid hopes to escape. Fail.

    KF

  390. 390
    Viola Lee says:

    JVL writes, “Maybe us [we] humans are not the ultimate goal!”

    This is an important point. If the designer has taken all these billions of years to produce the current state of the earth and life on it, it seems likely that this particular moment is not the culmination towards which it has been aiming.

  391. 391
    kairosfocus says:

    VL, I suggest that you refrain from speculation on a design-er until the issue of why a design inference has a basis is addressed. KF

  392. 392
    Viola Lee says:

    Why should I refrain? You and many others have no doubts the design inference has a solid basis, so why aren’t you interested in what further issues follow?

  393. 393
    jerry says:

    what further issues follow

    Kf has been all over the universe in other areas.

    Almost two years ago over a thousand comments, mostly non-senical, were generated on laws. He has certainly held forth in lots of areas.

    So what are these further issues?

    why a design inference has a basis is addressed

    Could have fooled me.

    I thought the design inference was obvious. It’s amazing you believe it hasn’t been addressed.

  394. 394
    JVL says:

    Kairosfocus: Merited correction is not “condescension,” which is here exposed as the fallacy of subtly poisoning the well from the outset.

    Perhaps you should be assiduous in avoiding stating the obvious then.

    It would seem, however that the “Sigh” implies confession by your projection to the despised other, cf. the Dawkins quadrilemma in the OP.

    The ‘sigh’ means: we’ve been over this many times.

    I do not need to answer this, I simply point to the only actually observed architecture of biological life and request an observationally anchored accounting of its origin.

    But your argument (about random searches and ‘islands of function’) assumes that there were no, much simpler antecedents. If you can’t say at what state life began can you be said to have a better explanation?

    The rhetoric of poisoning the well, distraction and evasion tells us, there is still no answer, there is no root for the darwinist tree of life so the tree is cut off from its root.

    What is the root of your tree then? Oh, I forget, there’s a double standard.

    There is a lot of thermodynamic randomness involved in chemistry, start with entropy viewed through Gibbs free energy or even just what temperature is an index of.

    So, you think chemical reactions are somewhat random? Are they directed then?

    In the primary sense though, chemistry has no foresight and naturally favours the thermodynamically downhill. The complex chemistry of cell based life is decidedly uphill, just start from how one goes from racemic forms to homochirality and linked key lock fitting chemistry.

    It has been characterised as “the river that flows uphill”. There is even a book with that title.

    What is actually observed and makes sense is the centrality of homeostasis, manifested in metabolic automata with encapsulation and smart gating with built in von Neumann kinematic self replicator facilities, something that is manifestly best explained on careful knowing synthesis and assembly by deeply knowledgeable intelligently directed configuration.

    Lots of verbiage, does that mean you can or cannot do historical science?

    The unanswered problem is how to get there by blind watchmaker means rooted in actual observed capability.

    The answer is: life starts in an area of function. But you can’t admit that that is the case. How could life NOT start in an area of function?

    Continent of function hyp, assumed as if it were a fact by side stepping the issue of fine tuning,

    What? The first life on Earth, whatever form it was, had to be in an area of function. Clearly.

    Common design with adaptation and extension to relevant niches makes better sense and is consistent with the fine tuning/ island of function pattern that naturally emerges from requisites of complex configuration based function.

    Talk about assumptions! Your islands of function hypothesis is an assumption as far as biological systems go.

    Coming up from the origin, I suggest the main body plans, starting with the cell and going through top level taxa are pivotal.

    What origin? What did it look like?

    Neither Thaxton et al nor me have ever asserted that on body plan patterns etc we can infer a single design-ER of life forms. This is a strawman caricature.

    One designer, many designers, whatever. You decide.

    What can be seen is, evidence of design, intelligently directed configuration, a process.

    Only because of your assumptions, one being that common descent is false.

    You know full well this is not the design inference on signs or theory, but such is not likely to be recognised by many, behind all the smoke from burning strawmen.

    Well, why don’t you spell out your model for the origin and the development of life on Earth. You claim to have a better explanation so let’s hear it. Yes?

    Compounding misrepresentation by attempts to emotively appeal to the failed problem of evils.

    Well, let’s hear your explanation of the origin and purpose of viruses and bacteria. You can pick one if you like . . . malaria is good. Start with malaria.

    Also, please explain how you know if humans were/are the point of the giant selective ID breeding programme that you clearly believe in.

  395. 395
    JVL says:

    Jerry: I thought the design inference was obvious. It’s amazing you believe it hasn’t been addressed.

    Too bad you didn’t read a few more of the preceding bits . . .

    I asked if it were possible that humans were NOT the goal of the designed selective breeding pattern that ID supposes. What if we are, in fact, just another transitional species? That’s the further issue.

    Do you have an opinion on that topic?

  396. 396
    kairosfocus says:

    VL, the issue of the inference to design remains despite its fairly obvious warrant, because of the increasingly desperate objections and distractions. And onward matters are much as SB pointed out years ago: first, establish arson, before hunting for an arsonist. All of which should have been readily understood. Trying to debate nature and identity of designers to those who refuse to acknowledge reliable, well tested signs of design is simply to go along with a distraction. Besides, as I have repeatedly noted, the ontologically significant case for discussing a designer is the cosmological design case, about which — by and large — objectors over the years have had little cogent to say. And with Prince Caspian on the board, that is being underscored week by week. BTW, that ontological significance has been on the table not only since Thaxton et al in the 1980’s but since Plato in The Laws, Bk X, 2360+ years ago. And given that the progenitor of modern cosmological design thought was the lifelong agnostic Sir Fred Hoyle, it gets even more interesting. KF

  397. 397
    kairosfocus says:

    Jerry, in fact, much of the frustration in discussing matters of design is because we deal with those who flout self evident first duties of reason, which are also the framework of first law from which lawful government springs. Itself an issue in a day of manifestly ever increasing lawlessness and abuses. If the first duties were in order, the design issue would be readily resolved. Sadly, that breakdown and increasing perversity of lawlessness is a harbinger of a very hard time ahead for our civilisation and the wider world. With the USA leading the lemming race over the cliff. KF

    PS, in case there is a need for reminder, the Ciceronian first duties:

    1st – to truth,
    2nd – to right reason,
    3rd – to prudence [including warrant],
    4th – to sound conscience,
    5th – to neighbour; so also,
    6th – to fairness and
    7th – to justice
    [ . . .]
    xth – etc.

    Where, that etc is the royal, accordion-expandable framework such as we can see in the Common Law starting with Alfred’s Book of Dooms and Magna Carta etc down to Blackstone and more.

  398. 398
    kairosfocus says:

    JVL, on the attempt to pull to an onward question, kindly note the just above to VL. KF

  399. 399
    JVL says:

    Kairosfocus: Trying to debate nature and identity of designers to those who refuse to acknowledge reliable, well tested signs of design is simply to go along with a distraction.

    This is just weird. People will spend hours, days, weeks, months, years, life times debating the nature and motivations of God but you can’t talk about a possible (possible mind you) aspect of the selected breeding programme ID proposes. It’s not necessarily a theological topic (if the designer(s) are uber-aliens monitoring Earth at a great distance).

    Do you have a problem accepting that humans may just be a transitional species? What argues against that?

    JVL, on the attempt to pull to an onward question, kindly note the just above to VL

    Why will you not even consider a possible aspect of the ID-proposed selective breeding programme of the designer(s)?

  400. 400
    Viola Lee says:

    KF writes, “VL, the issue of the inference to design remains despite its fairly obvious warrant, because of the increasingly desperate objections and distractions”

    Perhaps there would be fewer “desperate objections” if you and the ID movement in general showed more interest in other questions about design: your reluctance to go further seems to imply that you are really more interested in philosophical and theological issues than you are in pursuing any advances in science.

    As I quoted in an article by Barr at FirstThings recently,

    ”It is time to take stock: What has the intelligent design movement achieved? As science, nothing. The goal of science is to increase our understanding of the natural world, and there is not a single phenomenon that we understand better today or are likely to understand better in the future through the efforts of ID theorists. If we are to look for ID achievements, then, it must be in the realm of natural theology. And there, I think, the movement must be judged not only a failure, but a debacle.”

    Very few religious skeptics have been made more open to religious belief because of ID arguments, Barr adds. “These arguments not only have failed to persuade, they have done positive harm by convincing many people that the concept of an intelligent designer is bound up with a rejection of mainstream science.”

  401. 401
    Sir Giles says:

    KF@389. Well, that settles it. You numbered your comments so you must be correct.

  402. 402
    JVL says:

    Sir Giles: Well, that settles it. You numbered your comments so you must be correct.

    And he didn’t have to traipse, step-wise, into an infinite past. Whew.

  403. 403
    kairosfocus says:

    JVL, further on points, i/l/o the above including to Q:

    >>Perhaps you should be assiduous in avoiding stating the obvious then.>>

    1: As stated by a champion of selective hyperskepticism and denial of manifest or well warranted truths and facts. Colour me surprised — NOT.

    >>The ‘sigh’ means: we’ve been over this many times.>>

    2: In a context of dealing with crooked yardstick thinking, selective hyperskepticism and doubling down, as will see just below.

    >>But your argument (about random searches and ‘islands of function’) assumes that there were no, much simpler antecedents.>>

    3: Strawman no 1, I have made no such ASSUMPTION. I have pointed out WHY complex, specific configuration based function is critically dependent on appropriate organisation, as opposed to how clumping and scattering at random will have astronomically more possible configurations.

    4: The text of your objection, constrained to be ASCII characters in English, shows the point and shows how this objection is self referentially incoherent.

    5: Of course, an example of selectively hyperskeptical refusal to acknowledge the well warranted or even self evident..

    6: For record I note that tightly constrianed swatches of valid operating points in an overall astronomically large configuration space are an example of fine tuning and that islands of function isolated in large seas of non function as illustrated and discussed in the OP are a useful metaphor.

    7: There is zip, zilch, nein, nyet, Uun, nada, zero actual observation of an architecture of biological life other than the cell. When you can provide an observed case then we have a basis for science on the matter. Apart from this obvious requirement, all you have is speculation dressed up in a lab coat.

    8: If you are able to show a thermodynamically plausible path from a Darwin pond or the like that solves the synthesis problems leading up to a cell, kindly let us know ______ . Then, explain why such did not survive arrival of cells.

    >> If you can’t say at what state life began can you be said to have a better explanation?>>

    9: You will note a distinction between life and biological life. Ever since Plato in The Laws, Bk X, it has been plausible that the self moved soul is the oldest of all things, indeed is the category of necessary being and root of reality. That boring ontological, logic of being and possible worlds stuff.

    10: So, life began is not a valid assumption, that which begins is necessarily contingent.

    11: The roots of biological life are another matter and for cause and unless you can show actual observation otherwise, we can freely point to the cell, with metabolism, encapsulation and smart gating [homeostasis in an uphill thermodynamic system], with a built in von Neumann kinematic self replicator.

    13: We cannot say when such began in absolute, we do not know what the rest of the observed cosmos holds. However, for discussion we can take up the usually suggested range for cell based life on our planet and solar system, scattering of spores across the system having a high astrophysical probability.

    14: And, on how, it is logical on the nature of FSCO/I to infer design by designers more advanced than Venter et al. As has been stated ever so many times but sidestepped in haste to set up and knock over strawmen.

    15: Where it seems obvious to put up that if the molecules come about by molecular nanotech, that likely extends to the original labs. Take Venter’s equipment and advance it several generations.

    >>What is the root of your tree then?>>

    16: Biological, cell based life is not the root, it is a technology. Which does have observational backing, cf Venter et al, as has been noted for years and rhetorically side stepped the better to set up and knock over strawmen.

    17: I have already pointed to the root of reality as an ontological issue and to origin of the cosmos as a key point also.

    >>Oh, I forget, there’s a double standard.>>

    18: Failed turnabout projection, also another sign of confession by projection to the despised other, a mark of cognitive dissonance.

    >>So, you think chemical reactions are somewhat random? Are they directed then?>>

    19: Did you pause to wonder why I spoke to Gibbs free energy, thermodynamics and temperature? Does it register that temperature is an index of average random kinetic energy per degree of freedom for microparticles, and this extends to say Brownian Motion?

    20: Molecular randomness as briefly outlined is at the heart of statistical thermodynamics, which undergirds Chemistry.

    >>It has been characterised as “the river that flows uphill”. There is even a book with that title.>>

    20: For a chemical or physical system to move uphill, somewhere else, something is heading downhill, a key issue in heat engines and much more. For life systems, that points to a good slice or two of metabolism.

    >>Lots of verbiage, does that mean you can or cannot do historical science?>>

    21: You come across as needing to refresh yourself on thermodynamics, with a special view to statistical thermodynamics. Some exposure to the informational school of thought will help. So will some attention to Lyell’s title.

    >>The answer is: life starts in an area of function.>>

    22: Your vagueness points to the problem I have highlighted, you have no actual observation driven framework and are trying to dismiss glaring signs of design.

    >> But you can’t admit that that is the case. How could life NOT start in an area of function?>>

    23: You tell me please, I have suggested that for bio life on earth the answer is the source of the cell, and have pointed to “a molecular nanotech lab some generations beyond Venter” literally for years, as prime suspect.

    24: For life simplicitas, I have pointed to ontological issues that go far beyond biology.

    >>What? The first life on Earth, whatever form it was, had to be in an area of function. Clearly.>>

    25: We both know that you are trying to dodge admitting, an island of complex function. One that for the cell involves a metabolic automaton with encapsulation, smart gating and a built in von Neumann self replicator. Until you provide observation of non cell based bio life antecedent to cells, you are imposing speculations.

    >>Talk about assumptions! Your islands of function hypothesis is an assumption>>

    26: it is a readily observed fact and pattern, including with Weasel, cf 185 above.

    >> as far as biological systems go.>>

    27: There is no good, actual observation based reason to infer that the implications of specific configuration function can be set aside.

    >>What origin? What did it look like?>>

    28: You know that for years I have suggested, look to a lab some generations beyond Venter, working to synthesise a cell.

    >>One designer, many designers, whatever. You decide.>>

    29: I have no need to decide for origin of cells on Earth.

    >>Only because of your assumptions,>>

    30: Strawman again, you try to use “assumptions” to blunt inference to the best observationally anchored explanation, the better to slip in something without observational support as default.

    >> one being that common descent is false.>>

    31: What is the actual, observation of biol life apart from cells? That FSCO/I per trillions of cases, is a reliable sign of design, and that the cell is chock full of it starting with codes and algorithms in protein synthesis.

    32: What is being snuck in the back door without adequate observational base is that cell based life spontaneously assembled in the teeth of uphill energy issues, and that the functional information for body plans has come about by survival filtered increments of lucky noise.

    >>Well, why don’t you spell out your model for the origin and the development of life on Earth.>>

    33: Outlined for years and again above, you just ignored it to set up another strawman.

    >>You claim to have a better explanation so let’s hear it. Yes?>>

    34: yes, FSCO/I is a reliable sign of design, so look to design methods some generations beyond Venter et al.

    >>Well, let’s hear your explanation of the origin and purpose of viruses and bacteria. You can pick one if you like . . . malaria is good. Start with malaria.>>

    35: Squid ink, distractive, toxic cloud. No need to answer.

    >>Also, please explain how you know if humans were/are the point of the giant selective ID breeding programme that you clearly believe in.>>

    36: Again, a squid ink, toxic, distractive cloud.

    37: The failure to deal with 185 above, showing how fine tuning comes up with Weasel, speaks.

    KF

    KF

  404. 404
    JVL says:

    Kairosfocus:

    Science is about asking questions. Why and when and how questions. When you declare that certain questions are off limits then you are advocating a ‘science stopper’ stance. I think you should reconsider your reluctance to consider aspects of the selected breeding programme that ID promotes.

  405. 405
    kairosfocus says:

    SG, as outrageous a strawman fallacy as I have ever seen at UD. That you resort to dismissal rather than addressing substance tells us you have no answer but a sneer. KF

  406. 406
    Sir Giles says:

    JVL@404. I completely agree.

  407. 407
    jerry says:

    we deal with those who flout self evident first duties of reason

    No, you are just dealing with people who are yanking your chain.

    Nothing more. No need to bring out Cicero for the 1000th time. Everybody laughs when you do. (And I endorse your comments on Cicero)

    I completely agree.

    You just agreed with nonsense.

  408. 408
    Sir Giles says:

    KF: SG, as outrageous a strawman fallacy as I have ever seen at UD.

    1) I don’t think those words mean what you think they mean.
    2) I think the word you are looking for is sarcasm.
    3) Of what value is there to numbering your individual comments?
    4) Do you feel that the numbers give your responses more authority?
    5) inquiring minds want to know.

    That you resort to dismissal rather than addressing substance tells us you have no answer but a sneer. KF

    6) Again, I think you are using the wrong word.
    7) I think “cringe” is a more appropriate word than “sneer”.

  409. 409
    chuckdarwin says:

    VL/400
    excellent post……

  410. 410
    JVL says:

    Kairosfocus: I have made no such ASSUMPTION.

    Well prove that. Discuss the possibilities of the first form of life on Earth. Or run away again. Your call.

    The text of your objection, constrained to be ASCII characters in English, shows the point and shows how this objection is self referentially incoherent.

    Stop arguing via analogies and metaphors. Let’s talk actual science: what do you envision to be the first form of life on earth?

    For record I note that tightly constrianed swatches of valid operating points in an overall astronomically large configuration space are an example of fine tuning and that islands of function isolated in large seas of non function as illustrated and discussed in the OP are a useful metaphor.

    It depends on what you think the first form of life on Earth was like. Maybe you should address that point.

    There is zip, zilch, nein, nyet, Uun, nada, zero actual observation of an architecture of biological life other than the cell. When you can provide an observed case then we have a basis for science on the matter. Apart from this obvious requirement, all you have is speculation dressed up in a lab coat.

    Are you sure about that? Really sure? Clearly you’re ruling out viruses. And you’re plunking for the cell. That’s clear.

    If you are able to show a thermodynamically plausible path from a Darwin pond or the like that solves the synthesis problems leading up to a cell, kindly let us know ______ . Then, explain why such did not survive arrival of cells.

    Can you provide such a path for your view? Are we still subject to your double standard?

    You will note a distinction between life and biological life.

    Really? How so? Discussions of ‘the soul’ is not scientific.

    The roots of biological life are another matter and for cause and unless you can show actual observation otherwise, we can freely point to the cell, with metabolism, encapsulation and smart gating [homeostasis in an uphill thermodynamic system], with a built in von Neumann kinematic self replicator.

    Research is suggesting some possible answers for these questions. Have you got anything? Anything at all? With your better explanation?

    We cannot say when such began in absolute, we do not know what the rest of the observed cosmos holds. However, for discussion we can take up the usually suggested range for cell based life on our planet and solar system, scattering of spores across the system having a high astrophysical probability.

    Okay, so you’re sticking with the cell being first life. Noted.

    And, on how, it is logical on the nature of FSCO/I to infer design by designers more advanced than Venter et al. As has been stated ever so many times but sidestepped in haste to set up and knock over strawmen.

    Not necessarily IF, in fact, life was much, much more simple than a cell at first.

    Biological, cell based life is not the root, it is a technology. Which does have observational backing, cf Venter et al, as has been noted for years and rhetorically side stepped the better to set up and knock over strawmen.

    Oh dear, this is just weird. You have no idea what the first form of life on earth was, that is clear. But now you’re just waxing weird.

    Look, what does the design inference say about the first viable life form on earth? Can you say anything about this? With your ‘better’ explanation?

    Did you pause to wonder why I spoke to Gibbs free energy, thermodynamics and temperature? Does it register that temperature is an index of average random kinetic energy per degree of freedom for microparticles, and this extends to say Brownian Motion?

    Your attempts at being ‘sciencey’ are noted. But they don’t do anything. I know you’re not a scientist but you could at least stop pretending you understand how it works. Please.

    For a chemical or physical system to move uphill, somewhere else, something is heading downhill, a key issue in heat engines and much more. For life systems, that points to a good slice or two of metabolism.

    These issues have been discussed and looked at and PUBLISHED. You just choose to ignore all that.

    You come across as needing to refresh yourself on thermodynamics, with a special view to statistical thermodynamics. Some exposure to the informational school of thought will help. So will some attention to Lyell’s title.

    No, I do not need a reminder.

    Your vagueness points to the problem I have highlighted, you have no actual observation driven framework and are trying to dismiss glaring signs of design.

    You have no actual observation driven framework of life being (not only created) but tweaked and modified over billions of year. But your double standard makes it okay to claim your explanation is ‘better’ when it’s actually vacuous. You can’t even guess at what the first life on earth was life in your worldview. You have NO explanation at all.

    You tell me please, I have suggested that for bio life on earth the answer is the source of the cell, and have pointed to “a molecular nanotech lab some generations beyond Venter” literally for years, as prime suspect.

    Yes, I get that you think life started with cells.

    We both know that you are trying to dodge admitting, an island of complex function.

    Because, for life on earth, it doesn’t exist. Whatever the first life on earth was all its descendants inhabit the same area of functionality. Clearly. The incredible similarity of their basic chemistry and storage shows that. Even ID doesn’t support completely random searches through some vast configuration space. You made that up and NO ONE actually believes that’s how it works or worked.

    There is no good, actual observation based reason to infer that the implications of specific configuration function can be set aside.

    Give us your ‘actual observation based reason’ to suppose the existence of a designer(s) who has/have spent billions of years tweaking the development of life on earth in an ongoing selected breeding programme. Please.

    What is the actual, observation of biol life apart from cells? That FSCO/I per trillions of cases, is a reliable sign of design, and that the cell is chock full of it starting with codes and algorithms in protein synthesis.

    Oh, right, you are not up-to-date with the latest research. Got that. How about viruses? Are they alive? Yes or no?

    What is being snuck in the back door without adequate observational base is that cell based life spontaneously assembled in the teeth of uphill energy issues, and that the functional information for body plans has come about by survival filtered increments of lucky noise.

    No one is claiming that. Except you. No one.

    Again, a squid ink, toxic, distractive cloud.

    You really cannot even address the possibility that humans are just a step along some great plan that the designer(s) is implementing in their great selective breeding programme. Too funny. Why can’t you address that possibility?

  411. 411
    Sir Giles says:

    JVL@410, you have far more patience than I. But please be careful. You don’t want to get trapped under one of KF’s flame engulfed falling strawmen.

    According to KF, a naturalistic origin is impossible because nobody has been able to provide a step-by-step process that takes us from the “primordial soup” to the modern cell. But when ID questioners ask for any details, speculations, hypotheses on the nature of the designer, the tools used, the mechanisms and processes used, when the designs were instantiated, whether there is constant tweaking, whether it was front-end loaded, etc, all we get is that these things are not part of ID.

  412. 412
    relatd says:

    SG at 411,

    You’ve misrepresented ID. ID is the better explanation.

  413. 413
    JVL says:

    Relatd: You’ve misrepresented ID. ID is the better explanation.

    But, ID cannot say when design was implemented, what the first form of life on Earth was, or whether or not humans are the culmination of the designers’ selective breeding programme.

    But it’s better?

  414. 414
    jerry says:

    all we get is that these things are not part of ID.

    Do true statements bother you?

    Somebody makes up nonsense and not responding to nonsense is somehow an indictment.

    The designer of the universe is an extremely intelligent entity that is also very powerful. Our universe apparently was-created 13.8 billion years ago.

    This creator also made choices as the universe is created in a specific way.

    Just to show that these stupid questions never seem to disappear, here is a comment from almost 14 years ago

    Yes, I make sarcastic remarks because absurdity deserves it. If I hear one more person wanting to know what FSCI is, I will scream. I explained it to my niece in 4th grade and she understood it and thought it was neat. But she is really a bright kid.

    Someone actually wants the laboratory techniques used 3.8 billion years ago. You talk about bizarre. I say a thousand as hyperbole and Mark in all seriousness says there is probably only a dozen. Mark wants the actual technique used a few billion years ago.

    Mark, I got word from the designer a few weeks ago and he said the original lab and blue prints were subducted under what was to become the African plate 3.4 billion years ago but by then they were mostly rubble anyway. The original cells were relatively simple but still very complex. Subsequent plants/labs went the same way and unfortunately all holograph videos of it are now in hyper space and haven’t been looked at for at least 3 million years. So to answer one of your questions, no further work has been done for quite awhile and the designer expects future work to be done by the latest design itself. The designer travels via hyper space between his home and our area of the universe when it is necessary.

    The designer said the techniques used were much more sophisticated than anything dreamed of by current synthetic biologist crowd but in a couple million years they may get up to speed and understand how it was actually done. The designer said it is actually a lot more difficult than people think especially since this was a new technique and he had to invent the DNA/RNA/protein process from scratch but amazingly they had the right chemical properties. His comment was “Thank God for that” or else he doesn’t think he wouldn’t have been able to do it. It took him about 200,000 of our years just experimenting with amino acid combinations to get usable proteins. He said it will be easier for current scientists since they will have a template to work off.

    Adel, if you make a negative comment or exhibit a negative attitude then expect the essence of your negative comment to be dealt with in some way. I would not let any of my children make a comment such as yours without being sent to their room. I could think of hundreds of ways for you to have made a cordial comment inquiring what I think on the matter. But why did you choose the way you did which revealed a lot of things. (By the way I am quite clear on what I think and it is all over this blog.)

    But thank you any way for your comments. Your comments and Mark Frank’s comment and those by others here help us immensely. We really appreciate how easy you guys make our job convincing others about the logic and facts behind our position.

    https://uncommondescent.com/intelligent-design/complex-specified-information-you-be-the-judge/#comment-305339

    This absurdity will continue as there is a near infinite supply of nonsense peddlers out there who ask the same stupid questions again and again.

    Aside: Seversky participated in the above thread but not in the discussion on how life was designed. Just to show how long he has been here.

  415. 415
    JVL says:

    Jerry: Somebody makes up nonsense and not responding to nonsense is somehow an indictment.

    Do you think me asking you if you can explain where certain morphological variations are ‘kept’ or ‘stored’ is nonsense? I mean since you’ve said over and over that genetics is not part of evolution.

    This creator also made choices as the universe is created in a specific way.

    And what other choices could they have made IF, as most Christians assert, that humans beings were created in God’s image and given free will so they could love God on their own account?

    Or maybe you think the designer made choices for other reasons. What reason would those be then?

    Oh, and also: do you think humans are the culmination of the designers’ selective breeding programme or just another transitional species?

  416. 416
    kairosfocus says:

    SG, calling sneering at ENUMERATION of points to dismiss them (when that is fairly common for skeletal arguments as points of reference) simply exposes your want of substance backed by an attitude that reeks of the notorious Dawkins formulation headlined above. You have fully removed yourself from serious consideration. KF

  417. 417
    kairosfocus says:

    JVL, do you imagine that you can ignore what was done in answer to your challenges and pretend that I have not answered carefully on OoL, without consequences for your own credibility? You have had sufficient answers for any reasonable purpose, we can safely take it that you have no cogent case. KF

  418. 418
    kairosfocus says:

    Jerry, it is actually quite evident that the first duties of reason are at the root of the problem. Want of regard for such is symptomatic of the problem with our civilisation and why it is on a lemming march. I duly noted for record. The matter will look very different from the bottom of the cliff, ask Plato about that, especially what he meant in Ship of State. Or, do I need to quote Solomon on how the laughter of fools is as the crackling of thorns under a pot . . . and will predictably end in ashes. KF

  419. 419
    kairosfocus says:

    PS, that is how far off Alinsky’s remark about ridicule as the most potent agit prop weapon is.

  420. 420
    Sir Giles says:

    KF: SG, calling sneering at ENUMERATION of points to dismiss them (when that is fairly common for skeletal arguments as points of reference) simply exposes your want of substance backed by an attitude that reeks of the notorious Dawkins formulation headlined above.

    I only have a few responses to this:

    1) The way you enumerate responses to several comments is certainly not common in the real world.
    2) It is common to enumerate several responses to a single comment.
    3) If you are going to make several responses to several comments, it is common to start each series of responses at one.

    You have fully removed yourself from serious consideration. KF

    Just two points:
    1) Ridiculing someone for using enumeration in a ridiculous manner is a valid criticism
    2) Dismissing someone from consideration for pointing out a ridiculous use of enumeration in discussion dismisses you from any serious consideration.

    See. That is the common use of enumeration in a discussion.

  421. 421
    kairosfocus says:

    SG, doubling down on evading substance; dismissal because points of argument are in an enumerated list that enables reference. The thorns are crackling. KF

  422. 422
    Sir Giles says:

    KF: The thorns are crackling. KF

    Something is crackling.

  423. 423
    Viola Lee says:

    Strawmen and red herrings soaked in oil of adhominems, and set ablaze? How does that phrase go? 🙂

  424. 424
    Querius says:

    JVL @385,

    Querius: Darwinian evolution begins with random mutations as I detailed here:

    JVL: Again, you emphasise random mutations without mentioning cumulative selection.

    Yes, of course. Silly me, I thought it was obvious that without BEGINNING with random mutations, natural selection (cumulative selection supposedly forms from a series of single-step selections) is pointless. But you apparently think otherwise with your relentless unsupported assertions.

    Querius: Notice that I’d written that the theory of evolution BEGINS WITH random mutation. It’s like JVL never bothered to read and respond to what I’d actually written instead of just making things up.

    JVL: Yes, I did read what you wrote and, yes, you continually focus on random mutations and leave out cumulative selection.

    What is it about the words “begins with” that you can’t comprehend? See above.

    Querius: The number of identical changes required for fixing a variation in a population.

    JVL: What do you mean? Sometimes it only take one change which is then handed down to offspring. You ask questions which make it sound like you don’t understand how things work.

    Nope. For an introduction on the subject, see
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fixation_(population_genetics)

    Querius: The maximum rate of random mutations.

    JVL: Measured how? Against what?

    Look it up yourself. I’m not your homework slave. J.B.L. Haldane pioneered this. Don’t you know anything about the theory of evolution?

    Querius: The estimated reproductive advantage of organisms with a particular mutation over those without it.

    JVL: Really? Again, please be clearer. Do you mean the estimated average against all possible single point mutations?

    Again, look it up yourself.

    Querius: Notice that my alleged “poor interpretations” of the statements from the University of California website on evolution are conspicuously absent.

    JVL: Anyone can copy and paste but did you actually understand what you copied? I’m not so sure. The things you think we should know are poorly stated and confusing. I predict you will continue to argue about minutiae and gloss over your misunderstandings and misinterpretations thinking you’re being very profound and insightful.

    Your parting ad hominem accusations indicate your admission of being owned. Go study up on the subject before posting more nonsense.

    -Q

  425. 425
    kairosfocus says:

    SG, you have yet to respond on actual substance, using that points are enumerated — ever seen a numbered paragraphs paper? [I think Word can still do it] — as an excuse to dismiss. Negative credibility confirmed. The thorns are crackling away under the pot. KF

    VL, yes, there is a definite rhetorical pattern favoured by too many objectors, red herrings [pouncing on enumerated points!], led away to strawman caricatures [such enumeration is used to somehow discredit! while evading substance] soaked in ad homs [ridicule], clouding, choking, poisoning atmosphere for discussion. Seen far, far too often. And utterly revealing on intellectual bankruptcy. KF

  426. 426
    kairosfocus says:

    JVL, I will note for record that trying to rhetorically mislabel observed long recognised code and algorithms for protein synthesis in the DNA and mRNA of the cell as an “analogy” simply underscores the bankruptcy of your objection. Multiplied, by your fear of the significance of that well founded recognition, i.e. language as text expressing protein assembly instructions is embedded in the cell, and further expresses a goal-directed process; both of which are strong signs of design. I am pretty sure that if you saw such machine code for numerical control of a machine — here, that marvel of molecular nanotech, the ribosome and the use of mobile position arm devices with a universal tool tip, tRNA — you would readily recognise the case. Your problem is manifestly ideological, not evidence and not disputes over analogies as a form of modern sense inductive reasoning, argument by support not demonstration. KF

  427. 427
    PyrrhoManiac1 says:

    @426

    language as text expressing protein assembly instructions is embedded in the cell, and further expresses a goal-directed process; both of which are strong signs of design. I am pretty sure that if you saw such machine code for numerical control of a machine — here, that marvel of molecular nanotech, the ribosome and the use of mobile position arm devices with a universal tool tip, tRNA

    There is no shirking of basic epistemic duties in disagreeing about the relevance of engineering concepts for describing and explaining the processes of molecular biology.

  428. 428
    Alan Fox says:

    Go study up on the subject before posting more nonsense.

    Oh, the irony!

    @JVL

    No, Querius isn’t going to tell you where he got the straw for his strawman versions of evolutionary processes*. You might just as well ask him (or anyone else here) for any alternative ID explanation and expect an answer.

    *My best guess is he made them up.

  429. 429
    Sir Giles says:

    KF: SG, you have yet to respond on actual substance, using that points are enumerated — ever seen a numbered paragraphs paper? [I think Word can still do it] — as an excuse to dismiss.

    My God. You are incapable of admitting error even on things that are easily verified. Enumeration in the way you do is not commonly used anywhere.

    And, yes, I am very familiar with numbered paragraph papers. I am in the last stages (FDIS) of revising an ISO standard (ISO/IEC 17043) as part of a CASCO working group. They are also common in the drafting of procedural documents. I know this because part of my job involves training companies on how to document procedural documents as part of their management system.

    Numbered paragraphs are used in a nested sequential manner. Each section is incremented (1, 2, 3…)and then each paragraph within each section is incrementally numbered, starting at #.1, #.2, etc. That is not what you are doing.

    For the love of Christ, why can’t you simply admit an error when you have been unequivocally corrected rather than doubling, tripling and quadrupling down?

  430. 430
    JVL says:

    Querius: [asked for] The number of identical changes required for fixing a variation in a population. and linked to a Wikipedia article discussing the basics.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fixation_(population_genetics)

    In that article the section called Probability discusses the pertinent mathematics. There is no required number of times an identical change has to be present for the allele to (eventually) get ‘fixed’. As I already said: it could be the case that a single individual has the change and that can eventually get ‘fixed’. It’s possible that the mutation that allows for blue eyes happened once in one individual. Possible.

    Querius: [also asked] The maximum rate of random mutations.

    Obviously there could be no rate of mutations greater than 100% but clearly the mutation rate for most species and genome locations is far below that. Again, there is a Wikipedia article which discusses the basics:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mutation_rate

    Some excerpts:

    The human mutation rate is higher in the male germ line (sperm) than the female (egg cells), but estimates of the exact rate have varied by an order of magnitude or more. This means that a human genome accumulates around 64 new mutations per generation because each full generation involves a number of cell divisions to generate gametes. Human mitochondrial DNA has been estimated to have mutation rates of ~3× or ~2.7×10?5 per base per 20 year generation (depending on the method of estimation); these rates are considered to be significantly higher than rates of human genomic mutation at ~2.5×10?8 per base per generation. Using data available from whole genome sequencing, the human genome mutation rate is similarly estimated to be ~1.1×10?8 per site per generation.

    The rate for other forms of mutation also differs greatly from point mutations. An individual microsatellite locus often has a mutation rate on the order of 10?4, though this can differ greatly with length.

    Some sequences of DNA may be more susceptible to mutation. For example, stretches of DNA in human sperm which lack methylation are more prone to mutation.

    In general, the mutation rate in unicellular eukaryotes (and bacteria) is roughly 0.003 mutations per genome per cell generation. However, some species, especially the ciliate of the genus Paramecium have an unusually low mutation rate. For instance, Paramecium tetraurelia has a base-substitution mutation rate of ~2 × 10?11 per site per cell division. This is the lowest mutation rate observed in nature so far, being about 75× lower than in other eukaryotes with a similar genome size, and even 10× lower than in most prokaryotes. The low mutation rate in Paramecium has been explained by its transcriptionally silent germ-line nucleus, consistent with the hypothesis that replication fidelity is higher at lower gene expression levels.

    The highest per base pair per generation mutation rates are found in viruses, which can have either RNA or DNA genomes. DNA viruses have mutation rates between 10?6 to 10?8 mutations per base per generation, and RNA viruses have mutation rates between 10?3 to 10?5 per base per generation.

    </